Two high-octane Featherweights simply inches away from contender standing duke it out on “Struggle Island” this Wednesday (July 15, 2020) when Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige headline the second of 4 Abu Dhabi playing cards. UFC on ESPN 13 additionally encompasses a Flyweight conflict between Tim Elliott and Ryan Benoit, in addition to a Featherweight crossroads battle pitting Jimmie Rivera towards Cody Stamann.

We’ve acquired one other seven “Prelims” undercard bouts within the dugout, all of them becoming a member of the primary card on ESPN/ESPN+. Since we’ve acquired a busy week forward of us, we’re doing them multi functional batch. Take pleasure in!

185 lbs.: John Phillips vs. Khamzat Chimaev

John Phillips (22-9) didn’t make fairly the instant splash he needed within the Octagon, dropping his first three fights to Charles Byrd, Kevin Holland and Jack Marshman. He lastly managed to showcase his infamous energy in Sept. 2019 with a 14-second knockout of Alen Amedovski that earned the Welshman a $50,000 bonus.

All of his wins have come inside the space, 19 of them by type of knockout.

Khamzat Chimaev (6-0) — a coaching accomplice of Alexander Gustafsson and different UFC veterans at Allstars Coaching Heart — ran by his first six skilled opponents in lower than two rounds apiece. His 2019 marketing campaign noticed him starch unbeaten Sambo champion Ikram Aliskerov with a gnarly uppercut and choke out knockout artist Mzwandile Hlongwa with a second-round d’arce.

He replaces “Contender Sequence” veteran Dusko Todorovic on lower than one week’s discover.

If Chimaev is even half the prospect he appears like, he could possibly be among the many most vital signings this 12 months. Between his terrific wrestling and surprisingly crisp and highly effective arise, he may be Sweden’s most promising blended martial artist since a chief Gustafsson. Even when he doesn’t change into all that, although, he ought to nonetheless have greater than sufficient to destroy Phillips, whose complacency along with his energy led him to by no means develop any boxing or grappling abilities.

Chimaev is admittedly shifting up in weight for this short-notice struggle and Phillips admittedly hits like a very pasty meteor, however “Borz” has proven that he doesn’t dally on the ft when the takedown is there. He takes Phillips to the mat and both kilos or chokes him out within the first jiffy.

Prediction: Chimaev by way of first-round submission

145 lbs.: Ricardo Ramos vs. Lerone Murphy

Ricardo Ramos (14-2) put collectively a 4-1 Octagon document at Bantamweight, beating the likes of Kyung Ho Kang and Journey Newson, earlier than shifting as much as 145 kilos final 12 months. His divisional debut went about as easily as doable, as “Carcacinha” choked out Eduardo Garagorri to earn a “Efficiency of the Night time” bonus.

He’s dispatched seven skilled opponents by submission and one other two by knockout.

4 months after a first-round knockout win in his native England, Lerone Murphy (8-0-1) headed to Abu Dhabi to face Zubaira Tukhugov in his Octagon debut. Although he suffered an early knockdown, “The Miracle” took benefit of his opponent’s cardio troubles to struggle his approach to a cut up draw.

He’ll take pleasure in a 1.5-inch attain benefit.

As praiseworthy as his efforts towards Tukhugov have been, the very fact stays that “Warrior” took Murphy down successfully at will, even when gassed to loss of life. That’s greater than just a little regarding towards Ramos, a succesful wrestler with a deadly submission sport. Even when he’s not a bodily dominant as Tukhugov, being a long-time Bantamweight, Ramos nonetheless appears more likely to put Murphy on his again with out situation and dominate from there.

Murphy continues to be the extra harmful striker, however Ramos isn’t any slouch on the ft, and the specter of the Brazilian’s floor sport ought to go a way in direction of limiting Murphy’s willingness to let his fingers and ft go. Until Murphy can catch him coming in, Ramos takes him down and wraps up a fast rear-naked choke.

Prediction: Ramos by way of first-round submission

205 lbs.: Modestas Bukauskas vs. Andreas Michailidis

Lithuania’s Modestas Bukauskas (10-2) has received six straight, all by stoppage, since hitting a two-fight skid in 2016. In his most noteworthy fights thus far, he knocked out Marthin Hamlet Nielsen for the Cage Warriors title in June of final 12 months and did the identical to Riccardo Nosiglia in his first protection.

