Oi oi checkmate yeahhhh oi.
Last weekend went pretty damn well for me, I came out with a hefty profit. This week looks to be even more promising with many surging prospects on the card as well as entertaining heavy hitters. But first, what went wrong last week?
The prelims were great and there were a ton of solid fights on there. While Maurice Green beat out Jeff Hughes in a decision, my real loss came at the hands of Matt Schnell, who submitted Louis Smolka in the first round. I went unscathed through the main card, and goddamn was it a good one. Pretty much every fight was wildly entertaining and well matched and I see this as a card I will probably watch back again.
This weekend promises to have another amazing card, with the Prelims stacked with up and comers like Arnold Allen and Ian Heinisch. The main card holds great matchups with fan favorite Gunnar Nelson and the Gorilla Darren Till making his comeback after a loss to the recently dethroned Tyron Woodley. Let’s jump on in.
Mike Grundy v. Nad Narimani (FW)
Mike Grundy is a British wrestler who comes into his UFC debut with a 11-1 record with 8 submission victories. His standup game is a bit lacking for my taste, but he makes up for it with his superior wrestling skill and submission game. His only loss comes via submission and he has typically been able to use his wrestling to take the fight where he wants.
Nad Narimani will be the more well-rounded fighter here, with a KO possibility on his side. Although he has a submission game, I think he would do best to exploit the holes in Mike Grundy’s boxing to go for a knockout or dominant decision win. He does have submission chops and may very well be able to handle himself on all fronts. His wrestling should keep him on the feet and be able to play iff his hands.
Take the Shot: Nad Narimani via TKO
Molly McCann v. Priscila Cachoeira (FLW)
Both of these fighters lost their UFC debut in brutal fashion, with McCann losing via submission to Gillian Robertson and Cachoeira being beaten into the ground by Valentina Shevchenko. McCann is a striker who packs KO power along with the technical stand up to back it up. However, “Meatball”s (yes worst name ever) biggest weakness comes in the form of her ground game, as evidenced by her submission loss.
Cachoeira, quite similarly, has knockout power but doesn’t seem as crisp on the feet and her entirely one-sided beating handed to her by Bullet didn’t offer much to the table. But that was against the champ. While I’m certain she has grown, I’m not comfortable betting on her, but I wouldn’t count her out. Neither of these fighters are great, or maybe even good. This is dog or pass all the way.
Probably Don’t Take The Shot: Molly McCann via Unanimous Decision
Danny Henry v. Dan Ige (FW)
Danny Henry has decided to move down to Featherweight, although being 2-0 in the Octagon with a dominant decision win over Daniel Teymur and a first-round submission over Hakeem Dawudo. He’s well rounded with KO power and an evident penchant for submissions. He has a massive 6-inch height advantage and should seem giant as a former lightweight. Henry should hold a heavy advantage on the feet and has the definite possibility to keep it on the feet with his own grappling.
Dan Ige is similarly well-rounded, with submissions and knockouts interspersed in his wins. While neither fighter has seen a finish loss, Ige’s chin has been tested before and his ground game just doesn’t seem as crisp to me. The betting lines are very close on this so nothing would surprise me, but I’m going to capitalize on that.
Take the Shot: Danny Henry via TKO
Tom Breese v. Ian Heinisch (MW)
This is a damn good fight. Solid, solid matchmaking. After backing out of a Cezar Ferreira fight due to injury, Breese was replaced by Ian Heinisch, hungry after taking the LFA title and a DWTNCS win in barely two months. “Hurricane” beat down Ferreira in a decision and has come to collect on the bounty on Breese’s head. Heinisch offers heavy hands and a surging style that fans always love, not to mention wrestling that keeps submissions on the table. His 12-1 record is only stained by an arm triangle loss to Markus Perez. Heinisch will look to put on another show against Tom Breese here.
