UFC on ESPN 19: Hermansson vs Vettori Predictions & Results

It is a European showdown and top Middleweight rankings are up for grabs!

UFC on ESPN 19: Hermansson vs Vettori Predictions & Results

If you thought last week’s card was bad, then oh boy, please take a seat before you scan over this weekend’s card. Aside from the main event, none of the other ten fights hold any relevance to their respective division rankings. A few fights are shaping up to be decent prospect watches, but for the most part, the fights are slap-dash last-minute scraps hastily thrown together to keep the UFC on television for another consecutive weekend. For God’s sake, big doughy Heavyweight version of Gian Villante is opening the proceedings against former Middleweight, Jake Collier.  

Hermansson has had to prepare for two different opponents in the build-up to this fight, with Darren Till pulling out with an injury and Kevin Holland withdrawing because of a positive COVID test. As a result, Marvin Vettori is the lucky man to be fast-tracked through the rankings with a last-minute shot against the No.4 Middleweight. Vettori has been criminally underrated throughout his tenure at the UFC, and he is an incredibly easy sell as a promotional bad boy. Failed PEDs tests, outlandish verbal tirades and an action-first pressure volume style in the octagon, Vettori has it all. Jack Hermansson is a fabulous grappler, however, and potentially the biggest submission threat in the division. B b b b banger bois.

VIDEO: Roman Dolidze KO'd his opponent, then hit him 6 more times - Insider
Roman Dolidze switches the lights out of Khadis Ibragimov in the first round of his UFC debut.

Main Event

Middleweight (185)

Jack Hermansson (21-5) vs Marvin Vettori (15-3-1)

Swede, Jack Hermansson, finds himself near the top of the Middleweight pecking order by virtue of beating Kelvin Gastelum and Jacare Souza. At the time, both Gastelum and Souza were viewed as top talents, but more recently have been viewed as one-dimensional and weathered, respectively. Hermansson, as a result, is yet to have a defining win in the division against the top three (Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker, and the now released, Yoel Romero) or the top challengers (Darren Till and Jared Cannonier). This isn’t to say that Hermansson’s skills don’t justify his lofty ranking, but it does explain why some view Hermansson as an outlier in the top-five.

The biggest struggle that Hermansson faces is his inability to cope with pressure from powerful strikers. Possessing a decent striking game himself, based around hand speed and unorthodox angles, Hermansson loses all defensive faculties against an opponent with heavier hands than his own. In both the Thiago Santos and Jared Cannonier fights, Hermansson was too timid to enter the pocket and his slight hesitations led to him being clipped more often than in his previous fights. Strangely, when Hermansson is unable to get his striking going, he is then unable to piece together his wrestling/submission game too. Speaking of the mat, Hermansson destroyed Jacare Souza (two-time winner of ADCC World Championship, eight-time winner of World Jiu-Jitsu Championship) on the ground and almost submitted him. Washed up or not, Souza is not a fighter that anyone expects to be submitted in MMA. If Hermansson can get Vettori onto his back (and that is a big IF), then we could see another Gastelum-esque quick finish.

Marvin Vettori doesn’t have a similar track record of quality when compared with Hermansson, but he has shown clear development since his debatable split decision loss to current champion, Israel Adesanya, back in 2018. A workhorse of a wrestler, Vettori aims to out-slug opponents on the feet while also taking them down to suffocate them from the top. Vettori enters the octagon as the better technical striker, and his southpaw jab could be key in breaking up the offence of Hermansson. Moreover, Vettori’s career TDD of 80% is an outstanding achievement for the prospect and may be able to catch Hermansson out if he wildly rushes into a takedown. Although very unlikely, Vettori does have a string of submission victories in the regional scene, as well as a guillotine choke over Alberto Uda and rear-naked choke over Karl Roberson in the UFC.

Predicted Result: Hermansson Decision

Vettori is the better technical striker but not by much. Hermansson carries a deceptive amount of power in his strikes and has the knowledge to be able to avoid backing himself against the cage. Keeping away from the pocket in which Vettori will be able to land his best work, negating his aggressive volume striking, Hermansson can bide his time before shooting for takedowns. Patience is key, as Vettori has not fought a five-rounder yet in the UFC, and Hermansson’s gruelling grappling and ground and pound will surely drain the heavy Italian.

