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UFC 275 Preview

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC 275 Preview And Predictions

UFC 275 Preview
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC 275 Preview And Predictions

For the fourth time in UFC history, and the first PPV, the UFC is traveling East to Singapore for UFC 275. It’s clear that they wanted to bring the action because they absolutely stacked this card from top to bottom with exciting fights. This card is headlined by two championship fights and a rematch of the greatest women’s fight in MMA history. I will be joined by James Herrick to bring you a full breakdown plus our predictions for UFC 275. The format will be the same as our most recent preview post, which you can see here. (Not to flex on the young intern here, but your boy went 6-0, no big deal).

Jack Della Maddalena vs. Ramazan Emeev (Welterweight)

James: Jack Della Maddalena versus Ramazan Emeev will open the main card of UFC 275. Della Maddalena is a 25-year-old prospect and looks to have a lot of potential at Welterweight. He only has one win in the UFC but he looked impressive as he knocked out Pete Rodriguez. On the other hand, Emeev has been in the promotion since 2017 and has amassed a 5-2 record. This fight will be a stylistic clash as Della Maddalena is a great striker that excels in counter striking while Emeev will look to grapple and focus on controlling position.

Anytime we see a classic striker versus grappler matchup the same question is asked. Can the striker stop that takedown? That may be an oversimplification, but it is important nonetheless. In this one, I do not know if Della Maddalena can stop the takedown. The UFC probably booked this fight so they can figure out the answer to that question. However, I can say for certain that Della Maddalena will be the better striker by a large margin. Every time this fight is on the feet Della Maddalena will have a chance to knock Emeev out. I will take Della Maddalena by knockout in round one.

Garrett: UFC 275 starts out with your typical striker versus grappler matchup. I can comfortably say that these fights are usually snoozefest because the striker wants to keep range and is looking to defend the takedown. Della Maddalena, the striker in this matchup, is likely going to have this mindset. Emeev is ten years his elder (35 versus 25) and hails from Dagestan, which should put fear into any man. Emeev is 5-2 in the UFC but is coming off a decision loss in his last fight back in October of ’21 against Danny Roberts.

Usually, I tend to lean towards the grappler in these kinds of fights. However, Jack Della Maddalena is not your average striker. I would recommend watching his recent fight against Pete Rodriguez from January to see the pressure and crisp combos this kid throws. I think that the pressure he will bring will overwhelm Emeev here. I’ll take Della Maddalena by first-round KO as well.

Andre Fialho vs. Jake Matthews (Welterweight)

*This fight was supposed to be on the undercard, but Kape vs. Bontorin was scrapped last minute*

James: Andre Fialho and Jake Matthews are each sitting on the outside of the welterweight rankings. The winner of this fight may face ranked competition next. Fialho is taking this fight on one month’s notice after he defeated Cameron Van Camp in June. He has also beat Miguel Baeza this year. Matthews has been in the UFC since 2014 and has wins over Jingliang Li and Diego Sanchez.

I really like both fighters. Matthews has continued to improve in the UFC and has shown to be well-rounded. Fialho has impressed as of late and has displayed serious knockout power. In this fight, Matthews’ chin scares me. He has been rocked and finished in the past. I will take Fialho by second-round knockout.

Garrett: Andre Fialho vs. Jake Matthews is a battle of guys just outside the top-15 looking to crack the rankings. Jake Matthews had a lot of potential upon entering the UFC, but his 10-5 record in the company shows he hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. This Is a fight to rebuild his name and a win here against a guy like Fialho would certainly do that.

However, Andre Fialho is not the guy to try to build the hype again. Fialho is on a hype train of his own, earning finishes in his last 6 wins. He has massive one-punch power and can shut your lights off in an instant. I am not as concerned as James is about Matthews’ chin, but it will certainly get tested in this fight. I believe this is a fight that could garner some performance bonuses, but in the end, Fialho gets his hand raised via third-round KO.

#2 Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk II (Women’s Strawweight)

James: I cannot express how excited I am for this rematch. In March of 2019, Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk went to war at UFC 248. If you have not seen the first fight between these two, finish reading this, and then go watch it. I am not kidding when I say it is one of the best fights in the history of the sport. I really wish this fight was five rounds but I am not going to complain too much. Since their first fight, Zhang and Jedrzejczyk have each taken different paths. Zhang has fought in two championship fights against Rose Namajunas while Jedrzejczyk has been on the sideline.

For this fight, I am not considering much in the actual fight. Sounds strange but hear me out. Jedrzejczyk’s inactivity concerns me. I think it is difficult to take two years off and jump back in against someone like Zhang. Plus, this fight is in Singapore. With the majority of UFC events over the last couple of years taking place in Las Vegas, people have forgotten how much hometown judging can affect an outcome. Zhang is one of the biggest MMA stars in Asia. The crowd will be behind her and could affect how the judges score the fight. For the fight itself, I think these two will go to war again and then it goes to a close decision. The above factors make me lean toward Zhang by decision.

Garrett: I share the same excitement as James for this rematch of the greatest fight in Women’s MMA history. Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk went to war in March of 2020, and we have not seen Joanna since. That is a big factor here. While Weili has been active since then, it has been a rough go of it for her as of late, dropping back-to-back fights with “Thug” Rose Namajunas. Stylistically, this is a dream of a fight and one that could easily win fight of the night if they produce anything close to their previous encounter.

