UFC On ABC 2 takes place this weekend in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Kevin Holland vs. Marvin Vettori
Given that it’s only been a matter of weeks since Holland’s five-fight unbeaten run was shut down after being dominated on the mat by Derek Brunson, it was somewhat surprising to see him jump at the chance to fight another tough opponent in Vettori on short notice.
Sometimes it’s good to get back on the horse quickly, but in this instance it felt like the Brunson felt had put a spotlight on issues that would take time for Holland to address – most crucially his flimsy takedown defense.
That’s not something that can be shored up in such a short space of time, so it would really only make sense to rush back into action if it was against someone who wasn’t going to exploit that weakness.
Unfortunately for Holland that’s certainly not the case with Vettori, who like Brunson has good wrestling and on top of that has more of a submission game too.
Therefore Holland will be back to relying on making the most of his striking opportunities, and to be fair to him even against Brunson he did look dangerous, and this time he’ll have an even more significant 3″ height and 7″ reach advantage.
Vettori is well-rounded and tough as nails though and will look to apply pressure on the feet, which will help to set up his takedown attempts.
Holland has shown before that he can pull a rabbit out of the hat unexpectedly to turn a fight in his favor, but I think it’s far more likely that Vettori just outwrestles him to earn a decision victory here.
Pick: Marvin Vettori wins by decision.
Sodiq Yusuff vs. Arnold Allen
Two in-form featherweights clash in the co-main event, with Allen coming into this unbeaten in his seven UFC fights to date, while Yusuff has put together four wins in a row since winning a spot on the roster via the Contender Series.
Yusuff is a good striker who will certainly have the power advantage here, but Allen is technically sound and works well on the outside as well as having good speed and better cardio than his opponent.
Allen has been talking up his enthusiasm at fighting someone who will be willing to stand and trade with him, but time will tell if that’s just a bluff as I feel he could actually have a significant edge on the mat here with his wrestling ability.
Even if that’s not how he chooses to start the fight, I think if the first round doesn’t go in Allen’s favor on the feet then he might well look to switch things up and will also generally find he has more success the longer the fight goes as his opponent starts to tire, leading him to edge out a decision victory.
Prediction: Arnold Allen to win by decision.
Kyle Daukaus vs. Aliaskhab Khizriev
Fight cancelled on short notice due to Covid-19 protocols.
Julian Marquez vs. Sam Alvey
Winless in five fights, Alvey is likely at the last chance saloon here, while Marquez is looking to build on a submission win recently after returning from a long injury layoff.
Despite his dismal recent run Alvey still has big KO power in his punches, but it’s increasingly become the case that if he doesn’t find that clean connection then he’s got little chance of winning fights because his workrate is underwhelming and it just feels like he’s going through the motions in a very uninspired fashion.
Alvey has cut back down to 185lbs for this fight, but some of the same traits were still present the last time he fought at this weight, so I think he may struggle against Marquez, who has more spark to his game right now.
‘The Cuban Missile Crisis’ may not be the most tehnical striker, but he launches himself into the fray with gusto and will throw heavy leather while seeking opportunities to bring the fight to the mat, where he will also continue to push the pace.
Marquez’s gas tank is an issue, but I’m not convinced Alvey can exploit that and instead it’ll be his opponent’s overall work rate and urgency over three rounds that will lead him to a decision win.
Pick: Julian Marquez wins by decision.
Nina Ansaroff vs. Mackenzie Dern
These two have something in common in that Ansaroff is making a comeback after giving birth to a baby girl in September of last year, while Dern also had her first daughter in June of 2019.
Dern faltered in her comeback fight after pregnancy, suffering her first career loss against Amanda Ribas by decision, but she’s shown that motherhood isn’t an obstacle that can’t be overcome by going on to win her next three fights in a row.
Still, it will be interesting to see how Ansaroff copes in her first fight in two years, especially since she’s now 35. She also has to shake off the fact that she lost her last fight against Tatiana Suarez, which had ended a solid four-fight winning streak.
Ansaroff is primarily a kickboxing based striker who works well from range and has good movement, which will be key aspects of her strategy in this fight to keep her opponent at bay.
That’s because Dern is of course an elite level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist who is going to give anyone a hard time on the mat with her submission prowess, but has to get the fight there first, which is an aspect of her game that’s less of a sure thing.
However, Dern’s striking has showing marked improvement in recent times and she’s always carried significant power, so it’ll be interesting to see if she’s continued to level up in that regard since her last outing.
That last point certainly gives me pause for thought here, but nonetheless I still feel that Ansaroff is likely to hold the striking edge and will be able to frustrate Dern with her range management and movement in order to keep this fight upright and eek out a decision win.
Pick: Nina Ansaroff wins by decision.
Mike Perry vs. Daniel Rodriguez
It’s something of a miracle that Perry is still in the UFC given that he’s lost six of his last nine fights, has had well publicized issues outwith the Octagon and on top of that even managed to miss weight for his last fight.
So Perry has clearly being off-the-boil for a significant period of time and it’s anybody’s guess whether he’s really re-focused for this fight or not, so technical improvements and smarter gameplanning seem like too much to hope for and all we can really rely on here with any certainty is his natural hard-headedness and punching power.
On the other hand, while Rodriguez is coming off a loss, he’s generally been pretty consistent during his UFC run so far and did win his first three fights in a row, showing both solid striking and submisson skills along the way.
Rodriguez will have 3″ in height and reach over Perry and he has good speed to go with his own heavy hands, though his striking defense isn’t the best.
Perry always has a slugger’s chance, but I like the more reliable Rodriguez’s chance of outstriking him, though ultimately having to settle for a win on the scorecards.
Pick: Daniel Rodriguez wins by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Jim Miller vs. Joe Solecki
Scott Holtzman vs. Mateusz Gamrot
Bea Malecki vs. Norma Dumont Viana
John Makdessi vs. Ignacio Bahamondes
Yorgan de Castro vs. Jarjis Danho
Hunter Azure vs. Jack Shore
Luis Saldana vs. Jordan Griffin
Da Un Jung vs. Shamil Gamzatov
Impa Kasanganay vs. Sasha Palatnikov