Probably the worst buildup to a PPV in some time but UFC 275 is this weekend. The card is actually really strong with Glover Teixeira defending his Light Heavyweight title for the first time against Jiri Prochazka, who only in his third UFC fight gets his first sniff at a title, headlining the card.
Jack Della Maddalena vs Ramazan Emeev – Welterweight Division
Typical boxer vs wrestler matchup to start the card. JDM’s probably one of the best upcoming strikers in the UFC, he uses his jab expertly, elusive switching of stances and precisely placed punches to follow that. Ramazan doesn’t have a chance on the feet unless it’s a one-shot KO. Where Ramazan’s expertise lies is wrestling. I think that’s the only way he wins this match, by simply out grappling JDM. JDM did show brilliant work on the ground in his Contender Series match with Ange Loosa by continuously moving in the scramble, not allowing his opponent to secure top position. I’m backing JDM for this one.
Prediction: Jack Della Maddalena by decision
Rogerio Bontorin vs Manel Kape – Flyweight Division
Nice fight at 125 to continue the card. Kape on the feet is a dangerous man, scoring two first-round KOs in his first two UFC fights against solid competition. Kape is also dangerous on the ground with five of his victories coming by submission. Bontorin also has good striking but I’d say he doesn’t match well with Manel on the part of the game. Bontorin tends to load up on his strikes whilst Kape is much more precise and quick with his punches. His BJJ is very good and if Manel isn’t careful Rogerio could slip a submission victory. He dominated the first half of his fight with future no.1 contender Kai Kara-France and I’m sure he could do that again. Despite this, I’m backing thee Angolan for the win. I think he’s more well rounded and the difference on the feet will give Manel the advantage in this one.
Prediction: Manel Kape by TKO in round 1
Zhang Weili vs Joanna Jędrzejczyk 2 – Womens Strawweight Division
Yes Yes Yes! The rematch of the greatest women’s MMA fight of all time. This time it’s three rounds rather than five which will definitely make a difference in terms of output, although in their first fight the pace was incredibly fast for five rounds. Looking back, Joanna actually had better striking, constantly catching Zhang with straights or kicks and she engaged. However, Zhang’s power came in the clutch and gave Joanna much more damage which in my eyes helped her win the fight. I think one key thing to consider is how active both fighters have been since. Zhang has fought Rose Namajunas twice whereas JJ hasn’t fought since the classic in March 2020. I don’t think this will be as exciting as their first installment and I expect Zhang to grapple Joanna in this fight. I’m backing Zhang to go 2-0, I think the activeness, the work done with the likes of Henry Cejudo will come through for her on Saturday.
Prediction: Zhang Weili by decision
Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs Talia Santos – Women’s Flyweight Championship
Another sacrificial lamb for Valentina? I think Santos is a great talent but I think this fight has come too early for her. As much as I hate watching her fight, I think testing Talia against someone like Kaitlyn Chookagian would be a good sign to see if she’s championship fight material. I do think she has the ability to get there, nice BJJ and decent striking but Valentina is simply elite everywhere. We’ve seen her outbox boxers, submit BJJ practitioners, out wrestle wrestlers. She’s simply the greatest.
Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko by TKO in round 3
Glover Teixeira (c) vs Jiri Prochazka – Light Heavyweight Championship
UFC Experience vs UFC Youth. Glover Teixeira has been in the UFC for over 10 years now fighting the best the UFC has to offer. Whereas Jiri despite having experience in the Czech Republic, has only had two fights to project him to the title. However, he beat two of the best light heavyweights convincingly proving he was championship material. I think the biggest story going into this fight is how does Jiri prepare for the BJJ of Glover. Despite starting out as a boxer, Glover has become one of the most deadly BJJ practitioners in the world and we haven’t seen how his opponent fairs on the ground. Also despite, Jiri’s crazy knockouts, I think Glover is the better striker. He’s more defensively responsible, keeps his chin low unlike Jiri and with the threat of a takedown looming, I think Glover becomes a much more tricky for Jiri. However, Jiri is an animal with 25 of his 28 wins coming by knockout, with two of them ending in submission. Jiri can knockout Glover 100%. This won’t go 25 minutes. Tough call but I’m siding with experience. I think the BJJ will be the difference.
Prediction: Glover Teixiera by submission in round 2