By Mathias Berbel
After a star studded lineup at UFC 249 this past Saturday night, we now get UFC Fight Night Jacksonville night 1 on Wednesday. Many new fans will not know a lot of names but that does not mean we don’t have an action packed card on the way. We will get to see some high level ninjas like Drew Dober, Alex Hernandez, Anthony Smith, Ricky Simon and others all get in the octagon to display some high level MMA. UFC President Dana White has made sure to keep the production going for the UFC. After the coronavirus scare UFC middleweight Jacare Souza gave the world the night prior to UFC 249, many people thought that future cards would be postponed yet again. Not the case, the UFC will offer the world another chance to observe how they are able to produce fights while in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dana White said “many organizations contacted him after UFC 249 because of how they were able to succeed and pull off the event. The NBA, NHL, MLS remain shut down as of today but seek to open as soon as possible.
UFC Fight Night Jacksonville will offer many exciting fights on Wednesday night and here are some matchups to keep your eyes on.
- BW – Ricky Simon (15-3) vs Ray Borg (13-4)
Ricky Simon looks to end his 2 fight losing streak by defeating takedown artist Ray Borg. Simon was riding a 3 fight UFC win streak until he was fed to Uriah Faber for his comeback fight. Faber cooled down the hype the young & powerful Simon brought after he had dismantled UFC veteran Rani Yahya. Simon is a strong bantamweight with excellent wrestling and takedown defense. He will look to get his groove back with his striking once he is able to stuff a couple of Borg’s takedown attempts. Borg will test himself in this fight because he is at his best when he is able to take his opponent to the mat and keep him there. Simon has been excellent against grapplers/wrestlers and I expect him to shine against a hot Borg who has won his last two fights. Borg would love to fight for another championship belt but this time in the bantamweight division. Borg was defeated by Demetrious Johnson at UFC 216 in 2017 where he was aiming to become the UFC Flyweight champion of the world, and he has been trying to climb the ranks again since.
Betting Odds: Ricky Simon (-170) & Ray Borg (+140)
Prediction: Ricky Simon TKO 2nd Round
- LW – #15 Alexander Hernandez (11-2) vs Drew Dober (22-9)
This is the fight I am most looking forward to watching! We get a stellar lightweight bout with two exciting young prospects who enjoy to stand in the middle of the octagon & trade. Dober is coming off his biggest win yet after defeating a very tough Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 246. Dober came into that fight as a big underdog and shocked the world with a 1st round KO. Dober possesses power and accuracy with his striking and aims to steal the #15 spot from Hernandez in the lightweight division. Hernandez made a splash in the UFC when he KO’d Beneil Dariush in the opening minute of their fight. Hernandez is (3-1) in the UFC with his lone loss coming at the hands of Cowboy Cerrone. Hernandez was confident he would retire Cerrone that night but Cowboy was able to pump the brakes on the hype Hernandez brought to the fight. Very excited to see who will get their hand raised Wednesday night because the winner of this fight will set themselves up for another big time fight in the stacked lightweight division & the loser will fall out of the top 15 in the division. Expect this fight to not go the distance!
Betting Odds: Alex Hernandez (-110) & Drew Dober (-120)
Prediction: Drew Dober KO 1st Round
- LHW – Bout- #4 Anthony Smith (32-14) vs #8 Glover Teixeira (30-7)
In our main event of the evening we get two fighters who have 83 pro fights combined between the both of them. Octagon time will not be an issue for either fighter as both have seen it all. Smith fought for a title in 2019 where he lost at the hands of Jon Jones and Texeira fought for a title in 2014 where he also lost to Jon Jones! Both guys want another crack at Jones and dream about UFC gold but one will see that dream get farther away after Wednesday night. Smith last fought in 2019 where he submitted highly ranked Alexander Gustafsson in the 4th round. There is no telling how many fights exactly Smith will need to win in order for him to get another shot at Jones but he is willing to bet that he will outlast Jones the next time they fight again. Smith has yet to fight Teixeira in his career and it is interesting to add that Smith moved up in weight in 2018 after stalling in the middleweight division. A win vs Teixeira puts Smith in a prime position to possibly fight Jon Jones in 2021 unless Teixeira defeats father time yet again. Teixeira looks to add to his three fight win streak on Wednesday night after a stellar 2019. Teixeira was able to beat up heavy handed lions like Roberson, Cutelaba & Krylov to keep himself right in the mix for another title shot. If you would have told me Teixeria would go (3-0) against those names in 2019, I would have called you crazy! This is what makes this fight even more fun to watch. Teixeira is beating the odds every time he steps in the octagon and he is doing it with a stone chin. Teixeira has been nearly KO’d in his previous three fights and he has been able to come back and find a way to win, that is zombie like behavior! Smith will have his hands full on Wednesday night.
Betting Odds: Anthony Smith (-180) vs Glover Teixeira (+150)
Prediction: Anthony Smith TKO 2nd Round