UFC 264 Early Prelims: Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs Jerome Rivera- Prediction and Analysis

Published 07/04/2021, 11:27 AM EDT


UFC flyweights Zhalgas Zhumagulov and Jerome Rivera will meet in the middle on the early preliminary card for UFC 264. Both men are on losing skids at the moment and the loser could very well get their walking papers. The UFC has had a history of letting go of flyweight fighters with losing records in the past.

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The flyweight division is spearheaded by newly minted champion Brandon Moreno who is on a mission to cement his legacy. There are several fresh faces for Moreno to fight and fans are excited about action at 125-pounds. However, both Zhumagulov and Rivera are nowhere near title contention and they are fighting for their place on the roster.

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UFC 264: Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs Jerome Rivera

Zhalgas Zhumagulov is 0-2 in the UFC and he’s not been able to get a footing in the world’s leading MMA organization. Chiefly, the 13-5 fighter has been featured on two of the biggest cards in recent memory, but couldn’t make use of the platform. He’s once again been given a massive platform with an appearance on UFC 264 and he’ll do well to make the most of it.

The Kazakhstani fighter is ferocious in close range and relies on cross counters which are effective against taller opponents. Jerome Rivera tends to come in with a slightly overzealous tempo that could be costly. Not to mention, Zhumagulov can use limb destruction as an effective way of slowing down Rivera’s entry.

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‘The Renegade’ Rivera is on a three-fight skid and hasn’t won a single fight under the bright light of the UFC. Since picking up a win on Dana White’s Contender Series, Rivera has just not found a place in the division. He was brutally knocked out in his last fight and has quite a few holes in his defensive game.

The 10-5 fighter has faced some game contenders through his UFC career, however, he’s not gotten past the elite fighters. His movement coming in leaving a lot to be desired and Zhalgas Zhumagulov will be looking to catch him with a counter. It’s all in or bust for Rivera who is fighting for his job at UFC 264.

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Darryl Pinto

1789 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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