A not-so stacked card last weekend is followed up this weekend by one of the most stacked Fight Night cards in recent memory as Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley finally meet in a grudge match in the main event.
The card will also see the likes of Donald Cerrone, Khamzat Chimaev, Kevin Holland and Mackenzie Dern on the main card, but the undercard isn’t short of names either. With a HUGE 14 fights scheduled for this weekend ahead of the UFC’s second trip to Fight Island, I will break down each fight and give my predictions.
Last weekend was my worst showing for picks so far, as I ended with just 6/12 and only 1 perfect pick (winner, method, round).
With EIGHT prelim fights scheduled at the time of writing, I’m splitting this card into three rather than the usual two. I have already predicted the early prelims of the card here. I will do the rest of the preliminary card here and try to improve on my poor showing last week.
Jessica-Rose Clark (9-6) vs Sarah Alpar (9-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
This is one of those fights that is going likely be pretty one-sided, but which side depends entirely on who can assert themselves first. Sarah Alpar makes her UFC debut 13 months after her win on Dana White’s Contender Series, after three consecutive wins. Jessica-Rose Clark is most known for her decision win over Paige VanZant back in January 2018 but she has lost two in a row since then including to Jessica Eye and most recently Pannie Kianzad in November of last year. Alpar is an aggressive grappler with an excellent top game who hasn’t got the greatest hands in women’s MMA while Clark is more of a striker who is uncomfortable on the ground. The big question in this fight, is can Alpar get the takedown or will Clark’s defence stand-up in the bantamweight division. The expectation is Alpar will eventually get the takedown and she’ll be able to keep it there and control the fight there for a decision win.
PICK – Sarah Alpar via Unanimous Decision
Jordan Espinosa (15-7) vs David Dvorak (18-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
One of the closest fights on the card here as two ranked flyweights clash in the octagon looking to work their way up. Espinosa has lost two of his last three fights, both by submission, but got the win last time out against Mark De La Rosa back in June. Dvorak is on a 14 fight win streak, with his UFC debut coming in his last bout with a win over Bruno Silva despite being knocked down early on. Espinosa is a top wrestler who knows how to use his hands to a competent enough level to set up takedowns, but Dvorak has excellent takedown defence and is nasty counter-striker. He also has the submission skills to punish Espinosa should he lazy with any takedowns, as he was against Alex Perez. Should Dvorak push the pace as he usually does, he will test the cardio of Espinosa and has the power to finish the fight late on if the conditioning becomes an issue.
PICK – Dvid Dvorak via Unanimous Decision
Mayra Bueno Silva (5-1) vs Mara Romero Borella (11-8 3NC) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
An interesting bout in the women’s flyweight division here. Silva’s record is fresh and she’s only 29, but she’s coming off her first professional defeat after winning by submission on Dana White’s Contender Series and then in her UFC debut against Gillian Robertson. Borella on the other hand has lost four of her last five including her last three in a row. Silva is a volume striker on the feet and has great submission skills, shown in her three submission wins from five on her record. Borella’s best path to victor is wrestling and top control but Silva may have her trumped on the ground with submissions so she’d need to be extra careful even then. On the feet it’s lopsided in Silva’s favour and because of that Borella will be forced into a ground fight where Silva is more than comfortable.
PICK – Mayra Bueno Silva via Submission, Round 1
Mirsad Bektic (13-3) vs Damon Jackson (17-3-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
Bektic takes on Damon Jackson who steps in on very late notice in this featherweight bout, replacing Luiz Garagorri. Bektic has lost his two in a row to Josh Emmett and Dan Ige but prior to that had beaten Ricardo Lamas and Godofredo Castro. Jackson returns to the UFC after four years away following a winless three-fight run in the company previously. Since leaving though he has been in the PFL and done well, winning 8 of 10 including his last bout by submission. Jackson has the advantage in this if he can get into submission situations but other than that, this is Bektic’s fight to lose. He has better striking, better cardio, better clinches and better kicking. So long as he keeps this fight standing, which he should with his takedown defence, Bektic takes this in the later rounds.
PICK – Mirsad Bektic via Knockout, Round 3