UFC Copenhagen preview, Michael Grocke predicts every fight on the card.
The UFC travels overseas to the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark for UFC Fight Night 160. The main event takes place in the middleweight division where Jack Hermansson takes on Jared Cannonier. The co-main takes place in the lightweight division where Mark Madsen faces off against Danilo Belluardo.
Also, on the main card Gunnar Nelson takes on Gilbert Burns, Ion Cutelaba faces off against Khalil Rountree, Michal Oleksiejczuk vs. Ovince Saint Preux and Nicolas Dalby vs. Alex Oliveira.
UFC Copenhagen Broadcast Information
The prelims will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 10:00 AM (CST) with the main card starting at 2:00 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.
Jack Hermansson (20-4) vs. Jared Cannonier (12-4) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Hermansson -250; Cannonier +195
Jack Hermansson has won his last four and six of his last seven bouts. His most recent victory came at UFC Fight Night 150 where he beat Ronaldo Souza via unanimous decision. Sixteen of his twenty career wins ended inside the distance; eleven by knockout. This fight will be the twenty-fifth pro fight for the thirty-one-year old Swedish born fighter.
After losing two in a row, Jared Cannonier bounced back and has won his last two fights. He beat David Branch via knockout at UFC 230 and most recently he finished Anderson Silva in the first round at UFC 237. Ten of his twelve career victories ended inside the distance; eight of those via knockout. At thirty-five years old, Cannonier will make the walk for the seventeenth time on Saturday.
Cannonier is an excellent striker with huge power. The problem with his stand-up though is his striking defense; he’s very hittable. He also has poor takedown defense which will likely play a big role in this fight.
Hermansson has decent striking, but not on the level of Cannonier’s. He has good takedowns and is excellent on the ground. He has vicious ground and pound to go along with good submissions. Cannonier has big power so there’s always the chance he clips Hermansson and knocks him out. But I think he’ll be able to survive the early rounds on the feet and eventually get Cannonier to the ground where he has a serious advantage.
My official pick: Hermansson by submission.
From a betting perspective: I’m looking at Hermansson to win and Hermansson to win inside the distance as possible plays.
Mark Madsen (8-0) vs. Danilo Belluardo (12-4) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Madsen -850; Belluardo +525
Denmark’s own Mark Madsen will be making his UFC debut on Saturday. He has yet to taste defeat as a pro. His most recent victory occurred at Olympian Fight Night where he beat Patrick Nielsen via first round submission. Five of his eight wins ended inside the distance.
This will be Danilo Belluardo’s second fight for the promotion. He lost his UFC debut to Joel Alvarez via TKO at UFC Fight Night 153. This will be the Italian born fighter’s seventeenth pro fight. Of his twelve career wins, nine ended inside the distance.
This should be a good way for the UFC to showcase Madsen in his home country.
My official pick: Madsen by (T)KO.
From a betting perspective: Pass.
Gunnar Nelson (17-4-1) vs. Gilbert Burns (16-3) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Burns -135; Nelson +105
Thirty-one-year old Gunnar Nelson is 1-1 over his previous two bouts. He suffered a loss to Leon Edwards via split decision at UFC Fight Night 147 in his most recent fight. But prior to that he subbed Alex Oliveira at UFC 231. All but one of his seventeen victories ended inside the distance; twelve of those by way of submission. Nelson will make the walk for the twenty-third time when he steps into the cage opposite Burns on Saturday.
After getting finished by Dan Hooker in the first round at UFC 226, Brazilian born fighter Gilbert Burns has rattled off three consecutive victories. His most recent win occurred at UFC Fight Night 156 where he beat Alexey Kunchenko via unanimous decision. Thirteen of his sixteen career victories ended inside the distance; eight of those by submission. Saturday’s fight will be the twentieth for the thirty-three-year-old.
Gunnar Nelson is primarily a grappler. His striking is average at best and he’s not going to out-strike anyone anytime soon. He has excellent takedowns and once he gets his opponent to the ground, he is relentless at going for the submission as his twelve wins via submission illustrate.
Gilbert Burns doesn’t have the best striking either, but it’s better than Nelson’s. Burns struggles to defend the takedown so I think Nelson will have success taking him down. But Burns is an excellent defensive wrestler so once this fight goes to the ground it’ll get interesting. I don’t see either fighter having a big advantage on the ground, however I think Burns has the advantage on the feet.
My official pick: Burns by decision.
From a betting perspective: I’m considering Burns to win.
Ion Cutelaba (15-4) vs. Khalil Rountree (8-3) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Rountree -130; Cutelaba +100
After getting finished by Johnny Walker in the first round at UFC Fight Night 140, Khalil Rountree bounced back with a win over Eryk Anders via unanimous decision at UFC 236. Five of his eight career victories are via knockout. Rountree will make the walk for only the thirteenth time on Saturday.
Ion Cutelaba was on a two-fight win streak until he got subbed by Glover Teixeira in his most recent fight at UFC Fight Night 150. All but one of the twenty-five-year old’s fourteen career victories ended inside the distance. Saturday’s fight against Rountree will be the twentieth of Cutelaba’s pro career.
