This Saturday (June 13, 2020), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) continues its stay in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC on ESPN 10. Since the return of UFC, events have generally been plenty of fun, and maintained a fairly high caliber of fights. Unfortunately, that fun trend ends on Saturday with a generally woeful main event and average show overall. Fortunately for me, the three opening fights are highlights of the event, so let’s dig into these main card bouts!
Remember: Later in the week, Jesse Holland will be back to preview and predict the biggest fights of the night.
Bantamweight: Merab Dvalishvili vs. Ray Borg
Best Win for Dvalishvili? Casey KenneyFor Borg? Jussier Formiga
Current Streak: Dvalishvili has won three straight, while Borg came up short just a month ago
X-Factor: Dvalishvili’s physicality
How these two match up: Scrambles on scrambles!
Dvalishvili could very easily be undefeated (5-0) in UFC were it not for a strange set of circumstances beyond his control. The Georgian athlete is a hurricane of takedowns and a whirlwind of wild strikes — I’d compare him to a Clay Guida of the modern age, a fighter who simply outpaces everyone with unorthodox techniques and rock solid wrestling.
On a technical level, Borg is pretty fantastic. There’s a reason he fought for Flyweight gold, as his transitional wrestling is fantastic, his jiu-jitsu is killer, and even his boxing has grown remarkably sharp. However, Borg’s inability to control his weight has forced the 5’4” athlete up a division, which greatly complicates things for him.
I’ll make this real simple: Borg has to finish Dvalishvili to win.
Out-pointing the Georgian is damn near impossible. He throws way too many strikes and scores takedowns at a pace that is simply stupid. Borg may occasionally score a takedown of his own or land a slick combination, but Dvalishvili’s level of volume is its own animal.
Therefore, the question becomes whether or not Borg can snatch up the neck on a counter or stun his foe and take the back. There is a real possibility for both, as Borg is a more credible offensive threat than he’s given credit for.
However, it all goes back to the size discrepancy. Dvalishvili exhausts opponents who are his size and strength. Against a man who should be a Flyweight, it’s hard not to see the Casey Kenney —- a man quite similar to Borg in style and sharpness — fight replaying.
Borg will have his moments and land some shots, but Dvalishvili will walk through them and land a dozen takedowns to make up for it.
Prediction: Dvalishvili via decision
Featherweight: Andre Fili vs. Charles Jourdain
Best Win for Fili? Dennis Bermudez For Jourdain? Doo Ho Choi
Current Streak: Fili came up short last time out, while Jourdain picked up his first UFC knockout win
X-Factor: Fili’s experience
How these two match up: This should be a fun scrap!
Fili has really seen it all at 145 pounds, scrapping it out with many of the sport’s toughest prospects and veterans alike. In the last couple years, he’s grown noticeably sharper with his kickboxing, really figuring out his overall style in the process.
Jourdain remains something of an unknown just two fights into his UFC career. He’s a definite finisher, having stopped each of his 10 victories (7 KO, 3 Sub). However, he’s also lost four of his five UFC rounds, though that one successful round included a brutal battering of “Korean Superboy.”
This feels like too much, too soon for the talented 24-year-old Canadian. “Air” Jourdain is tough and has physical gifts, but Fili is seemingly more skilled in all areas. He’ll need too land something very significant to really change the course of the fight, but thus far, Fili’s chin has held up remarkably well against serious hitters like Sodiq Yusuff, Sheymon Moraes, and Calvin Kattar. If that big shot doesn’t land, “Touchy” seems likely to pick his foe apart.
Expect a high kick to slip through the defenses at some point.
Prediction: Fili via knockout
Bantamweight: Jordan Espinosa vs. Mark De La Rosa
Best Win for Espinosa? Eric Shelton For Rodriguez? Joby Sanchez
Current Streak: Espinosa has lost two straight, while De La Rosa has been defeated three times in a row
X-Factor: De La Rosa is five years younger than his foe
How these two match up: Though both men have had a rough go of it lately, this should produce a fun, scramble-filled match up.
De La Rosa is a victim of the jack of all trades, master of none approach to MMA. He’s solid everywhere, but dedicated grapplers tend to put him on his butt, while more skilled strikers have found openings in his stand up. It’s worth-noting, however, that “Bumblebee” is just 25 years old.
Espinosa is a grappler first and foremost. However, he’s also been submitted in his last two contests, which does bring about concerns as to whether he can implement his game with consistency at the UFC level.
This is likely the toughest pick of the card, largely because it’s likely to see both men find success. De La Rosa seems like the better striker and has a bit more experience in UFC. Espinosa is likely the better wrestler, but is that edge large enough that he’ll really be able to control his opponent?
Flip a coin.
Prediction: Espinosa via decision
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 10 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC on ESPN 10: “Eye vs. Calvillo” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.