By Christopher Carpenter
Cole Smith vs Hunter Azure
Kicking off the night we have a bantamweight bout between two UFC prospects. Both of these fighters have competed in the UFC for two fights and each have a 1-1 record so far. Smith’s loss was a close split decision while Azure’s loss came by way of knockout to Brian Kelleher, who is competing on the main card. Both fighters are well rounded as each have victories by knockout, submission, and decision. In Smith’s performances he has demonstrated his ability to set the pace and attempt to control the opponent. In Azure’s last performance, his striking looked very solid and appeared to be winning the fight until he caught by a left hook. I expect this fight to be relatively close, but I believe that Azure has the advantage with his striking and will be able to secure the victory.
My pick: Azure by decision
Alexandr Romanov vs Marcos Rogerio De Lima
The second fight of the night will be a heavyweight matchup between the UFC veteran Marcos Rogerio De Lima and debuting Alexandr Romanov. Of these men’s combined professional victories of 28, only two of them have gone to the judges scorecard so I expect a finish for this one. Rogerio De Lima has fought in the promotion for 6 years now and has fought top light heavyweights and heavyweights like OSP, Stefan Struve, and Nikita Krylov. Romanov on the other hand is making his octagon debut and he is currently a top ranked European heavyweight prospect. Romanov appears to be a submission specialist, while Rogerio has proven to be a knockout expert. It’s hard to know how Alexander Romanov will handle his UFC debut, but Marcus Rogerio de Lima has proven that he is no stranger to top heavyweights so I believe his experience will give him the edge Saturday night.
My pick: Rogerio De Lima by KO
Montana De La Rose vs Viviane Araujo
The first women’s fight of the night will be in the flyweight division between the TUF veteran Montana De La Rosa and number 8 ranked Viviane Araujo. De la Rosa is no stranger to the UFC having competed against some of the division’s top ranked fighters for quite some time now. Araujo, while newer to the UFC, has made impacted the division and rose up the rankings in a short amount of time. De La Rosa has made a name for herself as a submission specialist as nine of her 12 professional victories have come by way of submission. Her opponent, Araujo has shown that she is willing to go the distance or finish the fight if the opportunity presents itself. In my opinion, this fight depends on if it stays standing or goes to the ground. I believe that De La Rosa has the advantage grappling while Araujo is the better striker.
My pick: Montana De La Rosa by submission
Bartosz Fabinksi vs Andre Muniz
The final prelim of the night will be a middleweight about between two rising fighters in Bartosz Fabinksi and Andre Muniz. Neither of these men have yet to fight in 2020; however, before this year they were both doing considerably well in the UFC. Fabinski has been in the UFC for 5 years now and since then he has showcased his strengths and striking and his ability to land takedowns. His current takedown average per minute is sitting at 7.17, which is nearly triple Muniz’s average. But Muniz is no one to sleep on, as he has 16 finishes in his career, 12 of them being submissions. If Fabinksi lands a takedown he will definitely have to watch out for guilotine attempt from Muniz as that’s what his last loss was a result of. All things considered, I believe that Fabinski has the advantage overall in this fight, but he will definitely have to be careful in the grappling exchanges.
My pick: Fabinski by decision.