By Christopher Carpenter
The UFC is back this weekend following UFC 252, which saw Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic defend successfully defend his title. This weekend’s card is featuring former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar, make his long-awaited bantamweight debut. The Main Card’s got some veterans and contenders, but let’s take a look at the Prelims to see the prospects.
Mark Striegl vs Timur Valiev
Starting off the card is a bantamweight bout between Mark Striegl and Timur Valiev. Both of these fighters are making their UFC debut but have plenty of experience as Striegl has fought for One Championships and Valiev for PFL. Both fighters only have two losses on their records and are on several fight winning streaks. When looking at Striegl’s record, he’s clearly a very strong grappler as 14 of his 18 career wins have come by way of submission. Valiev, on the other hand, has never been finished so this fight will be an interesting clash. Valiev’s striking is impressive, considering he has several knockout victories on his record. I believe this striking will work out to his advantage as long as he can keep the fight standing against Striegl.
My Pick: Valiev by decision
Matthew Semelsberger vs Carlton Minus
The second fight on the card is a welterweight bout between two debuting fighters in Matthew Semelsberger and Carlton Minus. Semelsberger is on a three-fight win streak and has finished five of his six victories. His opponent, Minus, is currently the number one welterweight in Alaska and has only one loss on his record. Both of these fighters are deserving prospects, but who has the edge over the other? As mentioned before, Semelsberger has strung together some solid wins recently and is no stranger to ending a fight. Neither is Minus; however, as 70% of his victories are stoppages. In their careers, Minus has faced stronger competition in my opinion, and that could give him the advantage in this fight. This fight will be close as both men are sound strikers and grapplers, but I think Minus has the edge.
My Pick: Minus by Decision
Ike Villanueva vs Jordan Wright
Next up is a Light Heavyweight bout between Ike Villanueva and Jordan Wright. Villanueva is coming off of his UFC debut in May, where he was knocked out in the second round (Credit to Villanueva, he did take the fight on short notice). His opponent Jordan Wright is an undefeated middleweight making the jump to LHW for this fight. Wright has 10 professional victories and all of those have been via stoppage. Before Villanueva’s UFC debut, he had strung together four consecutive first round knockouts, so this fight is likely to be a barn burner. Given the result of Villanueva’s last bout and Wright’s record & history of finishes, I think this fight favors Wright.
My Pick: Wright by KO
Joe Solecki vs Austin Hubbard
The fifth fight of the night will be a lightweight bout between Contender Series alum Joe Solecki and Austin Hubbard. Austin Hubbard is coming off of his controversial victory over Max Rohskopf, where he was disrespected by the media in my opinion. Hubbard is a solid fighter, training out of the potential team of the year, Elevation Fight Team. His opponent, Joe Solecki, trains just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, at Gym-O (his teammate Impa Kasanganay earned a UFC contract last week). With that being said, both of these fighters are sound strikers, with each averaging just over 3.5 significant strikes landed per minute. When it comes to grappling, it appears that Solecki has the advantage as he has averaged four takedowns per 15 minutes while Hubbard averages less than one. I think that Solecki is the more well-rounded fighter and for that reason has the advantage in this fight.
My Pick: Joe Solecki by Decision
Amanda Lemos vs Mizuki Inoue
The feature prelim of the night will be a women’s strawweight bout between Amanda Lemos and Mizuki Inoue. Both of these women have competed and won in the UFC before and are long time veterans of the sport. Nine of Inoue’s fourteen victories have come by way of submission and all of Lemos’ victories have been stoppages. If I were betting, I would say the fight not going the distance is a relatively safe bet based on these women’s records. In Lemos’ most recent fight she showed strong striking pressure which led the fight to the ground and earned her a submission. In Inoue’s last fight she also showcased solid striking and won a split decision victory. I think that Lemos will have the advantage in this fight due to her finish capabilities and striking & grappling pressure.
My Pick: Lemos by TKO
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