Hello, fight fans! UFC on Fox 20 is live, from Chicago with a bantamweight fight with serious championship implications. Former champ Holly Holm takes on Valentina Shevchenko, and it’s likely that if Holm wins, she’s going to be next in line for a title fight against new champ Amanda Nunes. The fights start at 4 p.m. ET on Fight Pass, so let’s take a look at the predictions for top bouts.
2016 Important Results:
Jessica: 134-103-4 (56 percent)
Burnsy: 99-101-3 (49 percent)
Ryan: 5-1 (83 percent)
Jason: 42-34-1 (55 percent)
Bill: 20-10 (67 percent)
Jackman: 7-5 (58 percent)
Enrique: 7-5 (58 percent)
Jamie: 16-13-1 (55 percent)
Justin: 13-4 (76 percent)
Marty: 20-12-1 (62 percent)
Jared: 13-11 (54 percent)
Parker: 3-4 (43 percent)
Team Davis: 72-52-3 (58 percent)
Bantamweight – Eddie Wineland vs Frankie Saenz
Jessica: I was all set to type a decent paragraph about Wineland being a Grown Ass Man and whatnot, but Frankie “I Saw The” Saenz is three years older than him, so there goes that angle. I really want to take Wineland here, but he’s been out for a year, which is giving me pause. I don’t think Saenz is good enough to take it, but I thought the same about Bryan Caraway. Aw, to heck with it, I’m gonna say Wineland uses his reach to beat up Saenz from distance and get a TKO in the third round.
Bill: Wineland is the world’s most negligent amusement park, as well as a good fighter. The long layoff is definitely a concern, but the fact that Saenz just lost a fight to Urijah Faber is some overwhelming MMAth. I’m picking Wineland to win by TKO.
Jason: I don’t usually like picking fighters that have only fought once in the last two years and are flirting with retirement, but something tells me Wineland has that fire back. He’s also probably feeling great and in the best shape of his life. Wineland!
Jared: I gotta go with Saenz here. Wineland hasn’t looked the same since being spindoodled by Barao and is coming off a big layoff to boot. Saenz may be an underwhelming fighter, but he’s also a smart one who will utilize his high output and ground skills to impose to take a decision over Wineland.
Strawweight – Felice “Lil Bulldog” Herrig vs Kailin Curran
Jessica: Herrig trains at Team Curran, so I think Kailin has an inside scoop on Felice. I also just don’t really like Herrig, so I’m taking Curran to continue the success of small Hawaiians. Kailin wins by decision.
Bill: I think Curran will stay on her (short) winning streak by picking up a decision victory here.
Jason: This is the UFC setting up a squash match for Felice who is marketable if she can put together some UFC highlights. I don’t think Curran has anything for her, nor is this Curran related to the Currans Jessica is thinking of (I think).
Jared: With Curran’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and Herrig’s inability to do much of anything so far in the UFC (too busy training to be a Ninja Warrior, I’m told), this fight is pretty much a classic toss-up. Part of me thinks that Herrig’s unbreakable toughness and experience will win her the day here, but the other part of me is too distracted by Curran’s mystifying peepers to offer any actual analysis on either fighter’s keys to victory. It’s tough to pick Herrig knowing that she hasn’t fought in over a year, but my gut is telling me that she’ll do enough to earn the nod.
Heavyweight – Francis “The Predator” Ngannou vs Bojan Mihaljovic
Jessica: I’m finally all in behind Ngannou partly due to his previous performances, but also because the heavyweight division desperately needs a guy younger than I am. Ngannou wins by second round KO.
Bill: Boy howdy, do I love me a French heavyweight. This seems like a mismatch because Ngannou appears to have every possible advantage on paper, but this is MMA, so you never know. That said, I think Ngannou wins a lopsided fight, possibly by first round TKO.
Jason: This is a coming out party for Ngannou and I don’t think it’s going to be close. Mihaljovic is on a ten-fight winning streak, but that’s just a soundbite. He hasn’t beaten anyone of worth and he’s long in the tooth. Ngannou will be violent.