Both fighters have knockout power. Cutelaba is aggressive, but he throws punches wildly with little accuracy. He should be the busier fighter on the feet. Rountree is primarily a striker, he really isn’t a threat to take the fight to the ground. However, Cutelaba does have decent wrestling and I think that could be the difference in this fight. If the fight plays out primarily on the feet in boxing range, then I slightly favor Rountree. If Cutelaba uses his wrestling and has success taking Rountree down, then I see Cutelaba winning this one.
My official pick: Cutelaba by decision.
From a betting perspective: This one is a pass as of right now.
Michal Oleksiejczuk (14-2) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (23-13) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Oleksiejczuk -255; Preux +200
Ovince St. Preux has lost his last two fights. He dropped a unanimous decision to Dominick Reyes at UFC 229 and got subbed by Nikita Krylov at UFC 236. OSP has fought every big name there is fight in the division. At thirty-six-years old, he’ll make the walk for the thirty-seventh time on Saturday. Of his twenty-three career victories, eighteen ended inside the distance.
Michal Oleksiejczuk has won his last eleven fights and he’s 2-0 with one no-contest in the UFC. His most recent victory occurred at UFC Fight Night 149 where he knocked out Gadzhimurad Antigulov. The twenty-four-year old Polish fighter will make the walk for the eighteenth time when he steps into the octagon opposite OSP. Eleven of his fourteen wins ended inside the distance; ten via knockout.
OSP will be the bigger fighter. He’s fought the tougher competition as well. OSP is an average striker with even worse striking defense. He’s not the most active striker either, usually getting out-volumed by his opponents. He’s much better on the ground and has excellent submissions. The problem is he struggles to get the fight to the ground which forces him to stand and trade.
Oleksiejczuk is the better striker with even better striking defense. He’s also excellent at defending the takedown which could be a big factor in the fight. If he can successfully defend the takedown attempts from OSP and keep the fight standing, then I think he wins here. However, if OSP has success taking the fight to the ground then it wouldn’t surprise me to see him get the submission.
My official pick: Oleksiejczuk by (T)KO.
From a betting perspective: I will probably pass due to the odds on Oleksieczuk being too high for my liking.
Nicolas Dalby (17-3-1) vs. Alex Oliveira (20-7-1) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Oliveira -145; Dalby +115
Alex Oliveira enters the fight on a two-fight losing streak. He got submitted by Gunnar Nelson in the second round at UFC 231 and then dropped a unanimous decision to Mike Perry at UFC Fight Night 150. Of the Brazilian’s nineteen victories, sixteen ended inside the distance. The thirty-one-year old will make the walk for the twentieth time.
Denmark’s own Nicolas Dalby makes his return to the UFC in front of his home crowd on Saturday. He fought Darren Till to a majority draw at UFC Fight Night 76 and then lost to Peter Sobotta via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 93. After his brief UFC stint, he went 3-1 with one no-contest in Cage Warriors. This will be the thirty-four-year old’s twenty-third professional fight. Ten of his seventeen victories ended inside the distance.
Dalby has decent striking, but he isn’t the most accurate striker. He has good takedowns and wrestling, but he does struggle with keeping his opponents down. He also struggles with defending the takedown which could play a role in the fight. Oliveira is excellent on the ground and has vicious ground and pound. He is a good striker but can get a little sloppy at times. I think Oliveira is the better fighter regardless where the fight goes.
My official pick: Oliveira by submission.
From a betting perspective: I’m tempted to bet Oliveira to win, however, Dalby might benefit from the home cooking which gives me pause. So, for now, it’s a pass for me.
Alen Amedovski (8-1) vs. John Phillips (21-9) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Amedovski -130; Phillips +100
My official pick: Amedovski by decision.
From a betting perspective: I might take a closer look at Phillips to win closer to fight time.
Alessio Di Chirico (12-3) vs. Makhmud Muradov (22-6) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Muradov -155; Di Chirico +125
My official pick: Di Chirico by decision.
From a betting perspective: Pass for now.
Siyar Bahadurzada (24-7-1) vs. Ismail Naurdiev (18-3) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Naurdiev -200; Bahadurzada +160
My official pick: Naurdiev by (T)KO.
From a betting perspective: Pass for now, but Naurdiev to win is tempting.
Brandon Davis (10-7) vs. Giga Chikadze (7-2) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Davis -165; Chikadze +135
My official pick: Davis by decision with little confidence.
From a betting perspective: Hard pass.
Macy Chiasson (5-0) vs. Lina Lansberg (9-4) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Chiason -450; Lansberg +325
My official pick: Chiasson by decision.
From a betting perspective: Hard pass.
Marc Diakiese (13-3) vs. Lando Vannata (10-3-2) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Diakiese -170; Vannata +130
My official pick: Diakiese by (T)KO.
From a betting perspective: Pass
Jack Shore (11-0) vs. Nohelin Hernandez (10-3) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Shore -175; Hernandez +145
My official pick: Shore by submission.
From a betting perspective: Pass
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