The UFC looks to get back on track with another card at the APEX in Las Vegas this weekend as Michelle Waterson takes on Angela Hill in the main event.
Originally scheduled to be headlined by Thiago Santos vs Glover Teixeira, that bout was postponed after Glover tested positive for COVID-19. However after last weeks card fell apart at the last minute and ended up with just 7 fights, the UFC are making up for it with a 12 fight card this weekend.
Of the 7 fights last week, I correctly predicted 6/7 winners, with 2 of the 6 being perfect picks (winner, method, round). There will be seven fights on the prelims of this card and I’ll break them down here with my picks.
Sabina Mazo (8-1) vs Justine Kish (7-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
An interesting fight to open the card with, as the ‘Colombian Queen’ Mazo looks to make it three wins in a row against Justine Kish. Kish will be entering the octagon for a sixth time, having lost two in a row before bouncing back with a decision win in her last bout against Lucie Pudilova. Mazo lost her UFC debut to Maryna Moroz but returned to form with back-to-back decisions over Shana Dobson and J.J. Aldrich. Mazo will have a six-inch reach advantage plus a technical advantage in the striking game and while Kish is a good wrestler and excellent on top, her takedown game needs work and she’ll struggle to get this to the mat. Due to this, Mazo should be able to pick her off from range to secure a decision win.
PICK – Sabina Mazo via Unanimous Decision
Bryan Barbarena (14-7) vs Anthony Ivy (8-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
Another fun fight on the prelims, this time in the welterweight division as ‘Bam Bam’ Barbarena looks to bounce back from two defeats in a row as he takes on Anthony Ivy, who was knocked out in under a minute of his UFC debut. With both fighters looking to get back into the win column, it’s a true grappler vs striker affair. Barbarena is known for his knockout power, with 10 of his 14 wins coming by way of knockout, while Ivy is a super wrestler who looks to get the fight down as quickly as possible to avoid striking on the feet. The issue in Ivy’s last bout was that he didn’t get the chance to try and wrestler before Christian Aguilera annihilated him, so Barbarena will surely look to employ a similar tactic. If he can, Ivy will go out once again to the power. If he can’t, Ivy should be able to secure a takedown relative easily. The problem is, ‘Bam Bam’ is so aggressive I can’t see him being able to get the takedown before he takes a few big shots.
PICK – Bryan Barbarena via Knockout, Round 1
Jalin Turner (9-5) vs Brok Weaver (15-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
A fight that has been changed at the very last second before this was published, as Frank ‘The Crank’ Camacho has withdrawn due to a positive COVID-19 test and Jalin Turner steps in on short-notice to fight Brok Weaver. Weaver is a former bare-knuckle fighter who has good knockout power in his hands, while Turner was due to fight last weekend against Thiago Moises before that fight fell apart. Turner has 9 stoppages in his 9 wins and uses his impressive reach to stay out of range and land shots. Weaver has great durability but considering his past, he lacks knockout power. If he can’t stay out of the way and last the full 15 minutes against Turner, he’ll likely get knocked out.
PICK – Jalin Turner via Knockout, Round 2
Bobby Green (26-10-1) vs Alan Patrick (15-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
After two wins in six weeks for Bobby Green, he steps in on just two weeks notice to take on Alan Patrick who fights for the first time in just under two years. Green outworked Clay Guida in June before putting in a fight of the night performance to avenge his draw with Lando Vannata. He showed great striking in both fights but also an ability to stay on his feet against a grinder who wants to put him on the mat. He will need to do similar in this fight because Patrick is far more reliant on a takedown than either of those two. On the feet he’s almost completely lost and unless he’s improved significantly in his two years away, he will need the performances of a lifetime to beat Green, even on just two weeks notice.
PICK – Bobby Green via Unanimous Decision
Roosevelt Roberts (10-2) vs Matt Frevola (8-1-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
After his win on Dana White’s Contender Series, Roberts has gone 4-2 in the UFC but lost his last fight against veteran Jim Miller when he was submitted via armbar in the first round. Frevola has won his last two fights in a row, but his last bout was almost a year ago when he defeated Luis Pena via split decision. Frevola’s greatest strength is his wrestling and he will surely look to secure a takedown in this fight but he will need to mind his neck. Roberts has a tremendous guillotine and is happy to use it at any time. On the feet he has the range and technical advantages, while he’s also no slouch on the ground. Frevola doesn’t have the power that Vinc Patel had when he beat Roberts and he’s not as slick on the mat as Jim Miller. I see Roberts having an advantage in most places, so it would need a perfect performance from Frevola to win.
PICK – Roosevelt Roberts via Submission, Round 2
Julia Avila (8-1) vs Sijara Eubanks (5-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
Originally scheduled to fight Karol Rosa last weekend, Sijara Eubanks has made a quick turnaround after it was cancelled at the last minute and will now take on Julia Avila. Avila’s last fight ended in just 22 seconds when she demolished Gina Mazany with strikes back in June. Much like the bout for last weekend, Eubanks is a great boxer with a black-belt in jiu jitsu and solid wrestling, while Avila is a high-level Muay-Thai kickboxer who relies on a crazy output to overwhelm her opponents and win by decision. Eubanks’ best performances came in the 125lbs flyweight division and yet she went 3-2 in that division. Avila has won three of her last four via stoppage but Eubanks has never been finished. Avila should have enough about her to get a win although a finish is probably pushing it a bit too far.
PICK – Julia Avila via Unanimous Decision
Matt Schnell (14-5) vs Tyson Nam (19-11-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
The featured bout of the prelims sees a demon grappler in Matt Schnell come up against one of the hardest punchers in the division in Tyson Nam. Nam fought most recently in June, with a stunning knockout inside 32 seconds ending the night early for Zarrukh Adashev, while Schnell won four-in-a-row before he was flattened by Alexandre Pantoja back in December. All three of Schnell’s UFC defeats have come via first round knockout but his game mostly revolves around the mat. He has 8 submission wins in his career, including his two most recent victories. Nam though, has over 30 professional fights and has never been submitted. His takedown defence is excellent and his counter-strikes are lethal. He has enough power to put Schnell’s lights out early considering ‘Danger’ has had issues with power punchers in the past, Nam should find confidence in landing at any point in the fight.
PICK – Tyson Nam via Knockout, Round 2