UFC Philadelphia: Preview & Predictions
UFC returns to Philadelphia tonight but don’t expect any brotherly love from these fighters. Headliner features two wild strikers who love to flashy and fierce attacks. Edspn Barboza vs Justin Gaethje promises to be must see TV. Michelle Waterson vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz should be the semi main event, hell Stevie Wonder could see that so I have no idea what the UFC was thinking on this one. All in all we have a couple amazing match ups and a few that should be very good mixed in with a couple that have beer run written all over them. My sleeper fight from the prelims is Kevin Holland vs. Gerald Meerschaert I expect a helluva fight and a win from “The Trailblazer” Kevin Holland. Let’s take a sneak peek at the main card.
#6 Edson Barboza (20-6) vs. #5 Justin Gaethje (19-2)
Fight fans this one has the potential to be fight of the year, the question is do both men bring the heat long enough to establish that designation. Justin should no doubt be on the attack early and often as the worst thing he could do is sit back and give Edson time to set up and create his flashy spinning assaults. Luckily for Gaethje that has never been his style of fight so he could pose some serious problems for Barboza. Both fighters have won three of their last 5 fights (that includes Gaethje’s only two loses). Baeboza is coming off a 3rd round finish over Daniel Hooker prior to that he dropped two straight to Kevin Lee and Khabib Nurmagomedov (very respectable losses) Garthje rolls in off a first round finish of James Vick after losing to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez (again respectable loses). This one has all the potential in the world now let’s see if they can deliver.
Prediction: Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje TKO
#11 David Branch (22-5) vs. #18 Jack Hermansson (18-4)
While this a top 20 match up I gotta tell ya I am just not overly excited about this fight tonight. How this took semi main over Kowalkiewicz and Waterson I will never understand. Branch has had a couple impressive wins over Krzysztof Jotko and Thiago Santos but followed that with sub par performances against Luke Rockhold and Jared Cannonier both losses. I never know which Branch I am getting. Hermansson is coming off back to back wins over Thales Leites and Gerald Meerschaert after suffering a first round TKO to Thiago Santos. Maybe we get lucky and both men bring their A game because that would be a damn good fight.
Prediction: Jack “The Joker” Hermansson TKO
#13 Josh Emmett (13-2) vs. #18 Michael Johnson (19-13)
Another top 20 match up but both men are north of 30. Emmett is coming off a loss to Jeremy Stephens after wins over Felipe Arantes and Ricardo Lamas. He has shown some flashes of being really good but he also has made some key mistakes. Johnson comes in with far more experience but has also dropped far more fights. Consecutive wins over Artem Lobov and Andre Fili should be a good sign but he stepped down in talent get those wins after falling victim to Darren Elkins, Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Emmett should prove to a little better test but I am not sure Johnson comes out of this one with a win.
Prediction: Josh Emmett Decision
#8 Michelle Waterson (16-6) vs. #6 Karolina Kowalkiewicz (12-3)
What should be the semi main event in my eyes is a top 10 match up between two talented strawweights that could result in the winner getting a future title shot. The beautiful and beloved Waterson aka “The Karate Hottie” slips in on a two fight win streak with victory’s over Cortney Casey and Felice Herrig after being beaten by Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres. Waredons wins are great but another example of stepping down a touch in talent to get the wins. Kowalkiewicz the beautiful Polish fighter comes off a loss to Jéssica Andrade after defeating Jodie Esquibel and Felice Herrig. Karolina’s only other losses were to Joanna Jędrzejczyk and
Cláudia Gadelha so both Women have fallen to the elite level talent.U absolutely love this match up and think we will get a fantastic fight tonight between these two beautiful strikers.
Prediction: Karolina Kowalkiewicz via Decision
#32 Paul Craig (10-3) vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu (6-0)
Craig is the more experienced fighter and has a worldwide ranking but this kis rolling in from Texas is no joke. dropping three of his last five fights Craig thinks he locked in an opponent for a win. He should think again. Kennedy comes in undefeated winning his first 6 pro fights. Standing 6;5″ with an 83″ reach Kennedy has some freakish skills.Coming off three straight finishes over Andre Kavanaugh, Corey Johnson and Dennis Bryant Kennedy is looking to make some noise in his UFC debut. Don’t make a beer run on this one fight fans I am telling you this kid van go.
Prediction: Kennedy Nzechukwu TKO
Sheymon Moraes (11-2) vs. Sodiq Yusuff (8-1)
This one is interesting two fighters with a lot to prove looking to make a splash in the featherweight division. Moraes has won two straight and four of his last five fights. Sheymon’s only two losses came to Marlon Moraes and Zabit Magomedsharipov. Defeating Matt Sayles and Julio Arce in his last two. Yusuff has suffered only one loss to Luis Gomez and has won three straight against Dylan Tuke, Mike Davis and Suman Mokhtarian. I think YusUff has potential and a bright future but I think he suffers a setback tonight against Moraes
Prediction: Sheymon Moraes Decision
Pay close attention to both Kennedy Nzechukwu and Kevin Holland as I think both fighters are going to show their best tonight in Philadelphia. Follow all the action tonight with me on Twitter at @MSBFightClub and as always have a kick ass fight night!
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Check out a previous UFC article of mine here