After postponements, cancellations and Diego Sanchez being let go from the promotion, a much-changed UFC on ESPN 24 has arrived.
Now set to be headlined by a women’s flyweight clash between Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson, Saturday night’s fight card boasts a ton of intriguing and competitive match-ups.
From Phil Hawes vs. Kyle Daukaus in the preliminary headliner spot right through the main card, UFC on ESPN 24 looks to be a fun event with decent stakes on the line.
Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2) vs. Michelle Waterson (18-8)
For Michelle Waterson to win this bout, ‘The Karate Hottie’ will likely have to rely on her wrestling to capitalize on Rodriguez’s porous takedown defence.
While Waterson has shown that she is capable of continuously shooting for the takedown, the late change to a five-round fight will no doubt have some sort of effect on both fighters cardio going into the later rounds.
With both fighters likely set to adjust their pace, I think Rodriguez’s physical advantage will take a strong footing into how this bout plays out as Waterson is and always has been an atomweight fighting above herself in the UFC.
It should be a fun fight as Rodriguez will come forward and that aggression combined with power makes me side with the Brazilian.
Pick: Marina Rodriguez
Donald Cerrone (36-15, 2 NC) vs. Alex Morono (18-7, 1 NC)
First and foremost, the idea that Donald Cerrone is ranked #15 in the lightweight division is laughable and a damning indictment on how the promotion collates their rankings.
Now that’s out of the way, this welterweight clash is a late notice affair and will likely force Morono into attempting to capitalize on Cerrone’s famed slow starts.
Outside of a first-round stoppage, however, I do think Cerrone still has a bit left in the tank to beat fighters around Morono’s level.
He kept up with a hard-hitting Niko Price in his last outing and more than likely should have been given the nod over Anthony Pettis in the fight before that.
Thanks to his experience and well-rounded skill set, I’ll side with Cerrone in this one.
Pick: Donald Cerrone
Neil Magny (24-8) vs. Geoff Neal (13-3)
The Neil Magny of a few years ago loses handily to current day Geoff Neal but Magny has made massive strides since 2020.
While he suffered a dominant loss to Michael Chiesa in his last bout, Magny has upped his output considerably inside of the octagon and he is a tough fighter to stop once he finds his rhythm.
Neal meanwhile is a powerful kickboxer and one that wants to stay in range at all times.
I think this fight boils down to whether Magny can get Neal down to the mat otherwise a smaller cage will benefit ‘Handz of Steel’ as he walks his opponent down.
Thanks to Mangy’s improvements over the past year, I think he’ll bounce back into the win column here.
Pick: Neil Magny
Maurice Greene (9-5) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (17-7-1)
Greene is a huge presence and offers a submission threat but outside of that, he is a rudimentary heavyweight.
Rogerio de Lima isn’t exactly a free-flowing offence machine either but he is more experienced and more comfortable in his stand-up skills.
There’s always the chance the heavyweight lottery strikes but the Brazilian should win this fight.
Pick: Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Diego Ferreira (17-3) vs. Gregor Gillespie (13-1)
Diego Ferreira missed weight for this fight and he didn’t look in a good way stepping onto the scales.
Stylistically, Ferreira is more well-rounded and could land some stinging strikes in close but his condition at the weigh-ins was of concern.
With Gillespie an aggressive takedown artist, he will likely give Ferreira chances to find a finish but I think he’ll be able to control the Brazilian on the mat for the judges’ to give him the nod.
Pick: Gregor Gillespie
Amanda Ribas (10-2) vs. Angela Hill (13-9)
This looks like a great main card opener.
Both Ribas and Hill are down to scrap and offer a high output in whatever they do.
While Ribas is the more likely to take this fight to the mat, I think Hill will drag a stand-up battle out of Ribas and outwork her on the feet.
Pick: Angela Hill
(Last Predictions: 4/6, Total: 41/76, 54% Success Rate)
(Success Rate: 2016: 61%, ’17: 60%, ’18: 58%, 19′: 57%, 20′: 67%)