+115 Ji Yeon Kim (6-0-2) vs. -135 Lucie Pudilova (6-2)
Ji Yeon Kim: Undefeated South Korean prospect Ji Yeon Kim earned her call up to the big show by dominating the Asian circuit and winning the Deep Jewels Bantamweight title. Her biggest win to date was over Invicta veteran Takayo Hashi in 2015.
Kim was rumored to be fighting Holly Holm in the main event, but Holm turned the fight down and Kim was given this more winnable debut fight. Kim excels in the realm of ground fighting, but she has no problems biting down on the mouth piece to stand and trade in the pocket.
Lucie Pudilova: 23 year old Czech prospect Lucie Pudilova lost a unanimous decision to Lina Lansberg in her debut, but it was Lansberg who looked the worse for the wear after their battle. Lansberg won the first and second round of their fight clinching her against the cage using max effort. By the third Lansberg was gassed and Pudilova took the fight over landing heavy damage on the feet obliterating Lansberg’s face.
Pudilova showed a lot of promise in her debut, as she matures as a fighter she will add more muscle to her frame which will help her complete her dangerous Judo throws. Training with the same team since 19 Pudilova should start showing large improvements with each performance.
The Fight: This wont be quite as hard of a fight as Holm would have been for Kim, but it will still be a tough debut. Pudilova has a background in Judo and will be able to hang in the clinch where Kim gets most of her take downs. On the feet Pudilova will be quicker to the punch, more technical and most importantly more resilient. Pudilova Unanimous Decision
-260 Naoki Inoue (10-0) vs. +220 Carls John De Thomas (6-0)
Naoki Inoue: 20 year old Japanese prodigy Naoki Inoue is the little brother of Invicta veteran and former DEEP champion Mizuki Inoue. Much like his big sister Naoki has made a name for himself in the DEEP promotion where he was the winner of their Flyweight future king tournament in 2014.
Inoue’s background is in Karate, but you would never know it by looking at his record. Seven of Inoki’s ten victories have come by way of submission a stat unfitting of a fighter who has trained Karate since the age of six. Inoue is a true representation of a new breed fighter that will thrive anywhere in a fight.
Carls John De Thomas: Also 20 Pinoy prospect Carls John “Golden Boy” De Thomas will join countrymen Rolando Dy in making their debuts this Saturday. De Thomas earned this opportunity by capturing and defending the URCC Flyweight title in his native Philippines.
De Thomas is part of an emerging young talent pool in Pilipino mixed martial arts that also includes current UFC fighter Jenel Lausa. Much like his opponent De Thomas is well versed in the striking realm, but does his best work on the mat submitting five of his eight opponents.
The Fight: This will be an entertaining match up between two young fighters who can mix it up anywhere they choose. De Thomas will have the slight edge on the feet while Inoue will be the better ground fighter. Inoue will take this with his superior grappling. Inoue Unanimous Decision
-120 Kwan Ho Kwak (9-1) vs. +100 Russell Doane (14-7)
Kwan Ho Kwak: Korean Top Team member “Handsome” Kwan Ho Kwak added the first blemish to his perfect record dropping a unanimous decision to Brett Johns in his UFC debut. The former PXC and TOP FC champion was out grappled by the game Welshmen who controlled Kwak on the ground for the majority of their bout.
The 27 year old South Korean is extremely athletic and fights in a fashion that is similar to his training partners Hyu Gyu Lim and Tae Hyun Bang, displaying unorthodox creative stand up, excellent take down defense and endless cardio. Kwak showcased his cardio in a title defense against UFC veteran Alp Ozkilic going five rounds and not losing a beat.
Russell Doane: Scrappy Hawaiian Russell Doane has lost his last four fights and will be in desperate need of a victory following a first round submission loss to Mirsad Bektic at UFC 204. Doane is receiving another chance because he took the Bektic fight on a weeks notice, a career decision that seemed questionable at the time.
Doane has had moments of brilliance in his octagon service, but small defensive mistakes have cost him dearly. His striking improves with each outing, hopefully the 30 year old Honolulu resident has been spending his days in paradise drilling his submission defense.
The Fight: Doane is a solid Wrestler with good striking abilities. Kwak is a great striker with zero wrestling abilities. Doane will be able to win this fight on the ground if he can stay clear of Kwan’s submission attempts. Doane Unanimous Decision
-405 Li Jingliang (12-4) vs. +335 Frank Camacho (20-4)
Li Jingliang: Former Legend FC champion Li “The Leech” Jingliang is coming off of his second straight knockout victory, a devastating finish of UFC new comer Bobby Nash this past January. The 28 year old is now 5-2 in the octagon and on the verge of cracking the top 15 for the first time.
Jingliang is a member of the Chinese Top Team, but has also trained extensively at Xtreme Couture under Robert Follis. The work with Follis has appeared to help Jingliang’s defensive Wrestling, which has allowed him to stay on the feet and trade more often.
Frank Camacho: Chamorro knockout artist Frank “The Crank” Camacho will be making his UFC debut, filling in for Canadian Jonathan Meunier on a little over one weeks notice. Camacho’s most notable bout was a 2012 back and forth decision loss to Neil Magny to enter the TUF: season 16 house.
Since the TUF fight Camacho has gone 8-2 beating UFC and Dream veteran Keita Nakamura and winning the PXC Lightweight title in this period. Camacho has dynamite in his right finishing 15 of his 20 victories by KO/TKO. He trained at home in Guam for this short notice opportunity, but has trained with Alliance and Lloyd Irvin in the past.
