I improved to (3-2) with my main card picks for UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Hooker. I was well on my way to going (4-1) before a third-round hail mary D’Arce choke from Julian Erosa against Sean Woodson crushed my hopes and dreams.
This is usually the time of year for International Fight Week in Las Vegas, routinely one of the promotions biggest PPV events of the year. Featuring cards stacked with talent from across the globe. Perhaps a new tradition will begin tonight as the UFC shifts from the APEX in Vegas to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
The main card begins with a matchup in the women’s flyweight division. Paige VanZant (8-4) makes her return to the Octagon facing No. 15 ranked Amanda Ribas (9-1). This is the last fight on PVZ’s contract with the UFC. She hasn’t fought in nearly a year and a half due to multiple surgeries on the arm she initially broke in her fight against Jessica-Rose Clark. How much will ring rust play a factor? Ribas via submission.
Next up, in the women’s strawweight division, a rematch between two former champions. No. 1 ranked Jéssica Andrade (20-7) faces No. 2 ranked ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas (9-4). Andrade, was stopped in the first round of her first title defense against Zhang Weili last August. Namajunas has not fought since the last time she faced Andrade, losing her title by TKO due to a vicious slam. I can’t see that happening again. Namajunas via decision.
The first of three championship fights begin with a contest for the vacant men’s bantamweight title. Former WEC and UFC featherweight champ José Aldo (28-6) squares off against Russian Petr Yan (14-1) for the belt vacated by Henry Cejudo upon his retirement. Aldo is 33 going on 45, coming off two consecutive defeats, facing a young lion in the form of Yan. This does not add up to a victory for the Brazilian legend. Yan by TKO.
The co-main event features another rematch in the men’s featherweight division. Max Holloway (21-5) hopes to regain the belt he lost to Alexander Volkanovski (21-1) at UFC 245. Volkanovski outstruck Holloway in every category during their first fight, and I don’t see how that will change tonight. Volkanovski via decision.
In the main event, a title fight in the welterweight division between Kamaru Usman (16-1) and No. 3 ranked Jorge Masvidal (35-13). Usman, originally scheduled to defend his belt against Gilbert Burns. However, Burns was pulled from the card after testing positive for the coronavirus. Usman’s wrestling is going to be the difference in this one. It’s going to be a long night for ‘Street Jesus.’ Usman by decision.