You rarely see a fight card where only two fights went to judges’ scorecards or decisions. This time, only Vinicius Salvador vs CJ Vergara and Jan Blachowicz vs Alex Pereira went the distance. We’ve seen a stoppage in 9 out of 11 fights – UFC 291 was such a great event, potentially the best card of the year!
UFC 291 Look Back
We haven’t seen the Fight of the Night bonus, but Dana White spent 200k dollars on bonuses, as four fighters were granted Performance of the Night bonuses.
Justin Gaethje banked an extra 50k thanks to his massive right high kick, which put Dustin Poirier to sleep almost instantly after a very intense first round. “The Highlight” won the BMF belt too. Derrick Lewis shocked the world and destroyed Marcos Rogerio de Lima with a flying knee, then followed up with a barrage of tremendous ground-and-pound bombs for the fastest KO on the card.
Bobby Green out-classed Tony Ferguson in every aspect of the game, and it looked like “The King” was gonna grind his way to a decision win. Yet, Green trapped Ferguson into an arm-triangle choke in the dying seconds of round 3 for a POTN bonus. Finally, the fourth reward went into the hands of Kevin Holland, who rocked Michael Chiesa with a big strike, then finished him with a submission in round 1.
Yet, it seems Dana White overlooked Roman Kopylov, who destroyed Claudio Ribeiro with a tremendous head kick in the preliminary card. Interestingly, his knockout was pretty similar to Gaethje’s, but the promotion failed to give him a bonus.
UFC On ESPN 50 Announcement
The Salt Lake City pay-per-view event will be remembered for a very long time. Yet, it is time to focus on the upcoming event. The promotion will travel to Nashville, Tennessee, where it will host another fight night event.
The main event of the evening brings a very technical war between amazing technical Muay Thai expert Cory Sandhagen and the guy with the most dangerous jab at the 135-pound roster, Rob Font. This is a catchweight bout (140 pounds), so the fighters will probably deliver harder strikes.
Cory’s angle changes and Muay Thai counters are on a whole different level. His knockout against Frankie Edgar is probably the most entertaining knee that has ever landed in the history of UFC. Cory is an experienced vet who participated in many five-round wars, his stamina is great, and he’ll probably get an advantage if the combat advances into championship rounds.
Rob Font is a very technical boxer with a brutal jab and an excellent right hook. His cardio has never been on point, but this is a 140-pound battle, so might not have to drain his body that much. Font is fresh from his knockout victory over heavy-handed Adrian Yanez, but it is hard to see him beating Cory Sandhagen.
Prediction: Sandhagen to win
Unfortunately, UFC didn’t do good matchmaking in the co-main event of the evening, as an undefeated wrestling phenom Tatiana Suarez meets the former strawweight queen Jessica Andrade.
Suarez’s pressure and takedown game are on a whole different level. Her transitions and top control are amazing, it is very hard to shake her off yourself if she ends up on top of you. Her counterpunches are powerful, but her feints are also very tricky, it is very hard to anticipate her next move.
Jessica Andrade is known for very powerful punches and slams. Remember her slam victory over Rose Namajunas in a title fight? Well, here comes the problem – Suarez is not a BJJ fighter! Her slam defense is excellent, and Andrade could only win if she keeps the bout standing. But it is so hard to stuff Tatiana’s takedowns!
Prediction: Suarez to win
You can take a look at the full UFC on ESPN 50 fight card in the paragraph below.
Main Card (UFC On Fight Pass, ESPN/ESPN+, 9 PM ET, 3 AM CET)
Catchweight (140 pounds): Cory Sandhagen 16-4-0 vs. Rob Font 20-6-0
Strawweight (115 pounds): Jéssica Andrade (24-11-0) vs. Tatiana Suarez (9-0-0)
Light Heavyweight (205 pounds): Dustin Jacoby (18-7-1) vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu (12-3-0)
Featherweight (145 pounds): Gavin Tucker (13-2-0) vs. Diego Lopes (21-6-0)
Light Heavyweight (205 pounds): Tanner Boser (20-10-1) vs. Aleksa Camur (6-2-0)
Preliminary Card (UFC On Fight Pass, ESPN/ESPN+, 6 PM ET, midnight CET)
Lightweight (155 pounds): Ignacio Bahamondes (14-4-0) vs. Ľudovít Klein (19-4-1)
Bantamweight (135 pounds): Raoni Barcelos (17-4-0) vs. Kyler Phillips (10-2-0)
Welterweight (170 pounds): Jeremiah Wells (12-2-1) vs. Carlston Harris (18-5-0)
Featherweight (145 pounds): Billy Quarantillo (17-5-0) vs. Damon Jackson (22-5-1)
Flyweight (125 pounds): Jake Hadley (10-1-0) vs. Cody Durden (15-4-1)
Flyweight (125 pounds): Ode Osbourne (12-5-0) vs. Asu Almabaev (17-2-0)
Asu Almabaev is making his UFC debut versus dangerous Ode Osbourne, a knockout artist from Jamaica. One way or another, this fight will hardly go the distance, both fighters will be looking to finish. On the other hand, Cody Durden’s grappling is amazing, so Jake Hadley will have to keep the bout standing.
Billy Quarantillo is coming fresh off a knockout loss to Edson Barboza, and he’ll have to stuff Damon Jackson’s takedowns, as Jackson’s submission game rocks. Jeremiah Wells vs Carlston Harris is a clash of two knockout artists, you might expect a great finish.
Raoni Barcelos vs Kyler Phillips could turn into technical warfare, while Ignacio Bahamondes will have to stay away from fighting inside the pocket due to Klein’s dangerous hooks and uppercuts. Bahamondes has way better kicks, don’t forget his vicious spinning heel kick KO over Roosevelt Roberts in the dying seconds of the fight.
Tanner Boser vs Aleksa Camur is a guaranteed slugfest, Boser wants to go for the finish by any means necessary. Diego Lopes showed his skills against Movsar Evloev, while Gavin Tucker hasn’t competed for a while, so the Brazilian gets the advantage. Dustin Jacoby vs Kennedy Nzechukwu could go all the way, both fighters are known for great feints and tactics.
UFC On ESPN 50 Predictions
Please take a look at my predictions in the playlist below.
You can see stars in the main and co-main event of the evening, but it doesn’t mean you should miss this card. Some newcomers and fighters tend to prove their skills to the UFC head honcho Dana White. This card starts at 6 PM ET, a bit too late for European fans, but please, give it a shot! You never know how many slugfests might happen!