UFC 241: Cormier vs Miocic 2 | Televised Prelims

UFC 241: Cormier vs Miocic 2 | Televised Prelims

155lbs- Devonte Smith (10-1-0) vs Khama Worthy (14-6-0)

The final fight of the undercard has been ravaged by injury- Devonte “King Kage” Smith will now face the debuting Khama Worthy after John Makdessi and Clay Collard both pulled out of the bout. Smith is 2-0 in the UFC with a pair of first-round knockouts of Julian Erosa and Dong Hyun Ma. Worthy has won 5 straight fights since a 2017 knockout loss suffered to current UFC competitor Kyle Nelson.

Worthy will have less than a week to prepare for the fight. He is the taller man by 2-inches, but he will give up 2-inches of reach. Smith is the younger fighter by 7-years.

Smith showcased impressive striking technique and blistering power, putting down Erosa. He was tested a little more against Ma, but utilized hard low kicks and excellent footwork prior to getting the finish.

His 1-2 combination is simple but incredibly dangerous. The speed at which he deploys his offense is the ultimate factor in his success.

Khama has some power in his hands with 8 wins by knockout, but the 5 knockout losses is far more significant considering Smith’s recent track record.

He looked a little stiff in some dated footage and got brutally KOed by Matt Bessette. His defense is concerning which isn’t surprising considering his knockout numbers.

Worthy stepped in to keep Smith on the card. Stylistically, this is a terrible fight for him. Smith appears to have the advantage in almost all categories; especially technique, speed, and power. That should be enough to give him the required edge to earn a victory. Worthy will struggle to settle in as Smith works in and out, eventually landing with power for the finish- my prediction is Devonte Smith to defeat Khama Worthy by knockout.

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135lbs- #3 Raphael Assuncao (27-6-0) vs #9 Cory Sandhagen (10-1-0)

A battle of top-ranked Bantamweights features Brazilian Raphael Assuncao taking on surging contender Cory Sandhagen. Sandhagen has won 6 straight, 4 in the UFC, including a split decision win over John Lineker in his last fight. Assuncao is coming off a submission loss to Marlon Moraes, snapping his 4-fight winning streak.

Sandhagen is a full 6-inches taller than Assuncao and he will have a 4″ reach advantage. The American is the younger man by 10-years.

The Brazilian fighter has been near the top of the division for a number of years, but a prolonged break and a couple of untimely high-profile losses will most likely keep him from a title fight.

Conversely, Sandhagen is coming off the highest-profile win of his career and could take another massive step forward with a win over Assuncao.

A BJJ Black belt, Assuncao boasts rock-solid TDD and will go offensive with his own takedowns when needed. Sandhagen completed a pair of takedowns against Lineker and has a strong ground and pound game once in top position.

On the feet, Sanhagen stays active. He throws a variety of offensive techniques and while he tends to hang his hands, it allows him to throw punches from awkward angles.

Raphael is more of a counter puncher. He will sit back and look to catch his opponents as they come in. When he does initiate exchanges he will often do so with hard low kicks. At times, his willingness to allow his opponents to lead the exchanges makes for very close fights on the feet.

If Sandhagen is too reckless, Assuncao has the skills to capitalize and score a decision win or snatch a submission. Conversely, the combination of length and pressure brought by Cory presents a considerable problem for the counter-heavy Brazilian. The jab of Sandhagen will allow him to touch Assuncao at a range where Raphel can’t reach him and it will draw out Assuncao’s counters in the process. Cory will outwork the Brazilian from start to finish, blitzing him more and more as he slow- my prediction is Cory Sandhagen to defeat Raphael Assuncao by TKO.

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155lbs- Christos Giagos (10-1-1) vs Drakkar Klose (16-7-0)

In the Lightweight division, “The Spartan” Christos Giagos meets 5-fight UFC veteran Drakkar Klose. Klose is 4-1 in the UFC, earning back to back wins over Lando Vannata and Bobby Green. Giagos went 1-3 during his first UFC run and after another defeat in his return, he has since secure wins over Mizuto Hirota and Damir Hadzovic.

Giagos is an inch taller to go along with a 1″ reach advantage. Christos is the younger man by 2-years.

Over his last 2 fight, Giagos has found a lot of success with his wrestling. He has completed 12 takedowns in 3 wins compared to giving up 7 TDs over 3 defeats- 2 ending via submission loss.

Giagos’ success hinges on his ability to find success on the floor.

Klose comes from a wrestling background has shown he can wrestle when needed. Defensively, he has also been taken down, but overall he has stopped 70% of his opponents’ attempts.

On the feet, both men can crack- but neither has shown stopping power in the UFC. Klose’s volume is far from overwhelming and he is coming off a fight where he was on the wrong end of the striking totals, but edge out a decision.

Klose can be an emotional fighter and has shown visible frustration when his opponent has been unwilling to engage him on the feet.

Klose has solid TDD and that should serve to remove a key element of Giagos’s success. If Klose can add in his own takedown offense, that would give him a further edge. Giagos has a tendency to fade in rounds and if he spends too much unsuccessful energy looking for takedowns early that could speed up his slow down. Klose needs to be mindful of his offensive output and not get outworked. He will offer some decent kicks and a sharp jab to headline the vertical exchanges as the busier and more impactful striker- my prediction is Drakkar Klose to defeat Christos Giagos by decision.

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135lbs- Manny Bermudez (14-0-0) vs Casey Kenney (8-1-1)

Undefeated submission ace Manny “Bermudez Triangle” Bermudez battles promotional sophomore Casey Kenney in the Bantamweight division. Bermudez is an impressive 3-0 in the UFC with all 3 wins coming by submission- most recently choking out Benito Lopez. Kenney debuted with a narrow upset win over Ray Borg to extend his current winning streak to 5 in a row.

Manny is the taller man by 3-inches to go along with a 3″ reach advantage. He is also 3 years younger than Kenney.

The approach of Bermudez has been fairly straight forward and effective. Close the distance, initiate a grappling exchange, and start looking for submissions until he gets the finish.

He has picked up a pair of first-round wins in the UFC, but was pushed into the middle frame in his debut before getting the win.

Kenney survived on the mat against a talented grappler in Borg, but he did relinquish 7 takedowns in the process. He stuffed just 3 of Ray’s TDAs.

Considering the danger that Bermudez present on the mat, Kenney needs to keep this fight standing. He is a decent striker, but as the shorter man with a reach disadvantage, he will be forced to continually push forward into the grasp of his foe.

Kenney struggled with the grappling pressure of Borg and is now facing a bigger man with a more opportunistic submission game. Bermudez is surprisingly strong and his striking is improving which helps him to close the gap. Once he gets his hands on Kenny, Manny should find success dragging him to the floor. If Casey can survive the first 7-8 minutes he could turn the action in his favour, but my prediction is Manny Bermudez to defeat Casey Kenney by submission.

 

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