UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Rodriguez – Before a fight of the year candidate takes center stage in the main event, let’s take a look at some of the best fights from the undercard which has some very appealing Money Lines!
-325 Amanda Lemos (11-2-1: 7 KOs, 2 SUBs) vs. +255 Michelle Waterson (18-9: 3 KOs, 9 SUBs)
This will be a fun clash of kickboxing styles. Lemos enters the cage with Muay Thai being her primary martial arts discipline while Waterson comes from a traditional karate background. Typically, Waterson has struggled against the strawweight division’s best Muay Thai specialists like Marina Rodriguez and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The Brazilian may now be on that level of striker but she does have more pop in her strikes to keep Waterson honest. Should Waterson not stay on her bike, Lemos will be able to tag her opponent often. Though she has been in many back-and-forth five-round battles in her career, Waterson will still have the speed and accuracy on her side. I like Waterson using the longest break in her career to fix some holes and surprise many with the huge upset victory.
Selection: Waterson wins via Decision
-175 Shane Burgos (14-3: 5 KOs, 5 SUBs) vs. +145 Charles Jourdain (13-4-1: 8 KOs, 4 SUBs)
Outside of the main event, this fight has all the makings of being the fight of the night. Both Burgos and Jourdain are technical martial artists, but they tend to gravitate towards firefights when it’s showtime. I’d say Burgos has the power advantage with the punches as he tends to sit down on his strikes. For Jourdain, he is a fluid kickboxer with dangerous highkicks that could jolt Burgos if he were not prepared. On the ground, I’d give the slight edge to Burgos. The New York native has displayed the ability to scramble and even submit opponents from his back. This fight was just a matter of time in the featherweight division and it will be a gutsy battle, no doubt. In the end, I’m leaning towards Burgos to use his experience and home cooking to get the win.
Selection: Burgos wins via 3rd-Round TKO
-215 Miesha Tate (19-8: 4 KOs, 7 SUBs) vs. +175 Lauren Murphy (15-5: 8 KOs, 1 SUB)
Incredibly, the former UFC bantamweight champ, Miesha Tate is making her flyweight debut after splitting two fights at 135-pounds upon her return after 5 years. Tate has admitted that she has cleaned up many aspects of her life, as one must have their body tuned in to shed the extra pounds and remain productive on fight night. Tate gets no easy task as she will be met by the hard-nosed former flyweight title challenger in Lauren Murphy. Both women will cancel each other’s boxing out. I’d give Murphy the edge in the gas tank and Tate the edge in jiu-jitsu. Both competitors can take a shot as displayed in their previous fights. If this fight goes to a decision - which is likely - I like Murphy to push just a little more, especially considering Tate’s drop down in weight.
Selection: Murphy wins via Decision
-165 Jack Shore (16-0: 4 KOs, 8 SUBs) vs. +136 Ricky Simon (19-3: 6 KOs, 3 SUBs)
The UK’s quiet killer, Jack Shore, puts his undefeated record on the line against Rick Simon, his toughest test to date. Shore does many things on a technically-sound level with his smooth boxing, grappling and composure, but Simon has that extra gear of ferocity that the Whales native hasn’t yet faced in his career. Simon is on a huge uptick of confidence as well. Since losing to top bantamweight Rob Font 2 ½ years ago, Simon has put together a four-fight win streak. I like Simon to win this fight by decision because of his better wrestling and his greater one-punch power on the feet.
Selection: Simon wins via Decision
-130 Dustin Jacoby (17-5-1: 10 KOs, 1 SUB) vs. +108 Da-un Jung (15-2-1: 11 KOs, 2 SUBs)
Both of these striking dynamos haven’t lost in over 6-years and they bring a comparable calm and coolness into their fights. While Jacoby has a higher level of kickboxing credentials outside of MMA, Jung has shown to be just as technical in his approach to stand-up fighting. This fight may take a few minutes to get cracking as these two technicians will be downloading the others' movement and timing, but when they do finally get the exchanges going I like Jacoby to get the better of them. Jacoby has great usage of his long weapons (jab, front kick) that will keep Jung at bay. Out of frustration, Jung may find himself leaping forward to create action, but only to expose himself to a counter opportunity for Jacoby.
Selection: Jacoby wins via Decision