UFC on ESPN 7 Preview

Prelims

Trevor Smith 15-9 Vs Makhmud Muradov 23-6

(Middleweight)

Trevor Smith is coming off back to back decision losses against Elias Theodoru and Zak Cummings. This will be Trevor Smith’s first fight since December, 2018. Makhmud Muradov is coming off a decision victory against Alessio Di Chirico. Muradov should win this easily; Trevor Smith has really only one thing, and that’s a chin. He is a slow fighter and doesn’t really offer much anywhere. I see Makhmud winning this one by decision, he just has to make sure he doesn’t gas out like his last fight.

Virna Jandiroba 14-1 Vs Mallory Martin 6-2

(Straw weight)

This is a tough fight to call. Virna Jandiroba is coming off a late replacement fight against UFC veteran Carla Esparza. She obviously lost that fight by unanimous decision. She is now going to take on Mallory Martin, a Contender Series fighter from this past summer. Mallory is taking this fight on two weeks notice. I thought Mallory was really impressive. She’s fought Maycee Barber and only lost by decision, and it was a close fight. Virna is definitely the fighter with more experience and has 11 submission wins on her record. For that, I lean towards Virna winning this one, but Mallory Martin could surprise us all!

Matt Wiman 16-8 vs Joe Solecki 8-2

(Lightweight)

Ole “Handsome” Matt Wiman is making another walk to the octagon against another young prospect. Wiman recently got destroyed by Violent Bob Ross his last fight out and he didn’t look like he belonged in that cage at all. I’m not one to tell a fighter it’s time to hang it up, but man, that was an awful mismatch. Joe Solecki is another Contender Series alumni who will be making his UFC debut. Solecki is coming off a first round submission in front of Dana White & co. I don’t think Wiman will get brutally destroyed like he did last time, but I definitely don’t see him having any chance here against the young fighter.

Bryce Mitchell 11-0 vs Matt Sayles 8-2

(Featherweight)

Bryce Mitchell is a TUF alumni who lost in the semi finals to Brad Katona by submission. He then won back to back fights, beating Tyler Diamond in the finale, and beating Bobby Moffett his last fight. He’s very big for featherweight in my opinion, and has impressive wrestling. He’s on the verge of being at least sort of known for something other than him chopping his family jewels up. Matt Sayles is a Contender Series veteran who lost his UFC debut by decision against Sheymon Moraes. He followed up that loss with a submission victory against fellow Contender Series fighter, Kyle Nelson. I believe Bryce Mitchell wins this with a heavy wrestling attack and eventually gasses out Sayles and gets the submission victory. He just has to watch out for Sayles’ power punch.

Jacob Kilburn 8-2 vs Billy Quarantillo 12-2

(Lightweight)

Jacob Killburn and Billy Quarantillo are both from the Contender Series. Only difference is, Killburn lost his fight on the show and Quarantillo won his. Killburn didn’t let that loss bring him down, he rattled off back to back knock outs and is now stepping up on two weeks notice for Chris Fishgold. Billy Quarantillo is coming off a TKO finish over Kamuela Kirk who was the favorite on Contender Series. Not only is Billy a Contender Series veteran, but he was also on TUF 22. Both fighters are 5-1 in their last 6 fights. Quarantillo has had the tougher path and hasn’t faltered since 2016. I can’t pick Jacob Killburn to win with only 2 weeks notice, and Quarantillo has really good cardio and gets better as the fight goes. I expect a late finish from Billy Quarantillo again.

Thiago Alves 23-14 vs Tim Means 28-11

(Welterweight)

This is a loser goes home fight in my eyes. Besides his controversial decision win against Max griffin, Thiago Alves hasn’t won a fight in some time. His last real victory was against Patrick Cote in 2017. Thiago Alves hasn’t looked to take down any of his opponents and has been willing to stand and trade with them. Tim Means is a dangerous fighter and the longer fighter. He is coming off his first ever KO loss but that was against the ever so entertaining, Niko Price. If Tim Means is still that aggressive fighter, he could get the finish, but I see him most likely picking Thiago Alves apart from bell to bell for a 30-27 decision.

