UFC Fight Night 207 takes place tomorrow night in Las Vegas and you can see our predictions for all the fights below.
Alexander Volkov vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Volkov is coming off a first round submission loss to Tom Aspinall, his second loss in his last three fights, but still holds the No.7 spot on the heavyweight rankings as he prepares to go up the No.8 placed Rozenstruik, who also has tasted defeat twice in his last three outings, including a decision loss to Curtis Blaydes last time out.
Volkov is in no danger of being submitted this time as Rozenstruik is a former high-level kickboxer who wants no part in the ground game. Volkov will likely oblige him in a stand-up battle as that’s certainly his comfort zone too, though he does have some wrestling ability too if he wants to switch things up.
Volkov is a tall, rangey striker who will have a 5″ height and 2″ reach advantage here that will help him keep the fight at his distance with straight punches and kicks together with the occasional knee being his primary weapons. He’s not necessarily a big one-punch finisher, but his volume-based technical striking can break down opponents and lead to a finish inside the distance.
Rozenstruik is far more cautious with his striking output and has even looked quite hesitant to engage at times, which is puzzling for a kickboxer of his pedigree who has big KO power and a long record of finishing fights.
If he fights like that then it’ll play into Volkov’s hands as he’ll be more than happy to just stay active and outland him from a safe distance over five rounds. However, I feel part of Rozenstruik’s issue has been when fighters don’t bring the action to him, which can lead to something of a stalemate. That won’t be the case here and while his output might still be low, I think he’ll have opportunities to show his counter-striking ability and speed / power advantage here, leading to a KO finish in the second or third round.
Pick: Jairzinho Rozenstruik wins by KO in Rd2.
Dan Ige vs. Movsar Evloev
A couple of years ago Ige was on a six-fight unbeaten stretch but he’s now lost three of his last four fights, while by way of contrast Evloev is undefeated with a 15-0 record that includes five wins in the UFC so far.
Despite his dip in form against high-level opponents, Ige remains a good technical striker who is durable and pushes a good pace, but while he lands meaningful blows he’s not generally known for his knockout power.
Evloev’s has some functional boxing ability, but he’s likely to come off second-best in that regard compared to Ige’s stand-up and so he’ll continue to be looking to utilize his primary asset, which is his strong wrestling ability, working relentlessly for takedowns and having very good control on top.
Ige will have to make the most of his striking opportunities here, but I think Evloev can weather his striking and will find success implementing his wrestling gameplan to emerge victorious via decision.
Prediction: Movsar Evloev to win by decision.
Michael Trizano vs. Lucas Almeida
An Ultimate Fighter winner back in 2018, Trizano has gone on to compile a 3-2 record so far and now faces the debuting Almeida, who actually lost on the Contender Series last year, but with a 13-1 record overall he still gets a chance to show what he can do in the UFC.
Trizano is a bit of an all-rounder who is comfortable striking or wrestling, but doesn’t really excel in any one area and tends to be more likely to get the nod on the scorecards than rack up a big finish inside the distance.
Almeida is the opposite in that he’s been all about stopping fights before the final bell during his run on the Brazilian regional circuit with his aggressive striking approach on the feet and ability to snap onto the occasional submission too. However, his takedown defense is underwhelming and with his standard of opposition being less than stellar it’s difficult to say how he’s going to fare in the UFC.
Though Trizano has actually lots two of his last three fights they did come against solid opponents and I feel that his wrestling advantage could help him get the better of Almeida here to win out on the scorecards.
Pick: Michael Trizano to win by decision.
Karine Silva vs. Poliana Botelho
14-4 newcomer Silva makes her way to the UFC after a win on the Contender Series show, while Botelho could be fighting to keep her place on the roster after losing her last two fights, leaving her with a 3-3 run in the promotion.
Botelho’s game is built around her muay thai striking and her solid kicking ability backed up by punches has proven to be impactful, with six out of eight of her career wins coming inside the distance, but she’s less comfortable on the mat.
Silva will give up 3″ in height to Botelho, but she’s a strong fighter physically who has found finishes in all 14 of her wins to date, whether on the feet or on the canvas. However, she can over-exert herself in search of the finish and can fade in the later rounds.
I think this is the kind of fight that proves problematic for Botelho as Silva should be able to outmuscle her and bring the fight to the mat, leading to a second round submission stoppage.
Pick: Karine Silva wins by submission in Rd2
Alonzo Menifield vs. Askar Mozharov
Menifield has produced a 4-3 record in the UFC to date and is now going up against a new recruit in Mozharov, a Ukrainian striker with an 18-12 record who comes in in a month’s notice for this opportunity.
The 27-year-old Mozharov’s record is peculiar, not least because it’s actually been evolving the closer we get to fight night, with more losses being added over time as the full extent of his confusing fighting career, which includes bout as far apart as welterweight and heavyweight, becomes clearer. He hasn’t had an MMA bout in the past couple of years, but is on a three-fight winning streak, all by way of strikes.
Mozharov is very much in the ‘kill-or-be-killed’ mould of fighter who will bring the fight to Menifield and look to serve up a show-stopping finish, but as his record shows it doesn’t always work out for him and he has a lot of losses via submission.
Meanwhile, 34-year-old Menifield is a physically imposing former linebacker who will fight at a more measured pace and has big punching power at his disposal, though he does have cardio issues.
There’s certainly a chance that Mozharov’s aggressive approach could trouble Menifield, but I think he’ll find that the more established UFC fighter won’t be as easy to put away as the kind of opponents he’s been used to facing and it’ll be Menifield who ends up delivering a TKO finish in the second round.
Pick: Alonzo Menifield wins by TKO in Rd2.
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
These two first fought in 2018, with Kowalkiewicz coming out with a split decision win, but it would prove to be a bout that would mark the start of a troubling slump in both fighter’s careers.
Before that the 37-year-old Herrig had been enjoying a four-fight winning streak, but aside from the loss to Kowalkiewicz she’s only fought twice more since due to ACL injuries forcing her to sit out for several years, and both occasions she lost. The 36-year-old Kowalkiewicz hasn’t faired any better though, being KO’d by Jessica Andrade next time out, the start of a five-fight losing streak.
This is really quite an evenly matched fight with the two fighters backgrounds in kickboxing and muay thai ensuring that they’ll piece together competitive exchanges, though neither have proven to be finishers throughout their careers, with only one stoppage each via strikes.
Kowalkiewicz managed to edge out the action the last time they fought, but really she’s looked a shadow of her former self since then and doesn’t seem to have the same will to fight, perhaps coinciding with the fact she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease back in 2019.
Herrig’s two-year layoff for a second ACL surgery is also a big concern that leaves doubts about how she’ll perform, but generally speaking she still seems to have more left to offer than the jaded Kowalkiewicz at this stage, so I’m cautiously leaning towards her to win out in another close fight that goes the distance.
Pick: Felice Herrig wins by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Joe Solecki vs. Alex da Silva
Ode Osbourne vs. Zarrukh Adashev
Niklas Stolze vs. Benoit Saint Denis
Johnny Munoz vs. Tony Gravely
Jeff Molina vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
Rinat Fakhretdinov vs. Andreas Michailidis
Erin Blanchfield vs. JJ Aldrich
Damon Jackson vs. Daniel Argueta