Regardless of a thorough lashing from COVID-19, UFC 260 limps onto the ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) airwaves this Saturday (March 27, 2021) with a rematch between UFC Heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, and damaging energy puncher, Francis Ngannou. Viewers may also take pleasure in a Welterweight showdown pitting Tyron Woodley towards Vicente Luque and what might be an absolute Light-weight struggle between Jamie Mullarkey and Khama Worthy.
As of this writing, six ESPN / ESPN+ “Prelims”undercard bouts set the stage for the pay-per-view (PPV) primary card, and we’ve damaged in two components (try the primary batch right here). Let’s wrap ‘em up …
170 lbs.: Jared Gooden vs. Abubakar Nurmagomedov
Jared Gooden (17-5) fell quick towards The Final Fighter (TUF) veteran Mike Graves in a 2019 bid for Titan FC gold, then suffered a sub-minute knockout loss to future “Contender Collection” hopeful Bruno Oliveira two fights later. “Nite Practice” received again on monitor with three subsequent finishes, however didn’t run down Alan Jouban in his UFC debut.
He has knocked out and submitted seven skilled foes apiece.
Abubakar Nurmagomedov (15-3-1) — cousin of former UFC Light-weight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov — received his first 5 bouts underneath the World Collection of Combating (WSOF) / Skilled Fighters League (PFL) banner earlier than working afoul of Pavel Kusch in 2018. He’s 1-1-1 since, drawing with Bojan Velickovic and subsequently struggling a significant upset submission loss to David Zawada in his final two efforts.
This marks his first look since Sept. 2019.
The final time Gooden needed to take care of a top-notch wrestler, his takedown protection fell aside down the stretch as Graves refused to present him room to breathe. Although he has the benefit of three rounds as an alternative of 5 right here, it’s an issue that figures to rear its head once more come Saturday. Underwhelming as he’s in comparison with his cousin, Nurmagomedov’s glorious grappling fundamentals must be greater than enough to floor Gooden early and sometimes, and he’s greater than prepared to rack up lengthy stretches of prime management with out overextending and placing himself in peril.
Gooden is actually the extra harmful of the 2 on the ft and tends to be busy off of his again, so issues may very simply go south for the Dagestani if the layoff hurts his cardio. Nonetheless, he ought to be capable to grind out a call with out an excessive amount of challenge.
Prediction: Nurmagomedov by way of unanimous determination
205 lbs.: Alonzo Menifield vs. William Knight
This was purported to occur a couple of weeks in the past and I already had it written up, so right here you go …
Alonzo Menifield (9-2) wanted simply eight seconds to complete Dashawn Boatwright on “Contender Collection” and earn himself a UFC contract on his second attempt. Although he began his UFC profession robust with brutal knockouts of Vinicius Moreira and Paul Craig, the latter of which earned him a “Efficiency of the Evening” bonus, he subsequently got here up quick in upset losses to Devin Clark and Ovince St. Preux.
None of his 9 victories have lasted longer than 5:32.
The upset knockout for William Knight over Herdem Alacabek (9-1) in 2019 earned him a developmental contract, and although he misplaced to Tafon Nchukwi two fights later, a formidable end of Cody Brundage in his return to “Contender Collection” led to a UFC debut simply three weeks later. There, he used efficient prime management to beat fellow collection alum Aleksa Camur by unanimous determination in his first skilled journey to the judges.
He offers up two inches of top and three inches of attain to Menifield.
There’s a proper method and a flawed method to battle Knight, and to my everlasting frustration, everybody appears dead-set on going about it the flawed method. He’s truly fairly restricted on the ft and never a lot of an offensive wrestler, however opponents insist on attempting to provoke the grappling with him, permitting him to reverse and unleash his genuinely scary ground-and-pound. All you need to do to beat this man is ignore how jacked he’s, keep away from the leg kicks, and beat him up with punches the way in which Nchukwi did.
On paper, Menifield has the instruments to do all that — the way in which he blew up two takedown-focused fighters in Moreira and Craig ought to give him loads of confidence. On the similar time, he struggled badly to take care of the pretty fragile Clark’s clinch aggression and appeared totally flummoxed by St. Preux’s size, so he may not have the wherewithal to truly hold Knight off of him and battle sensible. I say Knight wears him down towards the fence earlier than sharpening him off late.
Prediction: Knight by way of third-round technical knockout
115 lbs.: Jessica Penne vs. Hannah Goldy
Jessica Penne (12-5) — the previous Invicta Atomweight champion — reached TUF 20 semifinals earlier than working afoul of Carla Esparza, then edged out Randa Markos for a cut up determination victory in her debut. Three consecutive losses adopted, after which United States Anti-Doping Company (USADA) points led to an almost four-year layoff.
She’s ended eight skilled fights by submission and may have a six-inch attain benefit.
A debut victory over Gillian Robertson kicked off a four-fight win streak for Hannah Goldy (5-1), who made it 5 with a one-sided determination over Kali Robbins on “Contender Collection.” Quantity six proved elusive, as Miranda Granger defeated her in a hanging battle upon “Queen of Sparta’s” arrival within the Octagon.
She fights for the primary time since Aug. 2019.
In all truthfully, Penne has one of many extra forgivable 1-3 UFC data you’re prone to see. Two of these losses got here to monsters in Joanna Jedrzecjzyk and Jessica Andrade, and the third was a bogus determination towards Danielle Taylor. Nonetheless, it’s exhausting to think about her after a lot time away, even contemplating how underwhelming Goldy regarded in her debut.
If Penne executes effectively, threatening along with her wrestling and retaining Goldy on the finish of her appreciable attain benefit, she’s greater than able to lastly getting again on monitor. Between the rust and her poor luck with the judges, although, anticipate Goldy to land the heavier blows and eke out a call.
Prediction: Goldy by way of cut up determination
COVID-19 has torn this card to items, however there’s nonetheless violence to be discovered. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Do not forget that MMAmania.com will ship LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow protection of the whole UFC 260 battle card proper right here, beginning with the early ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches on-line, that are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard stability on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, earlier than the PPV primary card begin time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To take a look at the most recent and biggest UFC 260: “Miocic vs. Ngannou 2” information and notes you’ll want to hit up our complete occasion archive proper right here.
Present UFC “Prelims” Prediction File for 2021: 40-23 (1 NC)