John Brannigan/Sherdog illustration
A solid slate of seven preliminary bouts on Saturday comprises the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s latest undercard, as UFC Fight Night 182 descends on the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
The three women’s strawweight pairings are mostly about the prospects. A featured battle between 1999-born talents Kay Hansen and Cory McKenna tops the list; former Invicta Fighting Championships standout Kanako Murata makes her promotional debut; and even Ashley Yoder and Miranda Granger offer some upside. Everything else revolves around the action. Tony Gravely remains a legitimately interesting prospect, and though Alex Morono-Rhys McKee, Jose Alberto Quinonez-Louis Smolka and Don'Tale Mayes-Roque Martinez do not figure pave anyone’s path to relevance, they should all be entertaining for as long as they last.
Now to the preview for the UFC Fight Night “Felder vs. dos Anjos” prelims:
Women’s StrawweightsKay Hansen (7-3) vs. Cory McKenna (5-1)
ODDS: Hansen (-220), McKenna (+180)
Hansen is certainly the more battle-tested of these two prospects, as she made her professional debut in Invicta and spent most of her career there before heading to the UFC. Hansen’s striking is still a work in progress, but she has proven to be a solid wrestler and submission threat. She is not a top-flight athlete, so there have been a few prospect losses where she has run into a physical wall, but her UFC debut in June showed she can overcome those issues, as she cinched a third-round armbar to defeat Jinh Yu Frey. She will look to keep her Octagon record perfect against Northern Ireland’s McKenna, who earned a contract in August on Dana White’s Contender Series. McKenna clearly won her DWCS fight over Vanessa Demopoulos, but it was not the type of overwhelming victory that typically earns someone a UFC contract, even if “The Hobbit” did show some clear potential. However, UFC President Dana White decided to take a flier, and she now has a chance to show that she is more big-league ready than most expect. McKenna might be the better boxer, but this fight figures to become a grappling match, in which case it should be a clear Hansen win. McKenna shows some potential, but in general, it just feels like these are two similar fighters and Hansen’s simply further along in her development. The pick is Hansen via second-round submission.
Continue Reading » Granger vs. Yoder
« Previous Reports: Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier Agree to Fight at UFC 257 on Jan. 23 Next Leon Edwards Not Impressed by ‘Overhyped’ Khamzat Chimaev »