-110 Kelly Faszholz (3-1) vs. -110 Ketlen Vieira (6-0)
Kelly Faszholz: 32 year old Faszholz showed extreme heart in her eight day notice UFC debut against former Invicta bantamweight champ Lauren Murphy. She had her nose broken early which affected her vision severely through out the fight. Despite the broken nose she gave a solid performance but ultimately succumb to strikes with only 0:05 left in the fight.
Faszholz is a BJJ purple belt under UFC vet David Terrell at the Nor-Cal Fight Alliance in Santa Rosa, California. She did not get a chance to showcase her jiu jitsu pedigree in her debut due to Murphy’s smothering top game and deluge of elbows. Now with a full camp behind her Faszholz will have her best opportunity to put on a good showing.
Ketlen Vieira: 24 year old Ketlen Vieira will make her UFC debut after compiling a 6-0 record in her native Brazil. She had a good mixture of submissions and stoppages on her record, but has yet to face much in the from of competition.
Vieira trains out of Nova Uniao, Manaus with UFC vets like TUF Latin America 2 winner Enrique Barzola. Like most Nova Uniao fighters Vieira will be adept in all phases of the fight. At 5’7″ she is a large bantamweight and uses her size well in the clinch and on the mat.
The Fight: Faszholz willingness to stand and trade with Murphy was most likely a result of Murphy’s punishing ground and pound. Look for Faszolz to come out strong and go punch for punch with the larger Vieira early, but Vieira will take it to the mat later in the fight. Faszholz will pull out a RNC in the third that will be much needed because she will be down on the cards. Faszholz RNC 3rd
+175 Cody East (12-2) vs. -205 Curtis Blaydes (5-1)
Cody East: East is one of the few fighters to come out of Dana White’s “Looking For A Fight” web series. East was offered a UFC contract after Dana and his cohorts witnessed East knockout Kevin Asplund in :40 in Legacy Fighting Championships. His debut did not go as planned, he went toe to toe with ATT’s Walt Harris and came out on the wrong end of a first round TKO.
Don’t be fooled by East’s reality show entrance into the UFC, he has earned his spot on the roster competing since 2008 and collecting the King of the Cage and Legacy Fighting championships heavyweight title’s along the way. Training at Jackson/Wink, East will represent a serious well rounded test for anyone he is matched up against.
Curtis Blaydes: Former Junior College All-American wrestler Curtis Blaydes made his much anticipated UFC debut in April against fellow prospect Francis Ngannou. He displayed solid low kicks and was able to land a few take downs, but was overwhelmed by Ngannou’s lethal striking combo of speed, reach and power.
Blaydes is still very young in the sport, only a pro for two years, he has immense potential that could be molded into a champion if he lands at the right camp. Currently at Dutch Style MMA a small camp in his native Illinois, Blaydes will need to transition to one of the elite camps if he is going to have success at the highest level.
The Fight: Both of these men are 0-1 in their UFC careers and will both be in desperate need of a win. East is a far more technical striker, but he throws a lot of low kicks and front kicks which will open up the opportunity for Blaydes to land take downs and control the fight on the ground. Blaydes Unanimous Decision
+140 Jonathan Wilson (7-1) vs. -160 Ion Cutelaba (11-2-0 1NC)
Light Heavyweight (205)
Johnathan Wilson: Millenia MMA’s Jonathan Wilson suffered his first pro loss to Henrique Da Silva at UFC 199. Wilson stared out the aggressor landing hard shots on the feet, but faded and was stopped by ground and pound in the second. Wilson appeared to be the more skilled of the two but was defeated by fatigue.
Now 1-1 in the octagon “Johnny Bravo” showed that even in defeat he is must see TV. Wilson is a quick, technical, southpaw 205er, if he can improve on his cardio he has the skills to find the same success at light heavyweight that his teammate Lorenz Larkin has found at middleweight.
