UFC Fight Night 87 marks the promotion’s first ever visit to Holland and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Alistair Overeem
Arlovski was enjoying a rich vein of form up until his last fight, which saw his unbeaten streak ended by Stipe Miocic in just 54 seconds. It’ll be interesting to see whether he can bounce back from that, as Overeem did when he suffered three losses via strikes in four fights, then rebounded with a trio of victories leading up to this battle of the seasoned veterans.
Both men have suspect chins, so anything could happen here. For my money Overeem deals better with it as he’s not to proud to look for alternative strategies to get the win rather than just looking to slug it out on the feet. We’ve seen him use wrestling in recent times to get the better of certain fighters, and that offers him more ways to win here than Arlovski.
Even on the feet I feel Overeem could well have the edge. He’ll have a slight reach advantage, hits harder than Arlovski and has those nasty knees at close range. Coupled with the fact he has more momentum heading into this encounter and will have the home advantage, I’m taking Overeem to emerge victorious by KO at some stage in the early rounds of the fight.
Alistair Overeem to win by KO in Rd2.
Antonio Silva vs. Stefan Struve
Hmm, this is a tricky one as both of these heavyweight fighters appear to be quite fragile at this stage in their careers. ‘Bigfoot’ in particular is the older of the two and really showing severe signs of being past his sell-by date with just one win in his last six fights, including an alarming four losses due to strikes.
Stuve may still be relatively young for a heavyweight at 28, but he also feels somewhat shop-worn, with three losses in his last four fights, a questionable chin and a notable downturn in his performances since the discovery of a heart issue a few years ago.
Struve is at his best on the mat working submissions, but Silva is quite capable there himself. On the feet anything could happen. Struve isn’t a particularly heavy-hitter though, so that might just save Silva from getting slept, and with the Dutchman’s defense being fairly dubious, I think the Brazilian might just catch him and finish the night off with ground and pound.
Antonio Silva to win by TKO in Rd2.
Gunnar Nelson vs. Albert Tumenov
Nelson got outclassed by Demian Maia on the mat last time out, but he’s certainly not the first talented fighter to suffer that fate and he remains a very good grappler.
Nonetheless, Tumenov is a tough customer to try to bounce back from a loss against. He’s hard to take down, so there’s a good chance this one plays out on the feet.
I believe Tumenov will get the better of the standing exchanges, with Nelson’s karate-based style being a bit too cautious and lacking the potency and aggression of the Russian’s boxing. Nelson’s tough though, so this one may well be settled on the scorecards.
Albert Tumenov to win by decision.
Germaine de Randamie vs. Anna Elmose
De Randamie is a highly decorated muay thai career behind her, but as far as MMA goes, her results have been more mixed.
This could be a good fight to showcase her skills though in front of her home crowd, going up against an inexperienced UFC newcomer in Elmose, who’ll also be coming up short in terms of both height and reach.
With that in mind I favor De Randamie to notch up a victory via strikes inside the distance here.
Germaine De Randamie to win by TKO in Rd3.
Francimar Barroso vs. Nikita Krylov
These two have completely opposite fighting styles, with Krylov being an aggressive fighter that’s always on the look-out for a way to finish his fights as quickly as possible, either by strikes or submission, while Barroso takes a more methodical, measured approach, especially since joining the UFC, where all his bouts have ended by decision.
Remarkably, only one of Krylov’s 24 career fights has gone past the first round, and it’s telling that he lost that one. So, if Barroso is able to maintain his slow-and-steady approach into the later rounds then he has a very good chance here.
Krylov heads into this one with a three-fight winning streak though, and I think his early offensive push may just overwhelm Barroso in Rotterdam.
Nikita Krylov to win by TKO in Rd1.
Heather Clark vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Clark returns to action after almost 18 months on Sunday to face a rising straweeight star in Kowalkiewicz.
Kowalkiewicz is a good boxer who makes up for her lack of power with sheer volume of strikes and accurate combos, and I believe that will stand her in good stead against Clark, who’s a bit more well-rounded as a fighter, but will struggle to show it over the course of three rounds on this occasion.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz to win by decision.
Rustam Khabilov vs. Chris Wade
Magnus Cedenblad vs. Garreth McLellan
Josh Emmett vs. Jon Tuck
Yan Cabral vs. Reza Madadi
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Neil Seery
Leon Edwards vs. Dominic Waters
Willie Gates vs. Ulka Sasaki