The UFC’s final event at the APEX Facility before heading back to Fight Island will feature bitter rivals Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington in the main event. These two have gone at each other for the last couple of years but their paths have evaded each other, until now. But before we get to that highly anticipated fight, a six-card prelims undercard will open the show on September 19th.
Let’s take a look at the prelims bouts and pick our winners :
Mayra Bueno Silva looks to get back on track after a Fight of the Night loss to Maryna Moroz at UFC Fight Night Brasilia last March. That was the first bout for the former Contender Series alumnus since suffering a serious knee injury during her 2018 win over Gillian Robertson. The 29-year old is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 66 inches. She has a record of 6-1 with one knockout and three submission wins.
Mara Romero Borella defeated two Brazilian fighters in her first two UFC bouts, submitting Kalinda Faria and decisioning Taila Santos. However, she’s lost three in a row to Lauren Murphy, Montana De La Rosa, and Cortney Casey. Borella is 5-6 tall with a reach of 69 inches and is an orthodox fighter. She has a record of 11-8 with three knockouts and four wins via submission.
The skills that Silva has shown in the UFC are more than enough for me to pick her here although I would admit that we haven’t seen enough offensive wrestling skills. She is more active on her feet and her ability to look for finishes should create plenty of problems for Borella. Borella doesn’t have the firepower to match Silva on the feet. Nor does she have the wrestling chops to dominate this fight on the mat. I think Borella tries to grapple with Silva and gets caught with a choke.
Prediction: Mayra Bueno Silva
Jordan Espinosa is the 13th ranked flyweight in the UFC. Espinosa is the former TSE bantamweight champion who appeared in the Contender Series twice before joining the UFC. Espinosa is 2-2 inside the octagon and is coming off a win over Mark De La Rosa. Espinosa stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 69 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He has a record of 15-7 with two knockouts and seven wins via submission.
David Dvorak is a former professional chess player turned mixed martial artist. The 28-year old from the Czech Republic is a former WASO and GCF Czech champion. He enters this fight with 14 straight wins and is coming off a submission win over Bruno Silva last March. Dvorak is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-5 tall with a reach of 68 inches. He has a record of 18-3 with 8 knockouts and seven wins via submission.
As the odds show, this is the most even fight of the event. Dvorak has a better record but its Espinosa who has fought better opposition. Espinosa has good wrestling but Dvorak has good takedown defense. I think that Dvorak’s counter-punching will be a big weapon for him. His athleticism and speed will take advantage of every mistake that Espinosa commits in this bout. There’s a big gap in power here and that’s what will give Dvorak this fight.
Prediction: David Dvorak
Jessica-Rose Clark is the former XFC and Roshambo MMA bantamweight champion in Australia. The 32-year old also fought for Invicta and Titan FC before coming over to the UFC. She is 2-2 inside the octagon and heads to this bout after suffering back to back losses to Jessica Eye and Pannie Kianzad. Clark is 9-6 with two knockouts and two wins via submission. She stands 5-5 tall with a reach of 64 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.
Sarah Alpar fought for XFL, KOTC, and Titan FC before joining the UFC via the Contender Series. This 29-year old from Amarillo, Texas will be making her Octagon debut in this fight. Alpar is a southpaw fighter who stands 5-4 tall with an undisclosed reach. She has a record of 9-4 with two wins via knockout and two wins by submission. In her last bout, Alpar choked out Shanna Young in Episode 8 of the Dana White Contender Series season 3.
Alpar is dangerous on the mat but her striking is still a work in progress. She owns a nice counter left hand but when she is under pressure, she loses composure and her lack of technique is obvious. This is Clark’s win if her takedown defense holds. I think she keeps this fight up, forces Alpar to a brawl, and uses her superior stand up skills to win this fight on points.
Prediction: Jessica-Rose Clark
Journey Newsom fought for KOTC, SFL, and FFC before joining the UFC roster in 2019. The 31-year old from Beaverton, Oregon is coming off a knockout of Domingo Pilarte last February. That win was overturned to a no-contest after Newsom failed a drug test. He stands 5-5 tall with a reach of 67 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. Newsom is 9-2 with three knockouts and three wins via submission.
Randy Costa fought for Cage Titans before he was signed by the UFC last year. The 26-year old from Taunton, Massachusetts is 1-1 inside the octagon and is coming off a TKO win over Boston Salomon last October. Costa is a switch hitter who stands 5-9 tall with a reach of 73 inches and has a record of 5-1 with five knockouts.
Newsom has a good wrestling background but he has not shown a lot of offense in the UFC. Costa is a heavy-handed hitter and he can end this punch with one punch. If Newsom can survive the first two minutes, then he has a good chance of winning this fight. If he can hold his own on the feet without getting caught, he’ll take this fight to the mat where he can dominate Costa.
Prediction: Journey Newsom
Andre Ewell is the former CES MMA bantamweight champion. The 32-year old joined the UFC in 2018 and beat former champion Renan Barao in his octagon debut. He is 2-2 since then and is coming off a split decision win over Jonathan Martinez at UFC 247. Ewell is a southpaw who stands 5-8 tall with a reach of 75 inches. His record stands at 16-6 with seven knockouts and four wins via submission.
Irwin Rivera fought for Fight Time and Titan FC before joining the UFC this year. The 31-year old from New Windsor, New York lost to Giga Chikadze in his UFC debut but bounced back to beat Ali AlQaisi via split decision in his last bout just last August 8th. Rivera is a southpaw who stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 67 inches. She has a record of 10-5 with 5 knockouts and one win via submission.
Rivera lacks the reach and he doesn’t have the takedown skills that will slow down Ewell’s stand-up. The Beast has the power to end this fight but Ewell is going to paw away from a distance. Rivera could exploit Ewell’s grappling weaknesses but most likely, Ewell is going to win this striking affair without engaging in a slugfest. Ewell stays away from danger and wins comfortably on the feet.
Prediction: Andre Ewell
Darrick Minner has won regional titles at featherweight and lightweight. He also appeared for promotions like Resurrection Fighting Alliance and Legacy Fighting Alliance. Minner lost to Herbert Burns in the Contender Series. He made his UFC debut last February and lost to Grant Dawson via submission. Minner is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-7 tall with a reach of 69 inches. Minner is 24-11 with 21 wins via submission and one by knockout.
T.J. Laramie is a veteran of Pancrase, HKFC, TKO MMA, and Prospect Fighting Championship before joining the Contender Series last August. Laramie scored a TKO win over Daniel Swain in that bout and earned a shot at the UFC. He stands 5-6 tall and has a reach of 66 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He has a record of 12-3 with seven knockouts and two wins via submission.
Laramie has a five-inch reach and one-inch height disadvantage here. However, that’s not going to matter here with Minner always looking to take the fight to the ground. Laramie has good takedown defense and he’s going to try and keep this on the feet. He has superior boxing and his sprawl and brawl style will be enough to win this fight. There are a lot of ways Laramie wins this but I think he’s going to do it with his jab.
Prediction: T.J. Laramie
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