UFC on ESPN 7: Overeem vs. Rozenstruik

Preview and Predictions for UFC on ESPN 7: Overeem vs. Rozenstruik by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner 

This weekend the UFC heads to Washington DC for UFC on ESPN 7: Overeem vs. Rozenstruik LIVE Saturday evening from the Capital One Arena. In tribute to former ESPN Analyst Stuart Scott, who passed away five years ago, this UFC event will be dubbed “Fight Like Hell”, a quote of Stuart Scott’s  who was a MMA enthusiast and inspired so many throughout his TV career and in his spirited battle with cancer. The action will begin with:
    UFC Fight Pass      Early Prelims     5:45PM/ET
    ESPN+                    Prelims             7:00PM/ET    ESPN                      Main Card        9:00PM/ET
UFC on ESPN 7 Main Card Predictions
#10 Rob Font (-140) vs. Ricky Simon (+120)
Rob Font (16-4-0) will be looking to string together consecutive wins as he takes on Ricky Simon (15-2-0) in a Bantamweight matchup. Although he has been alternating wins and losses over his last five fights, Rob Font looked pretty strong in his last appearance at UFC Milwaukee last December, dominating Sergio Pettis en route to a Unanimous Decision victory. Font’s fight with Simon will be his first of 2019. Ricky Simon was an eight fight win streak come to an end at UFC Sacramento in July, as Uriah Faber come out of retirement with a bang, finishing Simon in the First Round via TKO. Simon had previously won his first three fights in the UFC defeating Merab Dvashilvilli, Montel Jackson, and Rani Yahya. This is an important fight for both Font and Simon to remain relevant in a very busy Bantamweight division. Font has struggled in a past against ranked opponents, with losses to Lineker, Munhoz, and Assuncao. Before his loss to Faber, Ricky Simon was gaining traction and I give Simon the edge to get his hand raised this weekend. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Simon via Decision 
D’Bo’s Pick: Font via Decision 
#9 Cody Stamann (+180) vs. #13 Song Yadong (-205)
In another Bantamweight contest, “Mr. Wonderful” Cody Stamann (18-2-0) meets rising contender “The Kung Fu Monkey” Song Yadong (14-3-0,2NC) in what should be an exciting fight. Cody Stamann was able to rebound successfully from a loss last year to Aljamain Sterling that ended a ten fight winning streak, by getting back on the winning track with a Unanimous Decision win over Alejandro Perez at UFC 235 in March.  Stamann is 4-1 since joining the UFC in 2017, utilizing a heavy ground game to beat up and demoralize opponents.  Ten of Cody’s eighteen professional wins have gone the distance. In July, Song Yadong improved to 4-0 inside the Octagon with a highlight reel knockout of Alejandro Perez at UFC 239. The Kung Fu Monkey has finished three out his first four UFC opponents, but will have his hands full against Stamann, who has never lost by TKO/KO. Whoever is able to dictate the pace of the fight, will more than likely get the win, whether Stamann dominates with his wrestling or Song Yadong controls the fight on the feet with his lightning quick hand speed and pinpoint precision. Should be fun. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Yadong via Decision 
D’Bo’s Pick: Yadong via First Round TKO 
#9 Cynthia Calvillo (+105) vs. #10 Marina Rodriguez (-135)
In a Strawweight bout, Cynthia Calvillo (8-1-0) takes on Marina Rodriguez (12-0-1), who is stepping in to replace Calvillo’s original scheduled opponent, Claudia Gadelha, who was forced to withdraw from the event due to injury. After earning her UFC contract on the Contender Series,  Marina Rodriguez is 2-0-1 through her first three fights with the promotion. Rodriguez battled to a Draw against Randa Markos in her promotional debut at UFC São Paulo last September, but since then, Rodriguez has put together impressive back-to-back Unanimous Decision wins over Jessica Aguilar and Tecia Torres, and has yet to taste defeat in thirteen professional fights. In her last Octagon appearance, Cynthia Calvillo improved to 5-1 in the UFC with a Unanimous Decision win over Cortney Casey at UFC Phoenix in January. Calvillo has won two in a row since suffering her first professional loss to former Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza at UFC 219 two years ago. Unfortunately, Cynthia Calvillo’s previous difficulties making weight has reared its ugly head again, as Cynthia weighed in a whopping 4.5 pounds over the 116 pound limit. It’s tough to say what kind of impact her weight advantage will have in the fight, but it is certainly unprofessional and has to be a cause of concern for the UFC brass. Calvillo is very dangerous on the mat, but I give Marina Rodriguez, the taller and lengthier fighter, a clear advantage on the feet, so it should be interesting to see how this one plays out. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Rodriguez via Second Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Calvillo via First Round Submission 
