The month of July has been packed with UFC action so far and things aren’t slowing down with this weekend’s fight night. The main event should be an interesting bout to finally crown a champion of the flyweight division after it has been vacant for quite some time. But if there’s anything that we can take away from fight island so far, it’s that it is filled with prospects so let’s take a look at the prelims.
Carlos Felipe vs Serghei Spivac
Starting the night off we have a fight in the heavyweight division between the submission specialist in Spivac and the heavy hitter Felipe. Felipe is an undefeated, Brazilian fighter with six of his eight wins coming from knockouts. Spivac on the other hand is 3 fights into his UFC career and has already fought top heavyweights such as Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura. When looking at both fighters’ stats, it appears that this fight will be a striker vs wrestler matchup. The biggest factor of these types of matchups is if each fighter can work their specialty and stop their opponents. Typically this matchup favors the wrestler, but I believe that Felipe’s experience in the Brazilian regional scene has honed his anti-wrestling skills. And with the majority of his victories coming from KO’s I think this gives Carlos Felipe the edge.
My pick: Felipe by KO
Davi Ramos vs Arman Tsarukyan
Next up is a lightweight bout between Ramos and Tsarukyan, who are both ironically coming off of losses to Islam Makachev. Both of these men have wins in the UFC and low loss records, three losses for Ramos and two for Tsarukyan. One thing that stands out the most to me is Davi Ramos’ takedown defense which is a perfect 100% in the UFC. On the other hand, Tsarukyan has only lost once in the past 5 years. Another thing that grabs my attention is Ramos’ grabbling credentials. He recently competed against the grappling expert, Garry Tonon, and while he lost this grappling match, he went the distance, which is no joke. Tsarukyan is a skilled Muay Thai fighter and has 5 KO’s on his professional record so Ramos will definitely have to be ready for that. However, I predict that Ramos will be able to control Tsarukyan on the ground and secure the victory.
My pick: Ramos by decision
Malcom Gordon vs Amir Albazi
The third fight of the night will be a flyweight bout where both men are making their debut in the octagon. This fight should be exciting not only because a debut is always exciting, but of both of these fighters combined 24 wins, only 3 of their fights have gone to the judge’s scorecards. I it’s pretty safe to say that this fight will be an exciting one. Both of these fighters offer well rounded skill sets so it’s hard to find a stylistic advantage that one fighter could have. Gordon and Albazi have both proven that they can submit their opponents as well as knock them out. However, Malcom Gordon hasn’t fought in over a year and I don’t see that playing to his advantage. Everyone has their thoughts about ‘ring rust’ but I believe that this will play to the advantage Albazi.
My pick: Albazi by TKO
Brett Johns vs Montel Jackson
When looking at this bantamweight bout, it’s hard to not be impressed by the resume both of these fighters have. Combined they have fought names such as Aljimain Sterling, Pedro Munhoz, Ricky Simón, and Brian Kelleher. Montel Jackson is on a three-fight win streak over top bantamweights so it’s very possible that he’s only a fight or two away from landing in the rankings. Both of these fighters have similar stats with Brett Johns averaging 3.3 significant strikes per minute and Jackson averaging 4.16. Montel Jackson does have a significantly higher takedown percentage at 79%, whereas Johns is 52%. On the feet this fight will more than likely be close to even, but Jackson has a better chance at taking it to the ground if he desires. For that reason, I think he has the advantage in this fight.
My pick: Montel Jackson by Decision
Joe Duffy vs Joel Alvarez
Next up we have a lightweight bout between Joel Alvarez and one of the few men to beat Conor Mcgregor, Joe Duffy. Duffy has been around in the UFC for years now fighting the best of the best and its impressive that he’s still competing and winning at that. Joel Alvarez on the other hand is relatively new to the UFC considering this will be his third fight in the promotion. The first thing that sticks out to me is the size advantage that Joel Alvarez has. Standing in at 6’3 with a 77” reach, it’s crazy to me that he makes the 155-pound limit. Another thing that stands out to me is Duffy’s grappling ability that he can fall back on if his striking isn’t working out. Going back to Alvarez’s size, I think this could be a problem for Duffy. Joe Duffy’s last loss was to James Vick, who has a very similar frame and skillset to Alvarez so it will be interesting to see if he will be able to adapt to that.
My pick: Alvarez by decision.
Grant Dawson vs Nad Narimani
As the Prelim’s wrap up, we have a catchweight between two featherweights in Grant Dawson and Nad Narimani. Both of these fighters are 3 fights into their UFC tenure, and both have had success so far with Dawson going 3-0 and Nad going 2-1. Grant Dawson is fighting out of Glory MMA (home to James Krause and Tim Elliot) and Nad Narimani is fighting out of team Alpha Male (home to Urijah Faber, Cody Garbrandt, etc…) so it’s safe to say both of these fighters have incredible training partners. Something that impresses me when looking at Dawson is his grappling capabilities. Out of his 15 victories, 11 of them have been by way of submission. Something that stands out to me about Narimani is his takedown defense, which is a solid 75%. With both of these stats in mind, I’m very interested to see if there will be any grappling exchanges and they will play out. Narimani has 5 submissions in his career, but I think that Dawson is the much more experienced grappler and that he has the advantage. The odds for this fight are currently at -265 for Dawson if you’re confident enough in that line.
My pick: Dawson by submission
Roman Dolidze vs Khadis Ibragimov
Finally, we have a light heavyweight bout between Roman Dolidze and Khadis Ibragimov to close out the prelims. Dolidze is making his UFC Debut while Ibragimov is 0-2 in the UFC and possibly fighting for his contract so there’s some solid storylines going into this bout. Both of these men are 6 foot 3 so it will be interesting to see how these men move in the octagon. Dolidze and Ibragimov have both proven that they can finish a fight on the feet or on the ground, but Dolidze has never had a fight go the distance in his professional career. With that being said, 4 of his 6 victories have been won in the first round so it’s probable that he will come out ready to set the pace. Ibragimov has gone the distance 3 times in his career and won 2 of those fights, so the later the fight, I think it’s more likely to favor Ibragimov. But based on Ibragimov’s past two performances and Dolidze’s record of finishes I think that this fight slightly favors Dolidze.
My pick: Dolidze by TKO