The UFC returns to the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina for the first time in over five years for a thirteen-bout fight card on ABC.
In the main event, Jailton Almeida looks to continue his undefeated surge in the UFC against top-ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik. In the co-main, Anthony Smith and Johnny Walker lock horns in a Light Heavyweight clash unlikely to see the scorecards.
Elsewhere on the main card, Carlos Ulberg and Ihor Potieria face off in a Light Heavyweight clash, while undefeated prospect Ian Machado Garry looks to add to his win streak against Daniel Rodriguez.
Check right here for the prelims predictions!
Jairzhinho Rozenstruik (13-4) vs. Jailton Almeida (18-2) (HW)
Jailton Almeida is taking the biggest step up in competition to this point in his career. Rozenstruik is a certifiable KO artist who can put even the best out cold with just one shot, no matter how late in the fight. However, the stylistic clash is clear, as Almeida will be looking to ground this fight early and get to work with his oppressive jiu-jitsu. While Rozenstruik sports a solid takedown defense rate of 75%, he looks like a fish out of water when secured off his back, taking little to no advantage of opportunities to get back to his feet. We’ve seen Almeida knocked out at Middleweight and LHW, so there is certainly potential for a Bigi Boy KO, but I like Almeida to not waste time and get this fight to the mat early, where he racks up damage for an early finish.
My Pick: Jailton Almeida via Submission
Anthony Smith (36-17) vs. Johnny Walker (20-7) (LHW)
Expect a firefight for however long this bout lasts. Johnny Walker is must-watch TV, likely because of his glass cannon tendencies, throwing serious heat and a wild variety of attacks but not withstanding much offense himself, primarily relying on his range for defense. Smith is a true veteran of the fight game and has the skills to finish this standing or on the mat. I like him to withstand the early power shots of Walker and mix in takedowns, drowning Walker with pressure before scoring the stoppage.
My Pick: Anthony Smith via Knockout
Daniel Rodriguez (17-3) vs. Ian Machado Garry (11-0) (WW)
We’re in for a fun, if not defensively responsible, striking clash here. Daniel Rodriguez has proven himself a gamer through nine UFC bouts, including seven victories and three finishes. Garry is the latest hyped prospect out of Ireland with slick kickboxing and a well-round MMA skill set based on management. Garry’s defensive lapses have been seen in his bouts with Kenan Song and Jordan Williams, often absorbing too many shots when his opponents choose to follow him and stick in the pocket. I expect a close striking exchange with key moments for both before D-Rod finds the chin of Garry and takes his 0.
My Pick: Daniel Rodriguez via Knockout
Carlos Ulberg (7-1) vs. Ihor Potieria (19-3)
I expect a fun striking battle in this one, but see the superior technique of Ulberg getting the finish. He has demonstrated solid pacing and a wide variety of striking attack along with solid defense in his recent run, while Potieria struggled to put away the aging Shogun Rua, reacting poorly to the little damage he absorbed in that bout.
My Pick: Carlos Ulberg via Knockout
Tim Means (32-14-1) vs. Alex Morono (22-8) (WW)
This is a close match between two veterans, but I expect the volume and shot selection of Morono to be the difference maker. While both have weaknesses in their durability, neither capitalize greatly when their opponent is hurt, leading me to expect a drawn out striking exchange where both suffer real damage, but neither gets put out cold.
My Pick: Alex Morono via Decision
Categories: UFC Predictions
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