The UFC continues the tradition of hosting a card on Super Bowl weekend when the Octagon sets up shop in Houston, Texas on Saturday. Though it may be overlooked, the main event between featherweight stalwart Dennis Bermudez and the returning Chan Sung Jung should be explosive.
The rest of the card is well matched, though maybe a little underwhelming to casual fans. Plenty of action fighters line this card from top to bottom but pay special attention to the women’s bouts that feature highly touted Alexa Grasso taking on Felice Herrig and the returning Angela Hill facing off with buzzsaw Jessica Andrade.
Dennis Bermudez (-200) vs The Korean Zombie (+160)
Bermudez is an athletic, hyper-aggressive fighter who has plenty of defensive deficiencies. In the standup game, “The Menace” is constantly working and generally fights bigger than his size. His quickness is the real base for his striking, as Bermudez loves to push into the pocket, land speedy combos and then get out of harm’s way. However, he is very hittable, as he has shown little head movement and his height disparity makes him overextend to land his strikes.
Bermudez is not a one-trick pony, as he was a D1 collegiate wrestler who does an excellent job at mixing in takedown attempts with his strikes. Over time, we have seen a bigger emphasis on top control in Bermudez’s game, which is a step in the right direction because he is suffocating and aggressive once he gets the dominant position. He has some natural pop in his hands that gets exhibited in his ground and pound.
Jung makes his long-awaited return to the Octagon after dealing with injuries and fulfilling his mandatory time in the South Korean military. Though he rarely wins via knockout, “The Korean Zombie” has a reputation as a wild brawler in the standup game and he has no problem walking through punches to throw his own leather. As time has gone on, there have been technical growths in his game including some nice counter-striking. He can be hittable, though, when he does decide to brawl, as he trusts his chin what could be too much.
Though he seems to prefer a striking battle, Jung is at his most dangerous when the fight goes to the mat. When he gets top control, Jung is constantly working either with brutal strikes or by angling for submissions. His composure in scrambles is remarkable, as he almost always finds a way to twist his opponent in awkward ways for strange submissions (see fight with Leonard Garcia).
Bermudez vs Jung should be explosive, as we have two action fighters with plenty to prove. Neither man has sterling defense, but that doesn’t usually stop them from going all out in the cage. Obviously, the big question is how the Korean Zombie will look. We have not seen him fight since mid-2013 in an odd outing against Jose Aldo. You can say whatever you want, but being away from fighting for over three years affects a fighter.
Remainder Of The Main Card
The co-main event features Alexa Grasso (-300) making her second walk to the Octagon to take on Felice Herrig (+230). Grasso is big, athletic and technically masterful in the cage. She throws quick combinations and quickly moves out of the pocket to avoid return fire. Grasso also has fantastic head movement that you get from years of boxing; she started in the discipline at a very young age. The rest of her game is rounding out well but hasn’t been tested too often during her relatively young career. Herrig continues her path as a true test against rising prospects, as ‘Lil Bulldog’ is incredibly tough and durable. She is at her best when she is grappling, as she uses her leverage well in both the clinch and the ground. There isn’t any specific area that Herrig struggles with but she is more of a tough, well-rounded fighter who can grind out victories.
James Vick (-115) looks to rebound from the first loss of his career when he takes on Abel Trujillo (-115) in what should be a fun bout. Vick is extremely tall and long for the lightweight division, as he stands 6’3” with a 76” reach. “The Texecutioner” uses this length well and likes to stick and move until he can find a prime opportunity to land a crisp counter. There isn’t much pop to his hands and he does his best by picking apart his opponent. Though his wrestling leaves plenty to be desired, Vick is a good grappler who can use his lanky limbs to lock in submissions. Trujillo is a physical beast who has learned how to harness these gifts in every facet. When standing, “Killa” prefers to move and wait for his opportunity to explode with his powerful hands. This tactic of controlled explosion does leave Trujillo open to counter-strikes. His grappling game is solid and he loves to throw bombs if he can get top control.
Ovince Saint Preux (-310) looks to rebound after going 1-3 in his past four fights when he takes on promotional newcomer Volkan Oezdemir (+240). Though OSP’s record doesn’t look great, his losses have come against Glover Teixeira, Jon Jones and Jimi Manuwa. OSP is an athletic marvel who is still struggling with how to properly harness these skills technically. He generally keeps the fight at range on the feet until he can land a counter right, which he throws with a massive amount of power. His wrestling is solid and largely based, again, on his natural athletic explosion rather than technique. From what I’ve seen of Oezdemir, he is a striker who can get a bit too emotional. When “Cousin” remains composed and technical, he is a very good striker but he gets goaded into brawls too often. The rest of his game is solid, though he struggles in terms of defensive wrestling.
Anthony Hamilton (-175) takes on Marcel Fortuna (+145) in a blasé heavyweight bout. Hamilton is a fine fighter who doesn’t exactly blow anyone away with any specific facet of his game. Wrestling is his strongest suit, as he has good takedown defense and is strong enough to implement his own takedown when he gets a hold of his opponent. Fortuna is making his first UFC appearance and is fighting out of his weight class. The California native normally fights at 205, a division he is on the smallish side for. Fortuna throws solid combos on the feet and has a second-degree black belt in BJJ, but he is going to be massively undersized.
The main card kicks off with an awesome strawweight bout between Jessica Andrade (-400) and Angela Hill (+300). Since moving down to 115, Andrade has looked infinitely better and has two stoppage victories to her name. Andrade is a tornado of violence, as she stalks her opponent until she can unleash a seemingly never-ending flurry of strikes. Though it may seem like a random barrage, “Bate Estaca” does a good job at mixing shots between the head and the body in these exchanges. She is also a monster in terms of wrestling as her pure physical strength and technique make her hard to take down. If Andrade takes her opponent down, they’d better be prepared for bomb after bomb to be dropped on them. Many will remember Hill from her first stint in the UFC, but she has become an infinitely better fighter since then. “Overkill” does a great job at circling while constantly throwing strikes, especially probing with her strong jab, until she sees a spot she can set and go. She has no problem working in the clinch, as her Muay Thai shines while she drills knees into her opposition. Her ground game is competent, though nothing to write home about.
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Odds Shark Staff Fri, May 20, 11:42am