Welcome to the eight UFC event in eight weeks! Okay so it was supposed to be the eighth event in nine weeks, but with next week’s Philippines card being cancelled, this is going to be the final UFC card for a month.
The main card feels lacking, but the prelims are sneaky good. There’s a bunch of fun fights on deck for the six-fight prelim slate, featuring some big-time veterans and a few good prospects. Even though Ian Entwistle vs. Rob Font got scrapped last minute, it should still be a fun slate. Without further ado, here are my picks for tonight’s prelim card.
Fight Pass Prelims (7/6c, UFC Fight Pass)
Adriano Martins (28-7) vs. Leonardo Santos (15-3-1)
A Brazilian veteran vs. a Brazilian veteran, on the Fight Pass portion of a PPV in ENgland? Seems fitting for such a weird card. This fight deserves to be on the main card, yet it isn’t even headlining the Fight Pass!
Martins has 13 knockout and 12 decision wins, as well as a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He’s 4-1 with three finishes inside the octagon, and seeing him on Fight pass is dismaying. Santos, the TUF: Brazil 2 winner, has a third degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, nine submission wins, and a 4-0-1 UFC record. Basically, both deserve to be in a better slot than a Fight Pass opener. It’s a tossup fight, and I’ll go with Martins, but anything can happen. Prediction: Martins via decision.
Danny Roberts (13-3) vs. Mike Perry (8-0)
On paper, Mike Perry is a very fun fighter. In reality, he’s a very fun fighter. That said, he just made his UFC debut at UFC 202, but has already garnered the ire of many UFC fans due to his antics during the weigh-ins to his debut fight, and his corner’s racist antics during said fight. That doesn’t change the reality that he’s unbeaten with every fight ending via knockout, including six via knockout.
Perry’s opponent, Danny Roberts, is no joke. He’s won 13 of his 14 fights, with five knockout and submission wins apiece. He’s more well-rounded than Perry, as well as a better gas tank. If Perry connects early, he can win, and it seems like a lot of people are predicting that. That said, I believe that Roberts will weather the early storm, and either win a decision or secure a late finish. Prediction: Roberts via decision or late submission.
FS1 prelims (8/7c, FS1)
Marc Diakese (9-0) vs. Lukasz Sajewski (13-2)
Diakese is a freak athlete, with four knockout and decision wins apiece. Sajewski is terrific and has seven wins via submission, but is 0-2 inside the octagon. The edge in athleticism is what I think will do Sajewski in, and while an upset is far from impossible, I have to go with Diakese here. Prediction: Diakese via tko, round 2.
Albert Tumenov (17-3) vs. Leon Edwards (11-3)
Up next, Russian striking star Albert Tumenov will take on the Englishman Edwards. Tumenov has 11 wins via knockout and six via decision, and until his last fight against Gunnar Nelson, had never been finished. He’s got a 5-2 UFC record, with a split decision loss in his UFC debut and his loss to Nelson bookending his five-fight winning streak. In order to get back in the ranks of contendership, a win is necessary for him tonight.
Edwards will pose a stiff test though. He’s 3-2 inside the octagon, with four of those fights going the distance. He’s got five knockout wins, four decisions and two submission wins, and has never been finished. He’s never faced anyone like Tumenov though, and I believe Tumenov will finish this one in the second round. Prediction: Tumenov via tko, round 2.
Davey Grant (10-2) vs. Damian Stasiak (9-3)
European submission specialists take the stage next. The Polish Stasiak has six wins via submission, has never been finished, and has won six of his last seven fights, including a 1-1 UFC record. Grant is fighting in his home country, is fighting for just the second time since losing in the TUF 18 finale back in November 2013 due to injuries, and has eight submission wins in 10 wins total. Honestly, this could be a wild affair, since both are submission specialists. That said, I have a feeling that Grant will find his moment, and lock in a hold in the second or third round to secure a victory. Prediction: Grant via submission, round 2 or 3.
Iuri Alcantara (33-7, 1NC) vs. Brad Pickett (25-11)
The headlining prelim should be a dandy. Alcantara is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, has finished 26 of his 33 combined wins with 14 knockouts and 12 submissions to date, and has only been finished twice. The last time he was finished? October 2009! He’s got a 7-4 record with a no contest, but he’s 1-2 in his last three, and a loss might result in his release.
As for Pickett, the 38-year-old Englishman might be headed towards retirement anytime, after scintillating the fans with great performances during his 12-year pro career. He won the Cage Warriors title back in 2005, joined WEC in 2009, and since entering the UFC in late 2011, has continued to thrill. That said, he’s lost five of his last eight fights, and has a 5-6 UFC record now. Granted most of those losses were decisions, but he’s clearly in the Twilight of his career. He’s got ten submission, seven knockout and eight decision wins, and of his 11 losses, five came via decision and four came via submission.
I’m a fan of both men, and it sucks that the loser of this fight likely gets cut, or in Pickett’s case, may wind up retiring. It would be amazing to see Pickett get a win in his home country against a legit opponent like Alcantara, and then retire. Sadly, I think Alcantara will win, and for the sake of clemency, I’ll say he doesn’t win via finish. Prediction: Alcantara via decision.