After the successful return of the UFC last weekend with UFC 249 and then a big fight night card on Wednesday, the UFC gets prepared for another fight card this week with UFC Florida starting with the prelims at 6pm EST.
Rodrigo Nascimento Ferreira vs Don’Tale Mayes – Heavyweight Bout
I’m excited about this one, just because it’s the debut in the UFC for Ferreira and he’s impressed me during his time with other organizations. Ferreira came through Dana White’s Contender Series and the 27-year-old is currently 7-0 in his MMA career. What’s really impressive is that his last 4 wins have come via submission, including a Kimura, an Armbar, and two Triangle Chokes. Ferreira is a guy who could really be something different in the heavyweight division and a good debut tonight will set him up perfectly.
Mayes, on the other hand, has a worse record compared to his opponent tonight, currently sitting on 7-3. Like Ferreira, he also came through the Contender Series and the 6-foot-6 heavyweight has a massive build, something that might stop the smaller Ferreira from finding it easy to implement his submission game.
I’m going to go with Ferreira for this fight, I think his submission game will be too much against Mayes unless Mayes can stop him from getting a takedown, which should be easy to do given his size and strength.
Cortney Casey vs Mara Romero Borella – Women’s Flyweight Bout
Next up is the women, specifically the flyweights as two unranked contenders do battle. Cortney has been with the UFC since 2015 and has fought multiple of the top women in the UFC, including the two women who are featured in the co-main event. Cortney holds a record of 8-7 and you can forgive her for this with the opponents she’s gone up against and the fact she’s lost most of them via split decision.
Borella, on the other hand, has been with the UFC since 2017 and has struggled to find her footing against the better-quality fighters, she has an overall record of 12-7 but is coming off a 2-fight losing streak and desperately needs a win tonight to start mounting a push up the rankings. She has a decent submission game and it’ll be interesting to see how she implements that tonight.
I’m picking Cortney to win this bout, mainly of the fact that she has some nice wins to her record and the majority of losses she’s suffered are via split decision against good fighters, Borella hasn’t really shown her full potential in the UFC and that’s why I can’t back her.
Darren Elkins vs Nate Landwehr – Featherweight Bout
Darren Elkins is a UFC veteran being with the company since 2010 and has fought some really good contenders in his time, recently fighting guys like Michael Johnson, Ryan Hall and Alexander Volkanovski. Elkins is coming off a 3-fight losing streak and really needs a win tonight against Landwehr.
Nate Landwehr made his UFC debut against Herbet Burns back in January, losing the fight via KO in the 1st round, this time around he will be looking to do the opposite of what he did last night and pick up a win against a UFC veteran. Landwehr stands at 13-3 so far and has real power behind his punches.
I want to say Landwehr wins this fight, given the fact that Elkins is on a 3 fight losing streak but I have a feeling Elkins will win this bout down to his experience. Elkins is known for decision wins and the question around this is, does Landwehr have enough power to put Elkins down?
Giga Chikadze vs Irwin Rivera – Featherweight Bout
Giga Chikadze is currently undefeated in the UFC after winning both of his 2 fights since debuting in September 2019. He had a real run of results outside of the UFC via TKO and KO so it’ll be interesting to see if he can add to that within the UFC after winning twice via split decision.
Irwin Rivera, on the other hand, is making his UFC debut tonight on the back of a 3 fight win streak over at Titan FC. Rivera currently stands at 9-4 and has won mainly via TKO/KO or decision so he can both sleep his opponents and go the full distance.
This will be an intriguing fight between two guys new to the UFC scene. Chikadze has a headstart within the company and I’m backing him to win tonight, I think he has the power advantage over Rivera and I think that will show in the fight tonight.
Anthony Hernandez vs Kevin Holland – Middleweight Bout
The middleweights do battle next and we start off with Anthony Hernandez. He made his UFC debut back in February of last year and is currently 1-1 in the UFC. Hernandez is a submission specialist and once had a streak of wins all coming via a guillotine choke. Hernandez will look to implement that submission game tonight against Kevin Holland.
Kevin Holland is a 27-year-old fighter who has a lot of fights under his belt, his record currently stands at 16-5 and he has a really nice variety of methods of winning, with 44% of his wins coming via TKO/KO and 38% coming via submission. Holland should be able to compete with Hernandez on the ground and that’s what makes this fight an exciting one.
I’m picking Holland for the win in this one, I think he can match Hernandez’s ground and submission game with his own and then on the feet, he should have a real advantage over Hernandez.
Matt Brown vs Miguel Baeza – Welterweight Bout
Matt Brown is a UFC legend and made his debut with the company back in 2007, he’s fought some of the best during that time and has had a difficult stretch of fights recently coming up against the likes of Donald Cerrone, Demian Maia, and Diego Sanchez. Brown is coming off a 2 fight win streak and is looking to make it 3 wins in 3 with his KO power.
Miguel Baeza has yet to lose in his MMA career as he stands at 8-0 with 6 wins coming via TKO/KO. He made his successful UFC debut back in October of last year and is looking to add a UFC legend to his resume tonight. Baeza has some serious power behind his strikes and has a nice variety to his striking pattern.
I’m picking Brown to win this one, he’s currently on a roll and has faced some seriously tough competition at that time. It wouldn’t surprise me if Baeza won this fight though and went on to be a decent contender within the UFC.
