Fabricio Werdum vs Alexander Volkov
Just after he beat Cain Velaquez people were talking about Fabricio Werdum being the best heavyweight ever. Getting knocked out by Stipe Miocic has kind of cooled that a little bit but he’s definitely still in conversation. He’s 40 years old 6’4″ tall and 250lbs and is the most decorated heavyweight BJJ guy in mma with multiple championships in ADCC, The Pan American games and the World Championships. He also has wins over Fedor, Velaquez and Overeem. Although he is an absolutely world class grappler he is capable of fighting on the feet with almost everyone. As a fighter he is top class but as a man his moral decisions are maybe not so good with his involvement with the Chechen Akhmat Fight Club and brutal dictator Ramzan Kadyrov.
Alexander Volkov has been successful everywhere he has fought. He’s a former M1 and Bellator heavyweight champion and is currently on a 5 fight win streak. He’s 29, 6’7 and also around 250lbs his record is 29 wins and 6 losses, that’s a lot of fights for a 29 year old. This is his fourth fight in the UFC and although he has looked less than spectacular at times, he genuinely seems to have performed better with each outing. Werdum would be by far the biggest scalp on Volkov’s resume if he can pull it off.
I got a problem with this fight in that my instinct is saying Volkov wins and I’m trying to always follow my instincts but in looking at the matchup I don’t see how he will pull it off. Volkov is big tall and long, good at keeping people on the end of punches. His combinations are very good and fluid for a big guy. Has very good knees and uses the teep kick a lot to keep distance. Although he’s well rounded you would imagine he has to avoid the ground with Werdum. Werdum is more of a single striker, good counters, good punches, good knees and hard kicks. As I mentioned before although Werdum is the best heavyweight Jiu Jitsu fighter ever in mma, he is very comfortable striking. It’s a 5 round fight but neither of them have real problems with cardio and although Werdum has more ways to win I feel that Volkov has got better in each of his UFC fights and can cause Fabricio problems with his movement and speed, just hope he lays off the teep. Anyway fuck it I’m following my instincts and saying Volkov gets the finish in round 3.
Prediction : Volkov by TKO
Result : Volkov by TKO
Jimi Manuwa vs Jan Blachowicz
When Jimi Manuwa signed for the UFC in 2012 he was the hottest British prospect to come along for a long time. He was 11-0 with all finishes, 10 TKO/KO and 1 submission. For a while in the UFC he lived up to the hype but then of course there are levels and Manuwa just wasn’t ready for the very top guys but in reality, very few people ever are. He lost to Gustafsson and Rumble Johnson relatively easily but the fight with Oezdemir, I would like to see a rematch cos I’m not sure the result would be the same. The light heavyweight picture is changing though, with AJ retired, Jones facing a long suspension and DC setting a date for finishing up. A few good wins puts Jimi right in the picture.
Jan Blachowicz is a former KSW light heavyweight. Very tough and very experienced with 28 wins for 7 losses. His UFC stint has been kind of win some lose some. I guess he is a gatekeeper of sorts, a tough fight for most. He’s well rounded, a good striker with a good submission game. He’s 35 years old and 6’2.
A rematch of a fight the had in 2015 with Manuwa winning the decision. I honestly don’t think much will change from then, Manuwa will push the action more and Blachowicz will try to counter fight. They both hit hard and will both be wary of the others power. I see a kinda close fight with a good bit of clinch work again. I give Jimi the edge due to cleaner striking and pushing the aggression more, if Blachowicz can get some takedowns then that can change things but I don’t see that being an issue.
Prediction : Manuwa by decision
Result : Blachowicz by decision
Tom Duquesnoy vs Terrion Ware
Tom Duquesnoy the ‘Fire Kid’, 24 years old and 5’7. 15 wins with 2 losses. He’s from France and is the former BAMMA featherweight and bantamweight champion. He very fast and very dynamic with punches, kicks, knees and especially elbows. He’s aggressive but measured as in he likes to come forward but he doesn’t just wade in. He southpaw and like I said he has good hands and really likes to get to the clinch and throw a lot of nice elbows. His UFC record is 1-1 with the loss to Cody Stamann and I suppose this fight will determine if he will be a contender at some point of just one of the other guys but hey he’s still young.
