On Saturday, August 20th, 2022, the UFC makes its way to the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the highly anticipated rematch between Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who has been undefeated since entering the UFC, and Leon “Rocky” Edwards.
Fight One: Daniel Da Silva (11-3) (+180) vs Victor Altamirano (10-2) (-220)
Winner: Victor Altamirano by Decision
To start the night, we have a Flyweight matchup between Daniel Da Silva, who is looking for his first UFC win after dropping his first two fights, and Victor Altamirano, who looks to rebound after a split decision loss to Carlos Hernandez in his first UFC fight. This is a matchup of contrasting styles as Da Silva is a fast starter and looks to get the finish at the first opportunity, as shown by his average fight time of 4:22. At the same time, Altamirano is more comfortable sitting back and waiting for the chance to come to him. I believe Altamirano’s patience will pay off in this fight, allowing him to go home with a victory. Da Silva will come out quickly in round one, but I trust the striking abilities of Altamirano to avoid a knockout, along with his takedown defense, to avoid a submission. When Da Silva gets tired out in the second and third round, Altamirano should use striking skills to break through the questionable defense of Da Silva and take home a victory.
Fight Two: Aoriqileng (24-9) (-170) vs Jay Perrin (10-5) (+145)
Winner: Aoriqileng by KO/TKO
Moving up the card and a weight division, we have a Bantamweight matchup between Aoriqileng and Jay Perrin. Aoriqileng comes into this fight after defeating Cameron Else and is looking to build more momentum. In contrast, Perrin looks for his first UFC win after losing his UFC debut to Mario Bautista. This was a tough fight to pick as I think both fighters have a path to victory as Aoriqileng holds the striking advantage while Perrin is the better wrestler and is the bigger man. I decided to go with the more experienced fighter and who I believe is the more dangerous of the two fighters in Aoriqileng. Although Perrin does have the wrestling advantage, I think the volume of strikes that Aoriqileng throws can keep Perrin at a distance. The power behind those punches should allow for Aoriqileng to find a way to get the finish in the later rounds.
Fight Three: Amir Albazi (14-1) (-410) vs Francisco Figueiredo (13-4-1) (+330)
Winner: Amir Albazi by Submission
In the second Flyweight matchup of the night, 11th-ranked Amir Albazi looks to stay undefeated since entering the UFC with a win over Francisco Figueiredo. The one thing that stuck out to me when comparing these two fighters, and why I can say I’m confident in Albazi, is that both men have recently fought Malcolm Gordon, Albazi won, and Figueiredo lost. Albazi should be able to use his voluminous striking capabilities to set up his superior wrestling and get Figueiredo down to the mat. Once Albazi has the dominant position on the ground, he should look for a submission to finish the fight quickly. As long as Albazi sticks to the right game plan and is the same fighter he was when he made his last UFC appearance 18 months ago and avoids the quick submission attempts, he should be able to win this fight soundly and continue his run to the top.
Fight Four: A.J. Fletcher (9-1) (-150) vs Ange Loosa (8-3) (+130)
Winner: A.J. Fletcher by Submission
In the featured early prelim, Welterweight newcomers A.J. Fletcher and Ange Loosa are both looking for their first win since entering the UFC. Both men are coming off losses in their UFC debuts as Matt Semelsberger defeated Fletcher and Loosa was defeated by Mounir Lazzez. Similar to the earlier fight between Aoriqileng and Jay Perrin, one fighter has the wrestling and grappling advantage while the other has the striking advantage. Unlike the previous fight, I believe the wrestler will outperform the striker. I will also go with a bolder take as most fans believe Fletcher will win via decision; I think he will get a quick submission. Like another fighter mentioned on this card, Da Silva, Fletcher comes out fast. I think he’ll be able to capitalize by getting Loosa down to the mat and finding an opening to lock in a submission to pick up the victory.
Fight Five: Miranda Maverick (10-4) (-420) vs. Shanna Young (8-4) (+330)
Fight canceled due to Shanna Young dealing with an illness
Fight Six: Sean Woodson (9-1) (-320) vs Luis Saldana (16-7) (+265)
Winner: Sean Woodson by Decision
In the Featherweight division, Sean Woodson looks to extend his win streak to three over Luis Saldana. This is a fight that I’m very confident that Sean Woodson will win, and the numbers back it up. I believe that Woodson and Saldana have similar striking capabilities but where Woodson has the advantage is his size. In a fight that I primarily see staying on the feet, it’s hard not to pick Woodson, who is three inches taller and has a six-inch reach advantage. Woodson can use his length and size advantage to piece away at Saldana with jabs and leg kicks which also stops Saldana from putting pressure on Woodson. As long as Woodson fights smart and stays at a distance, this should be an easy decision victory for him.