We are back sooner than ever, with our third night of fights within seven days.
Tonight, a rescheduled bout from Portland will headline, with two proven finishers in Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris going to war.
Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris (HW)
It’s been a rough past couple of years for the Reem. Prior to Ngannou, Alistair Overeem (45-18, 10-7 UFC) was the one-shot wonder who could put anyone away in seconds. This rocketed him to a championship match with Stipe, which was ended in the first by Stipe (even though he tapped). Overeem is one of the original glass cannons, he still has incredible power at 39 and has ended his last two fights in the first by KO, along with world-class submission skills. However, he can quickly be ended by a hard hitter, as 14 of his 18 pro defeats have been finished by KO.
Walt Harris made good on his 2019 run with two devastating knockouts that put Alexey Oleynik and Sergey Spivak to sleep quickly. “The Big Ticket” has all of his 12 wins coming in by knockout. Although he doesn’t have the greatest volume and is lost when a fight goes the distance, he packs power and a show-closing cannon of a punch. Standing and trading with Walt Harris is a surefire way to end your night fast. Overeem’s chin issues have been so well-exposed and Harris’ speed and pressure are his worst nightmare.
Take the Shot: Walt Harris via Round 1 Knockout
Edson Barboza vs. Dan Ige (FTW)
If you want to know why Edson Barboza (20-8, 15-8 UFC) is so terrifying, just watch his famous wheel kick knockout over Terry Etim. Or maybe his most recent match against Dan Hooker, where he brutally damaged Hooker until he collapsed into a turtle ball. Barboza is a brutal kickboxer. And he is really a KICKboxer. Every single leg kick, body kick, or god forbid head kick, cracks off his opponent and you can see the pain in their eyes. He HURTS people. However, Edson’s failures have always been known. He quite frankly fails on the ground. Even when Hooker was entirely gassed and destroyed, he was all over Barboza on the ground. “Junior”‘s only escape came because his opponent had nothing left. Barboza’s other HUGE problem is his gas tank. After the first round, his movements get more telegraphed and his hands go down.
Dan Ige (13-2, 5-1 UFC) is hot off a first round win over Danny Henry in March. “Dynamite” made his way to the UFC off of the Contender Series and has a well-rounded game. His wrestling and submissions have given him a lot of success, but don’t forget about his power. Before submitting Henry in the last match, Ige dropped him with a heavy right. Ige has a punishing top game when he wrestles and a ruthless drive whenever he gets the back. The only loss he suffered in the Octagon was his debut against Julio Arce where he was soundly outboxed to a decision.
There are few fighters to offer better takedown defense than Edson Barboza, so I fully expect Ige’s wrestling to not be a difference maker. That said, Ige has shown a skill at quickly reaching the pocket and unloading shots. Barboza has a far and away edge in the striking, but will be challenged by his gas tank at a lower weight class. Ige has the pressure and kickboxing experience to exploit his textbook weaknesses and send the Brazilian back to 155.
Take the Shot: Dan Ige via Unanimous Decision
Song Yadong vs. Marlon Vera (FTW)
Team Alpha Male’s Song Yadong (14-3-1, 4-0-1 UFC) was piecing guys up at Featherweight before dropping to Bantamweight to take on Vince Morales. He emerged victorious in that match by decision in what was an incredibly entertaining fight. Yadong is reminiscent of a young Conor McGregor, and he brings in the leg kicks, wild spin kicks, and brute power to back that up. On top of that, “Kung Fu Monkey” is the Chinese BJJ champion, bringing in 3 submission victories. With this kid’s style (keep in mind he’s only 21), it very surprising that 6 of his victories have gone to decision because he really has POWER. Hey, growth is what you want to be seeing from young fighters.
Marlon Vera (15-5, 9-4 UFC) has been eagerly waiting for his opponent for over a week now. “Chito” has an amazing submission game along with heavy hands for the division that he showed over Saenz in his last match, dispatching the wrestler in around a minute and a half. Vera is a dangerous fighter to take on for anyone with his pressure and offensive capabilities. Every loss of his is in a decision and it has come when fighters are able to weather the storm and return fire at a higher rate. The biggest issue for Chito Vera for me is his gas tank, and although we didn’t get to see it in his last match, that has been an element of his game only getting better the more he fights.
It’s interesting to see two ranked Bantamweights both making their debut up a class and I think that it favors Yadong, who previously fought there. His lankiness is a detriment to his power and the added weight will make his size and strength the difference on the mat. In striking, Yadong has a clear edge and his issues of wrestling defense look to be undone by Vera’s slow starts.
Expect a fire fight, nonetheless.
Take the Shot: Song Yadong via Decision
There you have it.
I’d suggest a Harris/Yadong parlay paired with an underdog play on Ige.
It’s looking like we will have one weekend off, but who knows with how up in the air things are currently.
Until next time, Freaks.