By: Christopher Carpenter
The month of June started out comparatively slow for MMA and UFC fans in contrast to the month of May which saw the return of the sport from the pandemic. However, things are beginning to pick up steam as two solid fight nights approach and this past week’s fight night exceeded many fan’s expectations with three lightning fast first round knockouts.
This weekend we have UFC Fight Night Blaydes vs Volkov to look forward to and ithas an exceptionally solid main card with names such as Curtis Blaydes, Belal Muhammed, Josh Emmett and many more. But don’t get too caught up in the main card because the prelims have a lot to offer as well. Veterans such as Clay Guida, Roxanne Modafferi, and Tecia Torres make their return alongside several hungry prospects looking to make a statement. But without further ado let’s get into my predictions.
Austin Hubbard vs Max Rohskopf
Kicking off this fight night will be a lightweight bout that almost didn’t happen as Joe Solecki dropped out and was replaced by Max Rohskopf. This matchup really interests me as Hubbard is fighting out of Elevation Fight Team (which is absolutely on fire right now) and Max is making his UFC debut. Hubbard is 1-2 in his UFC career and has a fairly strong striking output. However, in his last fight he was taken down eight times and was handled on the ground. Max Rohskopf on the other hand is an undefeated fighter hailing out of North Carolina State’s wrestling program which is one of the best in the nation. Max has won all his fights by submission so as long as he is able to take the fight to the ground, I’m very comfortable with him securing the victory.
My pick: Max Rohskopf by submission
(6) Roxanne Modaferri vs (7) Lauren Murphy
The next fight on the prelims will be a critical fight for the women’s flyweight division. Number 5 ranked Modaferri and Number 6 ranked Murphy are both coming off solid wins over top contenders and a win for either of them could bolster them to a title fight. In her last fight, Roxanne “the happy warrior” thwarted Maycee Barber’s lightning fast streak to the top and immediately after stated that she would no longer be the gate keeper of the division. She clearly meant this when she said it, because she’s been posting her workout routine on social media and appears to be in great shape. Lauren Murphy is coming off a split decision victory where her boxing and takedowns shined over contender Andrea Lee. When it comes down to it, I think this fight rides on if Roxanne can land the takedown. Murphy has shown that she has power in her hands and solid control on the ground which has been a problem for Roxanne in the past. However, Modaferri is a proven threat when it comes to ground and pound and she’s been working on her explosiveness which greatly benefits takedown attempts.
My Pick: Roxanne Modaferri by decision
Matt Frevola vs. Frank Camacho
Next we have a lightweight bout between the veteran Frank Camacho vs the up and coming Matt Frevola. Frevola is coming off a split decision victory over the rising Luis “Violent Bob Ross” Pena where he showcased impressive stand up with explosive takedowns mixed in. Frank Camacho on the other hand is coming off a loss to ranked lightweight Beniel Dariush. He boasts an impressive striking output at almost seven significant strikes per minute and impressive takedown defense. He’s fought some of the top contenders in the division in Drew Dober, Beneil Dariush, and Geoff Neal; however, he’s shown that he can be knocked out. This could benefit Frevola as he has shown that he has power in his hands, has several submission victories, and can go the distance and pull out a victory. The fight should benefit Frevola on the ground and slightly towards Camacho on the feet so I think this fight will be a close one. This one really is a toss-up in my opinion, but I think Frevola has what it takes based off of the resilience he has shown in his recent bouts.
My pick: Matt Frevola by decision
(15) Courtney Casey vs Gillian Robertson
The women’s flyweight division has another ranked matchup between Courtney Casey and Gillian Robertson. While neither of these fighters have the most impressive records, their losses have been to highly ranked contenders such as Cynthia Calvillo, Angela Hill and Maycee Barber. Courtney Casey is coming off of a quick turnaround, fighting just a little over a month after her submission victory in May. She has proven her endurance time and time again and staying active and fighting often is only going to help her in that department. Robertson on the other hand is a proven finisher of fights with four out of her seven wins being from submission. Casey statistically lands more strikes per minute but has a lackluster takedown defense at 39%. Robertson is not afraid to shoot a takedown and given her track record, she is more than capable of finishing the fight on the ground. I think this fight is contingent on if it goes to the ground or not. Casey has great cardio and can go a full fight on the feet while Robertson outclasses Casey on the ground.
My Pick: Gillian Robertson by submission
Marc-Andre Barriault vs Oskar Piechota
Later on, in the evening we have a middleweight bout between Barriault and Piechota. All signs point towards this fight being for their contract as they are both on a three-fight losing streak. On paper, their striking output, accuracy and defense are all similar, so this is a hard fight to know the outcome of. Both of these fighters are strikers, but it seems that Piechota is more comfortable taking things to the ground and possibly landing a submission. Barriault has lost all three of his bouts in the UFC while Piechota has managed to get 2, so he has the edge in experience. I think this fight will be a kickboxing match for the most part, possibly ending in a knockout.
My Pick: Oskar Piechota by decision
(12) Tecia Torres vs Brianna Van Burren
As the main card approaches, we have a Women’s strawweight bout between number twelve ranked Torres and the up-and-coming Van Burren. Torres is a proven veteran of the division since it was created a few years ago and Van Burren is fresh off her UFC debut where striking and wrestling shined. Although Torres has had success in the past, it has been almost three years since she won a fight. Van Burren on the other hand is on a four-fight winning streak and is showing all the signs of a future contender. With strong and fast hands and solid takedowns and ground control she is a serious threat for Torres. But Torres is nobody’s fool and her Muay Thai is still sharp and enough to catch anyone. However, I think that Van Burren’s aggression could become too much for Tecia and that she will be worn down over three rounds.
My pick: Van Burren by decision.
Clay Guida vs Bobby Green
Closing out the prelims we have the former StrikeForce lightweight champion, Clay Guida, versus Bobby Green. Both men are UFC veterans who haven’t had too much success recently but are still threats in the lightweight division. Guida and Green are both coming off losses, but each had highlights in their last performance. Guida rocked Jim Miller in his last bout and Bobby Green held his own striking with the veteran Trinaldo. Guida was close to a finish until he rushed in and was locked in a guillotine and submitted; regardless, he still looked good. Bobby Green on the other hand was rocked several times and controlled on the ground in his previous fight. I believe that since Guida showed that he still has power in his hands, this could be a problem in the matchup for Bobby Green. Both of these men can work on the ground, but I see the fight mostly being a standup bout. I think that Guida has a high probability of out striking Green based on each of their previous performances.
My pick: Clay Guida by TKO stoppage.
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