The UFC makes its way to the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina for UFC Fight Night 154 on Saturday night.
The main event takes place in the featherweight division where Renato Carneiro takes on Chan Sung Jung in what could be a fight of the year candidate.
After starting his professional MMA career 11-0-1, “Moicano” finally tasted defeat when he lost to Brian Ortega via submission at UFC 214. Moicano bounced back by winning his next two fights. He defeated Calvin Kattar via unanimous decision at UFC 223 and then subbed Cub Swanson in the first round at UFC 227.
His most recent fight occurred at UFC Fight Night 144 where he was stopped by Jose Aldo in the second round. Six of the Brazilian born fighter’s thirteen career wins are via submission to go along with seven by decision. The thirty-year-old will make the walk for the seventeenth time on Saturday.
After taking a four-year hiatus from the UFC, Chan Sung Jung returned at UFC Fight Night 104 where he finished Dennis Bermudez in the first round. His most recent fight was at UFC Fight Night 139 where he took on Yair Rodriguez. Rodriguez knocked The Korean Zombie out cold with one second to go in the final round with one of the most devastating elbows you’ll ever see.
Twelve of the thirty-two-year-old’s fourteen career victories ended inside the distance. This will be the South Korean born fighter’s twentieth pro fight.
The co-main card takes place in the welterweight division where Bryan Barberena takes on Randy Brown. Bryan Barberena is 2-2 over his previous four alternating wins and losses. His most recent fight was against Vicente Luque at UFC on ESPN 1.
It was another Barberena classic but unfortunately for the thirty-year-old it wasn’t his night. Luque put Barberena away via strikes with six seconds left to go in the fight. The MMA Lab product has fourteen career wins. Only two of those wins went to the judge’s scorecards.
Randy Brown is 1-2 in his last three. He defeated Mickey Gall at UFC 217 via unanimous decision. The two losses were against Belal Muhammad at UFC 208 and Niko Price at UFC Fight Night 133. The Jamaican born fighter boasts eight wins via (T)KO in his ten career victories.
Also, on the main card Andrea Lee will look to make it seven wins in a row when she steps into the octagon opposite Montana De La Rosa whom is on a modest four-fight win streak herself. And in the middleweight division, Kevin Holland takes on Alessio Di Chirico.
The prelims will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 3:00 PM (CST) with the main card starting at 6:00 PM (CST) also on ESPN+.
Note: The predictions in this column do not necessarily mean that I will be betting them. I have changed my mind in the past and gone the other way after conducting more research. For all my official bets follow me on Twitter @MichaelGrocke.
Renato Carneiro (13-2-1) vs. Chan Sung Jung (14-5) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Carneiro -200; Jung +160
Pick: Carneiro by decision.
I like Moicano here. The Korean Zombie likes to march forward, walk his opponent down and keep constant pressure. It’s a game plan that has worked well for him. However, I don’t think Moicano will get sucked into a firefight with The Korean Zombie. I expect Moicano to stay on the outside, punish the legs, and pick Jung apart over time. Also, while I don’t expect Jung to be affected by the Rodriguez knockout, it could still be in the back of mind.
Bryan Barberena (14-6) vs. Randy Brown (10-3) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Barberena -265; Brown +205
Pick: Barberena by (T)KO.
If you look at Barberena’s losses, he’s lost to some of the best fighters in the division. He has a chin like no other, so I don’t expect Brown to be able hurt him with strikes. I’ve never been impressed with Randy Brown, but this is cage fighting so you never know.
Andre Ewell (14-5) vs. Anderson dos Santos (20-7) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: dos Santos -120; Ewell -110
Pick: Ewell by decision with little confidence.
This is a striker vs. grappler match-up. Dos Santos has the advantage on the ground but is second to Ewell on the feet. Ewell isn’t very good fighting off his back and struggles to get back to his feet. This could be a problem considering dos Santos’s strong top game. The odds on this fight have flipped which I don’t disagree with. I think Ewell will do enough damage on the feet leading to a decision win.
Andrea Lee (10-2) vs. Montana De La Rosa (10-4) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: Lee -200; De La Rosa +160
Pick: Lee by decision.
I like both fighters…a lot. They both have huge potential and keep improving with every fight. The question is, which woman has improved more here? Lee is great on the feet but struggles on the ground. De La Rosa lacks on the feet but has a strong ground game. If Lee has improved, her takedown defense and keeps the fight standing she’ll piece Montana up. De La Rosa does not wear damage well. If De La Rosa has success getting Lee to the mat I can see her possibly being able to steal rounds to a decision.
Kevin Holland (14-4) vs. Alessio Di Chirico (12-2) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Holland -225; Di Chirico +185
Pick: Holland by decision.
Holland is by far the better fighter on the feet. Di Chirico does everything well, but nothing great. If Holland can keep the fight a striking affair and doesn’t beat himself then it’s his fight to lose. Personally, I can’t put money on Holland due to his poor fight IQ.
Dan Ige (11-2) vs. Kevin Aguilar (17-1) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Aguilar -145; Ige +115
Pick: Ige by submission.
Ashley Yoder (6-4) vs. Syuri Kondo (6-2) – Strawweight 115 lbs.
Current Odds: Yoder -130; Kondo +100
Pick: Yoder by decision.
A slight lean to Yoder here. Yoder’s cardio is worrisome against a fighter such as Kondo who’s going to walk forward, push the pace and look to out-volume her.
Matt Wiman (16-7) vs. Luis Pena (6-1) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Pena -415; Wiman +315
Pick: Pena by decision.
Where has Matt Wiman been for five years and what has he been doing?
Allen Crowder (10-3, 1 NC) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (7-0) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Rozenstruik -230; Crowder +190
Pick: Rozenstruik by (T)KO.
Both fighters have a path to victory. Rozenstruik is a technical striker with power and speed. However, he has terrible takedown defense and is like a fish out of water when put on his back. Crowder is slow on his feet and has terrible striking defense. I like Crowder’s ability to get Rozenstruik to the ground fairly easily, but I don’t know if his offensive wrestling is strong enough. I like Rozenstruik inside the distance. I think Crowder gets caught lunging in going for a takedown.
Ariane Lipski (11-4) vs. Molly McCann (8-2) – Flyweight 115 lbs.
Current Odds: Lipski -305; McCann +205
Pick: Lipski by decision.
This is a fight Lipski should win and it’s a fight the UFC wants her win. At -300, I’ll pass though.
Deron Winn (5-0) vs. Eric Spicely (12-4) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Winn -280; Spicely +220
Pick: Winn by (T)KO.
Winn has all the tools and should win but Spicely shouldn’t be overlooked.
Enjoy the fights!
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