UFC Apex Finale: UFC Vegas 11 Preview with @DieHardMMA

by Pub Sports Radio

UFC Apex Finale: UFC Vegas 11 Preview

By: Clint MacLean (@DieHardMMAPod)

 

The UFC has one last bullet in the chamber for the Apex before they cart back off to Fight Island, and I have to tell you, it couldn’t come faster for me. Dana White and the UFC have done an excellent job of keeping things rolling during the pandemic, and I am extremely grateful to them for keeping us active, but these last-minute COVID cancelations and replacements have been taxing on us from sports betting perspective. They are going out in style this weekend, however, with a card that legitimately could be a pay per view. The matchmaking is excellent, and every single fight on this card should be an absolute banger.

 

Kicking off the night, we have the hard-hitting Tyson Nam making a quick return after his opponent got pulled off the card last week due to COVID. Tyson Nam is welcoming Jerome Rivera to the UFC fresh off a solid performance on Dana White’s Contender Series. This is a huge step up for Rivera, and one I am not so sure he is equipped to win. Nam is a power puncher who does tend to rely on his power a bit too much, but to exploit that; you need to have savvy enough striking to stick and move. The big key is avoiding that big power shot, which is a constant threat when fighting Nam. Rivera is more of a grappler than a striker, and if he cannot get this fight to the mat, I think he will be out of place in a big way. We have seen his striking, and he is more than willing to take a shot to close the distance, which is just not a good strategy against a fighter like Nam. Nam has a 100% takedown defense in the UFC, and I believe he was robbed in his fight against Kai Kara France. Nam by 2nd round KO.

 

The next few fights feature TJ Laramie, Andre Ewell, Journey Newson, and Randy Costa. All of whom are extremely highly touted prospects with a killer instinct and finishing ability. Not only are they all super exciting prospects, but they are extremely well matched with opponents who should either bring out the best in them or allow them to show off their skill sets and land big flashy finishes. I am fully expecting Laramie, Ewell, and Newson to get the wins on Saturday.

 

The undercard is stacked! After those three fights, we have a ladies showcase where Jessica Rose Clark and Mara Romero Borella will welcome new potential contenders Sarah Alpar and Maryra Buenoo Silva to the big show. Honestly, both of these fights should be entertaining. More so than people are giving them credit for. Then we have an athletic showdown between the always entertaining Jordan Espinosa and David Dvorak! This fight is a pickem in every sense of the word, and I cannot wait to see how it turns out. Finally, in the featured preliminary fight we have the return of Mirsad Bektic! Bektic was once the hottest prospect in the division and prematurely crowned as the next champion, but has hit a bit of a rough patch. Hopefully, we get a chance to see him right the ship and return to form.

 

The main card is pay per view worthy, and we start with my favorite spot on the card from a betting perspective. Kevin Holland is facing Darren Stewart in a middleweight battle that should see somebody going to sleep. Holland has been upgraded to BJJ black belt and has the highest significant strike differential in the UFC today. This fight is Holland’s to lose, and only a wild bomb from Stewart will be enough to win it for him. I am honestly surprised that this line isn’t wider. Stewart has struggled against lesser competition and busted prospects, and we think he can stand a chance against Holland what? Because he submitted Maki Pitolo? Get out of here. This spot is Holland all day. I think he pieces Stewart up until Stewart is forced to grapple and then Holland shows off that shiny new black belt and chokes him unconscious.

 

The rest of UFC Vegas 11 features more incredible prospects like Makenzie Dern, Johnny Walker, Ryan Spann, and the newest hottest prospect Khamat Chimaev. The UFC has a nice new batch of prospects on their hands, and all of these matchups should allow these young fighters to show off what they can do. Dern is facing a grappler in Markos, which should let her show off that all-star ground game. Walker vs. Spann is an athletic battle between two powerhouses. And while I think Khamzat is being pushed a little too hard a little too early, I like the way he matches up with Gerald Meerschart. GM3 is not the most efficient striker, and Khamzat has some serious power in his hands. GM3 is a dangerous blackbelt on the mat, but he can be out-wrestled, and Khamzat is a cardio machine who will use his Dagestani-Handcuff to pin GM3 down, and I honestly think he ground and pound TKOs the veteran.

 

The co-main event features Donald Cerrone, who is taking a big step down in competition but taking on a power striker in Niko Price. Cowboy has always struggled with staying out of a brawl, and that might be his undoing here against Price. Price is one of those fighters who can land a knockout blow from anywhere, and Cowboy has taken far more damage recently than in the rest of his career. A cowboy needs to get off the schnide here because he is 37 years old and facing a four-fight losing streak. He is too big a fan favorite ever to get the boot from the UFC, but he might look at hanging up the gloves if he suffers another devastating KO loss.

 

The main event of UFC Vegas 11 is the long-awaited Colby vs. Woodley! This fight is second only to Ferguson vs. Khabib as far as legendary matchups are concerned. I need this fight, and I love this fight. Granted, it’s two years late, but it still has title implications, and it is still an intriguing match up. I am disappointed this fight didn’t happen a few years ago because Tyron Woodley was a favorite over Colby, and I would have smashed Colby as an underdog in that fight. A few years removed, Tyron struggles with the modern matchups and the upper ends of the 170 division. Tyron has stopped evolving and relies on landing a big bomb to win his fights. With the pace that Colby sets and the fact that Tyron is more than willing to back up against the cage, I just see Colby doing his thing here and forcing Tyron to wilt over the course of a 25-minute fight. If Tyron does let loose and force a firefight, this fight could be over quickly because Tyron doesn’t have the gas tank to keep that up for 25 minutes and will either finish Colby or get finished when he runs out of juice.

 

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