UFC on ESPN 11: Blaydes vs Volkov | Prelim Predictions

UFC on ESPN 11: Blaydes vs Volkov | Prelim Predictions
155lbs- Bobby Green vs Clay Guida

Making his 29th UFC appearance, 54-fight veteran Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (35-19-0) looks for just his 2nd wins since 2017. Guida’s title contention days are over and his most recent defeat, a submission loss to Jim Miller, knocked “The Carpenter” further down the ranks of the divisional “gatekeepers”.

Guida’s style is well understood at this point. He works a high-paced pressure based offense, looking to close the distance behind erratic movement and score takedowns whenever possible. Unfortunately, Guida’s waning durability has made it more difficult for him to absorb damage while attempting to overwhelm his adversary.

Dating back to 2013, Clay has been finished in each of his last 6 losses- 4 times by submission. He has been tapped out 10 times over his career.

Another fighter struggling to find victories, “King” Bobby Green (25-10-1) has just a single win over his last 7 outings. His struggles have included multiple close decisions that were rendered against the Strikeforce veteran.

Green offers a sharp boxing attack with solid counter wrestling to help him to remain vertical. Where he has struggled, has been with his urgency. Bobby has not secured a finished since his barrage of low blows were ruled a TKO stoppage versus James Krause in 2013.

More concerning, even when Green is able to soundly outland his opponents (142-89 strikes and 3-1 takedowns over his last 2 decision losses), his laid back style does not hold up well on the cards.

This contest will come down to a  clash between Guida’s forward pressure and Green’s boxing. If Clay can routinely force Green to move backward while mixing in some offense, that could be enough to steal a decision. Conversely, Bobby has enough pop in his hands and the overall striking advantage to routinely tag Guida as he moves into range. Green’s recent uptick his output is encouraging, but he has to avoid the prolonged moments of inactivity that will help keep Clay in the fight- my prediction is Bobby Green to defeat Clay Guida by decision.

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115lbs- Tecia Torres vs Brianna Van Buren

Despite having two opportunities in the TUF tournament round of 16, #3 ranked Tecia Torres (10-5-0) was unable get past the quarter-finals. She has come close to contending in the years that followed, but a disastrous 4-fight losing streak has her on the edge of disaster.

Torres has lost to a trio of former champions, but most recently fell via decision Marina Rodriguez.

The “Tiny Tornado” traditionally works a volume-based striking attack while stifling the output of her opponent. More recently, she has struggled to deliver her offense while getting soundly outworked from start to finish.

After capturing the vacant Invicta Strawweight title in a 1-night tournament, Brianna Van Buren (7-2-0) made her UFC debut with a solid win over another former Invicta champion in Livia Renata Souza.

A physical powerhouse, Van Buren comes from a solid wrestling background and is known for her quick level changes and powerful takedowns. She landed 3 in her debut.

Working in conjunction with her takedowns, BVB throws hard combinations does so with pretty consistent volume.

It will be interesting to see how these fighters fair when not having to overcome a massive height and reach disadvantage. Torres will enter the bout with a significant level of desperation as she faces the potential end of her UFC career with a loss. Van Buren offers a superior work rate with more impactful striking and the type of pressure that will shutdown Torres kicking techniques. While finding success on the feet, Brianna will find success with her takedowns at key moments of the contest- my prediction is Brianna Van Buren to defeat Tecia Torres by decision.

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185lbs- Marc-Andre Barriault vs Oskar Piechota

In a battle of competitors desperate for a win, Canada’s Marc-Andre Barriault (11-4-0) takes Poland’s Oskar Piechota (11-3-1). Barriault has lost all 3 of his UFC bouts, including a split decision against Krzystof Jotko.

Barriault is a brawler that wants to drag his opponents into a war and outlast them. “Power Bar” has 8 wins by knockout, 5 in the opening round. Conversely, he is just 3-4 in decisions including a 3-2 record in split decisions.

During his UFC struggles, he has failed to offer enough striking offense in conjunction with his inability to fend off takedowns. He kept the Jotko fight close and mainly on the feet, but still found himself pressed into the cage for prolonged periods of time.

Despite his current 3 fight losing streak, Piechota was able to secure a pair of victories to start his Octagon career. He has split his 10 finishes evenly between knockouts and submissions- 6 in the opening round.

He appeared on route to 3rd win after a strong start against Gerald Meerschaert. A dominant opening round by the BJJ Black belt was undone as he faded and was choked out via RNC.