Ion Cutelaba: Moldova’s first UFC fighter Ion Cutelaba did not disappoint in his short notice debut against the heavily favored Misha Cirkunov. He was a very game opponent in the fight, having moments of great success on the feet and in the clinch. However Cirkunov proved to be too much and won via arm triangle in the third.
22 year old Cutelaba owns seven knockouts in under 0:30, granted it was not over top tier fighters. His power, athleticism and age make him a fighter we are going to want to keep an eye on, especially if he begins to train state side full time.
The Fight: Again both men are coming off of losses and hungry for the win. Cirkunov was the first southpaw Cutelaba had ever fought and it showed. Wilson will be the second and he is a technically superior striker to Cirkunov, but Cutelaba impressed me with his chin and gas tank in his debut and these attributes will give him the edge in this one. After losing the early striking encounters Cutelaba will began to take over as they get to the later rounds. Cutelaba TKO 3rd
+190 Nate Marquardt (37-16-2) vs. -225 Tamdan McCrory (14-4)
Nate Marquardt: Nate “The Great” is coming off of a first round knockout loss to Thiago Santos at UFC 198 where he only vaguely resembled the fighter of his past. Post USADA Nate lacks the size and strength that he once owned. 4-6 in his last ten fights Nate will need this to prove that he is still relevant in today’s mma scene.
This will not be the first time the promotion has been on the verge of burying the former King of Pancrase. Back in December of 2015 Nate appeared to be on his way out the door when he knocked out the heavily favored C.B. Dolloway. This is most likely a must win for the 37 year old vet.
Tamdan McCrory: After a five year lay off “The Barn Cat” returned with a vengeance, he won his first three fights and appeared to be the best version of himself. His momentum was slowed by a Kryzstof Jotko left straight that left him unconscious 0:59 into their June bout.
Still only 29, McCrory has a wealth of experience and minimal wear and tear due to his long lay off. Even though he lost his last bout in under a minute McCrory is still a guy who could land in the top 15 very soon if he fights to his potential.
The Fight: Power is always the last thing to go and Nate has always had lights out power. But McCrory is a unorthodox fighter who has picked up power of his own with age. Tamdan will drop Nate early and finish him with punches or a choke. McCrory TKO 1st
-135 Keita Nakamura (32-7-2 1NC) vs. +115 Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (15-5)
Keita Nakamura: Japanese vet Keita Nakamura is on a pretty impressive run winning his last five of six including two UFC bouts in that stint. He had a heroic come from behind victory in his last fight against tough as nails Aussie Kyle Noke.
“K-Taro” has 42 professional fights and is only 32. He most likely will not make a title run anytime soon, but does possess the kind of skills that weed out unprepared greenhorns and over the hill vets.
Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos: Dos Santos picked up his first UFC win in Tampa, against gritty Dagestani Omari Ahkmedov in a Fight of The Night war. Dos Santos used well timed explosions and scrambles to stay off the bottom and turned up his out put in the third to get the stoppage on the feet.
Former Chute Boxe fighter Dos Santos is 1-1 in the UFC, he has the all around attack to give a lot of fighters a very tough fight, but he fails to excel in any one area. Only 29 he is still growing in the sport and can get his name in talks for contender fights if he can get by the crafty vet Nakamura.
The Fight: Nakamura thrives late in fights, taking advantage of opponents inferior conditioning. Dos Santos appeared to get stronger as his last fight progressed. If fatigue is not a factor, Dos Santos is the better striker and should be able to use his scrambling to get back up if taken down. Dos Santos Unanimous Decision
-115 Shamil Abdurakhimov (16-3) vs. -105 Walt Harris (8-4)
Shamil Abdurakhimov: The first Dagestani heavyweight to make an impact in the UFC, Shamil Abdurakhimov picked up his first octagon victory in his last outing, a unanimous decision over Anthony Hamilton. He picked apart Hamilton on the feet, masterfully blasting into clinches with hard shots and landing as they broke their clinch.
Abdurakhimov is agile and explosive on the feet and being a Dagestani his grappling credentials are a forgone conclusion. At 235 he may run into problems when he is matched up against the bigger heavyweights like Tim Johnson who was able to control him in the clinches and pound him out on the mat. He has yet to showcase his full striking arsenal in the octagon, a opportunity he should get in this fight.
