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UFC Fight Night 127 predictions: ‘Werdum vs Volkov’ Fight Pass ‘Prelims’ undercard preview - Pt. 2

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to UFC Fight Pass this weekend (Sat., March 17, 2018) when UFC Fight Night 127: “Werdum vs. Volkov” storms The O2 in London, England. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg continues the UFC Fight Night 127 “Prelims” party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Belem-Figueiredo vs Morales Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Fabricio Werdum will look to make it 2-0 against rising European Heavyweight contenders this Saturday (March 17, 2018) when he collides with 6’7” Alexander Volkov inside The O2 in London, England, headlining UFC Fight Night 126. In the co-main event, Jimi Manuwa attempts to rebound from a brutal knockout loss against former victim Jan Blachowicz, who has won two straight. Tom Duquesnoy will also return to action against Terrion Ware after a rough loss of his own.

We’ve got four five “Prelims” undercard bouts left to examine (check out the first batch here). Shall we?

185 lbs.: John Phillips vs. Charles Byrd

John Phillips (21-6) has racked up 18 (technical) knockout victories since first entering the cage in 2005. “The White Mike Tyson” (yes, really) joins Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) having won six of his last seven, winning the BAMMA Middleweight belt along the way.

This will be his first fight since Sept. 2016 and the third time he’s been booked to debut, as injuries to Phillips scuttled fights with Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Eryk Anders.

Charles Byrd (9-4) submitted Jamie Pickett on the inaugural episode of Dana White’s “Tuesday Night Contender Series” and, though he didn’t get the contract, was invited back for episode six. There, he showed his finishing skills once again with a second-round tapout of late replacement Randall Wallace to earn a shot in the Octagon.

His seven finishes are split 4:3 between submissions and knockouts.

One would think that after almost 13 years in the game, Phillips would have developed any kind of mixed martial arts (MMA) game outside his sheer power. One would be incorrect. He wings haymakers until he either knocks out his opponent or gets taken down, after which he generally doesn’t get up. Hell, the man was getting repeatedly taken down by Charlie Ward in the latter’s professional debut until a referee stand up gave him the opportunity to drop the hammer.

Unfortunately for Phillips, Byrd is both faster than him and a very capable grappler. Unless Phillips’ move to SBG has produced monumental results, expect Byrd to take him down early and choke him out soon after.

Prediction: Byrd via first-round submission

170 lbs.: Danny Roberts vs. Oliver Enkamp

Danny Roberts (14-3) put his knockout loss to Mike Perry behind him with a drubbing of Bobby Nash, raising his UFC record to 3-1. Late replacement Nordine Taleb had no interest in letting him reclaim his momentum, though, putting him away in just 59 seconds with a nasty head kick and follow-up right hand.

Though taller than Oliver Enkamp (7-1) by one inch, he will give up three inches of reach.

Less than two months after his first career knockout victory, Enkamp stepped up on short notice to face the aforementioned Taleb in his native Stockholm. Home-field advantage wasn’t enough to save the Swede, however, and he walked away with a unanimous decision loss.

While known for his karate, Enkamp has submitted four opponents.

Roberts is a strong, well-rounded fighter held back by iffy defense. Luckily for him, Enkamp lacks stopping power and his ground game is insufficient to mitigate the threat of Roberts’ wrestling. The Brit has the skills to control the fight wherever it goes so long as his chin stays intact.

Enkamp really doesn’t appear to have any definitive avenues of victory. Outgunned on the feet and in the takedown department, expect him to lose a somewhat rote decision, although Roberts has had fights that were closer than they should have been.

Prediction: Roberts via unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Jack Marshman vs. Brad Scott

Jack Marshman (22-7) came up big in his Octagon debut, battering Magnus Cedenblad in a fairly sizable upset and earning a “Performance of the Night” bonus in the process. He’s gone on to have mixed success, beating Ryan Janes but suffering stoppage losses to Thiago Santos and Antonio Carlos Junior.

