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MMA: UFC Fight Night Preview

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D.S. Williamson

April 26th, 2019

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza battles Jack Hermansson in UFC Fight Night's main event on Saturday in Florida, but the fight everyone will be talking about around the water cooler Monday will be former NFL player Greg Hardy vs. Dimitrii Smoliakov.

Light Heavyweights

Glover Teixeira (28-7-0) vs. Ion Cutelaba (14-3-0, 1 NC)

MMA fans know the name Glover Teixeira. Although most of his wins have come via knockout, his best chance of beating Cutelaba might be to use his ground game. Teixeira averages 2.21 takedowns every 15 minutes.

Cutelaba prevents 66 percent of takedown attempts, though. He'll try to keep this fight off the mat, because he lands more significant strikes per minute (4.62) than Teixeira (3.46).

Welterweights

Alex Oliveira (19-5-1, 2 NC) vs. Mike Perry (12-4-0)

Both these fighters head into this battle off losses. Gunnar Nelson submitted Oliveira in the second round of their bout at UFC 231, while Mike Perry lost via submission to Donald Cerrone in the first round of their bout at UFC Fight Night Nov. 10.

This could be a battle of contrasts.

Although Oliveira has won most of his bouts via knockout, he does a good job taking down opponents. Oliveira averages 3.19 takedowns every 15 minutes.

Nearly all of Mike Perry's wins have come via knockout. Perry averages 4.02 significant strikes per minute. Perry's best chance might be to keep this fight off the ground. But even if he can do that, he'll face a different issue. Oliveira has a 76 1/2-inch reach compared to Perry's 71-inch reach.

Heavyweights

Greg Hardy (3-1-0) vs. Dmitrii Smoliakov (8-2-0)

Former Dallas Cowboys player Greg Hardy continues his UFC ascension on Saturday night against Dimitrii Smoliakov. Hardy's lone loss  in his last bout. He definitely wants to make amends for that with a big win over Smoliakov.

So far, Hardy's used his height to his advantage. The former defensive end is 6' 5" with an 80-inch reach. He could stay away from Smoliakov all night, but, more than likely, he'll use his size, Hardy , to push around his opponent.

Smoliakov might allow Hardy to get to him. His best chance could be to force the fight to the ground. However, Hardy prevents takedowns 66% of the time. Don't be surprised if at some point Smoliakov tries to goad Hardy in by taking a bottom position. From there, he could try to use his wrestling and grappling skills to gain the advantage over Hardy.  

Main Event: Middleweights

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (26-6-0) vs. Jack Hermansson (19-4-0)

Both these fighters won their last match. Souza knocked out Chris Weidman in the third round at UFC 230, while Jack Hermansson defeated David Branch via submission in the first round at UFC Fight Night on March 30.

Hermansson lands more significant strikes per minute, 4.9 to 3.16. Hermansson also has a better takedown accuracy percentage and averages more takedowns per minute.

Souza is at a disadvantage in both reach (72 inches to Hermansson's 77 1/2 inches) and leg reach (41 inches to Hermansson's 46 1/2 inches). Souza must get creative if he wishes to get to Hermansson, because Hermansson should easily be able to stay outside of Souza's reach.
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