Supreme Combating Championsh caps off a roller coaster year with some high quality violence, as elite Welterweight strikers Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Geoff Neal headline the promotion’s closing party of the year this Saturday (Dec. 19, 2020). Down at Bantamweight, Jose Aldo makes an attempt to rebound from his destructive decline to Petr Yan in opposition to Marlon Vera, though Welterweight slugger “Khaos” Williams appears to be like for his 3rd consecutive to start with-round knockout from Brazilian wild man Michel Pereira.
In spite of many cancelations and reschedulings, we’ve even now bought 8 “Prelims” undercard bouts to established the ESPN+ principal card phase. Here’s the to start with batch …
135 lbs.: Aiemann Zahabi vs. Drako Rodriguez
Aiemann Zahabi (7-2) — brother of legendary coach Firas — entered UFC with six to start with-round finishes below his belt and loved a profitable debut versus Reginaldo Vieira. He’s yet to taste victory since, struggling a knockout decline to Ricardo Ramos and subsequent choice decline to Vince Morales.
This will be his to start with combat in 19 months and just his 2nd in the past 3 several years.
Wins in his first a few King of the Cage appearances led Drako Rodriguez (7-1) to a title fight against foreseeable future UFC competitor Tony Gravely, who overpowered him with wrestling for a late finish. Three fights afterwards, he took on prospect Mana Martinez on “Contender Series,” catching him in a deal-winning triangle choke halfway via the to start with round.
He went undefeated (13-) as an amateur right before turning qualified in 2017.
This would be a challenging job for Zahabi even at the greatest of periods, as he lacks to wrestling to grind Rodriguez down the way Gravely did and doesn’t look to have a noteworthy edge on the toes. To defeat a well-rounded, very well-seasoned finisher like Rodriguez after this kind of a layoff seems to be further than the Canadian’s capabilities.
Zahabi’s received a chin on him and Rodriguez is keen to chase subs off of his back, so the previous surviving on the ft and leaning on prime regulate to eke out a final decision isn’t totally out of the problem. It is, having said that, far likelier that Rodriguez lands the heavier pictures and dictates the floor exchanges to assert a debut victory.
Prediction: Rodriguez by way of unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Tafon Nchukwi vs. Jamie Pickett
A few consecutive beginner knockouts gave way to three consecutive pro knockouts for Tafon Nchukwi (4-), 1 of which arrived over recent Octagon signee William Knight. This led him to “Contender Sequence,” the place he wiped out Al Matavao with a vicious head kick to earn a contract.
He faces a three-inch reach deficit and a two-inch top drawback.
The initially two bids for Jamie Pickett (11-4) on “Contender Series” went poorly, as he suffered a submission loss to Charles Byrd and a determination loss to Punahele Soriano. The 3rd time proved the appeal, resulting in an outstanding 2nd-spherical knockout of Jhonoven Pati that earned him a agreement.
He has knocked out eight experienced foes and submitted 1 other.
Nchukwi would have been better served with a developmental contract than a immediate invitation to the Octagon. He’s plainly a terrifying actual physical specimen with some wonderful methods on the ft, but there remains get the job done to be performed. I’m also not confident Middleweight is the finest spot for him, as he was painfully sluggish even at 205 kilos.
Even with all those misgivings, nonetheless, I like him to win listed here. Pickett has a good deal of the expertise that Matavao employed to wonderful result, particularly his movement and extended-length offense, but his combat with Soriano showed that he can also be backed to the fence with unlucky simplicity. If Nchukwi simply just presses forward continuously and functions the system, he’ll catch Pickett circling someday in the next round.
Prediction: Nchukwi by means of second-spherical complex knockout
125 lbs.: Jimmy Flick vs. Cody Durden
Wrote this two months back when they have been initially booked to combat. Squander not, want not …
Jimmy Flick (15-5) — two fights taken off from a decline to long run UFC competitor Ray Rodriguez — essential just 38 seconds to choke out Greg Fischer and assert the LFA Flyweight title. His grappling prowess confirmed itself yet again on “Contender Collection,” where he choked out unbeaten Nate Smith in a deal-profitable work.
Thirteen of his qualified wins, together with all of them considering that 2011, have come by submission.
7 finishes in 7 consecutive wins carried Cody Durden (11-2-1) to a late-discover Octagon debut from Chris Gutierrez this previous August. He spent just about the total to start with round attached to the favorite’s again, but observed himself not able to secure takedowns in the second and 3rd rounds, ensuing in a draw.
Even though the taller male by a single inch, he offers up 3.5 inches of reach.
There’s two approaches this fight can go: both we get an outstanding ground struggle in between a phenomenal submission ace and a pedigreed wrestler, or we get an terrible standup slog. Luckily for us, I’m contemplating the latter equally adult men are considerably more relaxed initiating the wrestling than attempting to sprawl-and-brawl.
Not that it is essentially the greatest idea for Durden — he’s the superior takedown artist, guaranteed, but Flick’s front chokes, sweeps and scrambling expertise additional than offset that difference. Irrespective of whether by placing Durden on his back or punishing him for attempting to do the identical in return, he gets his arms around Durden’s neck just before long.
Prediction: Flick through very first-round submission
155 lbs.: Rick Glenn vs. Carlton Minus
Rick Glenn (21-6-1) upset Bellator veteran Georgi Karakhanyan for the Planet Collection of Combating (WSOF) Featherweight title in 2014, only to shed it to Lance Palmer in his initially protection. Following three far more wins, “The Gladiator” entered the Octagon in 2016, eventually amassing a 3-3 record with noteworthy wins in excess of Gavin Tucker and Dennis Bermudez.
This marks his initially fight in extra than two a long time.
Right after a career spent nearly completely in Alaska FC, Carlton Minus (10-2) unsuccessfully stepped up on small notice versus Rick Tale in Professional Fight League (PFL). Next an 18-month layoff, he returned to AFC with a final decision get, main to a UFC debut decline against Matthew Semelsberger in August.
Though the shorter gentleman by two inches, he’ll delight in a 4.5-inch access advantage.
Minus had far better have uncovered some thing in opposition to Semelsberger, since Glenn delivers that identical sort of unchecked aggression. Even though he figures to be the larger sized male, as he’s dropping from 170 even though Glenn moves up from 145, his inability to blunt Semelsberger’s offense with his outstanding technical boxing bodes unwell.
If Glenn is rusty and winds up caught on the close of Minus’ jab, “Clutch” has a shot at a final decision win. Or else, Glenn outworks him on the ft and mixes in a takedown or two to assert his 1st uncontroversial acquire due to the fact 2017.
Prediction: Glenn via unanimous choice
Four more UFC Vegas 17 “Prelims” undercard bouts stay to preview and predict, which include an intriguing Middleweight fight pitting Karl Roberson versus Dalcha Lungiambula. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs!
Don’t forget that MMAmania.com will deliver Dwell spherical-by-spherical, blow-by-blow coverage of the overall UFC Vegas 17 combat card this weekend, starting off with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to get started at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining major card stability on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.
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