Godinez Decision ...A late-notice call up for a 36 year old is never usually a positive sign but Gomez will allow Goinez to shine. Despite defeats to Ariane Lipski and Poliana Botelho, the experience gained in the regionals vs now solid UFC names highlight Gomez’s ability. Godinez’s volume and tenacity in the pocket should gel well with Gomez’s total dedication to straight shots.
Jackson ...Rosa’s physical decline is coinciding with increasing willingness to simply survive. Happy to throw volume off his back-foot or chance his arm with competent defensive grappling on the mat, the thoroughly negative style only lends itself to scrappy split decisions (wins or losses). If Jackson can maintain his mental against a frustrating opponent, he will be able to win a typically bully-like performance.
Romanov KO ...The big bear is a terrifying early-round power wrestling threat. Espino exposed Romanov’s flailing gas tank and leaky striking defense but aren’t many in the division who can stop Romanov’s early pressure. Vanderaa is a solid boxer when allowed to set the pace, as Justin Tafa so kindly allowed, but this won’t be the case against Romanov. He lacks the defensive grappling required to get back up when the Moldovan gets on top of him.
Gutierrez ...A stifling striking offense, Gutierrez fights hard to hold control over the pace. While that pace may then turn into a piece-up striking affair, largely set behind a solid jab and leg kick, this only benefits the Texan’s concussive power. Colares is a solid athlete who rides his chin till he can eventually pull a takedown out of thin air. Weak wrestling simply won’t suffice against Gutierrez. Flashy head kicks and moving back on a straight line will allow Gutierrez to win off of his jab and single-shot kicks.
Mazo ...The young Colombian represents an exciting late-round threat with the perfect style to stomp Agapova. Even after taking a year out since her shocking loss to Shana Dobson, Agapova’s awful conditioning and pacing have to be considered gravely in this match-up. Despite losing to Alexis Davis, Mazo still pieced apart the ancient Canadian, losing largely due to mental switch-offs to late takedowns. Lean Mazo but probably no play here.
Nicolau decision ...Since moving to James Krause’s gym, Tim Elliot appears more thoughtful in the cage and able to link together his bag of tricks. Elliot smartly tired Jordan Espinosa against the cage during the first round before finding takedowns and the finish with ease in the second. Still, it is difficult to look past Nicolau. Belying his 28 years of age, Nicolau is an incredibly disciplined counter-striker with TDD capable of stuffing early Elliot aggression and punishing the American deep into the fight. Nicolau’s inside leg kicks will frustrate the American’s natural forward pressure, breaking Elliot into reverting back to his scrappy brawling.
Brown KO ...Despite Brown’s stop-start career, it would appear the Queen’s fighter has learnt from his setbacks. Finally taking note of his freak 6’3″ size, Brown walked Alex Oliveira down and used his length to bully the crafty counter-striker. Gooden carries his heavy hands late into fights but he has often absorbed so much damage during the early rounds that he is unable to gain a foothold. Brown’s weak-ish chin may pose an issue with his newfound motivation to set the pace, yet the TKO losses suffered have come from some of the hardest hitters at 170lbs.
If an aged, Alan Jouban, pieced apart Gooden on the feet – Brown’s length and aggression on the feet should match Gooden in every early exchange. It’s too difficult to bank on Gooden’s power cracking a sometimes disorganized, sometimes disciplined Brown.
Dern ITD ...Rodriguez represents the superior striker, but more importantly, the plus athlete in this match-up. Taking note of Dern’s loss to Amanda Ribas, Rodriguez needs to draw upon her physicality to keep the fight standing. Volume also needs to take center stage. Rodriguez’s ability to out-strike Michelle Waterson, Jessica Aguilar and Tecia Torres needs to be replicated once again. By dictating the pace, Rodriguez can tame Dern’s face-first power strikes into a cleaner, out-fighting affair. Dern’s chin may well prove vital in buying time for the Brazilian BJJ specialist before she can force the fight to the mat. An increased aggression on the feet since the Ribas loss has been welcome, now more clearly commanding the direction of fights. Dreadful wrestling remains an issue, however. Dern’s ability to out-muscle Nina Nunes in the clinch has me siding with Dern eventually getting to the ground from where her sublime grappling will eventually likely find a finish.