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Two of the Featherweight division's brightest and most violent young stars will collide this Sunday evening (Aug. 23, 2015) when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hits Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
In the main event of UFC Fight Night 74, which takes place inside SaskTel Centre, 23-year-old Max Holloway will put his six-fight win streak on the line against 25-year-old Charles Oliveira, who has submitted three of his last four opponents.
Elsewhere on the FOX Sports 1-televised card, Neil Magny steps in on short notice to face Erick Silva, while Josh Burkman looks for his first UFC win since 2007 against Patrick Cote.
The six UFC Fight Night 74 "Prelims" under card matches will be split between Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1, the former we preview below.
125 lbs.: Chris Kelades vs. Chris Beal
In his Octagon debut, Chris Kelades (8-2) survived a nasty first round to ultimately upset Irish favorite Patrick Holohan in Nova Scotia. He couldn’t do the same against Ray Borg, who dominated "The Greek Assassin" on the mat before ultimately tapping him with a third-round Kimura.
He’s stopped five opponents overall, three by submission.
Chris Beal (10-1) fell to eventual winner Chris Holdsworth on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18, but opened his UFC career with consecutive wins over Patrick Williams and Tateki Matsuda. Neil Seery handed him his first career defeat in January, the Irishman took a competitive decision win in Sweden.
He will enjoy a two-inch height advantage over Kelades.
I don’t expect these two to ever crack the Flyweight elite, but this ought to be a fun scrap. They’re both highly aggressive and neither is dominant in any one area to the point of cruise control.
I’m leaning toward Beal, though not by much.
Despite being from a gym with "boxing" in the name, Beal really isn’t that skilled of a striker, but can make up for it with aggression. Kelades doesn’t have the standup skills to punish him for it and I’m not super confident in his ability to score consistent takedowns.
"The Real Deal" edges him in an entertaining bout.
Prediction: Beal via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Shane Campbell vs. Elias Silverio
Shane Campbell (11-3) -- who turned heads with his Hadouken-starring finish over Derek Boyle -- joined UFC as a late replacement for Abel Trujillo against John Makdessi. "Shaolin" opened the fight strong, battering the Canadian’s lead leg, before eating a huge right hand that ultimately spelled doom.
At 6’0," he stands three inches taller than Elias Silverio (11-1).
Silverio, a former Jungle Fight champion, began his UFC campaign as a Welterweight, defeating Joao Zeferino in his promotional debut. Returning to 155 pounds, he beat Isaac Vallie-Flagg and Ernest Chavez before falling to Rashid Magomedov by knockout.
"Xuxu" has earned four stoppages as a professional, three by form of knockout.
I’m quite a bit more torn on this fight than I expected to be. Silverio is a big, strong Lightweight, but seemed befuddled by Magomedov’s distance striking and, frankly, didn’t look too hot against Chavez.
If he can’t get it to the mat, he’s in for a long night.
I think Silverio’s general lack of finishing ability comes back to bite him here. Campbell’s length and power should carry the day on the feet and he ought to be able to survive on the mat. The lanky Canadian scores the upset via unanimous decision.
Prediction: Campbell via unanimous decision
Four more UFC Fight Night 74 fights to preview and predict tomorrow, capped off by the Octagon debut of one of the better Light Heavyweight prospects in the sport.
See you there, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 74 fight card, starting with the UFC Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1 undercard bouts at 7 p.m. ET, before moving on to the FOX Sports 1 main card at 9 p.m. ET.