#5 Aspen Ladd (-160) vs. #7 Yana Kunitskaya (+130)
Aspen Ladd (8-1-0) hopes to get back on track as she faces a surging Yana “Foxy” Kunitskaya (12-4-0,1NC) in a Bantamweight contest. Aspen Ladd will be looking to return to her winning ways after she was TKO’d by Germaine de Randamie sixteen seconds into their Main Event clash at UFC Sacramento in July. Ladd had previously won her first three fights inside the octagon, with stoppages of Tonya Evinger and Lina Landsberg, and a dominant Decision win against Sijara Eubanks. Yana Kunitskaya faced quite the tall task in her promotional debut at UFC 222 last March, losing to Cris Cyborg at Featherweight via First Round TKO. Yana has since dropped down to Bantamweight and rebounded with Unanimous Decision wins over Lina Landsberg and Marion Reneau. With Kunitskaya performing at a high level, this will be a stern test to determine if Aspen Ladd is ready to potentially contend for a title. I believe Ladd rises to the occasion this time around with a strong showing to earn her fourth UFC victory. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Ladd via Decision 
D’Bo’s Pick: Ladd via Second Round TKO
Ben Rothwell (-140) vs. Stefan Struve (+120)
Two giants collide as Ben Rothwell (36-12-0)  takes on “The Skyscraper” Stefan Struve (29-11-0) in a Heavyweight matchup. Earlier this year at UFC Prague, following his Second Round Submission win against Marcos Rogerio de Lima, we thought we may have seen the last of the “Skyscraper”, who had previously lost his last three fights and had been dealing with health concerns with his heart. However the taste of victory for Struve was too good, who returns in his 23rd Octagon appearance to face Rothwell. It was not too long ago that Ben Rothwell was on a four fight win and was on the cusp of a title shot before losing a Unanimous Decision to Junior Dos Santos in Croatia back in April 2016. Then Ben was injured. Then Ben was suspended by USADA. Since returning from suspension, Rothwell has looked pretty pedestrian in Unanimous Decision losses to Blagoy Ivanov and Andrei Arlovski. I have been a fan of Ben Rothwell, but I believe that he is facing a steep uphill climb to return to the Top 5 of the Heavyweight division, and another loss to Struve would most likely put that prospect to pasture for good. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Struve via Second Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Rothwell via Third Round Submission 
MAIN EVENT 
#6 Alistair Overeem (-120) vs.#14 Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+100)
  “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (45-17-0,1NC) returns to face the dangerous Jairzinho “Bigi Boy” Rozenstruik (9-0-0) in the UFC DC Main Event. Jairzinho Rozenstruik has took the Heavyweight division by storm this year, with three stoppage wins and needing less than a minute to stop his previous two opponents, Allen Crowder (:09 seconds) and Andrei Arlovski (:29 seconds). Rozenstruik is the most impressive and frightening Heavyweight we have seen in the UFC since Francis Ngannou. Bigi Boy has stepped  in to replace Walt Harris (personal) <—prayers to Walt Harris and the Blanchard family— after defeating Arlovski just last month at Madison Square Garden. With back-to-back TKO wins over Alexey Oleynik and Sergei Pavlovich, Alistair Overeem is intent on making another run at capturing UFC gold. This fight is going to determine a lot about Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and whether he has what it takes against top notch Heavyweight competition. Not to take anything away from his previous wins, but Alistair Overeem is a decorated and experienced striker, who was squared off against the baddest men on the planet before. This will be Rozenstruik’s first UFC Main Event, so it will be interesting to see if that has any impact on his performance. Both men have devastating knockout power, and I would be surprised if it goes longer than two rounds. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Overeem via First Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Rozenstruik via Second Round TKO
Next week the UFC is back in Las Vegas for UFC 245: Usman vs. Covington, one of three title fights scheduled for next Saturday!  Share your thoughts and picks with us in the Comments section below and enjoy the fights!! 

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