The UFC’s 11 events in 11 weeks stretch comes to an end this Saturday night with only the second flyweight main event in promotional history to not feature Demetrious Johnson.
Emanating from Mexico City, Mexico, the 125lbs division will more than likely find it’s next title challenger as Sergio Pettis takes on Brandon Moreno in the night’s headliner while women’s strawweight’s Randa Markos and Alexa Grasso will battle it out in the co-main event.
Also set to feature is a welterweight firecracker between Alan Jouban and Niko Price while Rashad Evans looks for one final run in the middleweight division as he takes on ‘Smilin’ Sam Alvey.
The preliminary card meanwhile provides a very Latin American friendly prospect with a flyweight bout between Dustin Ortiz and Hector Sandoval the standout fight to look out for.
Sergio Pettis (15-2) vs Brandon Moreno (14-3)
With both fighters just 23-years old, Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno have blossomed into elite fighters in the infancy of their career.
In terms of experience, Pettis has the edge over Moreno solely for the fact that Sergio has been on the UFC’s books since 2013 and in his current 3-fight winning streak, he has managed to defeat two former title challengers in Chris Cariaso and John Moraga.
In the Moraga bout, his latest outing, Pettis showcased the development of his offensive striking ability as he stunned Moraga with a heavy right hand but defensively showed cracks as he had to absorb an overhand right in order to land one of his own. Fortunately, his chin has never shown signs of faltering and Pettis will more than likely be the best striker that Moreno has faced.
Moreno meanwhile has blazed his way through the flyweight division in the UFC and has quickly recorded submission victories over Louis Smolka and Dustin Ortiz. Through a fairly dangerous striking game of his own, Moreno can set-up his brilliant grappling game (10 of his 14 victories have come via submission) and find the difference-maker in his bouts through his scrambles and tirelessly grinding away.
The longer this fight stays on the feet, you would have to favour the developing striking of Sergio Pettis but with takedown defence that can be waded through over time, I fancy Brandon Moreno to eventually find a way to take his opponent to the mat and take control from there.
Pick: Brandon Moreno
Randa Markos (7-4) vs Alexa Grasso (9-1)
Randa Markos is coming into this fight off the biggest win of her career over former champion Carla Esparza but there are still question marks over to be held over Markos’ head.
With a pressuring style buoyed by a sturdy jab, Markos is an offensive problem for the majority of her opponents as there are little areas where she is not capable. The problem for Markos though is that she is extremely hittable.
With Alexa Grasso, the 23-year-old simply suffers from inexperience. Technically, Grasso is a clean striker, remarkably so for a young female fighter, and employs a wealthy arsenal of kicks and set-ups for her right hand. In her last bout, however, Grasso suffered under Felice Herrig’s pressure and athleticism and wilted.
It’s a tough fight to call but with Alexa Grasso missing weight – Grasso weighed in at 119lbs – I’ll have to side to Randa Markos to claim her first back-to-back victories in the UFC as her pressure may make the difference as the fight wears on.
Pick: Randa Markos
Alan Jouban (15-5) vs Niko Price (10-0)
Two big hitters clash here and it could come down to the heavyweight cliche of whoever hits hard first will come away with the victory.
Price is undefeated in his MMA career but hasn’t always had it his own way as Alex Moreno put him down twice in his last bout before succumbing to a beat the buzzer style knockout from Price’s right hand.
Jouban meanwhile is the more refined striker out of the two and has looked impressive recently yet did suffer a devastating loss to Gunnar Nelson last time out.
With more to his game and the discipline and speed needed to pick his shots though, I’ll have to side with Alan Jouban to implement his gameplan better.
Pick: Alan Jouban
Martin Bravo (11-0) vs Humberto Bandenay (13-4, 1 NC)
Bandenay is a big featherweight with some notable power but Martin Bravo looks the real deal.
With high volume striking and a tough mentality, Bravo has moved down a weight class here but still should have enough in the gas tank to swarm Bandenay.
On the ground, Bravo is a talented grappler too, so as long as Bandenay’s long kicks don’t stop his entries, Bravo should come out on top.
Pick: Martin Bravo
Sam Alvey (30-9, 1 NC) vs Rashad Evans (19-6-1)
This could be a difficult watch.
Both fighters have a low output but one of these two men is not at the end of his career.
Rashad Evans has doubled his career losses in his current three fight losing streak and hasn’t looked anything like the ‘Suga’ of old since returning from a two-year injury.
Evans could win through his experience if he picks his shots wisely but Alvey does hold big power and it could take a glancing blow to bring an end to Evans’ night.It’s a depressing thought but I really doubt Evans’ has the ability to pick up the win here.
Pick: Sam Alvey
Alejandro Perez (17-6-1) vs Andre Soukhamthath (11-4)
Both Perez and Soukhamthath are talented strikers but do so with varying styles.
Perez produces a higher output and possesses the more rounded skill set while Soukhamthath bides his time looking for counter shots with more power put them.
Siding with the man with more output, Perez’s kicks and better movement makes me just side with ‘Diablito’ here.
Pick: Alejandro Perez
(Last Predictions: 2/6, Total: 61/98, 62% Success Rate)
(2016: 61% Success Rate)