UFC Fight Night 197: Holloway vs Rodriguez Predictions

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UFC Fight Night 197: Holloway vs Rodriguez Predictions & Results

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Well. It’s a fight night card to be sure. My only issue is that Ben Rothwell is co-maining, when there are genuine bangers hidden on the prelims. Hey ho, lets get cracking on the UFC Fight Night 197 Predictions.

Failed to catch the action from the last UFC? No worries. Peep our preview from las week via UFC 268: Usman vs Covington 2 Predictions. Number crunching more your suit? Find all of Pintsized scores for your favourite fighters on MAFB Math: UFC 268.

Unconvinced by Pintsized’s mystical predicting powers? Take a look at our prediction success last month detailed in UFC Predictions Results: October 2021.

Say what you want about Spencer's skillset, but she is a damn warrior | UFC Fight Night 197: Predictions
Say what you want about Spencer’s skillset, but she is a damn warrior | UFC Fight Night 197: Predictions

UFC Fight Night 197: Main Event

Max Holloway (22-6) vs Yair Rodriguez (13-2)

Featherweight (145)

Max Holloway

It’s coming up to a year since we last saw fan favourite, Max Holloway. After schooling Calvin Kattar at his own game, Holloway cemented his status as the top Featherweight striker. If it weren’t for a certain 300lb Aussie, Holloway would still be crowned champion over all the smaller guys. Holloway’s combination punching in the pocket is what brings the Hawaiian the big bucks. Strong TDD keeps the fight standing long enough for Holloway to work angles and slowly unwrap an opponent’s guard. Kattar was contorted into a broken punchbag by the fifth round – the same striker who pieced apart Dan Ige, Shane Burgos and Ricardo Lamas.

Holloway’s footwork is continually slept upon. The Blessed has the innate ability to cut off the ring effortlessly. Usually pouring on the pressure from the opening bell, Holloway starts a subtle chess battle on the feet hidden behind his feints and trash talk at eye level. Holloway’s greatest successes in the octagon stem from his ability to make opponents whiff hard at thin air. Baiting Rodriguez into showing his hand and biting on a fruitless counter removes the Mexican’s greatest threat.

Yair Rodriguez

Can Holloway deal with Rodriguez’s exceptional kicking game? The Mexican doesn’t employ a consistent, educated approach – but instead picks creative shots based on the moment. Instinctual striking is always a gamble, but when blessed with power and speed, it has helped Yair run rampant in the UFC. Unfortunately, banking on the ‘one’ significant shot will lead to Rodriguez’s demise. Firstly, Holloway’s granite chin has shown little signs of cracking. More importantly, loading up on shots leaves Rodriguez open for counters. Jeremy Stephens was unable to punish Rodriguez’ mistakes. Holloway is far too lethal on the feet not to capitalise on the regular opportunities.

While Holloway is famed for his pace and volume, Rodriguez has never shied away from a high pace fight. As a result, Rodriguez will remain dangerous throughout the entirety of the fight – need we be reminded of the comeback up-elbow on TKZ? Holloway isn’t the toughest opponent to land on. Even a half-dead Ortega managed a brief surge in the fourth-round against Holloway. Regardless, it is difficult to see any avenue for a Rodriguez victory outside of a hail mary.

Predicted Result: Holloway Decision

Can Holloway deal with Rodriguez’s exceptional kicking game? The Mexican doesn’t employ a consistent, educated approach – but instead picks creative shots on the spot. While Holloway is famed for his pace and volume, Rodriguez has never shied away from a high pace fight. As a result, Rodriguez will remain dangerous throughout the entirety of the fight. Banking on a hail mary is never safe, however. Rather, Holloway’s feints will continually force Rodriguez into showing his hand and biting on fruitless counters which remove the threat of his power.

Result: Holloway def. Rodriguez // Decision (unanimous – 48-47, 48-47, 49-46)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️

Look at how Max Holloway massacred my boy! | UFC Fight Night 197: Predictions
Look at how Max Holloway massacred my boy! | UFC Fight Night 197: Predictions

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UFC Fight Night 197: Co-Main Event

Ben Rothwell (39-13) vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima (18-7-1)

Heavyweight (265)

Ben Rothwell

Big Ben really needs to retire sooner rather than later. Despite adapting his style in his twilight, his focus now centres on volume punching despite a fading gas tank. While the veteran can out-class most at Heavyweight on the feet, a division devoid of talent, he simply cannot last at the pace he sets himself. What is most frustrating is the fact that Rothwell is given free rein over the pace. He doesn’t need to gas himself out, yet, he did just that against Marcin Tybura.

