UFC Fight Night 172: Eye vs Calvillo | Prelim Predictions

UFC Fight Night 172: Eye vs Calvillo | Prelim Predictions
140lbs- Merab Dvalishvili vs Gustavo Lopez

Heading down the Fight week home stretch, Ray Borg has been forced out of his scheduled main card bout with Merab Dvalishvill (10-4-0). In his place, Combate Americas Bantamweight champion Gustavo Lopez (11-4-0) takes the shot notice assignment which will be contested at a catchweight.

An equal opportunity finisher, Lopez has split his 10 finishes evenly. He is 1-2 in decisions with a pair knockout losses, including a 2018 KO versus Andre Ewell. A native of Washington, Lopez comes from a solid wrestling background and will use it to set up his submissions.

Gustavo can do some serious damage with his boxing. He moves well and throws compact punches. He recently avenged a split decision loss with a resounding first-round knockout. Lopez pumps his left jab and will follow with a hard right hook. In his last contest, he moved forward to clinch, step backed knocked his foe cold with a heavy right hook.

Merab’s approach is fairly simple- chain takedowns together, strikes in between wrestling barrages, and outwork his opponent everywhere.

He has put up astronomical takedown numbers and while he has had issues maintaining top control, his worth ethic and pace make up for it.

While he is active on the feet, he tends to get a little wild and reckless with his techniques. His willingness to create chaos further augments his wrestling as it creates multiple offensive fronts that his opponent is forced to deal with.

Coming in on 2 days notice is an unreal tall order. Doing so against a cardio machine in Merab makes it even tougher. The Combate Americas Champ may need to find the mark early or risk getting ground into oblivion. If Dvalishvili can routinely drag him to the floor, he could tire him out for a decision or finish. Lopez has solid punching power and he is quick to the mark. If he can fend off the takedowns or get back up, look for him to capitalize on the Dvalishvili’s defensive gaps. In an unexpected and probably unpopular upset- my prediction is Gustavo Lopez to defeat Merab Dvalishvili by TKO.

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125lbs- Mariya Agapova vs Hannah Cifers

Visa issues scrapped Melissa Gatto’s participation in this bought, but enter Hannah “Shockwave” Cifers (10-5-0). Cifers is just 2 weeks removed from her submission loss to Mackenzie Dern and will have just a week to prepare. Cifers fought Dern at 115 pounds, so she will have 10 fewer pounds to cut.

Cifers is primarily a striker and many of her opponents have authored a grappling centric attach as a result. Her loss to Dern was the second submission of her career. She has also been finished via GNP TKO twice as well.

With 5 knockout wins, “Shockwave” does have some pop in her hands. She dropped Polyana Viana to turn that fight in her favour.

Debuting at just 23-years of age, Mariya Agapova (8-1-0) secured back to back first-round finishes fighting for Invicta FC after a 3 round decision loss to Tracy Cortez on the Contender Series.

A native of Kazakhstan, American Top Team’s Mariya has split her 6 finishes evenly, ending 4 fights in frame 1. She will have a massive 8″ reach advantage and will stand 7-inches taller than Cifers.

Building on a boxing background, she works well from distance. Lancing forward with punching combinations and throwing a leaping kick to the body or head. She will step into the pocket to swing and can be hit. On the floor, she offered an impressive back take leading RNC win and heavy GNP stoppage in her last fight.

Agapova is young, talented, and a little awkward but effective in her striking style. She lost to Cortez on the mat which won’t be an issue here. Cifers can strike, but the length of her foe is going to be a massive concern. Unless Mariya tires or gets reckless and clipped, Cifers will be hardpressed to find offense. Look for the newcomer to push a solid pace, land at range against Hannah, and potentially mix in some well-time grappling- my prediction is Mariya Agapova to defeat Hannah Cifers by submission.

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155lbs- Kevin Aguilar vs Charles Rosa

Moving up a weight class “Boston Strong” Charles Rosa (12-4-0) looks to rebound from a one-sided decision loss to Bryce Mitchell. Rosa has traded wins and losses since debuting in the UFC as an undefeated fighter. He was completely shutout by the grappling offense of Mitchell and was stuck on his back against Manny Bermudez before snatching an armbar.

