This Saturday (May 18, 2019), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) travels to Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., for UFC Fight Night 152. In what seems to be becoming a fairly disappointing trend, this weekend’s “Fight Night” event is thoroughly ... okay? The main event pits former champion Raphael dos Anjos against yet another powerful wrestler in Kevin Lee, which should prove a quality contest. There are some decent names and action fighters throughout the event, but there are also eight athletes without Wikipedia pages competing, which is not exactly promising. Fights are fights, though, so let’s breakdown these match ups!
Remember: Tomorrow, 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.
Women’s Bantamweight: Aspen Ladd vs. Sijara Eubanks
Best Win for Swanson? Tonya Evinger For Eubanks? Roxanne Modafferi
Current Streak: Ladd is a perfect 7-0 with two of those wins in UFC, while Eubanks comes in following two Octagon victories of her own
X-Factor: Eubanks’ physicality at 135 pounds
How these two match up: Seeing as Ladd already outworked Eubanks in Jan. 2017, I have a small feeling we already know precisely how they match up.
Ladd is a well-rounded and active Bantamweight, one of the division’s best hopes for the future. Inside the Octagon, Ladd has relied largely on her wrestling and aggressive top game to overwhelm opponents, but her stand up game is quite solid as well.
Eubanks, meanwhile, has bounced between Flyweight and Bantamweight for years now. The best success of her career came on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) at 125 pounds, where she won three straight fights to earn a title shot. Unfortunately, two failed weight cuts cost her that title fight and sent her back to Bantamweight for good this time.
“Sarj” is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with pretty decent power in her hands.
Last time out, Ladd was the faster woman and picked at Eubanks with long, straight shots. The wrestling exchanges were fairly even, with Eubanks scoring more top position time but failing to do anything of significance. Given the 10-year age difference between the two, it’s tremendously unlikely that Eubanks has grown at a superior rate than Ladd, meaning it’s a rather safe bet that Ladd repeats her performance or does even better.
Prediction: Ladd via decision
Middleweight: Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Ian Heinisch
Best Win for Carlos Junior? Tim Boetsch For Heinisch? Cezar Ferreira
Current Streak: An impressive five UFC victories for Carlos Junior, while Heinisch enters this battle having recently won his UFC debut
X-Factor: Who wins the wrestling battle?
How these two match up: This is actually a pretty fun match up of underrated Middleweights.
Carlos Junior has earned a step up in competition, as the Brazilian shored up the holes in his gas tank and kickboxing, allowing him to make much better use of his excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. “Shoe Face” has submitted four of his previous five opponents via rear-naked choke.
A former champion in the Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) and pickup from Dana White’s “Tuesday Night Contender Series,” Heinisch was handed a very difficult debut foe in Cezar Ferreira. Unbothered by the Brazilian’s counter left hand, power double, or dangerous jiu-jitsu, Heinisch outworked his opponent and put him on his back repeatedly on the strength of his own wrestling.
On paper, it may seem that Carlos Junior is a similar opponent to “Mutante” and a similar result may occur. That is true in some respects: both Brazilians have a nasty top game but sometimes lack the wrestling to implement it, and both have struggled in later rounds against scrappy opponents.
There’s a reason Carlos Junior has generally fared better than Ferreira, however. “Care de Sapato” is more aggressive on the feet and more consistent, less likely to get put out by a single big shot or fade at the first sign of a momentum shift. Perhaps most important, Ferreira’s jiu-jitsu is very good, whereas Carlos Junior’s grappling is elite.
Heinisch could pull off another rally in the latter half of the fight, but that’s going to be difficult if Carlos Junior chokes him out in the first.
Prediction: Carlos Junior via submission
Featherweight: Charles Oliveira vs. Nik Lentz 3
Best Win for Oliveira? Jeremy Stephens For Lentz? Will Brooks
Current Streak: Four straight submissions for Oliveira, a pair of wins for Lentz
X-Factor: Oliveira’s insanely dangerous jiu-jitsu
How these two match up: We’ve already seen this fight twice, and I have no idea why we’re doing it a third time.
Though the first bout technically resulted in “No Contest,” both fights follow the same pattern. Lentz — who is an under-appreciated technician on both the mat and feet, a 10-year UFC veteran for good reason — would push forward and bully Oliveira at first, doing some good damage and landing the occasional takedown. Unfortunately for “The Carny,” Oliveira’s low kicks, body kicks, knees, and much bigger frame would tire Lentz and wear down his body, leaving Lentz vulnerable to Oliveira’s record-setting submission game.
In short, it’s a bad match up for Lentz. Worse still, Oliveira is five years younger than Lentz, seemingly hitting his prime at this exact moment. Lentz is still game as hell and will make it a fight, but there’s a very applicable rule in combat sports: when two fighters rematch, the older athlete almost never wins if the younger fighter won the first contest.
Prediction: Oliveira via submission
Lightweight: Davi Ramos vs. Austin Hubbard
Best Win for Ramos? Nick Hein For Hubbard? Killys Mota
Current Streak: Three straight rear naked choke wins for Ramos, a trio of regional wins for Hubbard
X-Factor: Can Hubbard stop the takedown?
How these two match up: Once more, we have a former LFA champion faced with an experienced UFC fighter with excellent jiu-jitsu.
Hubbard seems quite ready for the Octagon. The Elevation Fight Team-trained athlete has excellent conditioning, pushing an exhausting pace on the feet and occasionally looking to wear his opponent out with takedowns as well. Hubbard has fought to the fifth round in four different fights, and generally fighters who hold the LFA title tend to do well once in the UFC.
Unfortunately for him, Ramos is an Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) gold medalist, the highest achievement available in no-gi jiu-jitsu. In the cage, Ramos makes great use of his jiu-jitsu by finding his way to the back frequently, using excellent athleticism and a great double leg to place his foes on the mat and force them into his world.
Like the Carlos Junior vs. Heinisch fight above, there is a path to victory for the LFA strap-hanger that involves surviving the early portion of the fight and capitalizing when his foe fatigues. However, the strategy of dedicated back-taker can really throw prospects off their game, particularly when the backpack is as talented and athletic as Ramos.
Prediction: Ramos via submission
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC Fight Night 152 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 152: “dos Anjos vs. Lee” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.