Injuries and COVID has struck this card with venom with at the time of writing only 11 fights remaining on the card. In the main event, Marvin Vettori steps in on short notice to face Jack ‘The Joker’ Hermansson and in the co-main, the king of the von flue, Ovince Saint Preux faces the undefeated and rampaging Jamahal Hill. Three more fighters also put their undefeated records on the line this weekend as we look into this weekend’s card below.
This is The Joker’s third opponent for this fight as Darren Till was first forced out with injury and his replacement Kevin Holland tested positive for COVID-19. So in steps Marvin Vettori who was originally scheduled to face Jacare Souza next week. I remain adamant that Hermansson is one of the best in the Middleweight division and deadly when the fight hits the ground. I was super keen to take him to beat Till and equally keen for him to expose a complacent Holland and I won’t be jumping off against a wrestler in Vettori, although I do see it being the hardest fight of the three for The Joker. Hermansson rose quickly up the ranks with four straight wins before he fell to Jared Cannonier.
He returned superbly in his last fight finishing former title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum in under 80 seconds. Marvin Vettori has been impressive of late winning his three fights since a decision loss to champion Israel Adesanya. I believe while Vettori has a more well-rounded ground and clinch game, Hermansson is actually more likely to finish him on the mat. The Joker scrambles well and has a knack of locking up a leg or finding his way around the neck. However, if Vettori defends well on the ground he can rack up top control and rounds. Ultimately though I see Hermansson largely being able to keep this fight on the feet and take the fight to the ground on his terms. It also must be noted that Hermansson early in his professional career scored quite a few knockout wins and is no slouch on the feet. Hermansson being an underdog is incredibly enticing and I expect the powerful Swede to come away victorious.
This fight is one that should be incredible. Ovince Saint Preux (OSP) briefly stepped up to Heavyweight but swiftly moved back down to Light Heavyweight after a poor loss. He then impressively KO’d Alonzo Menifield and set up this fight with the exciting Jamahal Hill. Hill is undefeated in his professional career and looks to make a big step up in competition here. Hill has excellent boxing but does look vulnerable to a takedown as he was taken down 6 times in his UFC debut.
In his second UFC appearance, however, he gave de Abreu no chance of exploiting that weakness when he dropped him with a hook inside two minutes. This boils largely down to if OSP can weather the early storm. If he can he should be able to take Hill down and finish him on the mat. I either see an early KO victory for Hill or a submission late in round 1 or in round 2 for Saint Preux. Either way I doubt this fight sees the third round so the fight to not start round 3 is my selection for this fight.
Fights like these almost always fly under the radar due to the lack of public knowledge of the pair. Topuria stepped up on short notice for his UFC debut against Youssef Zalal who he did surprisingly well against as he took his record to 9-0. Topuria has finished his opponents in eight of his nine wins, seven by the way of submission. Damon Jackson returned to the UFC in October for his second stint in the organisation, securing a third-round guillotine choke on Mirsad Bektic. Much like Topuria, Jackson has a finishing record to be feared, getting finishes in 17 of his 18 professional wins. For this fight I am going to play two contrasting picks and I will explain why.
Topuria looks to have the wrestling to keep this standing and the power to put Jackson away. Jackson is very hittable and although slick on the mat leaves a lot to be desired on the feet. I see Topuria knocking him out if it stays standing for any lengthy period of time. On the flip side don’t let Topuria’s fantastic submission record fool you, he isn’t of the level on the ground that Jackson is. If he decides to enter Jackson’s world as a result of either ego or an error, he could be in a world of trouble. I am taking a pick on either side, so whether it stays on the feet or goes to the ground we get a result. Both look incredible value as well with either winning almost quadrupling our output on the fight.
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