The Fight: This is a sleeper for fight of the night, especially if Jingliang decides to stand and trade like he has in his last few bouts. If they go at it on the feet Camacho has the fire power and technique to pull off the upset. If Jingliang Wrestles and uses his size this could get boring. My gut tells me Jingliang will want to put on a show and he will meet an early demise. Camacho KO 1st
-500 Justin Scoggins (11-3) vs. +385 Ulka Sasaki (19-4-2)
Justin Scoggins: South Carolina’s Justin Scoggins out struck and controlled Pedro Munhoz for a round and a half before he got caught in a Munhoz guillotine that ended his two fight winning streak last November. Scoggins will head back down to Flyweight after the one fight at Bantamweight against Munhoz.
Scoggins trains with his wife Hannah, bother Jared and UFC signee Jared Brooks at South Carolina’s Revolution MMA. He has a Karate base but his ground game is slick, unorthodox and technical making him a serious submission threat off of his back. Scoggins scored a dominate decision victory over rumored title contender Ray Borg in February of last year.
Ulka Sasaki: Former Shooto star Ulka Sasaki had his hands full in his last bout with former title challenger Wilson Reis. Sasaki gave his all for three rounds, but the Alliance MMA trained Black Belt was able to outwork Sasaki in the clinch and on the ground en route to a decision victory.
Sasaki has competed at Featherweight and Bantamweight for the majority of his career, his drop to Flyweight should give him a size and strength advantage over most of his competition. A win against Scoggins would suggest Sasaki is ready for another shot at a ranked opponent.
The Fight: Sasaki is going to have a significant reach advantage, however Scoggins will have the technical edge if this one turns into a Kickboxing match. Scoggins will land enough on the feet and be strong enough in the clinch to win this decisively over three rounds. Scoggins Unanimous Decision
-300 Alex Caceres (12-10) vs. +250 Rolando Dy (8-4-1)
Alex Caceres: Former Dade County backyard brawler Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres will be looking to put a end to his recent two fight skid. Caceres was submitted via rear naked choke by the unorthodox rubber guard tactician Jason Knight in his last octagon performance this past January.
Caceres has shown flashes of excellence like his 2014 submission of Sergio Pettis and 2016 domination of Cole Miller. But his 7-9 UFC record dating back to 2011 illustrates the trouble he has had with maintaining consistent success in the octagon. At 28 he is no longer a young fighter with time to grow, if he is ever going to become a great fighter it will have to start in this fight or he may never achieve the sky high expectations put on him as a young man.
Rolando Dy: Son of Pilipino Boxing legend Rolando Navarette “The Incredible” Rolando Dy is following in his dad’s pugilistic footsteps. His last fight in the Indian promotion Brave FC was stopped early when he collided heads with Nelson Paes and left his opponent unable to continue. Prior to the no contest Dy was unbeaten in his last three fights.
A hard hitting southpaw Dy has made a name for himself outside of his famous ancestry. Dy got his dad’s knockout power and quick hands, but he is also a threat on the mat submitting two of his opponents with armlocks. Dy will be an exciting addition to the Featherweight division.
The Fight: This should start out as an exciting striking affair, but Caceres will eventually get it to the ground where he will have a distinct advantage and will be able to sink in a choke. Caceres RNC 1st
+270 Cyril Asker (8-2) vs. -300 Walt Harris (9-5)
Cyril Asker: French Big man Cyril “The Silverback” Asker bounced back from a first round knockout debut loss to pick up a first round knockout of his own in his last fight. Asker was beaten by Jared Cannonier last April and gave the beating to Dmitry Smolyakov this past January.
You know you are in for an exciting fight when this former EFC champ is setting foot in the cage, of his ten bouts only two have seen the final bell. A Brown Belt in BJJ and Red Belt in Tae Kwon Doe Asker is well versed in every aspect of fighting and possesses remarkable agility for a big man.
Walt Harris: Former collegiate Basketball star Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris got back on the winning track with a beautiful knee, left straight combo that knocked out the Mississippi meme master Chase Sherman this past January.
The American Top Team trained big man has been wildly entertaining in his six UFC bouts. At 6’5″ he is a long Heavyweight and uses his length perfectly with his jab, left straight combo. A victory here would give Harris wins in three of his last four and a serious case for a top 15 ranking in a painfully shallow Heavyweight division.
The Fight: This is going to be fast and violent, Harris will keep his distance with jabs and body kicks before landing a hard left straight to drop Asker and close the show with brief ground and pound. Harris TKO 1st
+250 Takanori Gomi (35-12) vs. -300 Jon Tuck (9-4)
Takanori Gomi: Japanese PRIDE Lightweight king Takanori Gomi’s skills have not translated into the same championship success in the states. In his last bout Gomi was knocked out by Jim Miller in the first round at UFC 200. The loss was Gomi’s third straight, all of which have come via first round knockout.
Gomi has not evolved with the sport, the days of Gomi’s opponents collapsing with one punch are long gone. His last knockout was five years ago and unless he can make drastic adjustments to his fighting style the end of the 38 year old Japanese legend’s career will be imminent.
Jon Tuck: “The Super Saiyan” Jon Tuck will join Frank Camacho in representing Chamorro Americans on this historic night for the Marianas Islands. Tuck has been on the wrong side of two split decision losses in his last two fights. Most recently Tuck lost a very controversial decision to Damien Brown in Brown’s native Australia.
Tuck has been putting on good performances but not doing enough in the eyes of the judges. The Kings MMA fighter will look to put his thousands of hours of Muay Thai training to the test against this legendary striker and attempt to not leave it in the hands of the judges.
The Fight: Gomi will coming out swinging and land hard early, but the tough islander will eat Gomi’s best shots and turn up the pressure as Gomi fades. It will be close but Tuck will be able to pull off the upset with superior conditioning and an iron chin. Tuck Split Decision