UFC on ESPN+ 60: Undercard Part 2 - Predictions - 2/26/22
Zhu Rong (19-4) vs Ignacio Bahamondes (12-4)
It was nice to see Bahamondes bounce back from his disappointing debut loss. He seemed to make a lot of adjustments and pieced up Roberts nicely, while stuffing every takedown. Also, that spinning back kick KO was spectacular.
Rong also made adjustments after his debut loss by doubling output and battering Jenkins in the process. I suspect this will play out mainly on the feet. If Rong shoots in for some double-legs, Bahomondes has shown he is game in stuffing them. However, a lot of Rong’s success with getting the fight to the mat has to do with opportunity. He’s great at catching kicks or pouncing on slips. With both fighters’ solid chins and shaky striking defense, it seems like we will see a kickboxing match with high strike counts absorbed by both fighters for most of the fight; and/or some scramble heavy sections where Bahomondes attempts to evade Rong’s grappling. Bahamondes is the better kicker but Rong has a more powerful right hand. It really feels like it’s going to be tight and hard to score.I’m going to side with Rong here to eke out a decision but this is split decision ville.
The above is what I had ready to make my pick with but before publishing, Rong missed weight by quite a bit (160 lbs). Going to avoid betting this and I think I'll side with Bahamondes for the pick as the weight miss by that much spells trouble.
Prediction: Ignacio Bahamondes
Josiane Nunes (8-1) vs Ramona Pascual (6-2)
Nunes walked through Malecki’s ludicrous reach advantage last time out and just battered her. It was a good look honestly, showcasing some real scrappiness which overcame her defensive pitfalls and lack of technicality.
Pascual is also scrappy but if you watch back her loss against Harding, she really doesn’t like when her opponent pushes the pace which is exactly what Nunes is going to do. Pascual will hold a size advantage for sure but I don’t see a big difference in athleticism. And although we’ve seen Pascual rely on some grappling, it was against woeful competition. It’s still a bit of an unknown since we haven’t seen Nunes defensive grappling but the fact she overcame that size disadvantage against Malecki and is aggressive as hell, I like her chances to spoil Pascual’s debut. I should mention that the size advantage is only in height as somehow Nunes has a 1 inch reach advantage.
Prediction: Josiane Nunes
Terrance McKinney (11-3) vs Farès Ziam (12-3)
McKinney has an absolute ton of potential. He’s a solid striker with an excellent grappling game and is incredibly adept at snatching up his opponent’s back. He’s been scoring a lot of early KO’s lately but he usually transitions to grappling fairly quickly. Nevertheless, having that kind of standing power and it’s not even your bread and butter is huge. He has been finished a couple times but he was dominating that Woodson fight before ducking into that flying knee.
It will be interesting to see how he does against a striker with height and range on him. Ziam’s patient counter punching style can produce some dreadful output at times. It could play into McKinney’s recklessness a bit but Ziam hasn’t really shown any lethality at the UFC level. He certainly is a technical boxer but he’s been very lucky to get the decision wins he has so far. I like McKinney’s output enough to at least match Ziam on the scorecards for the striking battle, but the grappling edge goes to McKinney, which really tilts the scale for me in his favour. He may not get the takedown every time as Ziam is solid in that realm, but McKinney has shown some relentlessness that I think will transition to at the very least, stolen rounds.