Walt Harris: The “Big Ticket” was not going to be denied in his fourth fight in the octagon, after starting 0-3 Harris was a man possessed in his fight with Cody East. He stood in the pocket and went blow for blow with the reality web series star, Harris dropped East with a counter left straight and was able to land hard shots on the ground to pick up his first W.
Harris is a former Golden Gloves champ and spars with the likes of superstar heavyweight boxer Deontay Wilder. The former Collegiate basketball player has a 80″ reach and uses it to land hard shots on the outside. Harris’s first three UFC bouts were a poor representation of his skills, he received a rare second chance in the UFC and has the chance to show the fans the real “Big Ticket”.
The Fight: Abdurakhimov is going to approach this fight much like he did the Hamilton fight, however he wont have the threat of takedown, which should allow him to open up with his kicks and spinning attacks. Harris might not be the take down threat that Hamilton is, but he is a much greater threat on the feet. Harris will win the majority of the striking exchanges and be able to stuff take downs to pick the win in a close one. Harris Split Decision
-190 #12 Hacran Dias (23-4-1) vs. +165 Andre Fili (15-4)
Hacran Dias: Dias is coming off of a tough decision loss to Cub Swanson this past April, he was one step behind the elusive Swanson, frequently whiffing on hard shots and eating counters through out the fight. 3-3 in his UFC service, Dias talent is much better than his .500 record suggests.
Dias’s style is very similar to that of his Nova Unaio stable mate Jose Aldo, hard low kicks and lighting quick hands. He lacks the power of Aldo but is a much more serious threat on the mat. At 32 his room for error is getting smaller and smaller if he is going to make a title run.
Andre Fili: Team Alpha male fighter Andre Fili is stepping in for an injured Brian Ortega in this one on about three weeks notice. Fili is looking to rebound from a highlight reel head kick knockout loss to Yair Rodriguez at UFC 197.
The one and only piano belt in Jo-Jitsu under friend and coach Joe Benavidez, Fili is one of the brighter young stars in the UFC and has engaged in a few classic bouts in his short time in the octagon. He has the same 3-3 record as Dias in the UFC and has been on a win one, lose one pattern since his debut, a trend he hopes to continue Saturday night.
The Fight: Swanson laid out a path to victory over the hard throwing Brazilian for a creative striker like Fili. The problem is Fili is not the level of striker Cub is, he is however a better wrestler than Cub, but that will not benefit against Dias who is a high level BJJ black belt. Dias will out strike Fili and defend his take downs attempts en route to a victory. Dias Unanimous Decision
-130 Luis Henrique Da Silva (11-0) vs. +110 Joachim Christensen (13-3)
Light Heavyweights (205)
Luis Henrique Da Silva: Da Silva showed why they call him “Frankenstein” in his UFC debut against Jonathan Wilson. He took a beating and continued to move forward, eventually wearing Wilson down and finishing him with strikes on the mat.
Still undefeated at 11-0 Da Silva displayed a granite chin and phenomenal resilience in his debut. All but one of his victories have come by TKO/KO so his power is not in question. He is an exciting prospect in a especially shallow light heavyweight division in need of some new talent.
Joachim Christensen: Danish prospect Joachim Christensen has earned his call up to the big leagues by stringing together a five fight win streak, including his most recent win over Strikeforce and Bellator vet Anthony Ruiz via armbar.
Christensen is a well rounded fighter who wont hesitate to trade in the pocket or engage in a grappling match. He’s picked up multiple promotional titles in his fights throughout Europe and will be well prepared to do battle with the best in the world.
The Fight: There is a good reason this is the headliner of the under card, these guys are going to exchanges some heavy leather. Both are flat footed strikers with plus chins that are not afraid to take one to give one. Da Silva is brutal in the clinch, he will land a hard knee or uppercut there and keep his perfect record intact. Da Silva TKO 1st