What to Expect:
Hello, it’s me, Evan. Hopefully, September is the month that I can remain consistent with these UFC articles. Though Claude has done a fantastic job when he’s been at the plate with these. This week, we have a card that hasn’t been insane as of now with withdraws and the UFC having to scramble to find last-minute fights. All I can hope for, at least, is that the card remains the same from now until the fights happen Saturday night.
Hunter Azure vs. Cole Smith
This has the potential of being the most boring fight of the night, considering the low event fighting styles of the two. Smith continually looks for ways to get these fights to the ground, Which proved to work against Mitch Gannon, but not Miles Johns. Where he only landed 1/6 takedowns. Azure is more a striker, but not one to throw too many. He’s landing 4.71 strikes per minute while landing 49% of strikes attempts. Azure also has an 81% takedown defense percentage in his MMA career, which can negate any of Smith’s attempts. He defended 9/12 takedown attempts from Brad Katona in September of last year. It seems like this is Azure’s fight to lose.
Azure by Decision
Montana De La Rosa vs. Viviane Araujo
When I see Araujo as a -170 favorite, I see that as a juicy betting opportunity. And here is why. De La Rosa looks to do most of her work on the ground. He lands 2.22 takedowns per fight, averages 1.9 submission attempts, and does very little striking. This matches up poorly with a fighter in Araujo, who has stuffed all seven takedown attempts she has faced in the UFC. This isn’t a lot, of course, but her not being taken down yet seems to be bad for someone who needs those takedowns to win by either decision or submission. However, if Rosa wants to strike more, Araujo showed in her fight with Jessica Eye that she is vulnerable.
Araujo by Decision
Andre Muniz vs. Bartosz Fabinski
This is anyone’s fight. There won’t be much striking in a fight where grappling is king. Fabinski averaged 7.17 takedowns per fight, and Muniz landed three in his UFC debut. The edge here is going to be had by the fighter that can gain ground control for longer. Because someone will land the first takedown and sit on the other one for the whole round. What could give Muniz an edge, though, is the fact that he has knockouts under his belt while in the WOCS promotion. To me, he just looked better on tape.
Muniz by Decision
Brian Kelleher vs. Ray Rodriguez
If it seems like you’ve heard the name Brian Kelleher a lot this year, you have. This will be his fourth fight of 2020 after he took all of 2019 off. Most of his fights in his UFC career have ended in finishes one way or another. This one should be no different, as Natividad has some finishing firepower that he showed while in the LFA promotion. Though I can’t see him winning in his UFC debut against a fighter in Kelleher who has better striking, and a lot more UFC experience
update: Kelleher is now fighting Ray Rodriguez. Still feel the same way about this fight. But this card is starting to piss me off
Kelleher by Finish (TKO)
Michel Pereira vs. Zelim Imadaev
This fight is just sad more than anything else. Neither has been all that good in the UFC, and this fight is for who survives the next round of cuts. With that said, I will say that I prefer Pereira in this one after he got DQ’d in his last fight. He has won a fight in the UFC by TKO, and he is the better striker. Both in terms of landing strikes on his opponents and avoiding blows. This seems to me like the most volatile fight on the card, but Pereira has a better chance to win.
Pereira by Finish (TKO)
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Alonzo Menifield
This fight should’ve happened two weeks ago if not for a positive test from OSP. Regardless, 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)
Alistair Overeem vs. Augusto Sakai
For the main event, we have two heavyweights who look pretty good coming into this fight. Overeem had an impressive TKO if Walt Harris in May and Sakai is undefeated in four UFC fights. Sakai has landed 5.45 strikes per minute, while Overeem is only defending 59% of strikes against him. It only takes one punch for this to end, and that can be shown in the Vegas total of 1.5. Albeit that is shading toward the over. I think this one can go either way, but I like the volume coming out of Sakai, and prefer him because of it.
Sakai by Finish (TKO)