Final Combating Championship (UFC) returns to Russia this Saturday (April 20, 2019) with a wealth of blended martial arts (MMA) expertise in tow. The principle occasion inside Yubileyny Sports activities Palace in Saint Petersburg pits Alistair Overeem in opposition to fellow veteran Aleksei Oleinik, who steps in for Alexander Volkov on quick discover. Different important card highlights embody Islam Makhachev in opposition to high prospect Arman Tsarukyan, the Octagon debut of undefeated Ivan “Ural Hulk” Shtyrkov (16-Zero-1), and the most recent from Antonina Shevchenko.
Three UFC Combat Night time 149 “Prelims” stay to preview and predict (take a look at the primary batch right here), that includes some elite prospects. Let’s take a look:
145 lbs.: Movsar Evloev vs. Seung Woo Choi
Movsar Evloev (10-Zero) has spent the whole lot of his profession within the M-1 promotion, claiming its undisputed Bantamweight title in 2017 with a call over Pavel Vitruk. He went on to submit Sergey Morozov and knockout Rafael Dias in his two title defenses.
His seven stoppage wins embody 4 by rear-naked choke.
South Korea’s Seung Choi (7-1) racked up 5 victories, together with three by knockout, earlier than falling to countryman Jae Woong Kim in simply 36 seconds. He went on to attain a 93-second knockout in his subsequent bout and starch Kim shortly thereafter to reclaim the TFC Featherweight title.
He steps in for Muin Gafarov, who bumped into contract points with One FC, on one month’s discover.
Evloev has sky-high potential due to his downright lovely grappling, however like fellow high prospect Petr Yan, he’s obtained a harmful Korean puncher to cope with early in his Octagon profession. Although Choi has a couple of dangerous habits on the ft, he’s obtained some actual thump in his arms and a few sneaky elbows to go together with them.
These received’t be all that helpful as soon as Evloev vegetation him on his again, although, and Choi’s aggression leaves him open to each Evloev’s underrated energy and his wonderful chain wrestling. Choi’s edge on the ft isn’t important sufficient to make up for the massive disparity on the bottom, and I don’t anticipate it taking Evloev lengthy to search out his method to Choi’s again and placed on the squeeze.
Prediction: Evloev through first-round submission
170 lbs.: Sultan Aliev vs. Keita Nakamura
Russia’s Sultan Aliev (14-Three) has fought simply thrice since becoming a member of UFC in 2015, pulling out of three separate bouts due to accidents. He’s 1-2 within the Octagon, most not too long ago struggling some ugly eye swelling in opposition to Warlley Alves in Could 2018.
Ten of his skilled victories have come through (technical) knockout.
Keita Nakamura (34-9-2) returned to UFC after seven years away again in 2015 and has since alternated wins and losses, placing his total Octagon document at Four-6. His present run features a bonus-winning comeback submission of Li Jingliang and upsets over Kyle Noke and Alex Morono.
All however two of his 17 skilled submissions have come by rear-naked choke.
Have I discussed that I hate selecting fights that will likely be decided solely by takedown protection? As a result of I hate selecting fights that will likely be decided solely by takedown protection. Aliev is weirdly horrible on the ft regardless of a ton of (technical) knockout finishes, leaving him on the mercy of Nakamura’s first rate boxing, however all Aliev must do is hit a single takedown a spherical.
Nakamura’s a slight favourite in the intervening time and that is most likely simply my mind clinging to that to interrupt a impasse, however his superior placing and submission expertise have me leaning his approach. Aliev begins robust, however his incapacity to generate offense from on high will permit “Ok-Taro” to offset the management time with submission makes an attempt and punches.
Prediction: Nakamura through unanimous resolution
155 lbs.: Alexander Yakovlev vs. Alex da Silva
Alexander Yakovlev (24-9-1) punched his ticket to the Octagon with an upset of Paul Daley to cap off an Eight-1-1 run in 2013. Issues haven’t fairly panned out since for the part-time rapper, as he’s gone simply 2-Four in UFC.
This will likely be his first battle in 29 months.
Alex da Silva (20-1) — who turned 23 years outdated in February — has seen the judges simply as soon as as knowledgeable, racking up 13 (technical) knockouts and 7 submissions. Following a slim loss to Jakub Kowalewicz in Germany, “Leko” got here again to attain two finishes in a mixed 4 minutes.
He replaces the injured Teemu Packalen on three weeks’ discover.
First off: da Silva’s document is padded to Hell, as is normal for Astra Combat Staff members, however he’s a terrific younger expertise with expertise on each the ft and the mat. Although his takedown protection isn’t nice, which might be a crimson flag in opposition to the grinding Yakovlev, the Russian has been out of motion for thus lengthy and is so outgunned within the placing that I’m leaning towards the Brazilian.
Yakovlev can definitely win this battle if he will get his takedowns going — da Silva’s obtained some good sweeps and submissions, however they’re not sufficient to win him a battle off of his again. Additional, Yakovlev has a wonderful chin that has stored him TKO-free for 15 years. I simply see the velocity, athleticism and placing number of da Silva being an excessive amount of for a person 10 years his elder. Briefly, da Silva scrambles out of some dangerous spots to chew up Yakovlev at vary.
Prediction: da Silva through unanimous resolution
Properly, at the very least UFC Combat Night time 149 leaves your night open for all of the boxing, I suppose. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Do not forget that MMAmania.com will ship LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow protection of your complete UFC Combat Night time 149 battle card this weekend, beginning with the ESPN+“Prelims” matches on-line, that are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. ET, earlier than the primary card begin time at 1 p.m. ET (additionally on ESPN+).
Present UFC “Prelims” Prediction Report for 2019: 47-26
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