Alexander Volkov vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
The No.7 ranked Volkov comes into this fight with two defeats from his last three fights after losing out to Tom Aspinall by armbar back in March, while the 8th placed Rozenstruik has had similar fortunes, with a decision loss to Curtis Blaydes last time out leaving him 1-2 from his last three bouts.
Volkov certainly won’t have to be worried about being submitted this time as Rozenstruik is purely a striker, and that’s Volkov’s bread-and-butter too, though he’s the more well-rounded of the two if he does look to mix things up with some wrestling.
Volkov has a 5″ height and 2″ reach advantage here and he always puts that to full use with his volume striking from range, with straight punches and kicks being his weapons of choice along with the occasional knee as he looks to gradually wear down his opponents over time.
Rozenstruik has a different approach, being far more conservative with his striking output, to the point where in some of his UFC outings he’s just appeared gun-shy. That’s puzzling as he has an extensive high-level kickboxing background, thunderous knockout power and a proven record of finishing fights.
So Volkov has a path to victory here if he can stay active with his striking from start to finish and look to keep Rozenstruik at range. However, I think Rozenstruik is at his worst when his opponent’s are just as hesitant to engage, leading to a stalemate, which won’t be the case here. Instead, Volkov’s activity will leave openings for Rozenstruik to counter-strike, and with his speed and power advantage I think that will lead him to a KO finish in the second or third round.
Prediction: Jairzinho Rozenstruik to win by KO in Rd2 – Bet @ Neds
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Dan Ige vs. Movsar Evloev
Back in 2020, Ige was in the midst of a six-fight winning run, but he’s since lost two of his last three fights, while Evloev holds a perfect 15-0 record, including five wins in a row since joining the UFC in 2019.
Ige is a technically sound striker who has good but generally not fight-ending power, is very durable and will push a solid pace from start to finish.
Evloev has some boxing ability on the feet, but I feel Ige will definitely have the edge if it does end up being a prolonged striking battle. That seems unlikely however as Evloev’s game is built around relentless takedowns and strong wrestling on top and so that’ll be his primary focus here.
Overall I feel Evloev should win out here as he can weather Ige’s striking while hunting for the takedown opportunities that will afford him the control time on the mat he needs to emerge with a decision victory.
Prediction: Movsar Evloev to win by decision – Bet @ Neds
Michael Trizano vs. Lucas Almeida
Trizano won TUF 27 back in 2018, but while he’s compiled a 3-2 record in the UFC so far, his two losses have come in his last three fights. Now he finds him facing a newcomer in Almeida, who lost on the Contender Series last year, but is a former Jungle Fight champ with a 13-1 career record overall.
Trizano has a fairly well-rounded MMA game, mixing in striking with wrestling, but without really standing out in any particular regard, and is more likely to get a win on the scorecards than via a finish.
On the other hand, Almedia has proven to be a big finisher on the Brazilian regional scene, being an aggressive striker who can also seize upon the occasional submission. His takedown defense is flimsy though and we’ve really not got much to go on in terms of how he’ll fare against a higher level of opposition than he’s been accustomed to.
In the end I have to favor Trizano, who might not have set the Octagon alight so far, but there’s no shame to losing on the scorecards to notable fighters like Hakeen Dawodu and Grant Dawson, and I feel his wrestling advantage in particular will help him here to get the better of Almeida by decision.
Prediction: Michael Trizano to win by decision – Bet @ Neds
Karine Silva vs. Poliana Botelho
Silva enters the UFC off a win on the Contender Series that took her career record to 14-4, while Botelho has only mustered a 3-3 run in the UFC so far and has lost her last two fights on the scorecards.
Botelho is a muay-thai based striker, and while she’s not the most active offensively she is somewhat of a finisher, with six of her eight career victories coming via either her solid kicking ability of punches, though she’s less comfortable on the mat.
Silva is 3″ shorter, but she’s the physically stronger fighter of the two and has shown an ability to get the job done both on the feet and on the mat, with all 14 of her wins to date being inside the distance. Silva isn’t the best at pacing herself though and her commitment to finding a finish can see her running low on gas later in the fight.
I favor Silva here as she’s the more imposing fighter physically and should be able to comfortably outgrapple Botelho, paving the way for a second round submission finish.
Prediction: Karine Silva to win by submission in Rd2 – Bet @ Neds
Alonzo Menifield vs. Askar Mozharov
Menifield’s UFC run has had it’s ups and downs, going 4-3 so far and now he goes up a newcomer in Mozharov, a Ukrainian fighter who steps in on a month’s notice with an 18-12 career record.
Oddly, the 27-year-old Mozharov’s record appears to be changing almost by the day as his debut approaches and is a bit of a mind-bender, fighting everywhere from welterweight up to heavyweight over the years. It’s been a couple of years since his last MMA fight, but he is currently on a three-fight winning streak, all via strikes in the first round. However, before that he’d lost three fights in a row. That’s nothing new for him as there’s plenty more losses scattered over the course of his career, and more often than not they come via submission.
Credit where it’s due though, Mozharov is the kind of ‘kill-or-be-killed’ fighter that’s fun to watch, and he’ll certainly bring the fight to Menifield on the feet and look to deliver a big finish.
The 34-year-old Menifield is less of a wildman in the cage, fighting at a more measured pace while carrying big punching power. A former linebacker, he’s also physically imposing, but does have a tendency to run out of steam later in his fights.
Perhaps Mozharov’s more reckless aggression could pay off, but Menifield’s a big step up compared to much of the competition he has been facing and feels more dependable in this particular match-up and will deliver a second round TKO victory.
Prediction: Alonzo Menifield to win by TKO in Rd2 – Bet @ Neds
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
This is a rematch of a 2018 encounter between the two that saw Kowalkiewicz emerge victorious via split decision and marked the beginning of a downward spiral in both fighter’s careers.
The 37-year-old Herrig had been on solid run with four victories in a row prior to that loss, but in the years since she’s only fought twice due to spending very long spells on the sidelines due to ACL injuries, with both of those bouts ended in defeat. Meanwhile, the 36-year-old owalkiewicz was KO’d by Jessica Andrade in her next fight after Herrig and in total has now lost five in a row.
Both fighters are primarily strikers who are fairly evenly matched. There’s little danger of a finish here on the feet as they each have just one stoppage via strikes in their entire careers, but their backgrounds in kickboxing and muay thai will ensure they put together competitive, technical exchanges throughout, with Kowalkiewicz having edged out the action last time out.
However, Kowalkiewicz has really looked a shadow of her former self since then and just doesn’t seem to have the same fighting spirit any more, perhaps tying in with being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease in 2019.
Herrig’s two year absence for ACL surgery also leaves a big question mark about how she’ll be upon her return, but before that there was still more spark to her game than we’ve seen of late from Kowalkiewicz and as such I’m leaning towards her to edge out another close fight via decision.
Prediction: Felice Herrig to win by decision – Bet @ Neds
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About the Author: Ross Cole
Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process. You can read more of Ross’s work at MMAInsight.com.