Last week’s UFC card was quite lackluster in name value, but we had many a fun showing, especially on the prelims.
The UFC will keep its fast-paced schedule on track with its fourth event in the month of October, headlined by a top-flight Middleweight clash between Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori. Both are coming off defeats to current champ Israel Adesanya, and are looking to re-establish themself as the cream of the crop in the Middleweight division.
In the co-main event, Nicolae Negumereanu will face Ike Villanueva in a furious striking clash, while Grant Dawson looks to extend his winning ways opposite Ricky Glenn on the undercard.
Paulo Costa vs. Marvin Vettori (MW)
Paulo Costa (13-1, 5-1 UFC) propelled himself into title contention with four straight knockout wins, followed by a Fight of the Year contender opposite Yoel Romero. He was unable to capitalize on his hype in his title fight opposite Israel Adesanya, who knocked him out in the second round after denying all of Costa’s attempts to close the distance. “The Eraser” is a Muay Thai striker who specializes in delivering an onslaught of pain. Costa surges forward with constant pressure in every matchup, landing over eight significant strikes EVERY MINUTE inside the Octagon. Costa’s vicious combos are near endless as he will stream his power hooks into powerful body kicks, knees, or hellacious uppercuts. Every strike Costa throws is meant to hurt his opponent as he yearns to be put into a brawl with his pace and near granite chin.
We last saw Marvin Vettori (17-4-1, 7-3-1 UFC) score victory in a decision win over Kevin Holland to extend his win streak to five and win a title shot. Adesanya won out in a fairly dominant decision in their rematch, putting Vettori back into contendership. Before that, “The Italian Dream” picked up a first-round submission back in June over Karl Roberson, putting a quick end to their bitter rivalry. Vettori is a talented grappler with nine submissions to his name, as well as nasty top control. His striking has improved leaps and bounds since his debut, as he only narrowly lost a decision to Israel Adesanya, who is widely regarded as one of the best strikers on this planet. Those striking improvements showed through in his decision win against Jack Hermansson, as Vettori scored a knockdown and landed over 160 significant strikes to earn a Fight of the Night bonus. Even so, his raw athleticism remains his key strength, as he can manhandle his opponent in clinch or surge in with power hooks. Vettori’s most clear advantage in this bout is through his wrestling, averaging over two successful takedowns per fifteen minutes in the Octagon.
This is a fun match of contenders that will likely result in a firefight. Costa holds a clear advantage striker, with much higher volume and knockout power, but that relies on him denying Vettori’s ability to drag the fight to the mat. This is also an increasingly intriguing matchup because of pressure, as both fighters like to be on their front foot, pressing the action. I believe that Costa will hold out in the footing war, and extend his pressure on Vettori, which will extend his advantage on the feet. Costa’s jiu-jitsu skill should be enough to keep the fight on the feet, but Vettori’s positioning skill may have the edge to win rounds. I expect Costa to press the action in a wild stand up fight, for a mid-way finish. With that being said, this match has Fight of the Year potential, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.
My Pick: Paulo Costa via Knockout
Grant Dawson vs. Ricky Glenn (LW)
One of the top prospects I have been keeping my eye on is Grant Dawson (17-1, 5-0 UFC). He is perfect in the UFC since coming over to the UFC off of the Contender Series, scoring a last second KO over Leonardo Santos in his last outing. That fight was his first at Lightweight, where he moved to after missing weight repeatedly at 145 pounds. Going into that fight the element of his game I was worried about was his cardio. My concerns were shut down completely. Although he did look tired at times during the fight, he is great at making a quick recovery and always leaves everything on the mat. Dawson is a wrestling elite with eleven submissions with that. On top of that, he has a really well put-together striking game and four knockout victories, proving he is a finisher by any means necessary. He uses all elements of his striking to his advantage but then uses it to go to the ground and take advantage of that excellent ground game.
Ricky Glenn (22-6-1, 4-3 UFC) is stepping into this fight on somewhat short notice, as Dawson was set to fight CDF on November 2nd. Glenn made his return to competition in June, after almost two and a half years away from competition. He capitalized o his opportunity in that outing, knocking out Joaquim Silva in under a minute and earning his first Octagon finish. Lennies is always down for a scarp, willing to trade on the feet and keeping up a high volume. He usually doesn’t try to mix in his ground game, but it idc ertainly there in his back pocket, along with some decent takedown defense. “The Gladiator” has sixteen career stoppages, with eleven of those coming via knockout.
Dawson is a hefty favorite in this one, but for good reason. He is one of the top prospects at Lightweight right now, which is really saying something when you consider the absolute den of lions that that division is. Glenn is no slouch, though, and has the well-rounded game to give Dawson some real trouble. I do give Glenn a striking advantage, but the unrelenting ground attack and dominant top game of Dawson will likely just bulldoze through that. On the mat, Dawson is by far and away the superior fighter, with hellacious ground and pound and submission wherewithal. The pace of Dawson on the mat is his true weapon, and while Glenn is certainly a tough customer, I expect Dawson to pull away with a wide decision.
My Pick: Grant Dawson via Decision
Jessica Rose-Clark vs. Joselyne Edwards (BW)
My Pick: Jessica Rose-Clark via Decision
Alex Caceres vs. Seung Woo Choi (FTW)
My Pick: Seung Woo Choi via Decision
Dwight Grant vs. Francisco Trinaldo (WW)
My Pick: Dwight Grant via Knockout
Nicolae Negumereanu vs. Ike Villanueva (LHW)
My Pick: Nicolae Negumereanu via Submission
The six-fight main card is preceded by eight preliminary bouts at time of writing, with the main card kicking off at 4 PM EST.
Categories: UFC Predictions