Making the Grade – Fight Night Apex Main Card Edition

Making the Grade
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 02: Tyron Woodley enters the octagon to start his UFC welterweight championship bout during the UFC 235 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)

Last time we broke down a card for the Making the Grade series, it was UFC 249 main card. The predictions were way off on that event, missing on four of five fights. This is going to go much better. Or not. Let’s find out.

The main event features a clash at welterweight between former champion Tyron Woodley and the surging Gilbert Burns. It should be a solid fight with pretty major ramifications in the welterweight division.

Making the Grade: UFC Fight Night Apex Main Card

Mackenzie Dern vs. Hannah Cifers

Mackenzie Dern started her UFC career winning two fights. She won her debut via split decision over Ashley Yoder and then submitted Amanda Cooper. Things were looking great for her until she was defeated in her last outing by Amanda Ribas. She will be looking to rebound against Cifers.

Hannah Cifers is a talented fighter who is 2-2 in her UFC career. In her last fight, she was beaten by Angela Hill. Neither fighter is ranked and the only thing the fight has going for it is Mackenzie Dern’s name recognition. It’s not a super compelling fight on paper and Dern should win the fight if she fights smart.

This fight doesn’t mean a whole lot. If Dern wins, she’ll likely break into the top fifteen in the rankings. She’s a solid grappler and could win the fight via submission. If forced to pick the winner I’d say Dern wins via a dominant decision but score a late-round submission.

Grade: C-

Roosevelt Roberts vs. Brok Weaver

This is another fight where neither fighter is ranked and the fight is pretty meaningless in that regard. Roosevelt Roberts is 3-1 since earning his contract via a victory over Garrett Gross on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Brock Weaver also earned his contract via Dana White’s Contender Series when he defeated Devin Smyth. He won his debut against Rodrigo Vargas when Vargas was disqualified for an illegal knee. He’ll be looking to win via a more traditional manner this weekend.

This fight could be pretty fun and you can expect a big finish. Both men need a win and will be looking to close the show in a dramatic manner. Weaver is tough but just doesn’t have as many paths to victory as Roberts has. Expect Roberts to win the fight via TKO late in the contest. That said, it doesn’t grade out very high in terms of rankings and name value. It’s not a fight you’d expect to see on the main card.

Grade: C

Gabriel Green vs. Daniel Rodriguez

Gabriel Green is stepping up on short notice to fill in for the injured Kevin Holland this weekend against Daniel Rodriguez. Green is 9-2 as a professional and has really good striking and will be looking to make a big splash in his debut.

Daniel Rodriguez defeated Tim Means in his UFC debut and will be looking to keep the winning ways going Saturday night. He’ll have a reach advantage and has solid striking as well. This fight is on the shortlist to steal the fight of the night and you can expect fireworks.

Neither fighter is ranked clearly and they have a combined one fight in the UFC but for this fight, it doesn’t matter. It’s two young, hungry scrappers who will be looking to bang Saturday night.  Daniel Rodriguez will be favoured, but he loses here. Going with Gabriel Green via KO.

Grade: B-

Blagoy Ivanov vs. Augusto Sakai

Blagoy Ivanov comes into this fight ranked 12th in the heavyweight division and looking to rebound from a loss to Derrick Lewis in his last fight. The fight was a split decision, but truth be told it wasn’t that close. Ivanov lost pretty decisively. He trains at American Kickboxing Academy and came to the UFC from World Series of Fighting where he was the heavyweight champion.

Augusto Sakai is 3-0 since joining the UFC after winning on Dana White’s Contender Series against Marcos Conrado. Sakai is ranked 13th in the division and the winner of this contest will likely break into the top ten. Sakai will have a four-inch reach advantage and should look to keep the fight at distance.

This fight is a bit of a toss-up and will move the winner into the top ten. For that reason, it’s potentially important in the division. The reach will benefit Sakai and despite being the underdog, he should win a unanimous decision by keeping Ivanov at distance and out-striking him.

Grade: B

Tyron Woodley vs. Gilbert Burns

Tyron Woodley is the former UFC welterweight champion and would very much love to get back in the mix with a victory here. Woodley is the number one ranked welterweight in the UFC and for good reason. He has a rare combination of wrestling and striking. He simply has way too many tools in the bag for Burns at this point.

Gilbert Burns is an elite grappler and competes in grappling matches all over the world. In fact, six of his last night fights were not in MMA but were submission grappling matches. He’s ranked sixth in the UFC and has a ton of upside, but this might likely be a case of too much too soon for Burns.

Woodley will have a three-inch reach advantage and will likely try and keep the fight on its feet. Woodley also has good enough wrestling to keep the fight standing and get up if taken down. For that reason, he should win this fight via decision. He simply is too skilled and well-rounded to lose this fight. Woodley wins, bet on it.

Grade: B+

Overall Card Grade: C+

Potential KO of the Night: Gabriel Green

Potential Fight of the Night: Gabriel Green vs. Daniel Rodriguez

Potential Submission of the Night: Mackenzie Dern

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