UFC Vegas 16: Grappler’s Delight By: @DieHardMMAPod

by Pub Sports Radio

UFC Vegas 16: Grappler’s Delight

By; Clint MacLean (@DieHardMMAPod)


UFC Vegas 16 really looks like a card where Sean Shelby and Dana White locked themselves in the War Room and made a list of their nastiest submission fighters and put them all on a single card. Some people may not like the grappling aspect of MMA, and if that’s the case, this particular event is now for you. If you are a fan or bettor who appreciates the beauty of the gentle art and the strength of wrestling, then you are in for an absolute treat!

The first fight on the card is a Heavyweight battle between 2 men whose biggest battle recently has been the scale. Both Gian Villante and Jake Collier have added bad, unhealthy weight in recent years, and I am personally glad to see it was moved from where it used to be higher on the event to the bottom. We must get by this one as quickly as we can.

The second fight of the night, however, is when the fun gets going. 9-0 undefeated Georgian warrior Ilia Topuria is taking on the UFC veteran Damon Jackson who just fought his way back to the big show. Ilia shocked the world when he took his short-notice fight against Yusuff Zalal, who had become the betting public darling, and Ilia handled him. It was all Zalal could do to survive that fight, and now Topuria has the eyes of the world on him. Jackson is a submission wizard who is submission over the position. This fight will be crazy scrambles between 2 high-level grapplers, and at any point in the fight, somebody could go to sleep or have their arm snapped off.


Next, we have a Dana White Contender Series alumni in Jimmy The Brick Flick, who I bet on his last time out. Jimmy is a nasty grappler himself who has 13 of his 15 wins coming by way of submission. If you have ever seen Flick on the mat, then you can tell your couch jockey friend to shut up and throw a bag of Cheetos at them when they complain about grappling being boring because this kid is fun. The flick is a deadly submission specialist with a weak chin, so his fights are always exciting because he is either making his opponent tap or taking a canvas nap himself. Across the cage from Flick will be Cody Durden. Durden is a high school state wrestling champion with a decent submission grappling game and some pop on his punches. Durden is maybe the worst match up stylistically that you could get for Jimmy Flick, which will make this fight very interesting. There aren’t very many underdogs to like at UFC Vegas 16, but in my opinion, Durden is one of the ones with a real shot to pull the upset and cash a ticket.


The very next fight features a hot prospect in Jordan Leavitt, who is 7-0. The UFC is feeding poor Matt Wiman to a young undefeated prospect who needs some time to develop. Leavitt’s ground game is impressive, and even though he is just a BJJ purple belt, he submitted a brown belt in his last MMA fight, proving that his cage grappling may be a level above his pure BJJ belt level. Leavitt struggles on the feet, however, so the UFC gave him the most harmless fighter left on the roster in Matt Wiman. Wiman is a shell of his former self and has no takedown defense, but his submission defense is on point. This fight will end up on the floor, and it’s more of a question about how long can Wiman survive than it is can he win.


The Main Card kicks off with Nate “The Train” Landwehr facing Movsar Evloev in a fight that should have happened some time ago. These fighters both come from the same regional show and held titles at the same time. Nate was the 145 champion when Evloev was the 135 champion, but the super-fight never happened, and both men made their way to the UFC. The best part about this fight is that there is some bad blood here. Now that Movsar is fighting up at featherweight, the time has come to see who really is better, and if you look at the betting line, it is overwhelmingly for Evloev. Nate is a crazy person who can cause any fight to turn into a brawl, and Evloev is a technical fighter who uses his grappling to grind his opponents away. This is a clash of personalities and styles and might be your favorite for Fight of the Night!


The Co-Main Event of UFC Vegas 16 is a grappler vs. striker match, but the fight will still be dominated by grappling. The big question of can Hill defend the offensive wrestling of OSP is going to decide the fight. OSP is getting up there in years, but his submission game is still strong, and he is a BIG 205er. We have seen OSP recently send some young guns crashing back down the ladder at light heavyweight, and Jamahal Hill seems to have everybody’s eye right now. The striker is setting offensive output records at 205 and packs a serious punch, so OSP would be wise to take Hill down. We have seen Hill be put on the mat before, but he doesn’t ever stay there for long. I am stoked for this fight because I believe somebody is going to sleep. OSP will either get Jamahal Hill to the mat and choke him out, or he will not be able to control the young and powerful Hill and will take a canvas nap when he slows down.


The Main Event is a fight that has been shuffled several times. Half of the main event is Jack “The Joker” Hermansson, who is putting heel hooks on the map again at 185, but he has had his opponent swapped three times. Originally Jack was supposed to face Darren Till, but he had to withdraw. After Till pulled out of the fight, one of the most impressive fighters for 2020, Kevin Holland, stepped up to fill the spot. Just a short while ago, however, Holland tested positive for COVID 19 and was pulled from the card. Now we have a fruit basket situation where Marvin Vettori has moved his fight up a week rather than facing Jacare Souza next week, and Holland has moved to next weekend to take his place. Vettori vs. Hermansson is honestly an excellent fight that I am quite excited about and should tell us a lot about both men. The Joker has been knocked out a couple of times but seems to be peaking right now. Hermanssons has proven that he can finish anybody anywhere, and he will look to test the gas tank and submission defense of Vettori on Saturday. Vettori is a very well rounded fighter with his eyes on the title but has been taking the long road to develop. We have seen drastic improvements in Vettori every time he steps into the cage, and I expect nothing less this week. Vettori is a better wrestler than Hermansson, and I would give him the edge on the feet. This whole fight will come down to hermansson’s chin and Vettori’s gas tank, in my opinion, and I am riding with The Italian Dream.

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