In his last contest, he got dropped early in the fight, started attacking on the mat, but eventually got smashed along the cage and KOed.

With both fighters having dropped 3 in a row, the loser will most likely be on the outside looking in after the weekend. Piechota has demonstrated he can win at the UFC level, Barriault has yet to do so. If the Canadian can drag Oskar into deep waters or force him to exclusively brawl, he could earn the victory via knockout or decision. Instead, the grappling prowess of Piechota will return to the forefront, exploiting the defensive gaps of Marc-Andre; my prediction is Oskar Piechota to defeat Marc-Andre Barriault by submission.

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125lbs- Cortney Casey vs Gillian Robertson

The 2nd of 4 women’s fights on the card features Canadian Gillian “The Savage” Robertson (7-4-0) looking to rebound from a disappointing outing against Maycee Barber.  “The Savage” has been just that, finishing all 4 of her UFC victories- 3 by submission. She also stopped Hannah Cifers prior to debuting.

An improving striking attack is a secondary aspect of Gillian’s offense. Prior to the Barber fight, she has taken down all of her opponents at least once, including a 3-0 record when landing at least 2 takedowns.

With 5 of her 7 wins coming by submission, Robertson likes to drag her foe to the floor soften them up with ground and pound prior to setting up a fight-ending submission.

Replacing Taila Bernardo, Cortney Casey (9-7-0) is making a 1-month turnaround from her submission victory over Mara Romero Borella. The fight represented a move up in weight class for Casey. She is 2-inches taller than Robertson to go a long with a 4″ reach advantage.

A physical fighter, Casey has finished a trio of opponents in the UFC and 7 of her 9 wins overall.

While she may offer a solid finishing rate,  she is a dismal 2-7-0 in fights that go beyond the 1st round, including 1-2 record in split decisions.

Casey caught Borella off her back for the win. She has traditionally struggled against grapplers with a 1-3 record in fights when giving up at least 2 takedowns. Robertson’s strong ground attack has been her key to victory and she will look to engage Casey early and often on the mat. Baber teed off on Robertson which suggests that if Casey can stay vertical she could do some damage with her hands, but instead, Robertson takes her down, stretch the fight out, and dominates from top position- my prediction is Gillian Robertson to defeat Cortney Casey by TKO.

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155lbs- Frank Camacho vs Justin Jaynes

With Matt Frevola removed from the bout after cornerman Billy Quarantillo tested positive for COVID-19, Frank Camacho is in need of a new opponent with next to no time left on the clock. Taking his shot at the last second opportunity will be the 30-year “Guitar Hero” Justin Jaynes (15-4-0). James currently rides a 4-fight winning streak spanning back to 2018.

The UFC newcomer has not competed in roughly 14-months when he picked up his 7th career knockout. He has finished 12 opponents while carrying a 2-4 record on the scorecards. Earlier in his career, he enjoyed 1 fight showings with both WSOF and Bellator.

Despite lacking any big-name opposition, his last 3 opponents are decently experiences with a combined 33-23 record. They all carry above .500 records.

There isn’t a tonne of footage available on Jaynes, but the current line has him sitting as a +290 underdog.

Camacho is a battled-tested UFC veteran with a pretty solid skill set. From the footage seen, Jaynes is scrappy and will to stand and trade or work from top position if presented with the opportunity. Camacho should be able to prevent the fight from hitting the floor, dragging Jaynes into a firefight and either knocking him or exhausting him- my prediction is Frank Camacho to defeat Justin Jaynes by TKO.

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155lbs- Frank Camacho vs Matt Frevola

With a knockout loss in his debut firmly behind him, Matt “Steamrolla” Frevola has peeled off a 3 fight undefeated streak including wins over Luis Pena and Jalin Turner. He fought Lando Vannatta to a back and forth draw that saw both fighters hurt during the contest.

In his more recent outings, Frevola has utilized a ground-based attack to put his opponents on that mat. That being said, his win over Pena was contentious at best. He was bloodied and spent a large portion of the contest getting cracked at range or fending off submission attempts on the mat.

Against Turner, he had more success throughout the fight largely because Turner started to slow down after opening round.

A member of the TUF 16 cast, Frank Camacho (22-8-0) has struggled to find his footing in the UFC with just 2 victories in 6 fights. Moving between Lightweight and Welterweight, he has secure a trio of Fight of the Night Bonuses.

