A pair of knockout artists will collide this Saturday evening (June 18, 2022) when Josh Emmett puts his win streak on the line opposite Calvin Kattar in a Featherweight main event clash. UFC Austin, which will take place inside Moody Center in Austin, Texas, also includes a battle of Lightweight legends Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone, which was supposed to take place last month. In addition, Kevin Holland attempts to remain undefeated at 170 pounds, while taking on “The Dirty Bird,” Tim Means.
Prior to all that, eight “Prelims” undercard bouts will set the stage, four of which we’ve broken down for you below. Let’s dig in ...
115 lbs.: Maria Oliveira vs. Gloria de Paula
Between Contenders Series and her actual debut, Maria Oliveira (12-5) has made a pair of trips to UFC’s Octagon, but she’s yet to have her hand raised. The Brazilian “Spider Girl” is fairly tall and rangy for the division, a Muay Thai striker who does her best work at distance. Still, the 24-year-old is a bit green on the canvas, and she can get a bit flat-footed even in her preferred style of fighting.
Fortunately, Gloria de Paula (6-4) is not much of a wrestler herself. Another fighter who started in Muay Thai, Oliveira began her UFC career with a pair of defeats before righting the ship opposite Diana Belbita. So far, she’s finished half of her career victories via knockout.
Okay, so neither woman is lighting the world on fire to start the promotional careers. They’re both still reasonably young in the game, so further development from each should be expected. Unfortunately, Oliveira has yet to really prove herself UFC level. Her ground game is a major liability, and frankly, her striking doesn’t look quite as sharp as de Paula’s own Muay Thai. “Glorinha” is more accurate, throws more volume and might even be the heavier hitter.
Likely, de Paula wins the kickboxing exchanges and maybe even spends some time in top control en route to her first UFC win streak.
Prediction: de Paula via decision
135 lbs.: Eddie Wineland vs. Cody Stamann
Times have been tough for Eddie Wineland (24-15), who’s doing his best to survive UFC’s most competitive weight class at the age of 37. Wineland still has snap on his punches and good skill, but it’s not easy to keep up with faster, younger opposition, which explains the reason the former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) champ has lost four of his last five bouts.
More concerning, his last two defeats came via knockout.
Cody Stamann (19-5-1) has been struggling, too. Unlike Wineland, however, his recent trio of losses came to darn tough competition like Jimmie Rivera and Said Nurmagomedov. Still, he’s fallen a long way from the Top 10, and it’s easy to consider this a must-win fight for the Karate striker.
I consider myself a Wineland fan, and I’d love to see him buck the odds and do well here, but this style match up is all wrong for him. Even at his peak, Wineland struggled with fleet-footed opponents who could outmaneuver him (like Joseph Benavidez in 2011).
Stamann has genuinely excellent footwork. He’s not the most deadly striker, but he can land his side kicks at distance, dance away and convince foes to walk into shots like few others. In addition, Stamann is a top-notch wrestler, and it only gets more difficult with age to win a grueling war of attrition.
The most likely outcome here is clear: Stamann frustrates Wineland with movement before racking up top control for a clear-cut decision win.
Prediction: Stamann via decision
185 lbs.: Phil Hawes vs. Deron Winn
Phil Hawes (11-3) is a serious physical specimen at Middleweight. “Megatron” is brutally fast and majorly strong, which are major reasons behind his ability to rack up nine finishes in 11 wins. A standout wrestler with slick striking, so far durability has been the only thing holding Hawes back from breaking into the Top 15.
Deron Winn (7-2) rebounded well last time out, saving his job by decisioning Antonio Arroyo. A longtime training partner of Daniel Cormier, Winn is a 5’6” scrapper who relies on his double-leg and overhand to make up for his usual range disadvantage.
I’ll confess that I am not at all sold on Winn as a successful UFC-level Middleweight. Each and every fight, he faces major physical disadvantages. Thus far, he’s only been able to defeat opponents when he holds massive wrestling advantages, and that doesn’t at all sound like Hawes. It’s highly unlikely that Winn easily drags the superior athlete and bigger man to the canvas, and the attempts to do so will likely be exhausting.
Really, Winn’s best chance to win here is that overhand right. He does hit hard and put together combinations well, and Hawes’ chin has been cracked on a few occasions. If he commits fully to the kickboxing, he has a decent chance at catching his opponent.
Instead, expect Winn to try to wrestle, get tired, then get clipped.
Prediction: Phil Hawes via knockout
185 lbs.: Roman Dolidze vs. Kyle Daukaus
Roman Dolidze (9-1) is a pretty bizarre fighter. He’s got some pretty serious credentials on the mat, having won Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC)’s European trials and competed in the official tournament. However, he didn’t get into mixed martial arts (MMA) until later in life, and as a result, his overall game is a bit disjointed.
He’s still a big, strong man for 185 pounds.
Kyle Daukaus (11-2) has yet to put together a win streak inside the Octagon, but he’s shown a pretty solid set of skills. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt really thrives in transition, and he does a nice job of forcing opponents into continued wrestling exchanges.
Dolidze’s last couple fights have been pretty miserable viewing experiences, but this should be much more fun. Both of these men like to grapple and transition, so there should be lots of fun movement and submission attempts on the canvas. It’s unclear which man is the better wrestler or better jiu-jitsu player — we’ll find out Saturday.
What is clear is that Daukaus is the far more effective offensive fighter. Daukaus is far more active on the feet, and despite having no knockout wins on his record (unlike Dolidze), he’s actually the more damage-focused man. As the grappling war of attrition wages on, expect Daukaus punch and elbow connections to start shifting the momentum to his corner.
Prediction: Daukaus via decision
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Austin fight card right here, starting with the ESPN2/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.
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