COVID-19 has struck yet again, pulling Glover Teixeira from his headlining bout against Thiago Santos this Saturday (Sept. 12, 2020) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Instead, women’s Strawweight contenders Angela Hill and Michelle Waterson will duke it out in UFC Vegas 10’s main event on ESPN+. In the co-feature, unexpected Lightweight contender Khama Worthy takes on slugger Ottman Azaitar, while Andrea Lee and Roxanne Modafferi lock horns at 125 pounds.
UFC Vegas 10 features seven “Prelims” undercard bouts this time around, all of which join the main card on ESPN+. Let’s begin with the first four below:
155 lbs.: Roosevelt Roberts vs. Matt Frevola
Roosevelt Roberts (10-2) rode the momentum of his successful “Contender Series” bout to win four of his first five Octagon fights, earning “Performance of the Night” for his guillotine finish of Darrell Horcher. Jim Miller proved trickier than expected, however, and handed Roberts the first stoppage loss of his career via second-round armbar.
His eight professional finishes are split 5/3 between submissions and knockouts.
The submission victory for Matt Frevola (8-1-1) on “Contender Series” failed to produce immediate UFC success, as Polo Reyes knocked him flat in 60 seconds. “Steamrolla” went on to go 2-0-1 in his next three, all fights in which he entered as the underdog.
Though five inches shorter than Roberts, he gives up just two inches of reach.
Between Roberts’ height, reach, boxing advantage, and killer guillotine, I see this being a fairly comfortable night for him. Frevola lacks the sheer physicality that Vinc Pichel used to overwhelm “The Predator” or the sort of submission prowess to trouble him on the mat the way Miller did. He’s outclassed at range, technically inferior on the inside, and can’t implement his wrestling with the threat of Roberts’ aforementioned guillotine.
Frevola’s best chance lies in making this a truly ugly slog of a fight, but Roberts just has too many advantages to make that battleplan feasible. Whether through a club-and-sub or in response to a takedown, Roberts snatches up his neck before too long.
Prediction: Roberts via first-round submission
155 lbs.: Alan Patrick vs. Bobby Green
Brazil’s Alan Patrick (15-2) worked his way up the Lightweight ladder with wins in five of his first six Octagon appearances, the sole loss coming to destructive finisher Mairbek Taisumov. His success wasn’t to last, as -320 odds failed to carry him past Scott Holtzman at UFC 229.
This will mark the first fight for “Nuguette” in nearly two years.
Though he entered 2020 on a 1-4-1 skid, Bobby Green’s (26-10-1) year has proven fruitful. After taking out Clay Guida in June, he returned just six weeks later to avenge his 2017 draw with Lando Vannata, scoring “Fight of the Night” in the process.
He replaces the injured “Kazula” Vargas on less than two weeks’ notice.
Patrick is 100 percent reliant on being able to take down his opponent regularly. Indeed, though tall and rangy for the division, the Holtzman fight showed that he’s still lost on the feet, and he’s never landed more than 40 significant strikes in a 15-minute fight. Green — who shut down another straightforward grinder in Clay Guida — has all the tools necessary to recreate Holtzman’s efforts and demolish “Nuguette” in the stand up while defusing his wrestling.
“King” is just too difficult for Patrick to hold down and too adept with his boxing to be thrown off by the Brazilian’s offbeat, low-output offense. Green steadily takes him apart for his first Octagon finish in almost seven years.
Prediction: Green via third-round technical knockout
125 lbs.: Justine Kish vs. Sabina Mazo
Though The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) run for Justine Kish (6-2) was cut short, she started strong in the Octagon with controversial decisions over Nina Ansaroff and Ashley Yoder. While losses to Felice Herrig and Ji Yeon Kim followed, she got back in track in January by upsetting Lucie Pudilova.
She gives up two inches of height and five inches of reach to Sabina Mazo (8-1).
“Colombian Queen” entered the Octagon with some serious momentum thanks to an impressive LFA run, but fell short against Maryna Moroz in her March 2019 debut. She found more success in her next two bouts, dominating Shana Dobson and taking a narrow decision over J.J. Aldrich at UFC 246.
Both of her professional knockout wins came by first-round head kick.
If there was ever a hype train for Justine Kish, it’s left the station at this point. Her technical deficiencies have become painfully apparent, especially on the ground, and she isn’t even particularly devastating in her ostensible wheelhouse. There just isn’t much she can offer here against a lengthier and more technically savvy striker outside of the blanketing top control she employed against Ansaroff, and her takedowns look insufficient to bring that to bear.
So long as Mazo maintains range and doesn’t get complacent in the clinch, she’ll take apart Kish as the latter fruitlessly struggles to close distance. When the dust settles, “Colombian Queen” makes it 3-1 in the Octagon with a dominant decision.
Prediction: Mazo via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Julia Avila vs. Sijara Eubanks
Julia Avila (8-1) entered the Octagon on the heels of consecutive knockout wins, and though she failed to put Pannie Kianzad away in her debut, she nonetheless walked away with a clean decision victory. “Raging Panda” returned to her finishing ways in June, pounding out Gina Mazany in just 22 seconds.
She was slated to rematch Nicco Montano this past Saturday before the former Flyweight champ tested positive for COVID-19 (details).
Sijara Eubanks’ (5-4) move from 125 to 135 pounds failed to pay immediate dividends, as she dropped consecutive decisions to Aspen Ladd and Bethe Correia. She got back on track in May, taking a wide decision over TUF vet Sarah Moras.
She was slated to face Karol Rosa this past weekend before the Brazilian withdrew on weigh-in day.
I expected Eubanks to have all sorts of issues with Karol Rosa thanks to the latter’s takedown defense and ridiculous striking output. Avila isn’t quite as busy on the feet, but she’s similarly adept at staying there and boasts some of the division’s heaviest hands. “Sarj” is in just as much trouble as before, with the added potential of serious head trauma.
While Eubanks could feasibly grind out a decision from top control, Avila’s cardio keeps her dangerous throughout the fight, while Eubanks has been known to fade. What success Eubanks finds will come early, and as her jiu-jitsu pedigree has failed to translate to MMA submission finishes, she’s unlikely to put away Avila before the latter starts to take over. In the end, Avila batters her in the latter two rounds for either a wide decision or late stoppage.
Prediction: Avila via unanimous decision
Three more UFC Vegas 10 “Prelims” undercard bouts to preview and predict tomorrow, including an intriguing Flyweight match up and a Lightweight slugfest pitting Frank Camacho against Brok Weaver. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 10 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ 8 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 10: “Waterson vs. Hill” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.