With the second heavyweight main event in as many weeks, UFC Fight Night 186 is set for a strong main card showing as well as a big lightweight preliminary headliner.
Pitting heavyweight prospects Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane against one another in the headline act, Saturday night’s fight card is buoyed by an intriguing light heavyweight co-main event while bantamweights Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera provide a high-ranking match-up worth watching.
Add in Alexander Hernandez vs. Thiago Moises on the preliminary portion and UFC Fight Night 186 looks to be an excellent night of important fights.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1) vs. Ciryl Gane (7-0)
As seen last weekend, all that’s needed at the heavyweight limit is one punch and Jairzinho Rozenstruik is certainly in the Derrick Lewis mold.
While Rozenstruik is more technical than Lewis thanks to his kickboxing background, he will likely be the one relying more on their power when he comes up against Ciryl Gane.
With a striking game focused on rangy strikes like his jab and kicks, Gane is an excellent prospect at heavyweight and one who also possesses a strong grappling base.
While the heavyweight power lottery certainly applies here and it tends to be the harder hitter who gets the victory, I think Gane’s cerebral approach will see him minimize the opportunities for Rozenstruik to plant his feet and throw.
Pick: Ciryl Gane
Nikita Krylov (27-7) vs. Magomed Ankalaev (14-1)
Krylov is a really solid light heavyweight fighter but I think Magomed Ankalaev will go on to be a serious contender for the title.
While Krylov’s background comes from a karate base and he holds a fair few TKO wins to his name, his best path to victory here might be through his submission threat.
Ankalaev is similarly well-rounded in his skillset but holds more physicality in his frame and will be hard to move around should Krylov take the fight to him.
Thanks to Ankalaev’s counter-striking though, I think he’ll be able to deter Krylov’s advances and land the more stinging blows.
Pick: Magomed Ankalaev
Montana De La Rosa (11-6) vs. Marya Bueno Silva (7-1)
I expect this to be a grappling heavy fight and one that may be decided on who can get top position first.
While De La Rosa is perhaps the better scrambler out of the two, I think Silva is the greater submission threat although she tends not to initiate takedowns of her own.
It’s a tough fight to call but I think with De La Rosa being more varied in her offense, she might do enough to get the nod on the judges’ scorecards.
Pick: Montana De La Rosa
Pedro Munhoz (18-5, 1 NC) vs. Jimmie Rivera (23-4)
Both Munhoz and Rivera have improved as fighters since their first meeting but the stylistic match-up still favours Rivera in my opinion.
While Munhoz is willing to wade in and scrap relying on his power and durability, Rivera is slick on the counter and offers more of a takedown threat in order to dictate where the fight takes place.
Munhoz’s power could tip the fight in his favour at any point but Rivera’s counter-striking makes me side with ‘El Terror’.
Pick: Jimmie Rivera
Angela Hill (12-9) vs. Ashley Yoder (8-6)
Despite Angela Hill’s two-fight skid, Hill has looked better than ever inside of the octagon and on another day could have been given the victories by the judges in those fights.
Producing a ton of output, Hill’s striking overwhelms her opponents and I’d expect that to play out with a more successful outcome for ‘Overkill’.
While Yoder can secure takedowns and has rounded out her skillset over her UFC tenure, I think Hill has fought far better competition recently and had a better account of herself.
Pick: Angela Hill
Alex Caceres (17-12, 1 NC) vs. Kevin Croom (21-12, 1 NC)
Caceres is in the best form of his UFC career at the moment but Kevin Croom certainly has the ability to end that run.
With such a fast pace and a good submission ability, Croom can drag the mistakes out of a perennially inconsistent Caceres.
On the feet, however, I think ‘Bruce Leeroy’ has the ability to outstrike Croom and he himself is no slouch when it comes to his jiu-jitsu.
Pick: Alex Caceres
(Last Predictions: 2/6, Total: 15/32, 47% Success Rate)
(Success Rate: 2016: 61%, ’17: 60%, ’18: 58%, 19′: 57%, 20′: 67%)