UFC on ESPN 11: Blaydes vs. Volkov Predictions
Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov
This match-up makes a lot of sense as both of these heavyweights have been consistently putting together good runs in the UFC, with Blaydes only having lost to Francis Ngannou (twice) during his time in the Octagon, while Volkov’s only defeat was a last-gasp hail-Mary KO from Derrick Lewis in a fight the Russian had clearly been winning up until that point.
Volkov is an accomplished range fighter who uses his long, lanky frame and clean, straight punches to good effect, and while he’s not a devastating one-punch knockout style of fighter, opponents can wilt over time due to his offensive volume and strong cardio.
Blaydes is a reasonable striker, but he’s not as technical as Volkov. That being said, though he’s giving up 3” in height to the Russian, his 80” wingspin means he has only 1” less reach.
Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that Blaydes strongest suit is his wrestling and dangerous ground and pound, and he’s likely to be threatening with takedowns early and often.
Volkov’s tall frame may well leave him more vulnerable to being taken down, and the fact he doesn’t have the stopping power to make the most of his opportunities to strike I think Blaydes can get the upper-hand here with his wrestling and take a toll with his strikes from on top, eventually leading to a third round TKO stoppage.
Prediction: Curtis Blaydes to win by TKO in Rd3 – Bet Now
Josh Emmett vs. Shane Burgos
This should be an entertaining fight between two featherweights who have been making a good account of themselves in the division and are looking to push higher up the top 10 rankings.
Emmett has very good wrestling, but is also a heavy-hitter who has managed to finish several notable opponents in the division in recent years, including Mirsad Bektic, Michael Johnson and Ricardo Lamas – the latter two by KO.
As such, Emmett does like to focus on his striking, but in Burgos he’s facing a better technician who also has a 5.5” reach advantage and will apply good pressure with a higher output of strikes.
Burgos does also offer a submission threat if they do go to the mat, but it feels like both men will be looking to trade strikes here and while Emmett could absolutely hit a home run with a single punch and will be a danger throughout, I think it will be Burgos who consistently lands the clean punches and stays sharp on the counter to secure a decision victory.
Prediction: Shane Burgos to win by decision – Bet Now
Raquel Pennington vs. Marion Reneau
Saturday night will usher in Reneau’s 43rd birthday and she’ll also be hoping for a win after her only two fights in the past couple of years both ended in decision losses.
Time might not be on her side, but Reneau is still a physical presence in the Octagon and will look to utilize her striking, while also being a threat from submissions if they go to the mat.
Pennington has solid boxing, and though she’s never been a particularly hard hitter she should be able to outstrike Reneau here, while she’s well-rounded enough that she can also look for takedowns if required and I think between the two approaches she should have enough in her locker to earn a decision victory here.
Prediction: Raquel Pennington to win by decision – Bet Now
Lyman Good vs. Belal Muhammad
This will be an interesting stylistic match-up between a former Bellator welterweight champion in Good and a solid welterweight contender in Muhammed, who has won six of his last seven fights in the Octagon.
Good has a 2” height and reach advantage here and he’s the better athlete, as well as having proven knockout power that means his boxing packs a real punch.
Muhammad doesn’t have that finishing threat – the vast majority of his UFC wins have all gone the distance – but he is well rounded and hard working enough to stay competitive on the feet here, while also having the better wrestling of the two.
That being said, Good’s takedown defense is an asset and in prolonged striking exchanges I think he will gain the upper-hand and land the harder blows to earn a decision victory.
Prediction: Lyman Good to win by decision – Bet Now
Jim Miller vs. Roosevelt Roberts
UFC veteran Miller plays gatekeeper here to one of the most solid prospects to emerge from the Contender Series in Roberts, who is 4-1 in his UFC run to date.
Roberts only just fought a few weeks ago, earning a second round submission victory over Brok Weaver, so the fast turnaround is good in terms of getting paid, getting exposure and attempting to maintain momentum, but having to cut weight again (admittedly aided by this being a 160lb catchweight), not having a full camp to train specifically for the opponent and potentially still nursing bumps and bruises from the last outing isn’t ideal.
10 years Miller’s junior, Roberts has physical advantages here, being 5” taller together with having a 2” reach advantage, and his striking style caters to that, operating from range with straight punches, albeit not with a great deal of power.
Miller is more of a functional striker than a fearsome one, but it’s his ground game that’s always been his strongest suit and that makes for an interesting clash here since that’s where Robert excels too.
With his veteran savvy, Miller could be tricky for Roberts to deal with on the mat due to his BJJ skills and will likely shut down any hope of the younger man getting a submission finish himself. Still, I think Roberts will have the better cardio and can use his range work to outland Miller on the feet and edge him out in the wrestling and clinch work to win on the scorecards.
Prediction: Roosevelt Roberts to win by decision – Bet Now
UFC on ESPN 11 Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Bobby Green vs. Clay Guida
Tecia Torres vs. Brianna Van Buren
Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Oskar Piechota
Cortney Casey vs. Gillian Robertson
Frank Camacho vs. Matt Frevola
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Lauren Murphy
Austin Hubbard vs. Max Rohskopf