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The UFC took off for a week, but they have us fight fans covered as the world’s MMA leader is coming back strong with a satisfying 14-fight event. Below is the first leg of my UFC Fight Night 192 preview. Besides a few lopsided matchups, the majority of these fights should be barn burners.
-130 Tafon Nchukwi (5-1) vs. +105 Mike Rodriguez (11-6), Light-Heavyweight
I don’t see Tafon Nchukwi throwing up any flying triangles anytime soon (or any submissions really) and that will make the bigger and lankier Mike Rodriguez very happy. Rodriguez has been a victim to the jiu-jitsu game but is always willing to go blow for blow with a willing opponent. Also, Nchukwi has physically bullied his opponents in the past at a lighter weight class, I don’t see that happening to Rodriguez.
Selection: Mike Rodriguez
-130 Raquel Pennington (11-8) vs. +105 Pannie Kianzad (14-5), Bantamweight
Former title challenger Raquel Pennington is trying to prove that she still has more tread on her tires and that she is not a stepping stone for Kianzad. The Swede, Kianzad, brings with her a four-fight win streak against very respectable opponents. If Kianzad can make it five in a row she’ll be looking at a top 15 opponent in her next fight. I think Pennington has enough veteran savvy to make it to the final horn, but getting the win against Kianzad is a bit much at this stage in her career.
Selection: Pannie Kianzad
-200 Tony Gravely (21-6) vs. +160 Nate Maness (13-1), Featherweight
A battle of the chins as both Gravely and Maness don’t mind a good ol' fashion throwdown. Both guys have a great will to win so flip a coin on this shootout.
Selection: Nate Maness
-350 Zhu Rong (17-4) vs. +260 Brandon Jenkins, Lightweight
Rong was on an absolute tear with a 10-fight win streak before losing in his UFC debut. The jury’s still out on Rong’s potential but against lesser competition, he was dominant. Jenkins has been on a wild ride in 2021. This will be the knockout artist's three MMA promotion he's fought for in seven-months. With a full camp it would've been fun to pick Jenkins, but I expect the now humbled Rong to get back in the win column.
Selection: Zhu Rong
-600 Montel Jackson (10-2) vs. +410 JP Buys (9-3), Bantamweight
Montel Jackson enters Saturday as the second biggest favorite on the card and for good reason. Jackson's repertoire includes smooth striking and footwork. He also has a great ability to track his opponents down. Jackson is facing JP Buys, a damaging grappler, and the appropriate next test in Jackson’s young UFC career. Buys has a very heavy top game, which can be useless if he can’t get his foe to the ground. I think, in the smaller UFC weight classes, knockouts are less frequent which results in more cage time and more opportunities for ground and pound and/or a possible TKO for JP Buys. It’s worth the price tag on to throw shekels on Buys.
Selection: JP Buys
-325 Erin Blanchfield (6-1) vs. +240 Sarah Alpar (9-5), Bantamweight
Blanchfield trains at Renzo Gracie BJJ, one of the best grappling gyms in the world, yet she does her best work with her striking skill set. The 22-year-old is hoping to get past the more experienced Sarah Alpar in a big way. For Alpar, she lost badly in her last bout about one year ago, but her wrestling and grit will make this a close fight, but ultimately the rising star, Blanchfield, should shine bright.
Selection: Erin Blanchfield
-120 Impa Kasanganay (9-1) vs. -105 Carlston Harris (16-4), Middleweight
Kasanganay was on the receiving end of the 2020 knockout of the year, which was delivered by UFCFN192 main card fighter, Joaquin Buckley, yet Kasanganay was able to bounce back in a big way by getting a submission victory in his last fight. Harris is no stranger to submissions; the Guyana native has very slick submission game but hasn’t faced a fighter of Kasanganay’s caliber and physical size.
Selection: Impa Kasanganay
-125 Heili Alateng (14-8-1) vs. +100 Gustavo Lopez (12-6), Bantamweight
Alateng and Lopez are hoping to prove their better than their last fights. Both fighters have stumbled to much greater competition and need a huge win to avoid being considered a mediocre fighter. I think Lopez’s aggressive style really counters Alateng’s casual approach to cage control.
Selection: Gustavo Lopez
-125 Emily Whitmire (4-4) vs. +100 Hannah Goldy (5-2), Strawweight
Both Whitmire and Goldy are trying to snap their individual two-fight skids in a big way. Losing three consecutive fights does not bode well for a fighter's stint in the UFC. Whitmire’s biggest hole in her game is her submission defense. Goldy hasn’t submitted an opponent since her amatuer years; I expect Whitmire to keep the fight at striking range where she excels.
Selection: Emily Whitmire
Stay locked in right here for the second half of my UFC Fight Night 192 preview.
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