A BJJ Black belt, Rosa has 8 wins by submission, including 2 in the UFC. Rosa found early success with his takedowns, securing 13 over his first 4 fights. More recently, he has struggled with just a single completion compared to 4 takedowns given up.

Rosa is a decent striker and has put up some solid volume during his career. He hasn’t showcased a lot of power, but he is durable with just a single knockout loss. He utilizes a sideways stance, throwing a lot of front leg techniques.

“The Angel of Death” Kevin Aguilar (17-3-0) suffered an equally as definitive defeat in his last feet. Lasting just under 3:30, he was TKOed by Zubaira Tukugov. He has now lost back to back bouts after ending his 9-fight winning streak.

Primarily a striker, Aguilar has recorded 10 wins by knockout. At the UFC level, he has yet to showcased his finishing skills- going the distance in both wins. The knockout loss to Zubaira was just the 2nd of his career.

In Aguilar’s first 3 fights he demonstrated impressive takedown defense, defending 15 of 16 attempts. Against Rosa, his ability to stay vertical will be crucial to his success. He will have a 4″ reach will aid him in maintaining distance.

Rosa is solid on the mat, but his recent inconsistency with his takedowns coupled with Aguilar’s strong TDD suggests this fight will be mainly contested on the feet. There is the potential that Charles rocks “The Angel of Death” and either gets the finish or rides the momentum to a decision. Instead, Aguilar will land the more consistent striking, boxing his way through Rosa’s kicking offense with a more active and impactful attack- my prediction is Kevin Aguilar to defeat Charles Rosa by decision.

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135lbs- Julia Avila vs Gina Mazany

Debuting at UFC 239 with a decision win over Pannie Kianzad, Julia Avila (7-1-0) extended her current streak to 3 consecutive victories. The 15-minute triumph did end her run of finishes with a trio of stoppage wins- including a pair of knockouts. Her only loss came via injury.

Starting strong, Avila was firing some hard knees and elbows early in the clinch against Pannie. At distance, she was landing hard straight punches down the middle and backing her foe up. Her left jab is solid and she will swing a hard right hook.

Her cardio appears to be solid, holding up despite her constant forward pressure. She hurt Pannie badly in round 3 and owns a 5-round win over Nico Montano.

Gina Mazany (6-3-0) is getting a return call to the UFC after just a single victory on the regional scene. During her first stint, she went 1-3 with losses to Sara McMann, Lina Lansberg, and Macy Chiasson.

Mazany’s lone UFC win came with a strong takedown performance, landing 5 completions on 7 attempts.

The return engagement is a short notice opportunity for Mizany who took her last fight on at 155-pounds.

Mazany has faced very good competition, but she has routinely come up short and been finished multiple times. Avila is the vastly better striker and offers some solid pop in her hands. Gina needs to find consistent success with her takedowns or else she will struggle to score points anywhere else in this fight. Avila will force Mazany to stay vertical and go to work on the feet- my prediction is Julia Avila to defeat Gina Mazany by TKO.

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125lbs- Zarrukh Adashev vs Tyson Nam

With a pair of losses over his first 2 UFC walks, Tyson Nam (18-11-1) is in a must-win situation. His 2013 upset of then-Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas propelled him into the deep end of competition and resulted in an immediate 4-fight skid. Prolonged success on the regional scene resulted in a call to the UFC.

Nam has power, 10 of 18 wins by knockout- but he often has trouble deploying it. A willing counter striker, Nam routinely lets his opponent dictate the pace of exchange. In his 2 UFC bouts, he has been outlanded a combined 174 strikes to 90.

He is a concerning 7-8-1 in decisions which is indicative of his counter heavy approach.

With Ryan Benoit removed from competition, UFC newcomer Zarraukh Adashev (3-1-0) of Uzbekistan gets the call on short notice. After losing his MMA debut in 2015, Adashev took some time away only to return in 2018 and pick up a trio of wins- 2 by knockout.

All 3 wins came under the Bellator banner. Despite a brief MMA career, Adashev is a talented kickboxer with a 16-3-0 including competing with Glory Kickboxing. While fighting in Bellator, his trio of opponents have a combined record of 3-7 with just 1 fighter accounting for all 3 wins.

Adashev throws aggressive multi-punch combos and will dig to the body. Look for him to end his barrages with hard low kicks reflective of his background. He is also willing to utilize throws and takedowns to put his opponent on the floor.

