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UFC Fight Night 87 predictions

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC kicks off a busy month of May by hosting their debut in Holland. The card features a number of top contender bouts plus a heavyweight main event with major title implications.

What: UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Arlovski

Where: Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Holland

When: Sunday, UFC Fight Pass has three fights starting at 10:30 a.m. ET; FOX Sports 1 has rest of card starting at 12 p.m. ET with the main card at 2 p.m. ET.

Alistair Overeem vs. Andrei Arlovski

This is a tough call as neither takes punishment particularly well (although, there is a case to be made that claims about Arlovski's poor chin or somewhat overstated). Either way, both have enough power to put the other's lights out in a shot or two. That's true at heavyweight, generally, but especially so here because you're dealing with two powerful, accomplished and accurate strikers. A pick in either direction is justified, but if I have to lean one direction, it's probably toward Overeem. Despite his flaws, he showed a tremendous amount of patience against JDS. More than that, he has a more diverse striking arsenal, which allows him to operate at a variety of ranges. If he's even a little careless, Arlovski will make him pay, but to the extent this fight is slowed down and fought at Overeem's kickboxing range, it's his to lose.

Pick: Overeem

Antonio Silva vs. Stefan Struve

As I mentioned above, it'd be foolish to look at virtually any heavyweight pairing and suggest the underdog has no reasonable path to victory. Silva's seen better days, but he's still a powerful puncher with an aggressive streak at times. Still, this seems like a fight Struve shouldn't lose. He claims he's over any lingering heart problems and has accordingly upped to intensity in both practice and competition, something he lost when he first returned to fighting. Silva cannot take a shot like he used to and Struve, despite being a tall fighter who doesn't use range particularly well, is only getting bigger. I'm not saying this is tailor made for the Dutch heavyweight, but this is plenty winnable.

Pick: Struve

Albert Tumenov vs. Gunnar Nelson

This is one of the best fights in May. Nelson holds a tremendous grappling advantage while Tumenov (likely) holds the edge on the feet. It's not grappler vs. striker in traditional terms because of Nelson's unorthodox ability to fight from unusual standing positions. That said, Tumenov's ability to manage distance, use brilliant shot selection and employ deadly accuracy all while avoiding trouble is what makes him a blue-chip prospect. Nelson's jiu-jitsu is incredible, but it only works in MMA if you force someone to use it against you, which is what Demian Maia did to him. Nelson's wrestling, however, is just not that strong. This fight is likely to be contested on the feet and while Nelson can hold his own there, he just doesn't possess the same sort of weaponry a special talent like Tumenov does.

Pick: Tumenov

Germaine de Randamie vs. Anna Elmose

You have to respect Elmose taking this kind of a challenge, but it likely won't end well for her. This is a closer bout that some presume despite Elmose's relatively short record. But de Randamie is a special sort of beast. Sure, she has her flaws. She's been known to be unable to peel off attackers when they pressure her against the fence despite her clinch skills, but she has significantly more combat sports experience and, frankly, striking talent at range to lose this bout to a relative novice.

Pick: de Randamie

Nikita Krylov vs. Francimar Barroso

The Ukranian's historical capacity for outrageous donkery was once legendary, but the truth is, he's gotten better. Yes, he's still reckless and yes, he still has plenty of holes in his game, but Barroso isn't the one to take advantage of them. He will in parts, to be honest, but over the course of a couple of rounds, Krylov's speed and offensive output against a fighter who likes to operate a slow, methodical pace will be the difference.

Pick: Krylov

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Heather Jo Clark

Clark is a surprisingly gifted countergrappler and is tough as nails. She doesn't wilt to punishment very easily, but in the skills department, I have a hard time seeing how she matches Kowalkiewicz. It's been said Kowalkiewicz has had a rough camp and that could make matters very interesting, but all things being equal, skills usually win fights. Kowalkiewicz is the more skilled of the two, especially standing.

Pick: Kowalkiewicz

From the preliminary card:

Rustam Khabilov def. Chris Wade
Magnus Cedenblad def. Garreth McLellan
Jon Tuck def. Josh Emmett
Yan Cabral def. Reza Madadi
Kyoji Horiguchi def. Neil Seery
Leon Edwards def. Dominic Waters
Willie Gates def. Ulka Sasaki

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