On tap, for this weekend we have a 14 fight card headlined by heavyweight contenders Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov in a clash that could really propel either one to a potential title shot. The main card for this event might be the best one in the entire month of February. Expect an action-packed night of fights from the first fight to the very last.
Diego Ferreira vs. Beneil Dariush
Familiar foes Diego Ferreira and Beneil Dariush clash in a battle with title contender implications. Both fighters are coming into this fight scorching hot, as Dariush and Ferriera are riding 5+ win streaks.
Diego Ferreira has looked sensational ever since he lost to Beneil Dariush in their first encounter. Ferreira has rattled off 6 wins in his next 7 fights since with 3 coming inside the distance. He has come into his own over the last few years much like his fellow Brazilian Charles Oliveira. Ferreira is looking to make a statement with a win here over Dariush to cement himself as a top contender in the lightweight division.
Other than his gray hair, Beneil Dariush just doesn’t look like he ever ages. Dariush has been a staple in the lightweight division for the last 7 years. It is now in year 7 where Dariush can really make a big leap in the now wide open lightweight division. He also has looked the best he ever has with a 5 fight win streak with 4 coming inside the distance.
This fight will play at much like the first fight between the two. The striking battle on the feet will be close early on. It will then depend on the wrestling of both competitors to really what perspires for the rest of the fight. Dariush will need to work his grappling and ground control to get his hand raised. While Ferriera is in need of keeping the fight standing where he has the volume and cardio advantages. Expect Ferreira to show his improvements in his defensive wrestling over the years and beat Dariush in a one-sided striking affair.
Diego Ferreira via Unanimous Decision
Alexandre Pantoja vs. Manel Kape
The long-awaited UFC debut of Manel Kape is finally among us. The Rizen Bantamweight champ is taking on long time UFC Flyweight contender Alexandre Pantoja. Kape is coming into this contest as one of the top flyweight prospects outside of the UFC. Pantoja on the other hand has always been just one fight away from a title fight for most of his time in the UFC. This fight will go down as one of or if not the best fight on the entire fight card.
Manel Kape is looking to keep his momentum going into his UFC debut as he is coming off of a 3 fight knockout win streak. Kape’s combination of speed and power is hard for any fighter to overcome.
Pantoja is coming into this fight losing two of his last three and is in dire need of a win here. Pantoja in his most recent bout seemed too complacent on the feet and didn’t push the envelope. Instead, he let Askarov dictate the pace of the entire fight, but if there is anyone that can bring the fight out of Pantoja it’s Kape.
This is going to be a great scrap that could easily be the fight of the night. Expect high octane, action-packed and intense fight. Kape’s speed and raw power will be the difference-maker in this fight. Pantoja is going to want to look for the takedowns early but as the fight goes fatigue will set in and Kape will take over.
Manel Kape via 2nd round KO/TKO
Marion Reneau vs. Macy Chiasson
Two top-15 ranked Women’s Bantamweight contenders square in a battle between two fighters on completely different career trajectories. Marion Reneau the 11 fight veteran is looking like her best days are behind her as she is coming into this fight on a three-fight losing streak. All while Chiasson is looking to make a statement with a win against longtime Women’s Bantamweight staple Reneau.
Marion Reneau is looking to finally get back into win the column, something she hasn’t done in 3 years. Her opponents just all seem to have a leg up on her at this stage of her career. Even though, Reneau is still one of the toughest competitors in the bantamweight division.
Macy Chiasson tasted defeat for the first time in her career against Lina Lansberg just a little over a year ago. She then put in a dominant effort against Shanna Young her next time out. Chiasson showed some improvements after her first loss. That might have been the recipe for Chiasson to take that step forward in her career.
This might be a close fight in the early going but I can expect one aging fighter to fade as the fight progresses. Chiasson will use her size and strength to her advantage against Reneau. Chiasson will be able to use her reach advantage to keep Reneau at the end of her punches and her strength to win the clinch battles for a lopsided 15-minute affair.
Macy Chiasson via Unanimous Decision
Cory Sandhagen vs Frankie Edgar
In the co-main event on this stacked fight is perennial Bantamweight contenders Cory Sandhagen and Frankie Edgar. Both of these fighters were scheduled to fight around this time last year but Edgar was rescheduled to fight Pedro Munhoz. They are now finally getting to square off, where both fighters are coming off of wins their last time out.
Cory Sandhagen has been on a tear ever since coming into the UFC. He is a 6-1 record in the UFC with his only loss coming against now title challenger Aljamain Sterling. After taking his first loss in the UFC he came back with a vengeance by knocking out Marlon Moraes in just 6:03.
Frankie Edgar was able to get the hard fought victory in his last fight against Pedro Munhoz in his Bantamweight debut. A longtime UFC staple in both the men’s Lightweight and Featherweight divisions has now racked up wins in 3 different weight classes. Edgar believes this is his division and he has a lot left in the tank. Coming off of a win for the first time in almost 3 years, Edgar is hoping he can keep the momentum going.
Frankie Edgar’s best is all but in the past but he still brings the same energy each and every fight. Sandhagen on the other hand is at his best form right now and is just one fight away from securing himself a title shot. Sandhagen should be able to have a field day teeing off on Edgar much like Munhoz did for 5 full rounds. It’s hard to see Edgar at this stage of his career pulling off a major upset over Sandhagen.
Cory Sandhagen via 2nd round KO/TKO
Alistair Overeem vs Alexander Volkov
In the main event for this weekend’s fight card at the Apex is a clash in the heavyweight division between two perennial title contenders Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov. A win by either fighter can put themselves in the mix for a shot at the title.
Alexander Volkov is coming into this fight with Alistair Overeem off of a one sided beatdown of Walt Harris. Volkov was able to use his size and length to pick apart Harris with relative ease. Things will look to be a bit more difficult in this matchup with the former K-1 kickboxer. Even so, Volkov should have the striking advantage when at a distance.
Alistair Overeem is looking to make one last title push before calling it a career. He looks like he is resurging late in his career with back to back wins by TKO against Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai. This is the best version of Overeem we have seen in quite some time, which makes for a great main event.
What it boils it down to is whether or not Overeem is going to be looking to fight at distance or inside the clinch. If he is able to work on the inside of Volkov, wear on him against the cage and land some takedowns he can possibly squeak out the win. But if Volkov is able to keep Overeem at the end of his punches he might not be able to make it out of round 3. Volkov should be able to fend off the takedowns, stay off the cage and put it on Overeem late in the fight.
Alexander Volkov via 3rd round KO/TKO