UFC Fight Night 219 takes place on Saturday night and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs. Blanchfield Main Card
Jessica Andrade vs. Erin Blanchfield
On less than a week’s notice Andrade steps in to replace Taila Santos, carrying a three-fight winning streak as she goes up against Blanchfield, who is unbeaten in her four UFC fights.
Andrade is actually only three weeks on from her latest victory in the Octagon, where she earned a dominant decision win over Lauren Murphy.
The 31-year-old Brazilian will be in a familiar scenario here in as much as she’ll be giving up 2″ in height and 6″ in reach to Blanchfield, but she makes up for that by being a tireless, pressure-heavy powerhouse who will wade into range with high-volume punches, while also being able to manufacture brute-strength takedowns to set up her ground-and-pound, or use her solid takedown defense to keep things standing.
Still only 23-years-old, Blanchfield is primarily a good wrestler and talented grappler who controls the action well on top and has shown off her submission skills with back-to-back finishes last year.
Meanwhile, on the feet Blanchfield has active, if not particularly hard-hitting striking from range, and will use that to help disguise her takedown attempts, which has proven fairly effective for her so far.
Andrade’s lack of preparation time isn’t ideal, but she’s a cardio machine so I don’t see it being a major factor and I think this is potentially a tougher fight for Blanchfield than Santos given that the Brazilian has a much better chance of thwarting her takedowns.
Meanwhile, on the feet I’m not convinced she can keep Andrade at bay as she continually march’s forward throwing heavy leather, so I’ll take the late replacement to win by decision here, but there should still be good things to come for Blanchfield in the future.
Jordan Wright vs. Zac Pauga
Wright could be fighting for his UFC future on Saturday night as he’s lost his last three fights in a row, while TUF finalist Pauga isn’t in a great spot either after losing his UFC debut by KO last August.
That make this an odd fight to be co-main event, and adding to the weirdness is the fact that Wright is moving up from middleweight to 205lbs for the occasion, while Pauga is coming down from heavyweight.
To be fair, Pauga was actually fighting at light-heavyweight prior to moving up in order to get a spot on TUF, and so he’ll be hoping to give a better account of himself this time out now that he’s back in his normal weight class. A former Colorado running back, the 34-year-old is a good athlete, a solid striker and also likes to mix in wrestling too.
At his best the 31-year-old Wright is a proven finisher, with all 12 of his career victories coming via either strikes or submission. He has a karate-orientated style on the feet and is accurate with his hard-hitting punches and kicks, but there’s major holes in his striking defense and his chin has been weakened after three losses via either KO or TKO in the UFC so far.
With that in mind, moving up to face heavier-hitters at 205lbs doesn’t seem like the best idea for Wright and I think Pauga won’t have a hard time finding a home for his strikes here and will land a first round TKO finish.
Josh Parisian vs. Jamal Pogues
Parisian is 2-2 in the UFC heavyweight division so far and now fights Pogues, who makes his official debut after a win on the Contender Series.
As is often the case with the lowest rung of the heavyweight ladder there’s not a whole lot to get excited about skill-wise here. Parisian is a somewhat plodding but active boxer who has power but will eat as many punches as he lands, has questionable cardio and doesn’t have much to offer beyond his striking.
Pogues is lighter on his feet and faster to the punch than Parisian, but doesn’t have a whole lot of stopping power in his strikes, and like his opponent is not the best defensively.
Pogues does however have some wrestling ability and between his speed advantage and takedowns I’ll take him to edge out a decision.
William Knight vs. Marcin Prachnio
Knight has suffered two losses in a row coming into this match-up against Prachnio, who was beaten in his last fight, but had won two prior to that.
Knight is fighting back down at 205lbs after missing weight a jaw-dropping 12 pounds a couple of fights ago and then taking his next bout at heavyweight, where he tipped the scales at a whopping 251lbs. Needless to say that means there’s a big question marks hanging over him coming into this one as we wait to see whether he can make the light-heavyweight limit.
Knight is a fairly short, thickly built fighter who works behind basic boxing fundamentals and doesn’t offer up a whole lot of volume, but makes up for that by having plenty of power in his hands and he can wrestle too.
Knight’s punching power will be a concern for Prachnio as while he is a finisher on the feet too, he had serious troubles with durability at the start of his UFC run, suffering two KO losses and one TKO – all in the first round.
It’s not been so much of an issue lately though and Prachnio will look to use movement to keep on the outside and make the most of his 5″ height and 1″ reach advantage. Nevertheless, if Knight hasn’t compromised himself by botching his weight cut again then I feel any opportunity to get into range and land punches will threaten his opponent’s suspect chin and lead to a KO finish in the first round.
Jim Miller vs. Alexander Hernandez
At 39-years-old Miller not only holds the record for the most UFC fights (40), but is also on a three-fight winning streak as he prepares to go up against Alexander Hernandez, who is coming off back-to-back losses by submission and TKO.
Miller’s late career run has been commendable, even showing off new-found finishing power on the feet, which was never a hallmark of his long career before that point. Admittedly it’s not been his strongest line-up of opposition though in Erik Gonzalez, Nikolas Motta and a badly degraded Donald Cerrone, who retired after Miller submitted him.
So, Miller still has a solid, savvy all-round skill-set and will come into this fight with confidence, which is more than can be said for Hernandez, who must be feeling the pressure coming into this match-up on just over a week’s notice after a couple of disappointing losses and wielding an overall UFC record of just 4-5.
That being said, Hernandez is nine-years younger than Miller, is the more active, explosive fighter on the feet, and has finishing power in his fists, while like Miller he can also wrestle too. And that could prove to be an interesting factor as the veteran isn’t as effective off his back.
Hernandez striking defense isn’t the best though, he lack Miller’s crafty submission ability on top and is generally the more inconsistent of the two. Still, I think Hernandez will be quicker to the punch early in the fight and that’ll pay off for him as he emerges with a first round TKO victory.
UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs. Blanchfield Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Lina Länsberg vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
Jamall Emmers vs. Khusein Askhabov
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Philipe Lins
Nazim Sadykhov vs. Evan Elder
A.J. Fletcher vs. Themba Gorimbo
Clayton Carpenter vs. Juancamilo Ronderos