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 and having started with the early prelims here are the rest of the prelim picks for you.
Alan Patrick (15-3) vs Mason Jones (10-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
A fun welterweight clash between the experienced Alan Patrick as he takes on the highly rated Mason Jones. Patrick is on a two-fight skid, losing to Scott Holtzman in 2018 before a defeat to Bobby Green last time out at UFC Vegas 10. Jones on the other hand got beaten in his UFC debut in a really close fight on Fight Island 8 back in January against Mike Davis.
Patrick is primarily a wrestler, using takedowns to get top control and then keep his opponent down for long enough to secure a judge’s decision as his nine career decision wins show. Jones on the other hand is a gladiator, who steps forward with good boxing skills and a steady set of all-round skills. Jones’ takedown defence is sufficient enough to either completely stuff them or be able to get back up quickly and he has the power and accuracy to hurt Patrick.
The ageing Brazilian’s only path to victory is to hold Jones down and considering the way both their last fights went, it doesn’t look likely – especially at welterweight.
PICK – Mason Jones via Knockout, Round 2
Francisco Trinaldo (26-7) vs Muslim Salikhov (17-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
The super experienced ‘Massaranduba’ returns from nearly a year away from the octagon to take on another highly rated welterweight, ‘King of Kung Fu’ Muslim Salikhov. Trinaldo has won his last three in a row, including a knockout win over Jai Herbert at UFC Fight Island 4, while Salikhov has won his last four including a split decision over Eliseu Zaleski dos Santos at UFC 251.
Trinaldo has spent the last eight years at lightweight and has put that size advantage to good use, but now returns to 170lbs as he hits 42 years of age. He has good grappling skills and a wicked left-hand, but Salikhov while 36 himself has so many advantages on the feet. Salikhov uses lots of kicks in his attacks and has crisp, fast striking to go with it. Trinaldo will likely look for a takedown but without his usual size advantage he could struggle to find it, leaving Salikhov to pick him apart on the feet.
In the end the speed, accuracy and power advantages mixed with his footwork and gas tank mean Salikhov gets a stoppage late on.
PICK – Muslim Salikhov via Knockout, Round 3
Tanner Boser (19-7-1) vs Ilir Latifi (15-8) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)
A heavyweight throw down as ‘The Bulldozer’ takes on ‘The Sledgehammer’ in an interesting fight on the undercard. Boser went 2-1 in 2020, KO’ing Phillipe Lins at UFC Vegas 4 and Raphael Pessoa at UFC Fight Island 3 before losing to Andrei Arlovski at UFC Vegas 13, while Latifi has lost each of his last three fights to Corey Anderson, Volkan Oezdemir and Derrick Lewis.
Boser is your typical heavyweight, with decent striking but he throws a leg kick very hard and heavy all the time. Latifi is quite undersized for the division and is only a heavyweight because of a poor diet, but his style is more physical than most. He likes to clinch and look for takedowns but Boser is far too mobile for that and on top of his size advantages is durable enough to take any big punches Latifi might land.
In the end, Boser circles and uses his jab and straight punches well to prevent any sort of takedown and cruise to a comfortable decision win.
PICK – Tanner Boser via Decision
Makwan Amirkhani (16-5) vs Kamuela Kirk (11-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
A super fun fight at featherweight between two exciting 145lb-ers as ‘Mr Finland’ takes on ‘The Jawaiian’ on short-notice. Amirkhani has lost two of his last three, getting a win over Danny Henry at UFC 251 in between defeats to Shane Burgos and then Edson Barboza most recently at UFC Fight Island 5. Kirk makes his UFC debut on a little over one-weeks notice on a two-fight win streak having picked up a TKO win just two weeks ago in the LFA.
Amirkhani is a grappling wizard on the mat with 11 submission wins in his career, with fantastic wrestling and exceptional front chokes. Kirk on the other hand is a slick jiu-jitsu fighter in his own right, but he has got excellent boxing and incredible pressure to back his opponents up. Stylistically it’s not a fun match up for Amirkhani but the short notice nature could be enough to help him out.
Despite that though, I think Kirk is solid enough on the ground to not get finished early and if he keeps the fight standing he has a big striking advantage to get a fun win.
PICK – Kamuela Kirk via Decision
Montana De La Rosa (11-6-1) vs Ariane Lipski (13-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A return to the cage for Montana De La Rosa as she takes on the ‘Queen of Violence’ in the first women’s fight of the night.
De La Rosa has just one win in her last four, losing to Andrea Lee before a win over Mara Romero Borella. She followed that up with a defeat to Viviane Araujo, before a draw against Mayra Bueno Silva at UFC Vegas 20. Lipski on the other hand saw a two-fight win streak, after wins over Isabela de Padua and Luana Carolina, ended by Antonina Shevchenko at UFC 255 by knockout.
De La Rosa is a fantastic grappler on the mat but her poor takedown game has often seen her struggle against top opposition. Lipski’s striking game lives up to her nickname but defensively her grappling game is essentially non-existent. De La Rosa has shown that she’s pretty durable when it comes to the stand up game and with her style on the mat, it’s hard to see this going any way other than her getting the fight down and beating Lipski up.
PICK – Montana De La Rosa via Decision