After a brief hiatus, the UFC is back to bringing us an event every weekend running until July.
Starting off the four-week streak is an event that boasts two heavyweight clashes at the top of the billing while the remainder of the card features must-win contests for fighters looking to break out from the middle of the pack.
Headlined by a five-round bout between top ten heavyweight contenders Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Augusto Sakai, UFC Fight Night 189 is one that may lack noticeable names but could produce some early stoppages throughout.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-2) vs. Augusto Sakai (15-2-1)
Ciryl Gane produced an exemplary blueprint on how to defeat Jairzinho Rozenstruik last time out but I’m not sure Augusto Sakai has the same tools at his disposal.
Operating behind a long, patient jab, Gane would take away Jairzinho’s power as well as any opportunity to strike in close.
While Sakai has shown that he can use his length, he tends to throw strikes in bunches and that should allow the Surinamese fighter to have the opportunity to tag Sakai and hurt him.
Pick: Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Walt Harris (13-9, 1 NC) vs. Marcin Tybura (21-6)
This fight feels like it’ll either be an early stoppage win for Harris or a comfortable controlled performance by Tybura.
Tybura has proved himself to be a solid, well-rounded fighter but he is one who can be hit and that will give ‘The Big Ticket’ confidence early.
It’s a tough one to pick thanks to Harris’ power but I’ll side with the fighter in better form and the one with more paths to victory.
Pick: Marcin Tybura
Roman Dolidze (8-1) vs. Laureano Staropoli (9-3)
Staropoli is an all-action fighter on the feet and will look to outwork his opponents with pure volume.
Dolidze meanwhile is the more physical of the two and will look to grind his counterparts down with wrestling.
With Staropoli moving up in weight class here, I think the naturally larger man in Dolidze will be able to wear down on the Argentinian in close.
Pick: Roman Dolidze
Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-4) vs. Miguel Baeza (10-0)
While Ponzinibbio in his pomp would perhaps have too much for a young, developing fighter like Miguel Baeza, the time he has spent away from the cage looked like it showed against Li Jingliang.
Thanks to injuries, Ponzinibbio missed more than two years of competition and being thrown into a deep welterweight division is a tough ask to rebound from.
With Baeza packing decent power in his strikes as well as a decent ground game, I think Baeza will be disappointed to lose his first pro fight against someone struggling to return to his old ways.
Pick: Miguel Baeza
Dusko Todorovic (10-1) vs. Gregory Rodrigues (9-3)
Todorovic is a solid technical fighter who has some natural speed to his movements but his last fight against Punahele Soriano showed him to struggle with power in a major way.
With Rodrigues winning his last two fights via KO, he certainly will look to test the chin of Todorovic but due to Todorovic’s greater resume and more well-rounded skill set, I’ll side with ‘Thunder’ to return to winning ways.
Pick: Dusko Todorovic
Tom Breese (12-3) vs. Antonio Arroyo (9-4)
Both Breese and Arroyo match up well in terms of power and output but I do feel that Breese is the more technical of the two.
Thanks to his southpaw stylings, Breese can be a tricky puzzle for certain fighters and I think his use of range will be decisive here.
Pick: Tom Breese
(Last Predictions: 2/6, Total: 50/92, 54% Success Rate)
(Success Rate: 2016: 61%, ’17: 60%, ’18: 58%, 19′: 57%, 20′: 67%)