It’s fight week! Well, just about every week is fight week anymore, so let me try that again: It’s PPV week! Hmm, doesn’t have the same ring. Regardless, there’s going to be some earth moving contests this week.
The early fights for UFC 265 don’t feature any notable name value, but they are all well-matched and have a high probability of producing some entertaining scraps. There are usually young prospects worth pointing out on the early prelims as well. These early prelims are no exception, but each of those prospects have been at a higher stock prior to this juncture of their careers. Of course, these contests offer them every chance to right that ship….
- Given the UFC doesn’t appear to put a lot of effort into building up the flyweight division, it could be said Manel Kape entered the organization earlier this year with as much hype as possible for someone at 125. It could also be said he hasn’t been a disappointment despite having dropped his first two appearances given one loss came against a contender in Alexandre Pantoja and the other a razor thin loss to top ten ranked Matheus Nicolau. Kape may be the best KO artist in the division this side of Deiveson Figueiredo, but he struggles to supplement with enough volume should the fight go the distance. There hasn’t been enough out of Ode Osbourne on the big stage to know if that’s a concern as none of his appearances under the UFC flag have gone beyond the first round. Osbourne hasn’t ever fought at flyweight and is used to out-athleting his opposition. I don’t know how well the weight cut will go and Kape is a better athlete, at least at first glance. Throw in the fact that Kape has a functional wrestling game to fall back on and Osbourne’s takedown defense appears to be faulty, Kape should get his UFC career on track. Kape via TKO of RD2
- Known primarily as a wrestler when he entered the UFC, Miles Johns has been forced to rely primarily on his jab to pick up wins at this level. Good thing his jab is pretty damned good, as the rest of his standup could use some more seasoning. Regardless, he still needs the threat of the takedown for his striking to work while his wrestling has had success when his opponent is expecting a fist to the face. In other words, he can’t fall in love with just one aspect to get his game going. Anderson dos Santos is a longtime veteran of the Brazilian scene who gets up in his opponent’s face in hopes of eliciting a mistake he can capitalize on. Johns can fall in love with just one aspect, but he doesn’t usually make the type of mistakes dos Santos capitalizes on. Regardless, dos Santos has never been easy to put away, so I wouldn’t expect Johns to secure a stoppage. Johns via decision
- There have been several attempts over the last two years to get Melissa Gatto in the Octagon for her debut. Though most believed she wasn’t a strong signing, a lot can change in two years, especially with someone as young as Gatto, who is still just 25. Maybe Gatto has shored up her shoddy striking. Maybe she’s developed a half-decent takedown game to allow her to utilize her strong submission game. Maybe she hasn’t. Regardless, while there is a lot of mystery to Gatto, there isn’t nearly as much around Victoria Leonardo. Though she has only been a professional for just over three years, Leonardo has fought frequently and established herself as a physical force on the mat with a functional standup game. She has been exposed by slick strikers who can avoid her power shots, but that doesn’t describe Gatto. Not knowing where Gatto is at leaves much to be debate, but what is known indicates Leonardo should have a fairly easy time.. Leonardo via submission of RD1
- There wasn’t much that impressed viewers in Johnny Munoz during his UFC debut as he spent the majority of the contest hunting unsuccessfully for takedowns against the fence. However, there is a silver lining. Not known for his striking, Munoz showed better than expected when actually willing to trade and never got a real chance to demonstrate his grappling, his true wheelhouse. If Munoz’s striking is improved, he might be able to use his length against the compact Jamey Simmons. Simmons does have a notable wrestling base, but he has also has fallen in love with trading on his feet on the regionals. Then again, he might not want to go to the mat anyway with Munoz. This smells like a bad stylistic matchup for Simmons as I have a hard time believing he won’t be willing to go to the mat. Munoz via submission of RD2