In the off chance that you haven’t figured it out just yet, Las Vegas is the center of the athletic universe this second weekend in February. On the eve of football‘s biggest night, MMA gets the spotlight when the UFC returns to its Apex facility in nearby Enterprise.
The famous Octagon returns for another Saturday night of action with UFC on ESPN+ 94 and the UFC on ESPN+ 94 main event. Live coverage of the card begins Saturday afternoon at 4 pm ET/ 1 pm PT with the prelims on ESPN+, continuing with main card fights at 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT.
All told, barring any cancellations between now and this weekend, a full 14-fight slate will be held. Your main event of the evening takes place at 185 lbs.
Hermansson Clashes With Pyfer in UFC on ESPN+ 94 Main Event
No. 11 contender Jack Hermansson (23-8 MMA, 10-6 UFC) returns to the cage after a layoff of more than a year when he takes on unranked Joe Pyfer (12-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in the headlining bout. As with all UFC main attractions, the UFC on ESPN+ 94 main event is an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.
— UFC (@ufc) February 8, 2024
UFC on ESPN+ 94 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the UFC on ESPN+ 94 main event on Saturday night, Joe Pyfer stands as the taller man at 6-foot-2, compared to the 6-foot-1 frame of Jack Hermansson. “The Joker” owns a 2 1/2-inch reach advantage (77 1/2 inches to 75 inches even) and a 5 1/2-inch leg reach advantage (46 1/2 inches to 41 inches even) over “Bodybagz”.
Presently, the oddsmakers have Joe Pyfer installed as a -275 favourite on the money line, with Jack Hermansson countering as a +210 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening over the weekend, please wager responsibly.
“The Joker” Seeking to Use UFC on ESPN+ 94 Main Event as Stepping Stone to Imavov Fight
Jack Hermansson enters the UFC on ESPN+ 94 main event on Saturday night having gone 2-3 over his last five fights. Most recently, he dropped a second-round knockout to Roman Dolidze (12-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) on Dec. 3, 2022.
After that fight, he had been slated to return to the cage last June for a fight against Brendan Allen in the main event, but this fight didn’t come to pass since Hermansson withdrew from the June 3 show due to an injury. This marked the first time in his career as a combat athlete that Hermansson needed to bow out of a match.
Hermansson revealed on Wednesday at the UFC on ESPN+ 94 media day that he’s already got an opponent in mind for his next fight if all goes well this Saturday: Nassourdine Imavov.
“This fight is the most important thing on my mind at the moment,” Hermansson told the press, “and I don’t have any big plans forward. But I would like to stay active, get a few more fights in, and if I beat Joe, I would love to be able to climb up again. I think that after Imavov’s fight last weekend, that might be a good opponent if I beat Joe.”
“The Joker” can’t afford to look too far ahead, and he says that he’s focused on Joe Pyfer in the run-up to Saturday night’s UFC on ESPN+ 94 main event. If he stays focused, Hermansson’s got a shot at besting Pyfer.
Joe Pyfer Looking to Finish Jack Hermansson on Saturday
In the other corner, Joe Pyfer, who was the lone fighter to secure a UFC deal from Dana White on his episode of Contender Series in the summer of 2022, has gone 5-0 in his last five fights dating back to Dec. 17, 2021. Last time out, he scored a second-round submission (arm-triangle choke) of Abdul Razak Alhassan (12-6 MMA, 6-6 UFC) on Oct. 7.
Wednesday, Pyfer met with the media and forecasted a stoppage in the UFC on ESPN+ 94 main event over the weekend.
“I think I knock Jack out,” Pyfer began. “He’s got a 29 per cent takedown accuracy. I’ve watched all his videos extensively. He’s very desperate with a lot of his takedowns and I think they’re very slow. I think what you guys are going to realize is that there’s a big speed differential between me and Jack. There’s a big boxing differential between me and Jack.”
A confident statement from the one they call “Bodybagz”, for certain, but can he turn his words into action? Tune in on Saturday night and find out.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the UFC on ESPN+ 94 main event looks to favour Jack Hermansson, a former Greco-Roman wrestler and Muay Thai fighter, compared to Joe Pyfer’s background as a boxer.
Hermansson Great on The Ground
Looking at Jack Hermansson’s stats, he’s got 17 career wins by stoppage. Seven of them have come by submission, including a 2020 victory on Fight Island against Kelvin Gastelum.
During the first round of a scheduled three, Hermansson and Gastelum kept their distance for a few moments before Gastelum reversed a Hermansson takedown effort to take top mount. Jack Hermansson grabbed hold of his opponent’s leg and locked in a heel hook in just a minute and 18 seconds.
If the UFC on ESPN+ 94 main event gets to the mat, Jack Hermansson can use his ground game to take control of the fight. Joe Pyfer, on the other hand, has been known to be a tough opponent to beat.
Pyfer Can Punch His Way to a Win
In the other corner, Joe Pyfer has fists of fury. One need look no further than his Contender Series win against Ozzy Diaz for a prime example.
Round two saw Pyfer land a two-punch combo with an overhand right, peppering Diaz with leg kicks. While Ozzy Diaz threw a right-handed punch of his own, Pyfer was clearly the better fighter, landing crisp jabs along the way.
A minute and 34 seconds into the period, Pyfer dropped Diaz with a left hook. A brief burst of ground-and-pound shots ended the contest as Mike Beltran waved it off a few seconds later.
Look for Joe Pyfer to come out with guns blazing in the UFC on ESPN+ 94 main event. If Pyfer is able to disrupt Jack Hermansson’s game plan, this fight is his.
Although there’s no title on the line this Saturday night, there are still high stakes in the main event. Jack Hermansson could pick up his first win in over a year and a half, while Joe Pyfer might find himself in the 185-lb. rankings by this time next week.
Prediction: Joe Pyfer by First-Round Knockout