UFC Singapore "UFC Fight Pass" Main-Card
Leon Edwards vs. Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone
Leon Edwards is a great up and coming talent for the Welterweight division. He's a very well rounded opponent that adapts to his opponents during the fight. If he cannot find success on the feet he will change his approach and use a heavy grappling game-plan. He has a very nice kick to the liver that is very powerful. He has clean and cautious boxing. He likes to pressure his opponents, but he is calculated with the strikes that he throws. His grappling is very good too. His fundamentals are essentially flawless. Can Edwards be beat? Yes. I question his chin. He was rocked badly, but showed a good recovery after the round ended in his fight with Barberena. Edwards is a guy that can beat guys that are lacking in an area. But if someone stands out in wrestling he can get outwrestled, and if someone stands out in striking he can get out struck. He adapts accordingly, but he's going to be fighting way better fighters that can adapt just as good as he can.
Donald Cerrone is an absolute stud. He might not ever get to a title shot, but he's the peoples champ. He has been on a bit of a skid as of late, and it doesn't help that he is getting to the age where a lot of fighters start to slow down. But he has been fighting a lot better fighters consistently in the past year than he ever has before. He was never the guy that was beating top 10 guys his entire career. He was always fighting middle of the pack guys, and would finish them. So I'm not going to write him off just yet. He has excellent striking where he usually sets up a head kick for the finish. He does have trouble against guys that pressure him with good boxing. He does not move his head well, so high pressure boxers land consistently on him. His grappling is very underrated. If you take him down he will finish you off of his back, and he has shown good takedowns himself. When he is on the ground he is looking to finish his opponents with a submission as soon as possible. I still see Cowboy finding success against middle of the pack fighters just like always.
Prediction: This is a fun main event. Leon Edwards is going to look to make a statement to the rest of the Welterweight division by beating a well known fighter like Cowboy. Donald Cerrone is going to do what he does best and fight to finish his opponent any way possible. I see Edwards taking a very cautious approach. He should be looking to use his jab to pressure, and then utilize his liver kick. Cowboy has shown a weakness to getting hit in the body, and that is a real concern in this fight. I don't think Edwards can utilize his offensive grappling in this fight. Cowboy is just too crafty in that department. If Edwards does not pressure hard enough then this fight is going to be pretty close. Cerrone can strike with anyone, and I think he can out grapple Edwards in this fight. It's hard for me to predict this fight because Edwards has the tools to end this quick, but Cerrone has the skills to beat a guy like Edwards as well. I'm going to go with the younger fighter here that is hungry to beat a big name vet. Leon Edwards by TKO, Round 2.
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Tyson Pedro
Ovince St. Pruex is an athletic guy that hasn’t really improved much since he joined the UFC. He is super dangerous every second the fight takes place on the feet, and if he gets on top of you he’s going to try to submit you. But he is beatable, and the blue-prints are laid out. If you can apply a grapple heavy attack against him, and fight a cautious fight on the feet then you can have success against him. He thrives off of people rushing at him. Any time his opponents rush forward he tries to throw a huge fight ending blow. He also does a good job of being patient and making his opponents fall asleep. Then he will throw a big kick while his opponent isn’t prepared for such a big strike to come at them. Even though he has a good top game, he doesn’t go for many takedowns in fights. He’s content with striking even if he is losing the striking battle. OSP is going to be a competitive guy in the Light-Heavyweight division as long as he is hungry to try and win fights. And right now I think he’s hungry.
Tyson Pedro has made quite the impact within the last year and a half since he joined the UFC roster. He is very green in the sport still, but he’s improving fight to fight. His striking has looked like he’s been trying to sharpen up his skills, but he does get too reckless when he is trading shots with his opponents. His grappling is top notch, but the wrestling part of his game needs a bit of work. If he’s going to get takedowns, he needs to do so against the cage. He has shown a very strong clinch game against the cage. He uses knees and elbows very effectively while in the clinch as well. The good thing about Tyson is that he has shown durability. He has taken damage in his fights, but he recovers so well. I’d like to see him minimize the amount of damage he takes so he can keep that durability for big fights later in his career.