Tom Breese has now had five fights in the Octagon, which most people, including myself, are surprised by. Breese surged into the UFC as a submission fighter with great wrestling but demonstrated an incredible knockout ability once he stepped in the cage. His only loss comes from a VERY close split decision loss to Sean Strickland and Breese only looked better at Middleweight with a first round KO over Daniel Kelly. Breese should hold the range advantage with a four-inch height advantage and two-inch reach. I see him having the crisper striking and heavier KO power, especially if Heinisch leaves his chin open. Breese’s wrestling does not appear to be as strong to me and Heinisch has an amazing chin. Heinisch’s wrestling will be a heavy advantage if he can dish out ground and pound from the top position without letting Breese snag a submission. I wish I could pick both of these fighters to win because I see quality in Breese. First round will go Breese, then Hurricane will dominate once he gasses. Either way, we are in for a great fight and I see both of these fighters as future contenders.
Take the Shot: Ian Heinisch via Unanimous Decision
Nicolae Negumereano v. Saparbek Safarov (LHW)
Saparbek Safarov has never seen a decision match. Although he has not yet won in the Octagon, he has gone up against high-class competition, fighting Gian Villante in his debut and Tyson Pedro, who caught him in a submission. However, he has brutal KO power and crisp footwork along with durability to take a punch. His ground game could certainly be improved but is good enough to keep him standing. Safarov can’t take a punch though, and that worries me.
At first glance, Nicolae’s record looks godly. 9-0 without a single match going past ten minutes. On closer inspection, however, he has only fought THREE opponents with a winning record. He is making his Octagon debut here, stepping in for Gokhan Saki. The fact remains that Nic just doesn’t have any fights against Octagon-level talent, so it remains to be seen how he will fare. This should stay on the feet, and I don’t know enough on Nic to fully discount him, but so far I have not seen anywhere close to UFC-par. This fight is just going to be throwing bombs until one hits the ground.
Take the Shot: Nic Negumereano via KO
Marc Diakese v. Joe Duffy (LW)
There was a time when Marc Diakese was a top undefeated prospect. Those days seem to be gone with three straight losses for “Bonecrusher”. Still, he holds his striking advantage well and has been able to dish out damage. His wrestling is a bit overrated in my opinion and against Duffy he won’t go to the ground. His striking is shooting in with bombs, T-Wood style. Keep it on the feet and Diakese always holds that KO possibility.
Irish Joe will want to go straight to the ground. It’s not any more complicated from that. While he has the striking to smack Diakese from a distance, his way to finish is on the mat. His striking should be able to keep Marc’s bombs at bay and I don’t believe Diakese has the takedown defense to stop it from going down.
Take the Shot: Joe Duffy via Submission
Arnold Allen v. Jordan Rinaldi (FW)
Arnold Allen brings in a lot of hype with him with a four-fight winning streak in the UFC. “Almighty” is a solid well-rounded fighter with KOs and subs on his record. His striking is crisp and quick, though not having massive power on his side, he has managed TKOs in the past through brutal poundings. His wrestling chops offer up guillotines often, but his jiu-jitsu and bottom game have seemed lacking to me.
Jordan Rinaldi will look to capitalize on that with high-level wrestling. If you just look at this guy’s neck, you know he’s a wrestler right off the bat. His stand up game is lacking and will not offer a ton of avenues so he would be best if he goes to the ground quickly. He has solid jiu-jitsu and should hold a solid advantage wherever this goes on the ground. Rinaldi has been hurt on the feet in the past, so Allen will definitely hold the striking advantage. Allen also seems to have the wrestling to keep it on the feet when Rinaldi inevitably shoots, so I’m going to give it to him. However, if this does go to the ground, Rinaldi should be open for a finish or grinding out a decision.
Take the Shot: Arnold Allen via Split Decision
Jack Marshman v. John Phillips (MW)
This is just going to be a brawl. It’s essentially a mirror match, with two Welsh strikers who just like to swing without fear. This will probably be FOTN. There’s not much to talk about as it will stay on the feet. I think Marshman is favored because of his grappling, but there’s no chance that comes into play. It’s honestly a coin flip so either take the underdog or just sit back and enjoy.
Take the Shot: Jack Marshman via KO
Danny Roberts v. Claudio Silva (WW)
Claudio Silva threw a nice submission over Leon Edwards back in 2014, but was MIA up until 2018 when he came back with an underdog submission over Nordine Taleb in May 2018. His only loss comes from a DQ, but Silva is essentially a one-dimensional fighter. He has incredible BJJ, but is lacking in his standup. His takedown accuracy is a bit low for my taste, and I don’t see it going all that well against another fighter with wrestling caliber.
