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UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Volkov complete preliminary card preview

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Even with a fight cancellation, there’s a lot to love to open the combat festivities.

It’s back to the Apex once again for the UFC, as the fight train keeps rolling in an already truncated 2020 schedule. Much like last week, this is another action card with divisional movement despite having few ranked fighters.

Will this be a card with surprising finishes like last week’s? Hard to predict, as the last card wasn’t expected to deliver the way it did. You never know with most of these cards, but there’s a fair amount of matchups between fighters that have pretty aggressive offensive styles. This is a good one on paper, and serves the purpose that these cards are designed for. Can’t really ask for much else.

Clay Guida vs Bobby Green

Two very skilled but also frustrating lightweights will close out the prelims on this one. Guida (35-19) — along with fellow veteran Jim Miller — will be setting a new record with his appearance on this card along with his other current milestones. A bouncy standup fighter with aggressive takedowns and a wild pace from top position, Guida can fall into lulls and feint his way out of a decision win in some fights.

But California’s Bobby Green (24-10, 1 draw) loves to lure opponents with his feints and switches as well. His boxing game is pretty slick and his submissions have some serious bite on them. Guida’s path to victory (as in most of his fights) will be to rely on takedowns and his endless cardio, but Green has the opportunity to piece him up coming in and sprawl or shuck off takedowns early. We can expect Guida to try out some hard leg kicks and work level changes as Green works his counter game and attempts to pace himself while chipping away at mid-range.

Tecia Torres vs Brianna Van Buren

Tiny Tornado Tecia Torres (10-5) may be on a four-fight losing skid, but they were all decisions to two former champs in Joanna (Former) Champion and Jessica Andrade, the current strawweight queen Weili Zhang, and surging contender Marina Rodriguez. All of these have been decision losses, which is unsurprising because Torres is almost incapable of being finished. Her flustering style of rushing with flurries, shifting in and out and picking away at opponents presents some challenges, but she’s also been getting controlled in that losing stretch by larger and stronger fighters.

Brianna Van Buren (9-2) has been putting in serious work, running the table in the inaugural Phoenix Series tournament event. This immediately got her into the UFC to defeat former Invicta champ Livia Renata Souza in her promotional debut. Van Buren is deceptively strong, closes the distance quick, powers through her takedowns and puts some sting on her strikes up close. Torres could work mixups with her cat-and-mouse routine with some veteran savvy here, and also has some wild scrambles to help her get out of trouble and into superior position on the ground. This should be a fun one from bell to bell and a great test to see if Torres can still hang in the upper end of the division or if Van Buren is ready for this level.

Marc-André Barriault vs Oskar Piechota

Oskar Piechota (11-3, 1 draw) came to the UFC with some good expectations that unfortunately haven’t panned out. After winning his first two fights, he’s dropped three straight against submission aces Gerald Meerschaert and Rodolfo Vieira, then getting dusted by a debuting Punahele Soriano last December. A sturdy middleweight with a measured and well-rounded game, he’s a generalist with fine cardio and very patient offense.

Barriault (11-4) is a product of the Canadian scene, where he ended up being middleweight and light heavyweight champ in TKO. Yet his UFC run has unfortunately not gone as well as projected and now he’s in what is most likely a fight for a roster spot as he’s lost all three of his UFC bouts to date by decision. Barriault can bully opponents inside with punches, elbows and body shots, utilize forward pressure and make fighters carry his weight against the cage to test sap their cardio. Piechota can work the distance game better, but can have all of his work undone with a few hard shots or a prolonged period of inactivity paired with being controlled. Barring some sort of surprise, this could be a somewhat unpleasant viewing experience, so just keep that in mind going in.

Cortney Casey vs Gillian Robertson

Cast Iron Cortney Casey (9-7) doesn’t get enough credit for her durability and strong wrestling game, all while working on improving her defense. Currently 5-6 in her UFC run, she seems to have approached her final form, tightening up her boxing with shots down the middle having more sting and purpose, and her ground control being coupled with much more efficient offense in the form of strikes and submission attempts. Her last outing was just a scant few weeks ago against Mara Romero Borella, where she snatched up a lovely armbar off her back.

Across from her will be American Top Team’s Gillian Robertson (7-4), one of the more interesting prospects out of The Ultimate Fighter with a fair amount of potential. While losing her first bout to savvy veteran Barb Honchak, she submitted another talented grappler in Emily Whitmire, choked out Cage Warriors champ Molly McCann and Veronica Macedo and went on to bust open Sarah Frota. While that was followed by a loss to Maycee Barber and she’s had some setbacks, Robertson is steadily improving and making adjustments from fight to fight. We’ll have to see if her striking has improved since her last fight in October, and how she’ll deal with Casey’s power and control from top position.

Frank Camacho vs Justin Jaynes

Frank Camacho (22-8) has been one of the most recklessly violent additions to the UFC since joining in 2017. Despite being 2-4, he’s big on brawling and being extra exciting to watch. You know what he does and what he’s about, big swings, takedown defense, and leaving it all out there.

Justin Jaynes (15-4) is an Xtreme Couture rep that’s been a professional since 2013 and has four straight wins, three of them being finishes. Having only won by decision twice, he’s got a nasty guillotine and great finishing instincts when he has an opponent hurt. He’ll have to survive barrages from Camacho to get the fight where he wants it, but he’s wily enough to make it work.

Roxanne Modafferi vs Lauren Murphy

Former Invicta champ Lauren Murphy (12-4) has faced so much adversity in life prior to MMA, and channels that resilience into her fighting career. She’s sharpened her skills at the MMA Lab with John Crouch & company, putting more snap on her punches and improving her offensive grappling and positional control.

Bloody Elbow’s own Modafferi has been very busy during quarantine, working extra hard on her conditioning and itching to put that recently earned black belt through the paces. With her disruptive style, better strike selection and great BJJ background, this looks to be a close fight between two veterans still hungry for competition.

Austin Hubbard vs Max Rohskopf

Austin Hubbard was originally slated to have Joe Solecki as his dance partner but now has a tall order ahead with 25-year-old Max Rohskopf filling in. Max is a national wrestling champ fighting out of Las Vegas that’s currently 5-0 as a professional, with all of his wins by submission.

Yet Hubbard went 8-1 as an amateur before turning pro and amassing a 11-4 record. Currently 1-2 in the UFC, he had tough losses against another wrestling phenom in Mark Madsen and Davi Ramos. After a respectable run with LFA, he’s tried to find his footing in the UFC with his heavy hands and submission game.

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Camacho takes place this Saturday night at 6:00pm EST, streaming on ESPN+ and also airing on ESPN television.