I almost forgot we had a PPV this weekend. This card hasn’t received much hype going into it, but there are some good fights nonetheless. Let’s get started!
Maki Pitolo vs Julian Marquez – Middleweight Division
Marquez comes into this bout 7-2 in his career and 1-1 in his UFC career. It’s been around two and a half years since we’ve seen the American compete but from what I remember, this guy has serious KO power. In his last fight he had some serious issues with his weight cut, coming in at around 190lbs, so hopefully he can make weight for the weekend. Pitolo has struggled in his UFC career so far with a record of 1-3. However, if there’s one fight he can win, it’s this one. A man like Marquez is unlikely to grapple and will probably prefer to exchange with Pitolo on the off chance he can knock him out, unlike the last three men to defeat Pitolo. This is a tough decision, but I’m leaning towards Maki Pitolo to take this one by decision
Prediction: Maki Pitolo – Decision
Jim Miller vs Bobby Green – Lightweight Division
Two experienced fighters going head to head here. Bobby Green is a brilliant boxer and has a good history in wrestling. Green reminds me of Justin Gaethje as although he has a history in wrestling, he doesn’t use it to his advantage as he prefers to stand and bang with his opposition which sometimes can be detrimental to him. Miller as of late has been a submission magician. His last four wins have come from subs in round one after huge strikes and I’m sure he’ll be wanting to do the same to Green. Both men are veterans of the game and have taken some serious damage in their careers, so I could potentially see a KO on the horizon especially from Bobby. This fight will definitely be a fun one to watch.
Prediction: Bobby Green TKO in Round 3
Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch – Middleweight Division
I’ve talked about Gastelum switching back to the Welterweight division after his loss to Jack Hermansson and I still have the same thoughts going into this fight. He’s a good wrestler, however he’s too small for the division so he can’t use that to great effect against the 185lbers. Kelvin does has scary power though, we’ve seen him knockdown the champion, Israel Adesanya and in his fight with Darren Till, his power caused the Englishman to grapple, which is something we rarely see Till do. Heinisch is pretty good everywhere. I think if there’s one area of the fight he stands out in, it has to be the wrestling, in scrambles particularly. He does have KO power, knocking out Gerald Meerschaert in his last fight, but against a guy like Gastelum, who has a rock solid chin, I expect him to want to fight the ground. Another tough decision, but I’m going with Kelvin, I think he’ll put an end to his losing streak.
Prediction: Kelvin Gastelum by TKO in round 3
Maycee Barber vs Alexa Grasso – Women’s Flyweight Division
Barber is a brilliant wrestler, who’s handy on the feet as well. Her ability to take her opposition down and bombard them with strikes is impressive and is up there with some of the best in the division. The power she possess has been a problem for her opponents so far in the UFC, and I expect that to continue against Grasso who comes into this fight 4-3 in the UFC. Her boxing is outstanding and I’d identify her as one of the top three in the division in that aspect. The problem is, on the ground, she’s pretty poor. We saw this against Tatiana Suarez and Carla Esparza. I expect Maycee to take down Alexa and dominate her on the ground.
Prediction: Maycee Barber by decision
Kamaru Usman (c) vs Gilbert Burns – UFC Welterweight Championship
Former teammates going at each other in this main event bout. Usman is 17-1 in his career and is currently undefeated in the UFC. He’s a wrestler, but has shown that he can get it done on the feet if he needs to as well. I know a lot of people don’t like the way he fights, but Usman rarely takes damage with his wrestling as he’s so dominant in that field. Burns comes into this fight 12-3 in the UFC going into this fight. He’s primarily a jiu-jitsu practitioner, hut I’ve seen some Muay Thai striking from his as well. Since moving from Lightweight to Welterweight he hasn’t lost yet. This fight is tough to call, because there are so many external factors such as Burns’ coach, Henri Hooft refusing to be in his corner, as he can’t fathom coaching against his former protégé, Usman. The question is, since these two know each other so well, who knows the other better and who’s better? Right now only those two know the answer. I’m siding with Usman, I think he’ll take this by decision. Expect to see a lot of grappling and wrestling with this fight.
Prediction: Kamaru Usman by decision