Marcos Rogerio de Lima

For a fighter marketed as a submission specialist, de Lima sure has a canny knack of getting himself submitted. The Brazilian possesses freakish power, yet the monkey paw is his hilariously slow feet and hands. It’s hard to disagree with the overwhelming view that de Lima panic wrestles himself into a Big Ben front choke.

Predicted Result: Rothwell Submission Round 2

Big Ben has adapted his style in his twilight, centring focus on volume punching despite a fading gas tank. While the veteran can out-class most at Heavyweight on the feet, a division devoid of talent, he simply cannot last at the pace he sets himself. That shouldn’t matter much against de Lima. The Brazilian carries huge power, but it’s hard to disagree with the overwhelming view that de Lima panic wrestles himself into a Big Ben front choke.

Result: de Lima def. Rothwell // TKO (punches) Round 1 0:32

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

De Lima priming up some super necessary ground and pound | UFC Fight Night 197: Predictions
De Lima priming up some super necessary ground and pound | UFC Fight Night 197: Predictions

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UFC Fight Night 197: Main Card

Felicia Spencer (8-3) vs Leah Letson (5-1)

Women’s Featherweight 145X)

Felicia Spencer

Spencer is as consistent a fighter as they come. Sloppy, uncoordinated striking to close the distance before bowling opponents onto the mat. The takedowns lack any form or technique, but the Canadian’s momentum is often enough to (wo)man-handle opponents. Not that Spencer will care, however. Her bread and butter remain an oppressive top game that suffocates opponents and grinds the fight out of them. Spencer’s submission game hasn’t popped off in the UFC (bar the scalp of Megan Anderson), but the most obvious path to victory is choking out the rusty prospect.

Leah Letson

Letson last graced our screens in 2018, defeating the wildly average Julija Stoliarenko by split decision in the TUF 28 finale. After suffering cancelling fights and medical issues, it’s anybody’s guess as to how well Letson will fare in her return. Letson has a significant striking advantage against Spencer but she will have no space to operate on Saturday night. Spencer’s physicality will prevent Letson from ever settling into combinations, and will force the fight into a gruelling slog that only benefits the Canadian.

Predicted Result: Spencer Submission Round 3

Letson has a significant striking advantage against Spencer but she will have no space to operate on Saturday night. Spencer’s physicality will prevent Letson from ever settling into combinations, and will force the fight into a gruelling slog that only benefits the Canadian. Spencer’s submission game hasn’t popped off in the UFC (bar the scalp of Megan Anderson), but the most obvious path to victory is choking out the rusty prospect.

Result: Spencer def. Letson // TKO (punches) Round 3 4:25

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️

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Miguel Baeza (10-1) vs Khaos Williams (12-2)

Welterweight (170)

Miguel Baeza

This is certain to be a banger. Khaos Williams is a freakishly powerful counter-puncher, while Baeza is a high-volume technical boxer. There is a fear with Baeza that he lacks direction on the feet. For large portions of the fight against Matt Brown, Baeza was getting beaten to the punch for a thoroughly weathered veteran. Baeza’s heart and deep gas tank are undeniable, however, as shown against Ponzinibbio last time out. Baeza is more than capable of out-striking Williams for fifteen minutes at a mid-range, but the risk of Williams’ nuclear power will remain a potent threat.

Khaos Williams

Power. Power is what defines Khaos Williams. Khaos’ last fight with Matt Semelsberger was a perfect showing of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Williams’ patience on the outside allows him to remain a threat deep into fights. On the flip side, Williams’ can overcook the timing of his counters and let the fight pass him by (as he did against Michel Pereira). If Williams’ can overcome Baeza’s early low kicks, he will be able to time the perfect counter with far less trouble.

Predicted Result: Baeza Decision

This is certain to be a banger. Khaos Williams is a freakishly powerful counter-puncher, while Baeza offers high-volume technical boxing. Williams’ patience on the outside allows him to remain a threat deep into fights. On the flip side, Williams’ can in turn overcook the timing of his counters and let the fight pass him by. I’m backing Baeza’s early leg kicks to make the difference.

