Matchroom’s Saturday night card lost one of its four world title fights (the one you’d have most comfortably predicted to get scrapped), but it’s still a card with three world title fights, and we’ve got good action elsewhere this weekend, too.
Who wins Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez vs Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on Saturday? Our picks for that and four more fights!
Scott Christ (41-18)
I really, really, really like Bam Rodriguez. I think he’s got an incredible future in the sport, he’s going to be a long-time contender and champion who mixes with a lot of the top names. Starting it like this might suggest where I’m going.
I think Rodriguez has the skills to win this fight clearly, but Rungvisai is a big, bruising 115 lb fighter who can still crack plenty, and Rodriguez showed too much willingness to engage in the pocket with Carlos Cuadras. Cuadras has more skills than Rungvisai, but the Thai hits harder, and when he does damage, he knows it and follows up. And when he builds that sort of downhill momentum, it’s really tough to stop him.
I’m rooting for Rodriguez here, honestly. I’d love to see a young fighter with his skills stake a claim up near the top of what has been a fantastic division to watch for years now, and still can be. I love his ambition, his confidence, and his belief in his ability. But I’m picking the veteran to catch an opening and force a stoppage in a fight that begs for a rematch. I won’t be surprised if Bam’s youth and energy prevail, but perhaps because I am aging out of cultural relevance, I am rolling with the vet. It’s this or I could pretend boxing has ever been honorable or PPV undercards have been any good in the last two decades. Gotta pick your spots. Rungvisai TKO-10
Wil Esco (46-13)
This is a fight that I could honestly see going either way, but I think it’ll largely be dependent on how Bam Rodriguez can hold up against a big super flyweight. Yes, Rodriguez showed he was skilled enough to move up in weight when he beat Carlos Cuadras, but Sor Rungvisai is a bigger, stronger fighter than Cuadras and packs a bigger punch. Conversely, and the thing I’m leaning on here, is that Sor Rungvisai is 35 years old now, has more miles, and isn’t so much a volume puncher.
Therefore, I think Rodriguez is going to be able to outpoint him in most of these rounds, and barring him getting clipped by a momentum-changing shot, or simply getting overpowered, I think his talent level is enough to come out on top over the distance. I’m going to take Rodriguez to score a decision. Rodriguez UD-12
John Hansen (47-12)
Bam Rodriguez is a worthy champion and an excellent role model for countless other young fighters frustratingly content to wallow in their own stale marinade. He seized a risky opportunity against Carlos Cuadras and made the most of it. His reward is an even tougher matchup with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, one I expect will be just a little outside of his capacity.
Scott already discussed the linguistic absurdity of calling someone a “large 115 lber” during this week’s podcast. But the label fits on Rungvisai. He’s as big as 115 lbers get. He’s shown he can handle fighters with stopping power and impeccable skills in Chocolatito and Juan Francisco Estrada. He has looked flat against lesser opponents on occasion, but many of those performances came while he was dealing with difficult personal issues outside of the ring. And Rungvisai clearly did enough to win each time. His only loss in eight years was in the Estrada rematch. With no disrespect to Estrada, Rungvisai did plenty to beat himself by switching away from southpaw for much of the night.
I would not be shocked at all to see Rodriguez win this fight. He’s certainly good enough, but he’s also good enough to bring out the best version of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. And we’ve already seen that version of man handle two different P4P level warriors. I expect many more years of opportunities to praise Jesse Rodriguez. But I think this night will be a setback with no shame for the younger guy. Rungvisai UD-12
Patrick Stumberg (47-12)
One of the first bosses you face in the PS4 classic Bloodborne is Father Gascoigne, a hulking brute who’s intended to serve as an introductory exam. His relentless assault and mid-fight shift into an even more bestial and powerful form force the player begin mastering the blend of aggression, dodging, and parrying that makes up the core of the game’s combat. The lessons you learn against him carry all the way to one of the final bosses, an absolute powerhouse named Gehrman who takes everything that made Gascoigne a pain and ramps it up to 11. If you didn’t take those lessons to heart, you’re in for a world of hurt.
That’s more or less how I see this one; the key to Rodriguez’s success will be whether he’s taken the right lessons from his clash with Carlos Cuadras. It’s not a 1:1 comparison, of course; beyond being a southpaw, Srisaket is noticeably slower and more flat-footed than Cuadras. But what hurt Rodriguez his last time out was his willingness to linger in the pocket and play catch-and-pitch with a naturally larger fighter, and Srisaket’s abnormal power makes that a game Bam simply can’t play if he wants to keep all of his teeth. Rodriguez has the footwork to run circles around Srisaket and the precision to get in, do his damage, and get out without getting caught. It’s just a matter of whether he can do that for 12 rounds without taking breaks.
Considering how well he did overall against Cuadras on ultra-short notice despite never going past eight before, I think he’s got what it takes. Another dub for San Antonio. Rodriguez UD-12
Jonathan Gonzalez vs Mark Anthony Barriga
- Scott: Barriga SD-12
- Wil: Gonzalez TKO-9
- John: Gonzalez UD-12
- Patrick: Gonzalez UD-12
Elwin Soto vs Hekkie Budler
- Scott: Soto UD-12
- Wil: Soto UD-12
- John: Soto KO-9
- Patrick: Soto UD-12
Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs Ronny Rios
- Scott: Akhmadaliev TKO-10
- Wil: Akhmadaliev TKO-8
- John: Akhmadaliev TKO-7
- Patrick: Akhmadaliev UD-12
Jessica McCaskill vs Alma Ibarra
- Scott: McCaskill UD-10
- Wil: McCaskill UD-10
- John: McCaskill UD-10
- Patrick: McCaskill UD-10