Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, will look to stake his claim in a new weight class this weekend (Fri., Oct. 18, 2019) when he takes on top-ranked Light Heavyweight prospect Dominick Reyes in the main event of UFC on ESPN 6, which takes place inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. ESPN viewers will also get to enjoy a grudge match between Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens, as well as the return of Greg Hardy against The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran Ben Sosoli.
Before main card action begins, though, seven “Prelims” undercard matches are on tap for ESPN 2; therefore, let’s get the first four out of the way.
135 lbs.: Randy Costa vs. Boston Salmon
Randy Costa (4-1) — representing Lauzon MMA — smashed his way through his first four professional opponents in a combined 2:50 before debuting against Brandon Davis at UFC 236. Though he started strong against “Killer B,” his cardio ultimately failed him en route to a second-round submission defeat.
“The Zohan” was perfect (3-0) as an amateur, winning all three bouts via (technical) knockout.
Following a 2017 victory on “Contender Series” that earned him a UFC contract, injuries to Boston Salmon (6-2) and others kept him out of the Octagon proper until this past April. His debut wasn’t quite as triumphant as he’d hoped, as Khalid Taha put him away in just 25 seconds.
Four of his professional victories have come via (technical) knockout.
Even with all his misfortunes, I’m not prepared to write off “Boom Boom” quite yet, especially not in this match up. Salmon is still a beast of a boxer, while Costa is a bruiser who’s yet to prove that his balls-out style can work on elite opponents. Hell, he hasn’t even proven that he can fight for more than five minutes before gassing himself out, which is a lot more damning than getting sparked by one of the bigger punchers in the division.
It’s admittedly risky to pick Salmon against a power-puncher after the way Taha sparked him, but Taha is a legitimately technically savvy striker. Costa’s got a nice head kick and heavy hands, but not the set ups needed to actually land them. Salmon survives the early onslaught to knockout the fading “Zohan” in the second stanza.
Prediction: Salmon via second-round technical knockout
170 lbs.: Court McGee vs. Sean Brady
Court McGee (19-8) has had a rough go of things lately, losing four of his last six after starting his Welterweight run 3-1. After snapping a two-fight skid with a decision over Alex Garcia, “The Crusher” squared off with fellow TUF veteran Dhiego Lima, who took home the win by split decision.
He’ll enjoy two-inch height and three-inch reach advantages.
Sean Brady (10-0) — training out of Renzo Gracie Philadelphia — claimed the Cage Fury FC Welterweight title in 2017 with a guillotine finish of Tanner Saraceno. Since then, he’s scored two defenses, won an LFA main event, and defeated former TUF winner Colton Smith.
Three of his five stoppage victories have come via (technical) knockout.
McGee has been fighting in the Octagon for nine years now and has yet to add any real depth to his game. He’s the same technically mediocre cardio machine who choked out Kris McCray in 2010 and we’re rapidly running out of UFC-quality Welterweights who his style can still work on.
Brady doesn’t number among them. Though shorter than McGee, he’s got the speed advantage and more than enough wrestling and grappling chops to keep McGee from grinding the pace to a halt against the fence. Superior takedowns and crisp punching combinations should carry Brady to a successful Octagon debut.
Prediction: Brady via unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Brendan Allen vs. Kevin Holland
Brendan Allen (12-3) fell short in his first two bids for LFA gold, dropping decisions to future UFC competitors Eryk Anders and Anthony Hernandez. He responded by embarking on a four-fight win streak that’s seen him choke out Tim Hiley for the title, defend it with a decision over Moses Murrieta, and submit Aaron Jeffery on “Contender Series” to get himself a UFC contract.
He has gone the distance just once in victory, submitting seven.
The decision win for Kevin Holland (16-5) over Will Santiago on “Contender Series” wasn’t enough to get him a contract, though he made do by answering the call when Thiago Santos needed a last-minute opponent. While he ultimately lost a decision to “Marreta,” he bounced back to win three straight.
He steps in for the injured Eric Spicely on around three weeks’ notice.
To be frank, Holland should be on a two-fight losing streak. The vast majority of mixed martial arts (MMA) media had him losing to both Gerald Meerschaert and Alessio Di Chirico thanks to his terrible takedown defense and generally lackadaisical style. He seems to approach every fight like it’s a sparring session, preferring to just toss out lackluster long-range strikes and oblige people on the ground no matter how inadvisable.
That’s just not going to work against a top-notch grappler like Allen, especially when the former LFA champ can also hold his own on the feet. Plus, Allen proved that he could go five hard rounds against Murrieta, so Holland can’t bank on him gassing like Meerschaert did. In short, Allen dominates on the mat for a wide decision win.
Prediction: Allen via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Daniel Spitz vs. Tanner Boser
Daniel Spitz (6-2) couldn’t out-slug Mark Godbeer in his Octagon debut, but rebounded with a brutal 24-second knockout of Anthony Hamilton his next time out. This set up a clash with Walt Harris, who knocked out Spitz in the waning seconds of the second round.
This will be his first fight in 16 months.
Canada’s Tanner Boser (16-5-1) joins the world’s largest MMA promotion in the midst of a 4-1-1 run, which includes three victories in the well-regarded ACB promotion. A leg kick finish of Jared Kilkenny had him poised to debut in July against Giacomo Lemos, only for the latter to fail a drug test shortly before fight night.
He stands five inches shorter than Spitz at 6’2.”
I have bad news: Boser is one of the most boring Heavyweights on the planet and I don’t think Spitz is good enough to squeeze a watchable fight out of him. If given the chance, Boser is happy to just dither at range throwing the bare minimum number of strikes. Spitz will be lumbering after him all night, lacking the speed or cage-cutting to make him stop and getting picked off along the way.
I will say that Spitz has a much better chance of beating Boser than Lemos did, though not enough of one to give this fight any intrigue. Boser plays the world’s slowest matador, plunking Spitz with just enough shots to claim a decision win.
Prediction: Boser via unanimous decision
Three more UFC on ESPN 6 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict tomorrow, including another unbeaten “Contender Series” graduate and the Featherweight debut of Manny Bermudez. Same time as always, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 6 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN 2 “Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will air on ESPN proper at 9 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC on ESPN 6: “Weidman vs. Reyes” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.