Jack Hermansson says he was 'so close' to submitting 'Jacare' Souza with  guillotine - MMA Fighting
Hermansson almost submits the Middleweight grappling king, Jacare Souza, back in April 2019.

Result: Vettori def. Hermansson // Decision (unanimous – 49-46, 49-46, 49-45)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️


Co-Main Event

Light Heavyweight (205)

Ovince St. Preux (25-14) vs Jamahal Hill (8-0)

The von flue choke meme is back again, this time after a highlight reel knockout of prospect, Alonzo Menifield. The strengths and flaws of OSP’s game are clear to all now. A woeful gas tank causing long periods of inactivity, sloppy power striking and a strangely solid grappling game that catches many off-guard. While sloppy, OSP’s striking is still a threat at LHW, as polished boxer Corey Anderson would tell you. One major red flag was OSP missing weight on the scales. OSP has never missed weight before, and with a recent Heavyweight fight under his belt, you begin to wonder whether OSP is becoming more lax as he enters his twilight years?

Jamahal Hill is an accurate striker who is not yet comfortable enough to pour in combination work. While it will be ironed over with experience, Hill currently stops himself from committing to a 4+ strike combinations as he seems to weigh up each individual strike. Instead, Hill sort of falls into a mish-mash of 1-2s and body kicks. The timing and accuracy certainly look to be there, though, and Hill’s jab could develop into a real threat. Hill’s downfall has been his inability to stuff takedowns, and against the massive frame of OSP, this could be the real Achilles heel.

Predicted Result: OSP Submission Round 2

OSP has missed weight, and this should certainly be factored into the equation. Whenever the big lad has looked dreadful on the scales, it has usually translated to a horrendously sloppy performance in the octagon. Still, this is a match-up that looks far too soon for the young Jamahal Hill. A tenacious striker, Hill has almost no ground game to speak of, and OSP should be able to man-handle his way to the victory.

Jamahal Hill Always Expected Success | UFC
Jamahal Hill starts the combination that would lead to a second round stoppage of Alexander Poppeck, July 2019.

Result: Hill def. OSP // TKO (punches) Round 2 3:37

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️


Main Card

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Taila Santos (16-1) vs Montana De La Rosa (11-6)

Boom. Boom. Can you hear that? That’s the sound of Taila Santos’ massively padded record coming towards you. After an ugly split decision loss in her UFC debut, Santos surprised many when she was able to bully Molly McCann to a decision victory just a few months ago. McCann is a solid name on the roster, but she has always been wildly overrated for her loudmouth and her victories in the UFC have aged like fine milk. Santos has a powerful clinch game and can certainly grapple, but that appears to be it.

Thankfully for Santos, she isn’t in a division with many threats. Montana De la Rosa entered the UFC as a submission specialist, yet as she progressed in opposition quality, her performances started to decline steadily. Victories over Rachael Ostovich and Nadia Kassem look absolutely horrendous these days and would probably improve De La Rosa’s record if they were scratched off. De la Rosa is the better striker in this affair, just from an aggression standpoint, and should be able to hold her own on the ground better than McCann.

Predicted Result: De la Rosa Decision

Both ladies aren’t going to headlining an event anytime soon. Santos is the bigger, stronger fighter with a powerful clinch game that can easily sway the judges’ scorecards. De la Rosa is the more spritely striker and will remain a threat off of her back.

Result: 🚫 FIGHT CANCELLED 🚫


Lightweight (155)

Gabriel Benitez (21-8) vs Justin Jaynes (16-5)

Gabriel Benitez has been with the UFC for six years now but has yet to find himself a truly breakout performance. Sure, Benitez’s decision victory over Jason Knight was an impressive scalp, but he has been unable to build any momentum as he dropped regular losses to albeit, solid competition (Andre Fili, Enrique Barzola, Sodiq Yusuff). Although losing to Omar Morales in his last fight, Benitez fought an incredibly brave striking-centric game and gave himself every possibly chance to win. If he could tighten up his hands, it would allow his strong kicking game to fruition further.

