Two former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight elites will look to rebound from tough defeats this Saturday (May 18, 2019) when Rafael dos Anjos squares off with Kevin Lee inside Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York. Also at Welterweight, Neil Magny tries to turn aside the surging Vicente Luque, while Antonio Carlos Junior puts his five-fight win streak on the line against Ian Heinisch 15 pounds north.
UFC Fight Night 152 features seven “Prelims” undercard bouts this time, all joining the main card on ESPN+. Let’s begin!
205 lbs.: Patrick Cummins vs. Ed Herman
It was more than five years ago that Patrick Cummins (10-6) stepped up on short notice to fight Daniel Cormier and got smoked in just 79 seconds at UFC 170. “Durkin” currently finds himself 2-2 in his last four, including a career-first submission loss to Misha Cirkunov in Oct. 2018.
He has knocked out four professional opponents and submitted another two.
Ed Herman (23-14) made his first UFC appearance in 2006 when he fell to Kendall Grove on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 Finale. Now 10-10-1 in 21 Octagon bouts, “Short Fuse” has lost three straight to Nikita Krylov, C.B. Dollaway and Gian Villante.
He has submitted 14 professional opponents, though none since 2012.
Cummins fights always boil down to whether or not he can consistently take down his opponent. If he can, he’s got the heavy top game and ground-and-pound to ruin just about anyone’s night. If he can’t, well, there’s a reason four of his losses are by (technical) knockout.
Luckily for “Durkin,” Herman shouldn’t prove terribly difficult to wrangle. Beyond being undersized for the division and incredibly shopworn to boot, “Short Fuse” got taken down six times by Dollaway. Further, beyond some nice knees in the clinch, he’s nowhere near the knockout threat that Ovince St. Preux, Glover Teixeira, or even Minotouro Nogueira are, so Cummins’ shaky chin shouldn’t prove his downfall this time. Cummins grinds his way to another methodical victory.
Prediction: Cummins via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Danny Roberts vs. Michel Pereira
Danny Roberts (16-4) — coming off of a “Fight of the Night” victory over David Zawada that moved his Octagon record to 5-2 — entered his March bout with Claudio Silva as a slight underdog. After dropping the first two rounds to the Brazilian’s elite grappling, “Hot Chocolate” seemed on the verge of a potential comeback when the referee controversially claimed a verbal submission to an armbar Roberts was in the midst of escaping.
His professional finishes are split 7-5 between knockouts and submissions.
Michel Pereira (22-9) went viral for his acrobatic antics in the ROAD FC cage during his current 6-1 (2 NC) run, which includes five wins by finish. The Brazilian fought seven times in 2018 alone and was last seen scoring a technical knockout finish in an Openweight bout last February.
“Demolidor” is 8-2 (2 NC) overall since a 1-3 skid.
This phrase is horribly overused, but Pereira really does fight like a button-masher. He’s got a dangerous straight right, left body shot, and clinch knee, but he’s happy to unload whatever’s on his mind, be it a Superman punch off the cage or a tornado kick or a backflip guard pass off the cage. It brings to mind Marius Zaromskis, but unlike “The Whitemare,” Pereira doesn’t seem to have a great sense for when to throw his nonsense, resulting in wasted energy and no connection.
Roberts is chinny, true, but far more economical on the feet and boasts enough power to hurt Pereira once the Brazilian’s gas tank starts to empty. Pereira actually got knocked out three fights ago and took another fight two weeks later, which can’t be healthy; luckily, the athletic commission should provide a proper medical suspension after Roberts puts him away.
Prediction: Roberts via third-round technical knockout
185 lbs.: Zak Cummings vs. Trevin Giles
Despite an unsuccessful run on TUF 16, Zak Cummings (22-6) worked his way through the Welterweight ranks with six wins in his first eight Octagon appearances. A split decision to Michel Prazeres sent him back to 185 pounds, where he outlasted fellow grinder Trevor Smith in Milwaukee.
Eleven of his 16 stoppage wins have come by submission.
Trevin Giles (11-0) narrowly edged Ryan Spann in his final pre-UFC bout, then demolished James Bochnovic in his Octagon debut five months later. “The Problem” then proceeded to welcome grappling standout Antonio Braga Neto back to UFC after a lengthy layoff, ultimately breaking the Brazilian down midway through the third.
This will be his first fight since Dec. 2017.
I’m always for fighters competing closer to their natural weight, but a huge part of Cummings’ success at Welterweight was how damn big and strong he was. Though he’s still a dangerous, well-rounded fighter without that edge, it’s hard to see him making too deep a run at Middleweight, especially since he’s not particularly fast and thus lacks the advantage most rising fighters do.
Giles is the more dangerous striker and has solid wrestling of his own, making it unlikely that Cummings takes over with either his submissions or heavy left hand. Cummings is insanely durable, to be fair, but I see Giles’ sprawl and power carrying him to victory as it did against Braga Neto.
Prediction: Giles via unanimous decision
145 lbs.: Julio Arce vs. Julian Erosa
Consecutive losses to Brian Kelleher didn’t stop Julio Arce (15-3) from winning five straight on his way to UFC, including a technical knockout of Peter Petties on “Contender Series.” Following victories over Dan Ige and Daniel Teymur, Arce took on striking standout Sheymon Moraes, fighting through hard knockdowns, but ultimately losing a split decision.
He will give up five inches of height and four inches of reach to “Juicy J.”
Julian Erosa (22-7) washed out of UFC after a 1-1 start, but fought his way to a “Contender Series” slot opposite Jamall Emmers and secured his return to the Octagon via second-round head kick. He’s yet to taste victory in his latest run, suffering a knockout loss to Devonte Smith and dropping a decision to Grant Dawson.
Nineteen of his 22 wins have come by stoppage, 10 of them (technical) knockouts.
Fun as Erosa is, he’s nearly 30 fights into his professional career and still hasn’t ironed out the litany of issues keeping him out of contention. He just flat-out doesn’t use his length, which makes for entertaining fights but opens him up to way too much return fire. Arce’s kickboxing is far crisper than Erosa’s and the reach difference isn’t enough to offset that, especially considering the way Erosa prioritizes offense over all else.
Arce’s takedown defense means this will be a striking match as long as he wants it to be and it’s only a matter of time until Erosa’s chin fails him again. Expect an early bonus contender until sometime in the second round.
Prediction: Arce via second-round technical knockout
Three UFC Fight Night 152 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict, including a clash of Featherweight prospects and two new faces taking on veterans. 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 152 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ (7-day free trial here) at 8 p.m. ET.
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