Last week’s trip down under was wild.
We had a card full of finishes, in addition to some grueling fights such as Iaquinta vs. Hooker and an incredible match between Brad Riddell and Jamie Mullarkey.
Adesanya is the obvious victor here, claiming gold and shotting himself into superstardom with his KO over the Reaper, no matter how sad it makes me. On top of that, what a walkout!
This week, the UFC is going to Florida with numerous prospects and the return of Joanna to Strawweight.
*Quick note: We’re trying something new this week. Instead of going into each and every matchup and half-assing it, we’re going to take a few picks at the matches on both the prelims and main card where I feel like the most money is to be made*
Joanna Jedrzejzcyk vs. Michelle Waterson (SW)
Former champion Joanna Jedrzejzcyk (15-3, 9-3 UFC) formed the Strawweight division and has been the most dominant champion they have ever seen. She has been on a rough patch since losing the belt, but will look to make it back in her first appearance since December. Joanna is a decision fighter with some of the highest volume you can put out. She mixes up her striking with the best of them, even firing multiple kicks in with her combos.
Michelle Waterson (17-6, 5-2 UFC), the new Karate Mommy, will try to make this a close fight with the striking. If it did stay striking, then I would without a doubt take the Pole by decision. Waterson will definitely try to use her wrestling and submission skill to take home the victory. She has solid wrestling, but has faltered against prime competition without the most offensive skill. Even in the grappling department, she has missed a few beats, failing to pick the exact right moments when on the attack.
While Waterson is an engaging and endearing personality, she simply cannot pretend to be at the echelon of Joanna. The Strawweight queen has some of the best cardio and standup in the world and Michelle Waterson simply doesn’t have the volume or power to compete with that. Joanna’s TD defense is also next level, making me almost positive this won’t touch the mat. Even the fact of it being a five-rounder makes Waterson’s chances lower as she will not have many opportunities to find success.
Take the Shot: Joanna Jedrzejzcyk via Unanimous Decision
Cub Swanson vs. Kron Gracie (FTW)
Cub Swanson (25-10, 10-6 UFC) has been a mainstay of the Featherweight division since its creation. Swanson has a striking heavy style that has some power in it, but definitely not the one-punch style of Stephens or Aldo. He has a decent ground game, but it is also where he is the most vulnerable. Swanson has been a testing point of the UFC for a long time, seeing who is worthy of that top title slot. Cub is on a three-fight losing streak which is putting him up against a newcomer to the Featherweights.
Take a look at the last name of Swanson’s opponent. You know what’s up. Kron Gracie (5-0, 1-0 UFC) is a jiu-jitsu immortal, trainign since a child with the Gracie family, the best to ever do it, who brought jiu jitsu to Brazil. He has trained MMA for a long time with the Diaz brothers and can wrap almost anyone on the ground, so well that we have seen almost nothing of his MMA game. The ground game is where Swanson has always been the most at risk and that’s a nightmare for him here.
Take the Shot: Kron Gracie via Round 1 Submission
James Vick vs. Niko Price (WW)
If you’re looking for a shoe-in fight winner, this is the one.
James Vick (13-4, 9-4 UFC) had cemented himself in the top 15 before running into Justin Gaethje and his power. Now, he is on a three-fight losing streak and without one of his most solid weapons. Vick does best working at range and using his boxing to look for avenues on the ground if they present themself. For the longest time, he was the tallest fighter in the Lightweight division at 6’3 and not even a skin and bones type, similar to Luis Pena. He just seemed to have a gift for cutting weight. Well, except for his chin. Vick has proven that his chin is incredibly suspect, getting rocked by even volume based fighters.
If you ask me for my favorite fighter, I won’t hesitate. The Hybrid, Niko Price (13-3, 5-3 UFC) Price is a finisher with brutal knockout power as well as a talented grappler. While a grappling match may lend some more possibilities to his tall counterpart, Price will be fighting in his hometown in his native weight class against a Texas intruder. More specifically, a chinny one. Price has never had a problem landing a power shot against tall opposition (looking at you, Randy Brown) and the chin of Vick will certainly fail.
Take the Shot: Niko Price via Round 1 Knockout
Mackenzie Dern vs. Amanda Ribas (SW)
We haven’t seen Mackenzie Dern (7-0, 2-0 UFC) in almost a year and a half. Dern is a jiu-jitsu expert holding four of her wins in sub with decent volume striking, but not much power. I think Dern would be next level at Flyweight (plus it’s less stacked) but she has consistently struggling at making weight. Her wrestling has also faltered at times, making her biggest advantage being off her back.
Amanda Ribas (7-1, 1-0 UFC) is a dangerous fighter. She was one of the youngest and most talented female prospects, holding 5 of her 6 wins in finishes (3 by KO) and the only loss coming to UFC vet Polyana Viana. Ribas is certainly talented and she has a power that not many Strawweights can bring to the table. Her jiu-jitsu is solid, but really bolstered by her judo skill. On top of that, she has real power and an underlying skill in volume striking.
While Dern is the more capable grappler, her struggle time and time again has come in landing the takedown. Going against a lifelong judoka, I don’t see that being any better. On top of that, Ribas has the better volume and SIGNIFICANTLY more power. GO to Flyweight, Mack.
Take the Shot: Amanda Ribas via Round 3 Knockout
There you have it. Amanda Ribas is a nice underdog bet, and the other three make an almost sure to win parlay sure to win big money!
Let me know what y’all think of the new format and make sure to join me next week for our breakdown!