UFC 235- FightPass Early Prelim Predictions

UFC 235- FightPass Early Prelim Predictions

185lbs- Edmen Shahbazyan (6-0-0) vs Charles Byrd (9-5-0)

In the final fight of the FightPass Prelims, undefeated Edmen Shahbazyan meets “Kid Dynamite” Charles Byrd in the Middleweight division. Shahbazyan made a successful debut, defeating Darren Stewart by split decision. Byrd bested John Phillips in his first UFC outing, but fell to the aforementioned Stewart by middle frame TKO.

At 6’2″, the 21-year-old Shahbazyan is the taller man by 4 inches. He is 14-years younger than his foe.

A graduate of the Tuesday Night Contenders Series, Shahbazyan came into the UFC on the strength of 7 straight first-round knockout wins. He promptly went the distance in his debut.

Compiling a 2-0 record on the Contender’s circuit, Byrd’s submission win in his UFC debut was his 3rd consecutive and 5th overall.

Despite his knockout heavy record, Edmen offered a grappling-centric attack versus Stewart. He utilized a clinch and well-timed takedowns to control the fight.

Conversely, he didn’t mount much offence and was warned by the official for inactivity. As the fight went deeper, he slowed considerably. Byrd was taken down several times in his Contenders’ fights, but utilized his grapplings skills to earn the victory in both.

Shahbazyan built his record against some lower level opposition and capitalized on a frustrated and defensively vulnerable Stewart. Byrd’s submission and takedown skills are sound and he is the better athlete with a decent set of hands. Edmen gassed hard despite dictating the grappling exchanges and Byrd should make him work harder if he opts to go that route. Look for Shahbazyan’s lack of long fight experience to catch up to him- my prediction is Charles Byrd to defeat Edmen Shahbazyan by submission.

135lbs- Gina Mazany (5-2-0) vs Macy Chiasson (3-0-0)

In the Women’s Bantamweight division, TUF 28 winner Macy Chiasson makes her UFC divisional debut when she meets TUF 18 alumni Gina Mazany. Chiasson is coming off her debut and TUF tournament victory over Pannie Kianzad at Featherweight. Mazany is 1-2 in the UFC, defeating Yana Wu, but most recently dropping a decision to Lina Lansberg.

Chiasson is 5 inches taller than Gina and will have a 4″ reach advantage. Macy is the younger fighter by 3 years.

With the Woman’s Featherweight division appearing finished, Chiasson is taking a stab at making the cut to 135 pounds. Her desire to stay in the UFC could create a bad weight cutting scenario that severely impacts her performance.

If she can make the cut without issue, she will have a physical edge over most women in the division.

The only UFC win on Mazany’s record came on the basis of her takedown game. She completed 5 of 7 shots on route to a decision victory. Against Lansberg, she wasn’t nearly as active with her wrestling but still landed both her attempts.

In the TUF final, Chiasson showcased a decent sprawl and a swift back take once she had her foe overextended.

On the feet, Macy works well at range, but offers her best offence in the clinch with elbows, knees, and dirty boxing.

Mazany’s grinding wrestling attack could allow her to capitalize on Chiasson if the weight cut goes poorly. If not, Gina is going to struggle to find success with her takedowns. Chiasson will bust her up at range and do damage from the clinch. Look for Mazany to get desperate with her TDAs and Maci to capitalize- my prediction is Maci Chiasson to defeat Gina Mazany by submission.

115lbs- Polyana Viana (10-2-0) vs Hannah Cifers (8-3-0)

The first fight of the night and 1 of 3 female bouts sees Brazilian Polyana Viana taking on Hannah “Shockwave” Cifers in the Women’s Strawweight division. Vianna lost by decision to JJ Aldrich to drop her UFC record to 1-1 Cifers is making her sophomore appearance after suffering a middle frame TKO loss to Maycee Barber last November.

The Brazilian is 4 inches taller than Cifers and will have a 2″ reach advantage. Polyana is the older girl by just 2 weeks.

A decorated BJJ competitor, Viana has finished all 10 of her wins- 6 by submission. Cifers has recorded 5 wins by TKO- 4 in the opening frame.

Polyana’s UFC success has not surprisingly hinged on her mat game. In her debut, she secured an early takedown and scored the submission, but against Aldrich she completed just 1 of 5 takedowns and lost on the cards.

Cifers offers a Muay Thai based attack and needs to keep this fight standing to capitalize on her power. Polyana’s has a lot of holes in her standup; hanging her hands and leaving her head up and exposed while throwing single strikes.

Viana has finished all but 1 of her pro wins in the opening round, while carrying a 1-2 record beyond the first 5-minutes. She appeared to tire against Aldrich as the fight advanced and struggled to mount much offense.

The American made her debut on short notice and did an admirable job defending the clinch based TDAs of her opponent. Viana will look for takedowns from the clinch, but if she can’t get her opponent down- her striking leaves a lot to be desired. Cifers is a capable striker and has a far better track record outside of the first round. Polyana will initiate the clinch early, but as the fight progresses she will slow down and Cifers will take over on the feet- my prediction is Hannah Cifers to defeat Polyana Viana by decision.