UFC on ESPN 7: Overeem vs Rozenstruik | Early Prelims

UFC on ESPN 7: Overeem vs Rozenstruik | Early Prelims

155lbs- Joel Solecki (8-2-0) vs Matt Wiman (16-8-0)

Looking to turn back the clock, Mike Wiman attempts to return to the win column for the first time since 2014 when he takes on promotional newcomer Joel Solecki. Wiman returned after nearly 5-years away from the sport, falling via TKO to Luis Pena. Solecki has won 3 in a row, including his Contender’s Series fight in July.

Wiman is an inch taller, but he will give up 2-inches of reach. Solecki is the younger man by 10-years.

It was unexpected to see Wiman return to the Octagon after such a layoff- it was almost as if he was a remnant of a time that had passed by. All 10 of his UFC wins have come over opponents no longer on the UFC roster.

Wiman is a pressure fighter, looking to outwork opponents with his combined of paced striking and takedowns. Conversely, he got handled on the mat and eventually finished via overwhelming GNP by Pena.

With 6 wins by submission, Solecki is a talent ground fighter. He showcased a slick transition game, eventually working to a top mount guillotine for the finish of his Contender’s opponent. He has finished all of his wins in the opening frame, but 1.

He is a 1-2 in fights that go beyond round 1.

Wiman’s style doesn’t seem to equate to success at this stage of MMA. That being said, if his opponent starts to slip after round 1- Matt could turn this fight in his favour. Solecki’s strong takedown and top game are his keys to success. Wiman will have a few moments in his fight, but they won’t be enough. Look for the UFC debutant to hold prolonged periods of control on the mat- my prediction is Joel Solecki to defeat Matt Wiman by decision.

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115lbs- Mallory Martin (6-2-0) vs Virna Jandiroba (14-1-0)

Coming off the first loss of her career, Virna Jandiroba welcomes the debuting Mallory Martin to the Strawweight division. Jandiroba went 3-0 under the Invicta banner before facing Carla Esparza in an unsuccessful UFC debut. Martin went 3-1 in Invicta and split her fights under the LFA banner which included a decision loss to Maycee Barber.

Martin is taller by an inch, but Jandiroba will have a slight 1″ reach advantage. The American is 6-years younger.

Cortney Casey pulled out of the fight in late October and was replaced by Livia Souza who was then replaced by Martin on 2-weeks notice.

A successful Contenders Series fight showcased Martin’s strong wrestling attack. She sets up her level changes with strikes and is active from top position with strikes and transitions. She will also close the distance, establish body control and combined it with a trip.

Her striking is serviceable, but a secondary aspect of her offense focussed on closing the distance.

Another fighter that has found success on the mat, Jandiroba has recorded 11 of her 14 wins by sub. She is 3-1 on the cards including a pair of split decision wins. She gave up an early takedown against Esparza and lost the overall TD battle 4-3. That being said, completing a trio of takedowns against Esparza is impressive.

She is a BJJ Black belt and also comes from a Judo background.

Top position is a key aspect of this fight. The fighter that can secure the superior spot on the mat will almost certainly walk away with the victory. Martin is a solid wrestler, but she appears to lack the technical edge of Jandiroba. Look fo Virna to utilize her judo to shut down the early TDAs of her foe and go offensive with here own. With Martin coming in on short notice and Jandiroba making her second appearance after a tough fight with the former champion, Brazilian is in a better spot. Look for Jandiroba to counter a TDA to set up a submission opportunity- my prediction is Virna Jandiroba to defeat Mallory Martin by submission.

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185lbs- Trevor Smith (15-9-0) vs Makhmud Muradov (23-6-0)

In the first fight of the night, Strikeforce alumni Trevor “Hot Sauce” Smith takes on UFC sophomore Makhmud Muradov in the UFC’s Middleweight division. Smith has lost back to back fights to Zak Cummings and Elias Theodorou. Muradov debuted with a decision win over Alessio Di Chirico for his 12th straight victory.

Smith is an inch taller but they share the same 75″ reach. Makhmud is the younger man by 9-years.

Muradov debuted on short notice, but outworked Di Chirico over the majority of the fight. He has finished 18 of his 23 wins- 15 by knockout.

He utilizes a lot of movement in his striking attack, avoiding his opponent’s offense and countering with his own techniques.

A veteran fighter, Smith is a grinder. He offers a capable submission attack accounting for 9 of his 15 wins, but none in the UFC. He has averaged 2.4 takedowns per UFC win compared to 0.66 per defeat.

Smith does his best work when he can and takedowns and grind his opponent into the floor or at the very least control them in the clinch.

The key to success for Smith will be to close the distance and keep his hands on Muradov- easier said than done. Makhmud’s mobility and more diverse striking arsenal will make it difficult for the American to track him down. Smith is not quick in the open, but if he can push his foe into the floor he can grind his way to a decision win. Muradov needs to be mindful of a late slowdown, but Smith also has a tendency to wear down in longer fighter. Smith’s reliance on takedowns to find Octagon success catches up to him here- my prediction is Makhmud Muradov to defeat Trevor Smith by decision.

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