Prime-ranked Welterweight contender, Jorge Masvidal, steps up on only one week’s discover (full particulars) to face Final Combating Championship (UFC) Welterweight kingpin, Kamaru Usman, this Saturday (July 11, 2020), headlining the promotion’s inaugural “Battle Island” occasion in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
UFC 251’s ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) principal card additionally contains a rematch between Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, and the person from whom he took the belt, Max Holloway, and a vacant Bantamweight title battle that pits the surging Petr Yan towards the legendary Jose Aldo.
Earlier than that, although, we’ve received a full suite of eight “Prelims” undercard bouts, half on ESPN+/Battle Move and the remained on ESPN+/ESPN. Mud off that $4.99/mo. subscription and let’s see what’s in retailer:
265 lbs.: Marcin Tybura vs. Maxim Grishin
Marcin Tybura (18-6) emerged as a Heavyweight contender with consecutive victories over Viktor Pesta, Luis Henrique, and Andrei Arlovski, solely to lose 4 of his subsequent 5. He managed to proper the ship in February, taking a snug determination over Sergey Spivak in Norfolk.
“Tybur” is the taller man by one inch.
Maxim Grishin (30-7-2) has misplaced simply as soon as since 2011, amassing an 18-1-2 file and falling solely to high prospect Magomed Ankalaev in that span. He’s not too long ago minimize his tooth in PFL, going 4-0-2 with a call over UFC vet Jordan Johnson and a 48-second knockout of Mikhail Mokhnatkin.
He steps in for Alexander Romanov on per week’s discover.
It’s exhausting to think about a extra dramatic opponent shift in current reminiscence than the one Tybura faces. Romanov is an absolute behemoth who makes a speciality of energy takedowns and high management, whereas Grishin is a pure Gentle Heavyweight who does his greatest work with adept kicks and a nasty proper cross.
I nonetheless have “Tybur” successful, to be truthful, however it’s undoubtedly a dramatic left flip.
Although Grishin has some pop in his strikes and will get pleasure from a pace benefit, his arsenal doesn’t look adequate to make up for the dimensions disparity. The bigger Tybura is a strong kickboxer in his personal proper and figures to check Grishin’s wrestling, which sometimes failed him towards a pure Middleweight in Johnson. Tybura embarks on his first win streak in ages with a aggressive determination win.
Prediction: Tybura through unanimous determination
125 lbs.: Raulian Paiva vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
Raulian Paiva (19-3) entered UFC on a 12-fight win streak, however stumbled out of the gate because of a slender determination loss to Kai Kara-France and a ugly minimize stoppage towards Rogerio Bontorin. He got here up huge together with his again towards the wall in February, although, flattening Mark De La Rosa with a proper hand late within the second spherical.
He stands three inches taller than “Zhako” at 5’8.”
A five-round determination over Tyson Nam earned Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-3) a Battle Nights International title shot towards Group Nurmagomedov rep Tagir Ulanbekov, whom Zhumagulov narrowly edged by majority determination. Then got here former UFC title challenger Ali Bagautinov, who likewise fell through shut determination.
He has scored six skilled wins by knockout and one through submission.
Whereas I’m certain Zhumagulov will recognize the prospect to face a fellow striker after spending his final 50 minutes within the cage towards suffocating wrestlers, Paiva seems poised to present him a tough welcome. The Kazakh oftentimes depends on explosive rushes to shut the space towards rangier opposition, and that peak distinction seems prefer it’ll give him some points, particularly since Paiva isn’t any stranger to the form of high-octane firefight Zhumagulov prefers.
Paiva can also be a good bit crisper and tighter together with his punches, which ought to enable him to take advantage of the openings Zhumagulov’s full-body swings go away behind. Zhumagulov may sway the judges together with his output, fixed leg assault and visually-appealing haymakers, however anticipate Paiva’s extra telling blows to safe the choice.
Prediction: Paiva through unanimous determination
135 lbs.: Karol Rosa vs. Vanessa Melo
Karol Rosa (12-3) — a coaching associate for former UFC Strawweight champion Jessica Andrade — made her UFC debut on the heels of two consecutive third-round finishes. She made the many of the alternative towards unbeaten Nova Uniao-trained product Lara Procopio, in the end touchdown over 170 important strikes en path to a unanimous determination win.
Half of her professioanl wins have come by stoppage, 4 of them (technical) knockouts.
Lower than two months after defeating Strikeforce vet Jan Finney, Vanessa Melo (10-7) stepped up on brief discover to face Irene Aldana, in the end dropping a call to the Mexican bruiser. She once more stepped up towards Tracy Cortez shortly thereafter and once more fell brief on the scorecards.
“Miss Simpatia” offers up 2.5 inches of attain to Rosa.
Rosa impressed me towards the very succesful Procopio, whom I anticipated to stay undefeated. She has a better activity forward of her in Melo; although Melo has some hanging chops and counters effectively, she’s terribly inaccurate. Each Aldana and Cortez practically lapped her in important strikes landed, and Rosa, who landed a mind-boggling 11.40 strikes per minute towards Procopio, seems poised to overwhelm her in comparable trend.
To make issues worse for Melo, her lack of stopping energy means she will be able to’t make up the distinction with eye-catching blows. And if anybody’s scoring a knockdown or no less than visibly hurting her opponent, it’s Rosa. In the long run, energy and quantity win the day in a 15-minute hanging battle.
Prediction: Rosa through unanimous determination
135 lbs.: Martin Day vs. Davey Grant
Martin Day (9-3) bounced again from his unsuccessful “Contender Sequence” bid with three consecutive victories, establishing a debut towards Chinese language prospect Pingyuan Liu. Although Day saved it shut in hostile territory, he in the end misplaced his second determination in 5 fights.
Accidents and coronavirus delays make this his first battle since Nov. 2018.
Two submission wins and a scale fail on the a part of Anthony Gutierrez despatched Davey Grant (9-4) to the The Final Fighter (TUF) 18 Finale, the place he tapped to a Chris Holdsworth rear-naked choke. Numerous misfortunes have held him to simply 4 appearances since that 2013 defeat, the latest of which noticed him edge out Grigorii Popov in Nov. 2019.
All eight of his submission wins have come by type of choke.
That is isn’t the closest battle on the undercard odds-wise, however it’s the one I’m most conflicted about. Day’s key weak point — the factor that price him on “Contender Sequence” and towards Liu — is his grappling. Grant’s six takedowns towards Popov confirmed that he’s in no way shy about exploiting a shaky floor sport, and Day’s behavior of main with bare kicks leaves him weak to having them caught.
On the identical time, Day fairly totally shut down Liu’s takedowns — the harmful floor conditions took place when Liu pulled guard on a guillotine and when he dropped Day with strikes. Plus, Day can maintain that acrobatic assault going all night time lengthy, whereas Grant was completely exhausted after three rounds with Popov. Finally, although, I’m going to go together with my preliminary intuition and decide Grant as a result of he’s a greater wrestler than Liu and Day simply leaves too many openings for takedowns.
Prediction: Grant through unanimous determination
4 extra UFC 251 “Prelims” bouts stay to preview and predict, together with my most anticipated Octagon debut of 2020 and what could possibly be absolute chaos at Welterweight. Identical time tomorrow, Maniacs.
Keep in mind that MMAmania.com will ship LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow protection of your complete UFC 251 battle card this weekend, beginning with the ESPN+/Battle Move “Prelims” matches on-line, that are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard steadiness on ESPN+/ESPN at Eight p.m. ET, earlier than the PPV principal card begin time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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