Prediction: OSP is a hard man to look good against. So for Tyson Pedro to beat him, he needs to stay very patient and stick to his game plan. This is not a fight where Pedro can try to brawl his way to a finish. He needs to keep the distance and take his time to find openings for the clinch game. Pedro should be able to land powerful leg kicks from the outside, and he showed a nice snapping jab in his last fight that would work for him here. OSP is going to be waiting for Pedro to rush in, and that’s where OSP has a chance to land a huge fight ending strike. OSP is such a hard guy to predict because he doesn’t create openings, he finds them. You’ll never see OSP follow an obvious game-plan that should be set in place for him. He just reacts in the fight. Pedro does a lot of reaching when he is trying to get the clinch. That is a huge opportunity for OSP to capitalize on. If Pedro can set everything that he does up, then he has all of the tools to dominate a decision over the crafty OSP. If Pedro tries to make this fight a fun brawl for the fans then he is giving this fight away. Pedro must fight perfectly, and I think he will follow a cautious game-plan. Tyson Pedro by Decision.
Jessica Eye vs. Jessica-Rose Clark
Jessica-Rose Clark is a great personality to have around for the women’s 125 pound division. She has been very active with this being her third fight in six months, and she has faced some well known names thus far in her UFC career. As far as her fighting ability goes, she has been getting by with using her size to slow down and bully her opponents. Her striking only consists of using her boxing, but she does not do a great job of closing the distance to land shots. She likes to let her opponents come at her with punches, and she will engage with her own combinations. From there she will try to get into a clinch where she can get this fight to the cage. That’s where she does her best work by wearing down her opponents. If her opponent finally gets their back off the cage then Clark does a great job of putting them right back. Her have not been shown to be great. She normally ends up on top in scrambles or off-balance trips. Once she’s on top she does a great job of slowing the fight way down and smothering. There’s times where I think the ref should stand her up because its obvious that she’s not going to try and improve her position. She has good durability, but she kind of fades in the third round of her fights. Soon I feel like the girls in her division will pass her up. But right now she may be able to grind her way close to the top.
Jessica Eye is someone that I think could be way more successful then she has been. I feel like her fight IQ has cost her in some of her fights, and her grappling game has been a real problem for her. Her boxing is very sharp. She just doesn’t commit to her punches enough to do real damage with her hands. She holds back too much as well, so it makes rounds look really close on the feet. She also doesn’t keep her hands up so she does get tagged with returned punches. Eye has been and can be out-grappled. She has a real hard time getting back to her feet if she gets taken down. This is something that I don’t think will ever be fixed at this point in her career, and I would be shocked if she did fix it. I don’t see too much of a bright future for Eye in the UFC. Her name is too known for her to be fighting girls that are ranked higher in the division.
Prediction: This fight is a toss up. I really favor Jessica-Rose Clark to win this because of her grappling, but Jessica Eye can win this easily if she fights with the right game-plan. Clark should be able to counter effectively with punches if Eye comes out aggressive with her striking. Clark should look to get the clinch, and she should be the stronger of the two when they grapple. If Clark can get this fight to the mat then she will keep it there until the bell rings at the end of each round. Clark is not urgent with takedowns, nor is she urgent to get the clinch. So that’s what Eye should exploit. She should keep the distance and throw a high volume of straight punches. She needs to use a lot of footwork to step out of the way of Clark’s punches. Eye needs to throw a lot and make Clark chase her down. Eye needs to be urgent and avoid the grappling exchanges at all costs. If Eye can do that then she will tire Clark out by round three. Round 3 is where Eye can really put the stamp on her performance by having a lopsided round with her output being way higher than Clark’s. I don’t trust Eye’s fight IQ enough to think that she won’t engage in the grappling. Jessica-Rose Clark by Decision.
Li Jingliang vs. Daichi Abe
Prediction: Li Jingliang by Decision.
UFC 225 "UFC Fight Pass" Prelims
Teruto Ishihara vs. Petr Yan
Teruto Ishihara is a wild man. He has been taking a more technical approach in his most recent fights, but I feel like his opponents can get him to fight at their pace. Ishihara has power in his hands, decent wrestling, and good ground and pound. But he’s not really great at applying those things in his fights. He might have success for a moment in a fight, but he might not have success with anything for the rest of the fight. He keeps his hands very low and that really concerns the hell out of me. He’s not the fastest guy to get out of the way of strikes. The best part of Ishihara’s game is that he doesn’t quit. You cannot count him out of any fight, because he will keep pressing forward, and he does have the power to land one shot to win close rounds.
