The UFC is back this weekend with a phenomenal card Saturday night, headlined by a heavyweight fight that has action written all over it. Number 3 ranked Curtis Blaydes will be taking on Number 7 ranked Alexander Volkov in a contest that will hopefully set up some sort of play in the contender’s room, as the division has been in a bit of a log jam for months now.
There’s a multitude of other very compelling fights, but I must admit, I am lamenting the loss of Matt Frevola from the event. His opponent, Frank Camacho, will meet up with last-minute replacement Justin Jaynes, a regional level fighter with absolutely no experience at this level. You can never count any of these guys out, though. Upsetting the odds is what underdogs do.
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Best High Priced Fighers for UFC Fight Night
Curtis Blaydes, $9,400 — Curtis Blaydes is a fantastic wrestler with legitimate knockout power. His striking isn’t the most technical, but it’s shown steady improvement. He’s much more athletically gifted than Volkov, puts more steam on his punches and has the better wrestling. Volkov, on the other hand, has more proficient technical boxing, but lacks the collar-starching power that Blaydes has, and while he’s a proficient grappler, Alexander will likely find himself controlled easily there, as Curtis has an insane top game. I doubt this bout goes all five rounds.
Shane Burgos, $8,700 — Shane Burgos is going places. He’s a very well-rounded fighter but his gorgeous combinations punctuate his phenomenal striking. Light on his feet, he gets in, fires off a head-body-head combination, and gets back out before his opponent has registered that he’s been touched up. He’s a more than capable grappler with several submissions to his credit. He will need to watch out for that heater that Emmett packs, but his boxing savvy and overall skillset is well-equipped to get the W.
Roosevelt Roberts, $9,200 — I just wrote about Mr. Roberts a few weeks ago and nothing has changed from then—well, he did add another submission to his list of achievements, but who’s counting. Roberts is a gifted athlete with speed, power and a nasty grappling game. He learned from his lone loss and came back better than ever from it. He’s got a tough challenge ahead of him with Jim Miller, but I feel this contest will be a launching pad for him to start getting ranked opposition. Look for some fun scrambles if this hits the ground because Jim Miller has outstanding jiu-jitsu chops.
Brianna Van Buren, $9,000 — Brianna Van Buren is a powerhouse wrestler who won her Invicta title during a one-night tournament where she beat three women, two of which were UFC vets (Juliana Lima and Kailin Curran). She packs some heat, but her submission game is worth watching as it evolves. Her opponent, Tecia Torres, is a volume puncher with outstanding cardio, but is on a 4-fight losing skid, so look for a fast-paced fight with Van Buren likely wanting to get Torres to the ground where she can work towards a submission, and Tecia will be fighting her tooth and nail every step of the way.
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Best Value Plays for UFC Fight Night – June 20th
Josh Emmett $7,500 — Josh Emmett is a steal! Let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room, Emmett packs serious heat—one-punch heat, at that. He’s not as technically proficient a boxer as Burgos is, but when he clubs you, you’re going down. He’s a capable wrestler, training out of Team Alpha Male with the likes of Urijah Faber, Danny Castillo and several other wrestling/grappling standouts. A win over Burgos would be the biggest feather in his cap, so look for him to swing bombs fast and early.
Cortney Casey, $7,900 — Cortney Casey looks great at 125-pounds. After seeing her have so many close fights (some of those split-decisions should’ve gone her way) at a weight she was clearly too big for, it’s been a bit of a revelation seeing how well she performed in her first flyweight bout. She’s a capable striker but her grappling is her real bread and butter and she is tough as nails, or cast iron, as her nickname suggests. After seeing the problems Cynthia Calvillo had in trying to keep her down, I have no doubt that Robertson will have similar issues with her. Look for this to be a ground battle with some fun transitions and scrambles.
Lauren Murphy, $7,700 — Lauren has looked great lately and Roxy will certainly have her hands full in this contest. Both women are experienced veterans, with Roxy having the considerable grappling edge. That said, Lauren’s scrambles are very good, she’s as strong as an ox, and she has power. Her ability to recover quickly after taking punishment is also worth noting, as she was in some trouble in the Borella fight before she came back to get the TKO win. Her split-decision win over Andrea Lee was a bit contentious, but her overall performance was fantastic in that fight. If this improved version is her final form, she definitely has the tools to get the upset.
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