The UFC is back in action tonight as they present UFC Fight Night Live once again from the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. The fights start tonight with Prelims beginning at 6pm on ESPN followed by the main card at 9pm. The main event features two heavyweights going toe-to-toe in hopes of catapulting themselves into title contention. Alistair Overeem will do battle with Walt Harris. In the co-main event, two straw weights go to war as Claudia Gadelha hopes to return to the top of the division in facing fellow Ultimate fighter Alum, Angela Hill.
It wouldn’t be fight week with out any drama, right? Let’s give a quick rundown before we dive into each fight.
- Marvin Vettori weighed in as an alternate (203.5 lbs)
- HOF Urijah Faber weighed in as an alternate (153.5 lbs)
- Mike Davis had a problem with his weight cut, and is forced to sit out.
- Davis will be replaced by Irwin Rivera (Titan FC Bantamweight champ)
“The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem vs. “The Big Ticket ” Walt Harris
Odds: Harris (-155) Overeem (+124)
The main event is a battle for a step forward into the upper echelon of the Heavyweight division. Overeem, a former Strikeforce champion, enters this contest after a last second loss to Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Alistair is a physical striker, but don’t forget about his ground game. He’s finished 19 opponents via submission in his career. Walt Harris will enter the octagon with emotions running high. This will be the first fight since the tragic loss of his step-daughter who was tragically murdered last year.
He mentioned that she would want him to continue fighting, so now Walt fights for Aniah Blanchard. Walt is riding a 4 fight win streak after a big win over Aleksei Oleinik. Harris finished all 13 of his opponents via knockout. Is Overeem next? We shall see. The main event will be electric in Jacksonville tonight.
Prediction: Harris (-155) via KO (Rd 3)
“Claudinha” Claudia Gadelha vs. “Overkill” Angela Hill
Odds: Gadelha (-230) Hill (+180)
Claudia Gadelha enters tonight as the #6 ranked strawweight in the division. A win over Angela Hill could re-enter her name back into the title conversation for the first time since her 2 losses over Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The former Ultimate fighter coach is a submission specialist making 8 women tap out in her career. All 4 blemishes on her record are by way of decision. On the other side stands Angela Hill. She walks into the octagon tonight as the unquestioned underdog in this contest. Hill is enjoying a 3 fight win streak. Angela was a participant on the Ultimate fighter show in which she fell victim to Carla Esparza. This fight is Claudia’s time to shine, and to jump back into the conversation. I don’t see her wasting that opportunity.
Prediction: Gadelha (-230) via submission (Rd. 2)
“50K” Dan Ige vs. “Junior” Edson Barboza
Odds: Barboza (-150) Ige (+120)
After apparently being “bored” with the Lightweight division, Edson Barboza makes the trip down to make his featherweight debut against Dan Ige. Barboza has lost 4 of his last 5 fights at Lightweight. The opponents are quite impressive featuring bouts with Khabib, Paul Felder, and interim Lightweight champ Justin Gaethje. Perhaps that’s why the change was made for him. The Muay Thai striker has 12 TKO in 20 wins. Dan Ige is on a helluva run. 5 straight victories in the UFC after losing his debut. The former member of Dana White’s contender series has impressed so far in the UFC after earning a contract through the show. Don’t miss this fight. It should be a good one.
Prediction: Toss up, but I’m taking Barboza (-150) via Split decision
“Ya Boi” Eryk Anders vs. Krzysztof Jotko
Odds: Jotko (-155) Anders (+124)
This is an interesting fight. Both fighters are riding 2 fight win streaks after losing their previous 3 fights. A win here by either competitor could land them a spot in top 15 of the division. Anders and Jotko both enjoy the knockout as a combined 14 wins have come via TKO. However, Jotko does like to go the distance with 14 wins in his career come by way of a judge’s decision. Let’s call Jotko the Decision King! Eryk Anders is hoping to win this evening, and finish the night celebrating with fellow teammate Walt Harris, who’s poised to put an end to a seasoned veteran of the sport.
Prediction: Anders (+124) via KO (RD 3)
“The Terminator” Song Yadong vs. “Chito” Marlon Vera
Odds: Yadong (-200) Vera (+160)
This fight almost didn’t happen. Yadong was having visa issues, but those seem to be resolved. Faber was brought in as a last minute replacement, if necessary. In any event, this fight WILL go on as scheduled! What a way to start off the main card! Song Yadong is rebounding from a majority draw decision. Prior to that, he reeled off 7 straight wins. Yadong hasn’t lost a fight in 4 years. Meanwhile, Marlon Vera is no slouch. Vera has a 5 fight win streak of his own. The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America Alum has finished 8 of his opponents via submission. Vera has knockout power as well with 5 knockouts to his name. One of these fighters could enter the top 10 in the division after a win tonight. Tune in for this fight as they kickoff the main card shortly after 9pm.
