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UFC Fight Night 198 is a step down from the cards we’ve been recently adjusted to in terms of name value, but what this event lacks in publicity it makes up for with a slew of prospects to keep an eye on moving forward!
-176 Sean Brady (14-0: 3 KOs, 4 SUBs) vs. +130 Michael Chiesa (17-5: 11 SUBs)
First off, this is matchmaking at it’s finest. Physically, both men are high-level MMA grapplers, but the interesting part of this fight is the physiological side to see which fighter is more motivated. Chiesa following a huge loss, or the unbeaten Brady who’s getting the biggest opportunity of his career? After falling short in his highest profile fight to date against Vincente Luque, Michael Chiesa is trying to prove he is still climbing towards his peak. Entering the UFC by way of winning The Ultimate Fighter reality series, Chiesa had ups and downs at 155-pounds and then seemed to be unstoppable when he made the educated jump up to 170-pounds. His opponent is no slouch though, Sean Brady is undefeated, mean and excited to use Chiesa as a springboard into the top 10 welterweight rankings. A champion in a lower level pro MMA organization, Sean Brady, has a great overall game but his biggest tool is his composure. It will be a huge step up in competition, but I see Brady forcing Chiesa to grind through in this fight. After a 15-minute high-level grappling chess match, I got Chiesa bouncing back in a big way.
Selection: Chiesa wins via Decision | O/ 2.5 Rounds
-286 Adrian Yanez (14-3: 9 KOs, 2 SUBs) vs. +210 Davey Grant (11-5: 3 KOs, 8 SUBs)
Hot off one of the best comeback wins of the year against Randy Costa, Adrian Yanez’s confidence continues to be sky high as he is on a seven-fight win streak since 2018. The Texas native is facing Davey Grant, a lanky striker who will absolutely welcome a phone booth fight. Yanez isn’t shy about a firefight either, but he is at his best when he’s ferocious and technical. I can see the Brit, Davey Grant trying to bait his opponent into a brawl, but I also predict that Yanez will not engage in any dangerous exchange - unless need be - and stay on the outside of the pocket with his powerful boxing to score a stoppage victory.
Selection: Yanez wins via 2nd-Round TKO | /U 1.5 Rounds
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-154 Pat Sabatini (15-3: 2 KOs, 10 SUBs) vs. +120 Tucker Lutz (12-1: 6 KOs, 2 SUBs)
One of the few Americans in the UFC that has Combat Sambo as a base martial arts discipline, Pat Sabatini has two wins in two fights in the UFC. Sabatini is facing a tough challenge though in Tucker Lutz who’s big for the weight class and who also has avoided being submitted in his career – which is Sabatini’s strong suit. Lutz is tough and has outworked his opponents, but Sabatini’s more extensive martial art background and ability to dominate in wrestling and jiu-jitsu positions will lead to a win.
Selection: Sabatini wins via Decision | O/ 2.5 Rounds
-130 Natan Levy (6-0: 3 SUBs) vs. +105 Rafa Garcia (12-2: 1 KO, 7 SUBs)
Israel’s only UFC fighter on the roster, Natan Levy, is coming into this fight ready to make some serious noise in the lightweight division. And while Levy is fighting for his country, his opponent Rafa Garcia is fighting for his UFC career. The Mexican native has lost two in a row - albeit to solid competition - but is at risk of being cut if he loses to Levy. It’s a beautiful match up of two fighters that are at a crucial crossroads of their career. Strategically, Garcia pits himself in front of his opponents like his Mexican boxing brethren and waits for an opening. He may not have to wait long as Levy is down for a scrap and is very confident in his gas tank and grappling abilities. I don’t see Garcia tapping, but I like Levy to control the clinch and wrestling positions for a decision victory.
Selection: Levy wins via Decision | O/ 2.5 Rounds
-118 Terrance McKinney (11-3: 5 KOs, 6 SUBs) vs. -109 Fares Ziam (12-3: 5 KOs, 4 SUBs)
In one of the most prolific UFC debuts in history, Terrance McKinney earned the fastest knockout in UFC lightweight history, but quickly had the wind taken from his sails as he injured his knee after celebrating the incredible win. This sequence took place back at UFC 263 and who knows exactly how McKinney’s feeling to make such a quick turnaround, which is pretty remarkable. McKinney doesn't get any warm up as he’s facing a technical kickboxer in Fares Ziam who’s knocked off solid competition in recent fights. I see Ziam testing the knee of McKinney who may be a little tentative early in the fight, therefore allowing Ziam to steal a round or two.
Selection: Ziam wins via Decision | O/ 2.5 Rounds
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