For the first time since UFC 248: Adesanya vs. Romero, the lead brand in mixed martial arts will put on a pay-per-view in the fight capital of the world. Thanks to COVID-19, UFC 250: Nunes vs. Spencer will differ from its predecessor. One similarity between the cards is three from the former will be in action Saturday night. Sean O’Malley and Neil Magny are on the main card, while Gerald Meerschaert will work the prelims.
What’s baffling is the mixed reaction UFC 250 is receiving. Expectations are marginal right now! Maybe it’s elevated optimism, but I see fireworks all over this card. How does it play out? Here we go!
Evan Dunham vs. Herbert Burns
The opening tilt of the night features a catchweight bout (150 lbs.) between a veteran lightweight and rising featherweight. Evan Dunham, who was once considered a lightweight on the rise, has seen his share of peaks and valleys. Notable wins throughout his career have been over the likes of Tyson Griffin, Nik Lentz, Gleison Tibau, Ross Pearson, and Joe Lauzon. Unfortunately for the Oregonian, when it rains, it pours. Dunham is now on the third, two-plus, non-winning streak of his UFC tenure. His last two losses are by way of knockout, thanks to Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Francisco Trinaldo. Dunham is desperate for a win!
One fight into his pro UFC career, it took less than half of the opening round for Herbert Burns knockout Nate Landwehr with a knee strike. As urgent as it is for Dunham to right the ship, he’ll have to wait another fight to do so. Herbert picks up where big brother Gilbert left off, getting the namesake its second win (KO) over a UFC veteran in as many weeks.
Alonzo Menifield vs. Devin “Brown Bear” Clark
The adage says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Except for one submission win, Alonzo Menifield has a knack for knocking guys out. He lands five significant strikes per minute and flirts with an accuracy rate of 50%. His activity in other aspects of the game leaves much to be desired.
Devin Clark, on the other hand, is slightly more accurate with the hands. In addition, he averages three takedowns per bout, which is accompanied by a completion percentage of 43%. If played right, “Brown Bear” should be able to feast away and grind out a decision win in this light heavyweight affair.
Jussier Formiga vs. Alex Perez
Warning: Don’t Blink! Jussier Formiga and Alex Perez will collaborate to give lookers on an absolute sprint. Both Formiga and Perez and Formiga aspire to break into the upper tier of the flyweight division. Both have shared the octagon with Joseph Benavidez, suffering early knockout losses. What has separated the two is their responses to said losses. Formiga followed his fall to “Joe Jitsu” with a decision loss to Brandon Moreno. Meanwhile, Perez is on a two-fight uptick with wins over Mark De La Rosa (unanimous decision) and Jordan Espinosa (technical submission via arm triangle choke). The sprint goes the distance in favor of Perez.
Charles “Kid Dynamite” Byrd vs. Maki “Coconut Bombz” Pitolo
Three weeks after losing to rising middleweight Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC 235, Charles Byrd found himself in an unexpected fight…for his life. A car accident kept Byrd out of action for over a year, thanks to severe whiplash. After going through the necessary channels to ensure recovery, Byrd is ready to make his anticipated return to the octagon. After back-to-back losses to Shahbazyan and Darren Stewart before him, Byrd looks to right the ship of his young career.
After losing to Callan Potter at UFC 243, Maki Pitolo has a bitter taste of his own to remove. “Coconut Bombz” will likely let his hands go. “Kid Dynamite”, is on the heels of consecutive losses and a life altering experience. In the literal sense, a stick of dynamite obliterates a coconut. I’m applying that same logic to this fight, resulting in Byrd beginning his road to redemption.
Cody “Mr. Wonderful” Stamann vs. Brian “Boom” Kelleher
After an unexpected knockout of Hunter Azure, Brian Kelleher hopes to again lower the “Boom” after a three-week turnaround. Cody Stamann is still steaming about his last bout with Song Yadong, which resulted in a draw. As fun as Kelleher is to watch, it’s unlikely he upsets the contender minded Stamann. As added motivation, Stamann has a heavy heart due to unexpected passing of his brother Jacob last week. The cause of death has yet to be determined. If Kelleher does the unthinkable in successive fights, we’ll have to respect the boom.
Ian “The Hurricane” Heinisch vs. Gerald “GM3” Meerschaert
When it comes to striking, comparing these two is equivalent to splitting hair. Meerschaert is highly regarded as a grappler. Heinisch has crazy takedown defense. He has yet to endure Meerschaert-level grappling, however. With a takedown percentage of 27%, Derek Brunson took Heinisch down twice at UFC 241. Meerschaert’s grappling exceeds Brunson’s! GM3 stifles “The Hurricane’s” momentum with a submission.
Alex “Bruce LeeRoy” Caceres vs. Chase “The Teenage Dream” Hooper
This battle of big hair should be an entertaining segue into the main card. Please prepare yourselves for an abundance of strikes. Speaking of preparation, I wondered how prepared Hooper would be for the shoots of one who’s secured ¾ of his takedowns. Then I realized Caceres hasn’t landed a takedown since he main evented UFC Fight Night with Yair Rodriguez back in August 2016. Hooper, meanwhile, has proven to be an active grappler in his lone professional fight with the UFC. If “The Teenage Dream” is as savvy as perceived, he’ll seize the opportunity to hand “Bruce LeeRoy” his eighth submission loss. Shonuff!
Mark my words; UFC 250 is going to shock the MMA community. Buckle up!
@mma_oth sends our most sincere thoughts and prayers in the direction of the Stamann family during this difficult time.