UFC On ESPN 8 takes place this coming Saturday night, May 16th in Jacksonville, Florida and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris
Harris is a big man with good boxing, proven KO power and he’s a lot fresher than Overeem, who is coming towards the end of his career and has an alarming number of T(KO) losses on his record.
With that in mind a Harris KO victory certainly seems like a good possibility, but Overeem does have an ace up his sleeve in that he’s not afraid to use his wrestling skills when he needs to, and given that this is a weak point for Harris I’m going to cautiously pick ‘The Reem’ to apply a risk-averse strategy and emerge with a second round submission victory.
Alistair Overeem wins by submission in Rd2.
Claudia Gadelha vs. Angela Hill
Hill has done well to piece together a three fight winning streak in recent times, but she’s not faced anyone of Gadelha’s caliber during that period.
Nonetheless, if she can keep it standing, Hill’s speed, movement and high output could trouble Gadelha, but the Brazilian can hold her own to some extent on the feet and more importantly is a very strong, powerful grappler who I believe will be able to secure takedowns, exercise significant periods of control on the mat and then tapout Hill inside of ten minutes.
Claudia Gadelha wins by submission in Rd2.
Dan Ige vs. Edson Barboza
Barboza drops down to featherweight for the first time – an interesting move given that he’s already lean at lightweight, but clearly he is looking to hit the reset button after losing four of his last five fights.
The standard of competition Barboza was facing was very high though, while though he’s a talented, well-rounded fighter, Ige’s five-fight winning streak generally hasn’t been at that level. If the weight cut doesn’t deplete him too much I would favor Barboza to have the better technical striking here and stout enough takedown defense to keep it upright and win on the scorecards.
Edson Barboza wins by decision.
Eryk Anders vs. Krzysztof Jotko
Anders is a good athlete with heavy hands, but having coming into the sport relatively late doesn’t have the deepest or most refined skill-set.
Jotko is fairly well-rounded but isn’t a potent finisher. Instead, he relies on grinding his way to decision victories by stifling his opponents, often from the clinch or sometimes the mat, and while it might not be fun to watch, I think he might just be able to frustrate Anders and earn a dull decision victory.
Krzysztof Jotko wins by decision.
Song Yadong vs. Marlon Vera
This should be a fun one between two fighters who are both undefeated in their last five UFC fights.
Vera will bring a lot of spark to the fight with his all-action style and somewhat reckless striking being backed up by crafty grappling, but Yadong is an excellent athlete, hits hard for the division and is a good wrestler too. He will have to be careful on the mat though or Vera’s scrambling and submissions could catch him out, but I’ll say he does enough overall to edge out a decision win.
Song Yadong wins by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Anthony Hernandez vs. Kevin Holland
Irwin Rivera vs. Giga Chikadze
Cortney Casey vs. Mara Romero Borella
Darren Elkins vs. Nate Landwehr
Rodrigo Nascimento vs. Don’Tale Mayes