UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Spann: Mike Rodriguez vs Tafon Nchukwi- Prelims Prediction and Analysis

Published 09/17/2021, 5:30 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 11: Mike Rodriguez poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on September 11, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Spann will see a light-heavyweight clash between Mike Rodriguez and Tafon Nchukwi go down in the preliminary card of the event. As both fighters are coming into the fight on the back of losses, they will be determined to get back to the win column this weekend.

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Rodriguez, with just one win in his last five, will be under pressure on Saturday night as one win in six may not make for good reading for the top brass in the UFC.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 12: (L-R) Mike Rodriguez punches Ed Herman in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 12, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Nchukwi, on the other hand, suffered a decision loss in his last UFC fight against Jun Yong Park. This was also his first loss in his professional career. The former Dana White’s Contender Series alumnus is currently 1-1 in the UFC, having won his debut against Jamie Pickett.

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‘Slow’ has a professional record of 11-6. All 11 of his wins have come via finishes. 9 T/KO and 2 submission wins comprise those numbers for him.

Nchukwi’s record stands at 5-1. He has 4 finishes in his career so far, all of which have come via T/KO. His last finish was a head kick knockout, which came at the Contender Series show.

Mike Rodriguez vs Tafon Nchukwi: Analysis

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Rodriguez is a very long and rangy fighter. Nchukwi had problems getting inside his opponent’s range in his last fight. Also, not to mention, that fight was at the 185 lbs division as well. Now, he will once again be moving back up to the light-heavyweight division of the UFC. Hence, this could help his opponent, who is an established 205 pounder.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 19: (L-R) Tafon Nchukwi of Cameroon punches Jamie Pickett in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

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Rodriguez, despite his recent dismal run, is a very skilled and versatile fighter. He might just be able to use his superior reach to his advantage and be able to frustrate Nchukwi over 3 rounds to eventually earn a decision win in his favor.

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Final Prediction: Mike ‘Slow‘ Rodriguez by unanimous decision.

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Apratim Banerjee

1260 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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