Result: Williams def. Baeza // TKO (punches) Round 3 1:02

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Yadong Song (17-5-1) vs Julio Arce (17-4)

Bantamweight (135)

Yadong Song

Has Yadong hit his ceiling already? At just twenty-three years old, it may seem far too premature, but Yadong currently seems light-years from his knockout victory over Alejandro Perez. Perhaps I’m still salty that Yadong was given the nod over Vera in their razor-close fight. Yadong’s has progressed to an extent that many would have hoped for the Team Alpha Male member, but his natural athleticism has proven more than enough to carry him when the going gets tough. Add on a recently refined jab, and Yadong appears a cut above the unranked masses.

Julio Arce

A clean and technical striker, Arce’s move to Bantamweight has brought only success so far. Walking down Andre Ewell is no easy feat, yet Arce bowled him over with relentless pressure. Yadong represents an immovable object, however. While it would be entertaining as hell to see Yadong and Arce slam head-first into each other, Yadong’s pace would most likely break Arce by the later rounds.

Predicted Result: Yadong Decision

While it would be entertaining as hell to see Yadong and Arce slam head-first into each other, Yadong’s pace would break Arce by the later rounds. Yadong’s natural athleticism has proven more than enough to carry him when the going gets tough. Add on a recently refined jab, and Yadong appears a cut above the unranked masses.

Result: Yadong def. Arce // TKO (head kick and punches) Round 2 1:35

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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UFC Fight Night 197: Preliminary Card

Thiago Moises (15-5) vs Joel Alvarez (18-2)

Lightweight (155)

Thiago Moises

Imagine headlining a card to only then fall to the prelims of a forgettable Fight Night card. It is almost like Islam Makhachev’s record isn’t quite as imposing as Khabib would lead us to believe. That isn’t to say that Moises isn’t a top operator. The Brazilian is a feared submission artist that can effectively shut down Alvarez’s greatest weapons. If, as expected, neither man wishes to test their grappling – Moises’ chopping low kicks will carve through Alvarez’s extended legs. In a classic ugly scrap on the feet between two grapplers, Moises durability will take the cake.

Joel Alvarez

Is it finally time for the Spaniard to break out in front of the spotlight? Alvarez is huge for Lightweight, clocking in a 6’3″. It’s such a shame then that Alvarez is incapable of using his frame to control the distance of a fight. Aside from a few decent kicks, Alvarez remains dead-set on taking the fight to the mat and pulling out one of his many submissions. While it has worked against the Alexander Yakovlev and Danilo Belluardos of the world, Thiago Moises is far too strong on the mat to adopt such a foolhardy approach.

Predicted Result: Moises Decision

Is it finally time for the Spaniard to break out in front of the spotlight? Aside from a few decent kicks, Alvarez remains dead-set on taking the fight to the mat and pulling out one of his many submissions. Unfortunately for Alvarez, Moises is a wonderful grappler who can effectively shut down the Spaniard’s strongest weapons. Moises volume on the feet will sweep the scorecards if neither man takes this to the ground.

Result: Alvarez def. Moises // TKO (elbows and punches) Round 1 3:01

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Sean Woodson (8-1) vs Collin Anglin (8-2)

Featherweight (145)

Sean Woodson

After the shock submission loss to Julian Erosa, Woodson recovered with a split decision win over the craft Youssef Zalal. A skyscraper at Featherweight, Woodson is a technical freak who uses his frame well to bully opponents. Pushing out a ridiculous volume, it is in large part because of Woodson’s lack of physicality/power to stop opponents from walking into the pocket freely. With a decent TDD to boot, Anglin may be forced to endure three rounds of punishment on the feet.

Collin Anglin

A top athlete, Anglin hit a technical ceiling when he faced off with Melsik Baghdasaryan. Decently powerful, Anglin often banks on the significant single shot rather than piecing together combinations. The most obvious path to victory for Anglin is for the Michigan native to walk down Woodson and create an ugly, grinding clinch affair. Anglin lacks the power or veteran experience of Julian Erosa, but Anglin can exploit Woodson’s flailing gas tank if he can survive the early rounds without shipping too much damage.