Jared: Do yourself a favor and perform a Google Image Search of Francis Ngannou. If you think that I am betting against that guy you have lost your f*cking mind.
Lightweight – Edson “Junior” Barboza vs Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez
Jessica: Heckums yes! This fight could be ULTRA NUTSO, but that hinges on Melendez forgetting that he’s a wrestler. If these two decide to trade, it’ll be Barboza lighting up Gil with kicks, while Melendez plants his feet and swivels his hips back in forth, throwing hooks like he’s a very violent Chubby Checker. If that does happen and Edson doesn’t have to defend against take downs, I expect it to be a short night for poor Gilbert. Barboza wins by KO late in the first round.
Bill: I pretty much exactly agree with everything Jessica said, except perhaps for the usage of “heckums.” I think Barboza takes this easily, but I’m predicting a win by submission. Is it too much to hope for a D’Arce choke? Probably!
Jason: I’ll take this time to reiterate that I pick with my heart, and I pick my favorite fighters. Damn the percentages. That said, I’m taking Giblert (I spelled that correctly) Melendez in what should be a fight that will set a barn on fire in a controlled fashion.
Jared: This is a lot tougher of a pick than the current odds are trying to tell you. Despite possessing the nastiest kicks in the game, Barboza is about due for a loss and Melendez is exactly the kind of savvy, pressure-heavy fighter to hand it to him. That said, Melendez is coming off year-long, steroids-related layoff and didn’t exactly look like a world-beater before he got busted. It’d be easy to attribute his 1-3 UFC record to the level of competition he’s been thrown against thus far, but I’m just not sure if I see him being able to handle Barboza’s speed at this point in his career. I’ll pick Barboza, which means that he’ll likely be the latest killer to get bull-rushed by a gritty vet and lose in the first round.
Bantamweight – Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm vs Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko
Jessica: A small part of me appreciates the further CHAOS a Shevchenko win would create for the title picture. On the flip side, I like Holly well enough and don’t really want to see her on a two-fight skid. I keep wanting to type that Holly’s boxing and sneaky grappling will match up very well against Shevchenko’s kickboxing and that, much like her boxing career, Holly’s cardio gives her the edge to win this by TKO in the fourth. But dang it, the strange lure of Shevchenko winning this is sitting there, trying to drag me into the vortex. I don’t regret this, but I’m taking Holm by fourth round TKO here.
Bill: I am extremely looking forward to this fight and I think it should be a tremendous one. But with Shevchenko just coming off a loss against Nunes, I don’t like her chances going up against a pissed-off and determined Holly Holm. Holm gets back in the win column here and gets back in the extremely crowded bantamweight title mix.
Jason: I like Shevchenko a lot, but her coach was just shot and she’s never faced someone like Holm under such bright lights. I wouldn’t be surprised if she won, but I’d be surprised if Holm dropped two in a row. Such #chaos for the women’s bantamweight division if Shevchenko wins. Such #chaos.
Jared: Recent history has shown us that attempting to predict *any* fight in the women’s bantamweight division is a fool’s errand, and honestly, the thing I’m most concerned about in this fight is the potential it has to be an absolute snoozfest of a main event. Prior to her physical and psychological destruction of Ronda Rousey, Holm’s first two UFC fights were some of the most uneventful in recent memory. She seemed all but completely unwilling to engage in any exchange that would put her at risk of getting hurt, and now coming off the first loss of her career, methinks that we’ll see a more timid version of Holm than ever. I’ll still take her to win over the relatively green Shevchenko, but more than anything I’m just hoping she brings the ruckus.
Performance of the Night
Jessica: Barboza, Alex Oliveira
Bill: Ngannou, Holm
Jason: Ngannou, Holm
Fight of the Night
Jessica: Holm vs Shevchenko
Bill: Holm vs Shevchenko
Jason: Melendez vs barboza