The UFC heads to Houston for another exciting UFC Fight Night this Saturday on FS1. Let’s take a look at the entire six-fight main card and how some of these action-packed bouts might play out.
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Dennis Bermudez vs. Chan Sung Jung
Chan Sung Jung makes his long-awaited return Saturday night at UFC Houston. Jung, who has spent the last two years serving his country, has a chance to jump right back into the title picture with a win over ninth-ranked Dennis Bermudez.
Jung’s last outing in the Octagon saw him lose to then-champion Jose Aldo but before that fight, he had reeled off three straight wins, three straight post-fight bonuses, to stake his claim as one of the more exciting fighters on the roster. He’s got phenomenal power for a featherweight and his Judo background helps him land takedowns at will.
Sung will likely try to keep the fight standing against Bermudez, however, who touts a pretty solid ground game himself thanks to a strong wrestling base. “The Menace” is as well-rounded as they come landing 4.27 strikes per minute -- nearly double the UFC average of 2.5 -- while also completing 4.24 takedowns per fight. Bermudez has also only been taken down three times in his 12 UFC fights, so he does an excellent job dictating when and if the fight hits the canvas.
It’s imperative “The Menace” use his diverse skillset against the returning Jung, who hasn’t fought professionally in 1279 days. Some fighters say there is no such thing as ring rust, but the vast majority of their performances in the Octagon after long layoffs proves otherwise. Odds are, Jung struggles to adjust to his return to fighting, especially against a guy like Bermudez, who is riding momentum from an undefeated 2016 where he outstruck opponents 109-21 while holding a 9-1 takedown advantage.
Prediction: Dennis Bermudez by decision
Alex Grasso vs. Felice Herrig
Alex Grasso’s star shined brightly in her debut against Heather Jo Clark back in November but things only get tougher for the up-and-comer against veteran Felice Herrig on Saturday.
Herrig has been in the game for a long time, fighting the best of the best en route to an 11-6 professional record, including 2-1 in the UFC. The same can’t be said for Grasso, who, despite her 9-0 record, has not faced a fighter of Herrig’s caliber yet.
Grasso has really crisp and accurate striking, and once she hits her groove, can be an absolute terror on the feet. But she hasn’t been tested much on the ground yet and we know Herrig will definitely try to figure out just how good the young fighter’s jiu-jitsu is.
Grasso should look to keep the fight standing and keep her head off the center line to avoid the Herrig’s powerful right hand. If she can do that, she should be able to win many of the exchanges off sheer volume alone and walk away victorious. However, if Herrig is able to score points and win rounds with takedowns, it could be a long night for the budding star.
James Vick and Abel Trujillo are both on the cusp of cracking the lightweight top 15 but need a big win Saturday night to do so.
Trujillo, a four-time NAIA All-American in wrestling, has quietly built his UFC record to 6-2, with his lone losses coming against interim title contenders Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. “Killa” has no problems getting takedowns when they present themselves and has some nasty ground-and-pound when the fight goes there. On the feet, Trujillo throws with straight malice but that might not be advantageous against a talented striker like Vick.
Vick, who won his first five UFC fights, has lightning quick hands and at 6-foot-3 is extremely long for a lightweight. Vick is susceptible to the takedown but his size helps him escape dangerous positions on the ground.
If Trujillo is able to get the fight to the ground, it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep Vick there. On the feet, Vick has a clear advantage and his six-inch reach advantage should allow him to tag Trujillo from a distance.
Prediction: James Vick by decision
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Volkan Oezdemir
Ovince Saint Preux looks to snap a two-fight losing streak when he takes on UFC newcomer Volkan Oezdemir.
It’s tough to root against anyone named Volkan, but he’s got a hard road in front of him in sixth-ranked light heavyweight Saint Preux. OSP is one of the more athletic fighters on the roster with a well-rounded attack. He should be able to capitalize on Oezdemir’s inexperience on the big stage.
Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux by third-round submission
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Anthony Hamilton vs. Marcel Fortuna
Another newcomer gets thrown into the fire against a veteran when Marcel Fortuna battles Anthony Hamilton.
Hamilton has bounced back and forth between wins and losses over his UFC career and coming off an L in his last bout, he’s due for a win. But considering that loss came via submission against a relative novice, we think Hamilton might struggle a bit with third degree BJJ black belt Fortuna.
Hamilton should look to keep the fight standing and test Fortuna’s striking. But if this fight hits the canvas, Fortuna might walk away with his sixth career submission in 10 professional fights.
Prediction: Marcel Fortuna by second-round submission
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Jessica Andrade vs. Angela Hill
I couldn’t think of a better way to start the UFC Houston main card than seeing Jessica Andrade and Angela Hill meet in the center of the Octagon and duke it out.
Andrade and Hill are both talented strikers, the only difference being Andrade’s preference for power and Hill’s penchant for speed.
The biggest variable in this fight will be Andrade’s ground game. If Hill is able to keep up on the feet -- which would be huge given Hill’s relative inexperience in the sport compared to Andrade’s -- “Bate Estaca” can force this bout to the ground and make things ugly for the “Ultimate Fighter” alum.
One thing is for certain, though, Hill is one of the most fearless fighters in the division and won’t back down during any moment of Saturday’s fight. That may endear her to fans but likely won’t give her the win.