Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Every year, on this weekend, the UFC puts forth a card. Usually, it’s a PPV card, headlined by a Heavyweight title fight, on a Saturday. This year, however, things have been switched up a bit. Instead of a Heavyweight title fight on a Saturday, fans will be treated to a loaded Fight Night, headlined by a pair of undefeated Bantamweights, on Sunday night.
The main card is pretty stacked, especially for a Fight Night. However, the prelims are no joke either. So, without further ado, here are my predictions for today’s prelims.
Fight Pass prelims (6/5c, UFC Fight Pass)
Chris de la Rocha (4-1) vs. Adam Milstead (7-1)
The first fight on the card pits a pair of relatively unknown Heavyweights. Milstead is a knockout artist who’s only loss came in his pro debut, over five years ago. He enters the UFC having never gone the distance, and will look to win another fight via stoppage when he faces Chris de la Rocha. Honestly, with just five wins under his belt, I have no idea why de la Rocha is in the UFC. Yes, he’s a finisher, but so are most Heavyweights. This is his first fight in almost a year, after losing his UFC debut to Daniel Omielanchuk in less than a minute last summer. I think he’ll get finished again tonight. Prediction: Milstead via tko, round 2.
Aljamain Sterling (13-0) vs. Bryan Caraway (20-7)
Let’s get a few things straight. For one, this foght obviously shouldn’t be on Fight Pass. I somewhat understand having a big fight cap off the Fight Pass portion of PPV cards, but for a TV card? I can’t get behind that. Also, Sterling is unbeaten, and many people believe he can wind up with a title shot if he wins a few more fights.
A lot of folks believe Caraway is nothing more than Miesha Tate’s husband and a Bantamweight gatekeeper. Well, he’s also a guy who stuns the masses against guys he’s supposed to lose to. It would be nice to see Sterling stay undefeated. But, I won’t bet on it. Prediction: Caraway via decision.
Televised prelims (7/6c, FS1)
Shane Campbell (12-4) vs. Eric Koch (14-4)
Opening up the televised prelim portion of the card is a Lightweight bout featuring two guys who are desperately in need of a wins.
It seems like forever ago that Koch was scheduled to fight then longtime Featherweight champ Jose Aldo for the latter’s belt. That was back in 2012, when Koch was 13-1, and on a four fight winning streak, eith his only loss having come at the hands of Chad Mendes, who had just lost his title fight. Well, Koch got hurt, lost his shot, and has lost three of four fights since. First, he lost to Ricardo Lamas via tko in January 2013, before getting decisioned by Dustin Poirier. He finished Rafaello Oliveira in February 2014, but lost his last fight, against Daron Cruickshank, via head kick tko over two years ago.
Now, Koch returns to the octagon over two years later, knowing a loss can result in him getting released. In order to keep his job, he’ll have to beat Shane Campbell, who has lost two of his three UFC bouts. I think the fight is a coin flip, and alrhough ring rust may be an issue, I’ll pick Koch. Prediction: Koch via decision.
Jake Collier (9-3) vs. Alberto Uda (9-0)
Collier is 1-2 inside the octagon, and a loss could send him back to the regional. He’s facing a surging undefeated Brazilian who’s got four knockouts and submissions apiece. Collier is fun to watch, but I see Uda pulling off the win. Prediction: Uda via tko, round 2.
Abel Trujillo (14-6) vs. Jordan Rinaldi (12-4)
This fight is easy to decipher. Trujillo has ether in his fists, so if he lands a flush shot, he’ll win. But, he’s also been submitted three times, and seven of Rinaldi’s wins have come in that fashion. If he can get a takedown, the fights his to lose. I’ll pick Trujillo, but anything can happen here. Prediction: Trujillo via decision or late tko.
Jessica Eye (11-4, 1NC) vs. Sara McMann (8-3)
The headlining prelim bout is the only female fight on the card, and it features two women in desperate need of a win. McMann has lost three of four since getting her title shot two years ago, and her lone win, a split decision over Lauren Murphy, was a forgettable fight and a questionable decision.
As for Eye, well, her UFC career has been a dreck. She’s 1-3 with a no contest with the promotion, and her first UFC fight, originally a controversial split decision win over Sara Kaufman, got overturned to a no contest after Eye tested positive for Marijuana.
A loss for wither woman could result in a release. However, the division is still shallow, so maybe that won’t happen. Obviously, McMann is a star wrestler, having been a silver medalist in the Olympics in 2004. She, like Eye, tends to go the distance. Half her wins have come in that manner, while seven of Eye’s 11 have done so as well. I’ll go with Eye, but honestly, nobody knows what to expect here. Prediction: Eye via split decision.