UFC on ESPN 9:Woodley vs. Burns

Preview and Predictions for UFC on ESPN 9: Woodley vs. Burns by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner 
MMA Plugz is back from the apocalypse to breakdown the Main Card for UFC on ESPN 9: Woodley vs. Burns. Tomorrow the UFC will host its first of a planned string of events in Las Vegas at the UFC Apex facility, albeit with no audience in attendance. The entire card will air Saturday on the ESPN Main Network with the first fight of the Prelims set to begin at 6:00PM/ET. The Prelims will be followed by the Main Card at 9:00PM/ET. 

UFC on ESPN 9 Main Card Predictions 
Mackenzie Dern (-400) vs. Hannah Cifers (+300)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blackbelt Mackenzie Dern (7-1-0) looks to bounce back from her first professional loss as she takes on Hannah “Shockwave” Cifers (14-4-0) in a bout at Strawweight. Returning just a few months after giving birth to first child at UFC Tampa October, Mackenzie Dern lost a Unanimous Decision to the very talented rising contender  Amanda Ribas. Dern had been victorious in her first two Octagon appearances against Amanda Bobbie Cooper and Ashley Yoder, so it will be interesting to see how Mackenzie responds to adversity as a professional MMA fighter. Hannah Cifers saw a two fight win streak come to an end and fell to 2-2 in the UFC after suffering a Second Round TKO loss to Angela Hill at UFC Raleigh in January. Cifers had previously earned Decision wins against Polyana Viana and Jodie Esquibel, and will have to utilize her edge in experience to control where the fight takes place and pull off the upset. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Dern via Second Round Submission 
D’Bo’s Pick: Dern via First Round Submission 

Roosevelt Roberts (-350) vs. Brok Weaver (+290)
Contender Series standouts Roosevelt “The Predator” Roberts (9-1-0) and “Chata Tuska” Brok Weaver (15-4-0) meet in a Lightweight matchup looking to add another dominant performance to their resumes. Roosevelt Roberts improved to 3-1 in the UFC and responded from his first professional loss with a one sided Unanimous Decision win over Alexander Yakovlev at UFC Moscow last October. Brok Weaver was victorious in his promotional debut at UFC Rio Rancho in February against Rodrigo Vargas, however Weaver didn’t intend to earn his eighth consecutive win by Disqualification, due to an illegal knee that occurred in the First Round.  This should be a fun fight, but expect the Predator to take his opponent to the mat and attempt to secure a Submission victory. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Roberts via Third Round Submission 
D’Bo’s Pick: Roberts via Third Round TKO

Billy Quarantillo (-135) vs. Spike Carlyle (+115)
Featherweights Billy Quarantillo (13-2-0) and Spike “Alpha Ginger” Carlyle (9-1-0) will meet in a 150 pound Catchweight bout that should be fireworks and a potential Fight of the Night contender. Billy Quarantillo has won seven of his last eight fights since appearing on The Ultimate Fighter Season 22 back in 2015. Quarantillo has since competed on the third season of the Contender Series and earned his chance to compete inside the Octagon with a Third Round TKO stoppage of Kamuela Kirk last summer, and followed up that performance with a Second Round Submission win over Jacob Kilburn in official promotional debut at UFC on ESPN 7 in December. Riding a five fight win streak, the Alpha Ginger had one helluva promotional debut back in February at UFC Norfolk with a vicious Firat Round TKO finish against the highly touted Contender Series standout Aalon Cruz. Carlyle has finishes in eight of his nine pro wins and is certainly a fighter to keep your eye on. Both of Carlyle and Quarantillo are solid prospects and should provide an excellent test for each other. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Carlyle via First Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Quarantillo via Decision 

#12 Blagoy Ivanov (-105) vs. #13 Augusto Sakai (-115)
Former World Series of Fighting Champion Blagoy “Baga” Ivanov (18-3-0,1NC) will try to get back on the track as he takes on Augusto Sakai (14-1-1) in a Heavyweight matchup. Since earning his UFC contract on Season One of the Contender Series, Augusto Sakai has quickly earned his place in the Heavyweight rankings with consecutive wins over veterans Chase Sherman (TKO), Andrei Arlovski (Split Decision) and Marvin Tybura (TKO). Sakai, who has 11 wins by KO/TKO, will have to test the durable chin of Ivanov, who has never been knocked out in his professional career. Blagoy Ivanov fell to 2-2 in the UFC after losing a narrow Split Decision to “The Black Beast” Derrick Lewis at UFC 244 last November. Ivanov responded from his loss to Junior Dos Santos in his debut with back to back Decision impressive wins against Ben Rothwell and Tai Tuivasa, but has now gone the distance in all four of his Octagon appearances. This should be a good fight as Ivanov needs to get back in the mix, and Augusto Sakai, who is riding a five fight win streak aims to continue proving that he is the real deal and a legit threat in the Heavyweight division. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Sakai via Split Decision 
D’Bo’s Pick: Ivanov via Decision 

MAIN EVENT 
#1 Tyron Woodley (-185) vs. #6 Gilbert Burns (+160)

Former Welterweight Champ Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley (19-4-1) is determined to work his way back into the title picture by derailing the hype train of one the 170 pound division’s rising stars, “El Durinho” Gilbert Burns (18-3-0). After dealing with a myriad of injuries and losing his title in a dominating performance by current champ Kamaru Usman, Tyron Woodley is fired up to get back what is his. Woodley was scheduled to fight Leon Edwards but due to the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic, Gilbert Burns, riding a five fight win streak and a winner in seven of his last eight earns a crack at the former four-time defending Champion. Burns has put together a string of virtuoso performances including Decision wins over the then unbeaten Alexey Kunchenko and Gunnar Nelson, and punctuated by his First Round KO of Demian Maia two months ago in the Co-Main event at UFC Brasilia. Burns is a dual threat with a combined fourteen professional wins by stoppage. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blackbelt should provide a stern challenge to the dangerous power and wrestling of the Chosen One. Which of these fighters gets their hands raised in this matchup is a tough prediction to make, but with an impressive performance, the winner could certainly be the next in line to challenge for the title in the super competitive 170 pound division. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Burns via Second Round Submission 
D’Bo’s Pick: Burns via Decision 

Next Saturday the UFC will be back at the Apex Facility in Las Vegas for UFC 250: Nunes vs. Spencer LIVE on Pay Per View. Share your thoughts and picks for UFC on ESPN 9 with us in the Comments section below, and enjoy the fights!! 

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