“Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, hosts confirmed Light-weight violence this Saturday (Oct. 24, 2020) when undefeated Lightweight kingpin Khabib Nurmagomedov faces destructive interim champion Justin Gaethje in the pay back-for each-perspective (PPV) most important occasion of UFC 254. The early-afternoon PPV will also element a pivotal Middleweight clash between former winner Robert Whittaker and speedy-climbing contender Jared Cannonier along with a Heavyweight tussle pitting Alexander Volkov towards Walt Harris.
140 lbs.: Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney
Nathaniel Wood (17-4) has thus much lived up to his nickname, “The Prospect,” within the Octagon, amassing a 4-1 report with a few stoppage victories. Although he experienced his 1st loss due to the fact 2016 in a February bout with John Dodson, he bought back again on observe very last July with a conclusion over John Castaneda.
That trip to the judges was his very first given that 2015 and just his 3rd over-all.
Casey Kenney (15-2-1) put a 1-1 “Contender Series” operate at the rear of him to earn LFA titles at Flyweight and Bantamweight, defeating existing standout Brandon Royval in the process. He is similarly 4-1 in UFC and would make a three-week turnaround soon after dominating Alateng Heili previously this thirty day period.
He’ll love an inch of peak and arrive at on Wood.
This is a single of the two finest match ups on the undercard, a clash amongst truly elite prospective customers with curiously mirrored enhancement. Wood, beforehand regarded as a slugger, has leaned closely on his wrestling to get the career accomplished in the Octagon. Kenney, a judo and wrestling expert, has proven outstanding hanging in latest endeavours.
It’s an excellent coin-flip of a fight.
Wood’s sturdiness difficulties and growing reliance on the floor recreation have me selecting Kenney. What benefits Wooden maintain in the stand up aren’t enough to defeat the point that Kenney can consider a better shot and figures to be the outstanding wrestler. In the close, Kenney racks up best management and holds his own on the toes to assert an entertaining decision.
Prediction: Kenney by means of unanimous selection
125 lbs.: Liana Jojua vs. Miranda Maverick
Liana Jojua (8-3) upset Marina Mokhnatkina for the Battle Evenings World Bantamweight belt in 2018, but couldn’t do the identical to Sarah Moras in her Octagon debut 18 months afterwards. She returned to motion this past July, tapping Diana Belbita through first-spherical armbar for her sixth get in her previous 7 fights.
5 of her six expert submission wins have come by armbar.
Undeterred by a 2019 decline to DeAnna Bennett, Miranda Maverick (7-2) got her revenge by tapping the TUF veteran out in the Phoenix Series 2 Finals. Then came former Invicta title challenger Pearl Gonzalez, whom Maverick defeated by choice in February.
However just one inch shorter than Jojua, she’ll have a a few-inch reach gain.
This is not a favorable match up for Jojua, to say the least. Maverick’s the improved striker and by much the much better wrestler, leaving a submission off of her back again as “She Wolf’s” only feasible likelihood at victory. Even if Maverick does oblige her in a floor struggle, having said that, the Octagon newcomer has revealed far more than ample offensive and defensive submission chops to dominate there as perfectly.
Jojua requires a golden opportunity to fall in her lap if she wants the get, and Maverick —though much from a finished item — is not probably to give it to her. In limited, Maverick dominates just about everywhere en route to a late end.
Prediction: Maverick through 3rd-round submission
155 lbs.: Joel Alvarez vs. Alexander Yakovlev
Joel Alvarez (17-2) — who had won 10 consecutive fights — had the misfortune of experiencing previous M-1 champ Damir Ismagulov in his debut and dropped a huge determination. Recent endeavours have tested additional effective, as “El Fenomeno” pounded out Danilo Belluardo and choked out Joe Duffy in successive attempts.
His 17 qualified finishes incorporate 15 by submission.
Alexander Yakovlev (25-10-1) sat out for 2.5 yrs after losses to Kamaru Usman, then efficiently returned in April of very last 12 months with a submission end of Alex da Silva. He then took on Roosevelt Roberts, who defeated him by competitive final decision.
“Thunder of the North” is a person inch taller than Alvarez, but gives up three inches of achieve.
Yakovlev is insanely resilient, a good wrestler, and can strikes some. He shouldn’t be just 3-5 in the Octagon, and if I had religion in his ability to in fact generate plenty of offense, I’d decide him to rating the upset Alvarez’s lousy wrestling implies his good results or failure in the cage typically is dependent on his opponent’s willingness to just take him down despite the inherent risk.
Alas, Yakovlev lands a lot less than two considerable strikes for each minute and showed some cracks in his submission protection from Zak Cummings. He has the competencies to sprawl-and-brawl, so a earn is not out of the issue, but he’ll far more than very likely just self-sabotage his way to yet another defeat.
Prediction: Alvarez through initial-spherical submission
A few more UFC 254 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict, together with an undefeated M-1 champion’s Octagon debut. Similar time tomorrow, Maniacs.
Bear in mind that MMAmania.com will produce Are living spherical-by-round, blow-by-blow protection of the total UFC 254 struggle card appropriate below, starting up with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches on line, which are scheduled to start out at 10:30 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard stability on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV most important card get started time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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