UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs. Gastelum – Alexandr Romanov vs Juan Espino: Prelims Prediction and Analysis

Published 04/16/2021, 7:02 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 11: (L-R) Opponents Alexandr Romanov of Moldova and Roque Martinez of Guam face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on September 11, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


A heavyweight clash between Alexandr Romanov and Juan Espino will go down on the preliminary card of UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs Gastelum. Both heavyweights will make their third appearance inside the Octagon and will look to get away with a win. A triumph will catapult either fighter to the higher echelon of rankings.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The undefeated Moldovan, Romanov, has earned two submission wins in his first two appearances inside the UFC Octagon. An arm triangle against Roque Martinez and a forearm choke win against Marcos Rogerio de Lima have given him a perfect start to life in the world’s premier MMA organization.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 12: (L-R) Alexandr Romanov of Moldova kicks Roque Martinez of Guam in a 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)

Espino on the other hand has also earned two submission wins in his first two fights in the UFC. A straight armlock against Justin Frazier and a scarf hold against Jeff Hughes both came in the first round.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Alexandr Romanov vs Juan Espino: stats and analysis

The 30-year-old Romanov has a professional record of 13-0. ‘King Kong‘ has finished all of his fights with five of those wins coming by T/KO and eight by submission. Meanwhile, the 40-year-old Espino’s record stands at 10-1. The 40-year-old American Top Team trainee has finished 8 out of his 10 wins. (1 T/KO and 7 submissions)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 12: (L-R) Alexandr Romanov of Moldova attempts to secure an arm bar submission against Roque Martinez of Guam in a 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)

On the feet, both fighters are evenly matched, but Romanov should be able to control the range with his variation of kicks.

Both fighters are elite grapplers and have the potential to be legitimate top 5 contenders in the heavyweight division. However, Romanov is a lot younger than Espino. Hence, the Moldovan should be able to stuff the early takedown attempts from Espino and come into his own in the second round of the fight.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

He should be able to take advantage of a tired Espino with his own wrestling and eventually earn a finish by ground-and-pound against his older opponent.

Final Prediction: Alexandr ‘King Kong’ Romanov by second-round T/KO

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Apratim Banerjee

1029 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT