I was not doing too shabby last week until Kelvin Gastelum’s dearth of heel hook defense blew my chances for a (4-1) night. Who knows if he would have ended up winning in the long run, but that was an embarrassing display for a professional of his caliber. After going (3-2) last Saturday, my record stands at (15-12).
I am so excited about the return of Khamzat Chimaev (7-0). I know it has been only ten days since we last saw him make his UFC debut. This time he will be fighting at his natural weight class in a welterweight scrap with Rhys Mckee (10-2-1), the Cage Warriors prospect recently signed a four-fight contract with the promotion after taking this fight on six days notice. Chimaev will be ready to go again in another ten days. Chimaev by TKO or submission.
Up next, a potential Fight of The Night contender, Alex ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira (20-8-1, 2NC) takes on Peter Sobotta (17-6-1), if Oliveira can keep this fight standing I like his chances. Ten of Sobotta’s, seventeen victories have come via submission, it would behoove him to get this fight to the ground. Sobotta by submission.
In the light heavyweight division Paul Craig (12-4-1) meets Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-6). Craig will have a substantial height and reach advantage against, Antigulov who was stopped by punches in his last two outings. Eleven of Craig’s twelve wins have come by way of submission. Craig by submission.
On to the women’s strawweight division, Carla Esparza (17-6) faces Marina Rodriguez (12-0-2). This bout, originally set to take place on July 15th, was canceled and quickly rescheduled after one of Rodriguez’s cornermen tested positive for COVID-19. Esparza looked tough in her recent close win over Michelle Waterson. Hopefully, she gets going a little earlier in this one. Esparza via decision.
Making his heavyweight debut this evening, Alexander Gustafsson (18-6) takes on the former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (23-9-1). Werdum looked slow and out of shape in his May 9th decision loss to Alexsei Oleinik. Gustafsson tipped the scales at 240 pounds, yet I think he will still have the speed advantage in the striking game. Gustafsson by TKO.
In the co-main event, the trilogy that should have happened much sooner, Maurício ‘Shogun’ Rua (26-11-1) squares off for the third time against Antônio Rogério Nogueira (23-9). Rua has a decision victory over, Nogueira in both PRIDE and the UFC, I don’t think it’s going the distance this time. Rua by TKO.
On to the main event, former UFC Middleweight Champion, Robert Whittaker (21-5) faces Darren Till (18-2-1). Whittaker last fought at UFC 243, losing his title to Israel Adesanya after being knocked out in the second round. Till looked good in his return to middleweight picking up a split decision win over, Kelvin Gastelum his last time out. I think Whittaker brings too much pressure, and it will ultimately fold Till’s will. Whittaker by TKO.