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The opening fight of the main card comes in the Middleweight division, as Julian “The Cuban Missile Crisis” Marquez takes on Gregory “Robocop” Rodrigues. A winner of two straight and seven of the last eight, Marquez finds himself an opportune fight to stake his claim among the division’s top fifteen. Sporting a 100% finishing rate, the hard hitting Cuban-American is not one who looks for the judges to decide his fate. Meanwhile, Rodrigues comes into this fight looking to get back in the win column. Having seen a four-fight win streak halted as a result of the recent defeat, Rodrigues has a formidable opponent that can help him get back the buzz he had storming into the UFC.

Bound to result in fireworks, this is going to be an exciting clash. Marquez is a powerful striker, who throws everything with bad intentions. Not exactly great at fending off takedowns, Marquez has surprisingly sneaky grappling and submissions. In fact, Marquez’s last three victories have come via submission. As for Rodriguez, while a he’s proven and credentialed grappler, the Brazilian favors striking. An approach that has resulted in success and failure. In this particular fight, it would be wise for Rodrigues to grapple, but I said that in his last fight too.

As for a prediction, I’m going with Marquez. Unless Rodrigues starts fighting to his abilities, he will always leave himself open to getting stopped on the feet. Not to denounce his chin, which has proven tough, but he’s not exactly the most sound defensively. Absorbing roughly 5.7 significant strikes, at 48% clip, Rodrigues is just welcoming the punishment. So with that said, I predict that Marquez will stop Rodrigues via knockout.

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