He has not received by determination since his professional debut, knocking out seven.

Andreas Michailidis (12-3) rebounded from a loss to Vladimir Mineev with three consecutive first-round knockouts, together with a wheel kick end of UFC veteran Marcel Fortuna. His efforts arrange a Cage Warriors Middleweight title bout towards Nathias Frederick, just for the occasion to fall by due to the continuing pandemic.

“The Spartan” replaces Vinicius Moreira — who examined constructive for COVID-19 — on lower than two weeks’ discover.

Bukauskas doesn’t get the digital “gimme” he had with the underwhelming Moreira, however this nonetheless appears like a profitable debut within the making. Michailidis is a pure Middleweight, making Bukauskas’ personal lack of dimension a non-issue, and is notably outclassed on the ft. Although the Greek’s wrestling and floor sport are a risk, particularly since Bukauskas has power points with getting taken down towards the fence, his lack of cardio and Bukauskas’ scrambling talents imply he’ll shortly run out of steam if he goes that route.

Between Bukauskas’ pace, cardio and crisper putting, Michailidis wants a end within the first 5 minutes if he desires the win. Odds are he received’t get it. Bukauskas survives some furry grappling within the early going to outlast and beat down a fading “Spartan” late.

Prediction: Bukauskas by way of second-round technical knockout

145 lbs.: Jared Gordon vs. Chris Fishgold

Jared Gordon (15-4) beat down Michel Quinones in his UFC debut earlier than efficiently returning to Light-weight with a choice over Nova Uniao veteran Hacran Dias. He has since struggled to recapture that momentum, struggling knockout losses in three of his final 4 bouts.

“Flash” Gordon is the taller man by one inch.

Chris Fishgold (18-3-1) — the previous Cage Warriors Featherweight champion — put his UFC debut loss to Calvin Kattar behind him with a second-round submission of Daniel Teymur. He couldn’t do the identical to Makwan Amirkhani, who tapped the Englishman with an anaconda choke in Stockholm.

13 of his skilled wins have come by submission, all however one by guillotine or rear-naked choke.

The oddsmakers at the moment have this pegged because the closest struggle on the undercard and I’m inclined to agree. Gordon’s cardio and unimaginable output look probably problematic for the explosion-heavy Fishgold, however “Flash’s” chin has failed him again and again lately. What narrowly edges it for the Brit is that in line with UFC’s web site, it is a Featherweight bout. The final time Gordon tried to make that reduce in 2017, he weighed in at 149 kilos.

Now, he’ll need to make it with three knockout losses’ value of extra trauma and underneath the non-ideal circumstances of “Struggle Island.” Having to fend off a wrestler and submission artist as potent as Fishgold with that type of baggage seems like a tall ask — Fishgold scores an early takedown and finds his neck quickly after.

Prediction: Fishgold by way of first-round submission

125 lbs.: Diana Belbita vs. Liana Jojua

Diana Belbita (13-5) introduced a four-fight win streak into her Octagon debut, which pitted her towards rising prospect Molly McCann in Boston. Regardless of a surprisingly sturdy effort, “Warrior Princess” finally fell by determination after giving up 5 takedowns to “Meatball.”

She’ll have three inches of top and 6 inches of attain on Jojua.

Georgia’s Liana Jojua (7-3) short-circuited prospect Marina Mokhnatkina’s rise with a majority determination victory in 2018, claiming the Struggle Nights World Bantamweight belt within the course of. Sarah Moras proved a taller job, pounding Jojua out halfway by the third spherical.

“She-Wolf” has scored 5 first-round finishes throughout her time within the paid ranks.

Jojua badly underperformed in her UFC debut, however I’m prepared to chalk up a great chunk of her struggles to being extraordinarily undersized for Bantamweight. I count on her to look a good bit higher at 125 kilos, particularly with the Octagon jitters ostensibly behind her. Nonetheless, I’m undecided that’s sufficient for me to select her right here; past the appreciable top and attain benefits, Belbita proved arduous to carry down towards Molly McCann and threw greater than 5 occasions as many strikes in that bout as Jojua did towards Moras.

