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Guide to UFC on ESPN+ 55: Holloway vs. Rodriguez

Getting prepared for UFC action this coming Saturday? Here is everything you need to know about the event with our Guide to UFC on ESPN+ 55: Holloway vs. Rodriguez.

UFC on ESPN+ 55

Date: November 13, 2021

Location: UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

Main Card

Start Time: 4:00 p.m. ET, 1:00 p.m. PT

Where to watch: ESPN+

Featherweights: Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez

Overall Records: Holloway 22-6, Rodriguez 12-2 1 NC

UFC Records: Holloway 18-6, Rodriguez 8-1 1 NC

Last fight: Holloway def. Kattar–UDec–UFC On ABC 1 (1/16/21), Rodriguez def. Stephens–UDec–UFC On ESPN 6 (10/18/19)

Last five fights: Holloway 2-3, Rodriguez 3-1 1 NC

Rankings: Holloway #1, Rodriguez #3

Betting odds: Holloway -750, Rodriguez +500

Background: The main event is a fight fans have been looking forward to for quite some time, and it’s already being talked about as a potential contender for “Fight of the Year”. They were scheduled to fight in July, but an injury to Holloway late in camp, coupled with Rodriguez not wanting to fight a late replacement, allowed the matchmakers to re-book the fight for here and keep it as a five-rounder. Holloway fights for the first time since January, when he put on an all-time classic performance in a dominating win over Calvin Kattar. The former UFC Featherweight Champion might still be the best in the world in the division, and he wants that belt back to prove so. Rodriguez is fighting for the first time in just over two years. A USADA whereabouts failure, injuries leading to planned fights being pushed back, and just the inability to book him against Zabit Magomedshapirov have kept him from fighting since a decision win over Jeremy Stephens in October 2019. He is unbeaten in nine of his ten UFC bouts, and, when active, is legitimately one of the top featherweights in the world.

How they match up: We all know what we’re going to get from Holloway. He’s an aggressive striker who is all about action, applying pressure and staying busy. He’s arguably the best boxer in UFC, and he holds the top two spots for most strikes landed in a single UFC bout. Rodriguez is more calculated on his feet, but he’s very explosive and will attack with all sorts of different attacks. Holloway could easily just decide to pick him apart on the feet, so Rodriguez is going to need to keep it crafty with some good footwork to stay away from Holloway getting in his range. There is the question of the time off that Rodriguez has gone under and whether he’s going to be truly ready for someone the caliber of Holloway. Rodriguez should look to keep Holloway on the outside, and the one thing he doesn’t want to do is get his back against the fence, as Holloway is great at attacking with flurries, especially to the body, against the fence. Rodriguez could look to take it to the mat, but Holloway has strong takedown defense. We know Holloway is going to stay busy on the feet and Rodriguez is going to have to have good defense on the feet. Holloway is a very big favorite in this one, and I see it going his way, though Rodriguez could easily pull off an upset.

What’s at stake: A title shot could very well be at stake in this one. Holloway is almost assuredly getting a shot with a win. He was expected to get one after the Kattar win, but the featherweight title fight being delayed from March to September changed those plans, and they wanted to keep this fight intact after it was cancelled in July. Everyone wants to see him and Alexander Volkanovski square off for a third time, and that will happen with a win. Rodriguez pulling the upset could open the door for him. He’s currently ranked third, and a win would likely put him first, which would be a strong case for a title shot. This is also the chance for him to quiet the critics who wonder how he’s still ranked that high with his inactivity. This really feels like a far more important fight for Rodriguez than it is for Holloway, even with the stakes being high:

Pick: Holloway

Heavyweights: Ben Rothwell vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima

Overall Records: Rothwell 39-13, Rogerio de Lima 18-7-1

UFC Records: Rothwell 9-7, Rogerio de Lima 7-5

Last fight: Rothwell def. Barnett–R2 SUB–UFC On ESPN+ 46 (5/22/21), Rogerio de Lima def. Greene–UDec–UFC On ESPN 24 (5/8/21)

Last five fights: Rothwell 3-2, Rogerio de Lima 3-2

Betting odds: Rothwell -160, Rogerio de Lima +130

Background: An interesting choice for a co-main event was made here, and, to be quite frank, it could end up being an extremely lackluster fight. Rothwell comes into this fight off a win over Chris Barnett in May. He’s won three of his last four, which has come after a three-fight losing skid, so he’s turned things around enough to be on the cusp of the bottom of the rankings. Rogerio de Lima is also looking to score his second straight win after scoring a decision over Maurice Greene in May. He’s had an up-and-down UFC career, rotating wins-and-losses during his last eleven fights. History would show he’s supposed to lose this one, so he’ll be trying to buck that trend.

