UFc 236 takes place tomorrow night in Atlanta, Georgia and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Main Card (PPV)
Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier
Interim title fights don’t have the best reputation, but if it brings us a mouthwatering match-up like this then so be it.
These two have actually fought once before, back in Holloway’s UFC debut at UFC 143 seven years ago, and he’d go on to lose by submission in the first round, but at the time he only had four pro-fights under his belt and he’s since developed into one of the best fighters of his generation and the UFC’s longtime featherweight champion.
Poirier still remains a formidable opponent though as he’s well rounded and blends all aspects of MMA together smoothly, though it’s his striking that still remains his weapon of choice and he is dangerous in that regard, particularly since moving up to lightweight where he’s more robust and demonstrated finishing power.
Nevertheless, as talented and skilled as Poirier is, Holloway still has the edge as a truly elite striker, with his boxing in particular being a stand-out, with his outstanding accuracy, timing, range management, footwork and toughness making him extremely difficult to best, while his takedown defense is excellent too.
Poirier still stands a chance, but his willingess to get into brawls at times despite his chin not quite being as strong as his heart could get him into trouble and Holloway’s superior striking will ultimately lead to a third round TKO stoppage.
Max Holloway wins by TKO in Rd3.
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya
The physical differences between these two interim middleweight title contenders couldn’t be more stark. The lean, lanky Adesanya will be towering 7″ above the short, stocky Gastelum and holds a whopping 8.5″ rech advantage too.
That suits Adesanya perfectly as he operates best from range with his lazer-accurate kickboxing that serves up an unpredictable selection of kicks to back up his punches.
Adesanya’s creativity will make it risky for Gastelum as he tries to move in and close the distance, but he is fast and has good power, so if he does so successfully he could make an impact, or look to use his wrestling and test his opponent’s still largely untested ground game.
I think that’s going to be easier said than done though with Adesanya being well equipped to keep this fight at range where he has all the skill and technique required to steadily pick Gastelum apart en-route to a five-round decision victory.
Israel Adesanya wins by decision.
Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree
The fact that Anders (3-3 + 1nc) and Rountree (3-3) both have relatively similar UFC records so far tells it’s own story about their overall skill-sets.
Anders has fairly classic college-football turned MMA fighter base, having good athleticism, power and some wrestling thrown in for good measure, but he’s not yet transformed that into a well-rounded, cohesive fighting style.
Meanwhile, Rountree packs plenty of fight-ended power on the feet, but he’s not especially refined technically and is vulnerable when he’s forced to compete in the other aspects of MMA.
As such, neither fighter currently resides in the top 15 light-heavyweight rankings, but I do feel Anders has little more promise overall and if he can weather the early storm I can see his wrestling and toughness being a key factor in getting an edge over his tiring opponent in the later rounds, leading to a late stoppage due to ground and pound.
Eryk Anders wins by TKO in Rd3.
Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant
Two strikers on display here, with Jouban being the more active of the two and able to put on the pressure or play matador to the bull when required.
On this occasion he will likely be the one moving forward as Grant is more of a low volume striker who adopts a cautious approach, but does have knockout power when he lets his hands go.
Jouban has been out of action for over a year heading into this fight due to a neck injury which is a cause for concern in this fight, but I still believe he’ll prove to be the superior striker here and oustrike Grant to earn a decision victory.
Alan Jouban wins by decision.
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov
The last time these two fought some five years ago, Krylov fell victim to OSP’s now infamous ‘Von Preux’ choke.
These are two curious fighters in that they’ve not really developed the way you might expect in the years since. OSP is still a relatively low volume striker who has never quite managed to fully harness his physical ability, while Krylov remains a recklessly aggressive offensive force.
Krylov’s high output on the feet could pay dividends, but he also likes to go to ground too with the same eagerness to find a finish and I think that will prove to be a costly mistake as Saint Preux is the better, stronger wrestler and will catch him in another submission for the second round stoppage.
Ovince Saint Preux wins by submission in Rd2.
Prelims (ESPN) [Predicted Winners In Bold]
Jalin Turner vs. Matt Frevola
Wilson Reis vs. Alexandre Pantoja
Zelim Imadaev vs. Max Griffin
Boston Salmon vs. Khalid Taha
Prelims (Fight Pass)
Curtis Millender vs. Belal Muhammad
Montel Jackson vs. Andre Soukhamthath
Poliana Botelho vs. Lauren Mueller
Brandon Davis vs. Randy Costa