(#14) Song Yadong vs (#15) Marlon Vera – Featherweight Bout
We start with a featherweight fight on the main card; however, this fight is in question right now. Apparently, Song has visa issues and they don’t know whether he will fight. Urijah Faber has weighed in as a replacement but he’s at lightweight weight so who knows what will happen.
Song has been with the UFC since 2017 and is currently unbeaten, winning 4 bouts and drawing 1. Song has a really nice striking game coming from his Kung Fu training and he loves to throw a variety of strikes with any part of his body. He has opponents guessing at which level he’ll strike at and the speed at which he strikes at is impressive.
Marlon Vera, on the other hand, has been with the UFC since 2014 and has really impressed during his time with the company, he’s only lost 4 times during his tenure and has a really nice submission game that will come in handy against a guy like Song. Vera is also accomplished on the feet and has enough power in his strikes to scare his opposition.
I’m going with a Vera win here, I think he has the better overall game and will be good enough on the feet to compete with Song. If Vera can get Song down, then the fight could be over quite quickly, especially if he gets the mount or position that he wants.
Eryk Anders vs Krzysztof Jotko – Middleweight Bout
Anders has been with the UFC since 2017 and has had a mixed tenure with the company. Back in late 2018 and early 2019, Anders really struggled in the Octagon and lost 4 of his 5 fights, although they were against some high-level opposition. Anders has found his rhythm again recently and is on a 2-fight win streak. Anders has some really powerful strikes in his locker and if he catches Jotko tonight, it could be another KO to add to his record.
Jotko is another UFC veteran as he’s been with the company since 2013. Just like Anders, Jotko had a patch in his tenure that saw him lose a few fights in a row but has found his footing again with a 2 fight win streak in 2019. Jotko is known for his decision wins and shows some great cardio to go all 3 rounds.
The fight between these two will be really interesting, this is a fight that’s really going to test the chin of Jotko. The main question is, does Anders possess enough power to put Jotko down? I have a feeling he does so I’m going with an Anders win.
(#15) Dan Ige vs (#11) Edson Barboza – Featherweight Bout
Oh my God am I looking forward to this fight. Edson Barboza is one of my favorite fighters of all time, he has some of the best KO’s in the history of MMA and every fight he’s in you’re just guaranteed to be entertained. Barboza drops down to featherweight and it makes sense given he’s really struggled against a stacked lightweight division so it’ll be interesting to see how he deals in this new division. He should have more speed given he’s lost more weight and my God is that the stuff of dreams, Barboza spinning kicks with more speed!
Dan Ige has been a fast riser through the rankings during his tenure in the UFC. I had the pleasure of watching Ige in person when he fought at UFC London in 2019 and he put on a great performance. I was really impressed with the versatility that he has with his game, he can light people up on the feet and has a really good submission game on the ground, that submission game will be his key to victory tonight.
I really don’t know how to call this one, I love both fighters and I really want to say a Barboza win but I have a feeling Ige will take him to the ground and submit him, so I’ll go with an Ige win.
(#6) Claudia Gadelha vs Angela Hill – Women’s Strawweight Bout
The co-main event of the evening sees the women do battle. Gadelha has been a great fighter in the UFC’s women’s division, she’s enjoyed a really good career so far and has only lost to some of the best woman fighters around today. I love her submission game, she’s won 7 fights via submission and it’s been a really key factor for her during fights. It allows her to control the pace of the fight and if she doesn’t submit her opponent, she usually wins on the judge’s cards.
Angela Hill has a real opportunity to impress tonight and establish herself as a top contender in the women’s division. She’s been submitted twice during her career, which won’t help against a fighter like Claudia but she has 5 KO/TKO wins to her name, so if she can catch Claudia coming in or just simply keep the fight on the feet, she has a good chance of lighting Claudia up.
I’m going to go with a Gadelha win in this one, it would be cool to see Hill win and we have another great contender in the women’s fight scene but I can’t see her being able to keep Gadelha away from her for as long as she needs to, I think Gadelha will eventually get her down and maybe submit her but I’m saying a Gadelha win via decision
(#8) Alistair Overeem vs (#9) Walt Harris – Heavyweight Bout
The main event of the evening sees the big boys take the stage and entertain the fans with a potential 5 round fight. Alistair Overeem is another of my favorite fighters of all time and is easily one of the biggest UFC legends still in the game today. Overeem has a really impressive background in both MMA and kickboxing and once held 3 world titles in 3 different companies at the same time. Unfortunately for Overeem, he’s suffered some really bad KO’s in recent times and people are starting to doubt his longevity and whether he should just stop fighting altogether. Tonight is a chance to prove them wrong.
Walt Harris is making his return to the octagon tonight since the tragic incident a few months back that saw his step-daughter, Aniah, kidnapped and murdered at the age of just 19. It’s safe to say everyone across the world is rooting for Harris to win tonight and he has a real chance of doing so. Walt has 13 wins to his name, with all 13 coming via TKO/KO and when you factor in the questions around Overeem’s chin, he definitely has a real chance of winning.
Nothing would make me happier if Harris was to win tonight, it’s the very least he deserves given what he’s been through and he does have a real chance of a KO win. Overeem shouldn’t be counted out either, he’s still got it in terms of his striking ability and he has something to prove tonight. I’m going to go with an Overeem win but honestly, whoever wins, wins, this fight is way more than a fight.
Mandatory Photo Credit: USA TODAY via Imagn Content Services, LLC