After a successful return to Fight Island last weekend for UFC 253, the women take over the island this weekend.
Holly Holm takes on Irene Aldana in the main event on a card with plenty of room to make new stars as lots of relatively unknown names make the cut for this one. With 11 fights in total on the card, I’ll look to have a much better weekend of picks this time around. I’ll go through the card in it’s entirety and break down each fight and offer up my predictions.
I have already predicted the prelims here, so now lets check out the main card.
Last weekend at UFC 253, I managed to get just 5/11 in total with only two perfect picks. It was comfortably the worst showing I’ve had while doing these picks.
Dequan Townsend (21-11) vs Dusko Todorovic (9-0) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
A fight for the younger man to make a name for himself in this fight as Dequan Townsend looks to earn his first UFC win at the fourth attempt against young Serbian Dusko Todorovic. After picking up a win on Dana White’s Contender Series, Todorovic makes his UFC debut in this one and will look to overwhelm his opponent with a fast pace and good striking skills. He has finished all but one of his wins inside the distance with five knockout victories. While Townsend has knockout power and good counter striking, his lack of ability to control a fight often sees him struggle against the higher output type fighters. This bout looks tailor-made for Todorovic to come into the UFC and impress.
PICK – Dusko Todorovic via Unanimous Decision
Kyler Phillips (7-1) vs Cameron Else (10-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
This is one of those fights where the records and streaks are a little bit off. Cameron Else has come up training under Donald Cerrone and is currently on a six-fight win streak but it’s a very padded record. He beat Cage Warriors star Paddy Pimblett back in 2013 but other than that he’s fought nobody of substance and only one of the six in his current streak had a winning record. Phillips is a super striker and won his UFC debut back in February with a decision win over Gabriel Silva. He will arguably be the best striker that Else has come up against in his career and the way he dealt with the previous two really good strikers he fought doesn’t stand him in good stead. Phillips showed in that Silva fight that he is more than capable of defending takedowns too, so Else will need to look to land a big one-punch knockout before Phillips ends his night early.
PICK – Kyler Phillips via Knockout, Round 1
Germaine De Randamie (9-4) vs Julianna Pena (10-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
The former featherweight champion and bantamweight championship contender Germaine de Randamie makes her return to the octagon for the first time this year against Julianna Pena. A former kickboxing world champion, de Randamie is an excellent striker with fantastic power as she showed in her knockout win over Aspen Ladd. Pena is as pure a grappler as they come in the women’s division and she can take a punch too but the way this fight goes really is dependant on if she can get the takedown. When de Randamie came up against Pennington, she managed to stuff the takedowns and deliver big shots for the full duration of the fight. If she can do something similar she should win this fight but with Pena’s skill it will be tough. Pena will take encouragement from Nunes’ ability to take de Randamie down and hope she can do the same to lock up a submission. With just one fight in three years though, I think ‘The Iron Lady’ will be able to keep it standing for the most part to be able to take a decision win.
PICK – Germaine de Randamie via Unanimous Decision
Yorgan De Castro (6-1) vs Carlos Felipe (8-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)
The weirdest co-main event fight of the year comfortably. Two unranked heavyweight fighters square off coming off losses in their last bouts. De Castro is a short heavyweight but he packs good power in his hands and has a really nice low kick that he showed off in his fight with Greg Hardy before injuring his foot. Felipe is your standard unranked heavyweight. Big, powerful and one-punch power but he lacks athleticism and any sort of plan B. He has a height and reach advantage in this fight but I am not expecting this to be a fight that many people remember going past the night. It’ll either be an early knockout or a slow, tiresome decision win for De Castro.
PICK – Yorgan De Castro via Knockout, Round 1
Holly Hom (13-5) vs Irene Aldana (12-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A former world champion kickboxer, Holly Holm made her name with a world-shaking knockout win over Ronda Rousey way back when. Since then, Holm has gone 3-5 though while Aldana has gone 5-1 in her last 6 since 2018. Holm is the more experienced fighter but she’s also fought the better calibre of fighters in the UFC too. She’s physically stronger and despite a one inch height disparity, she also has the slight reach advantage. That will suit her kickboxing style but Aldana isn’t a woman to be messed with either. She has 6 knockouts and 3 submission wins in 12 career victories but 6 of her last 8 fights have gone the distance. She’s yet to do five rounds in the UFC and I think that will be a big advantage for Holm. The experience will be enough to see her through the fight and land enough big shots to get the nod from the judges.
PICK – Holly Holm via Unanimous Decision