Heavyweight contenders Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis lock horns in the main event of UFC Vegas 19 on Saturday, February 20, 2021, at the UFC’s APEX Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A women’s bantamweight bout between former Invicta FC champion Ketlen Vieira and former UFC women’s bantamweight challenger Yana Kunitskaya will serve as the co-headliner of the event. But before these two big bouts and the main card, a loaded prelims undercard opens the show.
Let’s take a look at the bouts in the prelims undercard and make our predictions.
Phil Hawes is a veteran who fought under WSOF, Brave FC, and Bellator before joining the UFC via the Contender Series. The 32-year old from Little Ferry, New Jersey defeated Jacob Malkoun in his UFC debut at UFC 254 last October. Megatron has a record of 9-2 with seven knockouts and two wins via submission. He stands six feet tall with a reach of 77 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Nassourdine Imamov fought outside the USA for promotions like CFC Malta, TFL, and Ares FC before joining the UFC in 2020. The 25-year old from Paris, France won a unanimous decision against Jordan Williams in his Octagon debut at UFC on ESPN 16 last October 3, 2020. The 25-year old Frenchman has a record of 9-2 with three knockouts and four wins via submission. He stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter.
Imamov has a two-inch height and five-inch reach advantage over Hawes. His length and scrambling skills could give Hawes some issues here but his defensive lapses should give him away against a terrific counter-puncher like Hawes. When Hawes starts to touch him up, Imamov doesn’t have the takedown offense to slow things down. Hawes is the better wrestler and should be able to keep this fight on the feet where he will take advantage of Imamov’s shortcomings.
Prediction: Phil Hawes
Jared Gordon is the former Cage Fury Fighting Championships featherweight champion and Duelo De Giagantes lightweight champion. The 32-year old from Queens, New York joined the UFC in 2017 and has compiled a 5-3 record inside the Octagon. After suffering back-to-back losses in 2018, Gordon has won two of his last three bouts including a unanimous decision win over Chris Fishgold last July 2020. He stands 5-9 tall with a reach of 68 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. Gordon has a record of 16-4 with six knockouts and two wins via submission.
Danny Chavez fought mostly for CFA and Fight Time Promotions before joining the UFC last year. Chavez made his UFC debut against T.J. Brown at UFC 252, winning the fight via unanimous decision. He has won his last four bouts and has a record of 11-3 with three knockouts. The 33-year old from Miami, Florida known as “The Columbian Warrior” is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-8 tall with a reach of 67 inches.
Chavez used power kicks and strong wrestling to win his last fight and unless something changes, he’s going to employ the same strategy here. Gordon does not seem to have the durability to counter Chavez’s relentless attacks and the best chance for Gordon to win this fight is to drag Chavez into the deep waters. However, to do that, he will have to take damage, which could be costly here. Chavez clips Gordon in one of their exchanges and ends this fight via KO.
Prediction: Danny Chavez
Drakkar Klose is the former Rage of Cage lightweight champion who also appeared for Tachi Palace Fights. The 32-year old from South Haven, Michigan is 6-2 in his last eight bouts but is coming off a KO loss to Beneil Dariush at UFC 248. Overall, Klose has a record of 11-2 with four knockouts. He is 5-9 tall with a reach of 70 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Luis Pena fought for Shamrock FC and Valor Fights before joining the 27th season of The Ultimate Fighter. The 27-year old from Naples, Italy has lost two out of his last three bouts and is coming off a submission defeat to Khama Worthy at UFC Vegas 4. Pena is a southpaw who stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 75 inches. He has a record of 8-3 with two knockouts and four wins via submission.
Pena has a five-inch reach advantage here but isn’t polished enough to take advantage of that edge. He is also dangerous on the ground but lacks the takedown skill to keep Klose on his back on a consistent basis. Unless Pena gets the fight in the clinch and takes Klose’s back, the latter is just going to take away his mobility with leg kicks then take advantage of him when his movement is gone. Klose wins this on points.
