UFC Vegas 26 was supposed to feature the return of former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw against the rising Cory Sandhagen. However, Dillashaw got hurt and the UFC decided to pull out Sandhagen from the event as well.
With the main event gone, the co-headliner between Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez has been promoted to main event status. But before the main card hits the show, an intriguing prelims undercard opens the event.
Let’s take a look at the fights in the matinee show and make out predictions.
Benoit is the 15th ranked flyweight in the UFC. The 31-year old from San Diego, California fought for Shark Fights and the MFC before joining the UFC in 2013. He is 4-5 inside the Octagon and has not won back-to-back fights in the UFC. Benoit has a record of 10-7 with 8 knockouts and one submission win. He is 5-5 tall with a reach of 68 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Zarrukh Adashev is a former hand-to-hand combat World and Asian champion. The 28-year old from Uzbekistan fought for Ring of Combat and Bellator before joining the UFC last year. Adashev lost his first two Octagon assignments and is looking for his first UFC win. The Lion has a record of 3-3 with two knockouts. He is a southpaw fighter who stands 5-5 tall with a reach of 65 inches.
Benoit has serious power but he’s never quite enough developed his striking game to set up his power punches. Neither does he possess elite offensive wrestling to dominate opponents on the mat. Benoit is a breath of fresh air for Adashev because he is finally fighting someone his size. I think Adashev wins a stand-up battle Unless Benoit can take this fight to the ground, I’m picking Adashev to win a fast-paced stand-up war.
Prediction: Zarrukh Adashev
Greene appeared in The Ultimate Fighter 28 and is a former GLORY kickboxer. This former Driller Promotions heavyweight champion won his first three UFC bouts but is just 1-3 in his last four bouts with all three losses via stoppage. Greene is 9-5 with two knockouts and five wins via submission. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-7 tall with a reach of 80 inches.
Marcos Rogerio de Lima fought for Strikeforce and appeared at The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 series. The 35-year-old from Sao Paulo, Brazil won his first two Octagon assignments but has alternated wins and losses in his last nine bouts. De Lima has a record of 17-7 with 12 knockouts and 3 submission wins. He is 6-1 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter.
There are only a few fighters who can trade with de Lima on the feet and Greene doesn’t look like he is up to that task. Although he has a significant reach advantage, Greene isn’t good at using his reach which means that de Lima can get inside the pocket and drop his big bombs. Even if things don’t work out on the feet, de Lima’s offensive wrestling is good enough to outpoint Greene on the mat. The only way de Lima loses this is if he breaks down late in the fight as we’ve seen him done before. But I don’t think that’s likely against Greene.
Prediction: Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Aguilera is fought for CXF and LFA before joining the UFC last year. The 29-year old from Brea, California has a record of 14-7 with 11 knockouts. Aguilera is a switch hitter who stands 5-9 tall with a reach of 72 inches.
Carlton Harris is a veteran of Brave FC and Shooto Brazil. He most recently fought for ADW in the UAE and won his last fight via Brabo choke. The 33-year old from Guyana has a record of 15-4 with four knockouts and four submission victories. Harris is six feet tall and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Aguilera has the edge in boxing technique and power. Against Harris, he needs only one punch to turn this fight to his side. However, Harris is unavoidable once he manages to tie his opponents up. I think that Harris grinds Aguilera to the fence and drags him to the ground for three rounds. I’m not discounting a possibility of a submission win but regardless of method, I think Harris wins this fight.
Prediction: Carlston Harris
Cameron’s Nchuwki fought twice for CFFC before joining the Contender Series 2020 where he picked up a KO win over Al Matavao. The 26-year old has a record of 5-0 with four knockouts. He stands six feet tall and has a reach of 77 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.
Jun Yong Park fought mostly in Asia before winning the Yawara FC middleweight title. He joined the UFC in 2019 and after losing his Octagon debut against Anthony Hernandez, he’s won back-to-back fights to improve his record to 12-4 with five knockouts and three submission victories. Park is 5-10 tall with a reach of 73 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Nchuwki is built like a tank and has a two-inch height and four-inch reach advantage over Park. However, because of his size, he plods forward and is very slow. Park meanwhile, has good boxing and decent wrestling. He is a guy who is fast enough to take advantage of Nchuwki’s speed, or the lack thereof. With his technical advantage, I think Park outboxes Nchuwki in this bout.
Prediction: Jun Yong Park
Trizano was the winner of Season 27 of The Ultimate Fighter. This former Ring of Combat featherweight champion is 29-years old and is coming off his first career loss to Grant Dawson. Trizano is 8-1 with two knockouts and two submission victories. He is 5-11 tall with a reach of 71 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Ludovit Klein fought for XFN and Octagon MMA before joining the UFC. The 26-year old Slovakian has won eight consecutive bouts and has a record of 17-2 with eight knockouts and eight submission victories. He is a southpaw fighter who stands 5-7 tall with a reach of 72 inches.
Trizano is a balanced fighter who has solid defense. However, he doesn’t have good enough wrestling to test Klein’s takedown defense and nor does he have the stopping power of his opponent. I expect both men to go at it on the feet. Trizano will put up a fight but late in the fight, Klein catches him with a straight left hand that changes the complexion of the fight to his favor. Trizano is solid but he doesn’t have that wow factor and he hasn’t fought in two years. Give me the busier fighter who has the edge in punching power.
Prediction: Ludovit Klein
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