UFC Fight Night: Mitchell vs. Evloev
UFC Just For Fun: Rodriguez vs. Lemos
(it's not their fault, the fighters did nothing wrong)
By Michael Jones - @keepingitrealmma & Dave Manley - @mmabobblehead
1. Marina Rodriguez (16-1-2) vs. Amanda Lemos (12-2-1)
Coming off a split decision win over Xiaonan Yan where she was an almost 3-1 favorite, Marina extended her win streak to 4 in a row. Her striking has been very sharp, which she demonstrated with her 2nd round tko of Amanda Ribas. As for her defensive game, she managed to avoid drowning against the submission hype machine that is Mackenzie Dern, which is relatively impressive. Marina has satisfied the minimum requisite to earn a top 3 opponent, she will look to make that concrete when she faces straw-weight peer Amanda Lemos. Amanda was on her own streak with 5 wins, emerging as a contender before she ran into Jessica Andrade, losing that fight by 1st round arm triangle choke. She bounced back with a 2nd round guillotine choke victory and will look to make it two in a row with 25 minutes to try and catch Marina in the scramble, if she can get it there. I can see Marina showcasing her pinpoint striking accuracy as long as she keeps her sprawl game strong. Amanda might have more power on the feet, but as we've seen in the past; speed, accuracy and superior footwork lead the dance every time.
Hardcore History: Marina was born in Bagé, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. She played multiple sports throughout her youth, none of which she took to on a professional level. After working in the field of graphic design, she got bored and took up Muay Thai. From there she fought regionally for 3 years, before signing with the UFC in 2018. Her only loss is a split decision to the current straw-weight champ Carla Esparza. As for her opponent Amanda, she was born in Belém of Pará, Brazil. She started competing in MMA in 2014, fighting regionally until she signed with the UFC in 2017. She made her promotional debut on short notice at bantamweight, losing by tko in the 2nd round. After losing 2 years of her career due to a positive test for the anabolic steroid, stanozolol, she came back in the 4th quarter of 2019 with a 2nd round submission win.
Dave’s Pick: Not much that you can say about this. Pretty straight forward. Rodriguez last (and ONLY) loss was to the Champion, Carla Esparza. She’s the -220 favorite here, and I’ll lay that price happily. I really can’t believe that this is the Main Event.
2. Neil Magny (26-10) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (17-2)
Daniel just went through the crap storm that was UFC 279, bless his patient heart. He came out the other end with a decision win over Li Jingliang, in what could only be explained as a casual sparring match with almost no impact on either fighter's career. He attempted to leave that experience in the past with a quick turn around against Neil Magny last month, but his elbow said not so fast and he had to pull out. Now he'll finally, hopefully, get his chance to take on Neil as he looks to extend his win streak to 5. That won't be a walk in the park, in contrast to Li, Neil favors forward pressure and will fight in close. Truth be told, he is pretty good when he's on. That is against the middle of the division, he's got hard fought wins over the likes of Geoff Neal and Max Griffin, but Geoff Neal is still ranked at least six spots above him. Why is that you ask? Look no further than Neil's listless bouts with Michael Chiesa and Shavkat Rakhmonov. The former who out grappled him and the latter who dominated him. Should Daniel get his way, this fight will take place entirely on the feet, but Neil has his fair share of tricks. He might work to trip Daniel from the clinch or take him down against the cage at the end of close rounds. I'd imagine whoever wins the short clinch battles will most likely win this fight, it should be a very close contest.
Hardcore History: Aoutneil Jacques Magny, of Hatian and Dominican descent, born in Brooklyn, New York. Damn that is cool to say out loud, you should have ridden that title wave brotha' (see what i did there). Oh well, now he's known merely as the guy who almost won an early season of T.U.F. and at his best garnered 7 wins in a row. That was seven years ago, since 2015 he's traded wins and losses across 15 bouts. Yeah, he's had a crap ton of fights in the sport's elite promotion. As for Daniel "D-Rod" Rodriguez, he grew up in LA. He’s been in and out of the jail system due to gang related issues and now he’s a professional fighter. Can’t imagine how tough life must have been for him growing up, but he’s got more discipline on his side now as he’s been training with the likes of Khalil Rountree Jr. and Joanne Wood at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas. John Wood, head coach at Syndicate, has been slowly building a solid roster of veteran fighters and coaches to train the next generation.
Dave’s Pick: This is very close on paper. The favorite in this fight is Neil Magney. He is certainly the more versatile fighter with a ton more experience. D.Rod has been improving more and more with each fight as well. This one is too hard to pick a winner. So let’s take a peek at the total of 2.5 rounds with the over being the favorite at -215. Magney has gone OVER in his last 8 fights! Daniel’s fights have gone the distance 4 out of the last 5. I’m taking the over here. I really don’t like heavy favorites too much, so I’ll also parlay this to the Main.
3. Grant Dawson (18-1-1) vs. Mark Madsen (12-0)
This fight is essentially a short notice bout between two fighters who have never really lost, that might be a hot take if you're related to Hugh Pulley, but if you're not biased and you've seen that fight then you understand. Grant's real losses, if you want to call them that, have been his trials and tribulations with U.S.A.D.A. (the anti-doping agency that tests UFC athletes). He's been exonerated from any flags his tests have raised in the past, so we'll leave it at that. He relies on a heavy grappling base and is a real problem if you give up your back. His opponent Mark Madsen is an elite wrestler in his own right, so it will be interesting to see who wins the takedown battle, if that even occurs. We've witnessed a few intriguing grappler v. grappler wrestling matches in the past, most notably Demian Maia vs. Jake Shields in 2013, but historically speaking these tend to end up in a half decent sparring match as each fighter's grappling strength nullifies the other. The saving grace is that both of these guys are very animated and eager to gain a seat at the table for top 15 featherweights only. May the best man do something spectacular.
Hardcore History: Grant Dawson was born in Wisconsin, but grew up in Polk County, Nebraska. He was homeschooled, but wrestled at a local high school, and as soon as he turned 18 he started training MMA. He took 9 amateur bouts, winning 8 of them, before turning pro in the 3rd quarter of 2018. He most notably trained with Glory MMA for 7 years before his very recent transition to American Top Team. His opponent, Mark Madsen, was born in Denmark and started wrestling at age 6. He took his passion all the way to the 2008 Summer Olympics participating in Greco Roman wrestling at around 174 lbs, then later to the 2012 Summer Olympics in England where he lost in the second round to Russian wrestler Roman Vlasov. He went on to rematch his new nemesis at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, unfortunately he fell short in his revenge match, ultimately earning the silver medal in his final Olympic run. Having had just two martial arts bouts in 2013 and 2014, winning both in the 1st round, he finally committed solely to MMA in January of 2018. He is currently training with Henry Cejudo and his team at Fight Ready MMA in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Dave’s Pick: I’m probably looking forward to this fight the most. Both guys are so fun to watch, and it will be a real treat for us fans if this match is mostly contested on the mat. Madson is gone the distance 6 of his last 8, and Dawson is very familiar with third round, seeing it 5 of the last 7 times he’s entered the cage. The total here is 2.5 rounds with the over at -215. Guys, This is a favorite kind of day. Rare. Im taking the over. I’m also going to parlay all 3 plays together and try to make some better coin. A 3 team parlay with these picks pays 2-1. I’ll take that. Good Luck!