Justin Jaynes is a very heavy-handed striker who cashed in his last-minute UFC opportunity with a shock first-round stoppage of Frank Camacho. Against Gavin Tucker in his last fight, however, Jaynes was outworked by Tucker’s technical footwork and superb submission game. Still, Jaynes almost finished Tucker in the first-round, and his poor output in the second/third rounds were largely due to Jaynes pouring it all in the first to find the finish.

Predicted Result: Benitez Decision

The first round should be an exciting back and forth with both men establishing their power early. Benitez has the more diverse game, however, and his experience at the top level will ensure he can overcome Jayne’s frightening power. Benitez’s body kicks could be the killer in this match-up.

Result: Benitez def. Jaynes // TKO (knee to the body and elbows) Round 1 4:06

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Light Heavyweight (205)

Roman Dolidze (7-0) vs John Allan (13-5)

Roman Dolidze is still an unknown entity following his first-round debut victory over Khadis Ibragimov. Ibragimov is possibly the worst male fighter within the UFC and was definitely handed to Dolidze as a ‘gimme fight’. Finishing Ibragimov as early, and in the stunning fashion that Dolidze did, are both commendable though. There is no doubt that Dolidze holds considerable power, and his submission game employed against the regional cans in the WWFC has led to the Georgian finishing all seven of his fights.

John Allan is a big unit with lumbering feet but possesses solid hands. With no subtlety, Allan enters the octagon with the goal to swang and bang. Wild hooks are the main substance to Allan’s striking game, with a little bit of grappling that was shown in his most recent fight against Mike Rodriguez. Allan has been submitted three times now, once on DWCS and twice in regional promotions, and will want to stay far away from the mat against Dolidze.

Predicted Result: Dolidze Submission Round 2

Dolidze’s ground game should be more than enough to overcome Allan. On the feet, Allan’s wild striking may cause a shock as Dolidze isn’t known for his Mayweather-esque head movement. Unfortunately for Allan, Dolidze is the better physical athlete and will be able to beat Allan to the punch. Hopefully, this could be a stupidly fun slugfest. Rather, what we’ll get is Dolidze grapple humping Allan.

Result: Dolidze def. Allan // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Featherweight (145)

Movsar Evloev (13-0) vs Nate Landwehr (14-3)

It is time to stop sleeping on my boi Movsar Evloev. Undefeated and with three wins already in the UFC, Evloev has fought a respectable level of competition. Mike Grundy, his latest scalp, is a rugged wrestler who turn fights extremely ugly and breaks opponents down. Evloev was able to grapple effectively from his back during a back and forth first round, before showing a solid TDD and employing his snappy striking game. I really, really like Evloev, he is technically superb, and his athleticism will be the only factor to stunt his progression.

Nate Landwehr is desperate to make a name for himself in the UFC, that much was obvious during his mid-fight callouts to Dana during his last match against Darren Elkins. Rather than self-promotion, Landwehr should probably focus on his tuning up his awful striking, as there were several moments against Elkins when he was caught unaware. Landwehr will have to use his size advantage to bully Evloev against the cage if he wants any chance of winning this.

Predicted Result: Evloev Decision

Landwehr is a tough, hearty fighter who will continue to push Evloev until the end, but the Russian is superior is almost every category. Landwehr’s size advantage may prevent Evloev from dominating grappling exchanges, but Evloev’s striking speed will eventually force some respect out of Landwehr.

Result: 🚫 FIGHT CANCELLED 🚫


Preliminary Card

Bantamweight (135)

Louis Smolka (16-7) vs Jose Alberto Quinonez (8-4)

An ugly scrap between two Bantamweights who have fallen upon hard times. Smolka looked composed against Kenney, throwing decent body shots, before he was submitted into oblivion. Smolka has constantly been touching up all aspects of his game, but he has unfortunately not had the luck to succeed much of late.

Quiñonez is best known for running his mouth against Sugar Sean O’Malley before being nuked on the feet in the first round. Despite claims of a dive, Quiñonez is typically a hardy aggressive striker who bullies opponents in their face and on top of them.

