The UFC returns to the APEX in Las Vegas for the first time in 2021 after a successful trip to Fight Island kicked the year off.
Alistair Overeem looks to continue his final run en route to UFC gold when he takes on Alexander Volkov in the heavyweight division in the main event, with both men knowing they need a win to enter the top five conversations.
In the co-main, Cory Sandhagen takes on the legendary Frankie Edgar in the bantamweight division with both guys believing a win could set them up with a title shot against the winner of UFC 259’s title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.
In a 13 fight card, we’ve split it up into three to break down and predict. We’ve already predicted half the prelims here and now move onto the second half.
Last time out we went 4/10 at UFC 257 with three perfect picks for a bad night, to take us to 216/337 (64.09%) with 96 (44.44%) perfect picks. We look to improve that record with this card.
Karol Rosa (13-3) vs Joselyne Edwards (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A quick return to the octagon for Edwards, after a win on her UFC debut on Fight Island two weeks ago against Wu Yanan, where she will take a big step up in competition to fight Karol Rosa. Rosa’s last fight came on the first Fight Island event back in July, winning against Vanessa Melo to make it four wins in a row.
Edwards is a good Muay-Thai fighter, who’s takedown defence and offence is hot and cold at best. Rosa on the other hand is also a very good striker, but showed some great takedown chops in her last fight. Rosa has great volume and a really good pressure game, which could put the pace on Edwards and I’m not sure she’d be able to match it. With more volume, crisper striking and a wrestling advantage I think Rosa should be able to keep her winning streak going.
PICK – Karol Rosa via Decision
Devonte Smith (10-2) vs Justin Jaynes (16-6) – (Catchweight/160lbs)
A return to the octagon after over a year out for Devonte Smith, as he takes on short-notice opponent against Justin Jaynes. Smith lost his last fight, getting knocked out by Khama Worthy before picking up a serious achilles injury, while Jaynes won a crazy debut against Frank Camacho in June before losing his next two against Gavin Tucker and Gabriel Benitez.
Smith is a powerful striker and his defeat to Worthy was interesting since they were training partners and he fought a weird fight. All ten of his wins have come via stoppage, with nine knockouts. Jaynes is a heavy handed striker too but his flaws have shown in his two most recent fights. He’s quite one dimensional and has a huge nine inch reach disadvantage and Jaynes literally never uses his wrestling base to score takedowns. In short, Smith picks up where he left off before the Worthy fight with a spectacular first round KO.
PICK – Devonte Smith via Knockout, Round 1
Mike Rodriguez (11-5) vs Danilo Marques (10-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
After a controversial defeat last time out, Rodriguez returns to take on Marques in the 205lbs division. Rodriguez seemingly won his last bout via a second round knockout, only for the referee to deem a body shot as a low blow, restart the fight and Rodriguez to get submitted by Ed Herman. Marques on the other hand has won three in a row, including his UFC debut against Khadis Ibragimov at UFC 253.
Marques has some decent wrestling behind him and was able to use those takedowns and to get his win over Ibragimov. The issue for Rodriguez is that he seems to get taken down far too easily by anyone, including striking specialist John Allan. Rodriguez has much superior striking to Marques but the takedowns are an issue. If he can stay on the feet, he will crack the fairly hittable Marques and could finish him early. But if Marques comes forward and implements the wrestling it could be a long night. I’m backing the power of Rodriguez though.
PICK – Mike Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 1