UFC on ESPN 4: Dos Anjos vs Edwards | Prelim Predictions

UFC on ESPN 4: Dos Anjos vs Edwards | Prelim Predictions

145lbs- Alex Caceres (14-12-0 1NC) vs Steven Peterson (17-8-0)

The final fight on the undercard takes place in the Featherweight division as fan favourite Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres battles Tuesday Night Contender’s Series alumni Steven Peterson. Peterson is coming off a decision loss to Luis Pena which knocked is Octagon mark to 1-2. Caceres has fought 20-times in the UFC, winning 9, but most recently suffering a submission loss to Kron Gracie.

Both men are 5’10”, but Caceres will have a 3″ reach advantage. Peterson is the younger man by 2-years.

Peterson has shown himself capable of putting on entertaining fights. He is an aggressive striker that will trade with his opponent with minimal concern for defense.

Willing to look to the ground, Peterson has had a lot of success with his takedowns- he has completed 7 over 3 UFC fights at a 25% completion rate.

Caceres is coming off the 7th submission loss of his career, his first since early 2017. Despite his clear vulnerability on the floor, Alex has also shown he is a decent grappler that can be dangerous against the right opponent.

On the feet, “Bruce Leeroy” is unorthodox with his technique and can use his length effectively. Conversely, he has struggled with pressure and /or faced with an opponent that offers some striking power.

While Caceres has the reach advantage, he is going to struggle to back Peterson up. Look for a steady stream of pressure from Peterson witch Caceres failing to match his output. Alex’s TDD is a concern and Steven should be able to exploit it to augment his aggressive striking attack. Caceres has struggled in decisions and that continues here, my prediction is Steven Peterson to defeat Alex Caceres by decision.

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135lbs- #6 Raquel Pennington (9-8-0) vs #10 Irene Aldana (9-4-0)

Former Bantamweight title challenger Raquel “Rocky” Pennington takes on Mexico’s Irene Aldana in a battle of ranked contenders. Pennington has lost back to back fights, including her title bout defeat to Amanda Nunes and a decision loss to Germain de Randamie. Aldana has won a trio of bouts to rebound from an 0-2 start; most recently she bested former title challenger Bethe Correia by submission.

Aldana is the taller fighter by 2-inches to go along with a 1″ reach advantage. They are roughly the same age.

Pennington went 4.5-rounds with Nunes, something that none of Cyrbog, Holly Holm, Miesha Tate, or Ronda Rousey can say. She also went the distance with GDR which isn’t easy. The loss to the “Iron Lady” fell into the post-title fight letdown scenario which could be attributed to her performance.

Aldana started slow out of the gates, dropping back to back fights on the cards. She has since rallied earning a trio of 3rd round victories- 2 by decision.

The Mexico native lost her first 4 fights to go beyond the first frame, but she has been more successful of late. Irene has finished her opponent in 8 of 10 wins- 5 by knockout.

On the mat, “Rocky” is capable of pulling off a submission (3) and can work takedowns when needed. Look for her to fight at close range with her striking where she can transition to a clinch attack or set up a takedown.

While Aldana’s performances have been improving, her defensive striking is still a concern. She has given up over 100 significant strikes on 3 different occasions and was headed in that direction again before subbing Bethe.

If Pennington loses, it could be argued that her time as a contender is over. Aldana struggled at times with the pressure of Bethe, something that Raquel should be able to replicate. As the fight progressed, Aldana was taking some damage and starting to get outworked. Pennington’s ability to utilize the clinch and threaten with takedowns is key against a fighter that tends to fade. If Aldana can stay mobile, she could point her way to victory- but instead, look for Pennington to keep pushing forward, punch, clinch, and continue to threaten with potential takedowns- my prediction is Raquel Pennington to defeat Irene Aldana by decision.

