UFC Austin predictions: Late ‘Prelims’ undercard preview | Emmett vs. Kattar

This Saturday evening (June 18, 2022), Featherweight knockout artists Josh Emmett and Calvin Kattar will duel in a main event showcase that’s sure to thrill.

Taking place inside Moody Center in Texas, UFC Austin features an unusual number of action fights. Men like Joe Lauzon, Donald Cerrone, Kevin Holland, Joaquin Buckley and Gregory Rodrigues are all accustomed to fights ending before the bell and extra performance bonuses, so the likelihood of a very fun card seems high.

Prior to the main card, eight “Prelims” undercard bouts will set the stage, four of which have already been analyzed right here. Let’s dig into those remaining scraps …

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FEATHERWEIGHT FIREWORKS! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Austin, Texas, for the first time since 2018 to hold its first event in the brand-new Moody Center on Sat., June 18, 2022. Headlining the event will be a Featherweight match up sure to deliver fireworks as No. 4-ranked contender, Calvin Kattar, takes on No. 7-seeded Josh Emmett. In UFC Austin’s co-main event, Cowboy Cerrone finally locks horns with fellow veteran, Joe Lauzon, while respected veteran, Tim Means, battles fan favorite Kevin Holland, one fight prior.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

135 lbs.: Adrian Yanez vs. Tony Kelley

This is a rather strange bit of matchmaking.

Undefeated (4-0) inside the Octagon, Adrian Yanez (15-3) has picked up a trio of knockout wins and four performance bonuses in his young UFC career. The 28-year-old Texan is one of the most promising Contenders Series signees, a very slick and composed kickboxer with real knockout power. When a young fighter is brought in by the champion to emulate Petr Yan and help him prepare for a title fight, you know his potential is sky high.

After picking up a “Fight of the Night” bonus in defeat opposite Kai Kamaka, Tony Kelley (8-2) dropped to Bantamweight and picked up a pair of victories. Lately, the Muay Thai striker has been making headlines for the wrong reasons, like racist corner comments and a unique insistence on driving cross country for his fights to avoid mask regulations.

UFC rarely brings up prospects slowly, but that seems to be the case here. Yanez just went to war with Davey Grant and came out ahead, scoring the best win of his career and proving himself the real deal in the process. Grant is more accomplished, and more important, seems simply better than Kelley, so this is definitely a step back in competition for Yanez.

Kelley’s dangerous, but he’s precisely the type of wild striker that will walk into Yanez’s counter shots. Unless he can really destroy the boxer’s lead leg early, it’s going to be a rough night for “Prime Time.”

Prediction: Yanez via knockout

125 lbs.: Jasmine Jasudavicius vs. Natalie Silva

I don’t know that expectations were particularly high surrounding Jasmine Jasudavicious (7-1) when she was signed to the roster, but the Niagara Top Team-trained talent has done quite well. Perfect (2-0) inside the Octagon, Jasudavicius has showed a very solid understanding of wrestling and top pressure that has frustrated her opponents.

She’ll face a fellow grappler in Natalie Cristina Silva (12-5-1), who’s making her UFC debut. Silva fills a rare strategic role that only really continues to exist in women’s MMA: armbar specialist! That specific joint lock accounts for four of the victories on her current six-fight win streak.

There are two potential outcomes here. By all rights, Jasudavicius has showed the superior wrestling skills necessary to drag her foe down, and her control thus far on the mat has been technical and effective. That should be enough to secure victory, as hunting for armbars from bottom position is very rarely a successful strategy at the UFC level, but … it does happen. It especially does happen in women’s MMA fighters on undercards.

Still, I am not the type to predict lightning to strike. Jasudavicius has the far more likely path to victory, and hopefully, her team has armbar defense and avoidance strategies well drilled into her brain after her recent fight camp.

Prediction Jasudavicius via decision

170 lbs.: Court McGee vs. Jeremiah Wells

There’s nothing I respect more than a fighter like Court McGee (21-10). “The Crusher” was never going to ascend UFC’s ranks as champion, but he’s absolutely maximized what physical gifts he does have thanks to his work ethic and hard-nosed fighting style. McGee throws punches-in-bunches, distracting his opponent until the takedown opens up.

If it doesn’t, McGee will scrap to the final bell.

Jeremiah Wells (10-2-1) is the much, much more athletic man in this match up. The 35-year-old CFFC veteran is a bit of a wild man, happy to lunge after his opponent with huge punches and chase the knockout. Fortunately, he backs up that aggression with solid Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

This is simultaneously a perfect fight for McGee, and one that could easily backfire. Stylistically, Wells’ wildness is likely to land him in bottom position versus the underrated wrestler. Based on Wells’ fighting style, age and musculature, the odds of him being able to keep up with McGee in the latter half of this contest are simply not great.

Everything lines up for a classic grindy McGee decision.

The problem, however, is that Wells does hit damn hard, and McGee is 37 years old himself. McGee is still durable and tough, but he’s a touch older now, and his knees are wobbled more often by punches than they once were. It is distinctly possible that Wells comes out of the gate swinging and floors McGee, either finishing or building a huge early lead.

As mentioned in the above prediction, however, I am an analyst who will almost always side with consistency over flash-in-the-pan dynamism. Sometimes it pays off, other times it bites me, but to thine own self be true.

Prediction: McGee via decision

145 lbs.: Ricardo Ramos vs. Danny Chavez

Ricardo Ramos (15-4) is a funky fighter. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has a really well-rounded skill set. He can strike, wrestle and submit quite well. However, he also greatly enjoys high risk techniques like jumping kicks and spinning elbows, and sometimes, he can wonder a little too far in that direction to his own detriment.

Since returning to Featherweight, Ramos has evenly split four bouts.

Florida’s Danny Chavez (11-4-1) is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt himself, possessing some knockout power in his hands. His UFC results thus far have been inconsistent (1-1-1), but “The Colombian Warrior” is looking to change that in his eleventh year as a professional.

Ramos does take chances and make some iffy calls in the cage, but he’s still gone toe-to-toe with pretty elite talent like Zubaira Tukhugov and Said Nurmagomedov at just 26 years of age. He’s getting better, too, as Ramos showed some of his best work yet in the recent defeat to Tukhugov.

In this match up, he’s going to be the far more athletic man, and he’ll have a size advantage to boot. That’s going to make Chavez’s usual takedown-heavy strategy difficult, and on the feet, Ramos is simply the better man.

He returns to the win column in style.

Prediction: Ramos via knockout

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Austin fight card right here, starting with the ESPN2/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN2/ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Austin: “Emmett vs. Kattar” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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