UFC on ESPN+18: Hermansson vs. Cannonier

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Preview and Predictions for UFC on ESPN+18: Hermansson vs. Cannonier by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner 

The UFC travels across the pond this weekend for UFC on ESPN+18: Hermansson vs. Cannonier LIVE from the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark 🇩🇰. UFC Copenhagen will stream exclusively on ESPN+. Action begins early Saturday with:
Prelims               11:00AM/ET          ESPN+Main Card            2:00PM/ET          ESPN+
UFC Copenhagen Main Card Predictions
Nicolas Dalby (+150) vs. Alex Oliveira (-190) 
Two men hungry for a win kickoff the Main Card as Danish fight legend Nicolas “Lokomotivo” Dalby (17-3-1,1NC) makes his return to the UFC in a Welterweight clash with the always entertaining Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira (19-7-1,2NC). Although  Cowboy Oliveira is coming off of back to back losses to Mike Perry and Gunnar Nelson, his decision loss to Perry in April at UFC Sunrise was the first time Oliveira fight went the distance in his last nine fights. Win or lose Cowboy puts on a show and he will have a great dance partner in Dalby, who is coming off of an epic bloodbath No Contest against Ross Houston at Cage Warriors: Night of Champions in June. After sitting out of 2017 battling an internal bout with depression, Nicolas Dalby went 3-1 with the one No Contest in five bouts with Cage Warriors —including winning the CWFC Interim Welterweight title—since his last Octagon appearance against Peter Sobotta at UFC Hamburg in 2016. This fight should deliver as billed, with someone getting knocked out in a back a forth slobber knocker. Fight of the Night alert. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Dalby via Second Round TKO
D’Bo’s Picks: Dalby via Decision 
Michal Oleksiejczuk (-250) vs. Ovince Saint Prieux (+200) 
“Lord” Michal Oleksiejczuk (13-2-0,1NC) plans on joining the Light Heavyweight rankings if he can sort out former Interim title challenger Ovince Saint Prieux (23-12-0). Following consecutive losses to Nikita Krylov and Dominick Reyes, OSP now finds himself outside of the divisional rankings three years after challenging Jon Jones at UFC 197 for the Interim title. OSP has had some great moments since 2016, but has lost five out of his last nine and is not getting any younger.  Poland’s Michal Oleksiejczuk has looked promising since  his promotional debut at UFC 219 against Khalil Rountree in 2017 was ruled a No Contest, responding with impressive back to back First Round finishes of Gian Villante and Gadzhimurad Antigulov. I am pretty confident that the Lord will utilize his crisp and precise striking skills to end OSP’s night early and extending his stoppage victory streak to three. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Oleksiejczuk via First Round KO
D’Bo’s Picks: OSP via Decision 
Ion Cutelaba (+125) vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. (-145)
Ion “The Hulk” Cutelaba (14-4-0,1NC) plans on carrying over the intensity he showed at the Weigh-in stare down in what should be an exciting Light Heavyweight battle with “The War Horse” Khalil Rountree (8-3-0,1NC). Khalil Rountree has lmade tremendous strides since his loss to Johnny Walker, rededicating himself to his craft and relocating to Thailand. The move has paid off immediate dividends for Rountree Jr. which he put on display his new tools and improved conditioning in his Unanimous Decision victory over  Eryk Anders at UFC 236 in April. Ion Cutelaba saw a two fight win streak come to an end when he was submitted by former Title Challenger Glover Teixeira at UFC Sunrise in April. Cutelaba was schooled by Teixeira and it will be interesting to see if there is a hangover effect from a disappointing showing against his highest ranked opponent to date. Both Cutelaba and Rountree Jr. are currently on the periphery of the divisional rankings, and while a win this weekend will not guarantee a breakthrough in the rankings, it would certainly help their case. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Cutelaba via First Round KO
D’Bo’s Picks: Rountree via Third Round TKO
Gunnar Nelson (+110) vs. Gilbert Burns (-140)
Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson (17-4-0) will never turn down a fight, and after Thiago Alves was forced to withdraw, there was no hesitation by Gunni to stay on the Copenhagen card to face a streaking Gilbert “Durinho” Burns (16-3-0) in a Welterweight contest. Although Gunnar Nelson is coming off of a Split Decision loss to Leon Edwards at UFC London in March and has now dropped two of his last three bouts, Gunni is one tough out and is still a 8-4 inside the Octagon. Nelson has had struggles against upper echelon competition and Gilbert Burns has the opportunity to make a statement and put his name on the map if he can get past popular Icelandic grappler. Burns is a talented grappler in his own right, and is now trying to etch out some real estate in the Welterweight rankings after finding initial success in his 170 debut against then the undefeated Alexey Kunchenko at UFC Uruguay just last month. This is an excellent fight and should be a stern test for both fighters. Nelson was originally looking at a favorable matchup against Thiago Alves, and Nelson could be show some resolve of his own if he can put away ElDurinho, who has eight submission wins on his record and is currently riding a three fight win streak. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Nelson via Second Round TKO 
D’Bo’s Picks: Burns via Decision 
Mark O. Madsen (-500) vs. Danilo Belluardo (+350)
Danish Wrestler Mark “The Olympian” O. Madsen (8-0-0) makes his UFC debut in front of his home countrymen against “The Caterpillar” Danilo Belluardo (12-4-0) in the UFC Copenhagen Co-Main Event. Danilo Belluardo had a six fight win streak and his promotional debut in June at UFC Stockholm spoiled by Joel Alvarez, losing via Second Round TKO. Even though Belluardo is a capable opponent, he has been stopped in all four of his professional losses via TKO, and should be little more than a spotlight on Madsen, who  received a Silver Medal 🥈 in Greco-Roman Wrestling at the 2016 Olympic Games, and should have no problem powering through Belluardo for a win in his UFC debut. I would be shocked if the Caterpillar can spoil this coming out party for O. Madsen. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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:
D’Bo’s Picks: Madsen via Decision 
MAIN EVENT 
#5 Jack Hermansson (-250) vs. #9 Jared Cannonier (+200)
Jack “The Joker” Hermansson (20-4-0) will be looking to lock up his position as the next Middleweight title contender if he can manage to get past Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (12-4-0). Jared Cannonier has been making waves in the Middleweight division since moving down in weight and could throw a wrench in the Middleweight title picture if he pulls off another shocker against the durable and dangerous Jack Hermansson. Since losing via knockout to Thiago Santos in 2017, Jack Hermansson has won four straight and really shined in his first Main Event, defeating the world class Jacare Souza at UFC Sunrise in April. Even with his impressive and dominant performances, I feel like Hermansson is still under appreciated and floating under the radar in terms as being a legit title contender. A win over Cannonier would only add to Hermansson’s resume which has been highlighted by his recent wins over Thales Leites, Gerald Meerschaert, David Branch, and Jacare. Jared Cannonier has bounced right back from losses to Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes at Light Heavyweight by moving down to Middleweight and earning TKO wins over David Branch and Anderson Silva.  Huge showcase opportunity for these talented contenders, I give the edge in power to Cannonier but the advantage to Hermansson in Fight IQ and experience, who also happens to have an 80% finishing rate. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Hermansson via First Round Submission 
D’Bo’s Picks: Cannonier via First Round TKO 
Next weekend the UFC travels down under for UFC 243: Whitaker vs. Adesanya LIVE from the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia 🇦🇺. Share your thoughts and picks with us in the Comments section below, and enjoy the fights! 

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