A featherweight title eliminator headlines the latest offering the UFC has put up as ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung takes on Dan Ige.
Supported by a main card that has the potential for a lot of stoppage victories and UFC on ESPN 25 could be a fun watch, albeit one without a huge amount of consequence at the top end of the weight classes.
Chan Sung Jung (16-6) vs. Dan Ige (15-3)
Chan Sung Jung has remained a top contender throughout his UFC tenure but his last performance against Brian Ortega may well be a pivotal moment in his career.
Through his well-rounded skill set, Jung’s speed and power have kept him competitive and then some against the best of the best but Ortega would beat him from pillar to post for 25 minutes.
Sustaining such damage has proven to be a turning point for a lot of fighters over the years and coming up against a big hitter in Dan Ige could be a problem.
Operating at a similar output to Jung, Ige can keep pace with ‘TKZ’ and is even more comfortable initiating the ground game when it suits him.
It’s a tough pick as I think both fighters match up well but the damage that Jung has absorbed over the years may well be taking its toll.
Pick: Dan Ige
Aleksei Oleinik (59-15-1) vs. Serghei Spivac (12-2)
While it’s clear Oleinik’s age and experience are counting against him at this point, his submission threat is as potent as anyone on the UFC’s roster.
Spivac meanwhile isn’t the biggest puncher at heavyweight and Oleinik will be by far the best opponent he has faced thus far.
With that being said, Spivac is durable and can keep a solid pace for 15 minutes at least.
Due to Oleinik’s lack of a gas tank beyond round one, I’ll side with Spivac to grind out a victory.
Pick: Serghei Spivac
Marlon Vera (18-7-1) vs. Davey Grant (11-4)
Both fighters have developed a fair amount since their first meeting in 2016.
While Grant would defeat Vera through control on the mat way back when, Grant has recently become a bit of a power puncher while Vera has added many more tools to his belt.
With form siding with Grant here, his momentum and confidence could well see him capitalize on Vera’s struggles with the clinch game but I do feel Vera has become the better fighter over five years.
Thanks to his speed, pressure and kicking game, I do think Vera will get the nod on the judges’ scorecards.
Pick: Marlon Vera
Julian Erosa (25-8) vs. Seungwoo Choi (9-3)
Choi will no doubt look to dictate this fight through his range but Erosa’s high output and awkward style is a problem for a lot of fighters.
While Choi does have the power to sting Erosa, ‘Juicy J’ is a tricky opponent and his well-rounded approach could see him pick up rounds as he mixes up his offence.
Pick: Julian Erosa
Wellington Turman (16-4) vs. Bruno Silva (19-6)
Turman vs. Silva looks to be a classic grappler vs. striker match-up.
With Silva an aggressive striker, Turman could well counter with takedowns and control from there but Turman’s questionable durability is a big red flag in this fight.
Admittedly, Silva’s two-year absence from the cage is another question mark surrounding this fight but if Silva can return to the performances he put in during his time with M-1, he should land some punishing blows on the feet.
Pick: Bruno Silva
Matt Brown (22-18) vs. Dhiego Lima (15-8)
Brown’s penchant for violence will always be a factor in his fights as the wily veteran is as game as they come.
Lima however is by far the less worn down by the fight game and as long as he fights to a smart game plan, his cardio and work in the clinch should grind Brown down over the course of the fight.
Pick: Dhiego Lima
(Last Predictions: 3/5, Total: 56/102, 55% Success Rate)
(Success Rate: 2016: 61%, ’17: 60%, ’18: 58%, 19′: 57%, 20′: 67%)