June has been on fire for the UFC, with a fantastic PPV card this past weekend that saw two title rematches go down!
We now return to the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas for a Fight Night event, headlined by two Featherweights always down for a brawl. Dan “50K” Ige will throw down with The Korean Zombie in a clash of well-rounded fighters fans will not want to miss. In the co-main event, ranked Heavyweights will go at it when Aleksei Oleinik takes on Sergey Spivak.
Chan Sung Jung vs. Dan Ige (FTW)
When you’re on a card with The Korean Zombie (16-6, 6-6 UFC) your chances of a FOTN bonus go wayyyy down. In his namesake zombie fashion, Jung marches forward with the ability to eat any shot and keep on swinging. If you watch his fight at first, it may seem he might just be mindlessly plodding forward without any game plan. In fact, Zombie has good fight IQ and knows which shots are the best for him. He has powerful hands with drastically improved boxing from the early days of his career, with his last three victories all coming by first round (T)KO. Of course, don’t forget about his impressive jiu-jitsu, as he has secured 8 of his pro wins by submission. Jung is currently coming off of a five-round decision loss to Brian Ortega, which was an uncharacteristic performance for Jung, featuring less constant output. Prior to that, he was on a two fight win streak, with first round knockouts over Renato Moicano and Frankie Edgar.
Dan Ige (15-3, 7-2 UFC) made a massive statement in his last fight when he knocked out Canadian prospect Gavin Tucker in just twenty two seconds. This put him back on the winning track, as he previously lost a decision to Calvin Kattar in his first main event opportunity. He has steadily climbed the competition ladder, riding a six-fight win streak prior to the Kattar loss. “50K” has nine career finishes with five of those coming by way of submission. He has proven his aggressive striking ability and likes to surge in to land strikes, as well as having some clean and very dangerous hooks. Ige brings a high-paced pressure style when striking and when on the mat, averaging 1.68 takedowns per fifteen minutes inside the Octagon. He is extremely well-rounded and has the cardio and fight IQ to back that up, making him a constant and versatile threat.
This is matchmaking at its finest, as we have two well-rounded fighters who both bring an aggressive striking style. I expect this to be primarily fought on the feet, and it is extremely closely contested there. Zombie has the constant forward pressure to force the fight into the pocket, which is where Ige thrives with his quick boxing. Zombie also has the boxing technique and output to succeed in that arena, along with what appears to be the superior stopping power. On the mat, it is similarly contested Ige having better wrestling while Zombie has an arsenal of submissions. Though this fight is likely to be a through and through brawl, I like Zombie’s power and constant pressure to win out in the chaos that is likely to ensue. Expect a highly entertaining slugfest before Zombie scores a knockout in the latter half of the fight.
My Pick: Chan Sung Jung via Knockout
Alexey Oleynik vs. Sergey Spivak (HW)
Alexey Oleynik (59-15-1, 8-6 UFC) is a submission specialist and aside from Fabricio Werdum, who Oleynik beat in a decision, may be the most talented grappler at the 265 pound division currently. “The Boa Constrictor” is on a two-fight losing streak, with knockouts defeats at the hands of Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus. Oleynik has 46 wins by submission and don’t let his record fool you. Although he only has eight knockouts in his 59 wins, he has dropped people with big shots and led into submissions. He has the Heavyweight power and although he is somewhat of a small heavyweight, he uses that for his speed advantage. When fighting Oleynik, it is a necessity to keep the fight on the feet at all costs, as he will quickly and constantly threaten submissions.However, he is now 43 years old and has his last five defeats by knockout due to his porous striking defense.
