Preview and Predictions for UFC on ESPN+25: Anderson vs. Blachowicz 2 by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner
This weekend the UFC heads down to Rio Rancho, New Mexico for UFC on ESPN+25: Anderson vs. Blachowicz 2Action starts on ESPN+ with the Preliminary Card at 5PM/ET and will be followed by the Main Card at 8PM/ET.
UFC Rio Rancho Main Card Predictions
Lando Vannata (-115) vs. Yancey Medeiros (-105)
“Groovy” Lando Vannata (10-4-2) meets Yancey “The Kid” Medeiros (15-6-0,1NC) in what should be an entertaining and fast paced Lightweight matchup to kickoff the UFC Rio Rancho Main Card. A team member of Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Groovy Lando remains a fan favorite despite his mediocre 2-4-2 record through eight fights with the promotion. Vannata is coming off of a one sided Unanimous Decision loss to Marc Diakiese at UFC Copenhagen last September, in a bout where Diakiese was always one step ahead of Lando in their exchanges. Next up, is Hawaii’s Yancey Medeiros. A teammate and training partner of former Featherweight champ Max Holloway, Yancey Medeiros has compiled an 8-6 record while competing under the Strikeforce and UFC banners, fighting against top Lightweight competition. The good news for Vannata, is that Medeiros is coming off back to back TKO losses to Cowboy Cerrone and Gregor Gillespie, which may have the Hawaiian’s confidence a little low. However, Medeiros is as tough as they come and has consistently faced tough competition throughout his career, and I believe that The Kid’s edge in experience may determine the winner in this one.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Medeiros via Third Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Vannata via Second Round TKO
Brok Weaver (-300) vs. Rodrigo Vargas (+250)
In another bout at Lightweight, Brok“Chata Tuska” Weaver (13-4-0) makes his official UFC debut against Rodrigo “Kazula” Vargas (11-3-0). Coming over from Combate Americas, Rodrigo Vargas was unable to carry over the momentum of his two fight win streak into his promotional debut last September, losing to Alex Da Silva Coelho at UFC Uruguay by Unanimous Decision. With a high finish rate, “Kazula” has finishes in ten of his eleven professional wins, a stat that the UFC brass loves to see. Vargas should have a great dance partner in Brok Weaver, who looked ready for war in their ceremonial face off on Friday. Weaver makes his debut riding a seven fight win streak, following a UFC contract solidifying performance on Season Three of the Contender Series in August. Five of Weaver’s last seven wins have gone the distance. “Chata Tuska” will have to overcome the firepower and durability of Vargas if he wants to get his hand raised in his debut.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Weaver via Decision
D’Bo’s Pick: Weaver via First Round TKO
#12 Montana De La Rosa (-170) vs. #13 Mara Romero Borella (+150)
In a Women’s Flyweight bout, Montana De La Rosa (10-5-0) takes on Mara “Maravilla” Romero Borella (12-6-0,2NC) as De La Rosa makes UFC history—becoming the first husband and wife to compete on the same fight card— a sweet accomplishment for Valentine’s Day weekend. In her most recent Octagon appearance at UFC Greenville last summer, Montana De La Rosa saw a three fight win streak come to an end as she lost a Unanimous Decision to Andrea Lee. De La Rosa had defeated her last three opponents, all by Submission. Montana has Submission wins in eight of her ten professional wins. Mara Romero Borella has alternated wins and losses in her first four fights in the UFC since joining the promotion in 2017. Maravilla will be looking to back on track as she is coming off of a Third Round TKO loss to Lauren Murphy at UFC Newark last August. Four of Mara Romero Borella’s pro losses have come via KO/TKO. Montana has yet to win a professional fight by knockout and Romero Borella has only been submitted once in her career. I see these two fighters ground games kind of canceling each other out skill wise, and give Montana De La Rosa the leg up to earn a Decision win.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: De La Rosa via Decision
D’Bo’s Pick: De La Rosa via First Round Submission
#7 Rogerio Bontorin (+115) vs. Ray Borg (-145)
