After the end of an era at UFC Vegas 12 last weekend, the UFC looks on setting up future events with this card.
In the main event, Thiago Santos takes on Glover Teixeira with both fighters hopeful that a win will put them in line to take on Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title in the near future, despite Israel Adesanya being lined up for the next title shot from middleweight.
There are currently scheduled to be 11 fights on this card, with six prelim bouts followed up by a five-fight main card. I have already predicted the prelims here and will now try to predict the main card.
Last time out I secured a great round of predictions with 10/11 correct picks, including four perfect picks. Lets see if I can’t improve that this time around.
Claudia Gadelha (18-4) vs Yan Xiaonan (12-1 1NC) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
A classic striker vs grappler bout in this one, as Gadelha looks to make it three wins in a row against Xiaonan in the most exciting women’s division. Xiaonan is undefeated in the UFC, winning all five of her fights so far and currently 10-0 with one no contest in her last 11 fights. Gadelha is a tremendous grappler who has a few issues with cardio, often fading away in the latter parts of fights. Xiaonan is a very active kickboxer, who has been working on her takedown defence even more so in recent weeks. Her excellent ability to keep a fast pace throughout the entire fight will also play a big part and while it’s possible Gadelha gets her down and controls her on the ground, I think this is Xiaonan’s fight to lose.
PICK – Yan Xiaonan via Decision
Ian Heinisch (14-3) vs Brendan Allen (15-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
The fight of the night as far as my picks go for that, two very good middleweights go head to head. Heinisch got back into the win column at UFC 250 against Gerald Meerschaert following two back-to-back defeats prior to that. Allen is on a seven fight win streak, including a stoppage win over Kevin Holland and a decision over Kyle Daukaus last time out. Allen is a phenom on the ground, with 8 submission wins on his record while also capable on his feet. Heinisch is also a tremendous wrestler but has struggled in the past against the pure strikers he’s faced. It’s really a battle of who turns up on the night because it really is a 50/50 fight. Heinisch has good leg kicks and body work, so if he can prevent Allen’s takedowns he should win. Something tells me though that Allen will be able to get top position and grind out a win.
PICK – Brendan Allen via Decision
Raoni Barcelos (15-1) vs Khalid Taha (13-2 1NC) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A short notice fight as Barcelos steps in on short notice to take on Taha in place of Jack Shore. Barcelos is currently on an eight fight win streak, including a win over Said Nurmagomedov last time out at the back end of 2019. He has a fantastic skillset, where he has proven he has knockout power to go with his counter-striking as well as a great base for his ground game. Taha is a powerhouse on the feet with serious knockout power though so Barcelos will have to be careful for the most part. Barcelos should prove himself to be too well rounded during this fight though and I expect him to get the fight to the ground and secure a submission win.
PICK – Raoni Barcelos via Submission, Round 2
Andrei Arlovski (29-19 2NC) vs Tanner Boser (19-6-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)
The legendary Arlovski is back in the octagon and he’ll take on a man who is looking for his third win of 2020. Boser knocked out Phillipe Lins in June before then knocking out Raphael Pessoa a month later. Arlovski’s last fight was also against Phillipe Lins but he got the win via a decision. Arlovski has great output for a 41 year old and he obviously has knockout power but Boser is the guy with the advantages right now. He has a wicked leg kick and has shown in the past that he can go the distance quite comfortably. In recent fights though he has shown a willingness to go for the kill and that is something Arlovski won’t be looking forward to. A string of combinations lands in the second and gets the legendary Russian out of there.
PICK – Tanner Boser via Knockout, Round 2
Thiago Santos (21-7) vs Glover Teixeira (31-7) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
A fight to determine who’s at the top of the light heavyweight division, Thiago Santos makes his return to the octagon for the first time since July 2019 when he lost a title fight to Jon Jones, while Teixeira is coming off a thumping win over Anthony Smith. Santos has terrifying knockout power and a fantastic kicking game, while Glover is a boxer first and foremost but his ground game is fantastic too. If Glover gets the fight down to the ground, he’s almost always able to keep it there and dominate whoever is under him. Santos is incredibly explosive though and isn’t a novice on the ground either but his wrestling is poor. Santos is so powerful on the feet though, I think he’ll be able to land flush on Glover relatively early on and end the fight before his ground game gets tested too much.
PICK – Thiago Santos via Knockout, Round 2