We are only two days into the month of September and the UFC is already holding its first event of the month with UFC Fight Night Rotterdam. The event is going to be headlined by a heavyweight division attraction as Stefan Strive faces Alexander Volkov. Also, Siyar Bahadurzada return after a long absence and a key women’s bantamweight division bout is on the card.
UFC Heavyweight Division Fight
Alexander “Drago” Volkov (28-6-0) vs. Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (28-8-0)
Volkov is currently undefeated under the UFC banner, having earned victories over the duo of Timothy Johnson and Roy Nelson. Struve is going to be entering the fight riding a two fight winning streak, having defeated Antonio Silva and Daniel Omielanczuk. Volkov won the Bellator MMA Heavyweight Title when he defeated Rich Hale at Bellator 84, but he would lose the belt in his first defense. Struve is headlining a UFC event for the first time in almost five years, with his last main event appearance being a win over UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic at UFC On Fuel TV 5.
Prediction: This fight is going to be about who uses their reach effectively, which is something Struve has struggled with in the past, Volkov gets a second round TKO win.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Siyar “The Great” Bahadurzada (22-6-1) vs. “Razor” Rob Wilkinson (11-0-0)
Bahadurzada has won just two of four fights during his UFC tenure, with those victories coming over Brandon Thatch and Paulo Thiago. Wilkinson is going to be making his UFC debut in this fight and he does so with an undefeated streak that has lasted almost six years. Bahadurzada has only competed once in the last three-plus years and that lone fight was a win over the aforementioned Brandon Thatch at UFC 196. Wilkinson has yet to see any of his professional MMA fights go the distance and he is returning to action for the first time in nearly a year.
Prediction: This is a wildcard fight if there ever was one due to the fighter’s long absences, but Bahadurzada will use his wrestling to get a decision win in his return.
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Division Fight
Marion “The Bruiser” Reneau (7-3-1) vs. Talita De Oliveira Bernardo (5-1-0)
Reneau has won just one of her last four fights under the UFC banner, with that lone win coming over Milana Dudieva at UFC Fight Night 99. Bernardo is making her UFC debut in this fight and she does so on the strength of a four fight winning streak. Reneau has only suffered two losses in UFC competition, with one of those losses coming to former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm. Bernardo has earned four of her five wins as a pro by submission and all four of those submissions came in the first round.
Prediction: Bernardo is taking this fight on less than a weeks’ notice, Reneau uses her wrestling to grind out a decision win.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Leon “Rocky” Edwards (13-3-0) vs. Bryan “Bam Bam” Barberena (13-4-0)
Edwards is going to be entering the fight on a three fight winning streak, having defeated Vincente Luque, Albert Tumenov and Dominic Waters. Barberena has won three of his last four in the UFC, with a notable win coming over Sage Northcutt at UFC On Fox 18. Edwards holds the record for the fastest knockout in the UFC Welterweight Division, because he defeated Seth Baczynski in just eight seconds at UFC Fight Night 64. Barberena is a former Dakota FC Welterweight Champion, a championship he held until signing with the UFC in 2015.
Prediction: Edwards must use his striking to avoid the takedowns from Barberena, but Barberena eventually gets him down and submits him in the third round.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Darren Till over Bojan Velickovic
Mairbek Taisumov over Felipe Silva
Michel Prazeres over Mads Burnell
Desmond Green over Rustam Khabilov
Francimar Barroso over Aleksandar Rakic
Zabit Magomedsharipov over Mike Santiago
Abdul-Kerim Edilov over Bojan Mihajlovic
Andrew Holbrook over Thibault Goiti