UFC on Fox 20: Holm vs. Shevchenko will air on July 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.
#2 HOLLY “THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER” HOLM (10-1-0) vs. #7 VALENTINA “BULLET” SHEVCHENKO (12-2-0)
This is a five round main event in the women’s bantamweight division. This fight is between two of the beast heavy strikers that the women’s division has to offer. Now is the time to fully test their power to see who really has the more deadly strikes. Holm brings boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu and wrestling that has made her one of the most dominant female fighters ever as well as becoming the first woman to ever knockout and defeat Ronda Rousey and capture UFC gold, thus becoming a former champion. Shevchenko brings boxing, kickboxing, taekwondo, judo and Muay Thai that has made her deadly in striking as well as containing a few grappling techniques. Since both fighters are skilled in striking abilities the fight looks to be a full stand up fight of a boxing style matchup, which will make this fight fun to watch. With everything that both of these two incredible female athletes bring to the bout, it seems hard to choose a favorite. When it comes down to the statistics, Holm would be the major favorite, due to her intense striking that she likes to mix with both punches and kicks that always do some serious damage to her opponents. Though Shevchenko has pretty intense striking herself and though she might not be at the level that Holm is, she could still do some damage and possibly put on a great performance that will leave the fans in amazement and earn the biggest win of her career. That said, Shevchenko only has three fights inside the Octagon of the UFC. However, Holm is very cautious about how she sets up her striking combinations and if Shevchenko does not watch her defense and do all in her power to place pressure on Holm the fight will probably be no different from the Rousey vs. Holm fight at UFC 193. My prediction: Holm wins via knockout in Round 3.
#6 EDSON “JUNIOR” BARBOZA (17-4-0) vs. GILBERT “EL NINO” MELENDEZ (22-5-0)
This is a three round fight in the lightweight division. This fight has two fighters that are on opposite ends of the leader board and are looking to prove why they should be higher than the other. Barboza brings boxing, taekwondo, Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu which has lead him to 10 victories by knockout as well as having well conditioned cardio. Melendez brings striking and jiu-jitsu that has given him 11 wins by knockout as well as having great cardio. With both fighters having the striking and cardio aspects down flat, the fight will be decided on who implements them the best. By the statistics the fight looks to favor Barboza as he seems to have much more striking power than Melendez. Even the fact that Melendez has not competed in over a year could have caused him to lose some of his performance methods, which Barboza will be looking to take a big advantage of. Though Melendez is one of the top lightweights to ever compete in MMA, he will most likely have a few tricks up his sleeve that could put Barboza in a world of trouble. Especially if Melendez puts pressure on Barboza, who is not use to having pressure placed upon him. If Barboza wants to take this fight he will have to keep his distance from Melendez and not give him any chances to set up a combination that could place Barboza in major trouble and give Melendez an epic win on his return to the Octagon. After all, the lightweight division is considered to be a shark division so anything can happen in this fight. My prediction: Melendez wins via split decision.
FELICE “LIL BULLDOG” HERRIG (10-6-0) vs. KAILIN CURRAN (4-2-0)
This is a three round fight in the women’s strawweight division. In this fight are two female athletes that have not seen much action inside the Octagon of the UFC and are looking to prove why they deserve to be competing in the UFC. Herrig brings kickboxing, Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu that have made her well equipped in striking and grappling techniques. Curran brings kickboxing and jiu-jitsu that has given her a quick rise in the sport of MMA and now looks to earn a big win over a top competitor. With both fighters possessing a strong ground game, it all looks to come down to who shows the better style, which looks to favor Herrig. This is based on the fact that Herrig has more experience in the sport and knows how to handle fights. Though Curran has shown some great improvement in her last fight after coming off of two losses by using her jiu-jitsu more effectively that could be her key to victory in this fight. But in order to do so, Curran will have to avoid Herrig’s striking that she will use to full effect to keep Curran from bringing the fight to the ground and keep the fight on their feet where Herrig is most effective. My prediction: Herrig wins via TKO in Round 1.