Main Card

Rob Font 16-4 vs Ricky Simón 15-2

(Bantamweight)

Rob Font is retuning after a very lengthy layoff. He wasn’t ever hurt either, he was having trouble finding opponents until the young fighter Ricky Simon stepped up to the plate. Simon is coming off a TKO loss against the UFC hall of famer Urijah Faber. Before that fight, Ricky Simon was riding high on an impressive win streak. Rob Font has only lost to Pedro Munhoz, John Lineker, and Raphael Assuncao. Ricky Simon does have the wrestling advantage in this fight and I expect him to implement that. This will be a close fight, but I do see Rob Font eventually catching the overzealous Ricky Simon and putting him face down, butt up on the canvas.

Cody Stamann 18-2 vs Yadong Song 15-4

(Bantamweight)

This will be a very fun fight, ladies and gentlemen, for as long as it lasts. I’m very high on Song Ya Dong, he’s honestly one of my favorites. I’ll try to do this breakdown without being very biased. Cody Stamann is a tremendous wrestler but his best win honestly is Bryan Caraway, and even that wasn’t super impressive. Song Ya Dong trains at
Team Alpha Male and I have heard his wrestling is just as good as his striking. If Stamman wants to win he needs to make Song Ya Dong swing and miss a lot and try and tire him out. I believe Song Ya Dong knows this and will watch for the takedowns and not fall for anything stupid. He either puts him out or gets the unanimous decision victory.

Aspen Ladd 8-1 vs Yana Kunitskaya 12-4

(W Bantamweight)

Aspen Ladd is coming off one of the fastest knock out losses in the girls bantamweight division. She has had trouble with her weight in the past but it looks like she is taking it serious and not messing around this time. Aspen is a very good takedown artist. I say takedown artist because I don’t really consider her a wrestler. Yana Kuntsikaya, if you recall was the sacrificial lamb against Cris Cyborg. Yana is known for her striking but has developed a more all around set of skills in her recent fights. Yana struggled against Tonya Evinger and eventually got submitted. Aspen Ladd is going to look to take down Yana and get the TKO finish or the submission, and I believe she’ll do just that. Yana has a chance though because she has gotten better, I just think Ladd is the better fighter and will win the transitions and eventually get her back at some point in the fight.

Stefan Struve 29-11 vs Ben Rothwell 36-12

(Heavyweight)

Stefan Struve, proving my point that you never truly retire from the sport of MMA, is officially back. Struve is coming off a submission victory against Marcos Rogerio De Lima. Before that he suffered 3 losses in a row against Marcin Tybura, Andre Arlovski, and Alexander Volkov. Both fighters are well out of their prime. Ben Rothwell is 38 years old and looks like he had it all together, before suffering from a 2 year USADA suspension. I’m really not sure what to expect, both guys don’t do it for me. Rothwell could take him down and hold him on the ground for 3 rounds, because he’s not going to knock out Struve. Struve could piece him apart and attack his body with some kicks and get the stoppage and actually ride off into the sunset this time around. I lean towards Struve but I don’t really know what to expect.

Cynthia Calvillo 8-1 vs Marina Rodriguez 12-0-1

(Straw weight)

Cynthia Cavillo is coming off back to back wins against Cortney Casey and Poliana Botelho. She has only lost to Carla Esparza and that was by decision. Cavillo is taking on Marina Rodriguez who recently fought Tecia Torres and won by unanimous decision, and Jessica Aguilar before that. Cavillo has the wrestling advantage whereas Marina has the striking advantage. Marina is taking this fight on short notice and risking her undefeated record against the impressive Cavillo. That tells me she’s confident she can beat her opponent, she’s the more lengthy fighter and has really good take down defense. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Marina wins, just like how she beat Tecia Torres. This will be a very close fight, but I got Marina Rodriguez by split decision.

Alistair Overeem 45-17 vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik 9-0

(Heavy weight)

I’m sure you and everyone else think that Alistair Overeem is going to get sent to the shadow realm again. Jairzinho Rozenstruik has had 3 fights all finishes. He is now taking a MAJOR step up in completion against the UFC veteran Overeem. Overeem has to be weary of Rozenstruik’s power and watch out for it. I expect him to immediately look for a takedown and pound him out like he did Sergei Pavlovich not so long ago. If Jairzinho Rozenstruik is aware of that and can fight off the take downs, he will put Alistair Overeem to sleep eventually. I expect Jairzinho to be aware of that and get the KO finish and face Francis Ngannou next in a potential number one contenders match to see who faces the winner of Miocic Vs Cormier III.

Thanks for reading my UFC on ESPN + 7 Preview. Let me know what you think and let’s enjoy the fights this weekend, it’s been a long two weeks!

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