40-year old Alistair Overeem will return to the octagon to take on 9th ranked heavyweight Augusto Sakai in the main event of this weekend’s UFC event dubbed as UFC Vegas 9 which will be held at the company’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
But before the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion attempts to win his fourth consecutive bout, Saturday’s affair will feature the main card and a prelims undercard that has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the canceled bouts, the curtain-raiser is poised to provide fireworks before the main show.
Let’s take a look at the prelims undercard bouts and pick our winners:
Andre Muniz is an alumnus of Dana White’s Contender Series. This 30-year old Brazilian used to fight for X-Fight MMA and WOCS before he was signed by the UFC. Muniz stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 78 inches while fighting out of the southpaw stance. Sergipano is 19-4 with 4 knockouts and 12 wins via submission. Muniz defeated Antonio Arroyo via unanimous decision during his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 164 last November 16, 2019.
Bartosz Fabinski is a former PLMMA middleweight champion who joined the UFC in 2015. The 34-year old from Warsaw, Poland had a 3-1 run inside the octagon but fought for Cage Warriors last March. Fabinski is 14-3 with 8 knockouts and he is coming off a win over Darren Stewart. The Butcher is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-0 tall with a reach of 75 inches.
Fabinski gives up one inch in height and three inches in reach to Muniz. This takedown machine averages seven takedowns per 15 minutes and I think that will be the key against Muniz. Muniz is a very excellent submission artist but does not have good enough wrestling to compliment it. Unless Muniz can catch Fabinski’s neck or turn him around in a position where he can go for a submission, I think Fabinski wins this. When the Butcher takes his opponent to the mat, he doesn’t really do too much except control his opponent and limit their chances to escape. Without enough opportunities to go for the submission, I’ll pick Fabinski to win a fight won on the mat.
Prediction: Bartosz Fabinski
Vivianne Araujo is the 8th ranked female flyweight in the UFC. The 33-year old from Brazil won the Pancrase women’s strawweight championship in 2018 and joined the UFC the following year. Araujo is 2-1 inside the octagon and she is coming off a loss to Jessica Eye at UFC 245. She has a record of 8-2 with three knockouts and four wins via submission. Araujo is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-4 tall with a reach of 68 inches.
Montana De La Rosa is the 11th ranked flyweight in the UFC. The 25-year old American is a former Xtreme Fighting League flyweight champion. She joined The Ultimate Fighter 26 where she lost to Nicco Montano in the quarterfinals. She is 3-1 inside the UFC and is coming off a win over Mara Romero Borella last February. De La Rosa stands 5-7 tall with a reach of 68 inches and is an orthodox fighter.
Araujo faces a two-inch height disadvantage in this fight but she has the better striking technique and has the edge in power against De La Rosa. The concern here is whether her cardio will hold up as we saw her fold against the volume put on by Jessica Eye. De La Rosa’s strength is her excellent top control but she doesn’t have the best takedown offense in the division. Against Araujo who has stuffed all 8 takedowns against her, De La Rosa is going to have trouble taking this fight to the mat, where she has the advantage. I think Araujo will run circles around De La Rosa, and win the fight on her feet via decision.
Prediction: Vivianne Araujo
Alexandr Romanov is a former heavyweight champion of Moldova’s Eagles Fighting Championship. The 29-year old signed with the UFC last year and will be making his UFC debut in this bout. Romanov is a southpaw fighter who stands six feet tall with an undisclosed reach. He has a record of 11-0 with five knockouts and six wins via submission. He is coming off a TKO win over Sergio Freitas.
Marcos Rogerio de Lima is fought for Strikeforce and was a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil: 3. The 35-year old from Sao Paulo, Brazil challenged for the Shooto Brazil light heavyweight title in 2012 and joined the UFC in 2014. He stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter. De Lima has a record of 17-6 with 12 knockouts and three wins via submission. He is 6-4 inside the octagon and is coming off a TKO win over Ben Sosoli last February.
We have two powerful knockout artists here and although de Lima is more of an overweight 205-pounder than a true heavyweight, he may pack more power in his fists than Romanov. If de Lima lands early, it could be a quick knockout win for him. However, if Romanov survives the opening salvo, then this going to be a win for him. De Lima doesn’t like to fight off his back and has a very low fight IQ. If Romanov takes him down, there is no doubt that this bout will end in a submission win for the Moldovan. I think that King Kong forces de Lima to the fence, takes him down to the ground, and finishes him there. Whether it’s a ground and pound stoppage or submission, I find Romanov winning this fight convincingly.
Prediction: Alexandr Romanov
Cole Smith fought most of his career for BFL He joined the UFC in 2019 and is 1-1 inside the UFC octagon. The 31-year old Canadian stands 5-11 tall with a reach of 67 inches and is an orthodox fighter. He has a record of 7-1 with two knockouts and three wins via submission. In his last bout, Smith lost a split decision to Miles Johns last September 2019.
Hunter Azure fought for LFA before joining the Contender Series in 2019. The 28-year old from Montana is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-8 tall with a reach of 69 inches. He has a record of 8-1 with three knockouts and one win via submission. Azure is coming off a KO loss to Brian Kelleher last May 2020.
Azure is three inches shorter than Smith but he has a three and a half reach advantage over The Cole Train. Smith owns some nasty kicks but is a straight-forward grinder. However, when you compare their wrestling skills, Azure’s looks much better. Then again, Azure has the better stand up and is a more effective striker, giving him more ways to win this fight than his opponent. Azure can beat Smith in a purely striking battle but if somehow Smith gets the advantage on the feet, Azure can take him down and wear Smith on the ground if needed. All things considered, Azure has the tools to control this bout and emerge with a comfortable win.
Prediction: Hunter Azure
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