UFC Fight Night 162: Maia vs Askren | Prelim Predictions

UFC Fight Night 162: Maia vs Askren | Prelim Predictions

115lbs- Randa Markos (9-7-1) vs Ashley Yoder (6-4-0)

The final fight of the undercard was bitten by the injury-bug with Yan Xiaonan replaced by Canadian Randa Markos as she now takes on Ashley Yoder. Yoder started her UFC run with a trio of defeats, but she has since picked back to back wins over Amanda Cooper and Syuri Kondo. Markos lost a decision to Claudia Gadelha in her last fight- she is 5-6-1 in the UFC.

Yoder is 3-inches taller and will have a sizable 6″ reach advantage. The American is 2-years younger.

With the majority of each fighters’ success has come predominantly on the mat. Yoder a BJJ Brown belt has submitted 4 opponents and completed at least 1 takedown in all but 1 of her UFC fights. Similarly, Markos has 4 submission wins and 16 takedowns in 12 Octagon bouts.

Both girls are sub .500 on the scorecards. Yoder is 2-1 in split decisions and Markos is 1-2.

Markos has faced a better level of competition, but Yoder has found more recent success. Randa is the better striker, with better technique and power. If either girl can establish ground dominance, that is their key to victory. Yoder struggled with the grappling of Amanda Cooper, who is a lighter version of Markos. If Randa doesn’t wear down, she will get the better of the striking exchanges and hold superior position when they hit the floor- my prediction is Randa Markos to defeat Ashley Yoder by decision.

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155lbs- Alex White (13-5-0) vs Rafael Fiziev (6-1-0)

After a brief and unsuccessful debut, Rafael Fiziev attempts to rebound against 9-fight UFC veteran Alex “The Spartan Whit in the Lightweight division. White is coming off a decision win over Dan Moret to improve to 3-5 in the UFC. Fiziev suffered a first frame TKO loss to Magomed Mustafaev- the first loss of his career.

White is 4-inches taller, but they have an identical reach. Fiziev is the younger man by 5-years.

A former Featherweight, White hasn’t found much more success at 155-pounds. Despite his 5-5 split of finishes, he has spent the majority of his time on the feet. Fiziev is a strong striker finishing 5 of his 6 wins by knockout- all but 1 in the first frame. White has been knocked out once, but was also dropped by Jim Miller prior to getting submitted.

Fiziev was dropped with a turning side kick by Mustafaev before he had an opportunity to settle in.

White is the physically larger man, but Fiziev is the better striker and has some wrestling to fall back on. There are questions about Rafael’s chin after his debut, but White’s troublesome durability is more of a certainty at this point. The American is very hittable and has struggled with less capable strikers. Defensively, White is just too vulnerable- my prediction is Rafael Fiziev to defeat Alex White by TKO.

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145lbs- Enrique Barzola (16-4-1) vs Movsar Evloev (11-0-0)

In the Featherweight division, Peru’s Enrique Barzola heads on the road to meets promotional sophomore Movsar Evloev. Barzola earned a split decision from Bobby Moffett, to improve to 5-1 over his last 6 fights. Evloev maintained his perfect record with a decision win over Sung Woo Choi in his debut.

The Russian is the younger man by 5-years and will have a 2″ reach advantage. Evloev has traditionally fought at 135-pounds.

Evloev is coming off a 5 takedown performance, controlling his foe from top position for the duration of the fight. Barzola has also had a lot of success based on his takedown skills, securing 39 takedowns over 6 UFC wins. He has completed just 1 of 17 TDAs in his 2 Octagon losses.

The Russian carries a steady pace, but his striking attack is based entirely on closing the distance. Barzola had developed a serviceable striking attack, based heavily on his kicking attack.

With a pair of takedown dependent fighters, there are 2 key scenarios that will determine this fight. Who can establish a superior wrestling attack and/or who can get the better of the striking exchanges? Barzola should be the slightly larger man and his wrestling has proven solid at the UFC level. If Evloev can’t take him down with regularity, Enrique is the more capable striker. Barzola might mix in a couple of takedowns, but he will force Evloev out of his comfort zone into a fight primarily contested on the feet- my prediction is Enrique Barzola to defeat Movsar Evloev by decision.

