MMA Record: 7-1
UFC Record: 1-0
Notable Wins: Matt Hamill, Darren Stewart, Phil Hawes
Notable Losses: None
Last Fight: Submission win over Darren Stewart
Fighter Profile: A standout on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Marquez had a brilliant debut when he submitted Stewart and won himself a “Performance of the Night” bonus. All seven of his pro wins have come by stoppage and he’s won five-straight fights since dropping a decision to Chris Harris in Bellator in 2016. Marquez is a very well-rounded fighter with good finishing skills on the feet and on the ground. He packs a ton of power in his strikes, and he can either knock his opponents out or submit him. He’s also very durable and looks like a guy who has potential star power. The UFC is very high on him, and I expect the promotion to keep giving him favorable style matchups to help him build up his resume and make a name for himself at 185lbs.
Alessio Di Chirico
MMA Record: 11-2
UFC Record: 2-2
Notable Wins: Oluwale Bamgbose
Notable Losses: Eric Spicely, Bojan Velickovic
Last Fight: KO win over Oluwale Bamgbose
Fighter Profile: One of the top fighters from Italy, Di Chirico has had an up-and-down start to his UFC career, alternating wins and losses through his first four bouts in the Octagon. When he’s on, we’ve seen him show off his finishing instincts such as when he brutally knocked out Bamgbose in his last fight, but when he’s off he’s looked quite, bad, getting submitted by Spicely and dropping a decision to Velickovic, a fighter no longer in the UFC. Prior to the UFC he picked up eight wins by stoppage but only has one in his four UFC bouts. He looks like a guy who can beat lesser competition, but will struggle when he steps up in competition.
Fight Breakdown: I haven’t been impressed with Di Chirico in the UFC while I think Marquez has the potential to be something really special in the middleweight division. We saw in Marquez’s UFC debut that he’s tough, durable, and finds a way to win. I think Marquez has the better striking in this fight and his ground game is better as well. I just can’t see Di Chirico surviving against a guy with so many different ways to win, and I’m going with Marquez to get the stoppage win and continue to move up the 185 ladder.
Prediction: Julian Marquez via submission