By Chad Cooper
UFC comes to the Bon Secours Wellness Arena (mouthful) for the first time in company history this Saturday, June 22, in Greenville, South Carolina for a 12-fight card beginning at 3 p.m. CST with 7 prelims on ESPN 2.
The main card, which features five scraps, is set for 6 p.m. CST and will be shown exclusively on ESPN+.
Main Event (featherweights)
#5 Renato Moicano (13-2-1) vs. #12 “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (14-5)
Odds: Moicano (-200), Zombie (+170)
Both fighters are coming off a KO loss in their last fight. Moicano was stopped by Jose Aldo and the Zombie, who was winning most of his last fight, was dropped in the waning seconds by Yair Rodriguez. Moicano can kick like a mule but has never won by KO. The Korean Zombie, on the other hand, is one of the most exciting fighters in MMA. Dude has been in multiple wars and I love him for that.
Everyone and their mamma are on Moicano, and rightfully so, but I’m going dog here. He is wild enough to catch Moicano and help us land a decent payday.
Pick: Zombie KO, 4th Rd
#10 John “Hands of Stone” Lineker (18-2) vs. #12 Rob Font (16-4)
Odds: Lineker (-205), Font (+175)
This is a rematch from UFC 198 in 2016 when Lineker won a UD over Font. If you have a nickname like “Hands of Stone,” you better back it up and he does just that. Lineker is an aggressive striker and needs a good win after a UD loss to Cory Sandhagen. Font does possess a 4-inch reach advantage and has some nice wins over Douglas Silva de Andrade, Thomas Almeida and Sergio Pettis. Many are jumping on the +175. I’ll stick with the Brazilian Lineker.
Pick: Lineker, UD
“Bam Bam” Bryan Barberena (14-6) vs. “Rude Boy” Randy Brown (10-3)
Odds: Bam Bam (-280), Rude Boy (+210)
“Bam Mab” Barberena is a Minnesota brawler who is coming off a last-second KO loss to Vicente Luque. He loves to come forward and I’m hoping he can make quick work of Brown. Rude Boy does have a bigger reach, but tends to sit back and wait too much.
Pick: Bam Bam TKO, 2nd Rd
#10 Andrea KGB Lee (10-2) v #11 Montana De La Rosa (10-4)
Odds: KGB (-220), De La Rosa (+180)
Louisiana native KGB Lee is 2-0 in the UFC, but both have been via UD. It’s time for a highlight finish after being heralded the “next big thing.” De La Rosa is grappler, so this is the classic “Striker vs. Grappler” scenario. Lee does have decent takedown defense, but was put on the mat twice in her last fight against Ashlee Evans-Smith. De La Rosa has won 4 in a row and you know I love a good underdog.
Pick: De La Rosa SUB, 3rd Rd
“Trailblazer” Kevin Holland (15-4) vs. “Manzo” Alessio Di Chirico (12-2)
Odds: Trailblazer (-205), Manzo (+175)
Both fighters come into the Octagon on a 2-fight win streak. Texas fighter Kevin Holland is 2-0 as a betting favorite and will have a big size advantage on “Manzo.” The Italian Di Chirico is going to have to do his best “lay and pray” to have a chance at scoring the upset.
Pick: Holland UD
Prelims, 3 p.m. CST • ESPN2
Dan Ige (11-2) vs. Kevin Aguilar (16-1)
Matt Wiman (16-7) vs. Luis Pena (6-1)
Allen Crowder (10-3) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (7-0)
Ariane Lipski (11-4) vs. Molly McCann (8-2)
Deron Winn (7-1) vs. Eric Spicely (12-4)
Ashley Yoder (6-4) vs. Syuri Kondo (6-2)
Andre Ewell (13-5) vs. Anderson Dos Santos (20-7)