CURRENT RECORD: 15-9
The next stop for the UFC is Houston, Texas, where the stage is set for UFC Fight Night 104. Headlining this event is the return of the “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung as he takes on featherweight rival Dennis Bermudez. “Korean Zombie” has been absent from the sport for over three years as he completed military service for his country, his last fight inside the Octagon was a TKO loss to Jose Aldo at UFC 163 in 2013. In that time frame, Dennis Bermudez has racked up a record of 5-2, which includes back to back victories in 2016. Both of these fighters will have ambitions to show that they are still relevant in the featherweight division and a win for either could push them closer to a title shot. In the co-main event, undefeated strawweight sensation Alexa Grasso looks to claim her biggest scalp to date as she takes on gritty veteran Felice Herrig. Elsewhere on the card there are stand out clashes between Abel Trujillo and James Vick, Jessica Andrade takes on Angela Hill and in another strawweight bout Tecia Torres takes on Aussie brawler Bec Rawlings. Another exciting night of fights, so be sure to be tuned in so you don’t miss out.
As always, I will now break down all the main card fights, give my predictions and of course, put my own “Armchair Expert” title on the line.
DENNIS BERMUDEZ vs. CHAN SUNG JUNG
After more then 3 years, “Korean Zombie” will make his long awaited return to the Octagon. Sung Jung won his first three fights under the UFC banner, winning two by submission and one by KO, before getting a crack at the champion. “Korean Zombie” pushed Aldo hard for four rounds before a freak injury resulted in Aldo claiming the victory. Sung Jung was one of the most exciting fighters in the division before his departure, pouring on constant pressure and trapping opponents in submissions, he will be hoping to continue that form when he returns on Saturday. Dennis Bermudez has been a mainstay in the division since joining the UFC in 2011, after losing his debut “The Menace” then went on a tear winning seven straight; including a decision victory over current interim champion Max Holloway. Bermudez is a dominant wrestler, who holds opponents down and ground and pounds his way to victory, this will be a tactic I expect Bermudez to deploy against “Korean Zombie”. Bermudez will look to control Sung Jung on the mat and test his cardio levels, that being said though, “Korean Zombie” is no slouch on the ground either. This is a tough fight to predict but I’m leaning towards the better well-rounded “Korean Zombie” getting the job done inside the distance.
Korean Zombie by submission.
ALEXA GRASSO vs. FELICE HERRIG
Alexa Grasso didn’t get the finish she was looking for in her debut but she certainly proved she belonged inside the Octagon. At 23 years of age and currently undefeated, the Mexican fighter has a big future ahead of her and with the right training and tutelage she can go on to the dominate the strawweight division. Standing in her way first is the ever resilient Felice Herrig. “Lil Bulldog” is a dangerous striker who held a kickboxing record of 23-5, since transitioning into MMA she has built a record of 11-6, with all six defeats coming by decision. Herrig primarily likes to trade shots, she also has an underrated ground game but this contest won’t be played out on the ground. I think Herrig’s style will suit Grasso and allow the Mexican the opportunity to showcase her own boxing skills as she cruises to a decision victory.
Grasso by decision.
OVINCE SAINT PREUX vs. VOLKAN OEZDEMIR
OSP is looking to bounce back from a pair of losses, firstly losing a short notice fight to Jon Jones and then suffering a shock KO defeat to Jimi Manuwa. OSP is one of the finest athletes on the light heavyweight roster and he is a tremendously versatile fighter, if he dreams of getting another title shot he needs to ensure victory here. Volkan Oezdemir will make his promotional debut on just two weeks’ notice but the Swiss fighter will come here with great confidence. “Cousin” has a pro record of 12-1 with all but two of his victories finishing early, he is a powerful puncher with a tidy ground game and he will surely be looking to test OSP’s chin come Saturday. I expect this fight to play out on the feet but if OSP can’t get a foothold in the exchanges he should mix it up and bring the fight to the ground where he is just as dangerous. As long as OSP doesn’t leave his chin out there to be hit, he should walk away with the victory.
Saint Preux by decision.
ABEL TRUJILLO vs. JAMES VICK
Both these fighters were expected to face separate opposition but with both their opponents withdrawing due to injury, the pair were matched together instead. Abel Trujillo has won three straight since tapping out to Tony Ferguson at UFC 181 in 2014; he boasts a record of 15-6. Trujillo is a tough competitor with strong wrestling and decent hands, he has never lit up the lightweight division but another win here could put him in line for a big named fight. James Vick’s last outing was a KO loss to Benil Dariush, prior to that Vick had gone 9-0 and claimed notable victories over Nick Hein and Jake Matthews. “The Texecutioner” has some crisp boxing but like Trujillo, has a more ground focused game; Vick will have a six inch reach advantage. This is as even as it gets, both these men are decent if unspectacular. I’m leaning that little bit more towards James Vick being slightly better in every department than Abel Trujillo.
Vick by decision.
ANTHONY HAMILTON vs. MARCEL FORTUNA
Anthony “The Freight Train” Hamilton entered the UFC with a record of 11-2, since his debut he has alternated between wins and losses, failing to collect consecutive victories. Hamilton’s wrestling is good but his hands are better, 8 of his 15 wins have come by knockout. Marcel Fortuna will be making his first appearance for the UFC on Saturday and he is also stepping up divisions, the former 205lbs is now joining the heavyweight ranks. Fortuna has a record of 8-1 and he is a BJJ specialist, claiming five wins by submission. Fortuna will most likely look to take this fight to the mat to demonstrate his skills but I think Hamilton has strong enough wrestling to stuff them. Hamilton isn’t the most outstanding heavyweight on the roster but he should have enough about him to get the win over Fortuna. I think Hamilton’s experience will pay off and he can snatch an early KO.
Hamilton by knockout.
JESSICA ANDRADE vs. ANGELA HILL
This is one of the best fights on the card and could potentially be the Fight of the Night. Angela Hill was cut from the UFC in 2015 after suffering back to back losses to Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunes, since then she has gone undefeated winning four straight with Invicta FC. Hills game has grown since last stepping foot in the Octagon and she will be brimming with confidence and eager to show herself in a better light this time round. Her opponent though is one of the toughest fighters around; Jessica Andrade made her name at bantamweight before making the decision to move to the strawweight division. That choice has swiftly paid off, she has won both her fights at her new weight class, firstly dispatching of Jessica Penne in one round and then forcing Joanne Calderwood to give up in round two. Andrade has a great submission game and on the feet she relies on her background in kickboxing to take control but she faces another kick boxer here in Angela Hill; who won all 16 of her kickboxing fights. I’d imagine they will look to test one another on the feet but if Andrade doesn’t find success there, then she will take it to the ground and use her superiority on the mat to her advantage.
Andrade by submission.
Best of the Rest.
Adam Milstead vs. Curtis Blaydes
Blaydes to win.
Chas Skelly vs. Chris Gruetzemacher
Skelly to win.
Ricardo Ramos vs. Michinori Tanaka
Tanaka to win.
Tecia Torres vs. Bec Rawlings
Torres to win.
Alex Morono vs. Niko Price
Morono to win.
Khalil Rountree vs. Daniel Jolly
Rountree to win.
Bet of the Day.
The adventurous bet: all 12 predictions in an accumulator is about 203/1.
The inbetweener bet: Blaydes, Andrade, Skelly and Korean Zombie to win is 6/1.
The conservative bet: Korean Zombie to win is 6/4.
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