That’s the issue. Rematches don’t always live up to the first fight (excluding Conor vs Nate and Lawler vs Rory). I have a legit fear that this fight might be a snoozefest. Even if it isn’t, I worry that fans might be let down by this fight because it won’t bring the house down as the first one did. As far as a winner and loser go, the time off for Jedrzejczyk concerns me as well. But, she could be better than ever after a long layoff. I believe that Weili being active will pay dividends, helping her score a late submission win, and sending Jedrzejczyk up a weight class afterward. I’ll take Weili via 4th round submission.

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Taila Santos (Women’s Flyweight Championship)

James: In the co-main event of UFC 276, Valentina Shevchenko will aim to defend her belt against Talia Santos. Shevchenko is the No.1 pound-for-pound women’s fighter in the UFC and has absolutely dominated every fight during her eight-fight win streak. Throughout her career, Shevchenko has beaten the best in the world, regardless of weight class. The challenger Santos has earned her title shot after four straight wins which were headlined by impressive performances against Joanne Wood and Roxane Modafferi.

Santos does a lot of things well. She has great Muay Thai and lots of knockout power. She also is very strong and can control fights on the ground. She could use these tools to create a tough challenge for Shevchenko; however, I have a hard time believing she wins. Shevchenko seems to be nearly flawless. On the feet, she has the ability to counterstrike or come forward and throw. On the ground, she controls the position and throws massive ground-and-pound. Against Santos, Shevchenko should be able to land at will. Santos does not move horizontally much and keeps her head relatively still. I think Shevchenko lands repeatedly before eventually finding a finish. Give me Shevchenko by TKO in round three.

Garrett: I will let James handle the logistics and the why’s about this fight. All I know is Valentina Shevchenko is one of the most dominant champions the UFC has ever seen, and with no disrespect to Talia Santos who is a hell of a fighter, she is out of her league here. I will throw this in here as well, I was of the belief that Amanda Nunes was the greatest fighter of all time and was practically untouchable, and she was submitted. Could the same happen to “Bullet”?

No. I’ll take Shevchenko via second-round TKO.

Glover Teixeira vs Jiri Prochazka (UFC 275 Main Event: Light Heavyweight Championship)

James: The main event of UFC 275 will be Glover Teixeira’s first attempt at defending the light heavyweight championship. The 42-year-old got the belt back in October when he defeated Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 with a rear-naked choke in round two. This pushed Teixeira’s win streak to six and the legend now sits at 33-7. His opponent will be the always exciting Jiri Prochazka who will look to kickstart the next generation of light heavyweights with a championship win. On the outside, this appears to be the classic changing of the guard. The young-and-upcoming 29-year-old Prochazka seems destined for stardom, while the aging veteran will retire sooner rather than later.

Prochazka is a tremendous striker. He strikes with his hands low and utilizes unorthodox angles and entries to land on his opponents. If you are not a fan of unorthodox striking, he also has a great jab and straight right. At light heavyweight, Prochazka will be quicker than most of his opponents and his 80” reach helps him stay on the outside and utilize his speed. When he does land on the inside, there is a good chance he puts his opponent out. Teixeira is the complete opposite. He is slower on the feet but is still deceptively powerful. His strengths are his suffocating grappling and durability. Teixeira will need both if he wants a chance in this one.

While I do believe Prochazka will be a star, I think he is facing a very tough stylistic matchup. If Teixeira gets the action to the ground early the fight will swing in his favor. His top pressure wears on his opponents and tanks their cardio. This played a major role in his win against Blachowicz. Meanwhile, Prochazka has suspect takedown defense and can be taken down. There will always be a chance that Prochazka can get a knockdown but Teixeira has proven that he can get hit and still win a fight. Thiago Santos hit him with the kitchen sink. Ultimately, I think Prochazka will land some good shots and force Teixeira to fight through adversity. Although, I still think Teixeira can wear Prochazka down with his grappling. I’ll take Teixeira by submission in round two.

Garrett: The UFC 275 Main Event has all the makings of a classic. It’s your typical aging veteran against an up-and-coming prospect, but that veteran is one of the baddest men on the planet in Glover Teixeira. Teixeira looked incredible in his championship win back at UFC 267, and will likely look to use that big fight experience here. Teixeira is very good in terms of grappling and takedowns, and against a dangerous striker like Prochazka that will come in handy. The 42-year-old is aging like fine wine and defying father time with this incredible run he has been on, and as a fan, it has been a joy to watch.

However, Jiri Prochazka is the real deal. James mentioned the article I wrote about him being the next legit contender at 205. The striking from Prochazka is world-class and legit can get better. He uses his massive wingspan to keep his distance well and loves to pop jabs leading into combos. His unique striking style reminds me of Dominick Cruz minus the wild footwork. He will throw combos as if out of thin air with great speed. Yes, his takedown defense is worrisome, but I would like to assume going into camp knowing you are fighting a guy like Glover Teixeira you work on takedown defense.

James and I have been in agreement up to this point, but I have to draw the line in the sand here and take Prochazka. I think that changing of the guard takes place here and we have crowned a new Light Heavyweight Champion. I think that the striking will keep Glover at distance, and as the fight goes on that cardio might not be there in the later rounds to execute a takedown. I don’t know if I see a finish (nor do I want to see Glover get finished) so I will take Prochazka on points. Unanimous Decision.

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