The UFC returns on Saturday with the truly stacked UFC 238 card. Flyweight king Henry Cejudo dukes it out with Marlon Moraes for the vacant bantamweight strap, while Valentina Shevchenko makes the first defense of her flyweight title against Jessica Eye. Earlier in the evening, Tony Ferguson returns to action against “Cowboy” Cerrone in a must-see fight. Betting action abounds on this card, so make sure to get your money in.
Calvin Kattar (-155) vs. Ricardo Lamas (+125)
Kattar is one of those guys perpetually under the radar. He does not do anything exciting, but he has had an upward trajectory in the weight class for well over a year. Ricardo Lamas has been near the top of the division for much of his career but is now relegated to a gatekeeper. Kattar must win this fight to stay in title contention. He will do so with his well-rounded, extremely technical standup game. Take Kattar by decision in a fun fight.
Tai Tuivasa (-160) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (+120)
Ivanov is fresh off of ruining Ben Rothwell’s comeback just after taking JDS to the limit in a five-rounder in his UFC debut. Tuivasa has to get a knockout to win, but Ivanov has shown his chin’s durability so far in his UFC tenure. I do not think Tuivasa will drop him, and Ivanov has a five-round gas tank as we saw in the Cigano fight. Ivanov withstands the blows and delivers one of his own to get Tai out of there. Ivanov knocks out Tuivasa in Round 2.
Eddie Wineland (-135) vs. Grigory Popov (+110)
Why does Wineland want to do this now that his window for being a contender has closed? Well, his recent streak shows that he is still a highly capable fighter who should knock the wheels off of the UFC newcomer. Popov has looked solid in the Russian and Chinese circuits over the greater part of the past decade, but this is a whole new animal. There is just not one part of the game that Popov should have the advantage. If Wineland loses this one, it is time to hang them up. Wineland by first-round knockout.
Xiaonan Yan (-185) vs. Angela Hill (+160)
I am taking Angela Hill, the first UFC fighter to fight three times in 2019, to beat the UFC newcomer. Much like the Wineland-Popov fight, Yan just has not fought anyone near this level yet. Hill would be by far the best win of Yan’s career, but I think the experience at the highest level will help Hill pull through in what should be a straight kickboxing match. Angela Hill washed out of the UFC once already as a prospect back in 2016; now it is her turn to return the favor on a newcomer. If she does not, she might find herself in “pink slip” territory. Hill outdoes Yan on the feet en route to a decision victory.