Prediction: Yadong (-200) via Unanimous Decision
“The Immortal” Matt Brown vs. “Caramel Thunder” Miguel Baeza
Odds: Baeza (-160) Brown (+128)
The journeyman Matt Brown returns to the octagon to face Miguel Baeza. Matt Brown is the Welterweight division. He’s entering the 26th fight of his career in the division, which is tied for most in UFC history with Thiago Alves. Also, he’s tied for 2nd most victories as a UFC welterweight (Hughes, Alves, Magny), only behind Georges St. Pierre. Miguel Baeza was 13 years old when Matt Brown entered the UFC. Baeza very much respects Matt Brown as a fighter. Baeza was a participant of Dana White’s contender series, and earned a UFC contract. Baeza has an unblemished professional record, and looks to keep his undefeated streak in tact when he faces Matt Brown this evening in Jacksonville.
Prediction: Records stay in tact, Baeza (-160) wins via decision
“Fluffy” Anthony Hernandez vs. “Trailblazer” Kevin Holland
Odds: Hernandez (-115) Holland (-110)
It seems like the participants of Dana White’s contender series are taking over UFC fight night in Jacksonville. Anthony Hernandez is a grappling technician who’s earned 5 submission victories in his professional career. Hernandez is currently 1-1 in the UFC. Kevin Holland is looking to rebound after a defeat his last time in the octagon. He enjoyed a 4 fight win streak prior to his loss. Holland is pretty balanced in his victories winning 7 fights by TKO, and 6 by submission. However, something to monitor in this fight is Hernandez in his submission attempts. Holland lost both UFC fights via rear naked choke. That could be in Mr. Holland’s near future.
Prediction: Hernandez (-115) via Submission (Rd. 1)
Giga Chikadze vs. “The Beast” Irwin Rivera
Odds: Chikadze (-425) Rivera (+310)
Giga Chikadze was preparing to fight Mike Davis, but once again, he was forced out of the fight. This time, the result was a tough weight cut and a recommendation to not fight. Chikadze wasn’t happy about this, but the show must go on. The current bantamweight champion of the Titan FC promotion lives in Florida, and was asked to come fill in for Davis. Rivera weighed in at 153.5 lbs for tonight’s fight. Rivera will make his UFC debut tonight. He was undefeated in 2019 winning 3 bouts including finishing each of his opponents in those fights. Chikadze likes to strike as 6 of his 9 wins are via TKO. I’m excited for this bout!
Prediction: Upset city! Rivera (+310) wins via strikes (Rd 3)
“The Damage” Darren Elkins vs. “The Train” Nate Landwehr
Odds: Elkins (-125) Landwehr (Even)
Nate The Train pulls into the Jacksonville station ready to unleash havoc and win his first bout in the UFC. Darren Elkins may have other plans. While Elkins is struggling through a 3 bout losing streak, he did record a 6 fight win streak prior to that. A turn around for Elkins could be in the plans at UFC fight night. However, Landwehr is ready to make a name for himself. A veteran of the M-1 promotion, he reeled off 5 straight victories, 3 of which finished via strikes. Nate has a “Kill or be killed” fighting style, which should prove for an entertaining fight with Darren Elkins. In this fight, hands will be thrown, and someone will emerge victorious in a violent affair.
Prediction: Landwehr (Even) via Strikes (Rd 2)
Women’s Flyweight Bout
“Cast Iron” Courtney Casey vs. “Maravilha” Mara Romero Borella
Odds: Casey (-165) Borella (+132)
Courtney Casey enters tonight attempting to turns things around in the octagon. Casey has fell to her opponents in 3 of the last 4 fights. The losses all come via decision. The former D-1 soccer player got her break into the UFC as a fill in against Joanne Calderwood. She impressed that night despite the loss, earning fight of the night honors. Since then, it’s been a rocky road for Casey, staying afloat with a 8-7 record. Borella looks to rebound after a loss to Montana De LaRosa her last time in the cage. The former Judo instructor usually looks to the judge’s to announce her victories as 42% of her wins come by way of the judge’s scorecards. In her losses, she tends to be susceptible to a knockout as 4 losses have come via TKO. The Honduran fighter by way of Italy looks to represent American Top Team, and get back in the win column at UFC fight night.
Prediction: Borella (+132) via Split decision
“Ze Colmeia” Rodrigo Nascimento Ferreira vs. “King Kong” Don’Tale Mayes
Odds: Ferreira (-112) Mayes (-112)
The battle of the Contender series kicks off the prelims! Ferreira is making his UFC debut in Jacksonville. Hopefully, the third time is the charm for these fighters. They tried on 2 previous occasions to fight, but the ongoing pandemic took control. Ferreira is an impressive 7-0 as a professional, including 5 submissions. Mayes debuted back in October. He suffered a loss, but hopes to rebound tonight against Ferreira. Mayes finishes his opponents 57% of the time via TKO. This should be a fun combat of styles in the heavyweight division.
Prediction: Ferreira (-112) via submission (Rd 2)
There you have it folks. The UFC Fight Night preview is in the books. Hopefully, you’re ready for an exciting night of fights. Stay home, grab a beer, and sit back to enjoy the final installation of the Dana White live sports takeover this week!