The Ultimate Fighting Championship's return to ABC is buoyed by a solid slate of nine prelims on ESPN. Jim Miller's 37th UFC bout takes featured prelim status, as the beloved vet looks to hold serve against rising prospect Joe Solecki. But there are a lot of other things to like here; Scott Holtzman faces Mateusz Gamrot in a fascinating lightweight bout, while Hunter Azure takes on Jack Shore in a clash of underrated bantamweight prospects. There's a bunch of underrated talent dotting these prelims, including some debuting fighters, and then there's the requisite unranked heavyweight madness between Yorgan De Castro and Jarjis Danho. All in all, a solid appetizer for the main card.
LightweightsJim Miller (32-15, 1 N/C | 21-14, 1 N/C UFC) vs. Joe Solecki (10-2 | 2-0 UFC)
Odds: Solecki (-235), Miller (+195)
This marks Jim Miller's 37th walk to the Octagon, and the beloved vet has spent the last few years proving that he still has something left in the tank. Miller fell out of true title contention sometime around 2014, and there were a few times where it looked like he had fallen off a cliff; but as it turns out, Miller was dealing with an undiagnosed case of Lyme disease during much of that time, and with that in order he's settled in as a solid gatekeeper. Miller's still capable of shocking both of his veteran peers and some raw prospects for a quick finish; as recently as June, he scored a quick armbar in a huge upset of Roosevelt Roberts. But between his age and all the wear suffered from his fights, the cracks are starting to show a bit in deeper waters; while Miller's hung tough, Scott Holtzman picked him apart and Vinc Pichel out-wrestled him in later rounds. Miller's back on gatekeeper duty here against Solecki, who's made a name for himself as a strong grappler in his two UFC bouts thus far. Solecki immediately put on a wrestling and grappling clinic against Matt Wiman in his UFC debut, and his lone 2020 bout saw him flash some hands before hopping on Austin Hubbard's back and grabbing a quick submission. If Solecki messes around on the feet for any length of time there's a chance he gets caught by Miller, but as long as Solecki takes the initiative, he should be able to get off to a hot start and tire Miller out sooner rather than later. If this makes it past a round, Solecki should take the victory - it's just a matter of whether or not Miller can survive to the final horn. The pick is Solecki via decision.
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