UFC 238: Cejudo vs Moraes | Early Prelim

UFC 238: Cejudo vs Moraes | Early Prelim

115lbs- #12 Yan Xiaonan (9-1-0 1NC) vs Angela Hill (8-6-0)

In the final fight of the early prelims, China’s Yan Xiaonan takes on former Invicta FC Champion Angela “Overkill” Hill in the Strawweight division. Xiaonan is 3-0 in the UFC with a win over Yuri Kondo in her most recent outing. Hill took a decision over Jodie Esquibel in late April to end a 2-fight losing skid.

Hill is replacing Felice Herrig with just over a month to prepare. Yan is the taller fighter by 2 inches, but Hill will have a slight 1″ reach advantage. Xiaonan is 4 years younger.

This fight stands to be a high volume onslaught on both sides. Yan is coming off a 150 strike performance and Hill has surpassed the century mark in 4 of her last 5 outings. Angela has also given up over 100 strikes on 3 occasions- losing each fight.

Despite fighting a full 9-rounds, Xiaonan finished the majority of her fights on the regional scene. As a result, she had limited experience in longer fights and has experienced some slowdowns in the later rounds.

Hill has struggled in close fights and lacks significant stopping power. She is 6-4 on the cards and 1-1 in decisions.

Both girls are willing to trade high volume barrages, so this bout could come down to who absorbs less. Hill defense appears to be a little more open and Yan also has the edge in power. The biggest concern for Yan is that she tires in the last round, but her constant forward pressure and Hill’s willingness to backtrack will weigh in Xiaonan’s favour- my prediction is Yan Xiaonan to defeat Angela Hill by decision.

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185lbs- Bevon Lewis (5-1-0) vs Darren Stewart (9-4-0 1NC)

In a fight featuring a pair of Middleweights looking to rebound from defeat, Bevon Lewis makes his sophomore appearance opposed Darren “The Dentist” Stewart. Lewis looked good for 2 rounds but suffered a 3rd round knockout defeat to Uriah Hall- the first loss of his young career. Stewart found some traction with back to back bouts, fell via decision to Edmen Shahbazyan.

Lewis is 3 inches taller than Stewart and will have a 5″ reach advantage. Stewart is the older man by 1-year.

Stewart never got out of the starting gates against Shabazyan and when he did have an opening for a late rally, he failed to get the finish.

He does have power, finishing 7 of his 9 pro wins by knockout.

Despite the loss, Lewis looked good early but noticeably started to slow in the final frame and suffered a brutal knockout. The finish raises concerns against a heavy hitter like Stewart.

He stayed active on the feet throughout the first 2 rounds and is known for his clinch-based attack. Lewis trains alongside Jon Jones and some similarities between the 2 fighters is evident.

One area that Stewart has struggled with has been in his grappling defense. He gave up 8 takedowns in his most recent outing. He has shown limited ability to deal with a grappling/wrestling beyond simply holding on and hoping for a standup.

Lewis’ loss to Hall came largely because he was unable to maintain his performance in the final frame. Stewart’s success in the UFC has been based on his ability to rally from rough starts and finish his foe. If Lewis has another late letdown, Stewart is capable of capitalizing. Instead, look for Bevon to learn from his debut and combined his wrestling, clinch offense, and more active striking front over the duration- my prediction is Bevon Lewis to defeat Darren Stewart by decision.

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135lbs- Eddie Wineland (23-13-1) vs Grigory Popov (13-1-0)

Former WEC Champion and UFC title challenger Eddie Wineland returns to action when he battles the debuting Grigory Popv in the Bantamweight division. Wineland has lost back to back fights after seeing his 2-fight winning streak come to an end. Popov was torn through 9 straights opponents since suffering the first and only loss of his career.

Both men are 5’7″, but Wineland will have a slight 1″ reach advantage. Wineland has not fought in roughly 11-months.

Wineland’s strengths are his unorthodox striking and solid TDD. He has won by knockout in 6 of his last 7 victories with his only other win to come by split decision.

Eddie’s striking is dangerous, but his willingness to hang his hands and rely on his head movement has led to some recent knockout defeats and a heighten knockout total.

The debuting Russian has finished 4 opponents by knockout, 3 by submission and is a perfect 6-0 on the cards. His last 3 opponents are a dismal 5-8 and he has faced just 2 opponents with an above .500 record over his last 10 opponents.

Based in Muay Thai, Popov is coming off a TKO victory that came as a result of battering his opponent’s leg as he laid on the mat. He throws hard, but is defensively vulnerable.

Wineland’s style can be exploited, but it is also quite difficult to adjust to. The low level of competition is concerning for Popov and Wineland has the skills to exploit the defensive lapses in the debutant’s defense. The key for Wineland is to be aggressive without exposing himself- my prediction is Eddie Wineland to defeat Grigory Popov by TKO.

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125lbs- #2 Katlyn Chookagian (11-2-0) vs #6 Joanne Calderwood (13-3-0)

The opening fight of the night features a pair of competitors attempting to position themselves as the next title contender in the Women’s Flyweight division as Katlyn Chookagian takes on Joanne Calderwood. Chookagian is coming off of a narrow split-decision loss to current title challenger Jessica Eye. Calderwood has won back to back fights since making the move up in weight.

Chookagian is the taller fighter by 3 inches to go along with a 3″ reach advantage. Chook is also 3 years younger than JoJo.

Building her offense around volume striking has been the key for Katlyn. The issue with this approach has been her lack of overall connection. Despite maintaining a high work rate, Chook often comes up short with her techniques.

Calderwood, based in Muay Thai, has proven herself more dangerous on the feet; finishing 5 opponents by knockout.

Where JoJo has found increasing success has been with her grappling skills. On multiple occasions, she has authored multiple takedowns that have equated to points scored in crucial moments. She also recently picked up her first career submission win.

When faced with an opponent looking to clinch and/or drag the fight to the floor- Chookagian has had some issues.

Calderwood has struggled at times with her inability to let her hands go. In this fight, she should be the more impactful striker if she maintains a consistent offensive output. As previously mentioned, Chookagian has had issues against opponents that mix in takedowns and Calderwood’s best performance have often including having success on the mat. Look for Calderwood to press forward, land the better strikes and scores some crucial top control time- my prediction is Joanne Calderwood to defeat Katlyn Chookagian by decision.[/Body_1

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