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UFC Fight Night 162 predictions: ‘Askren vs Maia’ undercard ‘Prelims’ preview - Pt. 1

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., Oct. 26, 2019) when UFC Fight Night 162: “Askren vs. Maia” storms Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Fight Night 162 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

MMA: UFC 214-Curran vs Albu Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Two of the best grapplers in mixed martial arts (MMA) lock horns in a Welterweight battle for the ages this Saturday (Oct. 26, 2019) when Olympic wrestler and former Bellator champion Ben Askren squares off with Brazlian jiu-jitsu legend Demian Maia, headlining UFC Fight Night 162 in Kallang, Singapore.

ESPN+ viewers will also get to enjoy Michael Johnson facing fellow striking specialist Stevie Ray, Beneil Dariush throwing down with bonus-winning machine Frank Camacho, and top-ranked Heavyweight prospect Cyril Gane taking on knockout artist Don’Tale Mayes.

UFC Fight Night 162 features six “Prelims” undercard bouts this weekend, down from seven thanks to Karol Rosa injuring her knee. Let’s get to it!

265 lbs.: Sergey Pavlovich vs. Maurice Greene

Sergey Pavlovich (13-1) entered the Octagon with some hype thanks to an impressive run in Fight Nights Global, but succumbed to the power of Alistair Overeem in his promotional debut in Nov. 2018. He bounced back this past April with a 66-second knockout of Marcelo Golm, the tenth first-round (technical) knockout of his professional career.

He stands four inches shorter than “The Crochet Boss,” though he’ll have a 2” reach advantage.

Maurice Greene (8-2) kicked off The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28 with a brutal knockout of Przemysław Mysiala, and though he emerged as one of the biggest personalities in the house, rival Juan Espino ended his run one fight later. Things have gone better for him in the Octagon itself, as he’s won three straight and avenged a loss to Jeff Hughes along the way.

Four of his six stoppage wins have come via submission.

Pavlovich is still a quality prospect despite the loss to Overeem, and though Greene has proven himself far more than just a big mouth, he doesn’t have the tools to slow Pavlovich’s rise. The Russian’s Greco-Roman background means he’ll be the one determining where the fight takes place and his superior punching power gives him the edge on the feet.

Pavlovich is far from unbeatable, of course, and can be basic enough with his combinations to give Greene the opportunity to frustrate him. Still, the former’s greater versatility and stopping power have me leaning his way. In short, heavier punches and top control carry Pavlovich to a decision victory.

Prediction: Pavlovich via unanimous decision

115 lbs.: Loma Lookboonmee vs. Aleksandra Albu

A veteran of hundreds of Muay Thai bouts, Loma Lookboonmee (3-1) won her first two MMA bouts before tapping to future Rizin competitor Suwanan “Amp the Rocket” Boonsorn in Nov. 2018. She returned to Invicta, where she made her professional debut, in June, taking a decision over Monique Adriane in Kansas City.

She’ll give up one inch each of height and reach to “Stitch.”

Aleksandra Albu (3-1) debuted in UFC at just 1-0, choking out Izabela Badurek in 2015. She’d fight just twice in the next four years, winning a decision over Kailin Curran and tapping to a 61-second rear-naked choke from Emily Whitmire.

In addition to the submission of Badurek, she has a (technical) knockout victory to her credit

Technique-wise, Lookboonmee blows Albu out of the water. In addition to her quality Muay Thai, which includes some of the nicest elbows you’re likely to see irrespective of gender, she’s developed quality wrestling during her time at Tiger Muay Thai. The complication, however, is strength — she’s a career Atomweight going up against one of the most physically imposing members of the Strawweight roster. I can easily see Albu getting chopped to bits on the feet, only to claim victory by repeatedly hurling Lookboonmee to the mat off of the latter’s naked kicks.

Even with that concern, though, Lookboonmee’s massive edge in the stand up is too much for me to ignore. She ends up stuck on her back longer than she’d like, but does enough damage on the feet to claim victory.

Prediction: Lookboonmee via unanimous decision

265 lbs.: Raphael Pessoa vs. Jeff Hughes

Raphael Pessoa (9-1) made his Stateside debut in Nov. 2018 a memorable one, knocking out journeyman Brian Heden in just 99 seconds under the LFA banner. This led to a UFC debut opposite top prospect Ciryl Gane, who choked the Brazilian out late in the first round.

Five of his six (technical) knockout wins have come in the first round.

Following a successful run as LFA Heavyweight Champion, Jeff Hughes (10-2) lived up to his “Lights Out” nickname with a brutal knockout of Josh Appelt on “Contender Series.” He’s yet to find a UFC victory, however, losing a narrow decision to Maurice Green and going to a “No Contest” with Todd Duffee thanks to an eye poke.

He faces one-inch deficits in height and reach.

It’s hard to see a path to victory for Pessoa — Hughes’ striking and wrestling technique eclipse the Brazilian’s, and the ease with which “Lights Out” absorbed Duffee’s bombs suggest that Pessoa can’t lean on the possibility of a one-punch finish. It’s not as hilarious a mismatch as the Gane fight, but all signs point to another rough evening.

Expect something similar to the Duffee fight minus the eye poke. Hughes withstands Pessoa’s early power to wear him down with combination punching and ultimately put him away.

Prediction: Hughes via second-round technical knockout

Three more UFC Fight Night 162 undercard bouts remain to preview and predict tomorrow, including an unbeaten Russian prospect and one of the scarier strikers in the Lightweight division. Same time as always, Maniacs!

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 162 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 a.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 a.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 162: “Askren vs. Maia” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.