Octagon’s most influential champion faces his most dangerous challenge when Khabib Nurmagomedov picks up Nakaya FC t Justin Gathage at UFC 254 this weekend (September, October 24, 2020). The Flash Forum on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, will host a clash between Jared Canner and Robert Whittaker, as well as promising Jacob C. Jacob Malcon at the top potential Phil House.
Three UFC 254 “prelims” undercard matches remain to be previewed and predicted (see the first batch here), so let’s fix this …
265 lbs.: Stephen Struve Vs. This is Tuivasa
Stephen Struve (29-12) broke the three-match losing streak in February last year with a request for the return of Marcos Rosario de Lima, then announced his intention to leave the game on a high note. Unable to stay away, he returned in December 2019 to face Ben Rothwell, who used impressive rods and fewer shocks to impress the Dutch.
All told, out of his 29 professional wins, 27 have come within distances, 18 of which have been by subordination.
Tai Tiwasa (10-3) – an ace of Mark Hunt – looked like the UFC’s next big Australian thing after starting his octagonal career with a perfect (3-0). He has since set his own record with three consecutive defeats, most recently taping the triangle of Sergei Spyvic’s arm a year ago.
He gives a height of 10 inches and access to 9.5 inches from “Skyscraper”.
This is about as many binary matches as you are likely to see. If Strove gets to the ground, he should have a little trouble tapping the non-confrontational “balm balm” in order. If the pair spend a lot of time on their feet, Tiwasa will knock out Struve’s beating in the fifth row.
As frustrating as Tiwasa’s recent efforts are, Struve remains as influential as ever, and if there’s one thing Tiwasa lacks, it’s murderous superstition. As long as he doesn’t cling to the clutch and free himself for Strove’s tricky throws, Toussa expects Strove to return to the fence and repeats Hunt’s efforts with a punch.
Prediction: Tuvasa first round technical noka .t
170 lbs.: Alex Oliveira Vs. Shavkat Rakhmanov
After a major defeat to Donald Serron in 2016, Alex Oliveira (22-8-1) went 6-1 (1 NC) in his next eight, taking three post-fight bonuses in the process. Then came a three-fight skid, from which he returned earlier this year with the decisions of Max Griffin and Peter Sobota.
Elizio Zeleski promotes “Cowboy” to Dos Santos on a nearly two-week notice.
Kazakhstan’s Shavkat Rakhmonov (12-0) never looked at the judges as a professional and finished one of his 12 matches in two rounds. His 2019 campaign saw him knock out Daniel Prakaza for the M-1 belt and defended him three months later with the conclusion of the first round of the Tiago Verjeo.
This will be his first fight in about 16 months, as both planned debuts went through in March and July.
The outcome of this battle depends entirely on how long it lasts. Rakhmonov showed a glimpse of Cave at the start of the 2018 comeback victory over Faridun Odilov, which should give the superpower Oliveira some hope. However, the Kazakhs saved their lives, and we have consistently seen Oliveira align with the points in the middle of the second round. Rakhmanov is both a very skilled wrestler who keeps Oliveira from winning at the top and provides some solid ground-pounds, meaning Oliveira can’t hold on to her back when the gas tank is empty.
I have always been on the side of Rakhmonov, who has made some improvements over time and can eliminate Oliveira altogether if one fails to finish sooner rather than later. In short, Rakhmonov survived an early storm to hit Brazil late.
Prediction: Rakhmonov through the third round technical nook .T
205 lbs.: Un-war Vs. Sam Alway
Dr. Un Jung (13-2) stumbled out of the professional gate with a loss to Soo Lim and future UFC rival Rok Martinez, but won 10 straight games last year and secured a place in Octagon last year. He made his UFC debut. The campaign began with a guillotine finish by Khadis Ibragimov, then took just 64 seconds to knock out Mike Rodriguez in December 2019.
He outscored 10 professional enemies. And two others.
Sam Alway (33 33–14) successfully completed his UFC light heavyweight campaign by beating Markin Prachnio and Gian Valente, extending his running back to 7-2 in the process. He didn’t taste victory, entering the cage this Saturday in a four-fight losing streak.
He suffered a loss of two inches in height and a loss of access of three inches.
Here’s an interesting aspect for you: The infamous Power-Puncher, Eleve has done just one stop since 2016. It’s an 11-fight time in which he managed to stop Marcin Prachnio, who first made an appearance in the alleyway. He is expected to give up the fight, a naturally large man, tall enough to clean up Eleve’s cattle, doesn’t seem sensible.
The question is less whether he will win the war or whether he will be defeated; LV’s chin seems to be shaking a bit lately, so I say he does. Heavy Punches beat Korean Slugger 3-0 in Octagun.
Prediction: The first round of the war through technical checkpoints
It is difficult to argue that UFC 254 is not worth the cost of admission. Saturday, crazy
Note that MMMNIA.com will provide live round-by-round coverage of the entire UFC 254 battle card, accurately push-pull coverage. Here, Start early ESPN + “Prelims” match online online, starting at 10:30 a.m. ET, then the rest of the undercard balance on ESPN2 /.ESPN + 12 noon ET, 2pm ET before PPV main card starts. At ESPN +.
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