Preview and Predictions for UFC on ESPN 3: Ngannou vs. Dos Santos by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner
Th UFC will take over the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota this weekend for UFC on ESPN 3: Ngannou vs. Dos Santos. Headlined by a can’t miss Heavyweight contender bout, the rest of the action begins with:
6:00PM/ET ESPN Prelims 9:00PM/ET ESPN Main Card
UFC Minneapolis Main Card Predictions
Alonzo Menifield (-320) vs. Paul Craig (+240)
Alonzo Menifield (8-0-0) aims to remain undefeated as he takes on “The Bearjew” Paul Craig (11-3-0) in a Light Heavyweight contest. Coming into his official debut on the first UFC on ESPN card in Brooklyn, NY in January, Alonzo Menifield had won all of his previous professional fights by way of stoppage. Alonzo kept the streak alive by beating Vinicius Moreira in Brooklyn via Second Round TKO. With his chiseled physique and dangerous power, Menifield has the ability to end a fight in the blink of an eye. With over twenty combined professional bouts between two fighters, it is amazing that neither Craig nor Menifield have gone the distance in their fighting careers. Paul Craig has won two of his last three in the role of the underdog, taking a beating in both of the wins before pulling off fight-ending, Performance of the Night winning Submissions against Magomed Ankalaev and Kennedy Nzechukwu. With Alonzo Menifield’s power, I don’t think the Bearjew will be able to withstand many strikes, Craig’s best opportunity to win the fight will be to catch Alonzo early while he is still dry. Otherwise, I think Craig will succumb and ultimately be finished by the power and strength of Menifield.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction🔮: Menifield via Second Round KO
D’Bo’s Picks: Menifield via First Round KO
Roosevelt Roberts (-280) vs. Vinc Pichel (+220)
In a Lightweight matchup Roosevelt “the Predator” Roberts (8-0-0) will have to get past veteran Vinc “From Hell”Pichel (11-2-0) to remain undefeated. Following a three year hiatus, Vinc Pichel returned to the Octagon in June 2017 and picked up right where he left off, knocking out Damien Brown at UFC Auckland. Pichel picked up a Decision win over Joachim Silva but would then run into “The Best Fisherman” in MMA, Gregor Gillespie, at UFC Utica— putting an end to Pichel’s four fight win streak. Roosevelt Roberts earned his UFC contract on the Second Season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series by defeating Garrett Gross via Second Round Submission. Roberts picked up a First Round Submission win over Darrell Horcher in his official UFC debut at the TUF 28 finale in November 2018. In his last fight against Thomas Gifford at UFC Sunrise, Roosevelt Roberts went the distance for the first time in his professional career, but was able to earn a Unanimous Decision win. On a quick turnaround, Roberts must remain sharp and not get careless against a seasoned fighter like Pichel. I think the Predator puts it all together to get a Submission win.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction🔮: Roberts via Second Round Submission
D’Bo’s Picks: Roberts via Decision
Drew Dober (-350) vs. Marco Polo Reyes (+265)
Drew Dover (20-9-0,1NC) and “El Toro” Marco Polo Reyes (8-5-0) will be trying to get back on track as they meet in a Lightweight matchup.After winning his first three fights inside the Octagon, the momentum of “El Toro” has slowed down a bit as he dropped of his last three bouts, most recently losing to Damir Hadzovic at UFC Prague via Second Round TKO. In his last bout, Drew Dober saw a three fight win streak come to an end, losing in March to Beneil Dariush via Second Round Submission at UFC Wichita. I think Dober uses his wrestling and overall strength advantage to grind out a Decision win.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction🔮: Dober via Decision
D’Bo’s Picks: Reyes via Decision
#12 Demian Maia (-185) vs. Anthony Rocco Martin (+150)
One of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the UFC, Demian Maia (26-9-0) returns to face Anthony Rocco Martin (16-4-0) in what should be an exciting Welterweight contest. Between 2014-17, Demian Maia ripped off a seven fight win streak to earn a Welterweight title shot, losing via Unanimous Decision to former Champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 214. Maia would lose Decisions to former Interim Champ Colby Covington and current Champion Kamaru Usman. After battling through that Murderer’s Row, Maia ended his three fight skid in February at UFC Fortaleza, submitting Lyman Good via First Round Submission. Anthony Martin has been on a hell of a run over the past four years, having won seven of his last eight and currently enjoying a four fight win streak. This should be a fun fight as both fighters are in great form. I think Martin may be able to utilize a balanced attack to do enough to earn a Decision win.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction🔮: Martin via Decision
D’Bo’s Picks: Martin via First Round KO
#1 Jussier Formiga (+155) vs. #2 Joe Benavidez (-190)
Top Flyweight contenders Jussier Formiga (23-5-0) and Joe Benavidez (27-5-0) will meet for the second time in their career in the UFC Minneapolis Co-Main event with winner most likely securing a title shot against Double Champ Henry Cejudo upon his return from shoulder surgery. Jussier Formiga has looked like a man on a mission winning five of last six since losing a Split Decision to Cejudo at UFC Mexico in November 2015. Formiga’s wrestling and grappling has been top notch which makes this rematch of contrasting styles so intriguing to watch play out. Joe Benavidez finished Formiga in their first meeting in Brazil six years ago via First Round TKO (Knee/punches). Joe Benavidez has won seven of his last eight, including a Split Decision win over Henry Cejudo, so both fighters will have a settle to score with the current champ. A bout of high consequence at 125 pounds, sign me up. How bout that? I love Benavidez , but I’m going to go out on a limb and take Formiga to get the upset victory.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction🔮: Formiga via Second Round Submission
D’Bo’s Picks: Benavidez via Decision
#2 Francis Ngannou (-250) vs. #3 Junior Dos Santos (+200)
“The Predator” Francis Ngannou (13-3-0) is back in the hunt for title contention as he squares off against another former Heavyweight Champion in “El Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (21-5-0). Francis Ngannou was one win away from becoming a world champion, but Stipe Miocic had other plans on their encounter at UFC 220 last January. The reality check took a while to sink in, as Ngannou carried the ill effects of his loss to Miocic and fighting extremely tentative, in an even more disappointing decision loss to a hobbled Derrick Lewis at UFC 226. As an underdog in his rematch with Curtis Blaydes last November in the headliner of UFC Beijing, with his back against the wall, the Predator returned with a First Round TKO that required less than a minute to get the fight stoppage. Ngannou responded with a mirror like performance against Cain Velasquez, finishing the man widely considered to be one of of the all time Heavyweight greats— in a matter of seconds. Stipe Miocic is the only fighter currently ranked ahead of Ngannou and Dos Santos, with all three fighters sharing a history, the next two years should produce some wild Heavyweight contests. Junior Dos Santos continues to drink from the fountain of youth, looking crisp as ever during his three fight win streak with a Decision over Blagoy Ivanov and TKO finishes of Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis. The winner of JDS-Ngannou will certainly face the winner of Cormier vs. Miocic at UFC 241 coming up in August. I think a determined Ngannou gets the job done with another brutal knockout.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction🔮: Ngannou via First Round KO
D’Bo’s Picks: Ngannou via Third Round KO
Next week the UFC will be Las Vegas for International Fight Week and the highly anticipated cards of the year, UFC 239: Jones vs. Santos. Share your thoughts and fight picks with us in the Comments section below, and enjoy the fights!! 👊🏻 🔌