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205lbs- Sam Alvey (33-12-0) vs Klidson Abreu (14-3-0)

Despite his recent struggles “Smilin'” Sam Alvey continues in the Light Heavyweight division when he takes on Brazil’s Klidson Abreu. Abreu fell via decision to highly touted Magomed Ankalaev in his debut ending his 6-fight winning streak. Alvey began his tenure at 205 with a pair of wins including a split decision victory over Gian Villante but he has recently lost back to back fights by knockout.

Alvey is the taller man by 2-inches to go along with a 1″ reach advantage. The Brazilian is 6-years younger than Sam.

Succes for Alvey hinges heavily on his knockout power. He likes to sit back and counter-strike, looking to catch an overly aggressive opponent moving forward.

If he is unable to land the finishing blow, Alvey’s lack of activity and has got him in trouble on the scorecards and more recently his durability has become an issue.

Abreu has finished all 14 of his wins, 10 by submission- 8 in the first frame.

The Brazilian is good on the mat and can set it up with well-timed takedowns. He effectively can anticipate his opponent pushing forward and change levels for a TD. On the mat, he is an aggressive guard passer and will attack subs from almost any position.

Abreu vertical offense is serviceable, mainly single strikes with some power. He landed a decent right hook to hurt Ankalaev, but took some serious damage as well, suffering a nasty broken nose- but battling through it.

Alvey has just a single knockout win over his last 9 fight and has barely edged out a pair of recent split decisions. Abreu has enough power to hurt him despite his lack of strong striking acumen. He is also willing to press the action in pursuit of grappling opportunities which will sit well with the judges. While Sam’s TDD is solid, even if Abreu can’t get him down he should be able to control him on the wall and score more points than the counter-focused American- my prediction is Klidson Abreu to defeat Sam Alvey by knockout.

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125lbs- #5 Roxanne Modafferi (23-16-0) vs #6 Jennifer Maia (16-5-1)

A participant in the division first UFC title fight, Roxanne Modafferi takes on former Invicta FC champion Jennifer Maia. Modafferi is coming off of an upset split decision win over Antonina Shevchenko to even her UFC record at 2-2. Maia bested Alexis Davis on the scorecards her 1st UFC win and 7th victory over her last 8 fights.

Roxanne is 3-inches taller and will have a 5″ reach advantage. She is 6-years older than Maia.

This fight is a rematch from late 2016 that saw Maia take a split decision over Modafferi in defense of her Invicta title.

Modafferi has utilized an improved wrestling game at the center of her success. She completed 5 takedowns in her win over Shevchenko and 9 over her last 4 UFC fights.

Maia has given up 4 takedowns in 30 minutes of Octagon action. She is replacing Liz Carmouche on 1-month’s notice.

The Brazilian’s strength has been her striking, landing with decent volume and backing her foe up. Maia has had issues with being a bit of a slow starter. Notably, in her first fight with Roxanne, she rallied in the later stages to grab a split decision.

Maia is the more talented striker, but she has a glaring weakness when it comes to her TDD and defensive grappling. Modafferi is capable of exploiting this gap and grinding her opponent into the mat. Jennifer’s struggles on the floor combined with a tendency to get off to a slow start catches up to her here- my prediction is Roxanne Modafferi to defeat Jennifer Maia by decision.

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135lbs- Ray Borg (6-1-0) vs Gabriel Silva (8-0-0)

In the 3rd of 3 consecutive Bantamweight bouts to begin the card, former Flyweight title contender Ray “The Texicutoner” Borg battles the debuting Gabriel Silva. Borg has lost back to back battles, falling to Demetrious Johnson and then dropping his UFC Bantamweight debut. Undefeated, Silva returned to action at LFA 76 and secure a first frame knockout win.

Borg has had issues making weight both at 125 and 135 pounds. Silva is the taller fighter by 2-inches and will have an 8″ reach advantage.

Following his title fight loss, Borg had to deal with a number of distractions and battle through the “post-title fight” letdown scenario which appeared to compromise his last performance.

