This Saturday (March 16, 2019), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) travels to 02 Arena in London, England, for UFC Fight Night 147 (a.k.a. ESPN+ 5). Like many prior events in the United Kingdom, this weekend’s card boasts a mix of talent and local athletes. The headlining bout fulfills both requirements, pitting Liverpool knockout artist Darren Till opposite long-time veteran Jorge Masvidal. Before that, though, there are some very interesting fights to examine. Remember: Later in the week, MMAmania.com’s Jesse Holland will preview and predict the main- and co-main events. For now, let’s take a look at these other main card bouts.
Light Heavyweight: Dominick Reyes vs. Volkan Oezdemir
Best Win for Reyes? Ovince Saint Preux For Oezdemir? Jimi Manuwa
Current Streak: Four UFC wins and 10 total for Reyes, a pair of losses for Oezdemir
X-Factor: Oezdemir’s random knockout power
How these two match up: Maybe Light Heavyweight isn’t a dying division after all.
Alongside Johnny Walker, Reyes represents the future of the 205-pound division. The 29-year-old has only been competing for five years now, but he’s already shown a well-rounded game and great athleticism. Best of all, Reyes is a finisher, having stopped eight of his 10 victories before the final bell.
Oezdemir is a bit more classically trained, a former professional kickboxer whose goal inside the Octagon is clear. Though he does strike with a fair bit of technique, Oezdemir is best known for landing seemingly small shots that deliver a great deal of impact.
“No Time” has the power to “boop” anyone into unconsciousness, but it’s still hard not to favor the quick-rising prospect here. Reyes is a considerable athlete, not easily outmatched by Oezdemir’s punching power. Furthermore, he’s much better at mixing up his game as necessary, hiding kicks behind punches or suddenly changing things with a nice takedown attempt.
There’s also the issue of Oezdemir’s fatigue to consider. When forced into hard fights, Oezdemir historically tends to slow down and find his takedown defense failing him. Reyes can keep a much higher pace across three rounds, which is always a massive advantage.
Prediction: Reyes via submission
Bantamweight: Nathaniel Wood vs. Jose Alberto Quinonez
Best Win for Wood? Johnny Eduardo For Quinonez? Teruto Ishihara
Current Streak: Seven victories (three in the Octagon) for Wood, four straight wins for “Teco”
X-Factor: Which man wins the wrestling battle?
How these two match up: Expect a high-action clash of fast-moving Bantamweights.
“The Prospect” Nathaniel Wood is a student of Brad Pickett and has quickly made a name for himself in two successful trips to the Octagon. Wood is comfortable everywhere, aggressive, and shares his mentor’s love of walking straight into a brawl. Quinonez is not dissimilar from his foe; a well-rounded young Bantamweight willing to take the fight anywhere. The biggest difference between the two seems to be that wrestling is Quinonez’s go-to strategy, whereas Wood only wrestles when he sees an opening.
Both men have impressed with their work inside the Octagon thus far, but Wood has looked particularly sharp. In his debut, he faced a seriously powerful and experienced striker in Eduardo, and frankly he lost a lot of the early exchanges. However, Wood confidently kept applying pressure, forcing a bad reaction from Eduardo and opening up a d’arce choke.
Overcoming adversity is always a great sign for up-and-comers.
In addition, Wood seems to be the more composed striker. Quinonez tends to avoid the pocket, preferring to kick and wrestle. Wood will apply pressure, and if Quinonez is unable to land a reactive takedown, I don’t see how Quinonez will be able to successfully back him off.
Prediction: Wood via decision
Welterweight: Danny Roberts vs. Claudio Silva
Best Win for Roberts? Dominique Steele For Silva? Leon Edwards
Current Streak: Two wins for Roberts, three UFC victories for Silva (12 total!)
X-Factor: Silva’s devastating Brazilian jiu-jitsu
How these two match up: Damn, this is a tough one to predict.
Danny Roberts is consistent. “Hot Chocolate” is fairly easy to trust, a powerful and skilled kickboxer with some slick offensive Brazilian jiu-jitsu to boot. Silva, meanwhile, is the exact opposite. The Brazilian has only fought once in the last four years, a submission victory over Nordine Taleb. In that bout, Silva looked completely lost on the feet, was getting picked apart, and then landed a single takedown. From that point forward, he completely dominated.
The question here is whether or not Silva can complete that same early takedown. If he does, the jiu-jitsu black belt seems likely to earn another submission win. If not, he’ll quickly wear down, both from fatigue and Roberts’ dangerous kickboxing.
Picking fights that are entirely decided by whether or not takedowns will land are the worst.
As such, I’ll hesitantly side with Silva, who seems quite the opportunist. Roberts tends to rely on scrambling back to his feet more than ironclad takedown defense, and often that style can play right into the hands of a skilled grappler.
Prediction: Silva via submission
Middleweight: Jack Marshman vs. John Phillips
Best Win for Marshman? Magnus Cedenblad For Phillips? Cheick Kone
Current Streak: Two losses for both
X-Factor: Phillips’ complete lack of a bottom game
How these two match up: This fight is not hard to understand. Both Marshman and Phillips are noted brawlers from the regional U.K. scene, known for biting down on their mouth pieces and chucking hard shots. Of course, this approach may be fun but tends not to work at the highest level, which is why each man enters this fight on a losing streak.
Luckily, putting them in the cage with each other is a guaranteed slugfest.
This fight can go either way — such is the nature of wild exchanges with small gloves — but it’s not hard to pick. There’s a reason “The White Mike Tyson” does not have any particularly high-level wins on his record. Phillips lacks anything resembling a functional defensive grappling or wrestling game; he’s proven to be completely helpless on the mat.
I don’t mean to imply that Marshman is an All-American wrestler, but he’s looked more skilled offensively and defensively. Furthermore, he has actual wins over strong competition. He’s the more proven man and seemingly has more paths to victory if he does get stung by a hard shot.
Prediction: Marshman via decision
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC Fight Night 147 results on fight night, which is as good a place as any to talk about all the action inside the Octagon, as well as what you’ve got riding on the sportsbook.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 147: “Till vs. Masvidal” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.