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UFC Fight Night 136 predictions: ‘Hunt vs Oleinik’ Fight Pass ‘Prelims’ undercard preview - Pt. 1

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” bouts to UFC Fight Pass this weekend (Sat., Sept. 15, 2018) when UFC Fight Night 136: “Hunt vs. Oleinik” storms Olympic Stadium in Moscow, Russia.’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Fight Night 136 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Singapore- Schnell vs Inoue Paul Miller-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its first appearance on Russian soil this Saturday (Sept. 15, 2018) with a pair of Heavyweight finishers in the main event. It’s the ferocious punches of Mark Hunt against the improbable submission skills of Aleksei Oleinik in a clash of two of the sport’s most-traveled mixed martial arts (MMA) veterans.

UFC Fight Night 136’s co-feature sees Ukrainian finisher Nikita Krylov make his Octagon return against the fast-rising Jan Blachowicz, while Andrei Arlovski faces Shamil Abdurakhimov and Thiago Alves welcomes Alexey Kunchenko to UFC to round out Fight Pass’ main card.

The entire event is on Fight Pass, actually, but still split into main card and “Prelims” undercard bouts. Let’s check out a chunk of the latter:

205 lbs.: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Marcin Prachnio

Magomed Ankalaev (10-1) looked every bit the top prospect he was supposed to be in his Octagon debut, handily outclassing Paul Craig on the feet and on the mat. In the waning moments of the fight, however, he panicked when caught in a triangle and wound up tapping with just a second left.

After starting his career with four consecutive decision, he’s scored a (technical) knockout in five of his last six wins.

Poland’s Marcin Prachnio (13-3) used his Kyokushin prowess to rack up eight consecutive wins, six of them knockouts, on his way to UFC. He was supposed to debut against Jake Collier, but instead faced late replacement Sam Alvey, who put him to sleep in violent fashion.

His only other defeat since his third professional MMA fight came against current rising star Aleksandar Rakic.

I was heartbroken when Ankalaev tapped out, but I still have faith in the young man. He’s a strong, well-rounded fighter with devastating ground-and-pound who could make a real impact in a top-heavy division. Prachnio, on the other hand, may not get too far. I knew his defense was lacking, but I didn’t realize he’d just walk face-first into a known counter-puncher’s best shots.

Ankalaev’s straight punches will allow him to control the fight at range, and while Prachnio is quite dangerous at point-blank range, his haphazard entries open him up to Ankalaev’s takedown game. As good a scrambler as the Pole is, Ankalaev is downright lethal once he gets on top. He gets Prachnio to the mat via either knockdown or trip, then pounds him out from there.

Prediction: Ankalaev via second-round technical knockout

185 lbs.: Adam Yandiev vs. Jordan Johnson

Adam Yandiev (9-0) — a decorated judoka — has ended all of his professional fights in the first round, six of them by choke or neck crank. Despite this success at Light Heavyweight, where he regularly weighed in under the limit, he’ll make the move to 185 pounds for his Octagon debut.

This will be his first fight in nearly three years.

“Big Swingin’” Jordan Johnson (9-0) put the hurt on Henrique da Silva in his Octagon debut, using wrestling and ground-and-pound to easily overpower the Brazilian. Marcel Fortuna and Adam Milstead proved a bit tougher, as while Johnson walked away with the victory both times, media outlets were split practically down the middle.

He replaces the injured Krzysztof Jotko on less than one month’s notice.

Yandiev’s a bizarre case. Almost none of his opponents were worth a damn and, according to Bloody Elbow’s Karim Zidan, his most recent opponent fought in a suspiciously stupid manner after Yandiev gassed himself out just minutes into the fight.

His Judo looks legit, but I can’t get a bead on the rest of his game.

Not a good sign when coming off a huge layoff against a grinder. Johnson’s a solid wrestler with the gas tank to pursue the takedown and do damage on top for all three rounds, something I expect him to have a lot more success doing at 185 pounds. Johnson avoids a few early grappling hazards before ultimately pounding out the exhausted Russian.

Prediction: Johnson via third-round technical knockout

170 lbs.: Ramazan Emeev vs. Stefan Sekulic

Russia’s Ramazan Emeev (17-3) entered the Octagon on a 12-1 run, the only blemish a loss to Vyacheslav Vasilevskiy that he later avenged. He’s gone perfect (2-0) in UFC with decisions over Sam Alvey and Alberto Mina.

“Gorets” has stopped seven opponents by submission and another three by (technical) knockout.

Serbia’s Stefan Sekulic (12-2) has tasted defeat just once in his last nine fights, a bout with Adriano Balby that he was dominating before a blocked high kick attempt broke his tibia. He was back in action just eight months later and has earned a pair of guillotine finishes on his way to UFC.

He steps in for the injured Claudio Silva on short notice.

I was honestly more impressed when watching Sekulic’s tape than I thought I would be. He wrestles quite well, particularly with a knee tap he’s fond of, and his straight left is plenty sharp. The problem here is that Emeev boasts a similar, but more proven skillset. He just seems to have the edge wherever the fight could take place, and Sekulic’s lack of time to prepare won’t do him any favors.

Emeev’s combination punching figures to be a bit more effective than Sekulic’s striking offense and “Gorets” should come out on top in the wrestling exchanges. Once again, not an action-packed show from Emeev, but a win’s a win.

Prediction: Emeev via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Merab Dvalishvili vs. Terrion Ware

The brief UFC career of Merab Dvalishvili (7-4), which began after he upset Raufeon Stots on “Lookin’ for a Fight,” has been as bizarre as it has been entertaining. After losing a split decision to Frankie Saenz wherein he took down the veteran 11 times, Dvalishvili put on a show against Ricky Simon before getting controversially submitted via guillotine at the literal final instant of the fight.

He stands two inches shorter than “Flash” at 5’6.”

Terrion Ware (17-7) has been similarly unsuccessful in the Octagon, though he’s likewise given a good account of himself. His three-fight skid includes competitive losses to current standouts Cody Stamann, Sean O’Malley and Tom Duquesnoy.

Six of his nine stoppages have come via (technical) knockout.

I’m normally a bit perplexed when someone goes 0-3 and stays on UFC’s roster, but I’m glad they gave Ware another shot. He’s a legitimately skilled striker who faced some dangerous match ups and, by and large, did pretty well against them. Unfortunately for him, this might be the most toxic style clash yet. Dvalishvili’s wild wrestling and immense strength mean Ware will struggle to get anything going on the feet before getting manhandled.

Though Dvalishvili will always be vulnerable because of his madcap aggression, this is an extremely winnable fight for him. Ware is nowhere near as dangerous on the ground as Simon and is a lesser wrestler than Saenz, allowing Dvalishvili to spam takedowns with impunity. Another smorgasbord of takedowns earn him the win.

Prediction: Dvalishvili via unanimous decision

Four more UFC Fight Night 136 “Prelims” undercard bouts to preview and predict tomorrow, among them the latest from knockout machine Mairbek Taisumov and blue-chip Bantamweight prospect Petr Yan. Same time as always, Maniacs!

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 136 fight card this weekend, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” undercard bouts at 10:30 a.m. ET, before the main card start time at 2 p.m. ET, also on Fight Pass.