After a banging start to 2021, the UFC moves swiftly onto their second event of the year with a midweek card headlined by welterweights Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny.
Originally supposed to be headlined by Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev, that fight fell apart for a second time when Chimaev withdrew due to complications from COVID-19. The fight has now been rescheduled for March 13, Chiesa and Magny have the chance to take the limelight at 170lbs.
On a 14 fight card, there will be six on the main card which means eight prelim fights to break down and predict.
At UFC Fight Island 7, we managed to correctly predict 6/10 with four perfect picks to take our lifetime totals to 200/313 (63.9%) with 89 perfect picks (44.5%).
Lets see if we can improve on that here, starting with these eight prelim bouts.
Victoria Leonardo (8-3) vs Manon Fiorot (5-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A double UFC debut in the women’s flyweight division as grappler ‘Fury’ Leonardo takes on knockout artist ‘The Beast’ Fiorot.
Leonardo’s only knockout win in her career came in her last bout on Dana White’s Contender Series back in November, while Fiorot got a knockout win herself in her November bout at UAE Warriors. Fiorot is a great kickboxer with good karate skills too and loves a good push kick. Leonardo may look to use those opportunities for a takedown but her wrestling isn’t the strongest. Florot will maintain range and pick her shots, and she possesses good power and accuracy. She should be able to potentially get a finish, but at the very least she should get the win.
PICK – Manon Fiorot via Knockout, Round 2
Umar Nurmagomedov (12-0) vs Sergey Morozov (16-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A fun fight in the most fun division in the UFC right now as the cousin of Khabib makes his UFC debut against Morozov where both men fight for the first time since 2019.
Nurmagomedov is an excellent grappler with top submission skills, winning five of his 12 fights via tap out. Morozov on the other hand is a great striker with fantastic kicks and a good overhand right, who is a very good counter puncher. It’s a battle of styles in reality but one is by far superior at implementing the style and this one should be quite one sided.
PICK – Umar Nurmagomedov via Decision
Mike Davis (8-2) vs Mason Jones (10-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
A sneaky contender for fight of the night in this one as two top prospects clash in the lightweight division.
Mike Davis is a super well rounded fighter, who has fought some of the top guys in the UFC already. He lost to Gilbert Burns on short notice and Sodiq Yussuf on the Contender Series, but has won every other fight on his resume by stoppage. Mason Jones is an undefeated Cage Warriors champion, who is a fantastic boxer with good knockout power and submissions too.
Both guys will likely trade in the pocket in this one and they match up really well, but the advantage goes to Davis in the power department. If they’re to land bigger shots, Davis is more likely to get the KO and if that doesn’t happen he should be able to wrestle too for a tight decision win.
PICK – Mike Davis via Decision
Francisco Figueiredo (11-3-1) vs Jerome Rivera (10-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
The brother of the flyweight champion makes his UFC debut when he takes on someone looking to earn their first UFC win at the second attempt.
Figueiredo is very similar to his brother Deiveson in terms of skillset, with good striking and excellent submission skills too. He lacks the overwhelming power in his hands and the incredible reaction time though. Rivera came into the UFC for a short notice bout against Tyson Nam in September 2020, but was starched in the second round and beaten.
Figueiredo has the striking advantage, wrestling advantage and speed advantage but has never fought at 125lbs before. So long as the weight cut goes well, he should win this one.
PICK – Francisco Figueiredo via Knockout, Round 2
Dalcha Lungiambula (10-2) vs Markus Perez (12-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Dalcha ‘Champ’ finally gets a UFC bout again after two cancellations when he takes on Markus Perez on short notice in the middleweight division.
‘Champ’ has previously fought at 205lbs, where he was beaten by Magomed Ankalaev before his 185lbs debut were halted twice by Karl Roberson withdrawing meaning he missed 2020 entirely. Markus Perez is coming into this one with four defeats in his last six, including each of his last two against Wellington Turman and debutant Dricus Du Plessis on Fight Island in October.
Perez is a bit of a jack of all trades but does nothing that well and if he walks into Lungiambula the way he did Du Plessis, he’s going to sleep again. ‘Champ’ has the cardio, striking and power to end this early.
PICK – Dalcha Lungiambula via Knockout, Round 1
Su Mudaerji (12-4) vs Zarrukh Adashev (3-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
So this one is the definition of a fighter being fed to the wolves.
China’s Su Mudaerji has won 11 of his 13 victories by knockout and is a great striker, as he showed when he knocked out Malcolm Gordon back in November in just 44 seconds. Adashev on the other hand is 3-2 and got starched by Tyson Nam back in June in his last fight in just 32 seconds. He’s a polished striker himself and is a natural flyweight which is positive, but this is just too big a step up right now.
Mudaerji will come out hard and fast and if he lands flush, everything points towards a highlight reel finish.
PICK – Su Mudaerji via Knockout, Round 1
Ricky Simon (16-3) vs Gaetano Pirrello (15-5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A name known to UFC fans already in Ricky Simon takes on debutant Gaetano Pirrello in what should be a fun fight in the bantamweight division.
Simon was the comeback fight for the legendary Urijah Faber back in 2019 and got knocked out in the first round, before dropping a decision to Rob Font later that year. He bounced back with a win over Ray Borg in May 2020, while Pirrello hasn’t fought since October 2019 when he got a first round knockout.
Pirrello is a brawler but isn’t the best technical striker and isn’t a great grappler. Simon is a tidy striker but prefers to grapple so he should be able to wrestle his way to a wide decision win.
PICK – Ricky Simon via Decision
Omari Akhmedov (20-5-1) vs Tom Breese (12-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
A fight that got pushed back by a few days, Omari Akhmedov finally steps in the cage with Tom Breese in the middleweight division.
Breese won his last fight via first round knockout against KB Bhullar on Fight Island in October, while Akhmedov saw a three fight win streak snapped by Chris Weidman in August. Breese is a great striker, who is very aggressive with great power. He struggles off his back though, which is exactly where Akhmedov will want this fight to take place. Akhmedov has a poor gas tank though as we saw against Weidman, while Breese can go at a decent pace for the full 15 minutes.
It’s all about if Breese can keep the fight standing or not in honesty. I’m not sure he does and Akhmedov gets two rounds ahead before dropping the third in a tight decision win.
PICK – Omari Akhmedov via Decision