We have a pair of heavyweight strikers in the main event of UFC Fight Night 184, and two world class bantamweights with the winner looking to become next in line for their title shot all during Super Bowl weekend in the UFC’s Apex Center in Las Vegas.
Alistair Overeem Vs Alexander Volkov
Alistair Overeem has been on a nice winning streak late into his career. While Alexander Volkov finished Walt Harris in his last contest to get back on the winning board after dropping a unanimous decision loss to Curtis Blaydes. On the other hand, Overeem is looking to get another title shot before he calls it a career. He has a good chance at continuing his winning streak against Volkov. Both competitors are strikers, so it’s a matchup that favors both on the stand up battle. However, Overeem might be slightly favored as he has a more decorated striking pedigree. I don’t see this contest remaining on the feet for long. Volkov is someone who likes standing at distance and landing his long strikes which include his jab and his body kicks. But, Overeem has evolved as a fighter in his UFC career, as we have seen in the Walt Harris, and in the Augusto Sakai contests that he is willing to grind out a win. In both fights he attacked with a mixture of strikes, clinches, and takedowns. This contest will be no different as Overeem will look for his openings to take the fight to the ground. He will strike when necessary as he is not at a disadvantage in that department yet, he knows it’s a safer contest for him to take the fight to the ground. You’ll see a lot of clinch work leading to takedowns upright on the cage. Overeem will drag this fight out, stopping Volkov’s offense.
Overeem Def. Volkov via Unanimous Decision
Cory Sandhagen vs. Frankie Edgar
In this much anticipated showdown of top bantamweight contenders we see old school versus new school. Frankie Edgar is looking to improve to 2-0 in the bantamweight division while Cory Sandhagen is looking to establish himself as next in line for a title shot against the winner of Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling. In many ways, this is a title eliminator for both Edgar and Sandhagen. Edgar had an impressive debut in the division defeating top bantamweight Pedro Munhoz in a compelling contest. Sandhagen, in equally impressive fashion, disposed of Edgar’s former training partner Marlon Moraes with a stellar spinning wheel kick. For Sandhagen, this contest means a lot as Edgar is a former lightweight champion, former featherweight title challenger, and a future hall of famer.
In this bout, Sandhagen will prove to be the future while Edgar’s experience will show once again. Edgar is known as one of the toughest fighters, and his chin was legendary. But in recent years, he’s been finished twice with brutal losses to Chan Sung Jung, better known as the Korean Zombie, and Brian Ortega. He still is a worthy challenge especially in a more natural weight class for him in the bantamweight division but Sandhagen is one of the best in this division. Sandhagen has won eight of his last nine performances, with his lone loss coming to Sterling.. Sandhagen will continue looking like a future champion as he will show he’s not only the future of the division, but he’s also the present. Sandhagen will mix up his attack and expect him to be stopping Edgar’s signature combos by catching him when he tries to close the distance. Edgar will try to take this to the mat, but Sandhagen will be too quick and his takedown defense will hold up for the majority of this contest. Look for Sandhagen to ease to a decisive victory against the future hall of famer.
Sandhagen Def. Edgar via Unanimous Decision
Marion Reneau vs. Macy Chiasson
According to Marion Reneau’s Instagram, she has tested positive for Covid-19 so the fight is being pushed to February 27.
Alexandre Pantoja vs. Manel Kape
Not many American UFC fans know of Manel Kape. Nevertheless he is an extremely great addition to the UFC’s flyweight roster. Kape is an electrifying fighter coming from the Rizin organization to face an equally electrifying top UFC flyweight in Alexandre Pantoja. Look for this bout to steal the show and for both men to establish themselves as elite flyweights to look out for.
Kape has the power to put away many flyweights but Pantoja won’t be one of them. Pantoja is as tough as they come and this contest will definitely show it. Pantoja has great all around skills and coming off a loss to the undefeated Askar Askarov, Pantoja will be motivated to defeat the UFC’s newest addition.
On the other hand, Kape wants to show he’s good enough to compete with the best. His striking is capable of knocking out any flyweight and he will be looking for the knockout against Pantoja. But in this battle he can’t just rely on his power. He has to be prepared for all situations. Expect to see everything from high level striking to quick ground transitions to establish control.
Pantoja Def. Kape via Split Decision
Cody Stamann vs. Askar Askar
Originally, Cody Stamann was supposed to compete against Andre Ewell but one covid test later, Ewell was replaced by UFC newcomer Askar Askar. Askar is looking to impress in his UFC debut against a very formidable UFC veteran in Stamann. This is a phenomenal opportunity for Askar considering he is only 26 years old but is Stamann too big of a jump for Askar’s promotional debut?
For Askar to come out victorious he needs to press Stamann, take him down and keep him grounded. He cannot stand in the pocket. When Askar strikes he tends to throw wide looping hooks and he won’t move his head, but in the UFC level head movement is necessary. However, Askar closes the distance quickly and when the wrestling exchanges don’t go his way he continues moving forward looking for any kind of offense. Look for this to be his downfall as he tends to enter recklessly. During one of these reckless approaches Stamann will clip him hurting Askar. A scramble will occur with Stamann getting the takedown because he is the stronger and more skilled wrestler. Stamann will dominate on the ground and keep the action grounded. He will win the first round easily. The second round will be more of the same with Stamann gaining an advantage in the grappling exchanges. In the third round, we will see Stamann continue to pour on the pressure except this time he’ll be mixing it up on the feet and on the ground. He will once again hurt Askar and finish him off with ground and pound. Stamann will prove he is too much too soon for Askar.
Stamann Def. Askar via 3rd Round TKO
Diego Ferreira vs. Beneil Dariush
This is a rematch between two top 15 lightweights in the stacked division. At 36-years-of-age Diego Ferreira has not shown any signs of slowing down as he submitted Anthony Pettis in his last outing. But at 36 can he continue his winning ways especially with a very skilled Beneil Dariush?
Both Ferreira and Dariush are known for their ground work but expect the opposite in this contest. Usually, when we have two great grapplers they end up avoiding grappling exchanges turning into a striking contest. Expect this to be no different. Dariush has slowly improved his striking, showing it off in an impressive 2020 campaign against both Drakkar Klose and Scott Holtzman. I expect this to be a closely contested striking contest with Dariush getting the better of the exchanges in the pocket. Ferreira can win this striking matchup but with Dariush’s recent improvements I see him edging out a close decision victory.
Dariush Def. Ferreira via Split Decision.