In which could end up being the sleeper matchup of the card, two welterweights in need of a victory meet in the classic striker vs grappler matchup. Millender was last seen getting submitted by Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos while Muhammad was beaten from pillar to post by Geoff Neal over the course of three rounds.
Belal Muhammad is a well rounded fighter who is good everywhere but does not particularly shine anywhere. He is not the most athletic fighter neither, but compensates it with solid fundamentals everywhere, specially in his grappling. On the ground he is capable of maintaining control decently and shows good positional awareness. He can mix it up on the feet too, but shows little finishing power. He is a grinder type of fighter. He will try to impose his pace and suck the fight out of his opponents. Against a much cleaner, faster striker who was able to stop all of his takedowns attemps in Geoff Neal, he got pieced up badly on the feet. He would have been stopped if not for his great chin and huge heart.
Millender is a striker, and a talented one. Very tall and lanky for the division, he outlands and counters his opposition surgically from the outside. He has good power in his hands as well as his kicks, and even though he is a poor grappler and easy to take down and manipulate on the matt, he mostly prevents it with the threat of his counter intercepting knees which are deadly. His timing is excellent, and if you let him settle into a rythm you are gonna endure a hard night in the office.
This fight all comes down to one question. Can Belal put down Millender and keep him there consistently? If he can take him down I am sure he will be able to keep him there, but I doubt his ability to do the first thing, at least repeatedly. Even if he gets him down, Belal is not a finisher, has zero submissions on his record and Millender will again be up on his feet to begin the next round. All it would take here could be an intercepting knee by Curtis to end the night, and on the feet he will most certainly be able to counter Muhammad at will with his superior reach, speed and power. Muhammad´s linear and predictable way of striking will add up to this. After the horrendous beating Muhammad took not so long ago, I like Millender to end his night early here. The pick is Curtis Millender to knock out Belal Muhammad and regain some momentum in the crowded welterweight division.