The card that breaks up the break in between UFC 225 and UFC 226 comes live from Singapore and features a heated main event. Leon Edwards and Donald Cerrone battle in a welterweight showdown. Edwards looks to launch himself into the top 10 and Cerrone tries to hold his ground as age begins to catch up with him. Tyson Pedro looks to do the same against former title challenger Ovince St. Preux.
Donald Cerrone vs. Leon Edwards
Cerrone is still a fan favorite, but it looks like his days competing for the belt are behind him. The aggressive style that made him famous has started to show his weaknesses. After three straight losses including two devastating finish losses to Darren Till and Robbie Lawler, he bounced back with a win over Yancy Medeiros.
But “Cowboy” looked different, he wasn’t the iron man we knew him as. Strikes actually looked like it hurt him. He will win this fight if he is smart, but he needs to start fighting smarter, no more wars if he wants to stick around.
Edwards has take advantage of Cerrone’s slow starts, just like fellow countryman Darren Till did, if he wants to win this fight. Attack first, keep pressure, and throw bombs. He isn’t the same fighter as Till, as more of a slight wrestler, that isn’t very skilled on his feet. Cerrone has the advantage in most areas, but Edwards has a chance if he sticks to a the game plan to beat Cerrone.
Prediction: Cerrone via Unanimous Decision
Ovince St. Preux vs. Tyson Pedro
St. Preux is the literal definition of all offense, no defense. An offensive powerhouse, he is known for his uncanny ability to catch people in a Von Flue choke, but has no ability to defend himself off his back. Being exposed multiple times, even his stand up footwork and defense is a mess, he has probably hit his peak potential. Not getting it all together, he will be a top-10 205er that can win or lose any given fight.
Pedro is an interesting prospect, a BJJ brown belt and Japanese jiu-jitsu black belt, is still learning the nuances of striking. His kicks are powerful, and look good, but his output is nothing to write home about. He was exposed a bit in his last fight, unable to get a takedown and losing a kickboxing match. He should be able to get this to the ground, and will have more off his back than OSP.
Prediction: Pedro via Unanimous Decision
Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Jessica Eye
In the battle of the Jessica’s, Clark has been able to utilize a size and strength advantage in most of her fights, but it won’t work that way against Eye. A boxer with a really great left hook, right cross combination, she works to counter her opponents. She still is very hittable, and her output waned against an injured Paige VanZant. Her clinch and ground work is effective, but not overwhelming. She will face an interesting match up against the eerily similar Eye.
As just mentioned, Eye is very much like Clark. A boxer who has a bunch of talent, and has fought high level competition, struggles to put her stamp on rounds and fights. She makes bizarre choices and has long areas of inactivity. She has good wrestling and needs to use it more. It will be a toss up against Clark, but Eye should have the ability to outlast.
Prediction: Eye via Split Decision
Jingliang Li vs. Daichi Abe
Li is a stalwart at welterweight, never being knocked out in his UFC career even while eating bombs that should have. He is an aggressive, deadly puncher who can wrestle enough to survive. He gets wild and wide, but his hand speed and accuracy are top level stuff. When he lands, you hear it. Coming off a loss to Jake Matthews, where he appeared to purposely gouge at Matthews eyes to get out of a guillotine, Li will be watched closely, but don’t expect a repeat.
Abe is the polar opposite striker. A counter-puncher, who likes to sit back and fire away left hooks, has a cardio problem. His output is miniscule after the first round, as is his speed and power. This is a tough match-up as Li will push the pace and tire Abe out to the point where he can overwhelm the Japanese striker. Abe will need to utilize his judo if he wants to survive.
Prediction: Li via 2nd Round TKO
Teruto Ishihara vs. Petr Yan – Bantamweight
Felipe Arantes vs. Yadong Song – Bantamweight
Rolando Dy vs. Shane Young – Featherweight
Kenan Song vs. Hector Aldana – Welterweight
Shinsho Anzai vs. Jake Matthews – Welterweight
Xiaonan Yan vs. Viviane Pereira – Strawweight
Matt Schnell vs. Naoki Inoue – Flyweight
Jenel Lausa vs. Yuta Sasaki – Flyweight
Melinda Fabain vs. Ji Yeon Kim – Women’s Flyweight