UFC 267: Blachowicz vs Teixeira – Prelims predictions

An absolutely stacked card comes to you live from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi this weekend at UFC 267.

Headlining the card is a chance for Jan Blachowicz to legitimise his light heavyweight title reign when he defends the belt against Glover Teixeira in the main event.

There is also an interim bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen in the co-main event slot, with many fans considering it the ‘real’ title fight.

Also on the card is Islam Makhachev looking to prove Khabib Nurmagomedov right when he fights Dan Hooker, while Khamzat Chimaev makes his return to the octagon for the first time since September 2020.

Last week at UFC Vegas 41 we had a rough time with our picks, landing just 7/13 correct with three perfect picks to move us up to 446/702 (63.53%) with 190 perfect picks (42.6%) since June 2020.

We’ll look to improve on that with this huge 15-fight card and after starting with the early prelims we move on to the rest of the prelims here.


Shamil Gamzatov (14-0) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (15-4) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An interesting fight at 205lbs between two prospects in the division. Gamzatov is an undefeated stud with one win in the UFC against Klidson Abreu back in 2019. Oleksiejczuk snapped a two fight losing streak last time out with a split decision win over the now released Modestas Bukauskas at UFC 260.

Gamzatov is a good grappler with strong wrestling skills but he’s also got decent power in his hands to try and pressure opponents with. Oleksiejczuk on the other hand is a powerful kickboxer with good cardio and a decent offensive takedown game too. It’s a fight where generally both fighter’s strengths play into the opponent’s weaknesses.

Normally in that scenario you go with the wrestler because they can dictate where the fight goes. ‘Lord’ has got decent takedown defence though and if he can survive the initial blitzes he can land big strikes more as the fight goes on to secure a victory.
PICK – Michal Oleksiejczuk via Decision

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (22-7) vs Benoit Saint-Denis (8-0) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A fun welterweight clash up next as Elizeu Zaleski takes on the undefeated debutant. Zaleski has lost two of his last three in the UFC, with a split decision defeat against Muslim Salikhov at UFC 261 last time out. Saint-Denis has gone 8-0 with a 100% finish rate, including seven submission wins.

Zaleski is a talented kickboxer with great power in his hands and a good ability to scramble to his feet when he is taken down. Saint-Denis on the other hand is the total opposite, who will charge forward for takedowns early and use his natural strength to keep him down and search for finishes. Saint-Denis’ striking is horrendous and if Zaleski can get them to exchange on the feet he has a huge chance.

Zaleski does give up takedowns relative easily though which Saint-Denis will love, but he’s never been submitted in his professional career. He’s good at scrambling back up and in those striking exchanges he has the power to end it. Saint-Denis will slow as the fight goes on and Zaleski will land a nasty combination to secure a highlight reel KO.
PICK – Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos via Knockout, Round 2

Albert Duraev (14-3) vs Roman Kopylov (8-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A fun middleweight clash in this one as Duraev gets a quick turnaround following his win on Dana White’s Contender Series last month. A neck crank victory earned him a contract and he’s met against prospect Kopylov, who lost his only UFC fight back in 2019.

Duraev is a brilliant wrestler with excellent low kicks and submission skills, while Kopylov is a good kickboxer who has had troubles against grapplers in the past. Stepping in on short-notice, Kopylov will be fighting for the first time in two years but it seems like a rough fight for him.

Kopylov has the edge on the feet but with Duraev’s pressure, wrestling and submission skills the likelihood is he won’t get much of a chance to use that. Duraev is likely to rush him, pound him and then choke him out early to make a big impression.
PICK – Albert Duraev via Submission, Round 1



Ricardo Ramos (15-3) vs Zubaira Tukhugov (19-5-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun featherweight bout up next between a Brazilian and Russian prospect. Ramos earned a win against Bill Algeo at UFC Vegas 27 via decision, while Tukhugov dropped a split decision to Hakeem Dawodu at UFC 253 last time out.

Ramos is a very technical kickboxer with good wrestling skills in his back pocket too, while Tukhugov is your standard beastly wrestler who looks to drag his opponent down over and over again and just wear him out. Ramos secured eight takedowns in his last fight to show his chops, but he has been taken down fairly regularly in his career which doesn’t bode well for him.

Tukhugov has had issues with his cardio in the past that he’ll need to have in check for this fight, but ultimately I think his wrestling his good enough to win at least two rounds and thus the fight.
PICK – Zubaira Tukhugov via Decision

Amanda Ribas (10-2) vs Virna Jandiroba (17-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A very interesting and fun women’s strawweight fight is the featured prelim bout on the night. Ribas submitted Paige Van Zant at UFC 251 but then got knocked out by Marina Rodriguez at UFC 257 in January last time out. Jandiroba suffered defeat to Mackenzie Dern at UFC 256 before returning to the win column against Kanako Murata at UFC Vegas 29.

Ribas is a stud grappler, with brilliant submission skills to go with her excellent jiu-jitsu. Her striking isn’t the most crisp, but she can generally hold her own in the stand-up against someone who isn’t a primary striker. Jandiroba is a brilliant wrestler who has shown improved stand-up and great power in her most recent outings. It’s a really intriguing fight because while Ribas is great with her submissions, I wouldn’t say she’s as dangerous as Dern despite her win over her.

Jandiroba’s cardio is unmatched and she is one of the better wrestlers in the division. If she can push the pace against Ribas, who cuts A LOT of weight, and land her power punches mixed in with her wrestling she should be able to secure a really close, entertaining win.
PICK – Virna Jandiroba via Decision

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