Buyer beware…this card is pretty bad. You have a lot of fighters from TUF fighting, and I expect a wild night. Don’t get me wrong, I think some of these fights could be entertaining, but some of these bouts are a crapshoot. I’m certainly not going to have a lot of lineups, but anyways, let’s look at some fighters to target.
I hate taking the top-priced guy because he is going to be extremely chalky. However, Makhmud Muradov ($9300) should score well against Gerald Meershart if he can keep the fight standing, which he should be able to do.
I might take a shot with Andrei Petrovski at $9200, as he is the bigger, more athletic guy and be should be able to implement his game plan and get the fight to the mat and ground and pound his way to victory.
Edson Barboza $8200 – I can see why many people like Giga Chikadze; I get it. This is a HUGE step up in competition against one of the more experienced strikers in the featherweight division. Some may say that Chikadze is the more technical striker. Not really; Barboza is the faster guy and the more fluid fighter in his striking with better combinations. Barboza is also the better counterpuncher as well. Chikadze’s striking game is pretty basic, in my opinion. He does it well, yes, and it works for him, but I don’t think it’s going to work against a guy like Barboza. Barboza also has the cardio advantage, so if I feel this goes past two rounds, he will start taking over the fight. It also wouldn’t shock me if Barboza shoots early and tries to get this on the mat…I think Barboza checks all of the boxes in this one, and he should end it by the 4th round.
I also might have a lineup or two with Ricky Turcios ($8700). I think he’s by far the more well-rounded guy and sees him totally dominating and possibly finishing Brady Hiestand.
Daniel Rodriguez ($7700) – Daniel Rodriguez has been on a roll lately, and while the competition hasn’t always been high level, he’s looked pretty impressive. This will be Kevin Lee’s second go-around at welterweight, previously losing via submission to Rafael Dos Anjos. Lee is a natural lightweight, and it’s not a great sign when you move up a weight class, lose, then go right back down to lightweight. The size disparity, I think, will play a significant role in how this plays out. Lee might score a takedown in the 1st, but I don’t believe that he has a grappling advantage over Rodriguez, especially at this weight class. Lee also has been known to gas, and after the 2nd round, I can see Lee not being able to get the fight to the mat, and mentally, that can take a toll. This is a total mismatch on the feet, it wouldn’t surprise me if Rodriguez ends up winning via TKO, or Lee could gas out, shoot for a single on the feet this, and get caught with a submission. I just don’t think Kevin Lee is cut out for the welterweight division, and I think it shows it come Saturday night.
I also might consider putting Abdul Razak Alhassan ($7300) in a lineup or two. I don’t think Di Chirico should be that big favorite, and Alhassan can end it early. Yes, he’s lost 3 in a row, but his back is against the wall here, and he needs a big performance. Again, this is a low-risk-high reward situation.
That’s it for me. Good luck with your lineups, and enjoy the fights!