Despite two unsuccessful TUF bids, Nordine Taleb (14-6) opened his Octagon career 6-2, capped off by a bonus-winning knockout of Danny Roberts. He has suffered stoppage losses in his last two, however, tapping to Claudio Silva and falling to ground-and-pound from Sean Strickland.He stands four inches taller than Kyle Prepolec (12-5) at 6’1.”Prepolec hit a 2-3 skid early in his career, including a submission loss to Kevin Lee, before embarking on his current run. He claimed the BTC 165-pound title last June, then defeated late replacement Cody Pfister this past March at a 160-pound catchweight. He replaced the injured Siyar Bahadurzada on a week’s notice.Unfortunately, Prepolec’s a decent Lightweight going up against a colossal Welterweight. Taleb can hold his own on both the feet and mat and combined with his sheer physicality, he looks to have a massive edge.
Aiemann Zahabi vs. Vince Morales
Vince Morales (8-3) came up short on the Contender Series, badly hurting Domingo Pilarte but ultimately succumbing to the taller man’s venomous grappling. After a victory in Bellator, Morales answered the call when Frankie Saenz suffered an injury, facing and falling to Song Yadong on short notice in Beijing. He has knocked out five pro opponents and submitted another two.Zahabi is still a solid fighter and his grappling skill makes him a threat to the striking-focused Morales. The question is how good he’ll look after the huge layoff. Though I have my concerns on that front, the stylistic matchup is far enough in his favor that I’m comfortable picking him.Zahabi failed to impress against other strong grapplers in previous contests against Vieira and Ramos. However, against a striking specialist with a limited ground game, I expect him to look a lot better. I’ll take him to wear Morales down for a round and a half or so before locking him up in a decision.
Cub Swanson vs. Shane Burgos
After nearly breaking into title contention in 2017, Swanson has suffered three straight losses, generally looking a bit uninspired inside the Octagon.If Swanson is not feeling motivated, he should avoid stepping into the cage with Burgos, because the man is a killer. One of Featherweight’s top prospects, Burgos is a ruthlessly aggressive boxer with serious power in his hands. A seriously large Featherweight, Burgos excels at forcing his opponent to throw something at him, only for Burgos to react with a slick counter combination.I really hope Swanson is in top form on Saturday night, because this has the potential to be “Fight of the Night” and help save a possibly dull card. If Swanson is on his game, his movement and calf kicks would go a long way in disrupting Burgos’ offensive rhythm, allowing Swanson to work in his own combinations.
UFC Fight Night 150 Battle Worth Watching
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee Swanson will rally back in this fight. Even worse, Burgos is prepared for even the best Swanson has to offer. The 28-year-old “Hurricane” is too powerful, too aggressive, and too slick not to land something devastating, and at this point, I don’t know that Swanson will be able to recover.