How they match up: These are two big heavyweights, but Rothwell is going to have a size advantage over de Lima. He’s also pretty quick given both his size and age, with some good power and durability. He is also awkward on his feet, which is sometimes good and sometimes bad for him. de Lima has lots of power in his hands as well and tends to be on the aggressive side, though he’ll often take his time to find the right opening. He’s not as technical or as skilled as Rothwell on the feet, and he also doesn’t have the conditioning that Rothwell has. Rothwell hasn’t been finished by strikes in twelve years, so that toughness is going to have to be matched by aggression. Rothwell could also take this fight to the mat and he has slick submissions. There are way too many paths for Rothwell to win, and he’s just simply the better fighter right now. If this doesn’t end in the first, it could get ugly.

What’s at stake: These are just two heavyweights in the later stages of their careers fighting for paychecks, as neither will be able to sniff title contention given their ages. Rothwell is the better of the two at this stage and a win over him means more. They’re both just heavyweights to fill slots on a card at this stage for the most part.

Pick: Rothwell

Women’s Featherweights: Felicia Spencer vs. Leah Letson

Overall Records: Spencer 8-3, Letson 5-1

UFC Records: Spencer 2-3, Letson 1-0

Last fight: Dumont def. Spencer–SpDec–UFC On ESPN+ 46 (5/22/21), Letson def. Stoliarenko–SpDec–TUF 28 Finale (11/30/18)

Last five fights: Spencer 2-3, Letson 5-0

Betting odds: Spencer -350, Letson +260

Background: The women’s featherweight division lives on in this one, as two of the less than five fighters in the division square off. Spencer is looking to end a two-fight losing skid. She’s suffered back-to-back losses to Amanda Nunes in a title fight, and then to Norma Dumont in May. Letson is returning from a near three-year layoff. She was on season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter, and fought on the finale of that show, scoring a split decision win over Julija Stoliarenko. She’s actually on a five-fight win streak, and has scored three of those wins via a finish.

How they match up: Spencer is a wrestler and she’s going to be looking for the takedown right away. She traditionally shoots from the outside, though her pressure against the fence is good. Letson likes to keep it standing so she can throw punches, as she fights like a brawler with a powerful punch. Spencer is super tough and durable, and Letson, despite her power, isn’t going to be able to knock her out. That is going to be the key, because I expect Spencer to just take Letson down immediately and try and finish it as quickly as possible. The longer it goes, Letson could find an opening, but Spencer is too experienced to lose this one barring an absolute brutal gameplan and execution.

What’s at stake: Honestly, it’s hard to know what’s really at stake in this one for both women. I’m surprised the featherweight division still exists, but it does. Barring either moving down to 135 lbs., there really isn’t much for either to accomplish being on the UFC roster. This is just a fight to fulfill contracts but it has no bearing on anything, really.

Pick: Spencer

Welterweights: Miguel Baeza vs. Khaos Williams

Overall Records: Baeza 10-1, Williams 12-2

UFC Records: Baeza 3-1, Williams 3-1

Last fight: Ponzinibbio def. Baeza–UDec–UFC On ESPN+ 47 (6/5/21), Williams def. Semelsberger–UDec–UFC On ESPN 25 (6/19/21)

Last five fights: Baeza 4-1, Williams 4-1

Betting odds: Baeza -145, Williams +120

Background: One of the more exciting match-ups on the card gets the late bump to the main card following some fight cancellations. Baeza is looking to get back into the win column after losing an absolute war against Santiago Ponzinibbio in June in one of the best fights of the year. It was the first loss for Baeza in his career, as he had started 10–0 with eight finishes and three UFC wins. Williams will be looking to score his second straight win after scoring a decision over Matthew Semelsberger in June. It got him back in the win column after a loss in his previous fight had ended an eight-fight win streak. Williams has seven finish wins in his career, with six coming by knockout.

