After racking up four one-sided victories, Heavyweight prospect, Jailton Almeida, steps up in class to battle heavy-hitting Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the main event of UFC Charlotte, which takes place this weekend (Sat., May 13, 2023) inside Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Also on tap is a volatile Light Heavyweight showdown between former title challenger, Anthony Smith, and the eclectic Johnny Walker, as well as Daniel Rodriguez vs. Ian Machado Garry and Tim Means vs. Alex Morono.
We’ve still got four UFC Charlotte “Prelims” undercard bouts to examine first, though (check out the first batch here). Let’s get cracking ...
170 lbs.: Matt Brown vs. Court McGee
Matt Brown (23-19) — reeling from consecutive losses to Miguel Baeza and Carlos Condit — smashed his way back into the win column with a one-punch finish of Dhiego Lima. “The Immortal” subsequently fell just short in a split decision loss to Bryan Barberena, though he did score his eighth UFC post-fight bonus in the process.
His 21 professional finishes include 15 by knockout.
Court McGee (22-11) secured his first multi-fight win streak since 2013, out-lasting Claudio Silva and Ramiz Brahimaj back-to-back. This set up a battle with Jeremiah Wells, who handed McGee just the second knockout loss of his career with a vicious left hook.
“The Crusher” stands one inch shorter than Brown at 5’11.”
On paper, this fight is tailor-made for McGee. Brown’s increasingly poor cardio has forced him to rely more and more on his wrestling these past few years, which plays right into the hands of “The Crusher.” Even if McGee failed to address many of his faults, his engine has never been in doubt, and Brown is neither significantly stronger than McGee nor a superior technical takedown artist.
McGee has always feasted on this level of grappling.
That’s all moot if Brown just knocks him stiff, of course, and that’s far from infeasible. McGee can be weirdly reticent to actually use his wrestling at times and just had his chin horrifically checked by Wells. However, I just don’t think Brown’s got enough left in the tank to deal with McGee’s suffocating pressure for any length of time before running out of steam. In the end, McGee grinds his way back into the win column.
Prediction: McGee via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Chase Sherman vs. Karl Williams
These two were supposed to fight last month and my opinion hasn’t changed, so I’m reusing what I had.
After nearly two years away from the promotion, Chase Sherman (16-11) scored his first UFC win since 2017, knocking out Ike Villanueva. He enters the cage this Saturday having lost five of six, though he did claim “Performance of the Night” for his finish of Jared Vanderaa.
All but one of his professional wins have come by knockout.
An upset decision over Jimmy Lawson on Contender Series extended Karl Williams’ (8-1) win streak to four and earned him a UFC contract. He ultimately debuted seven months later, leaning on his wrestling to claim a decisive victory over Lukasz Brzeski.
He was originally slated to face Sherman at UFC 287, but “The Vanilla Gorilla” withdrew because of medical issues on fight night.
Williams is, to put it mildly, a much less favorable matchup than the inconsistent and undersized Barnett. Sherman has never had an answer for persistent wrestlers, as seen in his quick submission losses to Jake Collier and Alexandr Romanov. Williams’ hands are also fast enough that I wouldn’t favor Sherman too heavily in a pure striking battle, either, much less with the threat of takedowns looming over his head.
All Williams has to do to win here is follow the same gameplan he utilized against Brzeski, which Sherman flat-out doesn’t have the means to stop. In other words, expect another grind-heavy victory for the Contender Series product.
Prediction: Williams via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Cody Stamann vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
Cody Stamann (215-1) went from starting his UFC career 5-1-1 to dropping three straight, including a 47-second guillotine loss to Said Nurmagomedov. “The Spartan” has since returned to form with back-to-back wins, the most recent of which saw him out-strike Luan Lacerda to a unanimous decision in hostile territory.
He gives up one inch of height and 3.5 inches of reach to Douglas Silva de Andrade (28-5).
After a four-year finish drought, “D’Silva” hit the ground running with back-to-back stoppage wins over Gaetano Pirrello and Sergey Morozov, the latter of which earned him “Fight of the Night.” This set up a clash with Said Nurmagomedov — and despite a spirited effort — Silva de Andrade ultimately fell short on all three scorecards.
He has knocked out 20 professional opponents and submitted another two.
I’d love to see Silva de Andrade finally get over the hump — he’s paid his dues and is pure excitement in the cage. That said, this is the level at which he consistently falls short. Stamann is seasoned, durable, a capable wrestler and boasts a solid gas tank, all traits that have given “D’Silva” issues in the past.
Silva de Andrade can’t out-wrestle Stamann the way Aljamain Sterling and Merab Dvalishvili did, catch him with an opportunistic submission like Nurmagomedov, or out-technique him like Jimmie Rivera. His only shot lies in hurting Stamann, which none of “The Spartan’s” 12 UFC opponents to date have managed. Stamann can stand up to Silva de Andrade’s power and neutralize him with both takedowns and consistent striking offense, so expect him to walk away with a decision win.
Prediction: Stamann via unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Carlos Ulberg vs. Ihor Potieria (20-3)
Carlos Ulberg (7-1) wiped out Bruno Oliveira on Contender Series to earn a UFC contract, only to lose a “Fight of the Night” to Kennedy Nzechukwu in his Octagon debut. “Black Jag” has since won three straight, including a pair of first round knockouts over Tafon Nchukwi and Nicolae Negumereanu.
Four of his five professional knockout wins have come in the first round.
Ihor Potieria (20-3) capped off a 15-fight win streak by knocking out Lukasz Sudolski on Contender Series, but found himself out-matched by Nicolae Negumereanu his next time out. His sophomore effort came six months later, when he stopped Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 283.
“Duelist” faces a one-inch height disadvantage and a two-inch reach disadvantage.
I just can’t picture this going well for Potieria. As with most of the division, Ulberg has him out-classed in striking technique, and Potieria’s iffy cardio means he can’t rely on just out-lasting “Black Jag” the way Nzechukwu did. It’s not like Potieria has much of a wrestling attack, either, so he’s at the mercy of Ulberg’s full kickboxing arsenal.
Potieria basically has to rely on clipping Ulberg with a stray shot if he wants to win. That may have been an outside possibility if he’d faced Ulberg earlier in the latter’s UFC career, but with the Nzechukwu and Cherant fights behind him, Ulberg’s advanced past the point where that’s a threat. In short, Ulberg melts him with a counter in the first five minutes.
Prediction: Ulberg via first round technical knockout
I mean, at least it’s free, right? See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Current Prediction Record for 2023: 65-36-1
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Charlotte fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET.
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