Arguably the best fight of the year not on a pay-per-view card headlines UFC Vegas 32 this weekend as Cory Sandhagen puts his number one contender status on the line against the returning former champion TJ Dillashaw.
The two were supposed to fight back in May, only for Dillashaw to sustain a cut in training forcing the bout to be postponed. In what should be an incredibly close fight, the winner is likely to get the next title shot against the winner of Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan’s rematch.
Elsewhere on the card, two young female prospects go head-to-head when Miranda Maverick and Maycee Barber square off on the main card in the flyweight division. Knockout sensation Adrian Yanez also returns to the octagon to take on Randy Costa too.
Last time out at UFC Vegas 31, we went 7/10 with one perfect pick on the night to move up to 370/576 (64.24%) with 164 perfect picks (44.32%).
We’ll look to improve on that here with this 13-fight card, starting with the early prelims here.
Diana Belbita (13-6) vs Hannah Goldy (5-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
An interesting fight in the 115lbs division to open the card as Belbita looks to return from a two-fight skid against Goldy who hasn’t fought since a defeat in 2019. Belbita’s last two fights were defeats, getting beaten by Molly McCann and then submitted by Liana Jojua at UFC Vegas 1.
Belbita got outgrappled by a fighter who isn’t that great of a grappler last time out and that is worrying. She’s a good striker on her best day and her best attribute is her aggression, something Goldy can struggle against. If the Goldy from the Contender Series shows up with her counter-striking abilities and nimble footwork then she should outwork Belbita.
It’s not a UFC calibre fight in honesty so thankfully it’s on first, but Goldy should take a decision win.
PICK – Hannah Goldy via Decision
Sijara Eubanks (7-6) vs Elise Reed (4-0) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A fun flyweight fight up next as the experienced Eubanks takes on former Cage Fury champions Elise Reed in her UFC debut. ‘Sarj’ went 2-2 in 2020, with wins over Sarah Moras and Julia Avila at UFC Vegas 10 before back-to-back defeats against Ketlen Vieira at UFC 253 and Pannie Kianzad at UFC Vegas 17. Reed is undefeated in her four fights with two KO’s.
Eubanks is a decent boxer with good power but not the best technique and genuinely world-class grappling but poor takedown offence to set it up. Reed is a striker who throws everything she can into her punches and kicks and often leaves herself to just go to war with her opponent. Reed is a big kicker which could open her up to getting taken down, but Eubanks is just levels ahead of anything Reed has fought before.
I don’t think she has the power to get a stoppage, but she should get a pretty comfortable win here.
PICK – Sijara Eubanks via Decision
Julio Arce (16-4) vs Andre Ewell (17-7) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A banger at bantamweight on the early prelims as Arce and Ewell go head-to-head. Arce is making his first appearance since 2019 and his first at 135lbs since 2016, while Ewell looks to bounce back from defeat to Chris Gutierrez last time out at UFC 258.
Arce is a very talented kickboxer with great fluidity in his strikes, but he’s also a very skilled grappler on the mat too. That will cause problems for Ewell, who is a rangy power striker who struggles to maintain attacks and has had trouble stopping people’s takedowns in the past. On his best day, Ewell has got great skills and can beat a lot of people but the fight last time out showed just how beatable he is.
Arce has got all the skills to earn a victory here, landing better and cleaner strikes and mixing in takedowns for a comfortable win.
PICK – Julio Arce via Decision