UFC 236 will go down this Saturday inside the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
From important clashes at 205 to two title fights, UFC 236 should be jam-packed with action that you won’t want to miss.
Without further a due, let’s analyze the five bouts on the UFC 236 main card, and pick some winners.
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov
Kicking off the UFC 236 main card is two veterans who at this point in their respective careers, have nothing to lose.
Nikita Krylov will be making the walk for the first time in 2019, looking to rebound from his last fight, where he was submitted by Jan Blachowicz. Krylov has seemingly lived and died on the mat. He has been victorious via submission 14 times in his career, but five of his six defeats in MMA have come by submission as well. So it seems that Krylov on top is a problem for opponents, but when he’s on bottom it doesn’t seem to be an issue for opponents to find a finish.
OSP will also be making the walk for the first time in 2019 on Saturday. He will also be looking to bounce back from a loss in his previous bout, where he was dominated for 15 minutes by up and comer Dominick Reyes . OSP has become one of those guys who everyone can get behind. He’s a Donald Cerrone type fighter and is in the octagon a lot. He usually puts on a show for the fans, and has the respect of everyone in the MMA community. Unless OSP were to make a drastic change in how he fights, in terms of skill, it doesn’t seem that we’ll ever see Saint Preux fight for the belt.
If OSP can keep this on the feet, it should be routine for him. But we know that OSP is as streaky as anyone in the UFC. One fight he seems like a killer, but in the next, he is hesitant and unable to throw a punch. If Krylov can get on top of OSP, he should find success. Otherwise, he’ll need to get in close and in the clinch and do some dirty work.
I’ll go with OSP on this one because he’s due for a great performance.
Prediction: OSP Via decision
Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant
Next up, we’ve got a welterweight veteran vs a newcomer whose been mistaken for Beanie Sigel this week, seriously.
Alan Jouban is one of those guys whose been in the UFC for what feels like forever. Jouban wins some fights, he loses some fights, but his name has a tiny bit of notoriety in the UFC. He hasn’t fought in over a year, however, because his last bout was a knockout victory over Ben Saunders back in February 2018. Jouban carries heavy hands, and will look to put a hurting on Grant on Saturday night.
Dwight Grant is a product of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, where he impressed the boss with a big knockout. Since being signed, Grant is 1-1 in the UFC, and is coming off of a big win against Carlo Pedersoli Jr. Jouban is providing Grant with an enormous opportunity in what is only Grant’s 11th pro bout. Grant carries some heavy hands of his own, and he also doesn’t seem to mind the Beanie Sigel comparison.
It is an interesting bout, one that pits a veteran against new blood looking to make a name for himself. I am expecting hands to be thrown in this one, and for someone to hit the canvas hard.
I’m going with Grant. I believe that he will be able to lure Jouban into a war, and eventually clip him and finish the fight, leading to a big 2019 for the young American Kickboxing Academy prodigy.
Prediction: Grant via KO
Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree
Next, we move back up to light heavyweight, where two young, up and coming 205’ers will do battle on the feet. I’m hoping that one of them will set themselves apart, and move up the rankings.
“Ya Boy” Eryk Anders has seemingly just plopped himself in the light heavyweight mix over the past couple of years. The former Alabama football player has slowly developed new levels to his gam e, but he is still struggling to put it all together. He is currently on a two fight losing streak, and hasn’t really put in a solid performance since his robbery of a loss against Lyoto Machida. Anders is 3-3 in the UFC, and he, like Rountree, has an opportunity on PPV to get his name out there. Also, more importantly, a chance to move up the rankings.
Khalil Rountree had an interesting 2018. He first clipped and knocked out fight-game legend Gokhan Saki, which was a surprising result to say the least. Then, late last year, he ran into the battering ram that is Johnny Walker, and succumbed to a vicious elbow that put his lights out. Rountree is 3-3-1 in the UFC, and is seemingly in the same position as Anders. Rountree loves a scrap and if he clips you it’s all she wrote. However, he seems to be vulnerable on the ground, but i’m not sure he’ll have to worry about Anders taking the fight down to the mat.