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265lbs- Sergei Pavlovich (12-1-0) vs Maurice Greene (8-3-0)

In the 2nd of 3 Heavyweight bouts on the card, Russia’s Sergei Pavlovich takes on Maurice “The Crochet Boss” Greene. Greene is 3-0 in the UFC, most recently falling Junior Albini by first-round TKO. Pavlovich is 1-1, debuting with a loss to Alistair Overeem before returning for a 66-second KO of Marcelo Golm.

Greene is a massive 6’7″ and will stand 4-inches taller than Pavlovich, but Sergei will have a 4″ reach advantage. They should weigh-in roughly at the same weight- the Russian is 6-years younger.

Pavlovich comes from a wrestling background and would most likely benefit from closing the distance and taking Greene to the floor. Conversely, “The Crochet Boss” will look to maintain distance with a high volume kicking attack.

Despite coming from a kickboxing background, Greene has 4 wins by submission compared to a pair of knockout victories.

If either of these fighters can land flush, the bout will most likely come to a crashing halt. Pavlovich has a limited history beyond the first frame, so getting the quick finish is far more imperative to the big Russian. Despite the slight reach advantage, Sergei will have trouble finding his range against Greene. Look for Greene to utilize his kicks and more linear punches to routinely land first, either dropping him early or hurting him as he slows down in a longer fight- my prediction is Maurice Greene to defeat Sergei Pavlovich by TKO.

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115lbs- Alexandra Albu (3-1-0) vs Loma Lookboonmee (3-1-0)

In the Women’s Strawweight division, Alexandra Albu welcomes the debuting Loma Lookboonmee. Albu is coming off her first career loss, a 61-second submission defeat to Emil Whitmire. Thailands’s Lookboonmee rebounded from her first pro defeat to earn a unanimous decision win in her return to Invicta FC.

Albu is an inch taller, but Lookboonmee is the younger girl by 6-years. The Thai fighter has formally competed at 105-pounds.

It will be the first time in her pro career that Albu has competed twice in a calendar year. She has struggled to remain active, especially since coming to the UFC. Loma debuted in 2018 after an impressive career as a Muay Thai fighter, she fought 3-times in her first year and once so far in 2019.

Loma is a strong striker, but she has had success on the mat as well. Albu did not look good in her last fight and her 2 UFC wins have come over opponents with a combined 1-7 UFC record.

Albu could have a physical edge as the larger girl, but from a skill perspective, the edge appears to lie with Lookboonmee. The Russian’s path to victory is most likely on the mat, imposing her size from top position. For Loma, she will chew Alexandra up on the feet, capitalizing on Albu’s lack of head movement. Lookboonmee can do damage on the inside with elbows and knees, but she needs to be careful of trying to match strength with her foe. Technique will overcome physicality as Loma punishes Albu continuous forward pressure- my prediction is Loma Lookboonmee to defeat Alexandra Albu by decision.[/Body]

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265lbs- Raphael Pessoa (9-1-0) vs Jeff Hughes (10-2-0)

The opening fight of the night features Brazil’s Raphael Pessoa taking in Jeff “Lights Out” Hughes in the Heavyweight division. Hughes lost a decision to Maurice Greene in his short-notice debut and saw unfortunate No Contest versus Todd Duffee. Pessoa’s undefeated record came crashing down via submission against main carder Ciryl Gane.

Pessoa is an inch taller than Hughes, to go along with a 1″ reach advantage and he should be 12-15 pounds heavier. Hughes is the older man by a year.

Pessoa was swinging big hammers in his debut, but landed just 7 significant strikes. He has finish 6 of his 9 wins in the opening frame. Hughes is a bit of a slow starter and struggled to find success early against Greene. He is 2-1 in 5 round fights and 5-1 overall in decisions.

Hughes needs to get off to a better start, but he also would benefit by dragging his foe into the latter stages of the fight. Hughes’ wrestling gives him the option to take Pessoa down if the striking exchanges aren’t going his way. Pessoa will come out throwing bombs, but Hughes should be able to avoid/ absorb the big strikes from the Brazilian while landing his own. Hughes will land with more regularity and do some damage from top position, distancing himself in rounds 2 and 3- my prediction is Jeff Hughes to defeat Raphael Pessoa by Decision.

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