Whereas Belbita’s three submission losses ought to give Jojua some hope, the Romanian’s size and output will make truly getting in on Belbita’s hips a difficulty. Barring the transfer to her correct weight class turning out to be a panacea for Jojua’s issues, Belbita overwhelms her on the ft to say a large determination.

Prediction: Belbita by way of unanimous determination

135 lbs.: Jack Shore vs. Aaron Philips

Wales’ Jack Shore (12-0) tore by the Cage Warriors ranks, knocking out Mike Ekundayo for his or her Bantamweight title and defending it with a third-round submission of Scott Malone. He was equally dominant in his UFC debut, during which he earned “Efficiency of the Night time” by tapping Nohelin Hernandez.

“Tank” has completed 11 of 12 professional opponents, with solely UFC vet Vaughan Lee lasting the space.

Aaron Phillips (12-3) washed out of UFC in 2014 after a winless (0-2) run, then suffered an harm technical knockout loss in his subsequent effort. After almost three years away, he returned to win every of his final 5, 4 of them in lower than two rounds apiece.

He steps in for the COVID-afflicted Anderson dos Santos on 10 days’ discover.

Philips’ unique two-fight UFC tenure noticed him land 56 cumulative vital strikes and get taken down 11 occasions within the span of 30 minutes. His current efforts on the regional scene noticed him as soon as once more battle with wrestlers and get dropped within the course of. It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes-esque feat of deductive reasoning to find out that Shore’s going to brutalize him.

“Tank” stays a standout prospect in a division full to bursting with younger expertise, boasting the abilities to maintain up with Philips on the ft and completely demolish him on the mat. He racks up the ground-and-pound till Philips’ neck presents itself.

Prediction: Shore by way of second-round submission

205 lbs.: Jorge Gonzalez vs. Kenneth Bergh

Mexico’s Jorge Gonzalez (16-4) scored the most important win of his profession when he knocked out UFC vet Luke Barnatt in February of final 12 months, establishing a Skilled Struggle League (PFL) match bid. When that fell by resulting from harm, he suffered a loss to unbeaten Nasrudin Nasrudinov and subsequently choked out unbeaten Marcos Rodriguez.

He replaces Germany’s Timo Feucht on 5 days’ discover.

After an unsuccessful bid on The Final Fighter (TUF) 23, Kenneth Bergh (8-0) fought his approach onto “Contender Sequence,” the place he suffered a first-round submission loss to underdog Antonio Trocoli. The loss was subsequently overturned due to Trocoli’s failed drug check, since which Bergh has stopped two opponents in a mixed 62 seconds.

He has scored seven first-round finishes, 4 of them by submission.

I’m very a lot not bought on Bergh being a prospect, particularly after the Trocoli struggle, however he ought to dominate right here. Gonzalez is a slugger to the core, disdaining technical putting or any semblance of protection in favor of hurling haymakers. Although he can wrestle and grapple a bit, he hasn’t acquired a lot to supply in addition to well-timed entries on reactive takedowns that he lacks the polish to complete correctly.

Bergh’s reckless aggression does admittedly give Gonzalez a real puncher’s likelihood, particularly if he follows in Barnatt’s instance and will get too snug teeing off on Gonzalez’s unprotected face. The likeliest end result nonetheless sees “Ymir” take him down early, mash him with elbows, and choke him out quickly after.

Prediction: Bergh by way of first-round submission

It might lack the championship motion of the playing cards that sandwich it, however a card that features Kattar vs. Ige, Elliott vs. Benoit, and Rivera vs. Stamann figures to be a great deal of enjoyable. See you Wednesday, Maniacs.

Do not forget that will ship LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow protection of your entire UFC on ESPN 13 struggle card this week, beginning with the ESPN+“Prelims” which can be scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET, then the primary card portion that will even stream on ESPN/ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET.

To take a look at the most recent and best UFC on ESPN 13: “Kattar vs. Ige” information and notes make sure to hit up our complete occasion archive proper right here.

Present UFC “Prelims” Prediction Report for 2020: 51-46-1