24 October 2020

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UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Teixeira Preview

With the overwhelming success of UFC 249, the UFC will look to build upon that with another successful event. This card won’t receive the same interest from casual fans, due to it’s lack of star power, but to MMA fans, this is something they’ll definitely want to be tuned in for.

Prelims

The preliminary fights on this card are nowhere near as marquee as those of UFC 249, but there are still some names you’ll recognize. Andrei Arlovski is a former UFC champion, and fighters like Michael Johnson, Gabriel Benítez, and Sarah Moras, are all veterans of their respective divisions. Hunter Azure and Omar Morales are both undefeated prospects looking to continue their momentum, and Isaac Villanueva and Phillipe Lins are making their debuts after success in other promotions.

Chase Sherman vs Isaac Villanueva

Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY Sports

Chase Sherman is making his return to the octagon, while Isaac Villanueva is making his debut. Chase Sherman had a 7 fight run in the UFC from 2016 to 2018 going 2-5 in the promotion, and was released after 3 straight losses. After getting back to back wins in the Island Fights promotion, he’s earned an opportunity to redeem himself in the UFC.

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Isaac Villanueva on the other hand, has never competed in the UFC. “Hurricane Ike” was the Fury FC Light Heavyweight champion, after beating former UFC fighter, Roger Narvaez. Villanueva will be moving up to heavyweight for this fight, which is unfamiliar territory for him. He’s fought at 205 for his entire career, so facing a career Heavyweight in Chase Sherman will be a challenge for sure.

Both men have good striking, and rarely, if ever take the fight to the ground, so expect a brawl between the two. With how evenly matched they are on paper, we’ll have to see which one of these men can seize this opportunity.

Hunter Azure vs Brian Kelleher

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Stylistically, this is a very interesting matchup. Hunter Azure is a more methodical fighter who, at least in recent times, is content with letting the fight go to the judges, while Brian Kelleher is more aggressive, and looks for a finish at all times.

The UFC was worried about these fighters cutting down to 135 on 2 weeks notice, so the fight will take place at 145 instead, which is something that will definitely be in Azure’s favor. Azure has fought at Featherweight for a majority of his careerw while Kelleher has mainly fought at Bantamweight.

Azure only has 8 career fights, whereas Kelleher has 30. Azure is regarded as the better fighter, but with how inexperienced he is in comparison, it’s hard to gauge how these fighters will stack up against one another. Hunter Azure will have to survive Brian Kelleher’s onslaught, and try and take advantage of the opportunities that come his way.

Gabriel Benítez vs Omar Morales

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Gabriel Benítez is a UFC veteran, having been in the organization since 2014, while Omar Morales joined the company last year, after competing on Dana White’s contender series. Despite being 3 years Benítez’s elder, Morales only has 9 career fights, compared to the 28 of Benítez.

Omar Morales is a bit of an unknown. He’s shown great things in his fights, but has only fought 3 times in major promotions. It’s difficult to assess a fighter, when the level of competition he’s faced hasn’t been top tier.

Gabriel Benítez has a very well-rounded game. His striking, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu are all good, but he has shown some inconsistency. Having been submitted a pair of times in his career, and with how good Morales’ ground game is, he’ll look to keep the fight standing,

sijara Eubanks vs Sarah Moras

Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

These two women have struggled to get the finish in recent history, so it’s very likely this fight goes 3 rounds. Sijara Eubanks has had 6 of her 8 fights go to decision, and 5 of Moras’ 11 have done the same.

Eubanks is on a 2 fight losing streak, and Moras just had a bounce back win after a losing streak of her own. Neither fighter has a very impressive resume in the UFC (2-2 for Eubanks and 3-4 for Moras,) so they’ll both be desperate for a win to get them back on track.

Sijara Eubanks hasn’t been able to finish a fight since before she was even in the UFC, while Moras was able to get a finish in her very last fight. Sijara Eubanks is the heavy favorite in this one, despite her poor recent form. This one could definitely go either way.

Michael Johnson vs Thiago moises

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Both Michael Johnson and Thiago Moises have struggled in their recent fights, so they’ll look to turn things around with a win here. Johnson is on a 2 fight losing streak, and Moises is only 1-2 in UFC career so far. Michael Johnson is 8 years older than Moises, and has nearly double Moises’ fights.

Michael Johnson has shown a susceptibility to being submitted, which is something Moises could look to exploit. Moises has only ever lost via decision, so he’ll be going for a finish, especially considering how much of a weakness that’s been for Johnson. In his last 5 losses, 4 of them have came by way of stoppage (2 submissions and 2 knockouts.)

