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Even as the pieces have been shuffled around in the last week, what remains of the UFC Fight Night 186 prelims on Saturday looks fun on paper. The featured slot goes to a strong lightweight affair between Alexander Hernandez and Thiago Moises, as Hernandez looks to retool and make his way back up the ladder against one of the division’s most quietly effective fighters. Meanwhile, Alexis Davis squares off with Sabina Mazo square in an excellent veteran-versus-prospect showdown, and beyond that, you find the usual slate of entertaining Dana White’s Contender Series alums.
Now to the preview for the UFC Fight Night 186 prelims:
LightweightsNR | Alexander Hernandez (12-3, 4-2 UFC) vs. NR | Thiago Moises (14-4, 3-2 UFC)
ODDS: Hernandez (-185), Moises (+160)
Hernandez certainly has packed a lot into his three years on the UFC roster, as the Texan has risen, fallen and appears to be rising once again. He made his UFC debut with a shocking 42-second knockout of Beneil Dariush, and a subsequent decision victory over Olivier Aubin-Mercier showed he was a prospect to watch. Over the course of 15 minutes, Hernandez used confidence and aggression to outpace and wear down a well-regarded opponent. That set up Hernandez for a high-profile encounter with Donald Cerrone, at which point he became the latest in a long line of prospects two whom “Cowboy” has taught some hard lessons. Hernandez said all the right things coming out of such a disheartening defeat, but his rebound win over Francisco Trinaldo raised a lot of questions. Hernandez spent the entire fight as a low-volume sniper, which led to the worry that Cerrone had beaten all of that aggression and confidence out of his game. Thankfully, 2020 saw Hernandez get back on track. He showed a bit more aggression against Drew Dober, and while that did not get him anywhere against a much sharper opponent, Hernandez absolutely obliterated Chris Gruetzemacher in October and looked like a much more effective version of his old self. Moises should provide some more resistance, as the Brazilian has quickly made a name for himself as a tough out. He feels much older than his 25 years of age thanks to a well-rounded and patient game; if anything, Moises can be too patient at times. While Moises can do a little bit of everything, his fights tend to hinge on his ability to outwrestle or outgrapple his opponent. He turned around a fight with Michael Johnson in an instant due to an Achilles lock and successfully turned his bout with Bobby Green into a grind that he narrowly won. Hernandez should bring consistent pace and aggression, so it will be interesting to see exactly how much of that Moises can nullify. In general, Hernandez has shown enough precision with his striking and strength as a wrestler that he should be able to find some success more often than not. The pick is Hernandez via decision.
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