Bantamweights lead the way at UFC Vegas 27 this weekend when Rob Font and Cody Garbrandt go toe to toe in the main event.
The number three and four ranked 135lbers in the world will battle it out to give UFC president Dana White a headache when it comes to the top of the division right now, as ‘No Love’ looks to prove he really is back while Font looks to prove he’s a real contender among the elite.
Elsewhere on the card Yan Xiaonan takes on Carla Esparza in the co-main event to potentially determine the next contender for Rose Namajunas’ strawweight title, while Jack Hermansson and Edmen Shahbazyan meet in their delayed middleweight scrap too.
Last week at UFC 262 we didn’t have the best of nights prediction wise, going 6/12 with two perfect picks to move up to 314/494 (63.56%) with 136 perfect picks (43.31%).
We’ll look to improve that here with this 13-fight card, and after picking the early prelims here we move onto the rest of the prelims now.
Bruno Silva (11-5-2) vs Victor Rodriguez (7-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
An absolute banger at flyweight as two bulldozers meet in the octagon here. Silva bounced back from two defeats in a row to get a big knockout win over JP Buys at UFC Vegas 22 in March, while Rodriguez lost his debut in spectacular fashion to Adrian Yanez back in October at UFC Vegas 12.
Silva is a powerhouse at 125lbs, with great striking and some nasty body kicks to go with some great grappling skills. Rodriguez is highly rated because he has crazy knockout power, with all his wins coming via knockout. Aside from that, he doesn’t offer much in the way of beating Silva. ‘Bulldog’ has the advantage in speed, power, technique and experience, as well as having fought and beaten better competition more recently.
It seems a pretty one-sided fight where Rodriguez’s chances are landing the big shot first in a fire-fight, but I can’t see Silva not getting an impressive win.
PICK – Bruno Silva via Knockout, Round 2
Court McGee (20-10) vs Claudio Silva (14-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
Two veterans go toe to toe in the welterweight division as ‘The Crusher’ takes on ‘Hannibal’ in an intriguing fight. McGee has lost five of his last six, including his last three in a row to Dhiego Lima, Sean Brady and Carlos Condit. Silva on the other hand was on a 14-fight win streak which included the likes of Leon Edwards before he got beaten via decision by James Krause at UFC Fight Island 6 last October.
McGee’s best attributes are his physical gifts. He has brilliant cardio and a fantastic chin, with his wrestling getting set up by his striking in the clinch and ability to close the distance. Silva is a jiu-jitsu freak on the mat, with nine submission wins in his career which makes this fight a very interesting stylistic match up.
Both guys will want the fight on the ground, meaning the stand up will be extra important. McGee has that slight edge on the feet but I think Silva will be more likely to get the takedown at some point and his top control is so good he should be able to edge out a win.
PICK – Claudio Silva via Decision
Ben Rothwell (38-13) vs Chris Barnett (21-6) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)
Big banger at heavyweight as Ben Rothwell steps in on short notice to take on debutant ‘Huggy Bear’ Chris Barnett. Rothwell was beaten last time out by Marcin Tybura and was supposed to fight against Phillipe Lins just two weeks ago, while Barnett steps in on short notice himself to replace Askar Mozharov on a six-fight win streak.
Rothwell is the typical heavyweight, with a big overhand right and some okay cardio with a decent chin. Barnett is as far from that as you can get, with a Tae Kwon Do background, who throws spinning kicks and has incredible athleticism for a 5ft 9′ heavyweight. He also has brilliant power, with 16 knockout wins in his career and has never really had cardio issues despite what you’d think looking at his body type.
With that said, Rothwell’s recent performances haven’t been good and while he hasn’t been KO’d since his UFC debut back in 2009 I do think Barnett’s unorthodox approach could take everyone by surprise and he could make headlines with a big finish. Rothwell has the ability to make this boring and just suffocate Barnett with pressure to get a win himself, but I’m going with the more exciting option.
PICK – Chris Barnett via Knockout, Round 1
Ricardo Ramos (14-3) vs Bill Algeo (14-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
A very, very fun fight at featherweight is the featured prelim bout between Ricardo Ramos and Bill Algeo. Ramos lost his last bout via knockout against Lerone Murphy on Fight Island last July, while Algeo lost his UFC debut to Ricardo Lamas before winning last time out against Spike Carlyle.
Ramos is a dynamic striker with the ability to achieve true violence both on the feet and on the mat with good submission skills too, while Algeo has got an attitude that is just that he can hit you harder than you can hit him. Algeo has so many defensive deficiencies on the feet that Ramos could pick him apart at range, but Algeo’s pressure is relentless and we’ve seen Ramos’ gas tank empty out in the past.
With that said, it’s hard to look beyond Ramos just using his technical qualities to out-land Algeo on the feet and trust his skills on the mat if the fight ends up down there too.
PICK – Ricardo Ramos via Decision