Vettori vs Holland Undercard Preview & Predictions Part 2- 4/10/21
Welcome to the second half of the undercard breakdown and predictions. The first batch can be found here.
Jim Miller vs Joe Solecki
In the feature prelim, Jim Miller (32-15-0) will make the UFC walk for his 37th time! This will break the tie between him and Donald Cerrone for most UFC bouts of all time. The 37 year old lightweight from New Jersey fought three times in 2020. A successful armbar submission victory over Roosevelt Roberts is sandwiched between losses to Scott Holtzman and Vinc Pichel.
Joe Solecki (10-2-0) submitted James Wallace on Contender Series in 2019. He followed that up with two UFC wins over Matt Wiman (Decision) and Austin Hubbard (Submission). He looks to make it 3 in a row in the UFC and 6 straight overall.
Solecki is 1 inch taller but will give up 1 inch of reach to Miller.
At first glance, it would be easy to write Miller off and say he’s shopworn. We’ve seen all of the fighters in the upper echelon of the “most UFC bouts” category finished a ton of times, engaged in grueling wars, taking a ton of damage, etc. I’m not convinced that is the case with Miller. He’s only been knocked out twice in his career and neither of those have been recent. That being said, this just seems like a bad matchup for him. In his last fight, he had Vinc Pichel’s back for nearly two minutes and couldn’t lock in the finish. He then came out looking sluggish and got controlled on the ground for most of the third round. Solecki meanwhile has the edge in both striking and cardio. He also made too many good decisions in the grappling department in his last few fights for me to think Miller can catch him with a surprise submission.
Winner: Joe Solecki
Scott Holtzman vs Mateusz Gamrot
Scott Holtzman’s (14-4-0) 11th UFC fight didn’t go as planned as he was on the wrong end of Beneil Dariush’s spinning back fist last summer. That was the first time that “Hot Sauce” had been knocked out in his career.
Mateusz Gamrot entered the UFC unbeaten and on a 17 fight winning streak. That didn’t seem to scare Guram Kutateladze who handed the Polish fighter his first career loss by split decision, spoiling the debut.
“Gamer” Gamrot, a southpaw, will hold 1 inch advantages in height and reach over his orthodox opponent.
Gamrot has some legit wrestling chops. He showed a wide range of single leg shots and reactive takedowns in his debut. I believe it will be the latter that will come into play here as Holtzman is the type of fighter who marches forward and takes the center of the octagon. We’ve seen “Hot Sauce” taken down repeatedly in the past and I see it being a big factor here. Gamrot also looked pretty fresh in the third round of his last fight so the takedown threat is going to be present all fight and all night.
Winner: Mateusz Gamrot
Erin Blanchfield vs Norma Dumont Viana
Erin Blanchfield (6-1-0) makes her jump to the big show on one week’s notice after a successful run on the regional circuit. She has fought several fighters under the Invicta banner that are now UFC competitors (Victoria Leonardo, Tracy Cortez, and Kay Hansen) so she hasn’t been given softball matchups by any stretch. Normally a flyweight, “Cold Blooded” will be jumping up to bantamweight for this one. She will also be one of the youngest girls on the roster at 21.
Norma Dumont Viana (5-1-0) was fed to the wolves for her debut as she took on Megan Anderson who knocked Viana out in the first round. She rebounded from that defeat by outworking Ashlee Evans-Smith in her November followup in a very wide decision.
Viana has fought at featherweight as well as bantamweight in the past so she will have a slight size advantage in this one. Despite having one less fight than Blanchfield, the Brazillian is 9 years older.
Blanchfield is a promising young prospect and a great pickup by the UFC. She’s aggressive, has great jiu-jitsu and good cardio. Her striking is developing but she has shown susceptibility to getting countered. She hasn’t had to pay for it dearly since one-shot power is pretty rare in the lower weight female divisions. There seems to be a lot working against her here though. The short notice and the jump up to 135 is going to be a huge obstacle. Dumont showed some huge improvements in her counter striking in her last fight and has the size and strength to counter any grappling attack of Blanchfield. She held a huge 145er in Megan Anderson against the cage for most of the first round in her UFC debut. She just needs to avoid giving Blanchfield any surprise submission opportunities from the bottom. She counter strikes and overpowers the young fighter on route to a decision victory.
Winner: Norma Dumont
John Makdessi vs Ignacio Bahamondes
John “The Bull” Makdessi (17-7-0) makes his 18th UFC appearance Saturday. The lightweight veteran made his octagon debut way back in 2010! He has 10 UFC wins (7 by decision and 3 by KO/TKO and 7 losses (4 by decisions, 2 by KO/TKOs and 1 by submission). He turned 35 in May and looks to get back in the win column after losing his last fight to Francisco Trinaldo a year ago.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Ignacio Bahamondes (11-3-0), who is making his UFC debut. He bounced around the regional circuit before scoring a front kick knockout over Edson Gomez on Dana White’s Contender Series to get a shot in the promotion. He is a very rangey lightweight, standing at 6 foot 3 with a 75 inch reach.
The rookie will tower over Makdessi (5’8” tall) and enjoy a 7 inch reach advantage.
On paper, this is a terrible match up for Makdessi. He’ll have the experience edge for sure, but we’ve seen him struggle against component kickers in the past (Vannatta, Medeiros, Cerrone). He also got out struck by a stocky Francis Trinaldo in his last fight which was not a good look. “The Bull” certainly has potential to land some good sidekicks and overhands but the problem is those aren’t going to be powerful enough to put Bahamondes away. Makdessi hasn’t knocked anyone out in a very long time and even though Bahamondes is hittable, it just doesn’t seem likely. If he stands at range he’s going to get picked apart all night, if he closes the distance and clinches he’s at risk of Bahamondes knees that he can raise to his opponents head even pressed chest to chest. The obvious strategy to defeat Bahamondes is through grappling and Makdessi hasn’t shot for a single takedown in his entire UFC career.