I really can’t remember the last time a free card was this good. With its number of high-level and exciting matchups, UFC on FOX 30 could easily be the main card of a pay-per-view. In the main event of the card, a heated rematch between top lightweight contenders Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier takes place. This potential candidate for Fight of the Year is being accompanied by other fascinating matchups, as former featherweight king Jose Aldo takes on fellow exciting striker Jeremy Stephens, Joanna Jedrzejczyk looks to get back on the horse against title contender Tecia Torres, and much more.
What: UFC on FOX 30 (UFC Calgary)
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
When: Saturday, July 28. The five-fight UFC Fight Pass preliminary card begins at 4:00 p.m. ET, the four-fight FOX preliminary card begins at 6:00 p.m. ET, and the four-fight main card begins at 8:00 p.m. ET, also on FOX.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier
In some ways, it was kind of good that this fight ended in controversial fashion, because we get to see it again. Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier is one of the best non-title matchups the UFC can book today.
Alvarez has all the experience in the world. The man has fought almost every top lightweight. His striking is very good and so is his wrestling. His ability to combine both well during his fights, along with his tenacity and durability, have made him a fan-favorite but also a world-class fighter.
The same can also be said for Poirier. He is very skilled, but the attitude that he approaches fights with is something that has defined his career and carved out his place in the lightweight division. Poirier is a heavy hitter who also possesses a wicked ground game. He may not be as good of a wrestler as Alvarez, but he’s definitely the more dangerous grappler.
I expect this to be a war. It will be extremely competitive, so it really can go either way. I can’t pick a winner with confidence here given the nature of the fight, but I do feel like the momentum is going towards Poirier. He feels to me the fresher fighter. Poirier also seems to be growing and improving, while Alvarez, although always improving, seems to be a little more advanced into his learning curve. I can’t wait for this one.
Jose Aldo vs. Jeremy Stephens
I called for this fight long before it was booked. I don’t know what it is, but there is something exciting in seeing Jose Aldo as a contender. This could be the start of an ugly demise, but I think it’s going to be quite the opposite.
Aldo has been competing in championship-level fights for years, always facing the very best featherweight has to offer. This is really the first time in almost a decade that Aldo is not fighting the top dog of the weight class. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super high on Jeremy Stephens; I think he’s a fantastic fighter. However, I do think Aldo is still a level above him.
Aldo looked quick, powerful, and explosive in both of his losses to Max Holloway. His technique also looked on point and he proved he’s still very durable, as he didn’t suffer a quick one-punch knockout. Holloway is just at a different level than the former champion.
I don’t expect to see a diminished Aldo. I think we’ll realize here how good Holloway actually is. I expect a competitive bout, but Aldo is just superior enough on the feet and experienced enough to get past Stephens.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Tecia Torres
I love this fight.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk is a beast. Her striking is extremely technical and her output is incredible. Jedrzejczyk is also quick and durable. The Polish fighter has a great takedown defense and her fight IQ is quite high.
Tecia Torres might be the most well-rounded righter in the women’s strawweight division. She can strike, she can wrestle, she can fight in the clinch, she’s got good jiu-jitsu — basically, the whole package. She’s far more well-rounded than Jedrzejczyk, but she’s not as developed in a single skill as her. Torres is also a very complete athlete, possessing size, strength, cardio, and speed.
I’d normally pick Jedrzejczyk over anyone not named Rose Namajunas. But Torres training with the champ Namajunas for this camp got me thinking. Maybe “Thug Rose” does have her number, and maybe that can be passed on with the right coaching.
Tough call, but the safe pick here has to be Jedrzejczyk. The former strawweight queen has seen it all in the cage, and has dealt with fighters of the same skill set of Torres. I see Jedrzejczyk getting a dominant decision.
Alexander Hernandez vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
I consume so much MMA that it’s not always easy to remember it all. I didn’t exactly remembered what Alexander Hernandez did prior to writing this, but did remember it was something great (pardon the pun).
So, yeah, I went back and had a look. Turns out, the 25-year-old knocked out top lightweight contender Beneil Dariush in less then a minute in his UFC debut. Now that’s impressive. Hernandez is a super explosive athlete with a diverse striking arsenal and a very strong grappling game. He’s dangerous everywhere. But most importantly, he’s young and hungry.
The Canadian gangster, also known as Olivier Aubin-Mercier, has looked quite good as of late, putting together a four-fight win streak over quality opposition. Aubin-Mercier is a smart fighter who’s proficient in almost all areas of the game.
This one should be a good one. I don’t think Aubin-Mercier poses much of a finishing threat to Hernandez, but I do think Hernandez poses a finishing to Aubin-Mercier. I see Hernandez getting a highlight-reel finish or I see the crafty veteran winning a very calculated decision. I think the first option is the likeliest outcome.
Jordan Mein def. Alex Morono
Islam Makhachev def. Kajan Johnson
Hakeem Dawodu def. Austin Arnett
Gadzhimurad Antigulov def. Ion Cutelaba
John Makdessi def. Ross Pearson
Alexis Davis def. Katlyn Chookagian
Dustin Ortiz def. Matheus Nicolau
Randa Markos def. Nina Ansaroff
Devin Powell def. Álvaro Herrera