Roberts is the much more well-rounded and rangier fighter. He should hold a heavy advantage on the feet and his wrestling offers a possibility to keep it there. Stay on the feet and he will get a knockout or heavy decision, but get pulled onto the ground and the match may as well be over. However, “Hot Chocolate” will have an easy victory in a one-sided match if his takedown defense holds.
Take the Shot: Danny Roberts via KO
Nathaniel Wood v. Jose Alberto Quinonez (BW)
This is a simple match and the easiest to predict. Nathaniel Wood will have the striking advantage and Quinonez will look to use his wrestling. Wood also has grappling and submission skill, so it’s a coin flip who will have the ground advantage, but Wood clearly holds the stand-up. Quinonez has been hurt and knocked down by Teruto Ishihara and Diego Rivas, neither which have nearly as heavy hands as Wood. Wood should be able to keep it on the feet and beat Quinonez down with relative ease.
Take the Shot: Nathaniel Wood via KO
Volkan Oezdemir v. Dominick Reyes (LHW)
Volkan Oezdemir had a rough 2018 after getting thrown into a title shot against Daniel Cormier, then getting overexposed by Anthony Smith. Oezdemir’s rapid success came at the hands of his fast and heavy hands. However, Oezdemir gasses quickly, as seen in both of his 2018 losses, along with having no ground game. There’s no shame in getting outwrestled by DC, but Anthony Smith? Oezdemir’s power comes in the pocket, and where he can take short shots.
This should prove very difficult against Dominick Reyes, whose three-inch height and two-inch reach should keep him at range and if he does it right, he will be able to pick Oezdemir apart with shots until No Time runs out of gas. That’s just on the feet. On the ground, Volkan will have no answer to Reyes’ submission game and ability to grapple. Barring a massive shot, this is Reyes’ fight to lose.
Take the Shot: Dominick Reyes via TKO
Leon Edwards v. Gunnar Nelson (WW)
Goddamn, this card is so good. Leon Edwards comes in with a six-fight winning streak, desperately looking to break into the top tier of the division. A kickboxer with evident skill and power in his hands, Edwards surged into the UFC to be stopped by Claudio Silva, but his only other Octagon loss came from champ Kamaru Usman. Edwards should hold the striking advantage and if he keeps this on the feet, may very well be able to get a knockout or decision.
However, Gunnar Nelson does not go down. He has a chin on him, with his only knockout coming from Santiago Poninnibio. No offense Leon, but you don’t have the power that Ponz does. Nelson has an elite submission game, quite possibly the best in the division (besides Demian Maia). If he drags Edwards down to the mat, he should have another submission win to add to his record. Edwards’ wrestling game goes a little unnoticed, but it isn’t crazy, just enough to keep him on the feet against riff-raff. It didn’t work against Kamaru, and I’m not confident it will work against Gunni. After a round on the feet, Nelson will take Leon down and sink in the hooks.
Take the Shot: Gunnar Nelson via Submission
Darren Till v. Jorge Masvidal (WW)
I’ve been looking forward to Darren Till’s return for a while now. After a truly disappointing performance in his title shot against Tyron Woodley, he is getting a chance to throw his name back into title contention with a dominant win over Masvidal. The Gorilla has had many opportunities to showcase all his skills, in his brutal KO over Cowboy Cerrone and a low output decision over Stephen Thompson that showed his gas can manage, along with being able to work his trademark pressure to push the pace and work in points. Although Woodley dominated Till from top position, the Gorilla has impressive takedown defense to keep it from going to the ground and I see him holding the advantage on the feet.
Masvidal is a striker who likes to throw himself into brawls. While he has a wrestling game, he doesn’t like to use it and would much rather throw hands. His wrestling shouldn’t come into play, either from his unwillingness to go there or from Till’s defense. Masvidal, as a former lightweight, will look significantly smaller against the massive Till and without a knockout win, he will be out touched on his feet. Not to mention that if there is a finish I see it coming from Till.
Take the Shot: Darren Till via Unanimous Decision
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I can’t wait for this Saturday, and we have another midday card on our hands, so no excuses not to check out these great matchups!
I’ll catch ya later, Freaks!