Here are my main card picks for UFC Fight Night 195.
Julian Marquez vs. Jordan Wright
Coming from a traditional martial arts background, Jordan Wright is a flashy striker and is most effective at kicking range.
He has some impressive knockouts on his highlight reel, although has primarily fought lower tier competition. Every time he’s taken a step up in class, he has been violently finished.
As with most kick-centric strikers, Wright is vulnerable in boxing range and his chin looks highly questionable.
Julian Marquez has a head like a brick and is reliable to come forward and swing. It looks like he has added some finesse to his boxing in recent fights – he does a better job of setting up his power shots with jabs, body shots and feints.
The main deficiency we’ve seen from Marquez is a lack of takedown defense, but that won’t be a problem here.
I think he can replicate the game plan of Joaquim Buckley and force Wright to fight off the back foot. “The Cuban Missile Crisis” may have to eat some kicks to work his way into boxing range, but that probably won’t be an issue since he is one of the most durable middleweights on the roster.
If Wright is to emerge victorious, his use of the clinch will be essential. He either needs to be all the way out at kicking range, or tied up with Marquez landing knees from the Thai clinch.
Wright cannot hang in the pocket for extended periods, or he is going to get knocked out.
Call me crazy, but I think there is a bit of value on Jordan Wright at +200.
Manon Fiorot vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
I’m high on Manon Fiorot and I think she is one of the few female flyweights that could potentially give Valentina Shevchenko a run for her money.
Reminiscent of Stephen Thompson, the French fighter utilizes a karate stance and is a fantastic out-fighter.
We haven’t seen her face much adversity, but she’s defeated the opponents that were put in front of her in devastating fashion.
Fiorot is a physical specimen and if things get dicey on the feet, she has the option to level change and dominate from top position.
Mayra Bueno Silva is an effective striker herself, but is more of a plodding zombie.
The Brazilian fighter has good kicks to the body and is nasty in the clinch, but she’s extremely hittable and has no takedown defense.
You can rely on Silva to come forward and fight her hardest, but it’s hard to see her emerging victorious unless Fiorot suffers a spectacular gas tank implosion.
I think Manon Fiorot wins this weekend and enters the short list of flyweight title contenders immediately afterwards.
Jim Miller vs. Erick Gonzalez
I respect every athlete that steps inside the octagon, but Erick Gonzalez looks like a regional level fighter to me.
He’s gritty and comes to fight, but his striking technique is sloppy and I don’t think he is much of a grappler either.
Gonzalez has youth and cardio on his side, but he is out-gunned in every facet from a technical perspective.
Jim Miller has seen better days, but he should be able to deal with an unrefined brawler like this emphatically.
Fighting from the southpaw stance, Miller has a good left hand as well as hard low kicks (Gonzalez switches stances, so that outside calf kick should be available at times).
Miller is a legitimate black belt and great back taker. While he’s fresh, I think he has all the tools to take Gonzalez down and earn a quick submission – although things could get shaky for him if he can’t get the early finish.
At 38-years-of-age, Miller is a major front runner and is in the final stages of his career.
I think there is some solid value on Jim Miller to win inside the distance at +200.
Carlos Felipe vs. Andrei Arlovski
While Carlos Felipe is somewhat slow-footed, his hands are fast for a heavyweight and he puts combinations together nicely.
You can expect him to wade forward, talk trash and try to instigate a brawl.
I think Felipe will do excellently against obese, stationary heavyweights – but he may struggle with opponents that have superior footwork.
Andrei Arlovski used to fight predictably when he trained at Jackson’s MMA, and would often load up and try to finish fights quickly with his right hand.
As an older fighter, he has made the requisite adjustments and now fights well off the back foot – forcing opponents to chase him down as they swing at air and walk onto shots.
His style is not the most aesthetically pleasing these days, but he does what he must to win fights and extend his career.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this comes down to a split decision and I’m picking Andrei Arlovski to get his hand raised due to his footwork advantage.
Aspen Ladd vs. Norma Dumont
After missing weight and looking like death on the scales earlier this month, Aspen Ladd takes this fight on short notice and up a weight class. I don’t know what is going wrong with her training or nutrition, because she isn’t a big bantamweight and should be able to make the weight safely.
Nevertheless, it looks like featherweight will be her new home for the foreseeable future.
Ladd has a functional boxing game, but is very hittable. She will be looking to get the fight to the floor as early as possible, where she does her best work from top position.
Renowned for screeching like a banshee as she finishes opponents, Ladd has some of the best ground and pound in women’s MMA. Furthermore, her sound effects provide encouragement for referees to stop fights.
After all, no one likes seeing female athletes take any more punishment than they need to!
While she is capable of finishing if she can land a takedown, I think Norma Dumont will do a good job of keeping the fight standing. Dumont is strong in the clinch and has a low center of gravity, which is great for stuffing shots.
With a background in sanda, Dumont has fast hands and thudding low kicks. She has also been preparing for this five round main event with John Wood, who is one of the best strategists in MMA (in my humble opinion).
Dumont has a good right hand and I think she can find that chin of Ladd. I just hope her conditioning is solid, because her third round against Felicia Spencer was a bad look.
I’ll take Norma Dumont as the +113 underdog.