Sergey Spivak (12-2, 3-2 UFC) is on a two-fight win streak with wins over Carlos Felipe and Jared Vanderaa, finishing the latter with ground and pound. Before that, Spivak was 1-2, with losses to Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura sandwiching a submission win over Tai Tuivasa. Prior to joining the UFC, Spivak had never seen a decision or the third round for that matter, and his offensive threat is clear when watching his fights. “Polar Bear” has five knockouts and six submissions, most threatening when he is in top control. Spivak uses great trips as well as his pure strength to average more than three takedowns per fight, with the submission threat and powerful ground and pound to quickly finish it there. When striking, he is limited with his weapons, but has nice boxing combos and mixes in powerful kicks. However, his striking defense remains a concern
This is a fun clash of Heavyweight grapplers that pose an interesting stylistic clash. Spivak has only won when able to secure takedowns, but brings in the more offensive striking game, certainly able to find the chin of Oleynik. However, when fighting Oleynik, grappling must be avoided like the plague and I am not confident in Spivak’s ability to do that. Oleynik can find submissions from top and bottom position, and the wild ground and pound of Spivak opens himself up to those submissions. However, the durability and poor head movement of Oleynik are serious concerns, as Spivak can find the Russian’s chin with aggression and a high volume. Though Spivak holds the striking advantage, Oleynik’s submission savvy along with Spivak’s constant takedown entries mean Oleynik can wrap the fight up when it inevitably hits the mat.
My Pick: Alexey Oleynik via Submission
Marlon Vera vs. Davey Grant II (BW)
Marlon Vera (18-7-1, 10-6 UFC) was last seen in last December, losing a unanimous decision to Jose Aldo. Prior to that, he made headlines by knocking out Sean O’Malley after a leg kick caused an injury. “Chito” has long been beloved by hardcore fans and it isn’t hard to see why. He has an stellar submission offense along with heavy hands for the division, earning seventeen finishes and six by knockout. Vera is a dangerous fighter to take on for anyone with his pressure and offensive capabilities. Every loss of his is in a decision and it has come when fighters are able to weather the storm and return fire at a higher rate. The biggest issue for Chito Vera is his gas tank, but he has displayed consistent improvement in that realm.
Since joining the UFC roster in 2013 after being a finalist on the Ultimate Fighter, Davey Grant (11-4, 4-3 UFC) has spent an unfortunate amount of time on the sidelines due to injury. He has thankfully been more active since, riding a three-fight win streak capped off by knockouts over Martin Day and Jonathan Martinez. “Dangerous” is a talented grappler with a Jiu-Jitsu black belt and six of his nine finishes coming in by way of submission. He is a threat when striking as well, pushing forward with aggression and a hard-nosed approach, with a 63% striking defense rate. He fights well at range with an unorthodox style and heavy leg kicks. However, he does leave his chin exposed when he opens up in the pocket.
The first meeting of these two fighters came back in 2016, which saw Grant emerge with a decision win. That fight saw Grant find success on the feet, taking advantage of Chito’s low guard and avoiding a pocket brawl. On top of this, Grant held top control for over eight minutes. Both fighters have improved significantly since their first meeting, and it makes this contest much more interesting. Chito has the power to take advantage of Grant’s defense in the pocket, but he will need to get into the pocket to do so. Grant has the matching height and range utilization to find success with his jab and leg kicks along with takedowns and control time to secure the same result as their first meeting.
My Pick: Davey Grant by Submission
Julian Erosa vs. Seung Woo Choi (FTW)
Julian Erosa (25-8, 3-4 UFC) most recently lost in decision to Grant Dawson, who is also on this card. “Juicy J” came to the UFC for the third time as a late replacement and scored a submission over Sean Woodson before knocking out Nate Landwehr with a flying knee in under a minute. He deals solid power and has a stunning twenty two finishes, evenly split between knockouts and submissions. Erosa has technical striking but doesn’t utilize his range to the fullest, but isn’t the best on the defensive front in a pocket brawl, accounting for his knockout to Devonte Smith. Erosa has a plethora of submissions to work with, most aggressive off of his back as his wrestling. Erosa has incredible cardio and has gone into the champion rounds many times.
The Octagon entry of Seung Woo-Choi (9-3, 2-2 UFC) went south with defeats to top prospects in Movsar Evloev and Gavin Tucker. He has found more success since, winning decisions over Suman Mokhtarian and Youssef Zalal. “Sting has a somewhat one-dimensional game with his striking but backs it up well with his power and combination fighting. He is at his best when pressuring forward and loses his combination ability when he is pressed up against the cage. Choi’s chief struggle is wrestling, as he can be easily controlled if secured on his back. However, his most recent bout against Zalal showed much improved defensive wrestling. All five of his career stoppages have come by knockout.