Predicted Result: Woodson TKO Round 3

Anglin’s only chance is to walk down Woodson and create an ugly, grinding clinch affair. Anglin lacks the power or veteran experience of Julian Erosa, but Anglin can exploit Woodson’s flailing gas tank if he can survive the early rounds without shipping too much damage. Woodson’s relentless volume and clear technical edge will prove too much for Anglin, however.

Result: Woodson def. Anglin // TKO (punches to the body) Round 1 4:30

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌

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Cortney Casey (9-9) vs Liana Jojua (8-4)

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Cortney Casey

An awful fight. Cortney Casey always drags herself into a back-and-forth affair, regardless of the quality of the opponent. Still, Casey will prove too much for Jojua – far too experienced to allow Jojua to take the armbar avenue. Casey is more than capable of keeping this standing and comfortably beating Jojua in the pocket.

Liana Jojua

An armbar machine, Jojua is a meme one-trick pony that can only exist in the squalid depths of Women’s Flyweight. If Jojua is unable to hit the mat, her lack of striking becomes deathly apparent.

Predicted Result: Casey TKO Round 3

An awful fight. Cortney Casey always drags herself into a back-and-forth affair, regardless of the quality of the opponent. Still, Casey will prove too much for Jojua. Without the avenue for the armbar, Jojua is a sitting duck to Casey’s volume in the pocket.

Result: Casey def. Jojua // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Marc Diakiese (14-4) vs Rafael Alves (19-10)

Lightweight (155)

Marc Diakiese

Yeah, Diakiese lost to Rafael Fiziev, but he proved his rock-solid chin and heart to fight till the bitter end. An elite athlete, Diakiese is a powerful striker that unfortunately met a sharper counter-puncher last time out. Using his wrestling as a backup when he cannot blast opponents out in a round, Diakiese is a vastly more polished product than the wrecking ball of his early UFC days.

Rafael Alves

The Brazilian carries decent power himself and has a more diverse striking arsenal that could pip Diakiese in a fire-fight. Unfortunately for Alves, he too often searches the kill while Diakiese has matured into a crafty round-snatcher. There is also the potential that a sloppy Diakiese takedown opens himself up to the submission threat of Alves.

Predicted Result: Diakiese Decision

The Brazilian carries decent power himself and has a more diverse striking arsenal that could pip Diakiese in a fire-fight. Unfortunately for Alves, he too often searches the kill while Diakiese has matured into a crafty round-snatcher. Diakiese cannot afford a sloppy takedown, however, in fear of Alves’ submission threat.

Result: Alves def. Diakiese // Submission (guillotine choke) Round 1 1:48

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-1) vs Da Un Jung (14-2-1)

Light Heavyweight (205)

Kennedy Nzechukwu

Nzechukwu’s luck will have to run out soon enough, the question will be whether the Nigerian has developed to the extent where it won’t matter. Light Heavyweight isn’t the premier division for talent, but Nzechukwu is facing his first stern test in Jung. In typical fashion, Nzechukwu can ride his durability during a tough opening before catching opponents by surprise with extended combinations with endless cardio.

Da Un Jung

A draw to Sam Alvey is an awful mark on the record, but Alvey dragged the fight into the mud. It wasn’t much of a fight as Alvey fled for three rounds while occasionally flashing his power. More common of Jung is boxing at a consistent pace and filtering in the odd takedown. Nzechukwu’s TDD has not shown any holes yet, and it will come down to whether Jung can keep Nzechukwu under the Kosh. To allow the Nigerian even a moment to recover has proven deadly before (Danilo Marques).

Predicted Result: Jung TKO Round 3

In typical fashion, Nzechukwu could easily ride his durability during a tough opening before catching Jung by surprise. The Nigerian is capable of employing extended combinations with his endless cardio, but Jung’s consistent pace on the feet will leave Nzechukwu few openings to claw himself back into the fight.

Result: Jung def. Nzechukwu // KO (elbows) Round 1 3:04

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌

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Prediction Accuracy

UFC Fight Night 197

Winner: 6/10

Method: 3/10

Round: 2/10

2021 MMA Season

Winner: 275/439

Method: 204/439

Round: 187/439

MMA Overall

Winner: 466/743

Method: 341/743

Round: 313/743

Takeaway comments: I’d say re-run Da Un Jung/Sam Alvey but I’m not sure anyone could quite stomach it again.


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