Easily his best all-around performance came against Nick Hein. He blasted the German with hard body kicks and short counter punches as he moved forward. The finish came after Hein slowed from the body damage and “The Crank” cranked up the output until he crumpled.

Camacho is aggressive which has resulted in 4 losses by knockout, but there is no denying his power with 17 of his 22 wins coming by knockout.

If Frevola can take Camacho down and keep him on the floor, he could grind out a decision. Camacho is pretty solid at getting back up and his ability to pile up damage between TDAs is his key to victory. Look for Frank to utilize the smaller Octagon, corning his foe and forcing him into prolonged striking exhanges. The combination of effective bodywork and overall damage will add up- my prediction is Frank Camacho to defeat Matt Frevola by TKO.

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125lbs- Roxanne Modafferi vs Lauren Murphy

Regardless of the injury factor, Roxanne Modafferi (24-16-0) pulled off an impressive upset win over contender Maycee Barber to continue trading wins and losses over her 6-fight UFC run. She debuted with a title fight loss to short-lived champion Nicco Montano.

Modafferi does her best work when she can muscle her opponent to the ground. She completed 5 takedowns in her upset split decision win over Antonina Shevchenko. If she is unable to secure takedowns, forward pressure and clinch control is her next best option.

Unfortunately, her striking attack still leaves a lot to be desired both in output and impact. She struggled with the more aggressive power punching of Jennifer Maia and prior to the Barber fight, she had been outlanded in 4 of her 5 fights.

Looking to earn her own shot at the title, Lauren Murphy (8-4-0) has won back to back fights and 4 of her last 6. She is coming off a split decision upset of Andrea Lee. Over her last 3 victories, Murphy has won a pair of splits where her opponents landed more overall offense. Her other victory in that stretch came via 3rd round stoppage in a fight she was arguably losing.

Murphy has been involved in a number of close fights and has had issues with opponents that offer a grappling centric attack. She is 1-3 in fights where she gives up at least 1 takedown.

Against Lee, Murph turned the tables with a couple of timely takedowns. She spent the majority of the fight trading in the center of the cage and is normally willing to take her opponent’s best shot to land her own.

Murphy wears a lot of damage during her fights and coupled with her negative striking exchange rate, it can make it difficult for her to get the nod on the scorecards. Roxanne, while a little rough around the edges, is aggressive and that will keep Murph on her back foot for the majority of her fight. Look for Modafferi to secure a couple of key takedowns to augment her forward pressure with just enough volume to get the better of Murphy- my prediction is Roxanne Modafferi to defeat Lauren Murphy by decision.

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155lbs- Austin Hubbard vs Max Rohskopf

In the opening fight of the night, the undefeated Max Rohskopf (5-0-0) makes his debut off the success of a 53-second submission win under the LFA banner. Rohskopf has recorded 5 submission wins, with just his pro debut lasting beyond the first 5-minutes. He is replacing Joe Solecki on less than a week’s notice.

Max is an NCAA Division 1 wrestler and has also competed in grappling competitions. With 4 of his 5 wins coming by rear-naked choke, Rohskopf has a clear affinity for taking, maintaining, and finishing from back mount. He is coming off a submission win over a BJJ Black belt where he transitioned from a controlling front headlock to the fight-ending choke.

He has showcased limited skills on the feet, mainly because he has been so dominant on the mat. He does offer some decent pop in his hands and will work behind a solid jab.

Austin Hubbard (11-4-0) has faced a pair of high ranking grapplers, BJJ elite Davi Ramos and Olympic wrestler Mark Madsen. While he survived the full 15-minutes with both adversaries, he gave up a combined 11 takedowns.

In his lone UFC victory, he turned the tables on his opponent with a trio of his own takedowns leading to a decision win. Hubbard is a scrappy fighter that maintains a pretty solid pace on the feet.

Hubbard has a noteworthy advantage in overall experience and quality of opposition. He also has a lot of long fight experience with a trio of 5 rounds fights including an LFA Lightweight title win.

If Hubbard can survive the opening exchanges, he could very-well exploit a fighter that is taking this fight on short notice with no experience beyond the opening round. Rohskopf’s wrestling background suggests he may not fade in a longer fight and will be able to continue to score takedowns as the fight advances. The UFC newcomer rises to the occasion, grounds Hubbard routinely, and eventually locks up the choke- my prediction is Max Rohskopf to defeat Austin Hubbard by submission.

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