How they match up: This has the makings of “Fight of the Night,” too. Both are extremely talented and dangerous strikers. Baeza has a punishing calf kick that is among his favorite weapons, and he’s got very good technique on his feet. Williams is powerful, but he can be volatile on the feet as he’ll throw technique out the window to brawl, and it’s hurt him before. He had trouble with Michel Pereira, and while Baeza doesn’t have the craziness of Pereira, his footwork is still strong and his attacks are just as impactful. Williams will need to be ready to check the leg kicks or it’ll be a long night for him. Williams also tends to leave his chin out when striking, which will be another target that Baeza looks to take advantage of. This is going to be a fun and exciting fight while it lasts, but I do see Baeza picking Williams apart on the feet and getting the finish.

What’s at stake: Both of these men want to climb up the rankings and get into a very crowded welterweight title picture. They’re also both still relatively young and have plenty of time to get into positions to make a run. Baeza might have a little more upside, but both are fun fighters who will bring action inside the Octagon. It’s a great opportunity for the winner to break out of the middle of the division and put themselves into more high-profile bouts.

Pick: Baeza

Bantamweights: Song Yadong vs. Julio Arce

Overall Records: Yadong 17-5-1 1 NC, Arce 17-4

UFC Records: Yadong 6-1-1, Arce 4-2

Last fight: Yadong def. Kenney–SpDec–UFC 265 (8/7/21), Arce def. Ewell–R2 TKO–UFC On ESPN 27 (7/24/21)

Last five fights: Yadong 3-1-1, Arce 3-2

Rankings: Yadong #15

Betting odds: Yadong -135, Arce +110

Background: A bantamweight bout featuring a ranked fighter gets the main card opening slot. Yadong enters his 25th professional bout, which is crazy considering he is only 23-years-old, as he guns for his seventh UFC victory. He’s coming off a split decision win over Casey Kenney in August, and he has just one loss in his nine UFC bouts. He trains with Team Alpha Male and has nine finish wins under his belt. Arce is fighting for the second time this year, which is good for him considering he was out of action for almost two years. He’s coming off a second-round finish of Andre Ewell in July. He’s just 2-2 in his last four bouts after having a seven-fight win streak, and a win here would start a new win streak, while a finish would be the eleventh of his career.

How they match up: Both men are very skilled on the feet. Yadong is a well-rounded striker with some solid knockout power. Arce has really sound technical boxing, and bantamweight is a better division for him as he won’t be giving up size. Yadong will have the speed edge and is more accurate on the feet, though he also does get hit more than Arce does. Both can mix in the wrestling if needed. Arce does have some solid takedown defense. Yadong has that Team Alpha Male training, and they excel on the mat and with submissions, especially the guillotine choke. Yadong is so athletic and talented for his age, and he’s incredibly smart inside the Octagon. They’ll mix it up on the feet, but Yadong has all of the advantages here.

What’s at stake: Yadong is ranked 15th in the bantamweight rankings coming into this fight. Arce certainly would like to have that number next to his name, or, at the very least, be the one responsible for taking it away from Yadong. Yadong has tremendous potential, especially given his age, and he’s better than people give him credit for. A win vaults him to potentially fighting top-ten opposition and moves him closer to the title picture. Arce is slightly older, and if he wants to fight for UFC gold, he needs to start his run now, so a win is important for him in that regards.

Pick: Yadong

Preliminary Card

Start Time: 1:00 p.m. ET, 10:00 a.m. PT

Where to watch: ESPN+

Lightweights: Thiago Moises vs. Joel Alvarez

Overall Records: Moises 15-5, Alvarez 18-2

UFC Records: Moises 4-3, Alvarez 3-1

Last fight: Makhachev def. Moises–R4 SUB–UFC On ESPN 26 (7/17/21), Alvarez def. Yakovlev–R1 SUB–UFC 254 (10/24/20)

Last five fights: Moises 3-2, Alvarez 4-1

Betting odds: Moises -250, Alvarez +210

Background: Lightweights take the spot in the featured prelim on the card in this battle of young prospects. Moises is coming off his first UFC main event appearance, but is looking to erase the sting of that bout. He was dominated and submitted by Islam Makhachev in the fourth round, ending his three-fight win streak and knocking him out of the lightweight rankings. The American Top Team prospect will be going for his 16th career win. Alvarez steps inside the Octagon for the first time in over a year as he looks to extend his three-fight win streak. He was last seen submitting Alexander Yakovlev in Abu Dhabi in October 2020. Alvarez has been impressive recently, compiling a 13–1 record over his last 14 fights. His lone blemish came in his UFC debut, to Damir Ismagulov, who also holds a win over Moises.

