UFC on ESPN+ 15: Andrade vs. Zhang Picks & Event Preview
Saturday August 31st 2019 at the Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China
Main Card: 6am ET on ESPN+
Preliminary Card: 3am ET on ESPN
The UFC is back!
It feels strange to have 13 days go by without having a UFC event. Their latest stretch saw them put on nine consecutive weekly shows, and I’d be lying if I said a break wasn’t needed. But as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I’m ready to give away my Saturdays once again!
There’s not a whole lot that needs to be previewed for this card, and most won’t be staying up/waking up to watch it anyway… so let’s just jump straight in to the picks for UFC: Shenzhen!
Preliminary Men’s Bantamweight Bout – 135lbs
Andre “The Asian Sensation Soukhamthath – Record: 13-7
Su “Sulamu” Mudaerji – Record: 11-4
Our first of two picks for this card is Andre Soukhamthath. He’s a fighter many of us have sworn-off betting following some of his ’questionable’ decisions during fights. The most notable being when he decided to grapple against Sean O’Malley, who happened to be fighting on a broken foot. All he needed to do was disengage, and the referee would have had to have called off the fight as O’Malley couldn’t even stand up. Needless to say, he continued to work O’Malley on the ground for the duration of the final round, and ultimately he lost the decision.
It’s never too enticing putting money on someone who arguably has shown the worst fight IQ in the UFC, but judging by this line, it seems like people are overly-fading (laying money against) him.
The facts are that Soukhamthath has the more solid striking, as well as the far superior wrestling and ground game. Su Mudaerji does have some flashy striking of his own, but Soukhamthath should be able to pressure him and take advantage of any missed wild strike attempts from Mudaerji.
I see Soukhamthath taking this to the mat and grounding out his opponent, or even pulling off the sub to get a stoppage win. You can never be too happy laying money on Andre Soukhamthath, but in this spot he’s definitely playable for a couple units.
2u – Andre Soukhamthath @ -166
UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship Bout Main Event – 115lbs
Jéssica "Bate Estaca" Andrade - Record: 20-6-0 / UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion
Weili “Magnum” Zhang - Record: 19-1-0 / Ranked: 6th WSW
In the cards’ much needed championship main event, we have the two most fun female fighters in the 115 pound division. Both ladies bring everything when they fight and this should set up for a thrilling five round encounter.
Andrade embraces a heavy-handed pressure style, with strong grappling to mix in the odd takedown when needed. Rather interestingly Zhang is very much the same, although she typically puts more focus on volume over power.
It’s likely that Andrade will put pressure on China’s Zhang from the start, although I expect her to start fatiguing somewhere around the middle of the fight. There’s a chance that Andrade could clip or snatch a sub on the hometown fighter, but considering Zhang has never been finished, it’s certainly not something I’d advocate putting money on.
From what we’ve seen in the past, Weili should have the stamina advantage, and we know that she’s also got the bigger frame. With her volume and pace, it looks as though Zhang will make it competitive in the early goings, and then edging it down the stretch. Add into the mix that she’ll also be getting the ‘rub’ of the local fans, which never hurts when a fight makes it to the judges’ scorecards.
It’s tough to bet against Andrade, but the pick here for me is Weili Zhang to get the win in-front of the Chinese crowd.
1u – Weili Zhang @+156