Thirteen of his 18 stoppage victories have come by form of knockout.

Brad Scott (11-5) has alternated wins and losses since losing to current champ Robert Whittaker in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Smashes” finale back in 2012. Following his third UFC upset victory, this one over Scott Askham, Scott took on Jack Hermansson and succumbed to ground-and-pound for his first stoppage loss since 2009.

He replaces the injured Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos on less than three weeks’ notice.

I’m genuinely bummed that Zaleski dos Santos had to bow out, because he and Marshman could have put on a “Fight of the Year” candidate. Still, this ought to be fairly entertaining so long as neither man is overly drained by the cut to 170 pounds.

Working off that assumption, we’re looking at a competitive striking battle where Scott’s wrestling could be the key factor. That edge isn’t enough to overcome Marshman’s raw power, however, especially since “The Bear” has been very hit-and-miss with his takedowns. In the end, Marshman outboxes him for a fun 15 minutes.

Prediction: Marshman via unanimous decision

145 lbs.: Danny Henry vs. Hakeem Dawodu

Danny Henry (11-2) — a two-time Featherweight champion of South Africa’s EFC promotion — stepped up in weight to welcome knockout artist Daniel Teymur to UFC last September. “The Hatchet” made his fellow Scots proud by weathering an early storm to pummel Teymur in the last two rounds and pick up his fourth consecutive victory.

He stands three inches taller than Hakeem Dawodu (7-0-1) at 5’11.”

“Mean” Hakeem emerged as a top attraction for World Series of Fighting (WSOF), ultimately spending the entirety of his pre-UFC career under its banner. The Canadian suffered the first blemish of his career in 2015 with a majority draw against unbeaten Marat Magomedov, but knocked him out in the rematch before defeating UFC veteran Steven Siler last March.

All but one of his wins have come by form of knockout.

Dawodu is one of the most promising 145-pound prospects to join UFC in recent years. He’s an absolutely lethal offensive striker with quality submission defense and a lovely left hook to the body ... not to mention cardio that can handle three hard rounds. Henry is absurdly tough and managed to outlast a quality slugger in Teymur, but he’s way too hittable to survive long against Dawodu.

Can’t Homer Simpson his way out of this one.

Even with Henry’s height advantage, Dawodu’s sharp enough to control the striking both at range with his punches and inside with his elbows. “Mean” Hakeem circumvents his foe’s durability by ripping to the body for an early finish.

Prediction: Dawodu via first-round technical knockout

155 lbs.: Nasrat Haqparast vs. Nad Narimani

Nasrat Haqparast (8-2) tasted defeat in his first professional bout and promptly decided not to deal with that again for a while, winning his next eight fights by form of knockout. He ultimately made his UFC debut last October in Gdansk, where he managed to rock grappling stud Marcin Held but ultimately could not shut down his wrestling.

Nad Narimani (10-2) came up short in his first crack at Cage Warriors Featherweight gold, losing a decision to eventual UFC-signee, Alex Enlund. He made the most of his second opportunity, though, dominating prospect Paddy Pimblett for the belt last April.

He replaces the injured Alex Reyes on a week’s notice.

I’m fairly high on Haqparast’s potential — he’s got crushing power, good speed and moves well. He’s just a bit too green at the moment, too overzealous in his pursuit of the knockout. Narimani, meanwhile, is the sort of well-rounded tank of a man that can take Haqparast’s best shot and exploit his inexperience at the highest level.

While the short notice and weight difference could be an issue, Narimani has gone five rounds twice before and has the physicality to at least hold his own at lightweight. Narimani’s durability, cardio, and greater experience carry him to a decision victory.

Prediction: Narimani via unanimous decision

There are a few promotional debuts you don’t want to miss and several fights that could produce quality finishes. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. See you Saturday, Maniacs!

Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 127 card this weekend, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 1:45 p.m. ET, and then the remaining main card balance on Fight Pass at 5 p.m. ET.

Current UFC “Prelims” Prediction Record for 2018: 42-14