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Diggin’ Deep on UFC Rochester: Dos Anjos vs. Lee - Prelims preview

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Get the scoop on the first half of action from UFC Rochester, featuring a featherweight clash between former Invicta champions Megan Anderson and Felicia Spencer.

The preliminary contests of UFC Rochester struggle to create intrigue. It isn’t that there aren’t intriguing characters. Trevin Giles looks as though he has the potential to be a transcendent middleweight prospect. Julio Arce has yet to be in a boring fight in his UFC stint, looking like he could be a mainstay as an action fighter at the least. Des Green has started to gain some traction too. However, the opposition in these contests don’t feel as though the UFC is ready to be pushing these men as many feel they should be. That isn’t the entire narrative for all these contests though. There is a woman’s featherweight contest between Megan Anderson and Felicia Spencer that could provide the next opponent for Amanda Nunes’ first title defense at featherweight. If forced to take the prelims as a whole, that contest alone makes these contests relevant.

The prelims begin on ESPN+ at 5:00 PM ET/2:00 PM PT on Saturday.

Megan Anderson (8-3) vs. Felicia Spencer (6-0), Women’s Featherweight

After a disappointing UFC debut against Holly Holm, Anderson rebounded with a win over Cat Zingano. The win came via a freak accident as Anderson’s toe went directly into Zingano’s eye on a kick, but it was a legit win nonetheless. However, it also came just a minute into the contest, leaving many questions unanswered that arose from the Holm loss such as range management and takedown defense. It can be said Anderson showed continual progress in those areas in her stint in Invicta, but the competition there wasn’t quite to the level of Spencer.

Speaking of Spencer, she is making her UFC debut after replacing Anderson as the reigning featherweight champion in Invicta. Her skill set is ideal for pulling off the upset over the more established Anderson as she owns the best combination of size and wrestling Anderson has seen up to this point. However, the experience Anderson has picked up against Holm and Zingano should account for something. Plus, none of Spencer’s previous opposition possess the combination of power and technique possessed by the dangerous Anderson.

Though I’m sure Anderson is going to be picked by the majority of the prognosticators – understandably and rightfully so – I’m going on a limb and going with Spencer. Anderson has improved her ground game after some early career snafus, but it’s also concerning that someone like Holm was able to take her down multiple times with ease. I like the chance of Spencer to take advantage of that. Spencer via decision

As for the rest….

  • Mike Trizano has had his work cut out for him in trying to convince people he’s a prospect worth keeping an eye on. Despite no singular standout skills, Trizano has managed to outpoint both Joe Giannetti and Luis Pena at lightweight. Now moving to his more natural weight class of featherweight, he takes on stout takedown specialist Grant Dawson. Trizano hasn’t faced anyone near the wrestling caliber of Dawson. Dawson’s aggressive GnP will either secure a stoppage or allow him to outpoint the scrappy Trizano. Dawson via decision
  • Following his destruction of a shopworn Ross Pearson in March, Des Green immediately asked for a spot on the Rochester card and got his wish when young French Canadian Charles Jourdain agreed to step in the Octagon with him. A natural featherweight, Jourdain is a creative striker without a single victory via decision. Green is a neutralizer who tends to take away what his opponent does best. Given Jourdain’s struggles with wrestling, expect the more experienced and larger Green to make Jourdain’s UFC debut a tough one. Green via decision
  • A member of the UFC roster since 2006, it looks like Ed Herman is reaching the end of the line as he enters this contest with three losses in a row. Typically durable and always savvy, he’ll look to rebound against wrestler Patrick Cummins, on a two fight losing streak of his own. Cummins has improved his defense enough that he isn’t nearly as prone to being put to sleep as he once was, making it difficult to see the glacially slow Herman score one of his KO’s out of nowhere he occasionally pulls out of his bag. Cummins utilizes takedowns and ground work for a decision. Cummins via decision
  • Newcomer Michel Pereira is a divisive character. An aggressive, wild, and creative striker, Pereira has secured a lot of unique highlights in his career. However, if he doesn’t get an early finish, he tends to gas out and succumb to exhaustion. He also hasn’t faced a high level of competition, lacking a single signature win. He’ll be welcomed to the UFC by former boxer Danny Roberts. Roberts has become a solid scrambler in addition to diversifying his striking arsenal, though he isn’t the most durable. If he can survive Pereira’s early onslaught – not an easy task -- expect him to secure a finish in the latter half of the contest. Roberts via TKO of RD2
  • Many have forgotten about Trevin Giles as he hasn’t been in action since December 2017. He’s worth remembering as he easily disposed of James Bochnovic and Antonio Braga Neto while flashing above average athleticism. He gets a difficult test in plodding counter striker Zak Cummings. Cummings is amongst the poorest athletes on the roster, but he’s got power in his punches and a top heavy ground game. Giles has had issues with grappling, but he’s made consistent progress and Cummings is on the backside of his career. Expect a Giles win one way or another. Giles via TKO of RD3
  • Somehow, Julian Erosa continues to find his way on to hang around the UFC, though this is assuredly his last opportunity to stick around. A tricky striker with a lanky frame, he’ll need to the fight standing if he hopes to win. Another issue is he doesn’t have much power, meaning his route to victory usually consists of decisions when facing decent competition. He’s not getting an easy opponent to get back on track as Julio Arce is a versatile grappler with a varied striking background. Even if Arce can’t get Erosa to the ground, I’d still expect him to find victory, starting the card with a bang in the process. Arce via submission of RD2