The UFC is hosting its first event in Oklahoma in just under three years, on a night that promises to be full of action. The card has three former champions, a UFC Hall of Famer, and in the main event two top lightweight contenders that are fighting to get one step closer to a title shot.
Michael Chiesa vs Kevin Lee
In the main event, two top lightweight contenders will fight to move one step closer to UFC gold. The fight gained notoriety among UFC fans when at the UFC Summer Kickoff Press Conference punches were thrown after Kevin Lee made a comment about Michael Chiesa’s mom who Michael is extremely close with. Michael Chiesa comes into the fight on a three-fight win streak, with his last two wins coming by submission due to rear naked choke, which is his favorite technique with five of his seven victories in the UFC coming from it. Kevin Lee has amounted his own impressive win streak of four straight victories, finishing his last three opponents. Michael Chiesa will be looking to lock in his patented rear naked choke. Chiesa is a master at taking the back in scrambles, and has improved his stand up in every fight since joining the UFC. Kevin Lee is a great wrestler with good stand up boxing, his well-rounded skill set makes him a difficult task for any opponent. One would think that he would try to keep the fight standing to avoid the scrambles of Chiesa, but we will see if maybe he tries to beat Michael at his own game.
Prediction: Kevin Lee while a good wrestler has had a problem in giving up his back in some of his previous fights, and while he always finds a way to get out of it, a mistake like that could prove costly against a fight like Chiesa. If Chiesa takes your back, he is wrapping his arms around your neck and getting the tap. Kevin Lee’s best shot at winning is to keep the fight standing, and that isn’t even a for sure victory giving Chiesa’s ever improving standup. Chiesa SUB Round 2
Tim Boetsch vs Johny Hendricks
In the co-main event, Johny Hendricks, a former welterweight champion looks to solidify his place as a contender in the middleweight division. He has a tough test against long time UFC veteran, Tim Boetsch. In the end of his welterweight run, Hendricks lost 5 out of his last 7 fights, but moved up to middleweight in his last fight and had an impressive victory over Hector Lombard. Boetsch has had an up and down career and is 2-2 in his last four fights, but lost by submission to Ronaldo Souza in his last fight. Johny Hendricks is a four time all American wrestler from Oklahoma state, and two-time national champion. He uses his dominant wrestling and strong left hand as his main weapons in the octagon. In his more recent fights he has vastly improved his foot work and head movement making him even more dangerous. Tim Boetsch is a strong fighter, that use to fight in the light heavyweight division, which gives him a size and strength advantage over many fighters.
Prediction: Hendricks came in overweight at the weigh in by three pounds, which makes me wonder how his energy will do against the bigger, stronger Boetsch. Hendricks might gas which will give Boetsch a definite advantage. Boetsch Dec
Felice Herrig vs Justine Kish
Justine Kish is an undefeated up and comer that faces her first real test in MMA veteran Felice Herrig. Herrig started competing in the sport back in 2009 and has showed that she is one of the toughest women in MMA today. She was a former kickboxer before she transitioned to MMA, so she has stand up experience. She is also an excellent scrambler on the ground, which she has used to set up submissions. She has also never been finished in a fight with all her defeats coming be decision. She is currently on a two-fight win streak with a win over Alexa Grasso in her last fight. Justine Kish is 6-0 in MMA, with two wins coming in the UFC. She got a victory over Ashley Yoder in her last fight. Kish is an extremely aggressive fighter, that loves to throw a lot of spinning techniques and other high risk moves. Her first two wins in MMA also came by submission showing that her ground game also shows potential.
Prediction: Kish shows a lot of potential, but I think her aggressive style will work against her. Herrig likes to take her opponent down to the ground or hold them against the cage. With Kish’s style of always moving forward and throwing spinning techniques it will open her up to take downs, and while she does have submission victories on her record, she is not quite on the level of Herrig on the ground, and Herrig is a better scrambler than Kish. The experience of Herrig will be too much. Herrig SUB Rd 2
Joachim Christensen vs Dominick Reyes
Dominick Reyes makes his UFC debut against Joachim Christensen. He is 6-0 in his pro MMA career with 5 first round finishes. Christensen is 1-2 in his UFC career, and has struggled to find his footing in the UFC. A loss here, and he could be facing being cut from the UFC.
Prediction: Reyes will prove to be too much, and Christensen will be cut after a first round loss to Reyes. Reyes KO Rd 1
Tim Means vs Alex Garcia
Tim Means’ fight against Alex Garcia is a matchup of different styles that will make for an interesting and unpredictable fight. Tim Means is an extremely scrappy fighter, with a reach advantage over most fighters in the division. He is 8-5(1) in the UFC, and has 18 wins by knockout over his professional MMA career. Most of those come by using his reach to put together effective combinations to put down his opponents. Means also has effective grappling and is aggressive with submissions once the fight hits the ground. Alex Garcia is an athletic freak of nature that will be stronger and more powerful than Means in the octagon. He has true one punch power that can be seen with six of his fourteen wins in his career coming by knockout. He has had some trouble with grapplers in the UFC, but does have some submissions victories outside the UFC.
Prediction: Mean’s will be able to use his reach advantage to pick apart Garcia from a distance, and will score the eventual (T)KO over him. That being said, with the one punch power of Garcia this fight truly could be over in a second. Means (T)KO Round 3
B.J. Penn vs Denis Siver
B.J. Penn will make the walk to the octagon for the 25th time seeking his first win since 2010. He is a hall of famer that is truly one of the greatest fighters of all time. He is a former lightweight and welterweight champion, and in his prime, could have beat anyone in any aspect of the fight game. He possessed incredible striking and grappling abilities. Denis Siver has been around the sport almost as long with 20 fights in the UFC, and is known for being one of the best strikers in the world. At one point his spinning heel kick was one of the most feared strikes in the world. Recently he has struggled to find success without a win since 2014. These are two legends of the sports, and with both of theirs careers winding down, fans need to enjoy watching these fighters while they can.
Prediction: BJ Penn in his prime was one of the best fighters in the world, but he is barley a shell of what he used to be. Watching him in the octagon is almost uncomfortable to watch, and I just hope that he keeps his health. He won’t be able to win against Siver. Siver Decision .
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Marvin Verrori def. Vitor Miranda
Carla Esparza def. Maryna Moroz
Darrell Horcher def. Devin Powell
Michel Quinones def. Jared Gordon
Johnny Case def. Tony Martin
Josh Stansbury def. Jeremy Kimball