Most of the best stuff for UFC Fight Night 187 on Saturday in Las Vegas can be found on the main card, but the prelims have their high points—most notably the top two bouts. Angela Hill returns to action, and her rematch with Ashley Yoder in the featured slot should provide a solid showcase for how far the two strawweights have progressed since their first fight. Second from the top rests a guaranteed banger between Charles Jourdain and Ultimate Fighting Championship newcomer Marcelo Rojo. Those alone should help carry the rest.
Now to the preview for the UFC Fight Night “Edwards vs. Muhammad” prelims:
Women’s Strawweight#12 | Angela Hill (12-9, 7-9 UFC) vs. NR | Ashley Yoder (8-6, 3-5 UFC)
ODDS: Hill (-380), Yoder (+315)
This was not a rematch that was on the tip of anyone’s tongue, but it should still be a fun bout between two fighters that have improved greatly since their initial 2017 bout. Hill was essentially thrown to the wolves in her first UFC stint, as she had all of one professional mixed martial arts bout prior to her appearance on “The Ultimate Fighter.” As the UFC sorted out its strawweight division, Hill’s development did not seem to be much of a priority. She was quickly thrown into tough matchups against Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas, then was subsequently cut. Hill figured to make her way back to the Octagon at some point, but her post-UFC run was still particularly impressive. She put together four straight wins, became the Invicta Fighting Championships strawweight titleholder and was re-signed by the UFC in less than a year. Her return fight resulted in an impressive performance in a loss to Jessica Andrade, and she has had a successful—if often frustrating—career since. Hill has rounded out her game and solved the cardio issues that plagued her earlier fights, but she still does not have one standout skill that allows her to truly put a stamp on a victory. Still, Hill is almost never truly out of a fight, so the result is a lot of close fights that can go either way. Hill’s willingness to fight frequently—at one point, she had six fights over the course of just 11 months—eventually earned her enough notice to get some prominent fights in 2020, but they did not include a breakthrough win. Many felt that split decision losses to Claudia Gadelha and Michelle Waterson should have gone Hill’s way. Hill looks to rebound here against Yoder, who has also suffered her share of frustratingly close losses. Yoder came into the UFC as a fairly one-dimensional grappler, but she has become a well-rounded fighter in her own right. However, she is held back by not being a quick athlete and not having a consistent approach. While Yoder has been able to hang with some tough grapplers like Mackenzie Dern, Randa Markos and Livinha Souza, she was unable to turn any of those fights from narrow losses into narrow wins. Yoder might be able to overwhelm Hill as a grappler, but Hill has shown enough at this point that she should be able to keep this fight standing and score the victory. The pick is Hill via decision.
Continue Reading » Jourdain vs. Rojo