To be honest I really don’t know much about Terrion Ware at all. He’s 31 years old, 5’8 with a record of 17 wins and 7 losses. His UFC record is 2 losses but they are losses to very highly touted prospects in O’Malley and Stamann but still sitting on two losses ain’t where you want to be. As far as skills go he is a very good boxer, really nice punches with real economy of effort. He’s very relaxed and doesn’t put full power into every shot. His kicks are stiff and his takedown defence ain’t that great.
Would be easy to look at this fight and say Duquesnoy wins… and I think Duquesnoy does win this, but I could see him having some trouble, possibly. Duquesnoy is faster and has way more tools but he really likes to close the distance to that clinch and he can tend to eat a few punches on the way in if he’s not careful. As I said Ware is a very good boxer mixes up head and body shots well and has good cardio for the whole fight as you expect for 135ers I guess. If Duquesnoy uses his head, keeps his ranges good and doesn’t get caught in a boxing brawl he wins this though.
Prediction – Duquesnoy by decision
Result : Duquesnoy by decision
Leon Edwards vs Peter Sobotta
Edward is the former BAMMA Welterweight champion. He’s 26 years old and 6’0 tall with a record of 14 wins and 3 losses. He’s currently on a 4 fight win streak. He southpaw and is good standing up as well as on the ground.
I remember Peter Sobotta in his first run in the UFC in 2010 ish. He lost all three fightsand the impression I got from him was that he was just happy to be there, woo hoo I made it. This is much more noticeable when you compare it him now, he seems to have a completely different attitude and mindset and much better results. He’s currently on a 2 fight win streak including a win over Nicolas Dalby and Ben Saunders after being stopped by Kyle Nokes. He’s 31 years old and 6’0 with a record of 17 wins and 5 losses. He’s a BJJ black belt under Dean Lister so he’s very good on the ground, good top game but also good on the feet.
I expect this one to be fairly close with both guys being good enough at all ranges to be competitive in the fight. I feel Sobotta is just a bit better at most things and quite a bit better at grappling and add that to the mindset and I think he has success here.
Prediction : Sobotta by decision
Result : Edwards by TKO
Rest Of The Card
Charles Byrd vs John Phillips
Should be a good scrap between 2 guys who hit hard. If it stays standing I give the edge to Phillips.
Prediction : Phillips
Result : Byrd
Oliver Enkamp vs Danny Roberts
Both coming off loses to Taleb, Enkamp by decision and Roberts getting stopped in under a minute. On the feet Roberts has a chance but stylistically Enkamp can just out point him I think.
Prediction : Enkamp
Result : Roberts
Jack Marshman vs Bradley Scott – Cancelled
Two guys who get hit a lot. Fancy Marshman to catch Scott and put him down.
Prediction : Marshman
Hakeem Dawodu vs Danny Henry
Hakeem is making his debut here. He’s a hard technical striker with got defensive range that I think can cause problems for Henry.
Prediction : Dawodu
Result : Henry
Magomed Ankalaev vs Paul Craig
Ankalaev is undefeated and he will stay that way for now.
Prediction : Ankalaev
Result : Craig
Nasrat Haqparast vs Nad Narimani – Cancelled
Nad probably deserves his shot but this is very short notice against a bigger guy who hits hard. I hope he puts on a performance and gets another shot but I can’t see him being successful here.
Prediction : Haqparast
Kajan Johnson vs Stevie Ray
Tough one for me, a real case of heart over head but I got to back my countryman. If I’m wrong I’ll take the loss.
Prediction : Ray
Result : Johnson
Mark Godbeer vs Dmitriy Sosnovskiy
Sosnovskiy is young, strong and violent. Godbeer is tough but I think Dmitriy will overwhelm him.
Prediction : Sosnovskiy
Result : Sosnovskiy
Predicted results 3/10