After a short two week break following on from the return of fights in 2022, the UFC is back with a middleweight main event at UFC Vegas 47 this weekend.
In the headline fight Jack Hermansson looks to make it back-to-back wins when he takes on Sean Strickland at 185-pounds, where we could either see a new contender in the division or find out that neither are championship calibre.
Last time out at UFC 270 we had a bad night, going 5/11 with one perfect pick to move to 519/813 (63.84%) with 218 perfect picks (42%).
We’ll look to improve that record here, starting with the early prelims of this 13-fight card.
Malcolm Gordon (13-5) vs Denys Bondar (16-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
An exciting flyweight bout to open the card up. Gordon suffered defeat in his first two UFC bouts to Amir Albazi and Su Mudaerji, before finally getting in the win column last time out against Francisco Figueiredo at UFC Vegas 31, while Bondar makes his UFC debut on an eight-fight win streak.
Gordon is a talented striker on the feet with good technique and leg kicks, while Bondar is a relentless grinder who looks for wrestling and top control to dominate his opponents. With 16 finishes from 16 wins, his top control is so smooth and he looks for finishes over just holding the position which isn’t good news for someone like Gordon who struggles in the grappling department.
Bondar will come forward and look to score the takedown eventually and the only way that Gordon wins this is via a submission off his back or by avoiding takedowns for the entire 15 minutes. That just doesn’t seem likely to me, so I think Bondar secures a ground-and-pound finish midway through the second after wearing Gordon down.
PICK – Denys Bondar via Knockout, Round 2
Jason Witt (19-7) vs Phil Rowe (8-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
Two welterweights looking to make an impression on the UFC fanbase in this one. Witt bounced back from a 12-second KO defeat at UFC Vegas 21 with a majority decision win over Bryan Barbarena at UFC Vegas 33, while Rowe claimed a knockout win over Orion Cosce on the same card to bounce back from his own defeat in the previous fight.
Witt is an excellent wrestler with a good gas tank, but his glass chin doesn’t help him when he comes up against true power punchers. Rowe is, unsurprisingly, a great power puncher with good technique and good range too. Rowe also has a massive 10.5 inch reach advantage and knows how to use that distance well, so he will likely step away plenty to avoid getting into grappling exchanges.
I expect Witt will be able to start the fight well and potentially take the round, but Rowe will know it only takes one big shot to put Witt down. On this occasion, I expect Rowe will survive a bad opening round off his back then get back to his feet and land a big right hand that puts Witt out, again.
PICK – Phil Rowe via Knockout, Round 2
Jailton Almeida (14-2) vs Danilo Marques (11-3) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
A very fun light heavyweight bout between two Brazilians in this one. Almeida makes his UFC debut on a nine-fight win streak, who earned a contract thanks to a submission win on Dana White’s Contender Series. Marques on the other hand saw a four-fight winning streak snapped last time out, when he got knocked out by Kennedy Nzechukwu at UFC Vegas 30.
Almeida has previously described himself as ‘the Brazilian Khabib’ and you can see why in his fighting style. ‘Malhadinho’ looks to get takedowns quickly and with little energy being exerted, before wrapping up the legs and landing damage and advancing position. He has finished all his victories, with nine of them coming via submission. Marques on the other hand is also a talented grappler, who has some good kicks and looks to set up grappling exchanges once he’s closed the distance.
If Marques tries to engage in grappling then he’ll find himself quickly outmatched by the athleticism and power of Almeida. On the feet, it’s a pretty even match up but Almeida once again seems to have the advantage and while his cardio is untested at this level, we watched Marques’ fail him in his most recent fight. Overall, Almeida gets top position and pushes for submissions but claims a wide decision win by the end of this one.
PICK – Jailton Almeida via Decision