Alexa Grasso — the last remaining Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Mexican champion — looks to recreate her historic upset this Saturday evening (Sept. 16, 2023) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, when she rematches former division queenpin, Valentina Shevchenko. “Noche UFC” will also see fast-rising Aussie, Jack Della Maddelena, battle Welterweight iron man, Kevin Holland, and young prospect, Raul Rosas Jr., attempt to bounce back from his first-ever defeat at Terrence Mitchell’s expense.
115 lbs.: Lupita Godinez vs. Elise Reed
Lupita Godinez (10-3) struggled her way to a 1-2 UFC start, an armbar finish of Silvana Gomez Juarez sandwiched between decision losses to Jessica Penne and Luana Carolina. “Loopy” enters the cage this Saturday 4-1 in her last five appearances, including a perfect (2-0) 2023 run that saw her beat Cynthia Calivllo and Emily Ducote in less than two months.
She gives up one inch of height and two inches of reach to Elise Reed (7-3).
Reed’s pristine professional start (4-0) saw her beat Jasmine Jasudavicius for CFFC gold in her second bout, then make two successful defenses before her short-notice UFC debut. She sits at 3-3 in the Octagon, notably upsetting prospects Cory McKenna and Melissa Martinez along the way.
This marks her second change of opponent for the evening, as she was previously slated to meet Cynthia Calvillo and Iasmin Lucindo.
Godinez can make this very, very easy on herself if she just leans on her wrestling. Reed is elusive, sure, but each of her UFC opponents have taken her down at least once. Godinez is a better wrestler than all of them save Sijara Eubanks, and that’s only by virtue of Eubanks being at least 20 pounds bigger than “Loopy.”
What makes Godinez so frustrating to follow is that you could have said the same thing about her fight with Angela Hill, whom she insisted on trying to box. Conversely, she could have out-boxed Penne and Carolina, but insisted on trying to grapple them. That said, she still manages to win most of the time and has such an obvious edge on the ground that I can’t pick against her. In the end, she dominates Reed on the mat for her third win of the year.
Prediction: Godinez via unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Roman Kopylov vs. Josh Fremd
Various issues held Roman Kopylov (11-2) to just two UFC appearances in nearly three years, both of them losses at the hands of Karl Roberson and Albert Duraev. He subsequently reignited his career with three consecutive knockouts, the most recent of which saw him smoke Claudio Ribeiro with a head kick less than two months ago.
Outside of his professional debut, all of his wins have come by knockout.
A gutsy effort couldn’t carry Josh Fremd (11-4) past Anthony Hernandez in his UFC debut, nor could it save him from a Tresean Gore guillotine his next time out. He’s since scored back-to-back wins over Sedriques Dumas and Jamie Pickett, though he did miss weight by three pounds against the latter.
He replaces Anthony Hernandez on short notice for his second bout in little more than one month.
First off, props to Fremd — he nuked the scales and underwhelmed against someone he should have out-classed, so I respect the bid for immediate redemption. It’s just not going to go well. Kopylov has him thoroughly out-classed in terms of kickboxing technique and has proven enormously difficult to take down during his Octagon tenure.
Fremd’s best shot at victory lies in neutralizing Kopylov against the fence and steadily wearing him down until fatigue dulls Kopylov’s edge. Unfortunately for him, Kopylov gets stronger as fights progress and completely outclassed a stronger grappler in Punahele Soriano. In short, he shuts down Fremd’s wrestling and takes him apart on the feet en route to another stoppage win.
Prediction: Kopylov via second round technical knockout
125 lbs.: Edgar Chairez vs. Daniel Lacerda
Edgar Chairez (10-5) put his unsuccessful Contender Series bid behind him with a pair of submission wins, the latter of which earned him both Fury FC gold and viral infamy when the referee failed to recognize that he’d choked Gianni Vazquez unconscious. He then stepped up to battle top prospect Tatsuro Taira on short notice, whom Chairez dropped in the first round but failed to put away en route to a decision loss.
“Pitbull” stands one inch taller than Daniel Lacerda (11-5) and boasts a two-inch reach advantage.
“Miojo” entered the Octagon in 2021 at 11-1, his sole loss a freak injury stoppage two years prior. He’s yet to claim his first UFC victory, suffering four consecutive stoppage losses, but taking home “Fight of the Night” for his March 2023 brawl with C.J. Vergara.
His 11 finishes include 10 in the first round.
What’s interesting about this fight is that both men have only one round of cardio, but they compensate in two very different yet equally unsuccessful ways. Chairez tries to make that thimble-sized gas tank last the distance, resulting in minutes at a time of total lethargy, while Lacerda lets the afterburners roar from the opening bell and flames out in appropriately spectacular fashion.
Though Lacerda’s approach is far more entertaining, odds are it’ll once again let him down. Chairez is tough enough to weather the early explosion and pounce once Lacerda is running on fumes; for all his faults, Chairez knows how to capitalize on the sorts of opportunities Lacerda will give him. When the dust settles, he fights out of an early deficit by finding Lacerda’s neck for the comeback finish.
Prediction: Chairez via second round submission
Well, es lo que es. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Current Prediction Record for 2023: 131-81-1 (2 NC)
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