Petr Yan is a fun guy to have in the UFC. He’s making his debut this Saturday, but he is well known in the MMA world. He is a powerhouse, but he takes a very cautious approach to find his openings. He likes to stay in boxing range, and he has a very good straight right hand. He sets up his straight right with different combinations, but that is the strike that he lands best. Once he hurts his opponents he swarms on them. He has very good killer instinct, and that’s what makes him so enjoyable to watch. He’s a very strong guy and he is not easy to takedown. One bad thing about him that I’ve noticed is that he doesn’t do a good job avoiding leg kicks. Since he is in boxing range all of the time he is able to counter kicks with punches. Yan is going to be a fun addition to the roster, but I just don’t know how he’d fair against some of the top guys in the division.
Prediction: I see this fight being a very cautious chess match. Ishihara knows how dangerous Yan is, and it’s going to be hard for Ishihara to find very many openings to get any offense off. The leg kicks will be there for Ishihara if he wanted to go that route. I just don’t see Petr Yan getting taken down in this fight. Yan has to be careful to not get lulled into a big shot by Ishihara. If Yan fights a very safe and technical fight then he wins this by a decision for sure. It’s not easy to finish Ishihara, but Yan should be able to land very big shots through out the fight which may lead to a big KO finish. This is Yan’s fight to lose. Petr Yan by Decision.
Felipe Arantes vs. Yadong Song
Felipe Arantes can be a tricky fighter. When he moves forward with strikes he is a dangerous fighter. He is very fast when throwing punches and kicks, and has enough power to put someone to sleep. The bad thing about his defense is that he just backs straight up with his hands high. That allows his opponents to swarm him with punches, and hooks tend to land. Arantes showed great durability in his last fight by getting dropped three times in the first round, but he didn’t look phased for the next two rounds. Arantes has a very underrated ground game. Wrestlers want to take him down, but he has finished a lot of guys from off his back. He’s one of the guys that will fall to the ground just to bait his opponents to go into his guard. I think Arantes can beat a lot of the middle of the pack guys in his division, but he doesn’t seem like he is making the improvements to climb up the ranks.
Yadong Song impressed the hell out of me last November in his UFC debut. He showed excellent an excellent ability to get in on his opponents to land big shots, and then jump right back out of range to avoid any returned strikes. He seems to be very aware of what his opponents are going to do next. Its going to be hard for his opponents to take him down because they have to telegraph their takedowns since he is so hard to get close to. I have not seen too much of his grappling to really be confident in his ability to scramble out of bad positions, or to get back to his feet quickly. At 20 years old, I think this kid has a very bright future in the UFC. He has moved out to Team Alpha Male for this fight camp, and that’s the kind of move a young fighter should make when he gets into the UFC. Watch out for Yadong Song.
Prediction: This is one of my favorite fights on this card. Yadong Song should have a lot of success on the feet when he comes forward to land big punches. Felipe Arantes backs straight up, and his opponents are able to bully him. Arantes should want to get this fight to the ground, but I don’t think he has good enough takedowns to get Song to the mat. If this fight does somehow end up on the floor then I really give the edge to Arantes. The speed and the footwork of Song is going to be hard for Arantes to overcome in this fight. Song is going to land big shots, but Arantes has never been finished with strikes. Team Alpha Male just had a fighter from their camp beat Arantes last October, and I think they have the blueprint for Song to get the win on Saturday. Yadong Song by Decision.
Rolando Dy vs. Shane Young
Rolando Dy is a decent striker that has power in his hands. He has a very good lead left hook that is a threat to anyone he fights. He also has a very fast round-house kick that he sets up really well with his hands. The problem with Dy is that he can be inactive for long periods of time, and he allows his opponents to dictate the pace. He does leave himself open for right hands after he throws punches, and that has happened in multiple fights. He has decent takedown defense, but he does not have a ground game what-so-ever. He looks lost on the ground, and has a hard time getting back to his feet. Dy isn’t really a dominant fighter. He will have competitive fights with anyone he faces because he does not try to dictate the pace or pressure of any of his fights.
