Tonight, the UFC holds its second of three events this week at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. Headlined by a top-10 light-heavyweight showdown between Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira, this card holds 10 fights altogether, and features scrappy veterans and up-and-coming talents. Let’s take a look at some marquee fights to watch tonight.
Gabriel Benitez(21-7) vs. Omar Antonio Morales Ferrer(9-0)
This lightweight clash takes place on the preliminary card and sees Ferrer put his undefeated record on the line against Benitez, who jumps up to the lightweight division for the first time in the UFC.
Ferrer is an alumnus of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and won in his UFC debut against Dong Hyun Ma. To go with his undefeated record, six of his wins have come by first-round stoppage(five submissions, one KO).
Benitez is a winner in two of his last three fights and will look to get back on track after being finished by Sodiq Yusuff at UFC 241 last August.
Prediction: Benitez via decision
Ricky Simon(15-3) vs. Ray Borg(13-4)
Ray Borg’s UFC career has been a roller coaster with numerous ups and downs. He has missed weight four times with the premier MMA organization, he’s fought for the UFC Flyweight Championship, and he has been very public about the fight for his son’s life as he was born with hydrocephalus. Even with every obstacle thrown at him, Borg has been able to overcome them and still perform well in the Octagon. He is currently on a two-fight win streak and attempting to make a run in the bantamweight division.
Ricky Simon is looking to bounce back into the bantamweight rankings after being stunned by legend Uriah Faber in a knockout loss, and then beaten by Rob Font in a thrilling contest last December.
Both men love to grapple and their average fight time nearly hits the full 15 minutes of a three-round fight.
Prediction: Simon via decision
Alexander Hernandez(11-2) vs. Drew Dober(22-9, 1 NC)
Dober is gaining momentum in the lightweight division after a pair of first-round finishes in his last two fights, and he will look to crack the rankings against No. 15 Hernandez.
After being humbled by Donald Cerrone to kick off the ESPN era for the UFC, Hernandez bounced back in a win against Francisco Trinaldo last July.
While Hernandez has knockout power, he will look to take this to the ground as Dober does have the better standup game. However, Dober is on a hot streak winning five of his last six fights, and should continue this run tonight.
Prediction: Dober via TKO
Co-main event: Ben Rothwell(37-12) vs. Ovince Saint Preux(24-13)
This is a very peculiar fight as OSP makes his heavyweight debut. After dropping two fights in a row, he bounced back with his patented Von Preux choke against Michael Oleksiejczuk last September.
Last year, Rothwell made his return to the UFC after a three-year hiatus due to failing a drug test. He dropped two in a row against Blagoy Ivanov and Andrei Arlovski respectively, but last December, he was able to pick up a TKO stoppage against Stefan Struve.
This fight could go anywhere, but if it stays on the feet, OSP may be able to land a brutal knockout to the likes of one he landed against Corey Anderson back at UFC 217 in 2017.
Prediction: Saint Preux via KO
Main event: Anthony Smith(33-14) vs. Glover Teixeira(30-7)
This is a high-risk fight for Anthony Smith as he tries to remain in the title picture in the light-heavyweight division. After retiring Alexander Gustafsson last July with a fourth-round submission, Smith showed the UFC universe that he doesn’t have just great knockout power, he has a slick submission game as well, and he’ll need that going up against Teixeira.
Teixeira had an amazing 2019 as he won all three of his scheduled fights, including two wins by submission against Karl Roberson and Ion Cutelaba. Teixeira will need to utilize his jiu-jitsu game and be able to take advantage of Smith on the ground because Smith will dominate him on the feet. However, with Teixeira’s age and the problems he had with his vicious strikers in the past, Smith will be able to get back into the title picture with a fairly easy win tonight.
Prediction: Smith via TKO
Picks for rest of card:
Chase Sherman via TKO
Brian Kelleher via decision
Sarah Moras via decision
Michael Johnson via decision
Philipe Lins via KO
You can watch tonight’s card on ESPN+. The prelim card begins at 6:00 p.m. EST, and the main card begins at 9:00 p.m.