UFC on ESPN: Barboza vs. Gaethje Preview

 

By Kyler Kuehler

UFC on ESPN: Barboza vs. Gaethje will air on March 30, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Preliminary Card (ESPN+)

ALEX PEREZ (21-5-0) vs MARK “BUMBLEBEE” DE LA ROSA (11-1-0)
This is a three-round fight in the bantamweight division. Perez brings boxing, judo, and jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. La Rosa brings boxing and jiu-jitsu. The jiu-jitsu La Rosa possesses will be a great weapon to use; it won’t be enough to stand against Perez. The jiu-jitsu and wrestling Perez brings will overpower La Rosa. He will take control by bringing the fight to the ground where he will out grapple him. He will do this until putting La Rosa to sleep. My prediction: Perez wins via submission in Round 2.

SABINA “COLOMBIAN QUEEN” MAZO (6-0-0) vs MARYNA “IRON WOMAN” MOROZ (8-3-0)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s flyweight division. Mazo brings Muay Thai. Moroz brings boxing, kickboxing, and judo. The boxing and kickboxing Moroz brings is a dangerous combination. However, Mazo is faster and her Muay Thai is more efficient. She will be able to outstrike Moroz and land cleaner shots. This will hurt Moroz right away and once hurt Mazo will go in for the kill. My prediction: Mazo wins via knockout in Round 1.

ENRIQUE “EL FUERTE” BARZOLA (15-3-1) vs KEVIN “THE ANGEL OF DEATH” AGUILAR (16-1-0)
This is a three-round fight in the featherweight division. Barzola brings kickboxing, Luta Livre, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Aguilar brings boxing and jiu-jitsu. Aguilar’s jiu-jitsu should give him the advantage, but Barzola is equipped with wrestling as well. He will use it to control the fight and wear Aguilar down. He will do this until the final bell. My prediction: Barzola wins via unanimous decision.

Preliminary Card (ESPN)

#3 RAY “THE TAZMEXICAN DEVIL” BORG (11-3-0) vs KYLER “MATRIX” PHILIPS (6-1-0)
This is a three-round fight in the bantamweight division. Borg brings striking, Gaidojutsu, and jiu-jitsu. Philips brings striking and grappling. Both can strike and grapple; Borg is more well-rounded. His Gaidojutsu and jiu-jitsu give him better grappling and ground-and-pound. This combination will keep Philips under pressure. Borg will keep him under pressure and attack until putting Philips away. My prediction: Borg wins via submission in Round 1.

KENNEDY NZECHUKWU (6-0-0) vs PAUL “BEARJEW” CRAIG (10-3-0)
This is a three-round fight in the light heavyweight division. Nzechukwu brings striking and grappling. Craig brings boxing and jiu-jitsu. Similar style, but Craig has a set style of striking and grappling. His boxing will catch Nzechukwu right away, but it won’t take him out. Craig will instead bring the fight to the ground. There he will use his jiu-jitsu and wear him down until he goes to sleep. My prediction: Craig wins via submission in Round 1.

ROSS “THE REAL DEAL” PEARSON (20-15-0, 1 NC) vs DESMOND “THE PREDATOR” GREEN (21-8-0)
This is a three-round fight in the lightweight division. Pearson brings boxing, Muay Thai, judo, taekwondo, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Green brings striking and wrestling. Pearson’s aggression and striking power appear to be too dangerous for Green. However, Greens ability to take control and remain in control will be Pearson’s downfall. He will take Pearson to the ground and wear him down. He will do this until Pearson can go on no longer. My prediction: Green wins via TKO in Round 2.

#14 ALEXA GRASSO (10-2-0) vs MARINA RODRIGUEZ (10-0-1)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s strawweight division. Grasso brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Rodriguez brings Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu. The wrestling Grasso possesses appears to be too much for Rodriguez to survive. However, Grasso’s striking is not as good as Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s Muay Thai always brings power. This will help keep Grasso at bay while avoiding any takedowns. My prediction: Rodriguez wins via knockout in Round 2.

Main Card (ESPN)

SODIQ “SUPER” YUSUFF (8-1-0) vs SHEYMON MORAES (11-2-0)
This is a three-round fight in the featherweight division. Yusuff brings striking and grappling. Moraes brings kickboxing, karate, Muay Thai, judo, and jiu-jitsu. Both fighters are equipped, but Moraes has better combinations. His karate will give him great defense against Yusuff’s striking. He will then use his judo and jiu-jitsu to take Yusuff to the ground. There he will wear him down will adding in some ground-and-pound until Yusuff cannot continue. My prediction: Moraes ins via TKO in Round 3.

#6 KAROLINA KOWALKIEWICZ (12-3-0) vs #9 MICHELLE “THE KARATE HOTTIE” WATERSON (16-6-0)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s strawweight division. Kowalkiewicz brings kickboxing, Muay Thai, Krav Maga, and jiu-jitsu. Waterson brings kickboxing, Muay Thai, karate, and jiu-jitsu. Similar style, so it’s hard to choose a favorite. Kowalkiewicz, kickboxing, and Muay Thai will put Waterson under pressure. At the same time, Waterson will be using her karate to defend and then bring the fight to the ground. It will be a close fight, but Waterson’s grappling is what will make all the difference. My prediction: Waterson wins via split decision.

#10 JOSH EMMETT (13-2-0) vs MICHAEL “THE MENACE” JOHNSON (19-13-0)
This is a three-round fight in the featherweight division. Emmett brings striking, jiu-jitsu and wrestling. Johnson brings boxing and wrestling. Johnson’s striking power will be a deadly challenge for Emmett to survive. However, Johnson is not great with ground game, regardless of possessing wrestling. Emmett will avoid Johnson’s attacks and bring Johnson to the ground. He will both grapple and ground-and-pound him. This will wear Johnson down until he is forced to quit. My prediction: Emmett wins via submission in Round 3.

KEVIN “TRAILBLAZER” HOLLAND (14-4-0) vs GERALD “GM3” MEERSCHAERT (28-10-0)
This is a three-round fight in the middleweight division. Holland brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Meerschaert brings kickboxing, taekwondo, and jiu-jitsu. Meerschaert looks to take this fight with ease from his kickboxing and taekwondo. Holland has a great defense and will use his jiu-jitsu to bring Meerschaert to the ground. He will then control the fight while using some ground-and-pound to score critical points. My prediction: Holland wins via unanimous decision.

#11 DAVID BRANCH (22-5-0) vs JACK “THE JOKER” HERMANSSON (18-4-0)
This is a three-round co-main event in the middleweight division. Branch brings striking, karate, and jiu-jitsu. Hermansson brings boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling. Branch has striking power but is not great at taking heavy hits. Hermansson’s boxing and kickboxing will get the best of Branch. Branch will get lit up and Hermansson will keep attacking until Branch falls flat. My prediction: Hermansson wins via TKO in Round 2.

#6 EDSON “JUNIOR” BARBOZA (20-6-0) vs #7 JUSTIN “THE HIGHLIGHT” GAETHJE (19-2-0)
This is a five-round main event in the lightweight division. Barboza brings boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, taekwondo, and jiu-jitsu. Gaethje brings boxing and wrestling. Since both are heavy hitters we all know this will be an all-out striking fight. Gaethje’s boxing can and will do damage to Barboza. At the same time, Barboza’s kickboxing will do the same. Only Barboza will hurt Gaethje more and cause him to gas faster. Once Gaethje becomes too weak Barboza will go off until Gaethje goes down for the count. My prediction: Barboza wins via knockout in Round 2.