UFC on ABC 4: Quick Picks and Prognostications
MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the UFC’s top bouts. Today, we look at the main card for UFC on ABC 4.
UFC on ABC 4 takes place Saturday at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C. The main card airs on ABC following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.
Last event’s results: 2-3
Overall picks for UFC main cards in 2023: 39-36-3
Welcome to MMAJunkie’s Quick Picks and Prognostications, in which I’ll be giving brief, fight-day breakdowns for UFC main cards.
With that in mind, I hope these write-ups don’t come off as curt or dismissive. My goal here is to offer quick picks and analysis in a digestible format.
If you’d like more detailed analysis from me, then feel free to check out my weekly show, The Protect Ya’ Neck Podcast.
So, without further ado …
Tim Means (+180) vs. Alex Morono (-225)
Tim Means vs. Alex Morono
Kicking off the main card is a potential welterweight war between Tim Means and Alex Morono.
I’m admittedly a big fan of both of these fighters, so seeing either lose is gonna suck on some level. That said, I find myself leaning toward the underdog in this spot.
Although Morono is the deserved favorite, the Fortis MMA fighter traditionally has struggled with southpaws and competent counterpunchers.
• Alex Morono, who faces Tim Means at #UFCCharlotte, is 0-1 opposite UFC-level lefties, losing a split to Keita Nakamura in ‘17.
Morono had some solid ideas but struggled with classic southpaw counters/double-attack.
Also a classic ex. of bodywork/counters not scored properly: pic.twitter.com/MBos3Al348
— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) May 12, 2023
Means’ chin has not inspired confidence as of late, but I believe that his southpaw counters and underrated wrestling will keep this fight competitive so long as he can successfully navigate the first five minutes.
I’ll take Means by decision.
Carlos Ulberg (-450) vs. Ihor Potieria (+325)
Carlos Ulberg vs. Ihor Potieria
Filling out the main card is a light-heavyweight encounter between Carlos Ulberg and Ihor Potieria.
After his “stirring tribute” to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua after nearly decapitating the elder statesman in front of his home country, Potieria now finds himself as a big underdog to the fast-rising Ulberg.
Even though I don’t disagree with Ulberg being favored, I warn anyone discounting the “The Duelist.”
Ulberg may be the more technical striker, but the City Kickboxing rep has shown past issues with southpaws who press the action from their power side.
• Carlos Ulberg, who faces Ihor Potieria at #UFCCharlotte, is 1-1 opposite UFC-level lefties (W: F. Cherant, L: K. Nzechukwu)
Ulberg has good lead-hand savvy against southpaws and works all 3 levels with kicks & punches. He struggled w/SP crosses and when his back hit the cage: pic.twitter.com/OyCWB7VlPt
— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) May 12, 2023
I’ll still semi-reluctantly side with Ulberg to draw Potieria onto a left hand of his own, but it’s “dog or pass” from a betting perspective.
Daniel Rodriguez (+240) vs. Ian Machado Garry (-300)
Daniel Rodriguez vs. Ian Machado Garry
Serving as another solid offering at welterweight is an important matchup between Daniel Rodriguez and Ian Machado Garry.
Despite the numbers above seeming a bit wide at first glance, I can totally understand the enthusiasm for Garry in this spot.
Aside from the fact that people from Garry’s part of the world tend to back their fighters at the betting window, the Irish prospect is developing a solid game that’s worth keeping an eye on. That said, Garry will undeniably be taking a step up when he meets Rodriguez this Saturday.
Aside from having a deceptive record and a knack for defying the odds, Rodriguez is a dangerous southpaw puncher who can operate coming forward or off the counter.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Rodriguez is able to bust up Garry’s nose early with his jab, but “D-Rod” will need to make sure that the Irishman isn’t allowed to establish a lead hand of his own.
Garry also had a fun fight with Gabe Green, who is a stance switcher who likes to fight from southpaw. Green found success when going to the body/corralling Garry against the cage, but Garry was able to break up his rhythm after establishing his range/lead hand #TheSouthpawReport pic.twitter.com/0PEkIGGzrt
— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) May 11, 2023
It’s not the pick I thought I’d be making, but I’ll take Garry to knock out Rodriguez off an overthrown cross in the second round.
Anthony Smith (-110) vs. Johnny Walker (-110)
Anthony Smith vs. Johnny Walker
The co-main event in Charlotte features a battle between ranked light heavyweights Anthony Smith and Johnny Walker.
Although Walker appears to finally be putting it all together under the care of John Kavanagh and company, I still find myself leaning toward the more experienced man in this spot.
Smith is coming off an injury-related loss to Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 277 last summer, but he appears to be fully rehabilitated and back with his old coach, Marc Montoya (who is a coach and cornerman that doesn’t get the due he deserves).
Even though it feels like I’m setting myself up for a classic letdown, I’ll side with Smith to survive the early storm and pick up a club-n-sub win in round three.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+400) vs. Jailton Almeida (-550)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Jailton Almeida
The main event on ABC is a heavyweight showdown between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Jailton Almeida.
Despite typically being suspicious of anything over a 2-1 spread in heavyweight MMA, I understand the sentiment of the betting line posted above.
Even though Rozenstruik is more than capable of knocking anyone in the UFC into orbit with a single punch, the native of Suriname has still left a lot to be desired when it comes to his ground game and counter-wrestling.
If Almeida is able to successfully change levels underneath Rozenstruik’s strikes, then it should only be a matter of time before “Malhadinho” is able to secure a dominant position. The pick is Almeida by first-round submission.