UFC on ESPN 2: Preliminary Predictions

UFC on ESPN 2: Preliminary Predictions

115lbs- Jessica Aguilar (20-7-0) vs Marina Rodriguez (10-0-1)

The final fight feature on the prelims will transpire in the Strawweight division as former WSOF Champion Jessica “Jag” Aguilar battles UFC sophomore Marina Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s perfect run came to an end with a debut draw against Randa Markos. Aguilar is a disappointing 1-3 in the UFC, most recently suffering a violent submission loss to Weili Zhang.

Rodriguez is the taller fighter by 3 inches to go along with a 2″ reach advantage. She is 5-years younger than her foe.

Aguilar’s UFC struggles have been largely based on her lack of ability to land takedowns and outwork her opponent. On average, she has given up 6.98 significant strikes per minute while completing just 26% of her TDAs.

Building around a Muay Thai background, Rodriguez will look to keep this fight standing. She struggled with the early grappling exchanges against Markos but got back in the fight once she forced the Canadian to compete on the feet.

The only Octagon win for “Jag” came largely on her striking success, where she strung together over 100-significant strikes. Conversely, best wrestling performance (4 takedowns) resulted in a decision loss.

She is stepping in on 2-weeks notice.

Rodriguez has finished 5 opponents by knockout. She can do damage from the outside with hard kicks and punching combos or close the distance for a clinch based attack.

Aguilar has been underwhelming in her UFC run and got smashed her most recent outing. Coming in on short notice might help her to get back on track, but her wrestling has to be on point. Rodriguez found some early trouble with the takedowns of Markos. If Aguilar can repeat this success, the decision is there to be won. Instead, look for Rodriguez to shut down the early TDAs and start to piece up “Jag” with a more varied and consistent offense- my prediction is Marina Rodriguez to defeat Jessica Aguilar by decision.

155lbs- Ros Pearson (20-15-0) vs Desmond Green (21-8-0)

25-fight UFC veteran Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson meets Bellator veteran Desmond “The Predator” Green in the Lightweight division. After a successful debut, Green has dropped 3 of his last 4 fights most recently falling to Mairbek Taisumov. Pearson has just a single win over his last 5 outings, defeating Mizuto Hirota but losing to the likes of John Makdessi and Dan Hooker.

Green is 2 inches taller and will have a 4″ reach advantage. Green is the younger fighter by 5-years.

Despite his struggles, Pearson has remained competitive in most fights. Green has faced similar scenarios against difficult opposition.

The Brit is most effective when he can draw his opponent into a striking based battle. He works behind a jab, backed with power hooks, and decent volume.

The knock on Green has been his inability to distance himself in close fights. With the exception of the Glieson Tibau win, his vertical output has been on the lower end.

Where he has found some success has been with his wrestling. “The Predator” has taken down some good ground fighters and should find some success against Pearson.

Pearson has good takedown defense and will periodically go offensive with his wrestling, but look for Des to use well-timed takedowns to score in close rounds.

Green is the more durable fighter and has more avenues to victory. Unless he gets lulled into a low output striking dual, this is his fight to win. Green will utilize his speed to hold his own on the feet and put Pearson on the floor to add to his overall output- my prediction is Desmond Green to defeat Ross Pearson by decision.

145lbs- Kevin Aguilar (16-1-0) vs Enrique Barzola (15-3-1)

An impressive debut victory has opened the door for the “Angel of Death” Kevin Aguilar as he takes on the streaking Enrique Barzola in the Featherweight division. Barzola has won 4 consecutive fights, most recently defeating Brandon Davis by decision. Aguilar battles Kevin Glenn in a scrappy affair, earning a decision nod for his 8th consecutive victory.

While both men stand 5’7″, Aguilar will have a 3″ reach advantage. Barzola is the younger fighter by a year.

Aguilar might have gone the distance with Glenn, but he showcased the heavy nature of his punching arsenal. He routinely hurt Glenn as he moved forward, countering and setting his feet to land flurries to the head and body.

Building on his wrestling background, Barzola has completed multiple takedowns in all buy 1 of his UFC ventures.

He is coming off his UFC-best 10 completions on 15 attempts against Davis. He has completed 36 takedowns over 5 wins compared to just a single in a narrow loss.

The American might invite a striking-based fight, but Barzola has showcased noteworthy improvements in his vertical attack. Look for Enrique to utilize a variety of kicks and then throw flurries of punches to set up his takedowns.

If Aguilar can force Barzola to stand and trade, he could potentially edge him out on the feet. Unfortunately, he has had some issues with his TDD and Enrique will feast on this fact. Look for Barzola to capitalize on Aguilar’s willingness to counter, engaging and changing levels for takedowns. This fight could be close in the end, but Barzola will hold key top position time to go along with his forward pressure- my prediction is Enrique Barzola to defeat Kevin Aguilar by decision.

185lbs- Kevin Holland (13-4-0) vs Gerald Meerschaert (28-10-0)

The first televised fight of the event goes down in the Middleweight division as Kevin “Trailblazer” Holland meets Gerald “GM3″ Meerschaert. Meerschaert is coming off a submission loss to Jack Hermansson, ending his 2 fight winning streak. Holland opened with a short notice debut loss to Thiago Santos but rebounded to submit John Phillips in his most recent outing.

At 6’3”, Holland will stand 2 inches taller than “GM3″ to go along with a 4” reach advantage. Holland is the younger man by 5-years.

Meerschaert has picked up a couple of impressive come-from-behind wins, rally his way out of a slow start. In his last fight, he was unable to as his opponent overwhelmed and finished him.

An incredibly confident fighter, Holland traded on the feet with the heavy-handed Phillips before exploiting the gaps in his grappling game and snagging a submission win.

The submission win was the 6th of Holland’s career to go along with 6 wins by TKO. Meerschaert has finished 26 of his 28 wins- 20 by submission.

Gerald has also been tapped out 9-times while Holland carries a below .500 (1-3) record in decisions.

On the outside, Holland will pick Meerschaert apart with kicks and counter punches. If Gerald can drag him to the floor, he has the skills to finish the fight. Holland’s obscure and dismissive style of fighting can be concerning against the aggression of “GM3”. Ultimately, Gerald has found success once his opponents have started to fade, that won’t be the case here- my prediction is Kevin Holland to defeat Gerald Meerschaert by decision.

%d bloggers like this: