Preview and Predictions for UFC on ESPN+ 28: Lee vs. Oliveira by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner
Despite all of the global concern and cancellation of essentially all large gatherings and sporting events, UFC on ESPN+ 28: Lee vs. Oliveira will still be held live Saturday afternoon in Brasilia, Brazil, albeit in a closed door setting. The card features plenty of good matchups, and should provide a welcomed distraction for all MMA and sport fans tomorrow afternoon. The UFC Brasilia start times are as follows:
•Prelims 3:00PM/ET ESPN/ESPN+•Main Card 6:00PM/ET ESPN/ESPN+
UFC Brasilia Main Card Predictions
Francisco Trinaldo (-170) vs. John Makdessi (+135)
To kickoff the main Card, Francisco “Massaranduba” Trinaldo (24-7-0) takes on John “The Bull” Makdessi (17-6-0) in a matchup between veteran Lightweights. After losing to Lando Vannata by knockout at UFC 206 in December 2016, John Makdessi has quietly put together a three fight win streak with Decision wins against Abel Trujillo, Ross Pearson, and Jesus Pinedo. Makdessi has been in the UFC for ten years now and carries a 9-6 record heading into his sixteenth appearance this weekend. At 41 years of age, Francisco Trinaldo is still finding ways to get in done having won two of his last three, and is coming off of a Unanimous Decision win over Bobby Green last November at UFC São Paulo. Trinaldo will be looking to find some consistency and put together back to back victories having alternated wins and losses over his last six fights dating back to March 2017. This should be an exciting back and forth contest, and I am leaning slightly towards Massaranduba to edge out Makdessi.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Trinaldo via Decision
D’Bo’s Picks: Makdessi via Decision
#10 Johnny Walker (-140) vs. #12 Nikita Krylov (+110)
Both Johnny Walker (17-4-0) and Nikita “The Miner” Krylov (25-7-0) will attempt to recover from recent setbacks as they collide in what should be a frenetic and fast paced bout at Light Heavyweight. The hype behind Johnny Walker was certainly real after earning his UFC contract competing on Dana White’s Contender Series and finishing his first three opponents inside the Octagon before running into Corey Anderson last November at UFC 244. Walker’s fight with Anderson was his first fight back after tearing his rotator cuff celebrating post fight in his win against Misha Cirkunov last March at UFC 235. With a full camp behind him training up at Tristar Gym with Firas Zahabi, Walker should be primed for a bounce back performance fighting in Brazil. After reeling off four straight wins to earn another chance in the UFC following his release in 2017, Nikita Krylov has struggled to gain footing in his first three fights back with a Submission win against Ovince Saint Prieux sandwiched between losses to title contenders Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira. Krylov has fought high level competition before and I know both fighters will be feeling the onus on themselves to put their best effort forward and perform at a high level in this fight. Expect fireworks in this one from start to finish.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Walker via First Round TKO
D’Bo’s Picks: Walker via Second Round TKO
#7 Renato Moicano (-350) vs. Damir Hadzovic (+260)
Renato Moicano (13-3-1) will throw down with “The Bosnian Bomber” Damir Hadzovic (13-5-0) in what should be a fun fight between two creative Featherweight strikers. Renato Moicano will look to regain some of the swagger and confidence that saw him get his hand raised in five of his first six Octagon appearances, and on the precipice of a Featherweight title shot and defeating some a list of impressive contenders. However, back to back stoppage losses to Jose Aldo and the Korean Zombie have sent Moicano sliding back down in the divisional rankings, and looking to regroup with a strong showing against Damir Hadzovic. While only possessing a 3-3 record through his first six fights in the UFC, Damir Hadzovic seems to be always involved in entertaining scraps with his fan favorite slobber knocker style of fighting. After posting wins over Nick Hein and Marco Polo Reyes, the Bosnian Bomber come up short in his last time out, dropping a Unanimous Decision to Cristos Giagos last July at UFC Stockholm. Fighting at home in Brazil and with his experience fighting against some of the best Featherweights on the roster, I believe Moicano will find a way to get the win over Hadzovic and stay in the topic of conversation in the currently very exciting Featherweight division.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Moicano via Decision
D’Bo’s Picks: Moicano via Decision
#5 Demian Maia (+140) vs. #12 Gilbert Burns (-180)
Demian Maia (28-9-0) faces Gilbert “El Durinho” Burns (17-3-0) in a contest between two talented and decorated high level grapplers. Since losing to Dan Hooker back at UFC 226 by knockout, Gilbert Burns has been on a heater and putting it all together in impressive showings against the likes of Gunnar Nelson, Alexey Kunchenko, Mike Davis and Olivier Aubin-Mercier. El Durinho has the opportunity to add another name to his fight resume against a top five opponent and former title challenger in Demian Maia. After suffering three consecutive losses against three champions and the elites of the Welterweight division, Demian Maia has responded in kind with three straight wins against Lyman Good, Tony Rocco Martin, most recently, putting Ben Askren to sleep at UFC Singapore last October. This should be a great style matchup as Burns and Maia try to solve each other’s puzzle. I give Burns the edge in power and striking, and while Demian Maia can hold his own, I believe Maia’s best chance is to control the flow of the fight and wear Burns down on the mat, but Gilbert is no slouch there either, which makes this such an interesting matchup.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Burns via Decision
D’Bo’s Picks: Burns via Third Round TKO
#8 Kevin Lee (-150) vs. #13 Charles Oliveira (+120)
In the UFC Brasilia Main Event, “The Motown Phenom” Kevin Lee (18-5-0) takes on Charles “Du Bronx” Oliveira (28-8 0,1NC) in a key battle between surging Lightweight contenders. While Kevin Lee has been adamant on fighting this weekend despite all of the implications regarding Coronavirus, Lee’s weight cutting problems reappeared on Friday once again as he weighed in 2.5 over the 156 pound limit. The fight will continue with Lee forfeiting a percentage of his purse to Oliveira. Kevin Lee is coming off of his spectacular First Round finish of the then undefeated Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244 in November, and seems to have found a comfortable new home under the tutelage of Firas Zahabi at the Tristar Gym in Montreal. Lee will be looking to build some momentum and continue to bury his previous losses to Al Iaquinta and Rafael Dos Anjos in his rear view. Charles Oliveira has been on fire, winning seven of his last eight and finishing his last six opponents, setting the UFC record for wins by Submission in the process, and moving up to number two in UFC history for overall stoppage wins. Oliveira will now get the opportunity he has been asking for, to fight a top five opponent and against the next tier of Lightweight talent as he hopes to continue his climb of the divisional rankings.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Lee via First Round KO
D’Bo’s Picks: Oliveira via Third Round Submission
As of now, UFC on ESPN+ 29: Woodley vs. Edwards is still scheduled to go on as planned next week in London, (and surprisingly with fans in attendance.) Be safe everyone. Share your thoughts and picks for UFC Brasilia with us in the Comments section below, and enjoy the fights!!