Shane Young is a guy that got picked up in the UFC because they desperately needed someone to step in on short notice for their Australian event back in November. I don’t think this guy is necessarily ready to be fighting in the UFC, but he is young and can make quick improvements from fight to fight. Young is a very active striker that uses a lot of the fundamentals to win his fights. He is constant with the jab, and he will jab to the body as well. He throws a lot of leg kicks that will cause some damage over time. His big strikes that he looks to land is his head kicks, and a right hook. Young looks to be very slow with his strikes. That really concerns me. His takedown defense was shown in his UFC debut, as he defended takedowns for most of the fight. He showed a heads-up clinch game, and that will help him keep the fights on the feet where he wants it.
Prediction: This fight is going to be a close fight. Shane Young should be able to have success with his high volume of jabs and leg kicks. If Rolando Dy can slip the jab and land massive counters then I can see Dy winning this fight at any point in time. But its hard to trust Dy to capitalize on a hurt opponent. Young will have an opening to land his right hook as they exchange punches, because Dy never brings up his left hand to block. I would really like to see Young use all of the tools as a martial artist to get a win here. He should keep a high volume with his jab and kicks, and then mix in a little wrestling to make Dy uncomfortable. The more Young mixes it up, the more likely he is to win. If this is a kickboxing match then both men will have their moments, and I think Dy will have the more significant shots. Young doesn’t really pose much of a threat because he doesn’t have much power in his strikes. Very hard fight to call. Shane Young by Decision.
Song Kenan vs. Hector Aldana
Song Kenan had a very impressive UFC debut last November when he starched Bobby Nash with a nasty straight right hand seconds into the fight. To see more footage of Kenan I had to find the fight that led him to a UFC contract, which took place a year prior to his UFC debut. He lost that fight by decision, and it wasn’t even a competitive one. He was out wrestled in a very slow paced fight. By round 2 he was gassed, and had nothing in his offense. His takedown defense does not involve any sprawls. Instead, he just goes for guillotines that put him on his back for long periods of time. His striking seems to be the best area of his game, but even then it’s nothing incredible that cannot be avoided. His power should be feared in the 1st round of all his fights, but if you can make him work then he will be easy to handle for the rest of the fight. Kenan is lucky to have even gotten the shot at a UFC contract, and I’d be shocked if he fights six times in the UFC.
Hector Aldana has not fought since his Ultimate Fighter days back in 2015. It’s very hard to judge how a fighter will perform when he has not fought in the last three years. Is he still in shape? Why has he been out of action since the show? Did he have a terrible injury? I could not find answers to these questions. After watching his last few fights, I was pretty impressed with his aggressiveness as a striker. He likes to press forward and throw heavy punches to the head and the body of his opponents. He showed powerful leg kicks, and he would throw them often if his opponent was not checking them. His ground game looked very weak. If someone took him down then they would be able to have their way with him. His gas tank looked to be pretty good as well, but will it be the same after all of these years off? So many questions that need to be answered for Hector Aldana.
Prediction: This prediction is impossible to be accurate because we do not know what kind of shape Hector Aldana is going to be in. I will tell you that both men are going to stand toe-to-toe and duke it out on the feet. If this were 2015, I would favor Hector Aldana. Since he has not fought in a very long time, I can see why the odds makers somewhat heavily favor Song Kenan. In a striking affair, it’s going to be hard to trust the reaction time of Aldana. I liked the aggressiveness that Aldana would bring to the table, and I think he would be able to have a lot of success if he brought that same intensity. Kenan is going to look to snipe with his right straight, and he will be looking to use his lead leg to land body kicks. If Kenan wanted to win easily then he needs to use some wrestling in this fight. He should be able to get takedowns if he wanted to. Based on tape, I favor Aldana to win in a striking contest. Once I find out why he was out of the fight game for three years then I may have a different input on a winner in this fight. I would also like to see the shape that Aldana is in at the weigh ins. Because of the aggressiveness and the ability to keep pressing forward for a few rounds I’m going to go with Aldana to win this. Hector Aldana by Decision.