From an MMA perspective, Nam is by far the most experienced fighter that Adashev has faced. Zarrukh’s aggressive forward push will give Nam plenty of opportunities to land his counter strikes. Conversely, if Nam can’t land anything significant he will struggle to match the output of Adashev. The short notice debut for a relatively inexperienced MMA fighter is a risk, but Adashev relies on his striking background to outwork his foe- my prediction is Zarrukh Adashev to defeat Tyson Nam by decision.

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145lbs- Jordan Griffin vs Darrick Minner

Under the LFA banner, Jordan Griffin (18-7-0) and Darrick Minner (24-11-0) met in 2018. Griffin secured a 2nd round submission victory.

Starting his UFC tenure against a pair of talented competitors resulted in back to back losses, but Griffin has since rebounded with a come from behind submission win over T.J. Brown.

Griffin is an offensive first fighter which has resulted in 14 career finishes. He has also been finished 3 times, twice by submission. Against Brown, he was rocked early and gave up 7 takedowns. He has given up 11 takedowns over just under 8 rounds of competition.

An opportunistic grappler, “The Native Psycho” secured an unusual guillotine against Brown once he started to get tired. On the Contender Series, he rocked his foe before catching the RNC.

With a career built around grappling, 35-fight veteran Darrick Minner has submitted his foe in 21 of 24 pro victories. He has also been submitted 8-times- including his UFC debut, Contender series loss to Herbert Burns, and aforementioned meeting with Griffin.

With 21 first-round wins, Minner is a fast started and will look to initiate the grappling exchange right away. Against Dawson, he “machine gun” chained submission attempts together, including multiple guillotine attempts.

Minner is 4-6 outside of round one which suggests a limit window for success.

In their first meeting, with Minner attempting to secure a potential calf slicer before Griffin snatched his arm for the tap. Minner dominated the fight; taking Jordan down, taking up his back, and attempting a couple of submissions. Despite continuing to dominate in round 2, Minner appeared to tire and gave up the sub late in the round.

Minner dominated their first engagement and Griffin still appears to be susceptible to the same type of grappling heavy attack. Conversely, Darrick’s submission defense remains just as vulnerable. Griffin could again secure a finish, especially if Minner starts to fade. That being said, Minner was dominant in that fight and should learn from the experience. Look for a fast start with Minner scoring the early takedown and chaining submissions together, but this time he locks it up- my prediction is Darrick Minner to defeat Jordan Griffin by submission.

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170lbs- Christian Aguilera vs Anthony Ivy

After temporarily getting tapped to replace Ian Heinisch and fight Gerald Meerschaert on short notice, Anthony Ivy (8-2-0) gets the call to make his promotional debut. Ivy will be competing at Welterweight where he regularly fights.

He has finished 5 straight opponents while mainly competing under the Fury banner. Early in his career, he saw action ins LFA and Bellator.

In recent action, Ivy’s focus was on taking his opponent down, holding position, and eventually delivering enough damage to force a referee stoppage. Overall, he has finished 5 opponents by TKO and 3 by submission. “Aquaman” has never gone the distance, but his last win came in the 4th round.

Also making his debut, “The Beast” Christian Aguilera (13-6-0) has won back to back fights including a decision win with LFA at the start of 2020. Of his 13 pro wins, 10 have come via knockout- with all 10 occurring in the opening frame. He has also been knocked out 4-times.

“The Beast” will stalk forward, landing a jab and throwing heavy power punches behind. In his last knockout under the LFA banner he survived with a BJJ practitioner on is back during round 1 and landed a dirty fight-ending uppercut.

Aguilera will use a lot of forward pressure and has been rocked in recent action. If he ties up with his foe, look for him to use a trip to attempt to dump them on the floor.

Under normal circumstances, this fight is most likely on a Contender Series’ event. Aguilera hits hard and can finish, but his limit experience outside of the opening round is concerning. Ivey is the longer fighter and appears to offer superior cardio. “Aquaman” should be able to neutralize the power of his foe using his length and takedowns. As the fight advance, Ivy lets the genie out of the bottle and batters his faded foe- my prediction is Anthony Ivy to defeat Christian Aguilera by TKO.

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