Prediction: Drakkar Klose
Eddie Wineland was a former bantamweight champion at WEC. The 36-year old from Houston, Texas challenged for the UFC bantamweight title but lost to Renan Barao at UFC 165. He has lost three out of his last four bouts and was knocked out by Sean O’Malley in his most recent bout. Wineland has a record of 24-14 with 15 knockouts and four wins via submission. He stands 5-7 tall with a reach of 69 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
John Castaneda is a veteran of Combate Americas who joined the UFC last year. The 29-year old from Mankato, Minnesota lost on points to Nathaniel Wood in his UFC debut last July. After an 11 fight winning streak, Castaneda has lost three out of his last four bouts. Sexi Mexi is a switch hitter who stands 5-6 tall and has a reach of 71 inches. He has a record of 17-5 with six knockouts and six wins via submission.
Castaneda doesn’t like to fight on his back foot and if Wineland still has something left in that gas tank, he has the ability to force Castaneda to backpedal throughout the fight. Look Castaneda is no easy prey but if he can’t establish the pace of the fight, he isn’t as good. I think that this will be a striking affair and Wineland will win it with the more telling blows in what could be the closest fight of the evening.
Prediction: Eddie Wineland
Nate Landwehr won five consecutive bouts for M-1 Challenge before joining the UFC last year. The Train lost to Herbert Burns in his UFC debut but defeated Darren Elkins in his second Octagon appearance. Landwehr has won seven out of his last eight bouts and has a record of 14-3 with eight knockouts. He stands 5-9 tall with a reach of 72 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.
Julian Erosa is a former CageSport featherweight and lightweight champion. The 31-year old from Seattle, Washington joined the UFC via the Contender Series. He has won back-to-back fights after losing his first three UFC bouts and is coming off his first Performance of the Night winner against Sean Woodson last June 2020. Erosa is 24-8 with 10 knockouts and 11 submission victories. He is a southpaw fighter who stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 74 inches.
Erosa is very tall and long for the division but instead of using those to his advantage, he abandons them for a chance to slug it out with his opponent. Unfortunately for him, he isn’t the most durable fighter in the business. On the other hand, Landwehr thrives in close-quarter exchanges and he’s going to march into the pocket and trade with Erosa until the latter falls down. Landwehr wears Erosa down with takedown attempts. It should be a war and Landwehr should emerge victorious.
Prediction: Nate Landwehr
Chas Skelly fought under Bellator MMA and Legacy FC before joining the UFC. The 35-year old from Bedford, Texas is a former NAIA wrestler and earned All-American honors at Oklahoma City University. Skelly is 3-1-1 in his last five UFC bouts and is coming off a win over Jordan Griffin. However, that bout happened in September 2019 and he hasn’t fought since then. Skelly is 5-11 tall with a reach of 72 inches and fights as an orthodox fighter. His record is 18-3 with three knockouts and 10 wins via submission.
Jamall Emmers has fought most of his career for LFA. The 31-year old from Redlands, California lost a split decision to Giga Chikdaze in his UFC debut but defeated Vince Cachero via decision in his most recent bout at UFC Fight Night 173 last August. Emmers is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-10 tall with a reach of 74 inches. He has a record of 18-5 with seven knockouts and three wins via submission.
Skelly has a dangerous choke game but Emmers is an excellent wrestler and scrambler who can avoid getting choked out. If he does that, then Emmers will be in good shape here. His speed and striking abilities can win him this fight Unless Emmers tries some stupid submission stunts against choke artists, he’s got a clear path to victory here. Emmers takes over late and wins with a long kickboxing attack.
Prediction: Jamall Emmers
Shana Dobson fought for Xtreme Knockout and KOTC before joining the UFC. The 31-year old from Miami, Florida snapped a three-fight losing streak by defeating Maria Agapova last August 2020. Dobson has a record of 4-4 with two knockouts. She is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 69 inches.
Casey O’Neill fought for Eternal MMA and UAE Warriors before joining the UFC this year. The 23-year old from Queensland, Australia is undefeated in five bouts with one knockout and one submission. She is 5-6 tall and has a reach of 69 inches.
Dobson ended 2020 with an upset win over Mariya Agapova. In that fight, she was able to withstand Agapova’s early blitz and turn the tables on her opponent. However, Dobson looks outgunned here. O’Neill has a considerable edge in wrestling and she’s sharp enough to hold her own even if she gives in to Dobson’s wish for a striking. O’Neill is also better at pacing herself for a 15-minute bout. Once O’Neill gets her hand on Dobson, O’Neill is going to give her hell on the mat.
Prediction: Casey O’Neill
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