How they match up: Alvarez is going to have a huge seven-inch reach advantage, as well as a six-inch height advantage, over Moises, and he’s going to need to use his length well in this one. Moises is a very patient fighter who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and he can mix it up everywhere. Alvarez likes to let his opponents take him down, but it’s also a trap for Alvarez to hunt and find submissions. Moises is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and too smart and slick on the mat to fall into an Alvarez trap, so Alvarez should look to pressure on the feet. Neither man is an overwhelming striker, and both have defense on the feet that leaves a lot to be desired. Moises’ level of competition is just far too deeper than Alvarez has had, and that experience will be a huge factor.

What’s at stake: Moises knows what it’s like to be ranked, which is a tough task at 155 lbs., and he would like to know how that feels again. A win here may not get him back in there, but it’ll move him closer and get him into a more high-profile bout next. Alvarez is looking to take that leap from prospect into potential contender, and this is the biggest test of his career to date. All three of his UFC wins are against opponents no longer on the roster, and he wants to be more active, so this is a great starting point for him, and a big test as well.

Pick: Moises

Women’s Flyweights: Cynthia Calvillo vs. Andrea Lee

Overall Records: Calvillo 9-3-1, Lee 12-5

UFC Records: Calvillo 6-3-1, Lee 4-3

Last fight: Andrade def. Calvillo–R1 TKO–UFC 266 (9/25/21), Lee def. A.Shevchenko–R2 SUB–UFC 262 (5/15/21)

Last five fights: Calvillo 2-2-1, Lee 2-3

Rankings: Calvillo #5, Lee #12

Betting odds: Calvillo -130, Lee +110

Background: A bout that wasn’t even on the card until a couple of weeks ago takes place here as Calvillo steps in on short notice to take on Lee in a battle of ranked flyweights. Calvillo replaces Jessica Eye, who had to pull out due to illness, and it is a quick turnaround for her. She just fought at UFC 266 in late September, where she was finished in the first round by Jessica Andrade. She’s trying to break a two-fight losing skid. Lee got back into the win column, likely saving her UFC career, in her last appearance. She scored a second-round submission over Antonina Shevchenko at UFC 262 in May, her first UFC stoppage win, which ended a three-fight losing skid. Prior to that, she had seven straight wins.

How they match up: Calvillo started her career as a skilled grappler with great submissions, but as she got more UFC experience and started to switch training camps, she started to rely more on her striking. It did her good against lesser competition, but it is a strategy that has failed her in recent bouts. She shouldn’t rely on the striking as her primary weapon here as Lee is a skilled kickboxer who will have a five-inch reach advantage. Lee has power in her fists but isn’t a knockout artist, but she is very accurate and mixes in the kicks very well. Much like Calvillo, her grappling might be the best part of her attack, and, unlike Calvillo, she hasn’t shown to be afraid to go to the mat. She dominated the lesser Shevchenko on the ground, and she could do the same here. This is a pretty even match-up, but Calvillo is facing that quick turnaround, so she might not be at her peak. I like Lee, especially as an upset pick if she ends up the betting underdog at the end.

What’s at stake: It might be too quick of a return for Calvillo considering she was just finished seven weeks ago, but at age 34, with two straight losses, if she wants to fight for UFC gold, she needs to pick up wins in a hurry. A third straight loss could officially end any title aspirations for her, so this is a major fight for Calvillo. Lee wants to break into the top ten again and get herself into the title picture. She made some noise in beating the champion’s sister last time, and there’s no doubt Valentina Shevchenko might like to get some mark of revenge. Lee needs to pick up wins if she wants that title shot, and a second straight one here would go a long way to getting her in the mix, so this is a big fight for her as well.

