UFC Vegas 11: Covington vs Woodley – Early Prelims Predictions

A not-so stacked card last weekend is followed up this weekend by one of the most stacked Fight Night cards in recent memory as Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley finally meet in a grudge match in the main event.

The card will also see the likes of Donald Cerrone, Khamzat Chimaev, Kevin Holland and Mackenzie Dern on the main card, but the undercard isn’t short of names either. With a HUGE 14 fights scheduled for this weekend ahead of the UFC’s second trip to Fight Island, I will break down each fight and give my predictions.

Last weekend was my worst showing for picks so far, as I ended with just 6/12 and only 1 perfect pick (winner, method, round).

With EIGHT prelim fights scheduled at the time of writing, I’m splitting this card into three rather than the usual two. I’ll break down the four UFC Fight Pass prelims here and give my predictions in the hope of doing far better than I did last weekend.

EARLY PRELIMS

Tyson Nam (19-11-1) vs Jerome Rivera (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

After initially being slated to compete in the feature prelim bout last week, Tyson Nam now steps in on short-notice to take on Jerome Rivera. Nam won his last bout in scintillating fashion with a vicious knockout of Zarrukh Adashev back in June, while Rivera makes his UFC debut following a win on Dana White’s Contender Series last month. Nam is a kickboxer with good clinching skills and ridiculously heavy hands, but he’s struggled to put together consistent performances in the UFC. Rivera is a strong grappler but his defeat in his LFA title fight showed a big hole in his game. He struggles to follow through with his takedowns and leaves his chin in the air, often moving forward in straight lines. With Nam’s excellent takedown defence and counter-striking, this is a recipe for disaster for Rivera and this could be a violent win for Nam yet again.
PICK – Tyson Nam via Knockout, Round 1

Darrick Minner (24-11) vs T.J. Laramie (12-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fight between a submission expert and an all-round mixed martial artist in the featherweight division as Darrick Minner takes on T.J. Laramie. Minner has just one UFC fight to his name, a defeat to Grant Dawson last time out back in February but he has 21 submission victories from 24 career wins. ‘The Truth’ Laramie makes his UFC debut after a win on Dana White’s Contender Series last month where he battered Daniel Swain to a doctor’s stoppage after the first round. Minner’s game relies completely on getting the fight to the ground so he can work his submissions but Laramie has fantastic takedown defence and his striking is clear of Minner’s. While there is always the chance of Minner getting the takedown, Laramie is no slouch on the ground and if he can somehow get into a top position he has the tools to be comfortable there too. Overall, it’s a fight that has too many paths to victory for Laramie for me to not pick him.
PICK – T.J. Laramie via Knockout, Round 3

Andre Ewell (16-6) vs Irwin Rivera (10-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Former CES champion Andre Ewell steps into the cage for his sixth UFC fight against Irwin Rivera who got his first UFC win last month in a split decision over Ali AlQaisi. Ewell is a striker predominantly but is unorthodox. He strikes from range and with great power, which shows with his 7 knockout wins to date. Rivera has a succinct lack of takedown skills and has a height and reach disadvantage in this fight which will leave him open, but he showed great courage and heart in his defeat to Giga Chikadze in May. With Ewell’s lack of consistency in the octagon, that will give Rivera encouragement that he can pull something off but judging solely off their attributes, it should be a relatively comfortable night for Ewell to make it back-to-back wins.
PICK – Andre Ewell via Unanimous Decision

Journey Newson (9-2 1NC) vs Randy Costa (5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A sleeper for fight of the night in this one as Journey Newson and Randy Costa match up in the bantamweight division. Newson lost his octagon debut in a late-notice bout against Ricardo Ramos before he blasted Domingo Pilarte for a first round knockout, although it was later overturned after a positive test for marijuana. Costa lost his debut also, to Brandon Davis after a good start before the more experienced man took over and scored a submission win. All of Costa’s professional wins have come via knockout but Newson has a good chin and good cardio. If he can withstand the initial storm, he could take over the fight and lead into a scrap that could see Costa deteriorate. For me though, I can’t see this fight going the distance and I expect that Costa will be able to get the knockout early with his pressure.
PICK – Randy Costa via Knockout, Round 1

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