Shinsho Anzai vs. Jake Matthews
Jake Matthews has a lot of UFC experience for only being 23 years old. He recently made the move up a division, and he has found success in his first two welterweight fights. Jake has massive power in his hands, usually only throwing big heavy shots in bunches. He keeps his hands very low, so he does eat a lot of punches that he shouldn’t be. So far his chin has held up, but he really cannot rely on his chin to take as much damage as it does. Matthews has shown a strong offensive grappling game, but he has also lost fights by being out grappled. Ultimately, Matthews has shown killer instinct. He will try to take your head off with big punches, and he will try to put you to sleep with chokes. As long as he improves on a technical standpoint from fight to fight, then I like the future of Jake Matthews.
Shinsho Anzai seems to be a very basic fighter with decent wrestling. He can out grind the bottom of the barrel in the welterweight division. His striking is decent enough to close the distance so he can go for a takedown, but there are times where he does shoot desperately for takedowns. He’s got decent power in his hands. He likes to throw a lot of hooks when he is in the pocket, or when he is breaking away from the clinch. For Anzai to have success in his fights he needs to make them ugly clinch-heavy battles. So far he has not faced the greatest competition, and he has had pretty competitive fights. For a guy that likes to take his opponents down, he isn’t very successful at getting it to the floor, nor is he great at holding his opponents down. Styles make fights, and he might be able to do well in his upcoming match-up with his style.
Prediction: I think both of these guys fight very similarly. Both like to go for takedowns against the cage, and both only throw hooks when striking. I think Jake Matthews is the better of the two, but he has shown a weakness to grappling in the past. Shinsho Anzai doesn’t seem to have that type of dominance with his grappling that would concern me in a match-up with Jake Matthews. Anzai might have success getting the clinch up against the cage here and there, but I just do not seem him getting the fight to the floor and keeping Matthews there. If they do trade on the feet, Matthews should be able to hurt Anzai with a big punch. One thing I do not like about Matthews is that he keeps his hands down and he backs up towards the cage. If he does that in this match-up it will play right into Anzai’s best work. Anzai needs to make this fight ugly, and he needs to wear the young Jake Matthews out. I just do not seeing Anzai having that much success over the course of fifteen minutes. Jake Matthews by Submission, Round 2.
Yan Xianonan vs. Viviane Pereira
Yan Xiaonan is a fun striker to watch. She’s always looking to land punches in bunches, and mixes it up with kicks. She likes to throw side kicks to the lead leg of her opponent, and then she will go high with a side kick. She also does a great job countering with her right hand after her opponents overcommit to a combination. The real problem in her game right now is her grappling. She doesn’t do a great job pummeling for under-hooks while in the clinch. Her takedown defense isn’t great on a technical level. She uses her strength to defend takedowns instead of getting in a good sprawl or under-hooks to circle off the cage. If she does get taken down she can be held down. She’s not active off of her back, and she doesn’t do a great job of creating space with her legs. She just accepts the position. That is not hopeful for when she faces a good grappler. But the pace of Xiaonan is phenomenal, and I will always look forward to watch her fight.
Viviane Pereira is a fighter that I don’t think has put it all together yet. And I just think it’s because she has not been able to face many people that are her size. The one fight where she looked good, she fought someone with similar height, and she was able to get some offense off because she could close the distance. Her striking is decent, but she takes a very patient and safe approach. He has sharp jabs, and power in her hooks. She really doesn’t do a good job finding her range, and that causes her to swing at the air majority of the time. She has shown a strong clinch game. She’s able to get the under-hooks, land knees, and can get trips from the clinch. Just like her striking, she isn’t very active when she gets on top of her opponent. She has solid fundamentals, but she is too small for smallest division that the UFC has for women fighters. Solid fundamentals will not get her too far in the UFC. It will only get her involved in close decisions.
Prediction: If Viviane Pereira fights the best fight of her life then she can win an easy and clear decision. She needs to keep her distance and make Yan Xiaonan miss. Once there is an opening, Pereira needs to get the clinch and bring this fight to the cage. Pereira needs to use her strength and mix up knees and takedowns while in the clinch. If she can get a takedown then she needs to stay active with strikes, and try to pass to more dominant positions while on top of Xiaonan. That’s the clear path to victory, but Pereira has not shown that kind of urgency in her UFC career so far. I see the longer and highly active fighter, Yan Xiaonan, throwing punches in bunches, and scoring heavily on the judges scorecards. I think this fight will eventually end up in the clinch, but the high volume of Xiaonan should be enough to take earn a decision. It will be hard for Pereira to win a decision when her opponent is going to be very active the entire fight. If there is takedowns involved then be prepared for a close decision, but if this fight stays on the feet Xiaonan should take this handily. Yan Xiaonan by Decision.
