The first ever Halloween card in UFC history will see the end of the career of one of the greatest fighters of all-time when Anderson Silva fights Uriah Hall in the main event.
After the fun of Fight Island, the UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas for a 12 fight card with some interesting fights including a featherweight clash between Bryce Mitchell and Andre ‘Touchy’ Fili in the co-main event.
I will break down each fighters skills and style and give my prediction for each fight, starting with the seven prelim fights.
Last weekend at UFC 254, I got 9/12 picks correct with five perfect picks. Since starting my predictions back in June, my current record stands at 145/222 total picks, with 67 perfect picks in that time. I will look to improve that this week with these picks.
Miles Johns (10-1) vs Kevin Natividad (9-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
Two very well rounded bantamweights are scheduled to open the card up as Kevin Natividad makes his UFC debut against Miles Johns. ‘Chapo’ won his debut in September last year, a split decision against Cole Smith before losing his last fight when he was mauled by Mario Bautista and eventually knocked out. Natividad was supposed to debut against Brian Kelleher in September but withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19. He comes into this fight on a five-fight win streak including a knockout in his most recent fight in July. Johns has the advantage in boxing and wrestling, so he probably should control where the fight takes place but Natividad has got fantastic power. If Johns employs and sticks to a game-plan to mix it up he should be able to get a decision win, but he needs to ensure he doesn’t take too many shots from a man looking to make an impression.
PICK – Miles Johns via Decision
Cortney Casey (9-8) vs Priscilla Cachoeira (9-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
Cortney Casey returns for her third appearance in the octagon of 2020, after beating Maria Romero Borella before losing to Gillian Robertson a month later. Cachoeira lost her first three UFC fights, including her debut against the division champion Valentina Shevchenko but finally got herself in the win column with a knockout of Shana Dobson back in February. Casey is a solid all round fighter but has real issues with consistency, not winning back-to-back fights since back in 2016. Cachoeira however is a power puncher and nothing more. She has heavy hands but struggles on the ground and isn’t particularly fast either. Casey has the skillset to nullify her and get a win, but knowing her she’ll make it tougher than it needs to be.
PICK – Cortney Casey via Decision
Dustin Jacoby (12-5) vs Justin Ledet (9-3) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
A return to the Octagon for the first time since 2012 for Justin Jacoby as he takes on former heavyweight Justin Ledet. Jacoby was in the UFC previously, but consecutive defeats saw him leave the company without a win. Ledet started at 3-0 in the heavyweight division but then moved down to 205lbs and has been battered ever since. He was dominated by Aleksandar Rakic, KO’d in 15 seconds by Johnny Walker and then beaten convincingly by Aleksa Camur back in January. Jacoby went into kickboxing after leaving Bellator and had lots of success before returning to MMA in 2019. Ledet is a talented boxer but his output is poor and he gets hit far too easily for someone who relies on striking. Jacoby should be able to use his kickboxing skills to control the fight and pick up a pretty comfortable win.
PICK – Dustin Jacoby via Decision
Cole Williams (11-2) vs Jason Witt (17-6) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
This is a fight that in all honesty has no business on a UFC card. Both guys have had decent regional careers but when they entered the UFC, albeit on short notice, were both trounced in no time by specialists of their craft. Williams was submitted in the first round by Claudio Silva back in August, while Witt was knocked out in under a minute by Takashi Sato in June. Both guys are well-rounded but not to a particularly high level and it’s tough to predict who will come out on top. Williams has the slightly sharper striking skills but is also now 36 years old having fought just three times in the last three years. Witt has been much more active with 12 fights since January 2017 and has a decent submission game in his arsenal. It won’t be the most memorable of fights, but I think Witt has enough about him to get another tap out on his record.
PICK – Jason Witt via Submission, Round 2
Sean Strickland (20-3) vs Jack Marshman (23-9) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
An exciting fight between ‘Tarzan’ Sean Strickland and Wales’ Jack Marshman who steps in on short-notice for Wellington Turman, who tested positive for COVID-19. Strickland has fought some of the best welterweights around, losing to Kamaru Usman and Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos but beating Court McGee and Nordine Taleb but this is his first fight since 2018 and first fight at 185lbs since 2014. Marshman is a powerful striker but has lost four of his last six fights in the UFC, including his last bout against Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC 239. On the feet the fight is close, with Strickland’s reach advantage likely to give him the edge but on the ground it’s as one-sided as can be. Strickland has good submission skills and great wrestling so I think he uses the jab to get in on a takedown and gets a quick submission on his return to the cage.
PICK – Sean Strickland via Submission, Round 1
Adrian Yanez (11-3) vs Victor Rodriguez (7-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
This could be a blowout. Adrian Yanez is arguably the hottest prospect in the 135lbs division, with unbelievable boxing and hand power coming up against a short-notice opponent in Victor Rodriguez who hasn’t got much to show for his record. Yanez demolished his opponent on Dana White’s Contender Series in just 39 seconds and Rodriguez is so easy to hit that this might as well be an exhibition fight to show off Yanez’s skills. A highlight right hand lands in the first round and turns out the lights of ‘Vicious’ early.
PICK – Adrian Yanez via Knockout, Round 1
Chris Gruetzmacher (14-3) vs Alexander Hernandez (11-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
This is another fight that seems like a bit of a mismatch on the card as Chris ‘Gritz’ Gruetzmacher takes on Alexander ‘The Great’ Hernandez. Hernandez was one of the top prospects in the division until he was smashed by Donald Cerrone and has since struggled to gain momentum, beating Francisco Trinaldo but then being knocked out by Drew Dober. ‘Gritz’ has also lost two of his last three, being submitted by Chas Skelly and Davi Ramos in 2017 before winning his last fight against Joe Lauzon in 2018. Hernandez is the better striker, better grappler, more physical fighter and more skilled fighter. Hernandez isn’t really a finisher and ‘Gritz’ has never been knocked out before but so I expect ‘The Great’ to dominate the fight wherever it goes for the full 15 minutes to get himself back in the win column.
PICK – Alexander Hernandez via Decision