The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!
UFC Fight Night 194 may be the curtain jerker for the fight of the year between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder later tonight, but the UFC is keen to this and have built this card with young, lesser-known talent to showcase their skills in hopes of stealing a headline or two.
-175 Mackenzie Dern (11-1: 7 SUBs) vs. +140 Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2: 6 KOs, 1 SUB)
About the only common ground the two women in the UFC FN 194 main event share is their home country of Brazil. Other than that they are oil and water … In a classic battle of grappler vs. striker between Dern, a former world Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion, and Rodriguez, a Muay Thai specialist, we get to witness which one of these strawweights is ready for a shot at UFC gold. Both of these fighters have been on a tear taking out what was originally thought of as tough competition and are eyeing to pass the next test: can they beat an elite specialist in a five-round main event? For Dern, she’s been on a roll notching four wins in a row and three of them via submission in the first round. Whoa. Rodriguez, on the other hand, hasn’t won four in a row like Dern, but she has beaten much higher-level opponents in her career with wins over Michelle Waterson, Amanda Ribas and Tecia Torres. Though this isn’t the most stacked UFC card in terms of name value, the main event will deliver as both of these women try to make their case for a UFC title shot. I think Dern shows her championship-caliber grappling and gets the victory. Dern was winning world jiu-jitsu titles by the time Rodriguez started training MMA. I’m also leaning towards the fight not lasting past three rounds.
Selection: Dern via Submission/U 2.5 rounds
-250 Randy Brown (13-4: 6 KOs, 5 SUBs) vs. +195 Jared Gooden (18-6: 8 KOs, 6 SUBs)
We have sneaky good main event fight between Randy Brown and Jared Gooden as both men have the same goal but are on different paths at the moment. Randy Brown has been on an up-and-down ride throughout his UFC career. Brown seems to knock on the door of being a potential perennial top-10 UFC welterweight, but he continues to fall to seemingly better competition. For Gooden, he was in a lonely place before his last fight. Gooden had lost his first and second UFC fights, and then BOOM, he landed a crisp right hand that got the division’s attention and set him up for a quick turnaround fight against Brown. Was Gooden’s knockout a desperate reaction to potentially being cut from the roster? Or, did he finally shake his UFC jitters? The seasoned vet, Brown, is hoping for the former. Also, Brown seems rather ticked-off at Gooden’s huge miss in weight. I think that adds an extra layer of focus for Brown not to play with fire and get the job done.
Selection: Randy Brown via Decision O/1.5 rounds
-200 Matheus Nicolau (16-2-1: 4 KOs, 5 SUBs) vs. +160 Tim Elliott (17-11-1: 3 KOs, 6 SUBs)
This could be a great fight between Mtheus Nicolau, who’s 6-1 in the UFC, going against Tim Elliot, who faced the who’s who of the UFC’s flyweight division. This is going to be a high-paced chess match as both of these fighters come from top-echelon teams and have every tool in the belt to be dangerous on any given night, it just comes down to if they apply their tools at the right time. Elliot is trying to make his win streak three fights in a row with a win, which would be his longest since 2016. Matheus Nicolau, who’s on a three-fight win streak himself, is getting his toughest test against a savvy veteran in Elliot. I’m going to go against the grain with this pick and lean towards Elliot, who seems to have found a balance of chaos and control. I think Matheus Nicolau’s lack of finishes in recent years (2015 last finish) will give Elliot the confidence to use his full array of tools and win a decision.
Selection: Elliot via Decision O/1.5 rounds
-175 Sabina Mazo (9-2: 2 KOs, 1 SUB) vs. +140 Mariya Agapova (9-2: 3 KOs, 4 SUBs)
The clear favorite in this fight according to sportsbooks, Sabina Mazo hasn’t lost two fights in a row and is facing a respectable opponent in Mariya Agapova who is not afraid to stand in the pocket and trade. Mazo is a Kings MMA gym product which is a striking-heavy gym headed by former Muay Thai champion Rafael Cordeiro. Mazo has the build of an elite striker. She’s tall, long and has good footwork. But like many tall strikers, she’s susceptible to well-timed takedowns and being controlled on the ground. Mazo’s opponent, Mariya Agapova, is willing to bang on the feet, but also has an explosive double-leg takedown. I think it will be a back-and-forth scrap that ends with Mazo’s hand being raised because of her higher-level striking skills.
Selection: Mazo via Decision O/1.5 rounds
-260 Chris Gutierrez (16-4: 7 KOs, 1 SUB) vs. +200 Felipe Colares (10-2: 2 KOs, 5 SUBs)
These bantamweights are getting a call to the bigger stage with original main card opener between Deron Winn and Phil Hawes getting the can after Winn pulled out due to last minute health concerns. After flirting with a completely new fight to plug in, the UFC just decided to bump Colares and Gutierrez up. It’s a great alternate fight as Gutierrez is on fire with a 4-0-1 record since his last loss and Colares is coming off a hard-fought comeback win in his last fight. Gutierrez will once again be the smaller man, but he will use his leg kicks to chop down a bigger tree. Colares will not go down easy, so I expect the fight to make it to the third round, where eventually Gutierrez's leg kicks will have laid the groundwork for a KO opportunity to present itself.
Selection: Gutierrez via Knockout /U 3 rounds
Stay locked to the EDGE for the combat sport weekend recap!
PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.