The UFC returns to the Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada for a Fight Night card sure to provide its fair shares of finishes and violence. In the main event the Korean Zombie returns against Hawaiian powerhouse Dan Ige, and in the co-main, the ageing jiu jitsu phenom Aleksei Oleinik is set to battle it out with rising Heavyweight contender Serghei Spivac. This week we focus our attention on two solid plays on the undercard and a prop bet in a coin flip main event.
The Korean Zombie looked completely outclassed last time out against Brian Ortega. Jung now in his 10th year with the UFC has always been a top contender who has beaten some stars of the Featherweight division without managing to capture the elusive UFC gold. Dan Ige stopped an underrated opponent in Gavin Tucker in just 22 seconds in his last Octagon appearance and has shown vast improvements after each loss he’s suffered throughout his UFC tenure. The best way to analyze Ige’s chances is to watch his loss to Calvin Kattar. Kattar can take a shot but has sharper striking than Jung.
Although Ige lost that bout it showed that he can go toe to toe with the best strikers in the division and can absorb a shot. Ige likes to wrestle but he does struggle to get fights to the ground and Jung is no slouch in the wrestling department so more likely than not this could be a back-and-forth striking affair. Due to both men being durable and showing they don’t wilt under pressure I like the odds around the fight to go the distance. Zombie like his name suggests will march forward and pressure Ige but I expect plenty of clinches to break up the danger of either man being finished.
Matt Semelsberger started his professional career a mediocre 3-2 but has since improved out of sight and gone on a finishing tear, most impressively stopping Jason Witt in a mere 16 seconds. Khaos Williams stopped his first two UFC opponents in under a minute combined but most recently suffered a defeat to the wild Michel Pereira. What that loss showed me is apart from a powerful right hand, Khaos is quite ordinary.
He has knockout power to put many a man unconscious but if you can stay out of the way of the often telegraphed power shots, he is quite easy to beat. That is why I am backing Semelsberger to get the upset victory. He will throw more volume and consistently land sharp two and three strike combinations that should see him rack up the rounds at will and potentially stop a sloppy Khaos Williams as the fight wears on.
I tipped Casey O’Neill in her UFC debut as the best bet of the year and she did not disappoint. She meets Lara Procopio in her second Octagon appearance and while Procopio is inherently more dangerous, I am still shocked to see O’Neill open as the underdog.
Procopio has some smart jiu jitsu and realistically could win this fight on the back of smothering top control, much like she did against Molly McCann. However, I see O’Neill being able to land the more telling shots on the feet and the Australian has some of the best ground and pound there is in the female division. The fight starts close but O’Neill pulls away the longer it goes and likely stops Procopio with some nasty ground and pound around the half way mark of the fight.
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