UFC Vegas 36 Predictions: Late “Prelims” “Brunson vs. Till” Undercard Preview
Two weeks after Jared Cannonier secured his spot among the elite middleweight with a decision over Kelvin Gastelum, two other top-ranked 185-pound contenders will look to assert their rights this Saturday (September 4, 2021) when Derek Brunson ( # 5) meets Darren Till (# 7) on ESPN +. Additionally, premier heavyweight Tom Aspinall will look to keep his undefeated UFC record intact against dangerous wrestler Serghei Spivac and Khalil Rountree will take on Modestas Bukauskas in a skilled but struggling light heavyweight clash.
We only have two UFC Vegas 36 “Prelims” undercard fights that need to be dissected (check out the first batch here), so let’s dig…
125 pounds: Molly mccann vs. Ji Yeon Kim
Molly McMcann (10-4) put a first UFC loss behind her with a three-game winning streak, including a decent-sized upset from Brazilian artist Ariane Lipski. “Meatball” now finds itself in the middle of a 0-2 skid, having abandoned decisions to rapidly rising prospects Taila Santos and Lara Procopio.
She scored four knockouts as a professional.
Korean Ji Yeon Kim (9-3-2) made her way to a 3-2 start in the Octagon with two decision wins and a brutal beating of Nadia Kassem. Then came Alexa Grasso, who released “Firefist” on her way to a decisive victory.
She will be three inches tall and a massive 10 inch reach over McCann.
Odds wise, this is the closest fight on the entire map, and it certainly feels like an ongoing split decision. McCann has the best footwork and a more varied arsenal, while Kim has a massive advantage in size and firepower.
In short, all signs point to a striking tit-for-tat battle that will come down to the wire.
I’ve got McCann by a hair. Kim has the more elusive strike defense of the two, and while McCann’s seeming improvement in wrestling has turned out to be a case of limited opposition, Kim’s inconsistent strike defense looks like a tempting target. “Firefist” will hit McCann, but key outs should barely push McCann over the finish line.
Prediction: McMann via split decision
135 pounds: Jack Rive vs. Liudvik Sholinian
Jack Shore (14-0) – the former Cage Warriors bantamweight champion – kept his momentum going with two dominant submission wins in the Octagon. Then came ‘Contender Series’ veteran Hunter Azure, who failed against the Welshman last April but managed to break his streak of five in a row.
“Tank” subdued eight professional enemies and took out four more.
Liudvik Sholinian (9-2-1) – representing Team Ortega on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 29 – created one of the biggest upheavals in the series, beating overall No. 1 pick Mitch Raposo in quarter-finals. Cinderella’s story was not to last, as Ricky Turcios managed to outsmart the Ukrainian in a formidable battle.
He replaces Zvaid Lazishvili, who himself replaced Said Nurmagomedov, with less than two weeks notice.
I wish Sholinian the best. He showed inspiring courage in beating Raposo and it absolutely broke my heart to see him burst into tears after his loss to Turcios. Hopefully such a progression will earn him enough brownie points to stay on the list after this loss.
I don’t mean at all that Sholinian is a bad fighter, just that Shore is an elite prospect who is ready for Nurmagomedov. At the risk of being reductive, Shore is better everywhere. He is by far the best boxer, the best wrestler and the best submission artist. As we’ve seen against Azure, determination, pressure and strikeouts aren’t enough to beat the Welshman. As it turns out, he regularly outclasses the Sholinian before covering his neck on the home stretch.
Prediction: Shore via third round submission
There may not be much left of UFC Vegas 36, but at least we still have a solid main event and some quality prospects in action. See you on Saturday, Maniacs.
remember that MMAmania.com will provide live, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 36 fight map here, starting with the ESPN + “Preliminary” matches, which are scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining primary card balance on ESPN + at 4 p.m. ET.
For the latest and greatest news and ratings from UFC Vegas 36: “Brunson vs. Till,” be sure to check out our full event archive. here.