One more for the road ...
Former Lightweight ruler Frankie Edgar makes what might be his final bid for Featherweight gold this weekend (Sat., July 27, 2019) as Max Holloway returns to defend his title inside Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. UFC 240 also sees Cris “Cyborg” attempt to rebound from her first mixed martial arts (MMA) loss in 13 years against Felicia Spencer and Welterweight Geoff Neal look to continue his rise against the lethal power of Niko Price.
UFC 240 features seven “Prelims” undercard bouts this time, split 4:3 between Fight Pass and ESPN 2. Let’s check out the online line up first, eh?
125 lbs.: Gillian Robertson vs. Sarah Frota
Gillian Robertson (6-3) fell to Barb Honchak on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 26, but managed to secure submissions of Emily Whitmire and Molly McCann in her first two Octagon appearances. A submission loss to Mayra Bueno Silva slowed her roll, though she bounced back five months later by finishing Veronica Macedo midway through the second round.
She has submitted three opponents with rear-naked chokes and another two with armbars.
Sarah Frota (9-1) won eight straight, including one in Super Fight League, before destroying Maiara Amanajas on “Contender Series” and earning a UFC contract. She wound up missing weight by seven pounds in her debut against Livinha Souza and giving up four takedowns en route to a decision loss.
She stands one inch taller than Robertson at 5’6.”
Take away Frota’s size and you have a powerful-but-plodding striker with Brazilian jiu-jitsu who is not quite good enough to compensate for her shoddy wrestling. Though she’s the more dangerous of the two on the feet, that doesn’t make much difference when Robertson can take her down essentially at will.
Frota’s strength could prove problematic in the early going, but I can’t see her brute-forcing her way through Robertson’s takedowns for long. Robertson dominates from top position with increasing ease as the rounds progress.
Prediction: Robertson via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Erik Koch vs. Kyle Stewart
Once the No. 1-ranked UFC Featherweight contender, Erik Kock (15-6) is 2-5 since pulling out of a fight with Jose Aldo in 2012. In fact, “New Breed” has fought just twice in the last three years, dropping decisions to Clay Guida and Bobby Green.
This will be his first fight in 18 months thanks to yet another injury scrapping a planned match up with Dwight Grant.
A 10-fight win streak set up Kyle Stewart (11-2) for an LFA title shot against still-unbeaten James Nakashima, who wore down “Gunz Up” with persistent wrestling over the course of five rounds. He returned to the LFA cage with a win over Braden Smith and stepped in to fight Chance Rencountre in the Octagon two months later, tapping to a rear-naked choke midway through the first.
He stands four inches taller than Koch.
It’s hard not to feel bad for Koch, who’s probably the unluckiest UFC fighter since Brian Foster. He’s pulled out of six UFC fights because of various injuries and hasn’t scored a significant victory since beating Raphael Assuncao and Jonathan Brookins in 2011.
I don’t think moving to Welterweight is the cure for his ills.
Stewart is a dangerous striker in his own right and figures to be the larger man on fight night. Koch does theoretically have an avenue of victory in Stewart’s shaky takedown defense, but “New Breed” lacks the strength of Nakashima or Rencountre, meaning he’ll struggle to consistently bring it to the mat. Size, speed and a functional body carry Stewart to a dominant striking victory.
Prediction: Stewart via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Tanner Boser vs. Giacomo Lemos
Canada’s Tanner Boser (16-5-1) has spent a decent chunk of his career overseas, beating veterans like D.J. Linderman and Chase Gormley in Russia. After a loss and draw, “Bulldozer” returned to his home country to claim the Unified MMA Heavyweight title with a leg kick finish of Jared Kilkenny in May.
He stands one inch shorter than Giacomo Lemos at 6’2.”
Lemos racked up four victories in his native Brazil before taking his talent to South Korea early this year. His efforts under the AFC banner have seen him finish San Soo Lee and Jun Soo Lim within the span of three months.
He has knocked out five opponents and submitted one other.
Yeah, these guys are terrible. Lemos is a physically imposing, but technically bankrupt bruiser, while Boser is so boring that even watching tape at twice the speed isn’t enough to keep me engaged. I think the “point fighter” label is thrown around too liberally, but Boser is literally content to throw a half-dozen strikes per minute and has gone the distance in 10 of his last 12 fights. “The Bulldozer” is here to appease the Canada faithful and Lemos is here to look scary and lose.
Lemos is too slow and robotic to catch up to Boser on the feet and too terrible of a wrestler to get his actually decent ground-and-pound going. Boser’s going to outclass him, though he could lose the fight through sheer lack of output. Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see UFC feed one of these two to Greg Hardy.
Prediction: Boser via unanimous decision
Four more UFC 240 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict tomorrow, including the latest from Brazilian “God of War” Deiveson Figueiredo and power-punching phenom Viviane Araujo. Same time as always, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 240 fight card this weekend, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2 at 8 p.m. ET, before the pay-per-view (PPV) main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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