Preview: UFC Fight Night 193 Prelims

Solecki vs. Gordon

By Tom Feely Sep 30, 2021


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The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s return to the UFC Apex on Saturday in Las Vegas features a surprisingly strong main card, which trickles down to a solid seven-fight preliminary slate. The lightweight division continues to excite and entertain, as rising prospects Joe Solecki and Jared Gordon square off in the top spot and Devonte Smith gets a deceptively tough test in Jamie Mullarkey further down the lineup. However, the most intrigue might come from the top two women’s bouts: Flyweight prospect Casey O’Neill looks to continue to overachieve against Antonina Shevchenko, while Bethe Correia’s retirement fight marks the end of the road for one of the sport’s more interesting characters.

Now to the preview for the UFC Fight Night 193 prelims:

Lightweights

NR | Joe Solecki (11-2, 3-0 UFC) vs. NR | Jared Gordon (17-4, 5-3 UFC)

ODDS: Solecki (-135), Gordon (+115)

This serves as a solid litmus test for two lightweight prospects. Gordon seems to be figuring things out after a rougher-than-expected start to his UFC career. “Flash” had plenty of regional success in the Northeast, mostly on the back of an aggressive game that saw him try to overwhelm his opponents with volume and wrestling. That all figured to translate well against better competition, but losses to Diego Ferreira, Joaquim Silva and Charles Oliveira wound up proving that Gordon simply did not have the level of durability to make that approach work. While he sometimes found success, things quickly turned south if his opponents could catch him charging in. As a result, a more patient Gordon was born, as his last two fights against Chris Fishgold and Danny Chavez saw him take his time and do well on the feet before picking his spots to control the fight with his wrestling.

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Solecki provides a strong next test, as he has looked quite good in his three UFC bouts to date. Solecki’s brief moments of striking have been effective, but he wastes little time getting to his best skills: a stout wrestling game backed up by slick and vicious grappling. While his last win over Jim Miller mostly saw the two stall each other out on the mat, it did show that Solecki is more than willing to lock down a fight to coast to a win if necessary. This is close on paper but could wind up one-sided in practice, as each man’s best skill tends to neutralize the other. Either Gordon can control this with his wrestling or Solecki proves to be the stronger grappler and has a decent shot at a submission. While this could be Gordon’s fight, it is hard not to favor Solecki. He has less in the way of durability concerns and appears to be the better athlete. Plus, Gordon has moved between 145 and 155 pounds over the course of his UFC career, and most of his wrestling success has come against featherweights rather than lightweights. The pick is Solecki via decision.

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