Live from Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands on UFC Fight Pass, Sat, Sept 2, 2017
--- Main Card (3pmET/12pmPT) ---
Heavyweight - 207-265 lbs: Alexander Volkov (28-6) vs (Stefan Struve (28-8)
Welterweight - 170 lbs: Siyar Bahadurzada (22-6-1) vs Rob Wilkinson (11-0)
Bantamweight - 135 lbs: Marion Reneau (7-3-1) vs Talita de Oliveira (4-1)
Welterweight - 170 lbs: Leon Edwards (13-3) vs Bryan Barberena (13-4)
--- Prelims (11:30 AM EST/8:30 AM PST) ---
Welterweight - 170 lbs: Darren Till (14-0-1) vs Bojan Velickovic (15-4-1)
Lightweight - 155 lbs: Mairbek Taisumov (25-5) vs Felipe Silva (8-0)
Lightweight - 155 lbs: Michel Prazeres (22-2) vs Mads Burnell (8-1)
Lightweight - 155 lbs: Rustam Khabilov (21-3) vs Desmond Green (20-5)
Light Heavyweight - 205 lbs: Francimar Barroso (19-5) vs Aleksandar Rakic (8-1)
Featherweight - 145 lbs: Mike Santiago (21-9) vs Zabit Magomedsharipov (12-1)
Light Heavyweight - 205 lbs: Bojan Mihajlovic (10-5) vs Abdul-Kerim Edilov (16-4)
Lightweight - 155 lbs: Thibault Gouti (11-3) vs Andrew Holbrook (12-2)
The UFC's brief hiatus will come to an end this Saturday when they return to Rotterdam, Netherlands for the second time. Returning home will also be the Netherlands native son, the 7-foot tall, Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve who only needed 16 seconds to score a big KO victory in his last appearance at home. Standing across from him will be fellow tall Heavyweight and former Bellator champion, Alexander "Drago" Volkov. Looking to take a big leap up the Heavyweight ladder, the winner will surely be poised for a big fight as they get that much closer to a title shot.
Edwards vs Barberena
Riding a three fight win streak including a submission win over Albert Tumenov, Leon Edwards is proving to potentially be a dark horse in the UFC's Welterweight division. His opponent on Saturday will be the gritty fan-favorite, Bryan "Bam Bam" Barberena. Always one to entertain and always dangerous, Barberena will be looking for a big finish in any way that he can get it. Ideally, he will want to keep the fight on the feet to avoid being smothered by Edwards' impressive top game. So essentially, Barberena will want to avoid a repeat of his bout with Colby Covington.
Edwards has solid boxing and can hold his own if need be as he's probably the more technical of the two, but it would definitely not be the smartest approach to go strictly striking against the tenacious and heavy handed, Barberena. Although Barberena isn't bad at grappling either, keeping Edwards off of him will be Barberena's key to victory where as pressure and maximizing the utilization of his wrestling will be the key for Edwards.
Prediction: Barberena RD3 (T)KO
Reneau vs Oliveira
Marion Reneau was originally supposed to be taking on former UFC Featherweight champion, Germaine de Randamie. That was until de Randamie recently suffered an injury and had to withdraw from the scheduled contest. So in comes promotional newcomer, Talita de Oliveira.
A submission specialist with all four of her wins coming by way of submission, it's safe to say that we know what Oliveira will be looking to do. As for Reneau, she can hang on the ground as well as evidenced by a majority of her bouts, whether it be by using her ground and pound or submissions. Reneau can be quite dangerous on the mat if the fight goes there. In striking, she's more calculated and calm as she mixes up her kicks and punches well.
An interesting little factor in this one is that Oliveira trains with a former opponent of Reneau's in Jessica Andrade. An opponent who had great success against Reneau until getting caught in a triangle choke and being forced to tap. Although it was a relatively short fight, any advice or help with preparation could be crucial in a short notice fight and this will be a big opportunity for the debuting Oliveira.
Prediction: Reneau RD2 (T)KO
Volkov vs Struve
Alexander Volkov is one of the Heavyweight division's most promising fighters on the rise. And for good reason. The former Bellator champ has won four straight since leaving the organization and done so in entertaining fashion. Stefan Struve, on the other hand, has always had an up and down UFC career but still at only the age of 29, he may be coming into his own at just the right time. Riding a two fight win streak of both spectacular finishes, a big win at home over Volkov would be just what Struve needs to launch himself that much closer to his first UFC title shot. That title shot potentially coming against the man he's already knocked out, Stipe Miocic.
Giving this fight five rounds provides a very unlikely chance of it going the distance. Especially with Struve fighting at home, he will have that extra motivation to put on a show. For the most part, this should be a striking battle, barring the possibility of a knock down with either man following the other to the ground searching for the finish. If this happens to be the case for Volkov dropping Struve(or let's say just going for a takedown), he would be very wise not to pursue the finish on the ground as Stefan Struve has proven to be very dangerous with submissions off of his back. Of Struve's 28 wins, 17 have come by way of submission.
Volkov has very precise and powerful strikes, whether it be punches, kicks or knees in the clinch. When he throws, it's usually pinpoint and with plenty of power behind it. This makes his striking flurries and combos all that much more deadly. He doesn't waste his shots what so ever. But as seen in Struve's 16 second KO over Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, fighters must be careful when rushing in on him blindly as he has more than enough reach to capitalize on his opponents before they can him. Volkov's flurries and blitz' generally follow combos or set ups so he should be able to avoid a loss similar to Bigfoot's.
In summary, this a great Heavyweight match up between two unique fighters for the division and who ever wins may only be one fight away from a title shot afterward.
Prediction: Volkov RD2 (T)KO
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