What UFC Fight Night 58: Machida vs. Dollaway lacks in star power, it makes up for in intriguing match ups. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t too anxious to spend multiple hours watching this event, but after going through the fights, breaking them down, and analyzing the match-ups – I’m absolutely stoked. There are so many great match-ups here between very exciting fighters, and I’m sure that we’re going to see some really exciting performances. Here are my predictions for the fights I believe have the best chance at being Fight of the Night.
Marcio Alexandre Jr. vs. Tim Means
Anytime Tim Means fights he always brings it. He’s a long-rangy striker who doesn’t mind brawling and really stepping into the fire if that means landing shots of is own. Alexandre Jr. on the other hand has a very unique striking style; it’s very karate-based, but at the same time he too likes to exchange blows with his opponents. Neither of these guys are known for taking fights to the ground as both have a large majority of their wins by knockout or TKO. I think we’re going to get an absolute fire-fight in this bout, and the only thing stopping it from being a 15-minute war is if one their chins gives out early.
Leandro Issa vs. Yuta Sasaki
With a card lacking major star power like this one, it paves the way for lesser-known guys on the undercard to put on performances that will get them easily recognized. The same thing happened with Conor McGregor and Brandon Thatch as it was their performances that really got the spotlight of the event. The same could very well happen here with Yuta Sasaki. A lot of eyes are on this kid because they know how good of a grappler he is, and is athletic advantages could mean him being a perennial contender in the near future. Issa is no joke though, and is a high-level grappler himself. Both guys are still improving their striking games and are going to want to keep the fight on the mat. From there we could see a 15-minute grappling war between two of the bantamweight division’s most promising fighters.
Erick Silva vs. Mike Rhodes
Anytime Erick Silva steps into the Octagon we are promised absolute chaos from this young and talented fighter. He is known for just absolute overwhelming his opponents with non-stop offense coming from so many different weapons in his versatile arsenal, but is known for getting a little too carried away and a little too reckless at times. Rhodes has the perfect style to combat that; a silky smooth striking game that works quick combos and powerful kicks from the outside, as well as a powerful wrestling game. Expect a lot of changes in momentum in this bout as it could be Silva coming out strong, and looking for the finish early, while Rhodes is put in defense mode until the latter half where he should have the advantage. I have no doubt I’ll be on the edge of my seat for this fight.
Rashid Magomedov vs. Elias Silverio
Much like Yuta Sasaki, the Russian, Rashid Magomedov, has a chance to really showcase his skills. He has been flying underneath the radar for a while now, and a main-card slot against the unbeaten Elias Silverio could give him the chance that he needs. Both fighters are unbeaten in the UFC, and both have a lot of upside to their games. Silverio is a gritty, well-rounded fighter who goes out there and tries to break his opponents down with his pressure. He isn’t the most technical fighter, and can get into some wild brawls, but that’s what makes him so exciting. Magomedov is the complete opposite as he is all technique. He throws perfect punches, snappy kicks with no telegraph, and has some of the best footwork in the division. It’s a real clash of styles between forward pressure and slick countering, which could make for a very intriguing and entertaining battle.