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UFC 249: Preview of the Main Preliminaries

After a late cancellation, rumors of an Isle of the Fight (name worthy of Sunday Major's movie) and Dana White's meeting with Trump, the UFC returns to the screens with UFC 249. 

Being the first major sports organization to return to action in the middle of the pandemic (if you count Belarus football as big, then it would be the second) and a card full of good names, both on the preliminary and main cards, Saturday's event it tends to attract the attention not only of MMA fans, but also of sports fans whose abstinence could not be cured with sertanejas lives .

No more bad jokes, check out the previews of the main fights on the preliminary card.

Anthony Pettis (22-10 in MMA, 9-9 in the UFC) came to be considered one of the great lightweights in history. On his journey, he was WEC and UFC champion, had great performances, but after 2015, when he lost his belt to Rafael dos Anjos, he was unable to amend more good times. He tried a new life in the featherweight, but only showed more wear and a more pronounced decline in his performances, with a 4-8 retrospect certainly would have already been fired if he didn't have the name he has.

It is difficult to talk about the technical part of Pettis without highlighting the elusiveness of his game. Known for his stunning blows, unthinkable kicks and remarkable moments, he ended up being trapped in the need to define a fight with a single blow, making him give more and more breaches to his opponents. Boxing is of a reasonable level and jiu-jitsu is good. The defense never followed the attack, suffers a lot when it receives pressure and wrestling is very deficient.

Donald Cerrone (36-14 in MMA, 23-11 in the UFC) has done more than enough to be called “Mr. UFC ”highest number of fights (34), victories (23), bonuses received (18), fights ended by fast track (16), besides being recognized as the man to be called when the organization needs a strong name for a fight last minute. He had the opportunity to dispute the lightweight belt at one time and made several visits to the top of the lightweight category. He even attempted a foray into the welterweight, which ended up not being very successful. Tonight, he faces an old acquaintance. The first time he met Pettis, in 2013, he lost the fight and the chance to fight for the title that was Ben Henderson's at the time, seven years later the fight has almost no relevance at that time,

The best Cerrone ever was a fighter with a vast offensive arsenal. Owner of a great ability to end fights, whether with quick submissions or brutal knockouts, he could handle

Well with the vast majority of opponents. On the defensive side he suffered a lot to deal with pressure, having been a big hole in his game for a long time. Today, out of peak, he still manages to keep the game at a good level, defends himself better than in other times, manages to impose a good pace and has the physical capacity to face people outside the elite, like Anthony Pettis.
The fight is obviously out of time. Both fighters are in a time of decline and should not have any major sporting intentions in the future. Anyway, if it is to continue in activity, let it be fighting with people of the same level and size, as both have already done a lot to serve as a ladder for enraged newbies or against members of the elite.

On the best day of his career - as we have already seen - Pettis is more talented, but today, discounting the decline of each one, Cerrone has more physical condition. “Nines out”, we bet on a victory for Cerrone there in the middle of the second round, after good moments of voluptuous striking.


For lovers of the gentle art, the Russian Aleksei Oleinik (58-13-1 in MMA, 7-4 in the UFC) is an ideal name for the Brazilian's return to the octagon, since he is also known for his aggressive jiu-jitsu. At 42 years of age, Olenik was never a top athlete and it is unlikely that this will change now, but he always delivers fun fights.

The RusFighters MMA athlete is the synthesis of the current state of the heavyweight category: tall, thick and technically weak. On foot, his game is precarious and comes down to the famous overhands, while in the defensive part, he has several holes in his guard and is usually an easy target to be reached. He stands out for the variety of chokes on the floor, mainly for the choke Ezequiel, specialty of the house. Always opportunistic, he has good positional control, but he sins a lot in fitness.

After 26 months away from the octagon due to a suspension from USADA, former heavyweight champion Fabrício Werdum (23-8-1 in MMA, 11-4 in UFC) is back in the UFC. At 42 years of age, the Brazilian returns with an important test to show which stage of his career and his physique is currently in order to readjust in the division. In his last appearance, “Vai Cavalo” ended up being knocked out by the Russian Alexander Volkov in the main fight of UFC London.

Fabrício Werdum's style is basically the same since his return to the UFC in 2012. From a one-dimensional jiu-jiteiro, the former champion developed a very decent muay thai under the hands of Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA. In addition, he is versatile while standing: at close range, uses good combinations and offers the risk of fighting on the ground. In the long distance, he enjoys great kicks and good distance control with aggressiveness, apart from a ground game of the highest level.

In fact, it is an intriguing and good fight for the preliminary card for UFC 249. Two years ago, it would be difficult to imagine a scenario where the Brazilian was not an outspoken favorite against the Russian. But after such a long hiatus, it will be important to observe how Fabrício will behave and how he will show himself not only technically, but physically.

