UFC 256: Figueiredo vs Moreno – Prelims Predictions

A historic three-week turnaround for the top two flyweights in the organisation as Deiveson Figueiredo defends his title against Brandon Moreno in the main event.

It’s the fourth title fight that has been scheduled for this event after Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns and Amanda Nunes vs Megan Anderson fell through, before replacement bout Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling also fell out.

In the co-main event, two of the most exciting lightweights in the world look to stake their claim at the next title shot as Tony Ferguson takes on Charles Oliveira in what will be a three round war.

Last week we had a bit of a meh showing in the predictions. Three fights were cancelled on fight night, meaning we were left with just eight fights on the night. We successfully picked five of them correctly, although no perfect picks fell our way.

This takes our total up to 181/282 correct picks (64.18%) with 80 correct picks (44.2%). Lets see if we can improve that on this card, starting with the prelims here.

EARLY PRELIMS

Chase Hooper (9-1-1) vs Peter Barrett (11-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A clash between two prospects in the featherweight division as Hooper looks to bounce back from his first career defeat against Alex Caceres in June. He takes on Barrett who lost his UFC debut against Youssef Zalal in August. Hooper is a solid grappler with great choke skills, who doesn’t have the greatest striking chops, while Barrett is the complete opposite. Hooper’s first step up in competition saw him beaten, but Barrett is way below the level of Caceres and Hooper sits somewhere between the two. If Barrett can keep the fight standing he has a chance but his takedown defence isn’t great so I expect Hooper to be able to get him down and eventually choke him out.
PICK – Chase Hooper vs Submission, Round 2

Sergey Spivak (11-2) vs Jared Vanderra (11-4) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A heavyweight clash between two prospects as 25 year old Spivak looks to make it back-to-back wins, following his win over Carlos Felipe in July. A hard hitter who has good submission skills, Spivak has six of his ten wins from inside the distance via tap out. Vanderra makes his UFC debut following a first-round knockout win on Dana White’s Contender Series. You tend to see him at his best when he’s in top position using his ground and pound. If the fight stays standing, Spivak wins the kickboxing battle quite comfortably but if it hits the ground it’s all about who ends up on top. It should be close, but I’m backing the younger fighter to come away with a win.
PICK – Sergey Spivak via Decision

PRELIMS

Tecia Torres (11-5) vs Sam Hughes (5-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A bit of a throw away fight on this card as veteran Tecia Torres takes on the short-notice replacement Sam Hughes, after Angela Hill’s positive COVID-19 test ruled her out. Torres is a striker who uses her karate background to maintain distance and flurrys of punches while Hughes is a good submission grappler with three of her five wins coming via tap-out. Torres has more experience, better chops on the feet when it comes to striking and has sufficient submission defence to cope with anything that Hughes can throw at her, so she should waltz to a comfortable decision win.
PICK – Tecia Torres via Decision

Gavin Tucker (12-1) vs Billy Quarantillo (15-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very fun fight in this one as Gavin Tucker looks to make it three wins in a row against hot prospect Billy Quarantillo. Tucker beat Justin Jaynes in August with a third round submission, while Quarantillo is currently on an eight-fight win streak after a knockout win against Kyle Nelson in September. Tucker’s sole defeat in his career came against a fighter who he should be able to control but was relentless with high output, much like Quarantillo. He has more experience now, but Quarantillo is arguably a better fighter than that Glenn was and he should be able to outwork Tucker for another win.
PICK – Billy Quarantillo via Decision

Renato Moicano (14-3-1) vs Rafael Fiziev (8-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

One of the best fights on the card as former featherweight Renato Moicano takes on the highly impressive Fiziev. Moicano made his 155lbs debut last time out against Damir Hadzovic in March, where he won with a 44 second submission. Fiziev had his UFC break-out on Fight Island, defeating Mark Diakiese via unanimous decision. Fiziev is a stunning striker, who coaches at Tiger MMA as the kickboxing coach. He’s a fantastic kicker and has great power in his hands too, while Moicano is all about the grappling and clinches. While Fiziev has great takedown defence and a good sambo background, he hasn’t fought anyone of the level of Moicano in MMA before. Moicano has the experience to deal with his striking skills and fight his way to a big decision win in an entertaining fight.
PICK – Renato Moicano via Decision

Cub Swanson (26-11) vs Daniel Pineda (27-13 2NC) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

UFC veteran Cub Swanson finally got back in the win column following four defeats in a row when he beat Kron Gracie 14 months ago. Daniel Pineda got back into the UFC after a six year absence when he knocked out the high flying Herbert Burns in August. Pineda is a super dangerous fighter who has finished all of his 27 wins, with 19 coming via submission. Swanson is very talented in all areas but against the top fighters in recent times he has struggled. Pineda has great in both striking and grappling realms and should have enough about him to end Swanson’s UFC career.
PICK – Daniel Pineda via Submission, Round 2

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