After an extended hiatus, the UFC returns to action this Saturday morning live from the Netherlands. The main card starts at 3pm eastern on Fight Pass, while the prelims are at 11:45am, also on Fight Pass.
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Now let’s get down to business.
The main event pits two top-10 heavyweight skyscrapers against each other in Stefan Struve and Alexander Volkov ($8,400). Of the two, however, Volkov actually utilizes his height, whereas Struve seems to not know what to do with his length at times. Add that to the fact that Struve has had a run of tough knockout losses, and my pick here is the Russian on the road by TKO.
Rob Wilkinson has a had great success in his career so far beating up on folks in Australia, but Siyar Bahadurzada ($8,300) is a definite step up in competition. Siyar put a hold on Brandon Thatch’s hype train a year and a half ago, and his powerful striking, granite chin, and ability to lure his opponent into a brawl will do the same here. Look for him to stop the young Aussie.
On the undercard, lightweight Mairbek Taisumov ($9,200) takes on hard hitting Felipe Silva. Taisumov has the skill and style to be more well-known than he is, but visa issues have kept him from fighting in the USA. The Dagistani fighter has an excellent chin, excellent footwork, and is much more experienced than his opponent. I’m looking for an early TKO, just like Taisumov’s last four fights.
Mike Santiago ($6,900) is a last minute replacement coming from a knockout victory on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. He is an aggressive fighter with a history in professional boxing, and although he is taking on blue-chip prospect Zabit Magomedsharipov on late notice, at that price he is hard to pass up. Roll the dice on a potential barn burner.
The light heavyweight division needs some good new blood, and Abdul-Kerim Edilov ($9,500) is here to save the day. This fight is literally just a showcase for his skills, and I expect nothing less than a first round submission.
Thibault Gouti ($7,400) was supposed to be fighting Dong Hyun Kim, but got Andrew Holbrook instead. Good for him, as Holbrook’s stand-up is virtually non-existent when compared to his own. So long as Gouti can avoid tangling with Holbrook on the ground, he has this one in the books. Gouti by TKO.