What to Expect:
Everything is finally working, and I am back with the UFC content. Of course, I am very appreciative of what Claude was able to do with his two weeks manning the article. As far as these fights are concerned, there aren’t too many fighters that we lack any UFC data on (just five, which is a small number to what we’ve been getting on these Fight Night cards). The benefit, of course, being us better being able to predict what these fighters can do against UFC competition. This should be a fun card with some notable fighters partaking, and just seeing what Edgar can do here fighting at bantamweight for the first time.
Trevin Jones vs. Timur Valiev
Both fighters will be making their UFC debuts. Admittedly, this is a tough one to call because of the different manners in which these two fighters have come up. The strength of promotion has been much different for both. Striegl has been a submission machine, winning 14/18 fights by submission in his MMA career. Though the promotions he’s come up from are not very strong. Valiev, on the other hand, is more of a power striker that can end fights quickly. He also was 3-0 in the PFL promotion, which is a decent one for sure. I prefer Valiev, though I do acknowledge that he shouldn’t be a -572 favorite. This creates some betting value on Stiregl.
Update: Trevin Jones is now fighting Valiev (this article was written with Striegl as the opponent). I don’t think much of Jones either and should be a similar result for Valiev in this one. If you’re entering multiple lineups though, I think that there is value in having some Jones exposure, not a ton though.
Valiev by Decision
Matthew Semelsberger vs. Carlton Minus
Other than the fact that their names sound like the plotline of a bad Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode (think seasons five and six), this has the potential to be an excellent UFC debut for both. Both are power strikers that don’t have much to their grappling, so do factor that into any fantasy decisions you make. Both come from ok, not great promotions. However, both have one fight each in the Cage Fury and PFL promotions for Semelsberger and Minus, respectively. My gut tells me Semelsberger wins out here, but this fight can easily go either way. I think the best bet you can make here is the fight-ending inside the distance. Between the fighting styles of both and the smaller cage, I can’t see this going 15 minutes.
Semelsberg by Finish (TKO)
Jordan Wright vs. Ike Villanueva
Before getting knocked out by Chase Sherman in his UFC debut, Villanueva had a very strong come up through the Fury FC promotion. Knocking out four straight opponents on his way to the UFC. Jordan Wright also has a strong record, going 10-0 between a few different promotions. Most recently in LFA, with a no-contest in a Contender Series appearance. It’s fair to think that either fighter can knock the other one out. I have a slight preference for Villanueva just because he has UFC experience, but don’t mind going either way.
Villanueva by Finish (TKO)
Dwight Grant vs. Daniel Rodriguez
I had to make changes with the article as now these two will fight each other after their respective opponents dropped out. Making this short, sweet, and to the point, I think that Rodriguez has the edge in this fight because of the striking advantage that he has here. Unlike in the Sato matchup, Grant doesn’t seem to be much of a match for the volume that Rodriguez is going to put up here. Although who knows when they only have one day of notice for one another?
Rodriguez by Finish (TKO)
Austin Hubbard vs. Joe Solecki
This is a fight between two completely different types of fighters. Hubbard, who we most recently saw knockout Max Rohskopf (or force him to quit rather), is willing to strike until the cows come home but don’t often find himself in positions to attempt too many—attempting only 7.58 per minute. I think a lot of this has to do with him going up against strong wrestlers like Madsen and Rohskopf. And then you have Joe Solecki, who is attempted five takedowns/15 minutes in his UFC debut, a win against Matt Wiman in December. Solecki has enough MMA experience, where I am confident that he would be able to last 15 minutes in the octagon, which should be trouble for Hubbard. I think Solecki wins here.
Solecki by Decision
Amanda Lemos vs. Mizuki Inoue
If you’re only looking at the UFC stats page, you’re not going to get the full story on these fighters, particularly Inoue. In her UFC debut, she won after landing 93 significant strikes and not landing a single takedown (though she did attempt four). This is contrary to the type of fighter she’s been in the Invicta promotion, and throughout her MMA career. With nine submission wins in 14 wins and 19 fights overall. She’s a grappler by trade that has improved on her striking to adapt to UFC competition. Lemos is a low volume striker that does have grappling in her arsenal, but Inoue has the advantage.
Inoue by Finish (Submission)
Shana Dobson vs. Mariya Agapova
Agapova made her UFC debut in June, submitting Hanah Cifers in less than three minutes. She’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the women’s flyweight division. This fight against Dobson will is going to be another quick one, whether it be through Agapova’s relentless striking or her submission ability. I can’t see this one getting out of the first round as much as I hate to agree with the Vegas chalk. No betting value here but someone you need for DFS.
Agapova by Finish (TKO)
Marcin Prachino vs. Mike Rodriguez
For DFS purposes, it’s knockout or bust for both fighters. Both have had horrible UFC careers up to this point, both being knocked out fairly quickly in fights. If I have to give anyone positive words, it’s Rodriguez if only because he does have a finish to his credit in December of 2018. It’s going to be a fun fight because someone will get knocked out. But also a really bad fight because no one is going to look good either way.
Rodriguez by Finish (TKO)
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Alonzo Menifield
This should be a fun fight to watch, knowing how entertaining both fighters are in their own right. Of course, the long career of OSP hasn’t looked so good as of late, winning only two of his last five fights. What gives him a chance to win this fight is his very still existent submission game, which can come through for him at any point in a fight. For Menifield, he does look to be the sharper fighter coming into this one. Much more active striker, and has a 97% takedown defense percentage in his three UFC fights. Because of this, he should ultimately win him this fight. I will say that the winner in this one will most likely need a finish to be viable for fantasy. Not a whole lot of volume for either otherwise.
Menifield by Finish (TKO)
Frankie Edgar vs. Pedro Munhoz
In what should be a fun fight, I can see how either side can in here. For Edgar, he will have to do it through his advanced grappling that we’ve seen from him in his champion filled career. His last two fights against Max Holloway and the Korean Zombie have seen him brutally lose the striking game against two fighters that were able to defend his takedown attempts. Munhoz fits that same mold seeing that he has a career 74% takedown defense percentage and is attempting 12.27 strikes per minute. In striking, I have to give Munhoz the edge, although I should note that he only defends 59% of opponents’ strikes while absorbing 5.82 strikes per minute. This could be a high volume striking bout, even if we assume someone will win by finish. I think that Edgar is a live dog, but also feel that Munhoz wins this one more often than not.
Munhoz by Finish (TKO)