Another Saturday and another UFC Fight Night from the UFC Apex Center in Vegas. For the second consecutive week, the main event pits French giant Ciryl Gane against knockout aficionado Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
Here you will find the plays you need to hit your double ups and find the green in your GPPs. I’ve broken each pick into three categories to make it easy for you. Here we go!
LEAD CINCH LOCKS
Cyril Gane – Gane is the real deal. Usually I’d be skeptical of someone as inexperienced as him being thrust into a UFC main event, but in reality, all indications are that he is ready and deserves the spotlight. I mean various issues limited him to one fight over the last year, but that one was a stoppage of former heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos. He’s longer and more well rounded than Rozenstruik, and his gas tank is longer as well. As long as he doesn’t let this devolve into a brawl and keeps the fight at distance, it should be Game’s fight to lose. Still, I said “IF”. Don’t forget what Derrick Lewis did last weekend.
Mahomes Ankalaev – This guy came into the UFC on the back of a lot of well earned hype. He plowed his way through lesser promotion, easily dispatching seasoned fighters along the way. He did his job in his UFC debut for about 98% of the fight until Paul Craig caught him in a Hail Mary triangle. Since then, he has basically been flawless inside the octagon. His opponent Nikita Krylov is no pushover, but there’s just nowhere in the fight where he’s better than Ankalaev, and I expect a fairly easy stoppage win for him.
Alex Caceres – I love watching Bruce Leroy fight whether he wins or not. The 22 fight IFC veteran takes on newcomer Kevin Croom in a main card bantamweight affair. Although Caceres has seemed to lack any sort of gameplan for the first 2/3 of his UFC tenure, he seems to have adjusted his approach and has looked much better for it. Croom is an aggressive veteran who always seem to make fights in which he’s participating fun to watch. Still, I think the skill and UFC experience gap is way too wide here, and I look for Bruce Leroy to win this one handily.
SOLID BUT UNSPECTACULAR WINS
Angela Hill– Hills first stint in the UFC saw her not able to overcome the experience gap between her and her opponents. However, after going to Invicta and winning a title, boy has she returned with a vengeance. She’s earned a reputation as one of those fighters who will take any fight she’s offered and hold her own against the best the UFC has to offer. Ashley Yoder will be game no doubt, but Hill should control this affair from bell to bell for a unanimous decision win.
Alexander Hernandez – Fellow Texan Hernandez came into the UFC with a bang. Pegged to face grizzled veteran Beniel Dariush as a short notice replacement, he shocked the MMA world when, as a huge underdog, he slept Dariush. Since then, it’s been an up and down UFC tenure, but he seems to have turned a corner. His opponent, Moises, relies on a grappling heavy approach in order to win, but Hernandez is way to strong to get pushed around on the mat. That means the majority of the fight should stay standing, and that’s where “The Great” has his biggest advantage.
UNDERDOGS AND CONTRARIAN UPSIDE
Ramazan Kuramagomedov – Unless you closely follow MMA news, youre most likely wondering “Who the hell is Ramazan Kuramagomedov?” Well, he hails from Dagestan and he’s an exceptional wrestler (shocker, right?) who is stepping in on short notice to replace Randy Brown in his fight versus Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira. Kuramagomedov sports a perfect 8-0 pro record, and has submitted his last 2 opponents. Also, he’s fought in shows like Professional Fighters League and Absolute Championship Berkut, so he’s used to bright lights and cameras. Oliveira is 2-4 in his last 6 bouts, and in all 4 losses was either submitted or outlasted, both of which Kuramagomedov is more than capable of pulling off.
William Knight – “The Knightmare” takes on Alonzo Minnifield in what could be the first fight between two people who appeared multiple times on the Contenders Series before winning a contract (someone look that up for me 😉). Mini field showed just what he’s capable of in his 1st two UFC fights: quick, devestating knockouts. His subsequent fights have also shown what he’s capable of: gassing out if he doesn’t get a 1st round KO. Look for Knight’s size and physicality to allow him to weather the early storm a put Minnifield away in the later rounds.