By Donny Rockett (@drockett6969)
While some of us may have enjoyed the break, I know others have been itching for the UFC to return from it’s few week hiatus. The Octagon returns this Saturday December 7th with a card from Washington, DC and is headlined by Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs Alistair Overeem. Fresh off his knockout win over Arlovski, Rozenstruik steps up in place of Walt Harris, on short notice to take on Overeem. We all know why Walt was forced to withdraw from the headlining spot and what Walt is going through right now, and our thoughts are with him and his family during this very difficult time.
There are a few fights on this card that I want to preview that have serious implications in their respective divisions and in general are just great matchups.
- First fight I would like to talk about is Rob Font (16-4) who is ranked number 10 in the UFC BW division vs young prospect Ricky Simon who is (15-2).
This is a very important fight in the stacked BW division as Font tries to continue his winning ways and Simon tries to bounce back from his first loss in the UFC. We last saw Simon in a high profile matchup vs legend Urijah Faber at UFC Sacramento on July 13th in the Co Main Event. Simon came out very aggressive and seemed to stun Faber but ran into a huge right hand from Faber which ended in a TKO loss for Simon. Ricky Simon was a heavy favorite in the fight and it was a big set back in his first marquee fight. However he is still very young and extremely talented and it will be interesting to see how he bounces back from his first UFC defeat. On the other hand, we last saw the hard hitting Font put a pretty good beating on Sergio Pettis in his last outing back in December of 2018, and is looking to protect his ranking as well as string together a win streak. Font is 6-3 in the UFC but has definitely faced the harder competition. Most see Font as an extremely talented guy who still has to prove he can get over the hump. Very curious to see if the pressure, pace, and wrestling of Simon is too much for Font, or if Font’s boxing, power, and footwork is the difference. It is a very intriguing matchup and an important fight in the careers of both men. I feel like this fight should be higher up on the card but it’s the opening fight on the main card on ESPN.
- Next fight I would like to talk about is Yana Kunitskaya (12-4-1) vs Aspen Ladd (8-1) .
This is another very important fight, this one coming in the ladies BW division as it’s #7 Yana Kunitskaya vs #5 Aspen Ladd. Kunitskaya is coming off a close decision win against Marion Reneau in her last outing at UFC Fight Night 146 back in March. Many actually felt Yana lost that fight and she suffered a ton of psychical damage to her face in the bout. Aspen Ladd in her last fight was in a number 1 contender fight vs Germaine De Randamie in the main event of the previously mentioned UFC Sacramento back in July of this year. Aspen was defeated for the first time in her young career by TKO as she was quickly dropped by a huge right hand from GDR. Many considered it a quick stoppage by referee Herb Dean and Ladd made the peculiar decision(also the timing was very weird) to contest the stoppage with CSAC and the ruling in the fight was upheld. I think we can all agree that Aspen is cutting far too much weight and every weigh in she takes part in is like a horror movie that reminds us all of the dangers of weight cutting in MMA. I’m very interested to see if Aspen working closely with the UFC PI this camp helps to make the weight cut more manageable and for me is a very important storyline this week. I guess we shall find out on Friday as the weigh-ins start at 9am ET. But back to the matchup. I think it’s safe to call this a grappler vs striker match up. I feel Yana has to stay at range and use her superior striking to force ill advised and sloppy takedown attempts from Ladd. We often see Ladd just walk ladies down and eat punches as a way to get her hands on her opponents and drag them to the mat. I think if Ladd is able to secure the takedown in this fight and get on top of Yana, that could spell doom for Kunitskaya and the fight could be over very shortly after. It’s a very important fight for Kunitskaya as it could propel her up the rankings and closer to a title shot at 135 and for Aspen Ladd, it would help her get back to her winning ways and end the year on a positive note. For all these reasons listed, it is a fight that I’m very much looking forward to.
- Last fight that I would like to talk about is obviously the main event. I want to keep it strictly about this matchup with number 6 HW, Alistair Overeem (45-17-1) taking on the hard hitting late replacement and undefeated HW Jairzinho Rozenstruik (9-0)
Overeem amazingly will be looking for his 3rd win in a row and Rozenstruik will be looking to jump up the HW rankings and move to 4-0 in the UFC. This match up is so interesting because there are so many unknowns when it comes to Rozenstruik. He has an extensive kickboxing background, however we have never seen him extended in a fight in the UFC and I think everyone would agree that Overeem’s chances of winning increase the deeper the fight goes. However, Overeem has been knocked out in MMA alone 13 times and we don’t know if his chin can take a flush power shot from Rozenstruik especially early on. Overeem interestingly enough has gone 2-0 since losing to Curtis Blaydes and now has moved camps to Elevation Fight team to train with Blaydes. I think it’s very important for Overeem to come in with a grappling heavy style in this fight. We haven’t seen Rozenstruik’s improvements if any on the ground. While Overeem is a very decorated striker, as I said I think the safest route is to wear on Rozenstruik in the clinch with knees and then take this fight to the mat where Overeem has a nasty guillotine and is well versed in the grappling department. The UFC is very high on Rozenstruik and a undefeated HW especially with how top heavy the division is at this point, could be very important for the UFC moving forward. I’m very curious to see how this fight plays out and what type of gameplan Overeem comes in with. I think gameplan is definitely going to be the difference in whether we see Overeem get his 3rd straight win or whether we see him get posterized this weekend.
For now those are the three matchups that I think we should all keep an eye out for. They are very important fights in their respective divisions and will be pivotal in the outlook of those divisions going into 2020. UFC on ESPN 7 airs on Saturday December 7th, with the early Prelims starting at 5:45 PM Eastern time on ESPN +, then the Prelims starting at 7pm Eastern Time on ESPN and lastly the Main Card will be coming to you on ESPN as well at 9pm Eastern time. Thanks so much for checking out the story and for the very latest fight news keep it locked to Pureevilmma.com
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Mixed Martial Arts is My Passion