Coming off back-to-back great cards, we enter this UFC Fight Night up 8.7u looking to keep the winning trend going. Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov meet with intentions of climbing back to the top of the Heavyweight division for a title shot against the current champion Francis Ngannou. The undefeated Mavsar Evloev takes on the veteran Dan Ige in our co-main event - a fight destined to entertain the masses. The card is littered with up-and-coming prospects, so let’s get into a few of my best bets for this Saturday! Feel free to reach out to me on twitter @RickHHSports for my reasonings on fights without a write-up on this article!
Erin Blanchfield vs. JJ Aldrich (+385)
Blanchfield is an incredibly hot prospect with only one loss on her record against Tracy Cortes. She’s a phenomenal wrestler with grappling to compliment it and doesn’t risk her position to threaten submission. She’s incredibly strong for her division and imposes herself on opponents. JJ Aldrich has decent takedown defense, but is poor at getting back up once taken down. Blanchfield wins a boring but effective fight easily. The juice is too much so I’ll be parlaying Blanchfield (-540) with Jeff Molina (-190)
Pick: Blanchfield & Molina MLP -121 (1.5u)
Andreas Michailidis vs. Rinat Fakhretdinov (-285)
Another great prospect for the division, Rinat is another tricky grappler that is hard to figure out and has power in his punches although they’re unorthodox, looping strikes. Michailidis is solid in every facet but struggles to work them together, and his lack of cardio and durability will cost him in this fight. I’m not sure how this fight ends, but I’ll use Fakhretdinov to anchor my only other parlay on this card with Mike Trizano (-240)
Pick: Fakhretdinov & Trizano MLP -109 (1u)
Tony Gravely vs. Johnny Munoz Jr. (+110) — Pick: Munoz Jr. +110 (1u)
Benoit Saint-Denis vs. Niklas Stolze (+135) — Pick: Saint-Denis -165 (1u)
Damon Jackson vs. Daniel Argueta (+460) — Pick: Jackson ITD -135 (1u)
Joe Solecki vs. Alex Da Silva (+142) — Pick: Da Silva +142 (1u)
Felipe Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (Even) — Pick: Herrig -120 (1u)
Ode Osbourne vs. Zarrukh Adashev (+158)
Ode “The Jamaican Sensation” Osbourne came into the UFC with a lot of hype behind him from Dana White Contender Series. Since then, he has fluttered to a 2-2 record with losses to Brian Kelleher and Manel Kape (although that fight was stopped early in my opinion). Now, he looks to get back on track behind his lightning quick combinations and counters. Osbourne’s boxing will be on full display against Adashev, who will keep this fight on the feet.
1-0 in the UFC, Adashev beat Ryan Benoit by unanimous decision in his debut fight, showing fans excellent leg kicks and striking to all levels of the body in the process. Putting a lot of power into each strike, it’s surprising he is able to keep up the pace in the later rounds. He tends to get into firefights which is not something I recommend doing against Ode Osbourne given his speed and countering ability. I think Osbourne and Adashev engage in one too many firefights and one of the fighters goes down before the final bell.
Pick: Fight Not to go the Distance -120 (1u)
Alonso Menifield vs. Askar Mozharov (+195)
Menifield comes into this prelim as a UFC veteran at this stage in his career. Not long ago he was one of the hottest prospects in the Light Heavyweight division after beating Paul Craig inside of a round, but he’s proceeded to have a mixed bag of results. Coming off of a loss against surging William Knight, Alonso has the same issues he’s had since entering the UFC. He’s an inconsistent striker who doesn’t work a jab or throw much volume. He carries a lot of extra muscle and loads up on his shots, sapping his endurance quickly in fights as well.
Askar Mozharov is coming in from Ukraine with a 25-7 record and is as explosive and unpredictable as they come. In winning his last three fights, Mozharov has finished all three opponents in a combined 68 seconds. He consistently pushes the pace in the first round with deep leg kicks and a versatile kickboxing repertoire, which looks incredible when it works. If he doesn’t get the finish he’s looking for he quickly wanes in the second and third rounds. I don’t expect it to get there. With Menifield’s slow starts and non-threatening striking, I expect Mozharov to end the fight in the first round and if not, pick up the round and get one of the next two.
Pick: Mozharov +195 (1u)
Karine Silva vs. Poliana Botelho (+105) — Pick: Silva -125 (.5u) & Silva ITD +275 (.5u)
Mike Trizano vs. Lucas Almeida (+183) — Pick: Almeida ITD +425 (.25u)
Dan Ige vs. Movsar Evloev (-425) — Pick: Dan Ige +315 (.5u)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+130) vs. Alexander Volkov (-155)
Two fighters that have made their way to the summit without being crowned champion, Rozenstruik and Volkov have faced all the top competition at Heavyweight. Whether it be Overeem, Gane, Blaydes, Ngannou, Arlovski or Aspinall, experience is not to be questioned when it comes to this fight. This should be your traditional heavyweight scrap on the feet between two fighters that will plod their way forward slowly and methodically out of fear of the power coming back their way.
Rozenstruik is by no means quick but loves to counter and explode forward in short combinations. The issue is that the in-between leaves much to be desired. He doesn’t throw kicks and the volume is not there because he waits for counter opportunities to unload. I don’t think Volkov allows Rozenstruik to close the distance, limiting the counters and forcing Jairzinho to have to crash in to strike.
Volkov has a decided height and reach advantage, which he uses to his benefit by pumping his jab early and often. He also utilizes his long legs to chop down opponents from the early minutes of the fight. Where Volkov struggles most is on the ground with his defensive jiu-jitsu and wrestling. Luckily, this fight should not take place on the ground, as Jairzinho will look to keep this fight standing as well. Volkov will keep the range beginning with leg kicks and jabs, picking up points as he slowly wears down Rozenstruik. The odds in this fight will balloon towards -200, so I would get the pick in sooner rather than later.
Pick: Volkov -155 (2u)