Jaws can be jacked, legs can be kicked, and we’ll all wince in sympathy when Edson Barboza faces Justin Gaethje in a conflict of the Light-weight division’s most brutal knockout artists this weekend (Sat., March 30, 2019) at UFC on ESPN 2, which takes place inside Wells Fargo Heart in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The occasion can even host a Middleweight conflict between the resurgent David Department and the versatile Jack Hermansson, to not point out a Featherweight banger pitting Muay Thai veteran Sheymon Moraes towards knockout machine Sodiq Yusuff.
4 of the seven “Prelims” undercard bouts get a fortunate spot on ESPN (try the ESPN+ portion right here). Let’s take a look!
115 lbs.: Jessica Aguilar vs. Marina Rodriguez
Jessica Aguilar (20-7) loved an unimaginable run from 2009 to 2015, dropping solely to Zoila Frausto in controversial trend whereas defeating the likes of Megumi Fujii and Carla Esparza. She has not had comparable success within the Octagon, going 1-Three and just lately struggling a submission loss to Weili Zhang.
“Jag” steps in for Alexa Grasso on two weeks’ discover.
Marina Rodriguez (10-01) introduced a nine-fight win streak into “Contender Sequence,” the place she dominated and stopped Maria Oliveira to earn a contract. She met Randa Markos in her Octagon debut simply over a month later, surviving a tough first spherical to pressure a majority draw.
Half of her skilled wins have come by knockout.
Even acknowledging that Aguilar has confronted some scary opponents within the Octagon, it’s exhausting to not be upset in her UFC run. Past her wrestling wanting severely ineffective, her recreation planning doesn’t appear as much as snuff, and he or she severely wants good technique to make up for her restricted dimension.
Aguilar’s poor struggle IQ and tendency to get bodily outclassed suggests unhealthy issues for the 36-year-old. Rodriguez makes use of her 4 inches of peak and two inches of attain to pile up the one-two mixtures at vary and punish Aguilar within the clinch.
Prediction: Rodriguez through unanimous determination
155 lbs.: Ross Pearson vs. Des Inexperienced
The previous few years have been tough crusing for Ross Pearson (20-15), who finds himself 2-6 in his final eight fights. He snapped a four-fight skid with a choice over Mizuto Hirota in Feb. 2018, however misplaced a bloody “Combat of the Evening” to John Makdessi 5 months later.
“Actual Deal” is 2 inches shorter than Des Inexperienced (21-Eight) and can quit 4 inches of attain.
“The Predator” began his UFC profession sturdy with a cut up determination over Josh Emmett, solely to fall to powerhouse grinders Rustam Khabilov and Michel Prazeres. He acquired again on observe with a choice over Gleison Tibau, however fell brief towards an obese Mairbek Taisumov, although he did do higher than “Beckan’s” earlier 5 opponents by lasting the space.
Pearson’s decline has been unusual to observe — his chin’s nonetheless there and there are not any apparent flaws in his approach to my untrained eye, nevertheless it simply isn’t working anymore. Although he nonetheless has good takedown protection and Inexperienced can let fights get away from him, I can’t put religion in Pearson’s potential to execute towards prime Light-weight competitors.
As long as Inexperienced doesn’t overlook his wrestling, he has the sturdiness and sufficient placing prowess to carry his personal between takedowns. Selection carries him to victory whereas Pearson fruitlessly searches for the left hook knockout.
Prediction: Inexperienced through unanimous determination
145 lbs.: Kevin Aguilar vs. Enrique Barzola
Kevin Aguilar (16-1) asserted his dominance of the LFA Light-weight division with brutal knockouts of Damon Jackson and Thanh Le, however his cut up determination over Joey Gomez on “Contender Sequence” wasn’t sufficient to earn him a UFC contract. “The Angel of Dying” acquired his shot 4 months later, changing Arnold Allen on brief discover to out-brawl Rick Glenn at The Final Fighter (TUF) 28 Finale.
Although he and Enrique Barzola (15-Three-1) are the identical peak, Aguilar may have a seven-inch attain benefit.
“El Fuerte” ran the desk on TUF: “Latin America” 2, finally defeating Mexico’s Horacio Gutierrez on the Finale. He went on to win 4 of his subsequent 5, the lone loss a extremely controversial cut up determination to Kyle Bochniak.
He has knocked out and submitted 4 foes apiece.
This can be a sleeper decide for “Combat of the Evening,” I’d say. Each males are entertaining, extraordinarily energetic, and have distinct avenues of victory. Aguilar’s the extra deadly puncher by an enormous margin, however has had points with takedown protection. Barzola, in the meantime, is without doubt one of the most prolific takedown artists within the sport, averaging greater than six per struggle.
It’s not totally “striker vs. grappler,” as each are greater than competent within the different’s space of experience, nevertheless it makes for some troublesome prognostication. In a struggle that sees loads of spotlight reel moments, I say Aguilar’s loopy attain lets him rack up sufficient injury along with his punches to narrowly offset the time Barzola spends urgent him towards the cage or chilling in his guard.
Prediction: Aguilar through cut up determination
185 lbs.: Kevin Holland vs. Gerald Meerschaert
Although he didn’t get the end, Kevin Holland (14-Four) joined UFC after a profitable “Contender Sequence” stint, solely to fall brief towards Thiago Santos in his debut. His second struggle noticed him face Welsh knockout artist John Phillips and finally outclass his man en path to his fifth win in six fights.
He may have two inches of peak and three.5 inches of attain on “GM3.”
A brutal loss to Thiago Santos undid the momentum Gerald Meerschaert (29-10) gathered along with his submissions of Joe Gigliotti and Ryan Janes, however comeback stoppages of Eric Spicely and Oscar Piechota put “GM3” again on the map. He was final seen preventing Jack Hermansson in December, struggling the eighth submission defeat of his profession.
He’s submitted 20 opponents and knocked out one other six.
That is going to be bizarre. Holland all the time fights like he’s improvising and Meerschaert is a weird mix of grit, insane submissions, and rock-bottom struggle IQ. The latter can end issues at any time, however Holland seems to be to have a substantial stylistic edge. Meerschaert will wrestle to get within Holland’s vary and doesn’t hit exhausting sufficient to use “Path Blazer’s” lackadaisical protection.
To make issues worse for Meerschaert, Holland paces himself fairly effectively, so banking on one other comeback doesn’t appear clever. Holland’s takedown protection isn’t impregnable, so Meerschaert might theoretically exploit that, however “GM3” isn’t an ideal wrestler and he’ll must navigate the attain disparity to make that work. Holland picks aside a relentless Meerschaert from vary, mixing in some knees and elbows when the latter muscular tissues his manner in.
Prediction: Holland through unanimous determination
When you love this sport, you merely can not miss Barboza vs. Gaethje. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Do not forget that MMAmania.com will ship LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow protection of your entire UFC on ESPN 2 struggle card on struggle evening, beginning with the ESPN+ (7-day free trial right here) “Prelims” matches on-line, that are scheduled to start at Three:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard stability on ESPN at 5 p.m. ET, earlier than the ESPN principal card begin time at 7 p.m. ET.
To take a look at the newest and best UFC on ESPN 2: “Barboza vs. Gaethje” information and notes be sure you hit up our complete occasion archive proper right here.
Present UFC “Prelims” Prediction Document for 2019: 37-22
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