Pick: Lee

Featherweights: Sean Woodson vs. Collin Anglin

Overall Records: Woodson 8-1, Anglin 8-2

UFC Records: Woodson 2-1, Anglin 0-1

Last fight: Woodson def. Zalal–SpDec–UFC On ESPN+ 47 (6/5/21), Baghdasaryan def. Anglin–R2 TKO–UFC On ESPN 28 (7/31/21)

Last five fights: Woodson 4-1, Anglin 4-1

Betting odds: Woodson -350, Anglin +260

Background: A pair of featherweight prospects in search of their ninth career wins tangle in this one as Woodson and Anglin battle. Woodson is looking to notch his second consecutive win, as he’s coming off a split decision win over Youssef Zalal in June. It bounced him back from his first career loss after starting his career 7–0, and Woodson is looking for his first UFC finish. Anglin makes his second walk to the Octagon, and is hoping it goes better this time. He suffered a second-round TKO loss to Melsik Baghdasaryan in July in his debut. That ended a seven-fight win streak, which was capped off by an impressive showing on Dana White’s Contender Series that earned him his UFC deal.

How they match up: Woodson is long and lanky for the featherweight division, and he’s going to have a seven-inch reach advantage over Anglin. Both are high-volume strikers who don’t have a lot of defense on the feet. Anglin should look to be the pace setter of the fight and put the pressure on Woodson, as Woodson tends to tire and fold under pressure. Anglin is the more well-rounded fighter of the two and would have the edge if he decides to turn it into a grinding affair. If he can get inside the range and length of Woodson, he’s going to punish Woodson with some hard shots. Woodson is a decent grappler so he could look for the takedown and control from the top, but Anglin has some decent grappling in his own right. This is a much closer fight than the Betting odds would suggest.

What’s at stake: Both are young and have plenty to offer in the coming years of their career. This is a pivotal bout for both, though, considering the bloated UFC roster. It is Woodson’s fourth UFC bout, which generally is the Last fight of a first UFC contract, and there’s no indication he signed a new deal beforehand. If he loses, that’s a 2–2 mark, which they may elect to not re-sign after, so a win and a 3–1 record would be much better for him. Anglin doesn’t want to start his UFC run with two straight losses, so this is almost like a must-win for him. It’s two lower-end featherweights at the moment, but still an important bout for both.

Pick: Anglin

Women’s Flyweights: Cortney Casey vs. Liana Jojua

Overall Records: Casey 9-9, Jojua 8-4

UFC Records: Casey 5-8, Jojua 1-2

Last fight: Aldrich def. Casey–SpDec–UFC On ESPN+ 45 (3/13/21), Maverick def. Jojua–R1 TKO–UFC 254 (10/24/20)

Last five fights: Casey 2-3, Jojua 3-2

Betting odds: Casey -250, Jojua +200

Background: A flyweight bout between two women looking to break back into the win column takes place here between Casey and Jojua. Casey comes into this bout looking to end a two-fight losing skid. She dropped a split decision in a close fight to JJ Aldrich in her last appearance in March. Casey has had a weird UFC career, as she’s just 5–8 inside the Octagon, though her level of competition has been very tough. Jojua fights for the first time since October 2020, where she lost to Miranda Maverick at the end of the first round after doctors stopped the bout due to cuts. She’s dropped two of her three fights inside the Octagon, so she’s looking to get a run of wins kicked off here.

How they match up: Casey is more of the athlete of the two. She’s got a good frame, some fast hands, good athleticism, and will have a five-inch reach advantage. Even with all of that, she is slow on the feet and tends to be flat-footed. Jojua won’t be able to match Casey on the feet, but her wrestling game is the best part of her attack. Casey is a little bit underrated on the mat, as she’s shown she’s plenty skilled on the mat, as she has four wins by submission. Casey figures to be the more effective fighter on the feet with her reach advantage, and this is a match-up that doesn’t look good for Jojua.

What’s at stake: Both of these women’s’ UFC careers could very well be on the line here. It’s a surprise that Casey is on the roster with her 5–8 record, but the womens’ roster is somewhat shallow most times, and she’s also someone who is willing to fight anyone at any time, which gives her more leeway. A loss would make her 2–6 in her last eight, though, and could signal the end of her time. Jojua needs a win if she is going to have a future with the promotion, as a loss would move her to 1–3 in her UFC career, and make her long-term future with the promotion in doubt. It really is a must-win for both.

