Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to ESPN 2 this weekend (Sat., June 22, 2019) when UFC Fight Night 154: “Korean Zombie vs. Moicano” storms Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina….
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to ESPN 2 this weekend (Sat., June 22, 2019) when UFC Fight Night 154: “Korean Zombie vs. Moicano” storms Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Fight Night 154 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.
It’s a crossroads fight at 145 pounds inside Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina this weekend (Sat., June 22, 2019) when the immortal “Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung, faces top Brazilian Renato Moicano in UFC Fight Night 154’s main event (a.k.a. UFC on ESPN+ 12). In the co-feature, Bantamweight wrecking machine John Lineker steps up on short notice for a rematch with Rob Font (details), while Bryan Barberena faces Randy Brown in a guaranteed Welterweight slugfest and top women’s Flyweight Andrea Lee looks to take the next step against Montana de la Rosa.
UFC Fight Night 154 features six undercard “Prelims” bouts on ESPN 2, so let’s first check out the opening trio.
125 lbs.: Ariane Lipski vs. Molly McCann
Ariane Lipski (11-4) entered the Octagon as one of the division’s top prospects thanks to a nine-fight win streak that saw her win and defend the KSW Women’s Flyweight title. Despite winding up a significant favorite over Joanne Calderwood, “The Violence Queen” had no answers for “Dr. Kneevil’s” grappling, losing a unanimous decision in Brooklyn.
Her nine-fight streak included five (technical) knockouts and two submissions.
Molly McCann (8-2) brought a six-fight win streak of her own into UFC, only to suffer similar misfortune against grappling specialist Gillian Robertson in her debut. “Meatball” bounced back 10 months later against Priscilla Cachoeira, fighting through some grotesque eye swelling to claim a unanimous decision victory.
She stands two inches shorter than Lipski at 5’4.”
This has “Fight of the Night” written all over it. Indeed, both of these women are extremely aggressive and entertaining when they don’t have to worry about takedowns. I expect nonstop exchanges until either the final bell rings or one of them hits the deck.
As fond as I am of “Meatball,” this looks like Lipski’s fight to lose. “The Violence Queen’s” edge in power and strike variety should serve her well in the sort of slugfest McCann will offer. Expect the Brazilian to take a competitive, but clear decision after 15 wild minutes.
Prediction: Lipski via unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Deron Winn vs. Eric Spicely
Deron Winn (5-0) — a protege of Daniel Cormier who came within spitting distance of making the 2016 Olympic wrestling squad — didn’t let his 5’5” frame stop him from stopping his first four opponents in one round apiece at Light Heavyweight. This led to a step up against UFC veteran “Filthy” Tom Lawlor in Nov. 2018, and though Winn had to go to the judges, he came out victorious on the strength of his boxing and wrestling.
He is nine inches shorter than Eric Spicely (12-4), but gives up just two inches of reach.
Spicely (12-4) had an unsuccessful The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) run and fell to Sam Alvey in his Octagon debut, but emerged as an unexpected contender with submissions of Thiago Santos and Alessio Di Chirico. Three consecutive stoppage losses led to his return to the regional circuit, where he knocked out Leo Pla and fellow UFC vet Caio Magalhaes in one round apiece.
He replaces Bruno Silva, who himself replaced Markus Perez, on just five days’ notice (details).
I don’t mean this as a knock on Spicely’s abilities, but he’s the least interesting of Winn’s three scheduled opponents. “Blindado” Silva has colossal power and recently knocked out two of Russia’s best Middleweights, while Perez’s funky offense could have exploited Winn’s lack of top-level experience. Spicely, though a dangerous grappler, doesn’t present any standout stylistic issues, as he’s unlikely to get on top of Winn and is outgunned on the feet.
Winn’s issues are going to come against rangy, mobile strikers who can make him work, and Spicely just isn’t that. “Zebrinha’s” last three losses have come in the second round, so expect Winn to keep the streak going with a point-blank hook.
Prediction: Winn via second-round technical knockout
135 lbs.: Anderson dos Santos vs. Andre Ewell
Anderson dos Santos (20-7) — the last man to defeat current star prospect Ricky Simon — had won three straight when he replaced Enrique Barzola on short notice in Buenos Aires. “Berinja,” stepping up in weight, had few answers for the offense of Nad Narimani, ultimately losing a unanimous decision.
Eleven of his 16 stoppage wins have come via submission.
Andre Ewell (14-5) likewise made his Octagon debut as a late replacement, but found considerably more success, edging former Bantamweight champion Renan Barao via split decision at UFC Fight Night 137. This led to a clash with stud prospect Nathaniel Wood, who exploited Ewell’s grappling issues to choke him out late in the third.
“Mr. Highlight” stands six inches taller than dos Santos and will have a massive nine-inch reach advantage.
This is a “two true outcome” fight: either dos Santos exploits Ewell’s leaky grappling defense or Ewell uses his freakish proportions to crack dos Santos’ chin when the Brazilian inevitably leaves it out for him. It’s the sort of fight that’s going to be uncompetitive in opposite directions depending on where it takes place; one wins easily if it’s on the mat, the other wins easily if it stays on the feet.
Even with Ewell’s wrestling issues, that reach advantage and dos Santos’ iffy striking defense are too much for me to overlook. “Berinja” gets chinned before he has the chance to get his Brazilian jiu-jitsu going.
Prediction: Ewell via first-round technical knockout
Three more UFC Fight Night 154 “Prelims” undercard bouts to preview and predict tomorrow, including the latest from “Violent Bob Ross” and a clash of top-notch “Contender Series” alumni. Same time as always, Maniacs
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 154 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN 2 “Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will stream on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 154: “Korean Zombie vs. Moicano” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.