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UFC Fight Night 150 predictions: ‘Jacare vs Hermansson’ ESPN undercard ‘Prelims’ preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to ESPN2, ESPN and ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., April 27, 2019) when UFC Fight Night 150: “Jacare vs. Hermansson” storms BB&T Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.’s Patrick Stumberg continues the UFC Fight Night 150 “Prelims” party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

It’s “Jacare” vs. “Joker” in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this Saturday (April 27, 2019) when Ronaldo Souza squares off with Jack Hermansson inside BB&T Center a pivotal Middleweight matchup on ESPN+. UFC Fight Night 150’s co-main event, meanwhile, sees the return of Greg Hardy against Dmitrii Smoliakov, while the rest of the ESPN+ main card includes guaranteed slugfests like Alex Oliveira vs. Mike Perry and John Lineker vs. Cory Sandhagen.

Four “Prelims” undercard bouts will be featured on the worldwide leader in sports (check out the ESPN2 portion here) prior to streaming the main card. Let’s have a look:

170 lbs.: Ben Saunders vs. Takashi Sato

Ben Saunders (22-11-2) commemorated his return to the Octagon by winning five of his next six, including UFC’s first-ever omoplata against Chris Heatherly. Recent times have not been so kind, as he’s suffered stoppage losses in four of his last five fights.

He stands four inches taller than Takashi Sato (14-2) at 6’3.”

Sato won five straight, four by stoppage, to set up a Pancrase title shot against UFC veteran Flaico França. Though he lost the grueling battle in the fourth round, he returned three months later to stop young Kiwi Matt Vaile with ground-and-pound.

Nine of his 11 stoppages have come via (technical) knockout.

We’re past the point where I feel comfortable watching Saunders fight. He’s been knocked out seven times, including four in the last three years-ish, and all of those were absolutely brutal. Sato is stiff, easy to hit, and is far from indestructible himself, but the mere fact that he can punch makes him bad news for “Killa B.”

Saunders can’t really pull guard, either, as Sato can do damage from guard and has quality submission defense when his gas tank holds up. The potential for a Saunders miracle is still there, as we saw against Ellenberger, but odds are Sato catches him early with a straight left and pounds him out.

Prediction: Sato via first-round knockout

265 lbs.: Andrei Arlovski vs. Augusto Sakai

Once on a six-fight win streak that seemed to herald his resurgence, Andrei Arlovski (27-18) is just 2-8 in his last 10 fights. Victories over Junior Albini and Stefan Struve gave way to three consecutive defeats, most recently a split decision loss to Walt Harris at UFC 232 (one that was just recently ruled a “No Contest”).

“The Pitbull” is one inch shorter than Augusto Sakai (12-1-1) and — going by their most recent weigh-ins — could give up more than 20 pounds on fight night.

Brazil’s Sakai went 4-1-1 in Bellator before joining “Contender Series,” where he knocked out unbeaten Marcos Conrado Jr. in Aug. 2018. He made his Octagon debut just one month later, pounding out Chase Sherman in Sao Paulo.

All but two of his pro victories have come by form of knockout.

I’m not entirely sure what UFC is trying to accomplish by constantly pitting Arlovski against power-punching prospects — maybe it’s dissatisfied that his last four losses have come by decision instead of knockout. Whatever the case, Sakai is colossal, durable, and extremely heavy-handed. A prime Arlovski probably had the speed and firepower to spark the plodding Brazilian with a straight right, but the current gunshy Arlovski will just get out-worked and out-slugged.

Unlike Albini and Harris, Sakai is relentless for all 15 minutes and has the takedown defense to force a prolonged striking engagement that Arlovski is too brittle to survive. Unless Arlovski can pull a Cheick Kongo and grind Sakai to death against the fence, the Brazilian steadily overpowers him and puts him away midway through.

Prediction: Sakai via second-round knockout

115 lbs.: Carla Esparza vs. Virna Jandiroba

Carla Esparza (13-6) didn’t let losing her title to Joanna Jedrzejczyk slow her down, winning three of her next four and handing Cynthia Calvillo her first-ever loss along the way. A controversial decision loss to division mainstay Claudia Gadelha followed, after which Esparza suffered a stoppage defeat to rising star Tatiana Suarez.

She stands two inches shorter than Virna Jandiroba (14-0) at 5’1.”

Jandiroba fought for the vacant Invicta Strawweight title in her second promotional appearance, overpowering Mizuki Inoue to claim a five-round decision. She then faced fellow Brazilian Janaisa Morandin, whom she choked out for her eleventh professional submission win.

She steps in for the injured Livinha Souza on three weeks’ notice.

I feel like Esparza is consistently underestimated — I’m definitely guilty of this as well, but also understand that she’s still one of the best wrestlers in the division. She’s also put together a solid striking attack, as we saw against Calvillo. Unfortunately for Jandiroba, she hasn’t taken that second step, being a dominant takedown artist and grappler whose stand up is still a work-in-progress.

Speaking of Calvillo, I see this going similarly. Jandiroba will struggle to take control of the wrestling or establish top control, allowing Esparza to rack up enough strikes on the feet to take a clear decision.

Prediction: Esparza via unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Gilbert Burns vs. Mike Davis

Gilbert Burns’ (14-3) two-fight knockout streak came to an end with Dan Hooker took his best shots and put him to sleep with a left hook. He has since gotten back on track with a decision over Olivier Aubin-Mercier and a submission of Gleison Tibau in combat jiu-jitsu.

“Durinho” owns seven submissions among his 12 stoppage victories.

Mike Davis (7-1) knocked out his first five opponents on his way to “Contender Series,” where he survived a knockdown but ultimately dropped a decision to Sodiq Yusuff. He’s since won two straight, including a kimura victory little more than one month ago.

“Beast Boy” replaces Eric Wisely — who was not medically cleared — on less than two weeks’ notice.

Davis is a strong, entertaining young talent, but Burns is all wrong for him. “Beast Boy” has historically made Featherweight without issue, while Burns is among the largest Lightweight fighters in UFC. Worse, Davis has a habit of marching into the pocket rather than using his 6’0” frame to its fullest, allowing shorter foes like Yusuff to find his chin.

Burns only needs one.

Davis can’t even fall back on his wrestling, as Burns can match him there and is far superior on the mat. Unless Davis can clip the sometimes-chinny “Durinho,” he gets blasted into oblivion within the first few minutes.

Prediction: Burns via first-round knockout

UFC Fight Night 150’s main event between Jacare vs. Hermansson is great, while Oliveira vs. Perry and Lineker vs. Sandhagen have the potential to be truly insane slugfests. Don’t miss ‘em. See you Saturday, Maniacs!

Remember that 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.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 150: “Jacare vs. Hermansson” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

Current UFC “Prelims” Prediction Record for 2019: 49-30

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