What to Expect:
There’s been a lot of schedule changes in our first event back in Vegas. Most notably, the main event. Which was initially going to be Holm and Aldana until that one got scrapped in favor of the main we have. And then a whole host of fights got changed for various reasons, giving us the ten fight slate that we have now. At least the fun fights stayed on the board. I also said that they are going back to Vegas for these fights. Let’s remember that when they were fighting in Vegas in June, we saw an increased number of finishes in these fights due to the increased interaction between fighters. In a 25 foot octagon, there is less room for these fighters to spread out. We should see a similar effect here.
There’s a chance that the Meerschaert is off tonight. Apparently there may have been a positive test. Update, it’s off.
Chris Gutierrez vs. Cody Durden
There’s finish potential on both sides here. Gutierrez was able to knockout Vince Morales back in May. Though that is his only finish in the UFC, we know that there is power in his strikes. My only issue with him for fantasy is that if there is not a finish, he doesn’t seem to possess a whole lot of fantasy upside. He’s not much for takedowns and only lands 4.17 significant strikes per minute. This will be Durden’s UFC debut, where he has fought twice this year in the NFC promotion. Racking up a submission and KO win. While I like the potential, I’m not convinced that he can get it done here. Not a massive fan of the lack of UFC experience compared to Gutierrez, who should have the edge here.
Gutierrez by Finish (TKO)
Jamall Emmers vs. Vince Cachero
These two were actually on the same card in the LFA promotion back in January. They didn’t fight each other, but they do seem to be on the same level in their MMA careers. Emmers made his UFC debut in March, where he lost in a bad decision from the judges (at least in my opinion). He outstruck Chikadze in 2/3 rounds and had more takedowns (2-0). Cachero, while a decent prospect, is coming into this fight, having lost two of his last three fights in the LFA promotion. Not a good sign for him, in my opinion. I can see Cachero winning for sure, but Emmers looks to be a more developed prospect. Making me think he should win.
Emmers by Decision
Johnny Munoz vs. Nate Maness
Both fighters are making their UFC debuts, and this seems very much like a toss-up. Both are coming from lower MMA promotions that don’t have a ton of strength, to begin with. But I do think that there is a fighter with an edge here. Munoz is a great grappler (which makes him an appealing UFC prospect). He has six wins by submission in the KOTC promotion. This strong jiu-jitsu background should give him the advantage over Maness, who is primarily a striker with some grappling ability.
Munoz by Finish (Submission)
Frankie Saenz vs. Jonathan Martinez
Even though he lost the overall striking battle, Martinez was robbed of a win against Andre Ewell in his last fight. However, that was a night in Houston that was filled with strange decisions. And even accusations by Joe Rogan on the broadcast that one of the judges was looking at his phone during one of the fights. Saenz is coming off of a KO loss to Marlon Vera last March. Not sure how prepared he is for this one given the layoff, though I’m not expecting a whole lot from him. Just looked off to me in the last fight. Martinez seems like an easy winner here.
Martinez by Decision
Kevin Holland vs. Trevin Giles
I love watching Holland fight; he looked like an almost polished Middleweight contender when he knocked out Anthony Hernandez back in May. Even if he can’t finish Giles here, I think that there is fantasy upside in the volume that he can put out. The only way I see Giles winning here is if he can avoid strikes from his opponents like he’s been able to do in the past. However, I think that Holland possesses too much power for him not to get the KO.
Holland by Finish (KO)
Ed Herman vs. Gerald Meerschaert
Both fighters have plenty of UFC experience, so no issue there. However, they both have the problem of inconsistency throughout their UFC careers. Though it is worth noting that Herman has won his last two fights, Although, given the aggressive nature of both fighters, I think it’s safe to say that this one will be won inside the distance. In that regard, I give Herman the edge. Only because Meerschaert allows opponents to wale on him with his lack of strike defense skills. Only defending 51% of strikes against him. Not sure why Herman is an underdog here.
Herman by Finish (TKO)
Lando Vannata vs. Bobby Green
I think this fight will be good for fantasy because of its projected up-tempo nature. Not sure this ends in a finish, but I do believe that the winner can end up in the winning lineup. I’m not sure this one gets to the ground because neither fighter has been willing to take it there lately, which is why I will focus on striking skills. In terms of landing strikes and overall attempt volume, both are pretty even. Though I think the difference here is strike avoidance. Where Green has a clear edge, defending 7% more strikes while absorbing 1.2 fewer per minute. Which is why Green should win here.
Green by Decision
Vicente Luque vs. Randy Brown
It’s hard not to love Vicente Luque’s style. He’s got a ton of power and is exceptionally high output. However, his detriment is that he also allows a ton of volume, which should not be a problem against Brown, who is only landing 3.41 strikes per minute. Not sure how he can compete with Luque’s volume if this one somehow goes the distance. Seems like a comfortable KO victory for Luque in my book. Unless Brown can slow this pace of this one down to his tempo, which I doubt.
Luque by Finish (TKO)
Joanne Calderwood vs. Jennifer Maia
Maia made weight, which I was surprised to see. Not sure how the cut should effect here, but at least she was able to walk off of the scale, unlike some that cut. Maia is at a disadvantage here because she has no grappling game, where Calderwood does. And she is at a striking disadvantage to Calderwood in terms of volume and avoidance. I would hit that Calderwood -150 line that I see (though retail books could be a bit more aggressive here). It seems short given that she has the edge for me in both striking and grappling and has many more ways to win this fight then Maia.
Calderwood by Decision
Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
I can certainly see why the winner of this fight is most likely to be the next fight for the winner of Adesanya vs. Costa. Both are solid prospects in an otherwise meh Middleweight division. For Brunson, it seems as if he has grown more accustomed to grappling, landing six takedowns in his last two fights after not attempting them that often in his UFC career before. He also seems to have upped his striking volume, which could help in a possible decision. For Shahbazyan, he looks to be the more polished prospect. Training with Rhonda Rousey for a while (think of that as you may), he’s finished his last three opponents dominantly. All in the last year. His grappling and striking output is much more consistent and should get the win here because of it.
Shahbazyan by Finish (TKO)