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 and after starting with the early prelims of this 13-fight card, we move on to the rest of the prelims here.
Alexis Davis (20-11) vs Julija Stoliarenko (9-6-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
An interesting women’s bantamweight fight to open up the prelims. Davis is 1-4 in her last five, with all her defeats coming against top level competition. Her most recent win came two fights ago when she beat Sabina Mazo at UFC Vegas 20, before she lost last time out to Pannie Kianzad at UFC 263. Stoliarenko has lost each of her last two fights to Yana Kunitskaya at UFC Vegas 6 and then got stopped by Julia Avila at UFC Vegas 30.
Davis is a strong striker with good boxing and excellent Muay-Thai, while her grappling game isn’t horrendous either. Stoliarenko on the other hand is a recently graduated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, who has eight of her nine wins via armbar. She tends to get the fight down and try to explode into submissions, but on the feet she is very poor and tends to leave her chin high and loads everything up.
This isn’t the best fight on the card at all and realistically it’s Davis’ fight to lose. She has the edge on the feet and while Stoliarenko is the better grappler, I think Davis has enough about her to hold her own down there and do enough damage on the feet to earn a decision win.
PICK – Alexis Davis via Decision
Chidi Njokuani (20-7) vs Marc-Andre Barriault (13-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
A middleweight fight that could see the crowning of a new fan favourite here. Njokuani earned a win on the Contender Series last time out to earn a UFC contract and move to a two-fight win streak, while Barriault recovered from defeat in each of his first three UFC bouts to be on a two-fight win streak now and have momentum on his side.
Njokuani is a very technical striker, with solid front kicks and really nice counter punching on his side while Barriault is a good fighter who tends to rely on his one-punch power and then clinches his way to victories. He has nine knockout wins in his career. This fight goes one of two ways; Njokuani gets a highlight reel KO against the one-paced Barriault, or Barriault wears on him enough to slow the pace right down and get a unanimous decision win.
Looking at the tape and the styles, I think the former is the more likely. Njokuani’s kicks and counters should be enough to stop Barriault’s forward pressure right in it’s tracks and eventually land a big combination to secure a knockout win.
PICK – Chidi Njokuani via Knockout, Round 2
Hakeem Dawodu (12-2-1) vs Mike Trizano (10-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
One of the best fights on the card here as two featherweights go head-to-head. Dawodu has had an impressive run in the UFC to date with five wins in between losses in his first and most recent fights in the organisation. Movsar Evloev earned a decision win at UFC 263 in his last fight. Trizano on the other hand returned from two years out of the cage to earn a decision win over Ludovit Klein in his most recent fight at UFC Vegas 26 last time out.
Dawodu is a very talented Muay-Thai fighter who uses his knees brilliantly and his excellent striking technique to the best of his abilities at all time. He’s also got solid power, enough to earn seven KO wins in his career. Trizano on the other hand is a pressure fighter who looks to walk his opponents down and use his speed to land first, while mixing in decent wrestling too. He will need that wrestling to earn a win here, because he’s totally outgunned on the feet.
Unfortunately for Trizano, I don’t think his wrestling is at the level needed to control Dawodu for long enough to take rounds and the fight. On the feet Dawodu should have the edge and if he can keep the fight standing for the majority, he should claim the wide decision win with his combinations and power.
PICK – Hakeem Dawodu via Decision
Miles Johns (12-1) vs John Castaneda (18-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A banger at 135-pounds is the featured prelim bout on this card. Johns has won each of his last two fights via knockout, defeating Kevin Natividad at UFC Vegas 12 and then Anderson Dos Santos at UFC 265. Castaneda on the other hand bounced back from being well beaten by Nathaniel Wood at UFC Fight Island 3 with a knockout victory over Eddie Wineland at UFC Vegas 19.
Johns has got an excellent jab and some good boxing, while his wrestling is of a strong enough level that he can fall back on it whenever he needs to. Castaneda is a pressure fighter who has good knockout power but his wrestling skills aren’t the best, although he does have great speed in his striking. Johns has a habit of self-sabotaging and just sitting on a lead in a fight, but he can’t do that here because Castaneda won’t stop.
Johns has a good enough jab to control the fight and is the better wrestler of the two to get takedowns. Castaneda throws a lot of leg kicks which could make a big difference but if Johns catches one and sees the round out on top he’ll take the win. It’ll go the distance and it’s not a lock of a pick, but I think Johns takes the win.
PICK – Miles Johns via Decision