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UFC Fight Night 157 predictions: ‘Andrade vs Zhang’ undercard ‘Prelims’ preview - Pt. 1

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to ESPN this weekend (Sat., Aug. 31, 2019) when UFC Fight Night 157: “Andrade vs. Zhang” storms Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Fight Night 157 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

Sleep is for the weak!

UFC Fight Night 157 hits Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China, bright and early this Saturday morning (Aug. 31, 2019) with some serious Strawweight violence at the helm. The ESPN+-streamed main event sees Jessica Andrade make the first defense of the title she slammed away from Rose Namajunas (watch it) against local sensation Weili Zhang, who has won 19 consecutive fights. The co-main event looks to be similarly brutal, as Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos puts his seven-fight win streak on the line against all-action Li Jingliang, while top prospects Da Un Jung and Khadis Ibragimov lock horns at Light Heavyweight.

UFC Fight Night 157 features six “Prelims” undercard bouts this time around, all of which will be broadcast on ESPN. Here’s the red-eye line up:

135 lbs.: Sumudaerji vs. Andre Soukhamthath

China’s Sumudaerji (9-3) entered UFC having never gone the distance, and took on fellow finisher Louis Smolka in his promotional debut last November. “The Tibetan Eagle” struggled mightily with Smolka’s takedowns and ground assault, ultimately tapping to a second-round armbar for his third loss in six fights.

He has knocked out eight of his professional opponents, six of them in the first round.

Andre Soukhamthath (13-7) is just 2-4 in the Octagon, but has had one of the most unique UFC runs in recent memory. In addition to his comeback knockout of Luke Sanders, “The Asian Sensation” lost questionable decisions to Albert Morales and Alejandro Perez and could have defeated Sean O’Malley had he noticed the latter’s foot injury and stopped trying to wrestle.

Eight of his 11 stoppage wins have come by form of knockout.

Soukhamthath’s bizarre compulsion to wrestle despite his striking prowess might actually work out in his favor here. Sumudaerji is a considerable threat on the feet, an explosive southpaw with legitimate power, but he’s a non-factor on the ground. If Louis Smolka, a natural Flyweight with well-documented wrestling issues, could take him down, Soukhamthath can do the same.

Soukhamthath is durable and skilled enough with his standup to hold his own until the double-leg presents itself. From there, it’s just a matter of whether he wants to choke Sumudaerji out or pound him into submission.

Prediction: Soukhamthath via first-round technical knockout

185 lbs.: Jun Yong Park vs. Anthony Hernandez

One of two Korean Top Team competitors debuting on Saturday, Jun Yong Park (9-3) is undefeated since starting his career 3-3, going the distance just once in his current streak. The run includes a submission of Professional Fight League (PFL) standout Ray Cooper III and a decision over Glenn Sparv, who had won six straight.

He has finished five professional opponents with strikes and three via submission.

Anthony Hernandez (7-0) won his first five professional fights by first-round stoppage before defeating Brendan Allen for the Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) title and earning a spot on “Contender Series.” A failed drug test for marijuana marred his 40-second knockout of Jordan Wright, after which “Fluffy” succumbed to Markus Perez’s anaconda choke in his delayed debut.

All four of his submission wins have come by guillotine.

Of the many hard-nosed Korean sluggers to join UFC in recent times, Park is among the most technically sound. He’s an excellent offensive boxer, working behind a stiff jab to put together crisp, powerful combinations. Hernandez looked pedestrian enough against Perez that a debut victory for Park is more than feasible.

That said, Park does have one key flaw: he’s either easy to take down or intentionally doesn’t defend shots in favor of quickly getting back to his feet. That usually works for him, but Hernandez’s best weapon is his guillotine, and he’s enough of a wrestler to put Park in a position to leave his neck out. Expect some quality slugging before Hernandez takes him to the mat and locks up something unpleasant on the way up.

Prediction: Hernandez via first-round submission

135 lbs.: Batgerel Danaa vs. Heili Alateng

Batgerel Danaa (6-1) opened his professional career undefeated (4-0), including a decision over Kai Kara-France, before suffering a decision loss to Baasankhuu Damlanpurev, who had defeated Alateng one fight prior. After missing all of 2016 and 2017, Danaa returned last year with two (technical) knockout wins in two months.

This will be his first fight in 14 months.

Heili Alateng (12-7-1), by contrast, started his career 4-6 before embarking on his current run, the only loss of which came against recent Horiguchi-slayer Kai Asakura in 2017. He has since won two straight, both via (technical) knockout, in South Korea’s venerable Road FC promotion.

Four of his professional wins, including three of his last four, have come via (technical) knockout.

These two heavy-handed, well-rounded unknowns should make for an excellent opener. Danaa is as gritty as they come and Alateng has legitimate one-shot power in his right hand, making this a potential high-octane slugfest that should delight the Shenzhen crowd.

This may come down to Danaa being the busier of the two. Alateng tends to be sparing with his offense, and while that right hand of his is dynamite, I’ve seen Danaa walk through serious fire without flinching. Combine that with the Mongolian’s ostensible wrestling edge and you’ve got a recipe for a Danaa decision. He out-works and out-brawls the younger man for 15 entertaining minutes.

Prediction: Danaa via unanimous decision

Three more UFC Fight Night 157 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict, including the debut of a Shooto Brasil double champ. See you tomorrow, Maniacs!

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 157 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN “Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 3 a.m. ET, then the main card portion that will stream on ESPN+ at 6 a.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 157: “Andrade vs. Zhang” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.