This is one of those rare fight cards that right from the get go has all exciting matchups lined up. The 13-fight card features three women’s fights and upcoming talents including Mike Perry, Alan Jouban, Mryna Moroz, Angela Hill and Max Griffin. In the co-main event Jessica Andrade and Tecia Torres fight to secure their spot to challenge the strawweight champion while in the main event Josh Emmett looks goes to head to toe against brawler Jeremy Stephens.
RANI YAHYA (24-9) VS. RUSSELL DOANE (15-7)
Both Doane and Yahya are opposites – a ground game specialist with 18 submission wins and a striker with 47% KO/TKO ratio. Yahya will look to utilize his BJJ and take Doane to the mat where he’s like to playout most of the fight on the top position. Doane with his reach should try to keep Yahya at bay and use his feints and kicks more often. If taken down, Doane will rely on his wrestling but chances are that any error could lead to him being submitted. As for Yahya, relying too much on the takedowns early can deplete his gas tank and make him susceptible to the strikes. But s light edge goes in the favour of Yahya for his quick speed and athleticism.
SAM ALVEY (31-10) VS. MARCIN PRACHNIO (13-2)
Marcin makes his UFC debut after a four-fight win streak in the ONE Championship and gets to take the mich experienced and boring Sam Alvey. Sam Alvey competed four times in 2017 and lost two decisions in which his performance was below the par. Marcin is a TKO monster who posses superior power and when he connects the fight ends. His 10 victories have come by KO and in the first rounds. If Sam brings the same fighting spirit he did in this fight, then the night would end quickly for him tumbling downs the stocks for the Wisconsin native. Its experience vs. raw power. Its either ending in the first round in the favour of Marcin or going the distance for a unanimous decision.
BEN SAUNDERS (21-8-2) VS. ALAN JOUBAN (15-6)
Both Ben and Jouban are coming off a TKO loss from their previous fights. Jouban has lost two in a row and now is in a situation where another loss can seriously cause concerns for him. This is Ben’s third run in the UFC and his last shot at redemption. Whole fight will be fought on the feet as Jouban is known for his kickboxing and Muay Thai. While Ben has decent stand up, his submission victories speak for themselves. Jouban’s striking is a bit more technical and advance then Ben’s. That’s where the Louisiana native and a part time model will look to impose his game plan and cause serous damage to Ben.
ANGELA HILL (7-4) VS. MARYNA MOROZ (8-2)
Since her last decision loss to Carla Esparza in 2017, Maryna Moroz hasn’t fought anyone, and her recent scheduled fight was scrapped due to her opponent pulling out. Maryna has good striking but off late she was seen hesitant in engaging with better strikers. Competing against ranked fighters gave her some problems but nothing she could not handle. With Angela Hill’s fighting spirit, this fight could result in a total beatdown as both these strikers will look to finish the fight come what may. Hill since returning to UFC, Hill has shown improved performance and won fight of the night against Jessica Andrade. This will be a striking showdown and if it goes to the ground Maryna can shock once again with her submission skills.
SARA MCMANN (11-4) VS. MARION RENEAU (8-3-1)
Sara snapped her three-fight win streak when she lost to Ketlen Vieira a fight where she was clearly winning means her title contention hopes were shelved for some time. She gets to face the aging but a game Marion whose physical strength can outlast Sara. The only aspect of Marion’s game where she lacks is her ground skills. If she manages to stand up and rely on her kickboxing skills keeping Sara at distance, she can very well get a third straight win. Nevertheless, this is an interesting matchup between two physically gifted fighters who have much to prove with this win.
RENAN BARAO (34-5) VS. BRIAN KELLEHER (18-8)
After losing his title, Barao hasn’t been the same and lost two more fights to Jeremy Stephens and Aljamain Sterling. The losses have been hard on the former champion who is trying everything to get back on the top. His next opponent is Brian with just three fights in the UFC. Brian doesn’t have the necessary skills at this point of his career to handle the heat Barao can being in. This is exactly the type of fight Barao needs to boost his confidence in the bantamweight division. Brian’s defence is not at the same level as Barao’s but his clinch game and fighting inside the pocket will yield him some success. A clean victory for Barao should be in the books.
MIKE PERRY (11-2) VS. MAX GRIFFIN (13-4)
Can Max Griffin handle the power of Mike Perry is the question that remains to be seen this weekend. After losing to a tough fight against Santiago, Perry is in a revenge mode. Dismantling Griffin shouldn’t be a much problem to Perry who has faced good strikers in the past. Griffin does posses some power in his jab but will rely on his wrestling to stop the storm. If Perry manages to stuff his takedowns, then this will end in the second round with a vicious knockout.
Ovince Saint Preux (22-10) vs. Ilir Latifi (14-5, 1 NC)
After competing four times in 2017, OSP is back on the circuit with his first legit fight of this year. Latifi is not like the previous opponents OSP has finished. Latifi is tough, rugged, durable fighter with incredible wrestling that backs his striking. OSP on the other hand has faced better competition and is battle tested. He can be affective on the front and the back. His left hook is the kryptonite for Latifi who 5 inches is shorter than OSP. It will not be easy for Latifi to take down OSP easily. Neither will it be to stand and strike. Latifi’s only chances are being able to take all the beatdown and wear OSP out to land his sledgehammer in the third round.
JESSICA ANDRADE (17-6) VS. TECIA TORRES (10-1)
Tecia Torres moves so quick she hardly gets to taste her opponents striking. Her wrestling is also on point and her never shy’s away from any opportunity to take her opponent to the ground. These two attributes make her a dangerous contender for the strawweight title, but she lacks the power possessed by Andrade. If Andrade manages to beat Tecia, she would snap her three-fight win streak she would get a step closer to the title shot contention this year. For Tecia, this is a crucial fight. A solid performance over the former title contender would ensure her the spot this year.
JOSH EMMETT (13-1) VS. JEREMY STEPHENS (27-14)
The main event is a banger! Hard hitting Jeremy Stephens gets to slug it out with another tough nut Josh Emmett who with his previous KO win over Ricardo Lamas has sort of become the talk of the town. Josh has only one loss in the UFC – a split decision which many consider he won. His wins have been dominant since he stepped inside the octagon, but a dangerous foe in Jeremy Stephens stands in his way. Stephens rebounded his career after two back to back wins against top contenders. This will be a test for Josh who steps up in the competition and a validation victory for Stephens. Regardless, it’s a keeper and not to be missed. Probably the fight of the night contender.