The UFC heads to the UBS Arena in Elmont. New York on Saturday night for UFC on ABC 3 featuring featherweight contenders Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez.

Ortega will be looking to return to the winners’ circle after losing to Alexander Volkanovski in a title challenge at UFC 266 last September 25, 2021. Meanwhile, Rodriguez was last seen losing an exciting striking battle against former champion Max Holloway last November 13, 2021.

Also fighting in the main card is former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate who will be making her flyweight debut against Lauren Murphy. Li Jingliang and Muslim Salkhov will also throw down in the event while Shane Burgo takes on Charles Jourdain.

Let’s take a look at the main card bouts and make our predictions:

“Fighting" Brian Ortega vs Yair Rodriguez

Brian Ortega is the no. 2 ranked featherweight in the UFC. The 31-year-old from Los Angeles, California is a former RFA featherweight champion who joined the UFC in 2014. T-City won his first seven bouts, including his debut which was overturned to a no-contest after a failed drug test. He went on to challenge Max Holloway for the belt at UFC 231 but lost via TKO.

Ortega has a record of 15-2 with three knockouts and seven submission wins. He is a switch hitter who is 5-8 tall with a reach of 69 inches.

Yair Rodriguez is the no. 3 ranked featherweight in the UFC. Pantera was the TUF: Latin America winner and joined the UFC after winning the tournament. The 29-year-old from Mexico won his first six UFC bouts before getting knocked out by Frankie Edgar at UFC 2011. He’s fought only four times since then and is 2-1 with one no-contest during that span.

Overall, Rodriguez has a record of 13-3 with four knockouts and three submission wins. He is 5-11 tall with a 71-inch reach and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 07/15/2022

Yair Rodriguez is without a doubt better than Brian Ortega in the striking department. He is more mobile and has more weapons on his feet than Ortega. Although T-City has looked technically sound and powerful in stand-up in recent bouts, Rodriguez’s speed, agility, and creativity give him a significant edge in a stand-up contest.

But Rodriguez’s edge on the feet is erased by the huge difference in their ability to grapple. Although he isn’t hard to put on the mat, Rodriguez has upkicks and great awareness if he is taken down. However, Rodriguez has a weak half guard where he tends to turn to his side to land an elbow or take cover from a strike. From there, he also has a tendency to give up his back as he tries to get back on his feet.

Rodriguez will try to keep this a striking battle. At some moments, Ortega’s toughness will make him want to oblige. However, Ortega will always go back to his strength and that is his BJJ. We should see plenty of striking here but once Ortega takes this fight down, Rodriguez will be in trouble.

Prediction: Brian Ortega

“Fighting" Michelle Waterson vs Amanda Lemos

Michelle Waterson is the no. 10 ranked strawweight in the UFC. The 36-year-old from Aurora, Colorado is a former Invicta FC atomweight champion. She joined the UFC in 2015 and went 5-2 in her first seven UFC bouts, beating the likes of Courtney Casey, Felice Herrig, and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. However, she is just 1-3 in her last four bouts and is coming off a decision loss to Marina Rodriguez.

Waterson is 18-9 with 3 knockouts and 9 submission losses. She is 5-3 tall with a reach of 62 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Amanda Lemos is the no. 11 ranked strawweight fighter in the UFC. The 35-year-old from Belem, Brazil is a former Jungle Fight women’s bantamweight champion who also fought under Jurunense Open Fight MMA. She joined the UFC in 2017 and after losing her debut against Leslie Smith, she won five in a row before losing her last bout against Jesica Andrade.

Lemos is 11-2-1 with 7 knockouts and two wins by way of submission. She is a southpaw who is 5-4 tall and has a reach of 65 inches.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 07/15/2022

I must admit, there is little to criticize against Michelle Waterson’s game. Technically, she is one of the best female fighters in the UFC. However, the former atomweight champion has almost always been dominated by opponents who are bigger or stronger than her. Unfortunately, Lemos looks like an opponent who can bully her against the fence.

The Brazilian isn’t just a surprisingly powerful puncher for her weight class, she has the reach advantage that enables her to tag her opponents, even from the outside. Lemos isn’t a volume striker as she throws just two or three punches in a combination. However, she doesn’t need to land too many blows to win a fight.

The threat of Waterson taking her down is always there and Waterson is a durable customer. However, Lemos may be too strong for Waterson here. She will back up the Karate Hottie and wear her down with heavy punches. While I’m not sure if Lemos can finish such a tough opponent, I have no doubt she will overpower Waterson here.

Prediction: Amanda Lemos

“Fighting" Li Jingliang vs Muslim Salikhov

Li Jingliang is the no. 14 ranked welterweight in the UFC. The 34-year-old from Xinjiang, China is a former Legend FCwelterweight champion and a former China Open Jiu-Jitsu tournament winner. Li joined the UFC in 2014 and after going 2-2 in his first four bouts, he won seven out of his next eight bouts. He is however coming off a 196-second KO loss to Khamzat Chimaev and is just 1-2 in his last three bouts.

Li is 18-7 with 9 knockouts and four submission wins. He is an orthodox fighter who is six feet tall and has a reach of 71 inches.

