Swedish middleweight Jack ‘The Joker’ Hermansson gets the main event spotlight in Denmark on Saturday night as he takes on Jared Cannonier at UFC Copenhagen. The in-form Hermansson should have the smarts, and the skills, to come through victorious and extend his impressive form.
Former Cage Warriors champion Hermansson is riding a four-fight win streak in the UFC’s middleweight division, having racked up victories against Thales Leites, Gerald Meerschaert, David Branch and Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza.
Now the Swede takes on Cannonier, who has found his sweet spot as a middleweight after working his way down from heavyweight, through light heavyweight, to eventually settle as a 185-pound fighter. Cannonier is dangerous and has TKO finishes of Branch and former champion Anderson Silva in his last two outings.
But despite looking solid at 185, Cannonier is something of an under-the-radar contender in the division, and Hermansson’s more impressive resumé has him as the pre-fight favourite.
Hermansson’s submission skills, in particular, give him the edge, and if he can get his man to the mat, expect ‘The Joker’ to unload a barrage of ground and pound before eventually grabbing hold of a submission and finishing the fight.
Bet of the bout: Hermansson to win by submission – 21/10
Home advantage to power Nicolas Dalby to victory
When Nicolas Dalby surged into the UFC, he was the Cage Warriors welterweight champion and a man on a mission. But, personal problems dogged his time at the top and he eventually ended up back on the European scene. Now, after rediscovering his mojo, and his form, ‘Lokomotovo’ is back, and ready to make his octagon return on home soil in Copenhagen.
He faces a really tough test in Alex ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira, a Brazilian who is as dangerous with his strikes as he is with his submissions. But the Brazilian’s fast and loose style does present opportunities for a smart, aggressive fighter to exploit, and I like Dalby’s underdog odds here.
Powered by a newfound self-belief and inspired by the occasion of fighting for the UFC in his home town, I’m expecting Dalby to turn in the performance of his life as he pushes forward looking to connect with his slick strikes.
I can see him eventually breaking down Oliveira and earning a late finish, possibly even with a head-kick KO.
Bet of the bout: Dalby to win via KO/TKO – 5/1
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Diakiese’s power the deciding factor
English lightweight star Marc ‘Bonecrusher’ Diakiese is one of the most spectacular strikers to emerge from the UK for a while, and he faces a match-up that looks a near certainty for Fight of the Night honours.
Diakiese takes on fellow crowd-pleaser ‘Groovy’ Lando Vannata on the preliminary card in a bout that should deliver plenty of fireworks and, more likely than not, a spectacular finish.
Both men have a vast array of striking techniques, but it’s Diakiese who possesses the greater power, particularly in his hands. He also has an evolving wrestling game that should help prevent Vannata from switching to takedowns to avoid getting caught up in a firefight.
Diakiese loves nothing better than entertaining the crowd, and he’ll be looking to produce another stunning finish to rival his incredible one-shot KO of Teemu Packalen two years ago in London (see above).
Bet of the bout: Diakiese to win by KO/TKO – 7/2
Jack Shore to kick off with a win
He may be in the first fight of the night, but Jack Shore’s bout with Nohelin Hernandez is undoubtedly the biggest of his young career.
The Welshman was signed by the UFC after his stint as Cage Warriors bantamweight champion and is now looking to make a name for himself on the big stage, starting on Saturday night.
Shore is strong and powerful at the weight, has slick hands and a solid wrestling game. It all adds up to a skillset that should see him get an impressive first win inside the octagon, most likely inside the distance.
Bet of the bout: Shore to win by KO/TKO or submission – 6/5
* All odds correct at time of posting.