Calvin Kattar vs. Dan Ige
Both of these featherweights head into this fight with confidence after Kattar TKO’d Jeremy Stephens in his last Octagon outing, while Ige managed to get the split decision nod against Edson Barboza.
It’s a fight that’s most likely to play out on the feet and while they are both very capable there, I do feel that Kattar is the better technical striker, has a power advantage and his high offensive output makes him hard to deal with.
That being said, Kattar is quite hittable and Ige should be able to find the target, but he’s not a heavy-hitter and is unlikely to be able to match the volume of strikes coming his way.
As such, the well-rounded Ige’s best bet might be to get this fight to the mat, but I think Kattar will keep the action upright and emerge with a decision victory, if not a late finish.
Calvin Kattar wins by decision.
Tim Elliott vs. Ryan Benoit
Both of these fighters could really use a win right now, with Elliott having lost his last three fights in a row, while Benoit hasn’t fared much better, with two losses in his past three outings.
Elliott fought only six weeks ago and was submitted, but grappling remains his strong suit and he’d be well advised to use it here as Benoit is a heavy hitter in the weight class and will be looking for a big finish on the feet.
Elliott’s own striking is somewhat awkward, but he’s proven to be tough to finish via strikes during his career which may prove valuable here, and so a bigger concern may be his tendency to burn himself out over the course of a fight, which would leave him more vulnerable.
Nevertheless, I think he should be able to get takedowns against Benoit and his crafty grappling will then lead him to a second round submission stoppage.
Tim Elliott wins by submission in Rd2.
Cody Stamann vs. Jimmie Rivera
Rivera may have lost three of his last four fights, but its worth bearing in mind that he was coming out on the wrong end of decisions to some of the best in the division like Marlon Moraes, Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan.
The truth is Rivera is still a good striker who has respectable power, fights at a high tempo, is very durable and has strong takedown defense.
Stamann has done very well in his UFC campaign to date though, only losing one in seven outings, and he’ll make things competitive on the feet, while also looking to mix things up more by going for takedowns.
I think he’ll have difficulty getting Rivera to the mat though, and in a prolonged striking battle I actually think it’s Rivera who will be able to battle his way to a closely fought decision victory.
Jimmie Rivera wins by decision.
Molly McCann vs. Taila Santos
McCann has always been a tough, gritty fighter and a willing striker, but it’s actually been her willingness to also wrestle that’s helping her put together a nice run of form in the UFC.
That’s likely to be something she’ll want to utilize in this fight as Santos has good technical striking and could pick holes in McCann’s striking defense if this bout plays out on the feet.
Santos hasn’t fought in well over a year though and I think McCann can put the pressure on here, mix things up with takedowns and spells of top control and emerge victorious on the scorecards.
Molly McCann wins by decision.
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Mounir Lazzez
This match-up should produce fireworks as both men are proven finishers on the feet.
Razak Alhassan in particular is a lethal striker and has found a finish in all 10 of his career victories to date – all inside the first round, including four during his UFC tenure to date.
Lazzez’s record is also impressive, but he’s not been fighting the same caliber of opposition and doesn’t wield quite the same power as his opponent, so I think this will be a tough debut for him.
The fact that Alhassan hasn’t fought for two years is a concern, but I expect him to make up for lost time with an aggressive start that will see him emerge with a first round KO victory.
Abdul Razak Alhassan wins by KO in Rd1.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
John Phillips vs. Khamzat Chimaev
Ricardo Ramos vs. Lerone Murphy
Modestas Baukauskas vs. Andreas Michalidis
Jared Gordon vs. Chris Fishgold
Liana Jojua vs. Diana Belbita
Jack Shore vs. Aaron Phillips
Jorge Gonzalez vs. Kenneth Bergh