Matt Schnell vs. Naoki Inoue
Naoki Inoue can keep up a very relentless pace for the entirety of his 15 minute fights. He likes to move forward and throw very simple attacks that land. He has decent hands, but his grappling is the fun part about his game. He showed a good takedown defense, and even better top control. Always looking to advance on the ground until he takes the back. If someone scrambles out of a position he will be throwing up submissions, always keeping his opponents in danger. Inoue is only 21 years old, and he will have a bright future in the UFC with his relentless pace and grappling ability.
Matt Schnell is a guy that I thought was going to do great things after his stint on The Ultimate Fighter. So far in his UFC career he has not shown as much promise to climb up the ranks. He has great boxing combinations, and fights very calculated. He doesn’t throw many kicks, and he is hittable in exchanges because he doesn’t move his head as he’s throwing combinations. I think his wrestling is pretty good, but he can get out grappled in scrambles by good grapplers. I do see him improving technically as a maturing fighter, but I’m not sure that he can handle the high pace of his next test.
Prediction: I see Matt Schnell trying to slow this fight down by keeping the distance, and using his boxing to strike when he wants to strike. Schnell needs to keep this fight on the feet and make this into a slow paced technical fight. I just don’t see Naoki Inoue obliging in a slow methodical fight. Inoue has such a good grappling game that he can open up on the feet because he is not scared to get taken down. I see Inoue having success on the feet with body kicks, and countering the combinations from Schnell with straight punches. Inoue might have a problem getting this fight to the mat because he hasn’t shown great takedowns. But the pace and that Inoue will put on should wear down Schnell and that’s when Inoue might be able to get this fight to the ground. Whether it hits the mat or not, I think Inoue’s pace is going to get the job done. Naoki Inoue by Decision.
Jenel Lausa vs. Ulka Sasaki
Jenel Lausa is an excellent boxer. He does a great job of making his opponents miss, and then he well land beautiful pinpoint shots of his own to counter. He is very aware of his opponents incoming strikes, but he doesn’t do a great job checking leg kicks on the feet. He’s not a high volume striker, so he can get out volumed in his fights on the feet. His takedown defense is okay if his opponent makes a bad shot, but he will get taken down fairly easily if it’s a well timed shot. He can be controlled for the entire round by opponents with good top control. It seems like Lausa has a hard time defending takedowns the further into the fight. He’s not good at creating space to get back to his feet. In time, Lausa could start evolving on his takedown defense, but it seems to be the thing that will hold him back from ever making it further in the rankings.
You can’t ever count Ulka Sasaki out of a fight. He is super tall and lanky for the 125 pound division, and that size seems to give him advantages that make up for lack of skill in some areas of his game. His stand-up is decent, but there are major holes in his defense. He likes to keep his range and throw a good volume of straight punches, but he doesn’t bring his hands back to block immediately. The best part of his game is his submissions, and scrambling ability. If he is facing a superior grappler then he won’t have much success, but when he’s facing decent or below average grapplers, that’s where he shines. He uses his length to create leverage to get takedowns, and to get reversals on the mat. Very tricky guy, but he is not a world beater.
Prediction: I love Jenel Lausa in this stylistic match-up. He’s the far better striker, and he should be able to hurt Ulka Sasaki with big punches while this fight is on the feet. I just can’t trust Lausa to keep this fight standing. One slip by Lausa, or one takedown from Sasaki and this fight is in huge favor of Sasaki. Lausa needs to do what he does best and slip and rip the punches from Sasaki. If he hurts Sasaki he needs to be careful by not trying to finish the fight on the ground. He cannot get overzealous for a finish and end up in the clinch with Sasaki. He needs to keep his space and land big shots until its clear that Sasaki is done for. I just can’t trust him to do that though. Sasaki wins these types of fights where he has the grappling advantages. I also cannot trust Sasaki to not get hurt while striking, but I like his scrappiness to come back. Ulka Sasaki by Submission, Round 2.