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The preliminary card headliner comes in the Middleweight division, as Brendan “All In” Allen takes on Jacob “Mamba” Malkoun. A winner of three of the last four fights, Allen is teetering on being inside the division’s top fifteen rankings. At only 26 years old and with his striking evolution, we might not be far off from seeing Allen elevate himself into a contender in a few years. Meanwhile, Malkoun comes into this fight on a two-fight win streak. Having put the UFC debut knockout loss as a mere blimp on the radar, Malkoun has proven that he is a player at 185 pounds.

This is a really intriguing fight, as both men are excellent fighters. Allen, being a ground specialist with superb submission abilities, has crafted his striking to a point where he can be comfortably reliant on it. While Chris Curtis wound of getting the best of Allen on the feet recently, the American did happen to outclass both Sam Alvey and Punahele Soriano. With his game rounding out, Allen’s ceiling looks to be rising by the fight. The same could be said about Malkoun, who features a well rounded game. On the feet, Malkoun is an active striker that features a crisp jab. Having excellent wrestling, strength and cardio, Malkoun can easily grind down an opponent for fifteen minutes.

As for a prediction, I’m going to side with Allen. While Malkoun has showed off his well rounded abilities, his wrestling has really shined in the last two fights. Landing fourteen takedowns and nearly twenty-one minutes of control time, Malkoun had little issues getting the fight to the mat. The problem with that in this fight, is Allen wouldn’t mind being on the ground. With ten of fifteen stoppage victories coming via submission, Malkoun would be putting himself in danger against the grappler in Allen. On the feet, Malkoun has a great jab and is active. However, Allen has a five inch height and two inch reach advantage. Factors that should aide him in getting off his own offense. In the end, I feel like Allen has several advantages and will win this fight via decision.

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