• Luke Penny

UFC Fight Night – Edwards vs. Muhammad Preview

This UFC fight night sees Leon Edwards make his return to the octagon since his last fight in 2019 against the in-form Belal Muhammad. Coming in at short notice after his win a month ago, he will be looking to continue his winning streak and climb up the welterweight rankings. The co-main event features two of the up-and-comers of the light-heavyweight division who will be looking to break into the top 10 in a fight that looks set to be extremely entertaining and competitive.

Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart: The main card begins in the middleweight division with two fighters looking to put recent losses behind them. This fight is an early pick for fight of the night as both like to stand and trade looking for a knockout win. Darren Stewart may feel hard done by in his previous split decision loss to Kevin Holland who has since gone on to be one of the rising stars of the UFC which may feel like a lost opportunity for him. The former American Football player, Eryk Anders, will be looking to improve on his 13-5 record. I think this will be very entertaining as both fighters will want to put on a strong performance to show the rest of the middleweight division that they shouldn’t be taken lightly.

My prediction: Darren Stewart by KO

Manel Kape vs. Matheus Nicolau: The former RIZIN bantamweight champion, Manel Kape, will be looking to make amends for his UFC debut loss in February with a win against the very well-rounded Matheus Nicolau. As Kape has recently gone the distance with the #3 ranked bantamweight, he is the rightful favourite as someone who has been in high pressure fights before. Nicolau, making his return to the UFC, will be looking to take Kape to the ground as he will be confident that his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is stronger than Kape’s. Nicolau has shown he is comfortable in all aspects of the fight by having a very varied mix of wins, 4 by knockout, 5 by submission and 6 by decision. As UFC debutants have historically underperformed, I expect to see a much stronger version of Kape in this fight which is why he is my pick for this bout.

My prediction: Kape by DEC

Johnathan Martinez vs. Davey Grant: This bantamweight bout sees the heaviest favourite on the main card, Johnathan Martinez, take on the veteran Englishman Davey Grant. Despite their professional mixed martial arts debuts being six years apart both of these fighters have had 16 fights with very similar win to loss ratios, this shows just how active Martinez has been in his MMA career so far and will be looking to continue his 2-fight win streak. Martinez is going to have to be wary of Grant’s superior Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as he has finished 8 of his 12 wins by submission. If Martinez can keep the fight on the feet then he will fancy his chances of adding to his 7 knockout wins. I expect that Martinez will dominate the fight and get a finish although Grant may be good value as such a heavy underdog, I still give him a chance if he can execute his takedowns.

My prediction: Martinez by KO

Dan Ige vs. Gavin Tucker: Two very similar fighters are up next in the featherweight division with a short notice fight against Gavin Tucker after his original opponent pulled out. Both of these guys are very durable fighters who are very hard to break down, this is shown by neither of them having been finished in their professional mixed martial arts career. This is another very even fight and one to keep your eye on. I expect this to go all the way and for Ige to show his class and bounce back from his most recent loss here tonight.

My prediction: Ige by DEC

Misha Curkinov vs. Ryan Spann: The co-main event of the night features two ranked, up-and-coming light heavyweights in a fight that could break either fighter into the top 10 of the division with a win. Both fighters are very competent on the ground which shows as over 50% of their wins have come by submission. What often happens with two fighters who have very even takedown and wrestling skills is the fight become largely a kickboxing affair which makes for an entertaining watch. Ryan Spann will need to use his 2-inch height and reach advantage to stay out of range of Curkinov and fight from the outside where he can avoid punches and takedowns. If Spann manages to keep Curkinov at distance and frustrate him I can see a late knockout win for Spann.

My prediction: Spann by KO

Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad: Leon Edwards makes his long-awaited return to the octagon after over a year away. This time last year Edwards would have been preparing to face Tyron Woodley in a sold out O2 arena but due to the covid-19 pandemic, this was scrapped and 4 cancelled fights later we finally get to see the #3 ranked welterweight stake his claim to fight for the title next. Belal Muhammad has stepped in on short notice to take this fight which he hopes will shoot him from #13 in the division to a top contender spot. Both of these guys have shown they have what it takes to go the distance in fights with both having over 50% of their wins by decision. I expect Edwards to show his expertise tonight and I feel this is a jump in competition that comes too soon for Muhammad. Pairing this with having gone the distance in his last fight just over a month ago and Edwards experience of fighting for 5 rounds, I can see a strong start for Muhammad but as he tires into the later rounds Edwards will begin to take control.

My prediction: Edwards by KO

Written by Luke Penny


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