UFC 275 Main Event Predictions

UFC 275 Main Event Predictions

By Cathal Geeney

Glover Teixeira v Jiří Procházka

Glover Teixeira looks to make his first light heavyweight title defence against Jiří Procházka in the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The veteran fighter has surpassed many people’s expectations in the last number of years having managed to earn the light heavyweight title at the age of forty-two, after going on an impressive five-fight win streak.

While it took Glover twenty-one UFC fights to finally become the titleholder, Jiří has the chance to become a champion in just his third fight for the organisation. The Czech fighter, thirteen years younger than his opponent, built his name in the Japanese organisation, Rizin, before debuting in the UFC against former title challenger, Volkan Oezdemir, and landing a second round KO. He followed this up by finishing another former title challenger, Dominick Reyes, with a spinning backfist in May of last year.

In quite sensational fashion, the Czech Samurai is wildly unorthodox at times. He will enter the pocket with his hands low and start swinging viciously. This leaves him very vulnerable defensively at times, and he is often rocked. But he possess great durability, and has an ability to shake it off and keep coming forward.

Procházka is currently riding a twelve-fight win streak, with eleven of those coming by KO/ TKO, demonstrating his exceptional power. This will provide plenty of confidence for the twenty-nine year old as he enters the octagon tonight, especially considering two of Glover’s last three losses have been by KO.

Despite this, Glover is also a very tough competitor who can withstand damage. His defence can be suspect at times, and he often gets caught with what big shots. Yet the Brazilian finds a way to avoid being finished, manages to latch onto a leg, secures a takedown, and turns the fight around. This is going to be very important against someone like Procházka.

Teixeira isn’t necessarily the fastest striker, but the Brazilian brings power and pressure and imposes his will on his opponent. He can look to his strength and land a knockout blow or alternatively get the fight to the mat and dominate with dangerous ground and pound and submission attempts.

Prediction:

This is a very fun fight. Both fighters are as tough as they come and both can be defensively irresponsible which could lead to some big exchanges. If the Czech Samurai can keep this fight on the feet, and resist the grappling offences of the Brazilian, then he will be in prime position to take the victory. Whereas for Glover, he will look to get the fight to where he is most comfortable, in top position, controlling his opponent and reigning down big blows.

This is a difficult one to call but I’m going to take the underdog, Glover Teixeira, to get it done. I think his chin will hold up and he will get the opportunity to take the fight to the canvas and use all his experience to grind it out.

Valentina ‘The Bullet’ Shevchenko v Taila Santos

Shevchenko is looking to extend her flyweight title defence streak to seven straight as she locks horns with Taila Santos.

Shevchenko is one of the most talented athletes to compete in the history of women’s MMA. Her dominance in the 125-pound division is putting her in the category of elite fighters, along with the likes of Demetrious Johnson and Jon Jones, who struggle to generate the hype of other divisions purely on their own dominance. And it is no surprise that she has discussed the option of returning to bantamweight to become a two-division champion.

With an extensive kickboxing background, Valentina fires off crisp, straight punches, and powerful kicks. Holding a Muay Thai, southpaw stance, the Kyrgyzstani national controls the octagon. Shevchenko can push the pace or equally rely on her feints and speed to force her opposite number to throw first, and counter with volume and precision. The Bullet has also developed a powerful ground game where she is comfortable landing takedowns, controlling top position and inflicting powerful ground and pound strikes. She made a point of showcasing this in a recent fight where she dominated Jessica Andrade, an accomplished grappler in her own right.

It is no great surprise that Santos will be entering the octagon as a huge underdog. Many will feel that she will be out of her depth come Saturday night. But the Brazilian challenger has shown plenty of potential throughout her UFC career, particularly across her current four-fight winning streak. Having put together three very dominant decision victories, she displayed a more ruthless streak going after the finish in her last outing, dropping Joanne Wood with a flurry of hooks before choking her out in the first round.

Like the champ, Santos is a well-rounded fighter, she possesses power with her fists and mixes in her grappling fluently. Since her last defeat, a split decision loss against Mara Romero Borella in which she was outwrestled, Santos has managed to land eleven successful takedowns  on her opponents, without being taken down herself. It’s going to be very interesting to see how her grappling matches up against Valentina.

Prediction:

It is so difficult to pick against Shevchenko right now. She is the complete fighter, and even prior to Amanda Nunes’ loss, Valentina was still the top female fighter in the UFC for me.  So I will have to go with the defending champ. I have been very impressed by Santos and enjoy her style. I would not be surprised in the slightest if she were to go on and become a UFC titleholder in the future, but I think it may just be a little bit too much too soon for the twenty-eight year old.

Photo Credit: UFC/Zuffa

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