I’m expecting a slow one here because cardio isn’t exactly either man’s strong suit. Both also aren’t too comfortable on the ground, so i’d expect some slow pecking throughout the fight, with some small spurts of combinations. But nothing too crazy. It really feels like a pick em’ fight.
Im gonna go with Rountree on this one. If Anders is able to get in and out, and mix in some body work and leg kicks, he could find success. But if it comes down to trading blows and an endurance test, Rountree has shown to better at dealing with adversity and he can weather storms better than Anders. UFC 236 should be his night.
Prediction: Rountree via decision
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya
Now it is time to get into the two title fights that we will see on Saturday night. First off, we will see an interim Middleweight champion crowned, as Kelvin Gastelum, the man who has patiently waited for this opportunity to arise, will do battle with the up and coming fan favorite Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya.
Kelvin Gastelum should be praised for his patience over the last few months. He was just hours away from challenging Robert Whittaker for the middleweight belt, before Whittaker had to pull out due to a hernia that required immediate surgery. He has went through a gauntlet of legends up to this point, and has faired relatively well. His last fight against Jacare Souza really proved that he was ready for this moment coming Saturday. The power that he packs in his left hand is insane, and if he clips Adesanya, it could be over in a second.
What more can really be said about Israel Adesanya. The guy is only 29 years of age, he’s undefeated, he has charisma, an amazing fighting style, and seems unfazed by anyone who stands in his way. His last fight against Anderson Silva was one of my favorite fights i’ve ever seen. He is capable of taking the fight to the ground, keep it standing and he can do dirty work in the clinch as well.
To keep this straight forward, I see only one way for Gastelum to win this fight, with that left hand of his. Otherwise, I think it is going to be a long night for him. Gastelum has fought the who is who of that division for the most part, yes. But, all of these men he has defeated have been on the decline in their respective careers. From Marquardt, to Hendricks, to Kennedy and Michael Bisping. Adesanya is a different beast. He’s fresh to the fight game, and is one of the most athletic fighters I’ve ever seen.
I’m picking Adesanya to pick apart Gastelum over the course of the fight, eventually leading to a brutal finish, like what he did to Derek Brunson.
Prediction: Adesanya via 3rd round KO
Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier
Now for the main event of the evening at UFC 236, we will see two warriors of the sport collide. It’s sure to be a vicious encounter involving heart, grit, blood and haymakers, as Max “blessed” Holloway, the man who has no fears and continues to establish himself as the best featherweight ever, moves up to lightweight to challenge fellow killer Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier, a man who has recently went through the murderers row of lightweights in order to get to Saturday night, for the interim lightweight strap.
Dustin Poirier, although he’s fighting at his own weight class, is seemingly the underdog for the bout on Saturday. He’s keen on being the underdog although, as I don’t think that very many of us thought he would actually get to the point to where he is fighting for a UFC belt. He was supposed to lose to Eddie Alvarez. Poirier was also supposed to lose Anthony Pettis’ comeback fight. He was supposed to be a victim of the Justin Gaethje express, but he conquered them all!
Max Holloway reminded us all just what he was capable of doing, when he obliterated Brian Ortega back in December. He hasn’t failed to impress us since he’s came into his own back in 2014. He is capable of throwing the whole kitchen sink at you, but somehow doing it with precision. The way he throws his punches just seems different. The guts he possesses are second to none, and it really is hard to write about the guy. You just have to watch him compete.
This fight isn’t as simple to me as Gastelum vs. Adesanya. I genuinely think that Poirier stands a chance. Obviously, striking is both of these men’s strong suit, and both men love a good brawl. Poirier does possess some great ground game, and did in fact defeat Holloway back in 2012 at UFC 143 via triangle armbar. But it is a new age…
It feels impossible for me to not pick Holloway here. What he did to Ortega reaffirmed his position atop the pound for pound rankings. I can’t see someone dethroning him at featherweight, and at the end of the day, I think he is better than quite a few of the lightweights out there. I’m going with the blessed one here to win at UFC 236.
Prediction: Max Holloway via 5th round TKO