Middleweight Bout: Derek Brunson (21-7) vs. Kevin Holland (21-5)
Luke Irwin: This should be a fun bout. Brunson made a lot of noise despite being less gifted and dynamic than most of the middleweights he defeated. He can grind out a win like nobody’s business. However, it looks like it’s Holland’s time now. After reeling off five wins in 2020, four by stoppage, winning numerous fighter of the year awards, he capped off his amazing year with a star-making performance, knocking out Jacare Souza in the first round. Now he enters into a potential title eliminator a house of fire. Holland via R4 TKO.
Lightweight Bout: Brad Riddell (9-1) vs. Gregor Gillespie (13-1)
Luke: It’s always a crapshoot to see how a fighter responds after their first loss, especially a knockout loss, like the one Gillespie took against Kevin Lee. As an added bonus, it was a head kick, and now he faces a former professional muay thai fighter in Riddell. He could shake it off and submit Riddell in the first round, or he comes out tentative, not wanting to get posterized again, and Riddell can bank rounds with his striking acumen. I’m going with the latter. Riddell via UD.
Women’s Strawweight Bout: Cheyanne Buys (5-1) vs. Montserrat Ruiz (9-1)
Luke: Buys is on a solid trajectory up. Her striking is already a reasonably high level, and she’s just started to flesh out her other skills. She gets better every fight. Buys via UD.
Bantamweight Bout: Adrian Yanez (12-3) vs. Gustavo Lopez (12-5)
Luke: Both of these guys are capable of an exciting finish, but Lopez can be touched and put out and Yanez is on a hell of a roll with his striking. Yanez via R2 KO.
Welterweight Bout: Max Griffin (16-8) vs. Kenan Song (16-5)
Luke: Win or lose, Griffin is a decision machine of late, and while Song’s power is his biggest strength, Griffin is still a hard out. Song via UD.
Heavyweight Bout: Harry Hunsucker (7-3) vs. Tai Tuivasa (10-3)
Luke: Hunsucker, great name, is coming in on a couple days’ notice against a very dangerous heavyweight in Tuivasa. And by the by, all three of his losses are by knockout. Tuivasa via R1 KO.