Two of the most devastating Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight finishers will look to punch their tickets into title contention this Saturday (April 27, 2019) when Jacare Souza squares off with Jack Hermansson inside BB&T Center in Fort Lauderdale Florida. ESPN viewers will also enjoy the return of Greg Hardy against designated victim Dmitrii Smoliakov and a potential “Fight of the Year” between Welterweight sluggers Mike Perry and Alex Oliveira.
UFC Fight Night 150 features seven “Prelims” undercard bouts this time, four on ESPN and three on ESPN2. Let’s preview and predict the first batch:
155 lbs.: Jim Miller vs. Jason Gonzalez
A four-fight losing streak — capped off by a brutal knockout courtesy of Dan Hooker — left Jim Miller (29-13) fighting for his UFC life. He came up huge against Alex White, dropping and choking the younger man out in 89 seconds, but had no answer for the grappling attack of Charles Oliveira in their rematch.
He will give up six inches of height and four inches of reach to Jason Gonzalez (11-4).
The UFC debut of “Nicoyas” did not go terribly smoothly, as Drew Dober knocked him out in 105 seconds to snap a six-fight winning streak. He went on to tap JC Cottrell for his eleventh finish in 11 wins, then had the misfortune of facing Gregor Gillespie, who tapped him midway through the second.
This will be his first fight since Sept. 2017.
When looking at this match up, my brain said “finally, they’re not putting Miller against a really good striker or really good wrestler,” which made me sad upon further reflection. There just aren’t that many people Miller can beat anymore — his generalist approach has not stood the test of time.
Luckily for him, Gonzalez is also a generalist, just not as good. He’s tall, sure, but Dober is the same height as Miller and managed to destroy him. The veteran should be able to hold his own everywhere. He holds his own on the feet and takes Gonzalez down early and often before ultimately locking up a rear naked choke.
Prediction: Miller by second-round submission
115 lbs.: Angela Hill vs. Jodie Esquibel
Angela Hills (12-5) time in Invicta saw her defeat Livinha Souza for the Strawweight title and defend it with a decision over Kaline Medeiros. Her second Octagon run has seen her go 2-4, including consecutive losses to Cortney Casey and Randa Markos.
“Overkill” steps in for Jessica Penne on just over a week’s notice, making for a one-month turnaround since the Markos loss.
Despite an unsuccessful run on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Jodie Esquibel (6-4) found her way to the Octagon after taking a split decision over DeAnna Bennett in Invicta. She has yet to taste victory in the UFC, falling to Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jessica Aguilar.
She’ll give up two inches of height and one inch of reach to Hill.
This is the second time Penne has pulled out of a fight with Esquibel on short notice. And here I was, all happy because I could just copy-paste my prediction from last time. Now I have to actually think, and you all know I hate doing that.
In any event, Esquibel should give Hill the striking battle “Overkill” wants. Hill will have the height and reach advantages for once, which will make for a much easier time than she had with Casey or Nina Ansaroff, and looks to be the more technical and powerful kickboxer. She dominates on the feet en route to a clear decision victory.
Prediction: Hill via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Court McGee vs. Dhiego Lima
Court McGee (19-7) went 5-3 as a UFC Middleweight before a decision loss to Ryan LaFlare sent him down to 170, where he’s gone 3-3. His last bout saw him snap a two-fight losing streak by outworking Tristar product Alex Garcia to a unanimous decision victory.
He is three inches shorter than Dhiego Lima (13-7), but will have a half-inch reach advantage.
Lima reached the finals of two separate Ultimate Fighter series, only to fall to Eddie Gordon and Jesse Taylor, respectively. Following the latter defeat, he dropped a decision to veteran Yushin Okami, only to come up big with his back against the wall and knockout Chad Laprise in 97 seconds.
He has knocked out and submitted four professional opponents apiece.
It’s honestly still striking to me how much of a difference there is between Lima’s abilities and his brother’s — the only comparable instance I can think of is the Guida bros. Douglas Lima is out there smashing Lorenz Larkin and Andrey Koreshkov, while Dhiego is now 2-5 in the Octagon.
Make it 2-6 after Saturday.
McGee is too durable for Lima to knock out, too relentless a wrestler for Lima to get any consistent offense going, and too savvy on the mat for Lima to catch him off of his back. This honestly just looks like a nightmare matchup for Lima, especially since he’s fragile enough that McGee could conceivably get his first (technical) knockout finish in almost a decade. Volume punching and regular takedowns carry McGee to a dominant victory.
Prediction: McGee by unanimous decision
Three more UFC Fight Night 150 “Prelims” bouts remain to preview and predict, including the debuts of an unbeaten Invicta champ and a knockout artist from Pancrase. Same time as always, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 150 fight card on fight night, starting with the ESPN 2 “Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 5 p.m. ET, before the ESPN+ (7-day free trial here) main card start time at 9 p.m. ET.
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