UFC On FOX 20 takes place tomorrow night in Chicago and you can see our predictions for all the fights below.
Holly Holm vs. Valentina Shevchenko
We’ve got two talented strikers on-board for the UFC On FOX 20 main event for what should be a competitive woman’s bantamweight match-up.
Shevchenko doesn’t have as much hype behind her as Holm did early in her UFC career, but like the former titleholder she’s an excellent kickboxer – though with a less energetic approach, preferring to stay patient and pick out her moments to counter as her opponent engages.
In this fight I’d expect to see Holm staying on her toes and be in constant motion, rarely staying within range of her opponent for longer than just the time it takes to dart in with a short flurry of punches or a kick.
Shevchenko does have decent takedowns, which Holm will have to be wary of, but I think she’ll be able to keep this one standing for the most part, and her exceptional cardio will enable her to stay busier throughout the course of five rounds and outpoint her opponent.
Holly Holm to win by decision.
Edson Barboza vs. Gilbert Melendez
It’s going to be interesting to see how Melendez bounces back after a year out due to a PED suspension, with the former Strikeforce champion having lost three of his previous four fights prior to that.
Melendez is a capable, hard-headed boxer, but he doesn’t possess the same flair, power and variety of offense as Barboza, so I don’t think we’ll see him looking to engage much with the Brazilian on the feet.
Instead, takedowns and clinch work will be key for Melendez, and he does have the wrestling and BJJ skills to cause Barboza serious problems if he can ground him for significant periods in the fight.
If Melendez isn’t on his game then he could get chewed up on the feet here, but I think he’ll be coming back with renewed determination to get back on track and will grind out a win with superior grappling here.
Gilbert Melendez to win by decision.
Francis Ngannou vs. Bojan Mihajlovic
Ngannou is a promising heavyweight prospect and it looks like he’s getting a showcase fight here against newcomer Mihajlovic.
Hailing from France, Ngannou cuts one of the most imposing figures in the division at this present time, standing 6ft 4″ tall, with a musuclar 250lb frame and a long 83″ inch reach, and that’ll be a particularly significant advantage against his opponent who’s smaller than average for the division, at 5ft 11″ and 235lbs.
Ngannou is by no means a complete fighter at this stage in his career, but he’s a good striker who hits as hard as you would expect him to, and I think he’ll methodically beat down the Serbian within two rounds.
Francis Ngannou to win by TKO in Rd2.
Felice Herrig vs. Kailin Curran
Herrig’s out of the Octagon antics can sometimes distract from the fact that she is a capable fighter with a crafty ground game and decent striking.
Curran has more flaws to her game than her far more experienced opponent at this stage, so she’ll have to work hard for her win , but she shows potential and I think her more aggressive, pressure-based style will allow her to edge out this one on the scorecards.
Kailin Curran to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Eddie Wineland vs. Frankie Saenz
James Moontasri vs. Alex Oliveira
Darren Elkins vs. Godofredo Pepey
Kamaru Usman vs. Alexander Yakovlev
Jim Alers vs. Jason Knight
Luiz Henrique vs. Dmitry Smolyakov
J.C. Cottrell vs. Michel Prazeres