I am not surprised this fight got the boost up to the main card. Both competitors are consummate offensive threats, though Erosa brings the more well-rounded approach. Erosa, though always fun to watch, is at a disadvantage on the feet against another rangy opponent and his consistent issue of starting a brawl and letting his defense slip. On the mat, however, Erosa has the more threatening wrestling with a number of submissions to back that up. Ultimately, I think Choi’s takedown defense should keep the fight on the feet, where he can pick apart Erosa for a lopsided decision.
My Pick: Seung Woo Choi via Decision
Wellington Turman vs. Bruno Silva (MW)
Wellington Turman (16-4, 1-2 UFC) has not competed since last August, where he was knocked out in the first round by Andrew Sanchez. “The Prodigy” has a powerful wrestling threat, with over two takedowns per fifteen minutes and a 100% takedown defense rate. He has eleven finishes on his resume, seven by submission. Turman has four knockouts, but his striking is very low level. He throws looping shots that leave his head open for the taking and he doesn’t take his head off the center line. With that said, he is a powerhouse on the mat, with powerful top control and an active submission offense.
This will be the UFC debut for Bruno Silva (19-6). He was previously scheduled to make his debut against Deron Winn in 2019, but was suspended for two years due to testing positive for an anabolic steroid. “Blindado” is a powerful Muay Thai striker with sixteen knockouts to his name. He claimed the M-1 Middleweight title before coming to the UFC, with four straight knockout victories. Silva has frightening one punch KO power and an aggressive pressure, most dangerous when teeing off on an opponent against the cage. Five of his losses have come by submission, as he is near defenseless on his back.
This is about as binary of a fight as you can get it, and I expect the betting lines to get to 50/50 by fight time. Silva has an fast paced striking attack that could easily knock out Turman with his power and Turman’s poor head movement. Conversely, Silva is weak off his back and Turman could cut through his guard like butter if able to secure the fight to the mat. This fight comes down to how long Silva is able to keep the fight on the feet and if Turman can withstand the power of Silva. For my money, he can’t. His lackluster striker defense makes him easy pickings for a striker of Silva’s caliber, so long as he can defend the takedowns of Turman.
My Pick: Bruno Silva via Knockout
Matt Brown vs. Dhiego Lima (WW)
Matt Brown (22-18, 15-12 UFC) returned to the premier MMA organization after two years in retirement to KO Ben Saunders. He was unable to capitalize on that momentum in recent efforts against Miguel Baeza and Carlos Condit, with Brown losing by knockout and decision, respectively. “The Immortal” is a brawler with a ruthless penchant for violence, loving to throw elbows and high-amplitude kicks along with his powerful boxing. Finishing all but two of his pro victories with fourteen of those by knockout, Brown is a dangerous opponent to be standing across from. However, his durability has waned in recent years, rocked in all of his bouts post-retirement and his notorious weakness to body shots an ever pressing matter.
Dhiego Lima (15-8, 4-6 UFC) was on a three-fight winning streak, but had that interrupted by Belal Muhammad, who outworked Lima in a decision. Brother of former Bellator champ Douglas Lima, Dhiego was pretty much the UFC test caliber fighter before his win streak. He will look to solidify his space outside the rankings with a strong showing here. Lima does his best work striking, with powerful leg kicks and good work from range. His ten career finishes are split 4-6 between knockouts and submissions. On the mat, Lima has a dominant and grounding style to control the match, preferring position over submission.
This is a must-win fight for Brown if he wants to keep competing. Though still a constant finishing threat, he is now forty years old with defensive lapses and waning durability. On top of this, Lima sports the more technical striking, along with the wrestling to keep Brown secured on the mat. The leg and body kicks of Lima are tailor made to cause Brown serious trouble on the feet, and though Brown still has his knockout power, Lima has the wrestling and technical striking to win a decision over the veteran.
My Pick: Dhiego Lima via Decision
Though this card might not be a stunner in terms of name value, rest assured that this matchmaking is sure to produce great finishes and fast-paced fights. Be sure to tune in at 6 PM EST to catch this event!
Categories: UFC Predictions