Preview: UFC on ESPN 42 Prelims

Price vs. Rowe

The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday will return to Orlando, Florida, with UFC on ESPN 42, which carries a strong undercard that is high on name value. Welterweight violence takes the featured spot at the Amway Center, as Niko Price and Philip Rowe square off in a pairing that offers a good chance for a knockout finish. In terms of importance, two bouts between ranked women should answer plenty of questions: Emily Ducote looks to follow up on a successful Octagon debut when she meets strawweight stalwart Angela Hill, while Amanda Ribas aims to prove her move to flyweight was worthwhile when she faces Tracy Cortez. From there, some old veterans try to stay relevant, as Michael Johnson, Darren Elkins and Clay Guida all attempt turn back younger opponents.

Now to the preview for the UFC on ESPN 42 prelims:



Niko Price (15-5, 7-5 UFC) vs. Philip Rowe (9-3, 2-1 UFC)

ODDS: Price (-140), Rowe (+120)

This is a weird fight that should hopefully erupt into some moments of violence. For most of his career, Price has had a completely unstructured approach that has worked much better than it had any right to, almost entirely thanks to his lanky frame and natural power. “The Hybrid” can find sudden finishes in positions where the opportunity just should not exist, like when he hammerfisted Randy Brown into unconsciousness from his back in 2018. To his credit, Price does seem to have put some effort into channeling his tools into something more consistent. Faced with other wild and physical fighters like Michel Pereira and Alex Oliveira, Price has looked the most focused of the bunch in terms of consistent aggression, even if he is still a bit messy and quite defensively open in practice. The whole package has made Price a well-established action fighter, and it is nice to see him back after a year-plus layoff. With that said, he gets a tricky test in Rowe. With a 6-foot-3 frame, Rowe is one of the largest welterweights on the UFC roster, and “The Fresh Prince” has shown some skill as both a striker and a grappler. All of that should make Rowe a surefire contender, but instead, he has been a frustrating talent. Rowe’s 2019 fight on Dana White’s Contender Series was essentially his first professional fight after a resume built on weak competition, leaving him to essentially learn on the job and gain necessary experience while on the UFC roster. It is disappointing that Rowe has not kept a particularly active schedule in the years since. Rowe has won in two of his three trips to the Octagon, but each of those victories has been an adventure. Louis Cosce and Jason Witt each found plenty of success with their wrestling up until the moment that Rowe suddenly turned things around with a knockout—a turn that never came in his decision loss against Gabriel Green. Whether it is discomfort or overconfidence, Rowe just does not do a whole lot outside of a few moments, and it has felt a bit lucky whenever those moments turn into a come-from-behind finish. That all could cut either way against Price, who easily could walk right into a knockout. Price is not defensively sound, and this might be a fight where his usual dynamic could get turned around on him. Rowe is the rare welterweight with a longer frame than Price who could land something that he does not see coming. At the same time, Price is still by far the most dangerous opponent Rowe has faced to date, and the Fusion X-Cel product’s durability has not been particularly tested. Price should be getting more done up until the point that this fight suddenly ends, but this also figures to be a mess until someone lands something completely out of nowhere; it is just unclear exactly who will land first. Price is the more proven fighter so he gets favored status, even if there are a number of red flags. The pick is Price via second-round knockout.

Jump To »
Ducote vs. Hill
Holtzman vs. Guida
Diakiese vs. Johnson
Pearce vs. Elkins
Cortez vs. Ribas
Levy vs. Valdez
Marshall vs. Rojo
Jauregui vs. Nunes

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