UFC Fight Night 184 takes place tomorrow night in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov
At 40-years-old Overeem has been acknowledging recently that his career is drawing to a close, but he still wants one last title push before he hangs up his gloves, and standing in his way is the 32-year-old Volkov, who has aspirations to fight for the belt too.
At 6ft 7″, the lanky Volkov stands 3″ taller than Overeem, but he doesn’t have a reach advantage on this occasion, so he won’t have quite the same comfort level as usual when fighting on the outside as he often likes to, and so we might see even more kicks than normal from him. Volkov is a technically sound, methodical striker, who tends to have the most success breaking opponents down with a sustained onslaught of strikes rather than just one big blow.
Meawhile, Overeem is of course a high-level striker with a vast amount of experience, both in MMA and kickboxing, and he does have that big power which can end a fight in an instant. At the same time, he’s also been finished by strikes an alarming number of times over the course of his long career, so these days he fights more defensively / cautiously and will often shell up with a high defensive guard if he feels under threat.
What’s really helped give Overeem’s career longevity in recent years though is the fact that he’s always had a solid wrestling game, and he’s bringing that to bear more often these days, with beastly ground-and-pound combined with a submission threat presenting a lot of heavyweights more than they can handle.
Volkov may well fit into that category as he is definitely a striker first-and-foremost, so to have success here he really has to keep this one on the feet. That’s possible, particular if he can keep his volume high and put Overeem on the back-foot, but I’m going to cautiously take ‘The Reem’ to play it safe and secure the takedowns he needs to get control of the fight and find a finish in the third with strikes on the mat.
Pick: Alistair Overeem wins by TKO in Rd3.
Cory Sandhagen vs. Frankie Edgar
This is a fight that’s been in the works for quite a while as Sandhagen was originally supposed to be Edgar’s first opponent at bantamweight over a year ago. That fell through though and instead it was the summer before the 39-year-old Edgar showed he’s still a handful for anybody when he marked his 135lb debut with a split decision win over Pedro Munhoz.
Still, while he remains in terrific shape for his age, we have seen Edgar pick up his first losses due to strikes in recent years and as he’s gone down in weight things like his speed don’t have as much as impact as they did in other divisions. His pace, movement and volume of strikes are still challenging to deal with though
At 28, Sandhagen is just coming into his prime years and will have plenty of confidence here coming in off a spinning wheel kick finish against former title contender Marlon Moraes, to go alongside other notable wins over the likes of Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker in recent years.
Sandhagen will enjoy a 5″ height and 2″ reach advantage here and is the more potent striker of the two, as well as being very active offensively.
Edgar is an intelligent fighter and he’d do well to use his very good wrestling chops here, as though Sandhagen is a threat via submissions, I think he could be controlled by ‘The Answer’ on the mat.
Taking that into consideration, Edgar shouldn’t be such a heavy underdog, but nevertheless I do think that Sandhagen’s ability to match the veteran’s offensive output, but with heavier blows, will stand him in good stead here. Also, Edgar excels in five-rounders, but with only three rounds to work with here I can see him getting rocked at some stage and not having the time he needs to claw his way back into the fight.
Pick: Cory Sandhagen wins by decision.
Marion Reneau vs. Macy Chiasson
Fight cancelled due to Reneau testing positive for Covid-19.
Alexandre Pantoja vs. Manel Kape
Despite losing two of his last three fights by decision, Pantoja remains a significant player at flyweight, currently holding down the No.5 spot.
Kape will be making his UFC debut on Saturday night, but he’s an experienced fighter who is coming off a three-fight winning streak in the Rizin promotion and has defeated the likes of Ian McCall, Yasuka Nakamura and Takeya Mizugaki during his time there.
Kape is a hard-hitting striker and can also finish fights via submission too, though on the other hand he has been tapped out a couple of times in the past too.
Pantoja is also a threat wherever the fight goes with dangerous striking and strong jiu-jitsu, and an extra feather in his cap is the fact that in his 27 fight career to date he’s never been finished inside the distance.
This has all the making of a fun fight between two well-matched opponents, but I am going to side with Pantoja here as I feel he can give as good as he gets on the feet, while also having the edge on the mat, which will lead him to a submission stoppage mid-way through the fight.
Pick: Alexandre Pantoja wins by submission in Rd2.
Cody Stamann vs. Askar Askar
Not to be mistaken for the more established UFC fighter Askar Askarov, the newcomer Askar comes in on less than a week’s notice here to fight the No.13 ranked bantamweight, Stamann.
Askar brings a solid 11-1 record to the Octagon and is coming off a win in the LFA promotion. Askar is a striker who will have a 5″ reach advantage here and is not afraid to let his hands go and swing for the fences, but has respectable wrestling ability too.
Stamann is a much better wrestler though and I’d expect him to utilize that throughout the fight as he grinds his way to a decision win on the mat.
Pick: Cody Stamann wins by decision.
Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Beneil Dariush
The main card opener is a perfectly balanced fight between two lightweights who are on a high right now, with Ferreira having six wins in a row, while Dariush is close behind with a five-fight winning streak.
These two fought all the way back in 2014, and it was Dariush’s wrestling that was the deciding factor as he earned himself a win on the scorecards.
Since then both men’s games have evolved very nicely indeed, particularly on the feet. It has to be said that Dariush did hit a rough patch where he was was KO’d twice in the space of three fights, which definitely left lingering doubts about his chin, but he’s since really fleshed out his striking game and nowadays is a big threat in that regard, as evidenced by the fact that he’s finished his last two fights by KO.
Ferreira has also made improvements though and these days has a very effective pressure-heavy game on the feet to compliment his strong BJJ ability.
So, this is shaping up to be a very intriguing rematch, but for all their improvements I do still feel that Dariush’s wrestling game could still be the key here, and as long as he’s not fallen in love with his striking success too much I think that’s how he emerges victorious here.
Pick: Beneil Dariush wins by decision.
Michael Johnson vs. Clay Guida
Mike Rodriguez vs. Danilo Marques
Martin Day vs. Timur Valiev
Molly McCann vs. Lara Procopio
Seung Woo Choi vs. Youssef Zalal
Karol Rosa vs. Joselyne Edwards
Justin Jaynes vs. Devonte Smith