The UFC returns after a two week break for an extra long card headlined by the big boys as Jairzinho Rozenstruik takes on Augusto Sakai in the main event.
Rozenstruik was on a tear in the division but has lost two of his last three fights, but knows a win over Sakai will keep him in the conversation for a potential title shot in the future.
Last time out at UFC Vegas 27 we went 7/11 with three perfect picks to go up to 321/505 (63.56%) with 139 perfect picks (43.3%).
We’ll look to improve that here on this huge 14 fight card, starting with the early prelims.
Claudio Puelles (10-2) vs Jordan Leavitt (8-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
A very fun lightweight fight should open the card as ‘El Nino’ returns after 21 months away to take on the undefeated ‘Monkey King’. Puelles hasn’t fought since September 2019 when he beat Marcos Mariano, while Leavitt won his UFC debut in just 22 seconds by KO’ing Matt Wiman via a violent slam at UFC Vegas 16.
Puelles’ last two wins weren’t the most impressive, considering he got absolutely battered and pulled out a hail Mary kneebar in the third round before beating one of the least impressive lightweights ever in Mariano. On the other hand Leavitt has got excellent wrestling and grappling skills while also having some exciting striking skills too, despite his only knockout being the slam last time out.
Realistically, Leavitt should absolutely dominate wherever this fight goes and if he can’t get a finish it’ll be a very lopsided decision win.
PICK – Jordan Leavitt via Decision
Sean Woodson (7-1) vs Youssef Zalal (10-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
Two highly rated featherweights go head-to-head next when ‘The Sniper’ takes on ‘The Moroccan Devil’ at 145lbs.
Woodson suffered the first defeat of his career last time out when he was submitted by Julian Erosa at UFC Vegas 4, while Zalal is on a two-fight losing streak. Zalal was able to beat Jordan Griffin at UFC Vegas 4 and Peter Barrett at UFC Vegas 6, but then got well beaten by Ilia Topuria at UFC Fight Island 5 and Seung Woo Choi at UFC Vegas 18 in February.
Zalal is a good wrestler by nature with a decent array of strikes in his arsenal, but against Choi he really struggled to get either of those attacks going. Woodson is a boxing-heavy fighter who has great takedown defence, but he has shown that he’s been able to be ground down before. Zalal will need to push the pace, but unfortunately for him that isn’t really in his style and Woodson is likely to be able to out-volume him and keep the fight standing for long enough to secure a win.
PICK – Sean Woodson via Decision
Manon Fiorot (6-1) vs Maryna Moroz (10-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs) Two highly-rated flyweight prospects go head to head in this one as Fiorot looks to continue her fledgling career against ‘The Iron Lady’. Fiorot has overcome a debut defeat to win six-in-a-row, including her last four via knockout. Her UFC debut ended with a head-kick knockout win over Victoria Leonardo at UFC Fight Island 8 in January, while Moroz is 5-3 in the UFC including decision wins over Sabina Mazo and Mayra Bueno Silva in her last two. Fiorot is an excellent kickboxer who uses her kicks well to keep a distance before landing power strikes, while Moroz is a combination boxer with terrific speed and technique. The problem she’ll have however is that Fiorot has a big power and defensive edge and on top of that has a ground game she can fall back on too. Moroz is durable but she’s never been hit the way Fiorot can hit her and I think think the French ‘Beast’ keeps her knockout streak going.
PICK – Manon Fiorot via Knockout, Round 2