I'll be covering the fights from Curtis v Imavov on this card all the way to the main event for the Women's Bantamweight championship between Irene Aldana and the champ Amanda Nunes.
First off is the middleweight contest between Chris Curtis and Nassourdine Imavov. Chris Curtis is coming off a loss to Kelvin Gastelum in his last fight, where he looked really good throughout, especially after getting dropped and absorbing serious punishment. Imavov is coming off of a loss to his team mate Sean Strickland, so this is a good bit of match making by the UFC in my opinion. Curtis has good boxing and a 100% TDD rate, which presents challenges for Imavov, who will probably look to take the fight down as Curtis is the better striker in this matchup. I think Curtis will score either a 3rd round TKO or a unanimous decision victory as he will be able to keep this fight standing and piece up Imavov on the feet.
The next fight on the card is the scrap between Chris Daukaus moving down from heavyweight to light heavyweight to take on Khalil Rountree Jr. Daukaus is currently on a 3 loss streak after losing to Derrick Lewis, Curtis Blaydes and most recently Jairzinho Rozenstruik. He was far too bloated at heavyweight and this move is long overdue. He is fighting one of the most impressive and technical strikers in the division, however, which isn't a good matchup for him stylistically, leading me to believe that Khalil will be able to hit him, whilst avoiding any offense for Daukaus. Daukaus will try and utilise his BJJ black belt and take down Khalil, however I think that Khalil will score a 2nd round tko.
A flyweight bout is next up with David Dvorak taking on Matt Schnell. This is a great fight in the flyweight division, even though both fighters are coming off of losses to Manel Kape and Matheus Nicolau respectively. They are two guys who can put on a fight with Schnell's fight with Su Mudaerji being a great example of this. Dvorak is well rounded and probably better on the feet than Schnell, however Schnell has a better ground game and in this fight it will be interesting to see which angle he leans on. This is a close fight, however the edge goes to Dvorak as he is the younger and hungrier fighter which means that I believe he will take a 3rd round tko.
Next up on the billing is one of the less interesting fights and not one to be opening up a main card for certainty. Marc-André Barriault is taking on Eryk Anders, who are both actually coming off of wins, however whenever they have come up against a recognised name they both have lost. They sum up the current middleweight division to be perfectly honest as there aren't a lot of people who could become a worthy member of the top 15 and even the top 15 isn't very good at the moment. I will pick Barriault by unanimous decision as he will use forward pressure and will put the pace on Anders for 15 minutes.
Then we have a banger and one that should be opening up a main card with Dan Ige taking on Nate Landwehr. This is going to be fun as we have seen Nate have a lot of fun in his last two fights against David Onama and Austin Lingo, winning both, and the Onama fight being one of the underdog fights of the year. Ige has good power and good wrestling combined with a black belt in bjj, which should make for a good fight for him. Nate has had a good last few fights and I enjoy watching him fight, however I think that unfortunately for him Ige will be just better than him in there and will work in the grappling at times along with the hands, and will score a 3rd round tko, but Landwehr will not make it easy for him as his chin has been touched but can hold a significant amount of damage.
Then it's a welterweight clash between Mike Mallott and Adam Fugitt. This fight is quite straight forward I would think and Mike Mallott is the better grappler in this fight and has only left the first round once in his career and he fought to a draw. I think that although Fugitt has had more fights than Mallott, I believe Mallott will be able to submit Fugitt in the 1st round.
Then its the people's main event between two top contenders in the consensus best division in the sport. Charles "Do Bronx" Oliveira and Beneil "Benny" Dariush. This is one of the most anticipated fights of the year, with the two guys being elite level BJJ practitioners. They both love a war and are both hoping for one final shot to be the champ, and again in the case of Do Bronx. These are two of my favourites in the sport and they both hold many notable wins, with Benny holding wins over Tony Ferguson, Mateusz Gamrot and Drew Dober and Charles holding wins over Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier, just to name a few. On the feet Oliveira probably has the greater striking ability, however his tendency to a war is a big factor to be considered and his striking defence was exposed in the Islam fight as Gaethje and Poirier are both better strikers than Charles, so he had no shame in getting worked by them on the feet, and hurt both of them as well, so he has proven that he can hold his own. Dariush has heavy hands and likes a war as well but also can use his best weapons which are his grappling skills as he showed in the ferguson fight when he showed off his wrestling game. He was able to dominate that fight and even sink in a deep heel hook which many would've tapped to. This is a really tough fight to call and I think that it's a very difficult fight for both competitors, but I believe Dariush wants it more than Oliveira does as he hasn't had his shot at the title yet. I believe that the fight is back and forth, but I believe that Oliveira gets dropped and submitted in the 2nd round as Dariush can crack and probably cracks harder than Islam. That being said, this should be the best 1 and a bit rounds of the whole card.
Finally is the main event of the evening for the Women's bantamweight championship of the world. Now to some, this fight might seem straight forward, however recently we have seen the unexpected in the UFC such as Grasso becoming the champ by defeating Valentina, Volk doing better than anyone predicted vs Islam and to an extent Adesanya doing Pereira better than anyone would've thought. Aldana has a good boxing game, something with which Nunes will struggle due to her not as good as some might think boxing and striking overall. She is well rounded enough to get the job done and possesses the power to shut any women's bantamweights lights out, and I do think that she will, however one of the worst strikers we have ever seen fight for a title in Julianna Pena managed to take her the distance and tag her repeatedly in their first fight. I also believe that this version of Nunes isn't as good as she was prior to the fight against Pena the first time. I am going with a Nunes submission in the 4th round, however I expect Nunes to have tough time in this fight due to the fact that I believe that Irene is the superior boxer.
I would be interested to hear disagreements and reasons for those as I am more knowledgable for some of these fights than I am for others.
Top comments (2)
Nice write up!