Following his fourth missed weight cut “The TasMexican Devil” Ray Borg (12-4-0) will look to make amends for his mishap In front of his hometown crowd by picking up a win over rising prospect Rogerio Bontorin (16-1-0,1NC). Rogerio Bontorin earned his UFC contract by competing on Season One of Dana White’s Contender Series back in August 2018. Bontorin kicked off his official UFC career with consecutive wins over Raulian Paiva and Magomed Bibulatov, and now with his confidence building, Bontorin has won his last four fights in a row climbing to number seven in the Flyweight rankings. Due to personal issues, former title challenger Ray Borg is only 1-1 since his defeat to Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson at UFC 216 in October 2017. Last July, “The TasMexican Devil” was able to get back on track by picking up a Unanimous Decision win over Gabriel Silva at UFC San Antonio, improving to his record to 6-4 inside the Octagon. While Ray Borg will have the home field advantage, Rogerio Bontorin is the more fighter confident fighter and is in better form.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Bontorin via Second Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Borg via Decision
Diego Sanchez (+140) vs. Michel Pereira (-160)
A matchup that is 100% guaranteed to provide entertainment, Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez (29-12-0) meets Michel “Demolidor” Pereira (22-10-0,2NC) in a Welterweight contest. The high flying, dancing routine of Michel Pereira hit a snag in his second Octagon appearance at UFC Vancouver last September, losing to newcomer and substantial underdog Tristan Connelly by Unanimous Decision. Pereira managed to gas himself out, and was worked over by the more efficient Connelly. Earlier last year in his promotional debut at UFC Rochester, Pereira was able to overwhelm “Hot Chocolate” Danny Roberts, winning a Performance of the Night bonus for his First Round TKO stoppage. Competing at the dry altitude of New Mexico, it will be interesting to see how Demolidor will be able to manage his gas tank if he is unable to secure an early finish. The enigmatic Diego Sanchez makes his 31st walk to the Octagon this weekend having compiled a 18-12 record in his fifteen year career in the UFC. The original Ultimate Fighter winner remains a fan favorite at the ripe age of 38. Although Diego is coming off of a Unanimous Decision loss to Michael Chiesa at UFC 239 during International Fight Week that ended a two fight win streak, the real question is how will the Nightmare fair without the resourceful and steadfast Greg Jackson in his corner. In his match with Chiesa, Sanchez was cornered only by a personal trainer. This one could go either way, but I think Michel Pereira should be able to put the pieces together and pickup a win over the fading Nightmare.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Pereira via First Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Sanchez via Third Round Submission
#5 Corey Anderson (-225) vs. #6 Jan Blachowicz (+185)
In the Main Event, Corey “Overtime” Anderson (13-4-0) runs it back with Jan Blachowicz (25-8-0) in a bout that should establish some order and determine who will remain in title contention in a suddenly competitive Light Heavyweight division. Last November, red hot Corey Anderson proved that “there are levels to this” with his statement win over Johnny Walker in Madison Square Garden at UFC 244. Anderson’s First Round TKO of Walker extended his current win streak to four, after picking up Decision wins over veterans Patrick Cummins, Glover Teixeira and Ilir Latifi. Anderson and Blachowicz originally met in September 2015 at UFC 191, with Anderson coming away with a Unanimous Decision victory. Both fighters share an identical record of 7-3 since their first encounter in 2015. A winner in six of his last seven fights, Jan Blachowicz has rebounded very nicely from a his lost to former title challenger Thiago Santos, with back to back impressive wins and spoiling the Light Heavyweight debuts of Luke Rockhold and Jacare Souza. Blachowicz has struggled previously against high quality wrestlers in the past, if Corey Anderson can protect his chin, “Overtime” should be able to follow the same blueprint to victory that he implemented in their first matchup, utilizing his wrestling and takedowns to control the action and dictate where the fight goes.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Blachowicz via Second Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Anderson via Second Round TKO
Next week, the UFC returns to the land Down Under for UFC on ESPN+26: Felder vs. Hooker LIVE Saturday from the Spark Arena, in Auckland, New Zealand 🇳🇿. Share your thoughts and picks with us in the Comments section below, and enjoy the fights!!