Two elite fighters will attempt to end their slumps this Saturday (May 18, 2019) inside Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., when former Lightweight champ Rafael Dos Anjos takes on recent title challenger Kevin Lee in UFC Fight Night 152’s Welterweight main event. Neil Magny was supposed to square off with Vicente Luque in the co-main event; however, he was scrapped from the event earlier this week for undisclosed reasons.
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145 lbs.: Megan Anderson vs. Felicia Spencer
Megan Anderson (8-3) — who brought a four-fight knockout streak and the Invicta Featherweight Title into UFC — stumbled out of the Octagon gate, withdrawing from a planned debut against Cris “Cyborg” and getting thoroughly outwrestled by Holly Holm afterward. She went on the face Cat Zingano at UFC 232, claiming victory in 61 seconds after a head kick inadvertently drove one of Anderson’s toes into Zingano’s eye.
She has knocked out five professional opponents and submitted another two.
Felicia Spencer (6-0) has not tasted defeat since losing her amateur debut in 2012, ending her run in the unpaid ranks at 5-1 and picking up a win over Macy Chiasson. “Feenom” has spent her entire professional career in Invicta, where she claimed the Featherweight title with a submission of Pam Sorenson in Nov. 2018.
She will give up six inches of height to her Australian foe.
First things first: Spencer is not a true Featherweight. She entered her last fight at 143.7 pounds and didn’t look particularly lean; she should easily be able to make 135 … maybe even 125 with proper weight management. That’s an issue against the towering Anderson, who legitimately needs this weight class to be able to compete.
Spencer is, however, a terrific grappler while her two-round gas tank holds up, boasting slick wrestling technique and lovely transitions to the back. Anderson got torched on the mat by Holm, and while she did manage to avoid getting submitted, I’m not sure how much credit I can give her submission defense against someone with zero submission wins. Essentially, Anderson has to either catch Spencer on the way in, which is possible, survive at least a round on the bottom against a legit BJJ black belt, which is less so. Unless Anderson has made massive strides in her wrestling, Spencer muscles her way in for an early takedown and secures the rear naked choke soon after.
Prediction: Spencer via first-round submission
145 lbs.: Mike Trizano vs. Grant Dawson
Mike Trizano (8-0) — Team Stipe Miocic’s first Lightweight pick on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 27, stopped Thailand Clark and outclassed John Gunther in the house before scraping past Joe Giannetti at the Finale to claim the fabled six-figure contract. “The Lone Wolf” then faced Luis Pena, whom he was supposed to fight in the semifinals, and survived “Violent Bob Ross’s” back control to win a split decision at UFC Fight Night 139.
The Tiger Schulmann-trained product is one inch taller than Dawson, but will give up an inch of reach.
Grant Dawson (13-1) outclassed Adrian Diaz on “Contender Series” to earn himself a contract, but United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) issues kept him out of action for the next 19 months. He ultimately debuted in March with an entertaining decision over TUF veteran Julian Erosa in “The Prophet’s” first trip to the judges.
His nine professional submission victories include seven via (technical) knockout.
Dawson showed against Erosa that he’s still got room for improvement, even if one does attribute his issues to cage rust. Trizano is the sharper striker by far and will be “The Prophet’s” greatest test to date, but even considering all of that, it looks to be a rough evening for the TUF winner. While he came out victorious against Pena and Giannetti, both found success with their grappling, putting Trizano in some bad spots.
He got out of those bad spots, to be fair, but Dawson tends to finish people when given similar opportunities
Unlike Pena and Giannetti, Dawson wastes no time in getting his wrestling going, limiting Trizano’s ability to slow him down with leg kicks. I don’t see him stopping Dawson’s takedowns while the latter is fresh nor surviving his top game. Trizano joins castmate Brad Katona in getting his first L, absorbing ground-and-pound until he leaves his neck open.
Prediction: Dawson via first-round submission
155 lbs.: Des Green vs. Charles Jourdain
Des Green (22-8) debuted in UFC with an upset split decision over Josh Emmett, but struggled to find his footing, losing three of his next four to the likes of Rustam Khabilov, Michel Prazeres and Mairbek Taisumov. “The Predator” came up big with his back against the wall, however, pounding out Ross Pearson in Philadelphia less than two months ago.
“Air” Charles Jourdain (9-1) enjoyed an 8-2 amateur career before debuting in 2016 with a flying knee knockout. T.J. Laramie handed him his sole defeat in his sixth pro fight, but his current four-fight streak the claiming and one defense of the TKO Lightweight title.
Jourdain is one inch shorter than Green and faces a four-inch reach disadvantage.
Jourdain is an entertaining young fighter with a horrific style match up ahead of him. He’s a natural Featherweight with poor takedown defense going up against a stifling wrestler with the chin to weather Jourdain’s punching blitzes. If Josh Emmett and Mairbek Taisumov couldn’t fluster Green, I have my doubts that Jourdain could.
Jourdain admittedly did a better job of scrambling to his feet in his most recent fight, but he’s never faced a takedown threat like “The Predator.” Green’s size and wrestling carry him to a comfortable decision victory.
Prediction: Green via unanimous decision
Rafael dos Anjos and Kevin Lee always bring it, so if you’ve got an ESPN+ subscription, there’s no reason not to tune in. See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 152 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
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