After a pair of scale fails at Strawweight, Cynthia Calvillo will try her hand at 125 pounds this Saturday (June 13, 2020) when she headlines the latest show inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, against former title challenger Jessica Eye. UFC on ESPN 10 also features a Middleweight clash between Marvin Vettori and Karl Roberson, what looks like a grapplers’ delight pitting Ray Borg against Merab Dvalishvili, and Andre Fili vs. Charles Jourdain at Featherweight.
Four UFC on ESPN 10 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict (check out the first batch here); therefore, let’s not leave ‘em hanging.
155 lbs.: Charles Rosa vs. Kevin Aguilar
Charles Rosa (12-4) — out of action for 2.5 years — returned in a big way with an upset submission of Manny Bermudez in Oct. 2019, earning his fourth post-fight bonus in the process. Things went a bit worse for “Boston Strong” last month against Bryce Mitchell, who continued Rosa’s trend of alternating wins and losses with a dominant grappling performance.
Eleven of his 12 professional wins have come by stoppage, eight of them submissions.
A shaky performance on “Contender Series” didn’t stop Kevin Aguilar (17-3) from joining UFC four months later and extending his win streak to nine with two consecutive wins. He has yet to recapture that momentum, dropping a decision to Dan Ige and suffering a stoppage loss to Zubaira Tukhugov.
Though shorter by two inches, he’ll have four inches of reach on Rosa.
If Aguilar’s still got it, this is his fight to lose. He’s much sharper and heavier-handed on the feet than Rosa, who will have all sorts of trouble getting “The Angel of Death” to the mat and keeping him there. After watching Aguilar get buckled repeatedly by Ige and Tukhugov, though, it’s not hard to imagine one clean shot from Rosa undoing all of Aguilar’s good work.
Luckily for Aguilar, Rosa hasn’t scored a (T)KO in over six years, and while a similar drought didn’t stop Leonard Garcia from laying Aguilar out back in 2013, it’s reason enough to put faith in Aguilar’s boxing. His reach and overall technical edge win the day in a fun, fast-paced striking battle.
Prediction: Aguilar via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Julia Avila vs. Gina Mazany
After suffering her first professional defeat because of a horrifying compound fracture, Julia Avila (7-1) scored a pair of technical knockout finishes to earn a spot in the Octagon. Her debut saw her drop The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran Pannie Kianzad twice on her way to a decision victory.
“The Raging Panda” has knocked out three professional foes and submitted one other.
Gina Mazany (6-3) — a TUF 18 competitor — left the Octagon after a technical knockout loss to Macy Chiasson capped off a 1-3 run. She returned to action last January, picking up her first win since 2017 with a technical knockout stoppage of Valerie Barney in King of The Cage.
She steps in for Karol Rosa on just over a week’s notice.
To paraphrase “ZooFights,” one of the best things to ever come out of SomethingAwful.com: I cannot fault Mazany’s bravery, only her results. As much as I respect her for stepping up at the last minute against one of the division’s strongest up-and-comers, her struggles in the Octagon suggest that she’s in serious trouble. Avila’s defensive wrestling is more than sufficient to keep it on the feet and she hits more than hard enough to repeat Chiasson’s successful efforts; Mazany needs to get top position to pose any sort of threat to Avila, but simply lacks the tools to do so.
Avila has the power and skills to potentially challenge for the title before too long, and she’ll prove it by starching Mazany in the opening round.
Prediction: Avila via first-round technical knockout
125 lbs.: Ryan Benoit vs. Tyson Nam
Ryan Benoit (10-6) — who made his Octagon debut back in 2013 — has alternated wins and losses since that “Fight of the Night” submission defeat to Josh Sampo. His most recent effort say him return from a two-year absence to drop a narrow split decision to Alateng Heili in Busan.
All but two of his pro wins have come by form of knockout.
Tyson Nam (18-11-1) entered UFC on a 6-1-1 run, the only loss coming to FNG champion and future UFC signee Zhalgas Zhumagalov. He’s still looking for his first Octagon victory, though, losing consecutive decisions to Sergio Pettis and Kai Kara-France.
He stands two inches taller than Benoit.
This is do-or-die for Nam. The good news is that Benoit is among the more favorable match ups the promotion could find in UFC’s Flyweight division. That’s because in addition to not being a takedown threat, “Babyface” relies more on power and speed than technique when striking, which plays right into the counter-savvy Nam’s hands.
In short, if Nam can’t win this, he doesn’t belong in the Octagon.
From here, Nam’s significant striking edge looks more convincing than his tendency to let fights slip out of his fingers. He potshots Benoit for either a mid-round stoppage or close-but-clear decision.
Prediction: Nam via unanimous decision
145 lbs.: Jordan Griffin vs. Darrick Minner
Jordan Griffin (18-7) clubbed and subbed Maurice Mitchell on “Contender Series” to earn both a UFC contract and his ninth win in 10 fights. Though he fell short against both Dan Ige and Chas Skelly, “Native Psycho” came up big with his back against the wall by choking out T.J. Brown in February.
He’ll enjoy three inches of height and 3.5 inches of reach on Darrick Minner (24-11).
Minner rebounded from his “Contender Series” loss to Herbert Burns with two submission wins in a combined 2:30, setting up a late-notice UFC debut on that same February card. In his twelfth consecutive fight to end inside the distance, he ended up tapping to a rear-naked choke early in the second round. He’s defeated 21 opponents by submission and has not won by decision since 2015.
These two first fought in March 2018, with Minner doing some good ground work early before getting caught in an armbar. The match up doesn’t look to have changed much — Minner’s the same submission-over-position attacker he’s always been and Griffin still has the edge in striking and submission defense.
Minner’s strategy remains the same regardless of his opponent, so there’s no reason to think the sequel will be too different than the original. Hell, the guy’s so committed to forcing a jiu-jitsu match that he willingly tangoed with Burns on the mat. Griffin’s submission defense once again carries him through the rough patches until he can wrap up Minner’s neck or arm.
Prediction: Griffin via second-round submission
... I mean, at least it’s more free fights, right? See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 10 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET.
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