After a career-best victory over “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza, Jack Hermansson headlines once again this Saturday afternoon (Sept. 28, 2019), taking on fellow rising contender Jared Cannonier inside Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark. ESPN+ will also stream a clash between Olympic wrestling silver medalist Mark Madsen and Danillo Beluardo, as well as Gilbert Burns stepping up on short notice against fellow grappling ace Gunnar Nelson.
UFC Fight Night 160 features seven “Prelims” undercard bouts this time around, all of them on ESPN+. Let’s get to it!
145 lbs.: Giga Chikadze vs. Brandon Davis
Giga Chikadze (7-2) — who sports a 33-6 (22 KO) kickboxing record — lost his mixed martial arts (MMA) debut before winning five straight by first-round (technical) knockout. This was enough to earn him a “Contender Series” spot opposite Austin Springer, who choked him out late in the fourth.
In addition to the five (technical) knockouts, he has submitted his last two opponents by armbar and punches, respectively.
Brandon Davis (10-7) put on one of the best “Contender Series” fights to date against Austin Arnett, then took home “Fight of the Night” for his brawl with Steven Peterson after falling to Kyle Bochniak in his Octagon debut. He’s just 1-3 since, including a split decision loss to Kyung Ho Kang last month.
He’ll give up two inches of height and a half-inch of reach to Chikadze.
Chikadze is not UFC-ready. His “Contender Series” fight showed the lingering deficiencies in his grappling and his kick-heavy striking attack demands a level of takedown defense that I’m not sure he can achieve. His successful MMA record is entirely manufactured — five of his wins came over winless opponents and the other two were 1-10 and 2-32.
Davis isn’t much of a wrestler, admittedly, but he doesn’t really need to be. He’s tough enough to absorb whatever Chikadze can dish out, save perhaps the latter’s “Giga Kick” to the liver, and should be able to muscle him to the mat without much issue. As long as Davis fights with a modicum of strategy and exploits Chikadze’s issues on the ground, he grinds his way to either a decision or late submission.
Prediction: Davis via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Macy Chiasson vs. Lina Lansberg
Macy Chiasson (5-0) rewarded Kelvin Gastelum for picking her first among the Featherweights by scoring first-round finishes of Larissa Pacheco and Leah Letson on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28. She has been every bit as dominant in the Octagon itself, stopping Pannie Kianzad on the Finale before doing the same to Gina Mazany and Sarah Moras.
She has knocked out and submitted two pro foes apiece.
Lina Lansberg (9-4) got to headline in her UFC with the catch that it was against Cris “Cyborg,” who handed Lansberg the second (technical) knockout loss of her MMA career. She’s gone on to win three of her next five, including a decision over Tonya Evinger in her native Sweden this past June.
“The Elbow Queen” is four inches shorter than Chiasson and will give up seven inches of reach.
Chiasson is turning into a scary contender. She’s an absolute tank for the weight, towering over most of her compatriots, and she’s got the power to match. The struggles Lansberg had with Yana Kunitskaya suggest she’ll have heaps of issues trying to outmuscle Chiasson or stay on her feet against her, and the “Elbow Queen” lacks the one-shot power to slow Chiasson’s inexorable advance.
I doubt she can get back up once Chiasson drags her to the mat, either.
Provided Chiasson doesn’t decide to test her striking for too long, expect a quick takedown with a ground-and-pound stoppage following shortly thereafter.
Prediction: Chiasson via first-round technical knockout
155 lbs.: Marc Diakiese vs. Lando Vannata
Marc Diakiese (13-3) made an immediate UFC impression by racking up three consecutive victories, including a 30-second knockout of Teemu Packalen that remains among the most brutal finishes in recent memories. Three straight losses left him fighting for his UFC life, but he came up big against Joe Duffy in London this past March.
“Bonecrusher” will have one inch of height and two inches of reach on the “Groovy” one.
Lando Vannata (10-3-2) roared out of the gate in similar fashion with a “Fight of the Night” against Tony Ferguson and “Knockout of the Year” against John Makdessi soon after. He proceeded to go winless (0-2-2) in his next four before finally returning to the win column in February with a submission of Marcos Mariano.
He has just one decision win on his record, submitting five and knocking out four.
It’s worth comparing how these two broke their respective slumps. Diakiese took on a very legit foe in Joe Duffy and turned in a career-best performance, completely defusing a dangerous boxer with his striking and wrestling. UFC had to sign Marcos Mariano, the worst addition to the roster in recent memory, just to get Vannata a win. “Groovy” appears to have caught lightning in a bottle against Ferguson and had just enough left over to handle Makdessi; meanwhile, his complete inability to pace himself is something he just seems to lack the inclination or ability to fix.
Diakiese can match Vannata’s explosiveness and has an equally vast arsenal. It’s unlikely Vannata will be able to make much of a dent even when he’s fresh, and once he starts to flag, it’s all “Bonecrusher.” As against Duffy, Diakiese uses crushing leg kicks and regular takedowns to sap Vannata and open him up to 15 minutes of punishment.
Prediction: Diakiese via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Jack Shore vs. Nohelin Hernandez
Jack Shore (11-0) enjoyed a perfect (12-0) amateur run before joining the big leagues in 2016, where he’s fought in the venerable Cage Warriors promotion since his second bout. “Tank” claimed its vacant Bantamweight title in Dec. 2018 with a technical knockout of unbeaten Mike Ekundayo, then choked out Scott Malone in his first defense four months later.
His 10 finishes are split 6-4 between submissions and knockouts.
Nohelin Hernandez (10-3) — riding a four-fight win streak that included victories in Tachi Palace Fights, Bellator and LFA — answered the call when Marlon Vera lost his opponent during fight week last July. Hernandez kept it competitive for a round and a half before getting dropped and choked out for his second pro submission loss.
He is the shorter of the two by one inch.
Shore reminds me a lot of fellow Welshman Brett Johns, offering rock-solid wrestling and top control alongside unremarkable-but-effective standup. Like Johns, I’m not sure he has a standout ability that could carry him into the elite, but he’s effective and consistent enough that I don’t see many guys below that tier giving him major issues.
The best part of Hernandez’s game is his range boxing, which isn’t devastating enough to make up for the uphill battle he’ll face in the clinch and on the ground. Shore’s arsenal of foot sweeps and prolonged top control earn him a comfortable decision, possibly with a knockdown or two as icing.
Prediction: Shore via unanimous decision
Three more UFC Fight Night 160 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict, including “The Austrian Wonderboy” and a Middleweight newcomer promoted by Floyd Mayweather. 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 160 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, then the main card portion that will stream on ESPN+ at 2 p.m. ET.
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