The UFC hits Houston during Super Bowl weekend for an exciting slate of fights that include a featherweight showdown between Dennis Bermudez and “The Korean Zombie” in the main event. Here are four other fights from Saturday’s event that could steal the show.
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Daniel Jolly vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
Daniel Jolly vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
Daniel Jolly got a tough draw in his UFC debut as he stepped in on short notice to face talented grappler Mishna Cirkunov at UFC Saskatoon in 2015. Nearly two years later, Jolly is back and with a much more even matchup than Cirkunov, who would go on to finish his next three fights in the Octagon.
Jolly has some pretty big power in his hands, as evidenced by his two knockouts in less than 30 seconds, but he prefers to fight out of the clinch before dragging the fight to the ground. His opponent, Khalil Rountree, is a strong, athletic light heavyweight who likes to stand-and-trade his way to victories.
So the first fight of the night will be an exciting striker vs. grappler matchup that is sure to set the evening off right.
Jessica Andrade vs. Angela Hill
Angela Hill got the rug pulled from under her when she was yanked from her bout against Jessica Andrade due to a somewhat confusing USADA drug testing rule. But the situation has been rectified and now Hill will get her chance to face-off against fifth-ranked strawweight Jessica Andrade on the main card of UFC Houston.
Andrade has been absolutely killing it since dropping from 135-pounds and stands potentially just one victory away from earning a shot at current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Andrade showed in her 115-pound debut against Jessica Pena she’s got the striking savvy to hang with the division’s best and her submission win over Joanne Calderwood proved she was a legit threat to the title.
Hill, a contestant on the 20th season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, was cut by the promotion in 2015 but since went on to win the Invicta FC strawweight title. She is the definitely of an action fighter and has improved leaps and bounds since losing a submission to fourth-ranked Rose Namajunas her last time in the Octagon.
The best thing about this fight for Hill is that she doesn’t even have to win to re-establish herself in the strawweight division -- a strong performance, alone, will do that.
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Tecia Torres vs. Bec Rawlings
Sixth-ranked strawweight Tecia Torres is in a similar situation as Andrade: Just a couple wins away from a title shot with a tough, unranked fighter in front of her at UFC Houston.
Torres is 3-1 inside the Octagon and is a well-rounded fighter who can score points in various ways. She has excellent stand-up thanks to her immense background in Taekwondo and fights at a high pace that is often tough for opponents to deal with.
Aggressive Australian striker Bec Rawlings will attempt to match that pace, however, as she looks to bounce back from a loss to Paige VanZant last August, which snapped a two-fight win streak. Rawlings may be unranked, but she’s not to be underestimated.
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Abel Trujillo vs. James Vick
In what promises to be a fire-fight, lightweights Abel Trujillo and James Vick throw down on the UFC Houston main card. Trujillo has a strong wrestling base but likes to load up on his punches and finish his opponent with strikes. Vick is more of a traditional striker whose boxing has helped him amass a 5-1 record inside the Octagon. Despite his skill on the feet, both Vick’s UFC finishes have come via submission, so he’s more than ready if the fight his the ground.
The scrap is a good candidate for Fight of the Night.