UFC ON ESPN 7: OVEREEM VS ROZENSTRUIK | TELEVISED PRELIMS

UFC ON ESPN 7: OVEREEM VS ROZENSTRUIK | TELEVISED PRELIMS

135lbs- #10 Rob Font (16-4-0) vs Ricky Simon (15-2-0)

Opening the main card Rob Font puts his Bantamweight ranking on the line when he takes on Ricky Simon. Simon is coming off a shocking knockout loss to the returning Urijah Faber- he had won 8 in a row including 3 in the UFC. Font secured a decision win over Sergio Pettis and has alternated wins and losses over his last 5 fights- he is 6-3 in the UFC.

Font is 2-inches taller than Simon to go along with a 2″ reach advantage. Simon is the younger fighter by 5-years.

The loss to Faber was unexpected, especially considering it came by knockout after he hurt Urijah. It certainly raises a question about his durability. Simon is aggressive, utilizing a lot of movement and a high paced striking attack. He also offers a solid wrestling game to augment his vertical offense.

Ricky landed 13 takedowns over his first 3 UFC fights. He also gave up 8 over his first 2 appearances.

With 7 wins by knockout, including 4 in the UFC- Font has fight stopping power. He is also a solid wrestler with a capable submission game. He is coming off his UFC best 111-significant strikes landed. Font’s defensive striking is sound, but he has struggled with pressure. Linker was able to walk him down and Munhoz hurt him on the feet prior to getting the sub.

Prior to the Pettis win, Font has limited his opponents to under 30 significant strikes in all of his UFC events.

Where is Simon mentally after the Faber loss? If he can’t get passed that defeat, his willingness to press the action and engage could be compromised. Font is the better defensive fighter which will serve to limit Simon’s offensive success. Font has fought better competition and that should be evident here as he effectively deals with Ricky’s pressure. Font will defend the majority of Ricky’s TDA’s and simply land more strikes throughout- my prediction is Rob Font to defeat Ricky Simon by decision.

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170lbs- Thiago Alves (23-14-0) vs Tim Means (28-11-1)

Welterweight veterans Thiago “Pitbull” Alves and “The Dirty Bird” Tim Means go head to head both looking to return to the win column. Alves is coming off a defeat to Laureano Staropoli and has just 2 wins over his last 7 fights. Means suffered a brutal knockout loss to Niko Price- he has just a pair of victories over his last 7 Octagon outings.

At 6’2″, Means is 5-inches taller to go along with a 5″ reach advantage. Means is the younger fighter by a year.

Alves is a nasty Muay Thai striker, but time has caught up to the former title challenger. At this best, he throws brutalizing leg kicks, most recently landing 26 against Staropoli. His overall output and striking consistency have been major concerns in recent fight. He also lacks the fight stopping over that he showcased earlier in his career.

The difference in the Brazilian’s output between wins and losses is noteworthy. In his last 3 decision wins he has averaged 92 strikes landed compared to 50 strikes averaged over his last 3 decision losses.

Means is returning from a vicious knockout that also resulted in a broken leg. He will have a sizable length advantage in this fight and will benefit from facing an opponent that is equally as striking oriented as he is. Unlike Alves, who has recently been gifted a hometown decision, Means could easily bee on a 5-fight winning streak with 2 controversial split decision losses and the come from behind victory by Price.

The American has landed more strikes in 4 of his last 5 fights, but a lack of urgency has cost him in close contests.

Alves has had issues when faced with a longer opponent. Means does a decent job of utilizing his reach and will find success keeping Thiago on the outside. There is some concern over whether or not Means has recovered from his knockout defeat and subsequent injury. Alves might attempt to take Tim down, but it is more likely that he gets drawn into a striking-based fight. Means will use his length and greater activity rate to get the better of the exchanges- my prediction is Tim Means to defeat Thiago Alves by TKO.

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145lbs- Billy Quarantillo (12-2-0) vs Jacob Killburn (8-2-0)

With Chris Fishgold out, Jacob Killburn makes his first Octagon walk as he opposes fellow Tuesday Night Contenders Series graduate, TUF alumni, and UFC debutant Billy Quarantillo. Killburn has won back to back fights by knockout since a submission loss to Bobby Moffet on the Contenders series. Quarantillo has won 5 in a row dating back to a 2016 defeat to former UFC competitor Michel Quinones.

Quarantillo has competed at 155 pounds before and he will have a 2″ reach advantage despite being the shorter fighter by an inch. Killburn is 7-years younger, but he will have less than 2 weeks to prepare for this bout.

With a decently diverse record, highlighted by 5 wins by knockout, Quarantillo comes to the UFC having faced respectable regional competition. Killburns numbers also favour the knockout, with 4 stoppages by (T)KO compared to just 2 each by submission and decision.

Jacobs recent competition is a little more suspect with a 2-1 opponent and another currently holding a sub .500 record.

Quarantillo brings a lot of pressure in his attack, but got taken down early in his last bout. He throws a big overhand right and while he tends to attack with single strikes his forward pressure makes him effective. He does a nice job of mixing up his offense, punching to the body and mixing in knees from the clinch.

Killburn spent the majority of his loss to Moffet on his back, defending a heavy grappling assault until he eventually succumbed to the submission. In more recent action, he has showcased his punching power including landing a beautiful 1-2 that knocked hi opponent out cold.

This is a far better stylistic matchup for Billy than the Fishgold fight. His ability to push an aggressive pace and get stronger as the fight advances in combination with Killburn’s short notice and already questionable fight longevity gives Quarantillo a sizeable edge. A fast start will most likely give way to Killburn fading under the pressure of his foe- my prediction is Billy Quarantillo to defeat Jacob Killburn by TKO.

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145lbs- Bryce Mitchell (11-1-0) vs Matt Sayles (8-2-0)

The opener of the televised prelims features undefeated Bryce Mitchell taking on Alliance MMA fighter Matt Sayles in the Featherweight division. Mitchell, 2-0 in the UFC, most recently defeat Bobby Moffet in a close bout. Sayles dropped his debut to Sheymon Moraes, but rallied to defeat Shane Nelson by submission in an entertaining scrap.

Bryce is 3-inches taller and will have a 2″ reach advantage.

A self-described slow starter, the submission savvy Mitchell threatened with subs early against Moffet and dropped him during a quick striking exchange. He fended off some tough spots in round 2 and rallied in the final frame to take the decision. In his debut, he earned a decision win despite getting outlanded 51-38 and tying the takedown battle 3-3.

He might have lost his last fight had he not countered out of a bad spot to Moffet’s back and nearly sunk in an RNC late in the 3rd round.

Sayles has fought in a pair of entertaining bouts. He rallied in his debut, but came up short with his 3rd round striking barrage. Against Nelson, he dominated round 1 and lost round 2- both rounds playing out on the floor. He then secured the fight-ending sub in the final frame.

He offers an active striking attack, decent movement, and solid stopping power resulting in 6 knockout wins.

Sayles appeared vulnerable to the grappling skills of Nelson and that is concerning against Mitchell. Bryce is a big 145er and offers an aggressive grappling attack on the floor. If Sayles can keep this fight standing, he can outwork Mithcell with a more attacking striking onslaught. This fight stands to be an entertaining back and forth affair with both men having their moments. Look for Mitchell to force his style on his foe and get the better of the positioning- my prediction is Bryce Mitchell to defeat Matt Sayles by decision.

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