The UFC returns to the APEX this weekend for a featherweight banger of a main event as ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chang Sung Jung takes on Dan Ige.
Both men have earned a reputation as one of the better guys at 145lbs but having previously lost to the best of the best, they want to prove they’re not nearly men by getting a win in this main event.
In this 12 fight card, you also have two heavyweights in the co-main event as Aleksei Oleinik takes on Serghei Spivac while Davey Grant takes a step up in competition to take on Marlon Vera at bantamweight.
Last week at UFC 263 we had an incredible night of picks, going 10/14 with NINE perfect picks to take us up to 338/530 (63.77%) with 151 perfect picks (44.67%). We’ll look to improve that record here, starting with the six prelim bouts.
Casey O’Neill (6-0) vs Lara Procopio (7-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A very interesting first fight of the night in the women’s flyweight division as Casey O’Neill puts her undefeated record on the line against Lara Procopio. O’Neill won her UFC debut back in February, KO’ing Shana Dobson at UFC Vegas 19, while Procopio bounced back from a defeat in her debut by beating Molly McCann at UFC Vegas 18.
Both O’Neill and Procopio are very effective strikers with excellent grappling skills and are very evenly matched up. Both women have three finishes each in their career, with three submissions and three KO’s combined. O’Neill is the more aggressive takedown artist and looks to land more damage from the top position, while Procopio is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. She tends to look for control more from the top and is more reserved and slightly more experienced too.
It’s really hard to call in all honesty, because O’Neill is likely to land more damage however I think Procopio will be able to use her BJJ skills to control the grappling scenarios slightly more and just edge a win.
PICK – Lara Procopio via Decision
Joaquim Silva (11-3) vs Rick Glenn (21-6-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
A fun lightweight bout between two well thought of 155lbers in this one as Joaquim Silva takes on a returning Ricky Glenn. Silva makes his return to the octagon after just under two years away following a loss to Nasrat Haqparast, while Glenn returns after nearly three years away following major hip surgery where he lost to Kevin Aguilar.
It’s tough to make a prediction on this one considering they’ve been away from the cage for so long, but both guys are absolute warriors who look to slug it out from the opening bell to the end of the fight. Both guys have power with 17 KO wins between them (6-11 split) and plenty of durability too.
Silva has been away for less time and the fact that Glenn had most of his career at featherweight, I think Silva’s size will be enough to earn him victory.
PICK – Joaquim Silva via Decision
Josh Parisian (13-4) vs Roque Martinez (15-7-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)
Big boys bang it out in this one as heavyweights Josh Parisian and Roque Martinez go head-to-head. Parisian lost his last fight in a decision to Parker Porter, while Martinez lost each of his two UFC fights – getting submitted by Alexander Romanov at UFC Vegas 10 and then dropping a decision to Don’Tale Mayes at UFC Vegas 14.
Parisian is a lengthy boxer type, but he has no idea how to use that reach and length to his advantage. Martinez is a brawler who will look to get into the pocket and swing away, with relatively good cardio despite what his physique might tell you. If Martinez keeps the pressure on and walks forward he’ll have a much better chance of getting a victory but Parisian has the attributes to keep him at bay if needs be.
Unfortunately for Martinez, I do think he will use those attributes. Martinez will push the pace and make it ugly which will just suit him better but I think Parisian mixes his attacks up enough to earn a win.
PICK – Josh Parisian via Decision
Khaos Williams (11-2) vs Matthew Semelsberger (8-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
A banger at welterweight as knockout artists Khaos Williams and Matthew Semelsberger bang it out. Williams KO’d Abdul Razak Alhassan in just 30 seconds at UFC Vegas 14 but was beaten last time out by the wild Michel Pereira at UFC Vegas 17 via decision. Semelsberger is on a five-fight win streak, winning both his UFC bouts by beating Carlton Minus at UFC Vegas 7 and then knocking out Jason Witt inside 20 seconds at UFC Vegas 21.
Both these guys are absolute power strikers, who look to land strikes down the middle and take their opponent’s head off. Semelsberger throws more combinations and has a good gas tank but he has been knocked out before and if Khaos hits you clean it could well be night night. Semelsberger will look to overwhelm with volume to earn a stoppage but Khaos has a solid chin and I think he’ll be able to withstand it.
With his legit one-punch KO power, it’s hard to go against Williams in this one – but it’s a close fight either way.
PICK – Khaos Williams via Knockout, Round 1
Kanako Murata (12-1) vs Virna Jandiroba (16-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
A very exciting strawweight fight as Kanako Murata makes her UFC return against the excellent Virna Jandiroba. Murata has won her last eight in a row with four submissions including her debut win over Randa Markos at UFC Vegas 14, while Jandiroba looks to bounce back from a defeat to Mackenzie Dern at UFC 256.
Murata is a tremendous wrestler and is arguably now the best in the division when it comes to that specific skill, but Jandiroba is a stunning submission artists with all 13 of her stoppages coming via tap out. Murata chases takedowns no matter the opposition and during her Invicta career she took on another submission artist who almost submitted her.
Jandiroba won’t let the opportunity go and with her world class judo she may even get a takedown or three of her own, so I think Jandiroba gets the submission win from her back.
PICK – Virna Jandiroba via Submission, Round 2
Aleksa Camur (6-1) vs Nicolae Negumereanu (9-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
An intriguing fight at 205lbs as Camur looks to recover from the first defeat of his career when he takes on Negumereanu who fights for the first time in over two years. Camur beat Justin Ledet in his UFC debut but was beaten by William Knight last time out at UFC 253, while Negumereanu lost his last fight via decision in March 2019.
Camur is a solid striker on the feet, with great power and accuracy but some wild technique in his arsenal while Negumereanu has as padded a record as you’re likely to see. ‘Nicu’ will need to look for takedowns and push the pace to keep Camur away from striking distance, but being capable after so long away isn’t likely.
Unless Negumereanu has improved drastically while he’s been away, I think Camur keeps the distance, avoids the takedowns and gets the win.
PICK – Aleksa Camur via Decision