Michael Johnson will need to focus on keeping the fight standing. He’s at too much of a disadvantage on the ground, and will need to stay somewhere where he’s more comfortable. While Thiago Moises hasn’t shown an outstanding ability to finish the fight on the feet, Johnson still needs to be careful, as that’s been something he’s fallen victim to before.

Andrei Arlovski VS PHILLIPE LINS

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Andrei Arlovski is a shadow of what he once was. In his prime, he was known as one of the best knockout artists in the Heavyweight division, but that is no longer the case. He hasn’t finished a fight in nearly 5 years, and is 3-9 in his last 12 fights. He’s no longer the fighter he once was, which is why his oponent, Phillipe Lins is the favoirte in this one.

While this is Lins’ UFC debut, but he has still faced top competition in both Bellator, and the PFL. He earned the opportunity to fight in the UFC, after going on a 4 fight win streak in the PFL. He’s a very strong striker, with 8 knockouts on his resume. He’ll likely look to utilize this strength to get the win over the former UFC Heavyweight champion.

MAIN CARD

KARL ROBERSON VS MARVIN VETTORI

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Both men have fought high level talent during their UFC stint’s, but haven’t been able to break through, to the next level. Marvin Vettori has competed with the likes of Israel Adesanya, Cezar Ferreira, and Omar Akhmedov, while Karl Roberson has also competed Cezar Ferreira, as well as with Jack Marshman, and Glover Teixeira.

Both men have the ability to finish the fight on the ground, so they’ll definitely be selecting about taking the fight there. Vettori’s last 6 fights have all ended by decision, and has had mixed results while leaving the fight in the hands of the judges. Karl Roberson has has finished oponents twice in his UFC career, but has also been finished twice. Roberson will likely look for a finish, and will push the pace of the fight, while Vettori will be more comfortable letting the fight go the distance.

Ricky Simon VS RAY BORG

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Simon has lost 2 in a row, while Borg has won 2 in a row. Ray Borg is a UFC veteran, with a 7-4 record in the promotion, and has been with the UFC since 2014. Ricky Simon joined the company in 2018, and got off to a 3-0 start, but has since lost 2 straight, and needs to get back on the right track.

Borg is more experienced against top level competition, and has more momentum going into this bout. Borg is the clear favorite, and will likely dominate this fight against Ricky Simon.

Alexander Hernandez VS DREW DOBER

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a win in his last time in the cage, the hype behind Alexander “The Great” Hernandez, hasn’t been the same since his brutal TKO loss to Donald Cerrone. He talked a big game going into that fight, which already had fans turning their backs on him, so a loss, especially in the fashion that is came, completely halted his momentum.

Alexander Hernandez is going against Drew Dober, a UFC veteran who has been with the UFC since 2013. He has an 8-5-1 record in the UFC, with wins over Jamie Varner, Scott Holtzman, and Frank Camacho. 2 of his losses though, were against Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Beneil Dariush, both of whom, have lost to Alexander Hernandez, so at least on paper, Hernandez is the favorite. Dober has finished his last 2 fights by TKO in the 1st round, so even though Hernandez is the favorite, he shouldn’t underestimate Dober.

BEN ROTHWELL VS OVINCE SAINT PREUX

Josh Hedges-Zuffa LLC-Getty Images

After having mixed recent successes in the Light Heavyweight division, OSP has decided to move up to the Heavyweight division, and will face one of the longest tenured fighters in the division, Ben Rothwell. Rothwell has been fighting in the UFC’s heavyweight division since 2009, so St. Preux will have a big challenge ahead of him.

Both men have been fighting top level MMA competition for nearly 10 years, so this one will be fun to watch. Neither man will likely be competing for titles like they once were, so this will just be two fighters, fighting.

Anthony Smith VS GLOVER TEIXEIRA

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Anthony Smith vs Glover Teixeira is going to be a good one. Both men are known for their grit and toughness, so this fight will not disappoint. Both men are building momentum in the Light Heavyweight division, and a loss here could derail that. Both men have great striking, and the ability to finish the fight on the feet, as well as the ability to finish the fight on the ground if necesary, so everything is on the table for this one.

Both men have fought for the Light Heavyweight championship at one point in time, Anthony Smith challenging Jon Jones in March of 2019, and Teixeira challenging Jones in 2014. Both men are building their case for a rematch with Jones, and with how many contenders there are in this division, a loss here would push them to the back of the line. Jan Blachowicz, Thiago Santos, Dominick Reyes, and whoever wins this fight, are the top contenders for Jones’ title, so a loss here is unnaceptable in the eyes of both men.

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