Predicted Result: Smolka Decision

Both men are equally as poor as each other, but it should be an entertaining scrap. Quiñonez will start the action immediately with his aggressive boxing, while Smolka will actively search for a clinch and opportunities to land kicks on the outside.

Result: Smolka def. Quinonez // TKO (punches) Round 2 2:15

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Lightweight (155)

Matt Wiman (16-9) vs Jordan Leavitt (7-0)

Matt Wiman has not had any fun since his return to the UFC. Having taken time away from the sport in 2014, Wiman was eventually recalled mid-2019 to face off against Luis Pena. A three-round arse whopping later, and a decision loss to Joe Solecki, and you are left wondering what left if there for Wiman beyond feeding prospects?

Leavitt is a submission specialist who has freakishly long limbs for the weight. Securing an arm triangle choke over Luke Flores on DWCS a few months ago, Leavitt makes his debut at just twenty-five years old. There isn’t much in the way of stand-up bar a few flashy kicks, and this will be a real issue when he progresses. Fighters will prove harder to take down, and Leavitt will desperately need to round out his game.

Predicted Result: Leavitt Submission Round 1

Matt Wiman is a durable fighter who likes to swang and bang. A few years ago, Wiman may very well have been able to clean out Leavitt with pure aggression and volume. The current version of Wiman will be too slow to stuff the takedowns and defend against the rather average wrestling of Leavitt. Leavitt’s submissions are legit though.

Result: Leavitt def. Wiman // KO (slam) Round 1 0:22

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️


Flyweight (125)

Jimmy Flick (15-5) vs Cody Durden (11-2-1)

This is a pretty dreadful match-up for all involved. Jimmy Flick is a Flyweight workhorse with no exceptional athleticism, and a questionable chin. Flick’s game is well-rounded but it is slow and laboured, with only his impressive submission game to speak of. Flick’s striking defence is atrocious as well – moving backwards in a straight line and keeping his chin high in the air.

Cody Durden is a wrestler with heavy hands – how many times have we seen that combination work in MMA? It would be foolish of Durden to run straight into a takedown and offer up a submission opportunity for Flick, but that will probably be the case.

Predicted Result: Flick Submission Round 3

Honestly don’t know about this one, they are both as bad as each other. Flick’s defensive holes means that Durden’s heavy hands could easily reach Flick’s weak chin. On the other hand, Durden loves to wrestle and will be easy pickings for a Flick submission.

Result: 🚫 FIGHT CANCELLED 🚫


Featherweight (145)

Damon Jackson (18-3-1) vs Ilia Topuria (9-0)

Can’t say I am a fan of a fighter screaming in the face of an opponent they just defeated, whether they were engaged in a heated pre-fight build-up or not. Regardless, Jackson is a killer on the mat and had the excellent wrestler, Mirsad Bektic, in worlds of trouble throughout the three rounds. Utterly useless on the feet, Jackson will be exposed eventually, but on the mat Jackson’s submission game is crazy.

Jackson is an excellent test for undefeated prospect, Ilia Topuria. Topuria was simply magnificent in his decision victory over another stud prospect, Youssef Zalal. Able to overcome the intricacies of Zalal’s striking and avoid his threatening power strikes, Topuria worked Zalal to the floor and kept himself active with ground and pound and submission attempts.

Predicted Result: Topuria TKO Round 2

Topuria’s limited but aggressive stand-up is superior to Jackson’s rangey arm punches and should be used to weaken the American before taking the fight to the mat. Topuria will have to be extremely careful when on top, as Jackson refused to stop moving and attempting submissions against Bektic.

Result: Topuria def. Jackson // KO (punch) Round 1 2:38

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Heavyweight (265)

Gian Villante (17-12) vs Jake Collier (11-5)

Big fat heavyweights go brrrr. Don’t care about this one.

Predicted Result: Villante Decision

Picking Villante feels dirty. I’m going to go take a shower.

Result: Collier def. Villante // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️


Prediction Accuracy

UFC on ESPN 19: Hermansson vs Vettori

Winner: 5/8

Method: 2/8

Round: 4/8

2020 MMA Season

Winner: 176/282

Method: 126/282

Round: 115/282

Takeaway comments: Three cancelled fights on the day of the event. The tomato will have been strong in Dana.


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