Once again, Happy Mother’s Day to all the great mothers out there!
As far as MMA goes, this is the only televised MMA event to go down in over two weeks, so despite the fact that it’s happening during the daytime on Mother’s Day, it’s still worth a watch, or a DVR recording.
Headlined by a pair of resurgent Heavyweights, the main card is quite an intriguing one. It’s one of only a few UFC cards to feature multiple female fights on the main card. It also features one of the saddest matchups in UFC history in to co-main, but will be preceded by what will be the most intriguing bout on the card, right up with the headliner. Fan favorite Nikita Krylov is also on the packed main card, which is one of the most unique main card slates in MMA this year.
Without further ado, here are my picks for today’s main card.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz (8-0) vs. Heather Clark (7-4)
Opening up the main card is a fairly interesting women’s Strawweight bout. Kowalkiewicz is the former KSW female champion, possessing wins over upstart Invicta contender Mizuki Inoue and Kalindra Faria, before winning her UFC debut via controversial decision last December. Most of her wins have come via decision, although she does have some finishing ability.
Meanwhile, Clark is fighting for the first time since the TUF 20 Finale back in December 2014. She has faced the likes of Bec Rawlings, Felice Herrig and Stephanie Eggink in her career, defeating Rawlings in her UFC debut via stunning decision. I think she has a shot here, and honestly, I won’t be shocked if she comes away with the victory. My head says KK, but my gut is going with Clark.
Nikita Krylov (19-4) vs. Francimar Barroso (18-4)
Everyone loves Krylov. He is a mythical being with a campy sense of humor and a fun fighting style. He’s only seen the second round once, has won three straight, is a Master of Sport in submission fighting, Kyokushin Karate as well as hand-to-hand combat, and Simply put, he might be the future of the Light Heavyweight division.
Meanwhile, Barroso is 36 and has many finishes on his record as well. However, each of his four UFC fights has been a bore. If he is to prevail today, it’ll be due to mucking up the fight. For the sake of entertainment and future implications, I’m picking Krylov to win it early. Prediction: Krylov via tko, round 1.
Germaine de Randamie (5-3) vs. Anna Elmose (3-0)
Up next is the second of the two female bouts on the card, and both women are amongst the most likable in the sport. Elmose is a young prospect whose nickname is panda, has a unique personality, and is 3-0 with each victory coming via knockout.
Meanwhile, de Randamie is also a likable fighter with a fun style. A former Kickboxer who went 37-0 in that discipline, de Randamie hasn’t been as successful in MMA. This is just her fifth fight since mid-2011,but a win would give her a 3-1 mark in the UFC. I personally believe that while Elmose is a threat, de Randamie is too seasoned for her. Plus, this is a hometown fight for de Randamie, so she’ll have that going for her as well. Prediction: de Randamie via decision or late tko.
Albert Tumenov (13-2) vs. Gunnar Nelson (14-2-1)
In many people’s opinion, this is the best fight on the card, and that’s a hard stance to argue against. It’s quite a stylistic matchup, as Nelson is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt with 10 submission wins, while Tumenov is a Master of Sport in Boxing and hand-to-hand combat, with 12 knockouts in MMA to date.
Nelson is 5-2 inside the octagon, with four of those wins coming via submission. However, he’s also lost two of three, and while a loss won’t result in a release, it would be a huge setback for him. Meanwhile, Tumenov is 5-1 inside the octagon, with his only loss being a split decision against Ildemar Alcantara in his UFC debut back in February 2014. While I do think that Nelson can take Tumenov down and finish him, I’ll pick Tumenov in what could be an incredible fight. Prediction: Tumenov via decision.
Stefan Struve (26-8) vs. Antonio Silva (19-8-1)
Well, it doesn’t get much sadder than this. Two Heavyweights who both have physical ailments and weakening chins. Struve is much younger, taller, has a loger reach, and home country advantage. He also has six knockout losses, and once had to have a fight canceled shortly before fight time due to an elevated heart rate.
As for Bigfoot, there’s not much left to say. He’s 3-5 with a no contest inside the octagon, has been knocked out seven times, including all five UFC losses, and is a shell of himself since TRT was banned. Of all the fighters that used it, he might be the only one that actually needed it, due to suffering from acromegaly. He should’ve retired after besting Soa Palelei last August, but he decided not to, and got finished by Mark Hunt last November. I don’t know who will win, but I’m expecting a sad result no matter what happens. Prediction: Struve probably wins, but everyone still loses.
(3) Alistair Overeem (40-14, 1NC) vs. (5) Andrei Arlovski (25-11, 1NC)
In the main event of the evening, arguably the face of Dutch MMA will take on teammate Andrei Arlovski. After defeating an injured Brock Lesnar in his UFC debut back in December 2011, Overeem promptly disappointed everyone. He was scheduled to face then Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 146 the following May, but tested positive for an overabundance of testosterone, and was suspended thereafter. In his next two fights, against Bigfoot Silva in February 2013 and then Travis Browne that August, Overeem dominated early, got cocky, and was finished soon thereafter. However, he was finally gotten things in order, having won three straight fights. It’s entirely possible that a win today will earn him the long-awaited UFC Heavyweight title shot.
Standing in his way is former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski. After it looked like he was washed up following four straight losses from 2009-2011, “The Pit Bull” stunned everyone when he went 7-1 with a no contest afterwards, earning a return to the UFC. He won his first four inside the octagon since his return, bot lost his last fight, against current title challenger Stipe Miocic, less than a minute into their January 2nd fight.
In the end, both men are “kill or be killed” type fighters. Together, they’ve been a part of 51 knockouts. Each men has won via knockout 17 times, while Overeem has one more knockout loss (nine) than Arlovski does. Clearly, he has the momentum in his favor, as well as the home country advantage. Plus, he called Arlovski out. Honestly, I’m not sold on his recent success, and I’m picking his hype train to be derailed once again. Prediction: Arlovski via tko, round 2.