The UFC puts its first title fight on Fight Pass as champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on Jessica Penne in the UFC's return to Germany. The card also features a co-main event between top 15 featherweights as well as an assortment of European prospects.
Will Jedrzejczyk retain her title or is Penne about to bring the gold back to the United States? I answer these questions and more with my predictions for Saturday's fights.
What: UFC Fight Night: Jedrzejczyk vs. Penne
Where: O2 World, Berlin, Germany
When: Saturday, the seven-fight Fight Pass card starts at 12 p.m. ET while the four-fight Fight Pass main card starts at 3 p.m.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Penne
Penne is one of my favorite fighters to watch and I'm deeply respectful of her skills on the mat, but unless she can force her Polish opponent to accommodate her or unless Jedrzejczyk feels like playing to Penne's strengths, I don't think we'll see much of them. Jedrzejczyk's takedown defense is sturdy and on the feet, she's likely to exploit Penne's inability to strike and move. Maybe I'm overlooking something, but this feels like a very winnable fight for the champ.
Kawajiri used to be the better wrestler, but I don't know anymore. I'm not suggesting Siver is some youthful product either, but while he's experienced decline as well, he's managed to round out his game some with age. I believe Kawajiri might over power him early, but Siver will adapt, stuff takedowns and pot shot at distance with turning kicks and straight punching combinations.
Sobotta should cruise here. Kennedy's coming in on short notice, Sobotta's takedown defense is adequate for the purposes here and while Sobotta's striking isn't necessarily fearsome, it's well rounded and generally complete. This is his fight to lose.
If Hein gets a little reckless on the feet, Sajewski can make him pay. The Polish fighter hasn't quite put it all together, but isn't so outmatched on the aggressive if unpolished Hein when it comes to striking. However, if Hein decides to mix in his tough array of clinch takedowns to keep Sajewski off balanced and guessing, that should be enough to nullify him.
From the preliminary card:
Makwan Amirkhani def. Masio Fullen
Mairbek Taisumov def. Alan Patrick
Arnold Allen def. Alan Omer
Niklas Backstrom def. Noad Lahat
Scott Askham def. Antonio dos Santos
Piotr Hallmann def. Magomed Mustafaev
Taylor Lapilus def. Yuta Sasaki