The bet of this humble analyst is for Fabrício Werdum's victory by technical knockout in the third round. The Brazilian must control the fight in the long distance and undermine the terrible resistance of Oleinik, who would become easy prey for the good muay thai of the former champion in the last round.


That the game of the first champion in the history of the straw division category is more than perfect, everyone knows. Even far from showing conditions to fight with the top 5 of the category, Carla Esparza (15-6 in MMA, 6-4 in the UFC) still has conditions to be a good gatekeeper in the top 10 and test the level of aspirants like Virna Jandiroba and Alexa Grasso, her last two victims.

When it emerged in the sport, All-American sweep the ground with its opponents combining technique and a lot of physical strength, always pressing and showing a good variety of falls. But time has passed, age has advanced and the physical has fallen. When the need for greater technical capacity came, the bill came to the veteran of the sport. With a very basic and simplistic notion of the standing fight, the maneuvering game of his good wrestling caused him many problems against opponents of greater technical capacity.

One of the precursors of female MMA, Michelle Waterson (17-7 in MMA, 5-3 in the UFC) accepted to fight in a different category in order to compete in the largest MMA organization in the world. In the UFC since 2015, the 34-year-old athlete has been knocking on the door of the category's high level, but ends up paying the price for the physical difference in relation to her opponents.

A specialist in karate, Waterson is very fluid while standing, with fast hands, good combinations and good physical preparation, always undermining his opponents with good kicks and good entries in the short distance. In her last fights, the American has shown that she also has a good level in the grappling fight, with emphasis on a sense of opportunism when applying falls, apart from good positional control and the accurate notion when making transitions efficiently.
If on the one hand we have a former champion with a one-dimensional game, however, effective, on the other we have a more versatile athlete who loses in physical size. It is an interesting confrontation of styles between two good fighters from the top 10 of the straw category.

The tendency is for combat to develop in two scenarios: Esparza uses his physical strength to control Waterson on the ground, or Waterson uses his upper-leg fighting game to dominate the actions of the confrontation. The bet is on the second scenario, where the former Invicta FC champion must use her good movement and distance control to win by unanimous decision of the judges.


What was supposed to be a big revelation after TUF 17 proved to be one of the most inconsistent fighters to step into the octagon. Jamaican Uriah Hall (15-9 in MMA, 8-7 in UFC) became known as an “ambulance man” for violently defeating opponents, but when he reached the final of the reality show, he was defeated by Kelvin Gastelum - this was a big revelation. . The trajectory in the UFC was strange, with some unexpected victories as against Gegard Mousasi, but also mending a sequence of three defeats in a row. The current phase is good, coming from two triumphs, the last against the good grappler Antonio Cara de Sapato.

Hall has significant experience in striking, having a background in karate, as well as specializing in taekwondo. Quite inventive, Hall is a fighter who has no volume and does not usually fight to win rounds, with a preference for a more cautious game in search of a blow that only defines the fight, be it a punch or a round shot. Explosive and with a lot of power in the blows, Hall does not match the offensive power in defense, which is fragile and susceptible to adversary pressure. Offensive grappling is nil and defensive is insufficient. Even showing progress, it still needs to improve the defense of falls. The camp was done full time at Fortis MMA, Texas, where he even moved to the gym.

Ex-Strikerforce champion, Ronaldo Jacaré (26-8 in MMA, 9-5 in the UFC) never came to compete for the UFC title, often losing in the considered “elimination fight”. 2019 was not a sporting year for the Brazilian, who was defeated in the two matches he had during the period. The first defeat was on a baton pass to ascendant Jack Hermansson, while the second was an unsuccessful attempt to move up to light heavyweights, in a horrible match that deserves no recollection, against Jan Blachowicz. For his first appearance in 2020, Jacaré decided to return to his original category, the middleweight.

Jacaré is one of the main jiu-jitsu fighters who passed through MMA, champion of numerous championships in the soft art and with more than 16 years dedicated to mixed martial arts. Now 40, it is safe to say that the Brazilian is already at the end of his career and in physical decline. It is impossible to deny how skillful Jacaré is in grappling, with good falls from judo and a wide variety of submissions, but he always showed more, counting on strength and a good pressure game in the clinch. The striking is of little volume, using powerful but slow punches that leave the defense totally unguarded and some high kicks. It is in defense that we have the worst problem of his game today, since Jacaré is quite correct and against Saturday's opponent this is a danger.
This would be an easy fight for Jacaré from a few years ago, who got tired of beating opponents like Chris Camozzi and Tim Boetsch, who, like Hall, are null and void in the fight. The problem now is that the Brazilian does not have the absorption of the past and does not show defensive security in order to place full confidence in his victory. For Jacaré, the ideal is not to get carried away by striking and try to focus on the grappling fight as quickly as possible.

I believe that the Brazilian will seek the solo fight, where he is infinitely superior. It is not very difficult to take down Hall and once on the ground the chances of the Jamaican to get out unscathed are slim. Jacaré submits in the first round.