Silva has had recent issues with remaining active, sitting out nearly 2-years between each of his last 3 fights. He has recorded a trio of first-round knockouts and his last 3 foes have a combined record of 30-13.

Gabriel Silva is the younger brother of former UFC fighter Erick Silva.

Similar to his brother, Silva can be wild with his striking and while is cardio is better- he will slow down. His lack of activity is also concerning. Borg is in a make or break scenario here. A 3-fight losing streak with back to back losses to debuting fighters is not a strong case to remain on the roster. Look for Borg to counter the reckless striking of Silva with a steady diet of well-timed takedowns and control on the floor- my prediction is Ray Borg to defeat Gabriel Silva by decision.

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135lbs- Mario Bautista (6-1-0) vs Jin Soo Son (9-3-0)

A pair of promotional sophomores make their second walks to the cage when Mario Bautista meets the DEEP veteran Jin Soo Son in the Bantamweight division. In his debut, Bautista suffered a first-round submission loss to Cory Sandhagen- the first loss of his career. Son debuted against Petr Yan, putting on an entertaining fight but losing a decision.

Mario is 3-inches taller, but they share an identical 69″ reach.

Both fighters took made their debuts on short-notice.

Bautista is a finisher, stopping his foe in 5 of his 6 wins. He has a trio of submission wins and has fought beyond the 2nd round just once in his career.

South Korea’s Son, has finished 6 opponents- 4 by knockout, but he is a concerning 3-3 in decisions. Against Yan, he put on a show and pushed the Russian striker in an entertaining battle before slowing in the second half of the fight.

The American landed a takedown on Sandhagen, which will most likely be his focus here against a striking based opponent.

Son is willing to eat big strikes and his durability is impressive. He will need to press the action against Bautista without opening himself up to counter takedowns.

With neither man coming off of a full camp for their debuts, it is hard to get a good read on what they can do at this level. This fight shakes down as the typical striker versus grappler. If Bautista can take Son down, he either scores a submission or grinds out a decision win. Son’s aggressive striking will be a lot for Mario to handle on the feet. Son has also shown he can do work on the floor which arguably makes him the more diverse fighter. Mario’s lack of wrestling shows up here against a shorter fighter willing to stick in the pocket and press the action- my prediction is Jin Soo Son to defeat Mario Bautista by TKO.

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135lbs- Domingo Pilarte (8-1-0) vs Felipe Colares (8-1-0)

The first fight of the night transpires in the Bantamweight division as UFC sophomore Felipe Colares takes on Contender’s Series graduate Domingo Pilarte. Pilarte defeated current roster member Vince Morales by submission to extend his current winning streak to 5 in a row. Colares is coming off the first loss of his career, dropping his debut on the cards to Geraldo de Freitas.

A towering Bantamweight, Pilarte stands 6’0″, 4-inches taller than Colares to go along with a 4″ reach advantage. Colares is the younger man by 4-years. Pilarte hasn’t fought in just over 12-months.

Pilarte is fighting at home in Texas.

In his bout with Morales, Pilarte landed some good strikes early that had Morales backing up. Despite nearly getting finished via strikes at the end of round 1, the Texan rallied to secure a middle frame RNC submission.

Corales has 5 wins by submission on his record but lost the takedown battle 6-3 in his debut. He has a trio of guillotines with all 5 sub wins coming by some form of chokes.

On the feet, Corales was getting backed up and struggled to deal with the striking of his foe. The length of Pilarte could create further issues when trading on the feet.

In a close fight, Pilarte fighting could get the nod based on home-field advantage. He more than held his own with Morales early in their fight and he should have the edge over Colares when trading. Felipe will be hardpressed to find success with his grappling. The length of Pilarte will make it hard for Colares to get on on the inside and the Texan’s size will make it hard to take him down. Pilarte will do damage on the feet and could find success on the mat if he opts to go there- but my prediction is Domingo Pilarte to defeat Felipe Colares by TKO.