Preview: UFC Fight Night 215 ‘Lewis vs. Spivak’

Fialho vs. Salikhov


Andre Fialho (16-5, 2-2 UFC) vs. Muslim Salikhov (18-3, 5-2 UFC)

ODDS: Fialho (-110), Salikhov (-110)

Already over a seven-year vet prior to making his late-notice UFC debut in January, Portugal’s Fialho feels like he is on the verge of a breakthrough. Fialho comes into his fights with some solid ideas, mostly built around pressure striking that is often quite effective; after that, things tend to go a bit sideways. If that approach does not work—or does not wind up as potent as Fialho expects—he often has the capabilities to pivot to some other strategy. However, he is usually quite uncomfortable doing so, leading to things becoming a lot uglier than Fialho’s talent and tools should suggest. Fialho does seem to be working through it, as he put in some strong showings before getting knocked out by Jake Matthews in June, the loss ending a busy stretch for Fialho where he somehow managed to pack four fights into the first half of the year. He attempts to rebound against Salikhov, who really would have been best served keeping as busy as Fialho over the last few years. A multi-time champion in wushu sanda, Russia’s Salikhov came to the UFC in 2017 with some rightful hype but disappointed in his debut, getting outwrestled and tapped out by Alex Garcia with little issue. “The King of Kung Fu” rebounded well enough, showing better takedown defense and dictating range against opponents on the feet. Despite five straight wins, it never felt like Salikhov gained much momentum, owing mostly to some long stretches of inactivity between fights. That made a July bout against Jingliang Li particularly crucial, and the subsequent second-round knockout loss was quite damaging to Salikhov’s hopes. Now 38 years old, Salikhov could easily rebound in this assignment. Fialho should find some early success with his pressure. However, it is a matter of how quickly Salikhov is able to find his groove and stay evasive and subsequently how much he is able to make Fialho uncomfortable with his range offense. If Salikhov can find a few big moments, this could easily go off track for the Portuguese fighter, but the bet is that Fialho can keep his aggression going long enough to make some headway on the scorecards. The pick is Fialho via close decision.

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Lewis vs. Spivak
Nzechukwu vs. Cutelaba
Cortes-Acosta vs. Sherman
Fialho vs. Salikhov
Della Maddalena vs. Roberts
The Prelims

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