The “All-American” looks to reignite his career inside TD Garden in Boston, Mass., this weekend (Fri., Oct. 18, 2019) when Chris Weidman makes his Light Heavyweight debut against fast-rising knockout artist Dominick Reyes. UFC on ESPN 6 will also see Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens settle their score after their aborted UFC: “Mexico City” main event, as well as the return of Joe Lauzon against “Contender Series” veteran Jonathan Pearce.
We’ve got three UFC on ESPN 6 “Prelims” undercard bouts remaining to preview and predict (check out the first batch here), so there’s no time to waste:
145 lbs.: Charles Rosa vs. Manny Bermudez
Charles Rosa (11-3) opened his UFC career even (2-2), beating Sean Soriano and Kyle Bochniak among losses to Dennis Siver and Yair Rodriguez. After a nearly 15-month layoff, he squared off with fast-rising Shane Burgos, who knocked him out in the third round of a “Fight of the Night”-winning brawl.
This will be his first fight in 30 months because of a neck injury.
Manny Bermudez (14-1) showed off his submission chops by choking out Albert Morales, Davey Grant and Benito Lopez in his first three Octagon appearances, taking home “Performance of the Night” for his 59-second triangle finish of Grant. A difficult weight cut turned his UFC 241 bout with Casey Kenney into a Catchweight fight, and after dropping a decision to the former LFA champ, “The Bermudez Triangle” is set to make his first appearance at 145 pounds since 2016.
Ten of his 11 submission wins have come in the first round.
Rosa’s scrappy as hell, but just seems like someone who’ll struggle against specialists. He’s not a sufficiently savvy wrestler to take down high-level strikers or stay on his feet against high-level grapplers. Unfortunately for him, Bermudez fits that second bill nicely. I don’t even think Rosa will have much of a size advantage, if any, because Bermudez is gigantic.
“Boston Strong” might be skilled enough to survive Bermudez’s ground onslaught; however, he’s just not skilled enough to really do anything beyond that. Bermudez muscles him to the mat and controls a scramble-heavy battle on his way to a gritty decision.
Prediction: Bermudez via unanimous decision
125 lbs.: Molly McCann vs. Diana Belbita
Molly McCann (9-2) had a rather ignominious start to her Octagon debut, missing weight ahead of a submission loss to Gillian Robertson. She has since bounced back with decisions over Priscila Cachoeira and Ariane Lipski, the latter despite entering the fight as more than a 2:1 underdog.
“Meatball” will give up three inches of height and more than a half-foot of reach to “Warrior Princess.”
Romania’s Diana Belbita (13-4) enters the Octagon 8-2 in her last 10 and in the midst of a four-fight win streak, all coming by way of stoppage. Said streak includes a knockout victory in just 17 seconds,
She has knocked out six professional opponents and submitted another four.
Belbita is not the shot in the arm the Flyweight division needs. Her record is massively padded, she has poor takedown defense, and she’d not even all that good a striker despite that being her area of expertise. “Meatball” is the sharper boxer to such an extent that even that massive reach disadvantage doesn’t figure to pose a problem.
I’ll need to see McCann against takedown-savvy Flyweights before I’m ready to get all the way back on the train again, but this should be easy work for her. She boxes up the “Warrior Princess” for a wide victory.
Prediction: McCann via unanimous decision
145 lbs.: Kyle Bochniak vs. Sean Woodson
Kyle Bochniak (8-4) put in a solid effort in his Octagon debut, but ultimately fell short against Charles Rosa in the latter’s hometown of Boston. “Crash” has since lost three of five, including decision defeats to Zabit Magomedsharipov and Hakeen Dawodu in his most recent efforts.
He’s scored two wins apiece via (technical) knockout and submission.
Sean Woodson (6-0) entered his “Contender Series” bout with Terrance McKinney as a decent-sized underdog, and things seemed poised to play out as expected after he spent a round with McKinney attached to his back. Partway through the second, however, “The Sniper” caught McKinney with a flying knee as the latter ducked in, knocking him out cold and securing Woodson a spot in the UFC.
He’ll have seven inches of height and nine inches of reach on Bochniak.
Woodson’s definitely one of the more unique “Contender Series” products. Standing an insane 6’2” with a 79-inch reach, he fights almost like a diet Diaz, constantly pressuring with off-speed boxing and remarkable cardio for a guy whose weight cut can’t be any fun. The McKinney fight showed that he shares the stereotypical Diaz takedown defense issue, but he’s certainly memorable.
Bochniak really isn’t. He’d be 1-5 in the Octagon if the judges in his fight with Enrique Barzola had actually been watching and his sole career highlight was giving an injured Magomedsharipov a tough third round. He doesn’t look to have the wrestling to keep Woodson on his back or the striking skills to make up for that gigantic reach disparity. Woodson outworks him on the feet for the full 15 minutes.
Prediction: Woodson via unanimous decision
UFC on ESPN 6 features a main event with title implications and a co-feature that’s just dripping with bad blood, making for a fun night of free fights. See you Friday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 6 fight card this weekend right HERE, starting with the ESPN 2 “Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will air on ESPN proper at 9 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC on ESPN 6: “Weidman vs. Reyes” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.