UFC Fight Night 202 will be held this Saturday at UFC Apex. The exciting lineup of fighters on the card includes Canadian fighter Misha Cirkunov and Brazil’s Wellington Turman. Coming off of two losses, Misha Cikunov looks to finally bounce back after a loss in his middleweight debut. However, he maintains that the drop in weight is a wise decision, electing to stay at 185lb for a second bid at victory.
For Turman, his UFC career thus far has been filled with mixed results, but after a hard-fought victory over Sam Alvey last August, he looks to finally string together his first win streak within the UFC. Should he be able to defeat Cirkunov, Turman would not only be securing back-to-back wins but also a win over the biggest name of his career yet.
The Canadian MMA veteran Misha Cirkunov will come in as the slight betting favorite with Turman the slightest of underdogs at just +102.
- Cirkunov: -120
- Turman: +102
Wellington Turman and Misha Cirkunov is a bit of a young prospect vs. the veteran type of match.Turman is a dynamic exciting young fighter, with speed and smoothness that Cirkunov doesn’t quite match to. However, he is also a bit more reckless, and has a history of trading with opponents when it isn’t necessary. Turman typically strikes very smoothly, but when he is caught in a flurry of strikes, he resigns himself to eating more strikes as he tries to regain respect with one of his own big shots rather than looking to escape danger, disengage and reset.
Contrastingly, Cirkunov is a bit more stiff and a lot of his striking movements are slower and stronger, he uses an upright stance with his feet closer together which means he isn’t really looking to burst a great distance to close range. However, he typically utilizes his jab from the southpaw stance and a high tight left guard to cover himself as he strikes and then fades away. Often he ends up taking a shot in order to land the counter such as the right hook, but doesnt have the kind of head movement to always get away from that initial exchange.
Cirkunov typically tends to be a slower starter, although he showed improvement in his last fight. The aggressive Turman may take advantage of this and get an early start; however, Cirukov’s main goal is likely to get the fight to the floor and he does his best when his takedowns meet overly aggressive opponents crashing forward anyway. Cirkunov has a great reactive double leg and he chains trips and throws should the takedown lead to the clinch instead. Turman is no slouch here either though, grappling also being his largest strength. Where Cirkunov sticks to his opponents like glue and looks to stay tight and mat return until he sees a submission opening, Turman will float in top position until he feels the right moment to lay on the pressure. Regardless, however, Turman wants to scramble on the feet to chain his takedowns together but if Cirkunov can stay crafty on the feet and use his veteran fight IQ to pick at Turman he may be able to catch the counter takedown to Turman’s strikes and avoid the scramble altogether.
Turman’s biggest hole in his game is there is a disjunction between his striking and grappling, and he doesn’t always stitch them together. He will resign himself to exchanging strikes and then reset and attempt naked shots rather than setting them up with strikes when he decides it’s time to grapple. This is dangerous on the bottom as he goes to traditional sweeps that may expose him to strikes. Standing if he gets caught up in the striking contest Cirkunov will be the one to keep the fight mixed to all elements of fighting.
Ultimately I think that although Turman is the scrappier fighter and holds the speed and fluidity advantage on the feet, Cirkunov can take advantage of his aggressive nature and relative greenness in the UFC. I think that Cirkunov baits Turman’s forward momentum and attacks reactive takedowns, utilizing his tight wrestling game and finding a submission victory.
Prediction: Misha Cirkunov to win via submission
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.