Muslim Salikhov is a multiple-time Wushu Sanda world champion. The 38-year-old from Dagestan fought for various promotions like the M-1 Challenge and Kunlun Fight. He joined the UFC in 2017 but was submitted by Alex Garcia in his UFC debut. Since that loss, Salikhov has won five consecutive bouts and is coming off a decision win against Francisco Trinaldo.

Salikhov is 18-2 with 12 knockouts and two submission wins. He is 5-11 tall with a reach of 70 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 07/15/2022

Salikhov is way up there in age but his recent success shows that he can still bring it against younger foes. His striking is still crisp and he has shown good takedown defense, both of which will come in handy against his opponent. Given his striking prowess, power, durability, and experience, he should keep Li honest in what could be a back-and-forth affair.

Meanwhile, Li is obviously the younger fighter and he may be hungrier. However, after such an effortless loss to Khamzat Chimaev, I don’t know what to expect from Li Jingliang here. There’s a chance he goes out there firing like hell and wanting to erase the stigma of that loss. But there is also a chance that the impact of that loss is still there.

While I would like to think that Li’s loss to Chimaev was just a minor bump, I think that it will take time to recover from a loss like that, if at all. Li will always be dangerous but Salikhov has been more steady, more consistent, and more reliable.

Prediction: Muslim Salikhov

“Fighting" Shane Burgos vs Charles Jourdain

Shane Burgos is the no. 14 ranked featherweight in the UFC. The 31-year-old from Bronx, New York began his career fighting at Xtreme Caged Combat, Ring of Combat, and CFFC before joining the UFC in 2016. Burgos opened his UFC career with a 6-1 record but has lost two out of his last three assignments. He is, however, coming off a unanimous decision win over Billy Quarantillo.

Burgos is 14-3 with five knockouts and five submission wins. He is 5-11 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Charles Jourdain was a double champion at the TKO Major League MMA promotion, winning the featherweight and interim lightweight belts there. The 26-year-old from Montreal in Canada joined the UFC in 2019. After a 1-2-1 start in his first four bouts, Jourdain has won three out of his last four bouts and is coming off a submission win over Lando Vannata last April 23rd.

Jourdain is 5-9 tall with a reach of 69 inches and is a switch hitter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 07/15/2022

Burgos will be the bigger fighter in this bout. His physical presence will be felt early in the fight and I won’t be surprised if he takes the opening round by using his brute strength alone. I think that both men have the power to stop the other and Burgos has the better chance to do that early in the fight. However, if Jourdain can survive the early onslaught, I think this is a very winnable fight for him.

We’ve seen Jourdain look better after one round. He isn’t always a fast starter but is known to be a strong closer. Burgos has been a consistent fighter but Jourdain gets stronger after the early goings. The added bonus for Jourdain is that he has a better submission game, which means he has more ways to win this fight than his opponent.

I think Burgos and Jourdain will go back and forth in the opening round. But Jourdain should be stronger in rounds 2 and 3 and he will wear down Burgos. If he can take this fight to the ground, it’s going to be a long night for Burgos. Give me Charles Jourdain to win via decision or late submission.

Prediction: Charles Jourdain

“Fighting" Miesha Tate vs Lauren Murphy

Miesha Tate is the former UFC bantamweight champion and Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion. The 35-year-old from Tacoma, Washington is the no. 10 ranked female bantamweight in the UFC but will be making her flyweight debut here. Tate retired after back-to-back losses to Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington in 2016 but returned in 2021. She knocked out Marion Reneau in her first fight back but lost a decision to Ketlen Vieira the last time out.

Tate is 19-8 with four knockouts and seven submission wins. She is 5-6 tall with a reach of 65 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Lauren Murphy is a former Invicta FC bantamweight champion. The 38-year-old from Anchorage, Alaska is the no. 3 ranked flyweight in the UFC is also an Alaska Cage Fighting women’s featherweight champion. She joined the UFC in 2014 and after a 2-4 start to her UFC career, Murphy has won five out of her last six bouts. She lost to Valentina Shevchenko in a title challenge at UFC 266.

Murphy has a record of 15-5 with 8 knockouts and one submission win. She is 5-5 tall with a reach of 67 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 07/15/2022

Murphy is a tough striker and has a good chin. She has good size for the division and is always in tip-top condition. She mixes her striking with takedowns and prefers to fight up close, looking for body shots. Murphy will also be fighting in a weight class she’s comfortable at so one of the big questions in this bout is how much of the weight cut will affect Tate, considering this is Cupcake’s first fight at flyweight.

Meanwhile, Tate is as tough as they come and she is a persistent take-down artist. His striking is also good but I think to beat Murphy, Tate has to take this fight to the mat where she has a significant edge over her opponent. Murphy’s striking defense also has plenty of holes which gives Miesha the chance to touch her up now and then.

But again, I think the weight cut will be a big issue here. And because of that, this isn’t the fight I want to wager on. If Tate has no issues with making weight, there’s no doubt that she is the better fighter here. However, if she is not 100% because of the weight cut, Murphy is going to beat her. I’m not betting on this fight but if you put a gun to my head, I’ll go with Miesha Tate. She’s the better fighter and I would assume she trained well to be in shape at a lighter weight class.

Prediction: Miesha Tate

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