Pick: Casey

Lightweights: Marc Diakiese vs. Rafael Alves

Overall Records: Diakiese 14-4, Alves 19-10

UFC Records: Diakiese 5-4, Alves 0-1

Last fight: Fiziev def. Diakiese–UDec–UFC On ESPN+ 30 (7/18/20), Ismagulov def. Alves–UDec–UFC On ESPN+ 46 (5/22/21)

Last five fights: Diakiese 2-3, Alves 4-1

Betting odds: Diakiese -185, Alves +155

Background: A pair of lightweights who have the potential to have an explosive finish square off here as Diakiese and Alves both look to bounce back into the win column. Diakiese is looking to get some consistency going in what has been an inconsistent UFC career. He started his UFC run off with three straight wins, which pushed his overall record to 12–0. He then suffered three straight losses, but rebounded with two straight wins. He then lost in his Last fight, a decision to the ultra-tough Rafael Fiziev, which came back in July 2020. He looks to bounce back here. Alves, who might be best-known for missing weight by eleven-and-a-half-pounds for what was to be his UFC debut, looks for his 20th career win as he looks to get back in the win column here. He dropped a decision to Damir Ismagulov in his UFC debut in May, which ended a five-fight win streak. 14 of his 19 wins have come by stoppage.

How they match up: Diakiese is a dangerous fighter on the feet with some real brutal knockout power. He hasn’t been able to truly show it for a while, but this is a good opportunity for him to do so. Alves’ offensive attack seems to be just bursts of output and not being able to get anything consistently going, and he’s going to give up some reach to Diakiese. Alves does have a really good submission game, one that should worry Diakiese. Diakiese does have some good takedown defense, so as long as he keeps it on the fight, it makes his path to victory much easier. Diakiese is also durable and knows how to keep a solid pace, and Alves just feels over-matched in this one.

What’s at stake: This could be another fight where both mens’ UFC futures are on the line. Diakiese looked every bit of a potential contender after his first three UFC bouts, but his recent 2–4 run leaves him on the wrong side of being possibly cut with another loss. This is a favorable match-up for him, so he needs to take advantage. Alves didn’t make any friends for missing weight by a lot in what was to be his UFC debut, and a second straight loss after that wouldn’t be good for him. His record isn’t overly impressive, either, though he is a skilled fighter. He does need a win here, otherwise I could see him being quickly released from the promotion.

Pick: Diakiese

Light Heavyweights: Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Da Un Jung

Overall Records: Nzechukwu 9-1, Jung 14-2-1

UFC Records: Nzechukwu 3-1, Jung 3-0-1

Last fight: Nzechukwu def. Marques–R3 TKO–UFC On ESPN+ 48 (6/26/21), Jung def. Knight–UDec–UFC On ABC 2 (4/10/21)

Last five fights: Nzechukwu 4-1, Jung 4-0-1

Betting odds: Nzechukwu -105, Jung -115

Background: A pair of light heavyweights with solid records kicks off the show, and, honestly, this fight should be much higher on the card as it has potential to be a solid fight. Nzechukwu is looking to extend a three-fight win streak. He’s coming off a third-round TKO of Danilo Marques in June, which was his sixth career knockout win. He’s an impressive 9–1 to start his professional career, with his lone loss being a third-round submission to Paul Craig in a fight he likely would’ve won had it gone just another minute. Jung comes into this fight unbeaten inside the Octagon and also unbeaten in his last 14 fights. He’s coming off an impressive decision win over William Knight in April, and 12 of his 14 career wins have come either by knockout or submission.

How they match up: Both men are massive light heavyweights. Nzechukwu stands at six-foot-five while Jung stands at 6’4”, but Nzechukwu is going to have a five-inch reach advantage. He’s a really good athlete who has been putting it all together in recent bouts. He does tend to start slow, so Jung should look to take advantage early. Jung is going to need to worry about what happens if the fight goes long, as Nzechukwu gets better as the fight goes on and is dangerous in the later rounds. Jung is not an aggressive fighter, as he likes to just be patient and find his edges in the grappling department. Jung will lay back and not go on the offensive, and Nzechukwu sometimes doesn’t like to engage. It could lead to a boring fight, but Nzechukwu is gaining confidence and is likely going to push a faster pace. It might start slow, but it should have an exciting finish.

What’s at stake: Both have good chances of getting ranked with a win here, or, at the very least, being right on the cusp. The winner here should get a ranked opponent for their next fight regardless, and both want to keep looking impressive. Nzechukwu has tremendous upside and wants to join the rest of the Nigerian UFC roster members who are becoming champions and having tons of success. This is actually a pretty big fight for both and I hate that it’s being served up as essentially the appetizer, because it is a main course bout.

Pick: Nzechukwu

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