Live from The SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland on Fox Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass, Sun, Jul 16, 2017
--- Main Card (Fox Sports 1: 3pmET/12pmPT) ---
Welterweight - 170 lbs: Gunnar Nelson (16-2-1) vs Santiago Ponzinibbio (24-3)
Strawweight - 115 lbs: Joanne Calderwood (11-2) vs Cynthia Calvillo (5-0)
Lightweight - 155 lbs: Stevie Ray (21-6) vs Paul Felder (13-3)
Middleweight - 185 lbs: Jack Marshman (21-6) vs Ryan Janes (9-2)
Light Heavyweight - 205 lbs: Khalil Rountree (5-2 vs Paul Craig (9-1)
Heavyweight - 207-265 lbs: James Mulheron (10-1) vs Justin Willis (4-1)
--- Prelims (Fox Sports 1: 1pmET/10amPT) ---
Welterweight - 170 lbs: Danny Roberts (13-2) vs Bobby Nash (8-2)
Flyweight - 125 lbs: Alexandre Pantoja (17-2) vs Neil Seery (16-12)
Welterweight - 170 lbs: Charlie Ward (3-2) vs Galore Bofando (4-2)
Lightweight - 155 lbs: Danny Henry (10-2) vs Daniel Teymur (6-0)
--- Fight Pass Prelims (UFC Fight Pass: 12pmET/9amPT) ---
Bantamweight - 135 lbs: Brett Johns (13-0) vs Albert Morales (7-1-1)
Women's Bantamweight - 135 lbs: Leslie Smith (9-7-1) vs Amanda Lemos (6-01)
By the time Sunday rolls around, it will have almost been a full two years since the UFC last visited Scotland. Two years has surely felt like forever for the Scotland natives, Joanne Calderwood and Stevie "Braveheart" Ray who are the only two who will have competed on both UFC Scotland cards back to back. And both will be looking to walk away once again with their hands raised.
A truly incredible atmosphere it was back on July 18, 2015 when both Ray and Calderwood competed and came out victorious. Calderwood, who put on a Fight of the Night performance with Cortney Casey back at UFC Fight Night 72, has been a perennial top 10 fighter at 115 lbs over the recent years and one of the most popular fighters in the division during her rise. Confronted by some minor setbacks as of late, along with being teased by the new UFC women's 125 lb Flyweight division, Calderwood is focused on just getting the win this weekend and will go from there afterwards. For Ray, who earned a Performance of the Night bonus during his last outing in his homeland, it's all about putting on a show for the home crowd with an opponent in "The Irish Dragon" Paul Felder, that he knows wont back down from a fire fight.
Rountree vs Craig
Khalil Rountree was the Light Heavyweight runner up on season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter. Since coming up short against Andrew Sanchez in the finals of TUF 23, Rountree has gone 1-1 with a submission loss to Tyson Pedro and a KO win over Daniel Jolly. Rountree's biggest weakness so far in his young career could not be any more obvious...his lack of ground game and takedown defense. I've been saying it ever since I first saw him fight and continued to watch him... Rountree reminds me of a faster version of Anthony "Rumble" Johnson when it comes to striking. Yeah...a scary thought, right? Now imagine that fighter with any sort of takedown defense. Rountree would garner boat loads of hype. Especially in the Light Heavyweight division where new talent is desperately needed. The potential is certainly there and his takedown defense looked improved in his last bout with Jolly but it is still very much to be determined just how much he's improved. Fortunately for Rountree, he may not have to worry about that in this next bout with Scotland's own, Paul Craig who also fancy's himself a stand up battle. Both men have losses to Tyson Pedro but Craig will have the massive advantage of fighting at home. The man nicknamed the "Bearjew" is about as Scottish as it gets and will be more than energized by the moment of competing at home on the biggest stage in MMA. Rountree will have his work cut out for him but if he can overcome the atmosphere and pressure of fighting in enemy territory, he should have an excellent chance here. Regardless, do not expect this one to go the distance.
Prediction: Rountree RD1 (T)KO
Ray vs Felder
The likelihood of this bout being a snoozfest is just so improbable that I don't want to even think of that very unlikely possibility. Another fight where the crowd and atmosphere will largely come into play. Stevie Ray is making a name for himself at 155 lbs and doesn't plan on slowing down any time soon. But if anyone will not be effected by the crowd and atmosphere, it will not be Paul Felder. "The Irish Dragon" is one of those fighters who is just that...a straight up fighter. He's unphased by most everything when in the cage and that includes punches, kicks, elbows...you name it. As he will constantly walk forward regardless of what's thrown at him. Throwing elbows, kicks, spinning back fists of his own...Ray will have many more attacks to worry about than Felder will as Ray is more of a boxing based striker. But it is also fair to say that Ray may be better when it comes to working the ground. Perhaps not by much, but enough for it to be a solid factor if it goes there. Both men are looking to put on a show so an all out war could quickly ensue.
Prediction: Ray UD
Calderwood vs Calvillo
A clash of styles is just one way to describe the match up between Joanne Calderwood vs Cynthia Calvillo. The classic striker vs grappler. Despite Calvillo showing she has some solid hands of her own, she wouldn't be the wisest to try and stand and trade with a striker of JoJo Calderwood's caliber. Receiving a rather large push is Calvillo in this one, as she has only had two bouts in the UFC and both came against young prospects. One of which who was making their debut and found some good success during points in the fight. Regardless of this, Calvillo finds herself already at the back end of the UFC's top 15 and set up to take on a top 10 opponent in Calderwood. A win here would do much more for Calvillo than Calderwood, as it potentially gets her right into the 115 lb title picture and really doesn't do much for Calderwood other than getting her back in the win column. The pressure to perform will definitely be on for the Scotland born fighter and despite Calvillo's early push, some think her style poses a good threat to beat Calderwood as she has been submitted in all three of her career losses. This fight can show us if the hype is real for the young Team Alpha Male product, Calvillo or if TriStar gym's Calderwood might not ever reach the potential everyone saw in her when she was kneeing and frontkicking her way through the Invicta Strawweight division. If JoJo can keep it on the feet it should be her fight to win, if it goes to the ground then things will get interesting.
Prediction: Calderwood RD2 (T)KO
Nelson vs Ponzinibbio
Gunnar Nelson finds himself back in the main event spot for the first time since he took on Rick Story in Stockholm, Sweden back in 2014. For Santiago Ponzinibbio, this will be his first. Somewhat under the radar at Welterweight, Ponzinibbio is currently riding a four fight win streak that includes two TKOs and two decisions. One of those TKOs coming against the very tough veteran and season 11 winner of The Ultimate Fighter, Court McGee and the decisions being over the equally as tough Zak Cummings and Nordine Taleb. Ponzinibbio is actually the only man to finish McGee by way of strikes in his 24 fight Mixed Martial Arts career. Ponzinibbio can very arguably be called the most well rounded fighter at 170 lbs in the UFC. He has good striking overall, good wrestling, good wrestling defense, Jiu Jitsu... If I were to single out his biggest weakness it would probably be that he gets hit a little bit too much. Something you just can't do against someone as dangerously accurate and technical of a striker as Gunnar Nelson is. Nelson hasn't shown to have one punch KO power, but when he lands clean it hurts and stuns people which inevitably leads to their demise via submission. Ponzibbio will have to rely on his durability and takedown defense in this one to best assure his chances of victory otherwise it could end up being a short night for the Argentinian.
Prediction: Nelson RD2 Sub
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