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UFC Fight Night Rotterdam: Bleacher Report Main-Card Staff Predictions


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Stefan Struve is back and he's still very, very tall.
Stefan Struve is back and he's still very, very tall.Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

After nearly a month off surrounding the boxing super-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, the UFC is back with UFC Fight Night 115 in Rotterdam.

The trip to the Netherlands, fittingly, is full of Dutch and Dutch-style fighters. The main card is as follows:

  • Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Leon Edwards vs. Bryan Barberena
  • Marion Reneau vs. Talita de Oliveira Bernardo
  • Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Rob Wilkinson

It's not much, but it's something to sate fans' hunger for cage fights and whet their appetites for UFC 215 the following week.

Naturally, the Bleacher Report predictions team is here to give its picks and breakdowns for the event. So read on and enjoy.

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Bryan Barberena has a penchant for knocking off hot prospects.
Bryan Barberena has a penchant for knocking off hot prospects.Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Nathan McCarter

So, yeah, I actually really am down for this scrap. It's probably the best on the card. I'm taking Edwards. He's on a three-fight winning streak and making strides toward the rankings. Barbarena will be a game opponent, but Edwards wins on points.

Edwards, unanimous decision

Scott Harris

Both of these guys are still improving, and this bout will be fun to watch as a result. To write them both off as simple power strikers is both incomplete and, to a point, inaccurate; they both do damage in bunches, rather than in one fell swoop. Edwards is a little sharper and a little more powerful, so he may have the edge in a potential humdinger.

Edwards, unanimous decision

Craig Amos

Edwards has tons of potential, and Barberena has developed a bit of a reputation for shutting guys like that down. But Edwards is no Sage Northcutt. He'll have his way in this one and stop Barberena inside the distance.

Edwards, TKO, Rd. 2

Steven Rondina

Everything on paper suggests that Barberena is going to catch a loss here...but yeah. That's where he gets most of his wins. I'll go with my gut over my head here.

Barberena, unanimous decision

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Marion Reneau has cooled down after a hot start to her UFC career.
Marion Reneau has cooled down after a hot start to her UFC career.Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

McCarter

Germaine de Randamie pulled out of this contest which means no co-main event slot for Marion Reneau. She does get an easier fight against a newcomer. With a full camp and a point to prove, I'll take Reneau by TKO.

Reneau, TKO, Rd. 2

Harris

Just when you didn't think Germaine de Randamie could get any less popular, she pulls out of a fight on late notice in front of her hometown fans. Fair or not, that's going to bring the old Q rating down a few more pegs. Meanwhile, De Oliveira has never fought in the UFC before. Reneau and her aggressive striking should have a field day.

Reneau, TKO, Rd. 2

Amos

After a blistering start to her UFC tenure, Reneau has gone through a bit of a rough patch. A tussle with a green opponent should help to remedy that, allowing her to post the eighth win of her career. I'll jump on board to call the finish.

Reneau, TKO, Rd. 3

Rondina

I'm not completely checked out on Reneau as a contender quite yet. I think she has the physical tools and technical skills to hang with some of the better bantamweights out there, and I think she'll showcase that here with a clean-decision win.

Reneau, unanimous decision

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Siyar Bahadurzada's best days seem to be in the past.
Siyar Bahadurzada's best days seem to be in the past.Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

McCarter

This is your co-main event. Bahadurzada vs. some guy they plucked out of obscurity as a late replacement. I think we know how that'll turn out.

Bahadurzada, TKO, Rd. 1

Harris

Bahadurzada is not a young man anymore. At 33 years old, this is only his second fight in four years. His corner better have the oil can ready, especially against a power wrestler in the undefeated Wilkinson, who should be able to get takedowns without taking a great deal of damage.

Wilkinson, unanimous decision

Amos

Wilkinson is untested, but he presents a bad stylistic matchup for Bahadurzada, whose game has some holes. The newcomer will exploit those, frustrating the Afghan fighter and keeping him on defense. The final horn will sound before the veteran is able to mount much of a comeback.

Wilkinson, unanimous decision

Rondina

Bahadurzada, at one point, showed a few flashes of being a high-end fighter. Wilkinson might have something going on, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Bahadurzada, unanimous decision

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Alexander Volkov is a very big man.
Alexander Volkov is a very big man.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

McCarter

I like the strides Mr. Struve has made since his return to action, and Volkov isn't a killer inside the cage. The Dutchman will utilize his length well both on the feet and on the mat. This is a statement fight that moves Struve back into contention where he'll have one more chance to make his case as a top-tier heavyweight.

Struve, submission, Rd. 2

Harris

Struve is far more popular than former Bellator champ Volkov. That plus the fact he's fighting in front of a friendly crowd may give the appearance of a stronger psychological veneer than he actually has. Volkov has dished out 18 knockouts in his pro career, so if the Dutchman wants a banger, he'll get it. I'm thinking his chin ultimately lets Struve and the Dutch fans down.

Volkov, TKO, Rd. 3

Amos

Struve sometimes feels like a knockout waiting to happen, but Volkov doesn't inspire enough confidence to make this a foregone conclusion. The Dutch crowd will bring out the best in their guy, and we've already seen just how deep he can dig. It'll be a dicey first round, but Struve will survive and gut out the victory.

Struve, submission, Rd. 3

Rondina

I'm with Scott on this one. Struve is most certainly the better-known fighter among UFC fans, but Volkov didn't get to where he is by accident. I'm expecting the Russian to use his underrated striking to score points and show just enough in the wrestling department to seal a boring decision win.

Volkov, unanimous decision

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