Rising lightweight finishers Terrance McKinney and Nazim Sadykhov are poised to kick off the main card this weekend at the UFC Apex.
McKinney, eager to rebound from a crushing KO defeat at the hands of Ismael Bonfim in a thrilling clash back in January, aims to reestablish his momentum. Meanwhile, Sadykhov seeks to extend the impressive knockout streak he’s had since his debut on Dana White’s Contender Series.
With their highly versatile skill sets and both fighters being at the athletic prime of their careers, this matchup guarantees to deliver a captivating spectacle that will engage even the newest of fight fans.
With both fighters showcasing similar skill sets and physical attributes, this fight opens as a near pick ’em in favor of Sadykhov.
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Despite their exceptional well-roundedness in both striking and grappling, these fighters possess distinct styles that add an intriguing dynamic to this matchup. Sadykhov, a remarkable boxing talent, exhibits lightning-quick combinations and employs intricate angles to unleash a barrage of devastating kicks from a distance. His ability to maintain range and deliver precise strikes creates a constant threat to his opponents. He’s relatively effective from within the clinch and, while he doesn’t initiate grappling exchanges, he’s extremely good at recovering guard to scramble to his feet. On top of this, he has monstrous ground-and-pound that he uses to maul his opponents after he hurts them on the feet.
On the other hand, McKinney is a natural wrestler who has a much more relentless approach. He employs his striking skills to close the distance, stepping into the pocket to either shoot for his opponent’s legs for a takedown or initiate a dominant clinch exchange. McKinney’s wrestling prowess allows him to dictate the pace of the fight and control his opponents on the ground. He has both exceptional ground-and-pound and a calculated submission game, making him a serious threat when on top.
His striking, however, is far more dynamic and multi-dimensional than most grapplers, however, as he uses a variety of advanced concepts and techniques in order to get his opponents to bite on both feinted takedowns and punches. Like many exciting fighters, however, his main deficit is his overeagerness to step in the pocket, which has gotten him brutalized against the aforementioned Ismael Bonfim and Drew Dober. If McKinney wants to win this fight, he must stay disciplined and not get countered by a striker as powerful as Sadykhov.
Prediction and Betting Guide
This is definitely one of the tougher fights of the weekend to pick, and it really depends on how McKinney shows up more so than Sadykhov. On one hand, it’s very likely that McKinney could take Sadykhov down and control him for the duration of the fight, while on the other hand, it’s equally likely that Sadykhov could clip McKinney on his way in. If Sadykhov does win, however, I see no way other than knockout.
However, oddsmakers see this the same way, putting it at a mostly unprofitable +130. It’s likely the best payout you could get aside from betting on rounds; however, McKinney by submission is also relatively possible and looks nice at +350.
Nonetheless, the contrast in styles between Sadykhov’s striking finesse and McKinney’s relentless wrestling makes this matchup all the more captivating, as fans can anticipate an exciting clash of contrasting techniques.
Pick: Sadykhov Moneyline (-130) or Sadykhov by Knockout (+130) or McKinney by Submission (+350)