The UFC returns to the Apex Centre yet again for another Fight Night which is headlined by a short notice fight between Derek Brunson and the 11-0 phenom Edmen Shahbazyan. We also have an array of interesting stylistic match ups and plenty of fire fights scattered throughout the card to quench our MMA thirst. Due to many short-priced favourites and some tough to call coin flip fights we will play things a little differently with a couple of multis away from the main event play to add some value. The preview and tips are below.
Edmen Shahbazyan ‘The Golden Boy’ has a flawless 11-0 record in his professional career and has three first round finishes in his three UFC bouts to date. While those are not over the top of the Middleweight division, he made a mess Brad Tavares in his last fight who is notoriously durable and only lost to the elite of the division. His opponent, Derek Brunson, has made a mini resurgence of late stringing together back to back wins since his lost to Israel Adesanya. Although Brunson will hate being called this, he is the atypical gatekeeper of the division. Brunson is a tough match up, but he is very hittable and that will be his downfall against Shahbazyan. If you don’t know how good ‘The Golden Boy’ is go watch his fight against Brad Tavares where he fought like he has been a pro for a decade and the fact he is only 22 is frightening. Shahbazyan stops him swiftly in what is another statement for the newest phenom. Get used to saying and spelling Shahbazyan because you will be seeing him as a champion one day, bookmark that.
This is a rematch between two that fought to a draw back in 2017. Lando Vannata is always an excitement machine but really is hit and miss, mixing his performance between frightening and frightened. Both these men seem to be on a bit of a slide in their careers, and I am going to back Bobby Green to win the rematch. I think this will be contested largely on the feet and Green is the smarter striker and while Vannata has a greater all-round skillset, Green should be able to outpoint Vannata this time around. Green hasn’t finished anyone since 2013 and Vannata could be anything at this point, so playing the odds and going Green to get it done by decision.
Holland + Martinez
The first of our multi’s is Kevin Holland and Jonathan Martinez to both get the win. Kevin Holland is always a risk to pick due to his multiple brain fades and inability to stick to a game plan, but this is the easiest match up he will get. He has one big weakness and that is his submission defense which is not going to be tested here. He also has won virtually every stand-up battle in the UFC, even causing problems to Thiago Santos before he took the fight to the mat. He just should win. As should Jonathan Martinez who if he keeps this standing will knock out Saenz. Simply put he should be able to keep Saenz off him long enough to get the win.
Borg + Meerschart
The second of my multi’s is Ray Borg and Gerald Meerschaert to earn the win. Meerschaert will outwork, outgrapple and out strike his counterpart and may even get a submission win here. I find it hard to see how Herman on less than two weeks’ notice can step up and beat ‘GM3’. Ray Borg is a lot better than people give him credit for. He is also durable, sneaky and has a gas tank for days. He should easily outwork Nathan Maness who makes his UFC debut and will soon see that the UFC is a whole different beast to what he is used to.
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