UFC Fight Island: Predictions and Picks
-- by Three Piece Combo
On this card of fight island, we see a potential number one contender fight in the
bantamweight division between the explosive “Magic” Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen.
This card is also filled with so much young talent looking to make an impression. 3 undefeated fighters look to keep their perfect record and contenders are looking to lock up a title shot.
Below we’ll take a look at the main card and based on their styles and matchups, make a prediction for each one.
Marlon Moraes (+110) vs Cory Sandhagen (-150) Bantamweight
Preview: This clash of styles between the skilled striker Marlon Maraes and submission specialist Cory Sandhagen is set up to be a good one. Marlon comes in the much better stand-up striker although Cory has a 5-inch height advantage. Cory tends to use this reach advantage to allow him to be unorthodox in his fighting style. He leaves his hands down and switches stances to advance on his opponent. But Marlon is also great at switching in between stances so that mitigates that advantage. Marlon has much heavier hands and Cory does have the
tendency to eat some shots. He also has good takedown defense at 66% and is a black belt in BJJ compares to the brown belt of Sandhagen. With the striking ability of Marlon being able to overpower Cory’s strikes and the ability to mitigate his advantages on the ground, we are going with Moraes.
Pick: Marlon Moraes by 2nd Round TKO
Ben Rothwell (-165) vs Marcin Tybura (+120) Heavyweight
Preview: This fight is one between two similar style fighters. Both of these heavyweights are good on the ground with 33% of each of their wins have come by submission. With the ground game potentially being neutralized, Ben has the advantage in the clinching game and his advancing. He does a good job always being on the front foot and pressuring his opponent and when he presses them against the cage, he does a good job of using body shots and headshots to keep mixing it up. This fight might be a grind with these two guys trying to get position and Ben has the advantage in the in-between game that will help put him over the top in this fight.
Pick: Ben Rothwell by decision
Youssef Zalal (-165) vs Ilia Topuria (+120) Featherweight
Preview: Zalal comes into this fight 3-0 in the UFC and on a 4-fight winning streak. Ilia is making his UFC debut on 6 days’ notice. He comes in as a submission specialist and has 7 of his 8 wins by submission. He’s looking to stay undefeated with a record of 8-0. Zalal has a clear advantage on the feet and has also shown his ability to sprawl and get up when taken down. He boasts a 72% takedown defense so if he’s able to get Ilia into trouble on the feet, he should be able to hold off Topuria from any desperation shots. Due to the clear edge on the feet and the ability to keep Topuria from getting to his strengths, we are taking Zalal by decision.
Pick: Youssef Zalal by Decision
Markus Perez (+130) vs Dricus Du Plessis (-175) Middleweight
Preview: Markus Perez has had a tough time finding his footing so far in the UFC. at 2-3 in the UFC currently against decent competition, he’s struggled to put it all together after starting his career 10-0. Dricus on the other hand comes in on the other hand 14-2 and has made his name outside the UFC being a champion in different organizations. He has explosive power with the ability to also mix it up. With the lack of cardio that Markus has combined with the knockout power of Dricus, we are going to take Dricus Du Plessis by knockout in his UFC Debut.
Pick: Dricus Du Plessis by 2nd Round KO
Tom Aspinall (-730) vs Alan Baudot (+410) Heavyweight
Preview: Tom Aspinall comes in as one of the most explosive fighters in the UFC. In 10 fights, they average out at about 2:30 per fight. He does a good job of getting in there and taking out his opponent early. Alan is making his UFC Debut on 9 days notice. He has good well-roundedness as well. He is coming up from 205 lbs and going to heavyweight against a bigger striker and with someone who’s striking is as powerful as anyone. We are going to take Aspinall and his sharp striking by KO.
Pick: Tom Aspinall by 1st Round KO
Edson Barboza (-305) vs Makwan Amirkhani (+210) Featherweight
Preview: With Sodiq Yusuf pulling out for the fight, Edson Barboza stepped in and saved the day. He comes in the much more experienced fighter having fought against the likes of Khabib, Kevin Lee, Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson, and many more. Makwan currently has won 3 of his last 4. He has a wrestling background which is completely contrasted against the kick heavy Edson Barboza. When Barboza does actually get taken down, he does a good job of initially trying to buck his opponent off and make it hard on them. Amirkhani has good ground game but Barboza has experience fighting against the greatest fighter of our age in Khabib. He also isn’t super physical on the ground and with his experience, if Edson does end up on his back, he should be able to minimize the damage. But where this fight will be won by Barboza is on the feet. He has a clear advantage in the fight with the ability to fire leg kicks to the body head or legs in an instant. If he works the leg like he normally does, he should be able to outstrike Amirkhani and pick up the win.
Pick: Edson Barboza by Decision
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