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UFC Fight Night 154 predictions: ‘Korean Zombie vs Moicano’ ESPN 2 undercard ‘Prelims’ preview - Pt. 2

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to ESPN 2 this weekend (Sat., June 22, 2019) when UFC Fight Night 154: “Korean Zombie vs. Moicano” storms Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg continues the UFC Fight Night 154 “Prelims” party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C., promises action this Saturday (June 22, 2019) when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) arrives for its latest show on ESPN+. UFC Fight Night 154’s main event sees Renato Moicano and “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung look to rebound from recent defeats and re-establish themselves as top Featherweights, while John Lineker once again squares off with Rob Font 10 pounds south. Other ESPN+ main card bouts include a Welterweight scrap between Bryan Bareberena and Randy Brown and a Middleweight clash pitting Alessio Di Chirico against Kevin Holland.

Three “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict (check out the first batch here), so let’s get on that:

145 lbs.: Kevin Aguilar vs. Dan Ige

Kevin Aguilar (17-1) emerged victorious in his late-notice “Contender Series” bout against Joey Gomez, but the split decision win wasn’t enough to earn him a contract. “The Angel of Death” ultimately made his Octagon debut as a short-notice replacement against Rick Glenn, out-striking both “The Gladiator” and subsequent foe Enrique Barzola to extend his current win streak to nine.

Ten of his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) victories have come via (technical) knockout.

Dan Ige (11-2), by contrast, got a contract right after “Contender Series” for choking out Luis Gomez, but lost a wide decision to fellow series alumnus Julio Arce in his Octagon debut. “Dynamite” has since won three straight, including a 77-second submission of Danny Henry in March that earned him “Performance of the Night.”

He has finished five professional fights via submission and another three via (technical) knockout.

Ige may not be the highest-ranked fighter, but if Aguilar can get past him, “The Angel of Death” is ready for a Top 15-ranked opponent. Aguilar’s takedown defense is his biggest lingering flaw, and while he did a great job against Barzola, Ige’s top control is exponentially more dangerous. Both the Hawaiian’s ground-and-pound and submissions are enough to end the fight quickly should he spend any length of time on top.

Aguilar does have one of the division’s best jabs, though, and Ige struggled to get his wrestling going against a similarly tricky striker in Julio Arce. Plus, Aguilar’s just looked damn good lately, and while Ige’s toughness should allow him to survive Aguilar’s power, it won’t save him from getting sprawled-and-brawled for 15 fun minutes.

Prediction: Aguilar via unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Luis Pena vs. Matt Wiman

Luis Pena (6-1) was an early favorite to win The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 27 before bowing out with an injury, ultimately debuting at the Finale with a submission of castmate Richie Smullen. A split decision loss to Mike Trizano prompted an attempted drop to Featherweight, where he missed weight by 2.5 pounds, but managed to defeat Steven Peterson in March.

“Violent Bob Ross” has dispatched four professional opponents via four different types of submission.

Matt Wiman (16-7) made his Octagon debut in 2006, winding up on the wrong end of an iconic Spencer Fisher flying knee as part of a 10-5 Octagon run. He’s won three of his last four and six of his last eight, but hasn’t fought since a decision over Isaac Vallie-Flagg in 2014.

He stands five inches shorter than Pena at 5’10.”

The annoying thing about analyzing this fight is that a pre-hiatus Wiman was a stylistic nightmare for Pena, boasting solid wrestling, impeccable submission defense, and brutal ground-and-pound. If he’s still got it — or even just something resembling “it” — he can absolutely maul Pena the way he did another lanky submission specialist in Cole Miller.

Breaking a 4.5-year layoff against a fighter as uniquely odd as Pena is a mighty tall ask, though, especially considering Pena’s improving takedown defense. The upset is potentially there if Wiman can survive long enough to shake off the rust, but I say Pena clips him before that can happen.

Prediction; Pena via first-round technical knockout

265 lbs.: Allen Crowder vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik

The third “Contender Series” alumnus on this undercard, Allen Crowder (10-3) outlasted Don’Tale Mayes to earn himself a contract, only to fall to Justin Willis in his Octagon debut four months later. His second UFC bout saw him score an unexpected victory over Greg Hardy by virtue of the latter hitting him with a blatantly illegal knee (details).

“Pretty Boy” has not gone the distance since his third professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fight, knocking out five.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (7-0) — whose most notable previous victory came over unbeaten Andrey Kovalev in Rizin — answered the call when Junior Albini needed a new opponent in Fortaleza. Though “Bigi Boy” struggled in the first round, Rozenstruik came alive in the second frame to knockou Albini with a scary flurry.

Five of his six knockout victories have come in the first round.

The Rozenstruik hype train remains at the station — his striking is legit, but getting taken down by Albini is a serious red flag. Luckily for him, he seems adept at riding out early wrestling troubles to pour it on late, as he did against Kovalev and the aforementioned Albini. Crowder — who has been knocked out three times and has major cardio problems — looks to be a perfect candidate for that strategy.

Crowder is more adept from top position than Albini and could certainly finish the fight before Rozenstruik gets going. If Rozenstruik can make it through the first five minutes, though, he should spark Crowder as soon as the latter starts too slow.

Prediction: Rozenstruik via second-round technical knockout

This event may be short on names, but Zombie vs. Moicano, Lineker vs. Font 2, Barberena vs. Brown, Ige vs. Aguilar, and Lipski vs. McCann are all potential “Fight of the Night” contenders. Don’t miss ‘em! See you Saturday, Maniacs.

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 154 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN 2 “Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will stream on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 154: “Korean Zombie vs. Moicano” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

Current UFC “Prelims” Prediction Record for 2019: 80-41