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 and moving on to the rest of the prelims here, we finish off our picks with the main card here.
Julian Erosa (26-10) vs Steven Peterson (19-9) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
A very fun featherweight scrap opens up the main card. Erosa had an exciting 2021 earning a flying knee over Nate Landwehr at UFC Vegas 19 before getting KO’d himself by Seung Woo Choi at UFC Vegas 29. He then got back on the winning trail last time out with a submission over Charles Jourdain at UFC Vegas 36. Peterson was out for almost two years before returning against Chase Hooper and earning a decision win at UFC 263.
Erosa is a huge pressure fighter with really good submissions skills and some explosive striking abilities too with his kickboxing background. Peterson on the other hand is a jiu-jitsu black belt who doesn’t have the wrestling capabilities to get the fight to the ground as often as he’d quite like. When standing, he looks to grind his opponents with clinches to try and turn momentum until he can secure a takedown.
This is weird match-making based on their recent runs, and I can’t see past an Erosa win. A wrestle-based attack is something Erosa will be used to and know how to deal with and on the feet he has a huge advantage with his striking. Peterson has only been finished once in his career, so I think it goes the distance, but I expect Erosa to get his hand raised at the end of it.
PICK – Julian Erosa via Decision
Tresean Gore (4-0) vs Bryan Battle (7-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
A really fun fight that should have been the finale of the most recent Ultimate Fighter series, only for Gore to suffer an injury. That allowed Battle to defeat Gilbert Urbina in the finale instead at UFC Vegas 35 and claim a UFC contract.
Gore is a solid striker, with fluid kicks and a powerful striking offence as well as a decent wrestling background. Battle on the other hand is a primary grappler, with some great submission skills which have made up five of his seven career wins. Battle is a grinder with great cardio, who works for position on the ground and then looks for the neck to choke the opponent out. Gore looked mightily impressive throughout the TUF process though and fully deserves his shot in the organisation.
Battle got dropped and hurt by Urbina in his only UFC fight, and if he gets hit like that by Gore he won’t survive. Gore is more powerful and better with striking, while his wrestling is arguably better too. He lacks in the submission department, but Gore was the favourite before the finale and is the favourite here for a reason too. Gore lands big early on and gets a KO win.
PICK – Tresean Gore via Knockout, Round 1
Sam Alvey (33-16-1) vs Brendan Allen (17-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
A weird fight that has no business even taking place comes up next. Sam Alvey is 0-6-1 in his last seven fights, with a submission loss against Julian Marquez at UFC Vegas 23 before a split decision defeat to Wellington Turman at UFC Vegas 35. Brendan Allen steps in on short-notice, moving up a weight division, for this fight on the back of a surprising KO defeat to Chris Curtis at UFC Vegas 44 last year.
Alvey is not a UFC calibre fighter and hasn’t been for a very long time. He’s got a very heavy right hook and his takedown defence is decent, but he finds himself with his back to the cage a lot and just waiting. Allen on the other hand is a fast-paced fighter with good striking but also has a suffocating ground game where he blasts double legs and controls position from the top. The only advantage that Alvey has in this fight is his size, but even then he isn’t that much bigger. He’s a natural middleweight too and they’re both 6ft 2, but he’s fought at 205lbs before.
Allen is comfortably the better wrestler and grappler and he has good enough striking to land hard on Alvey too. He will have to avoid that right hook, which could KO him, but aside from that this is his fight to lose.
PICK – Brendan Allen via Submission, Round 2
Shavkat Rakhmonov (14-0) vs Carlston Harris (17-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
My pick for fight of the night here between two exciting welterweights. Rakhmonov is an undefeated fighter, who earned a submission win over Michel Prazeres most recently at UFC Vegas 30. Harris on the other hand is on a five-fight win streak with a KO win over Impa Kasanganay at UFC Vegas 37 in his last fight.
Rakhmonov is a very well-rounded fighter with some really crisp boxing and excellent submission skills too. All of his 14 wins have come via finish, evenly split between knockouts and submissions. Harris on the other hand is a heavy-handed wrestler with some slick submissions himself and plenty of experience in his back pocket. These two are so well-rounded and well matched, but it seems as though Rakhmonov will have too much on this occasion.
He has excellent distance striking, great mid-range strikes and in-close he is a big submission threat as well as possessing great knees and elbows. His wrestling is good enough to neutralise Harris’ biggest strengths, and I think Rakhmonov will be able to land heavy shots and claim yet another knockout win midway through the fight.
PICK – Shavkat Rakhmonov via Knockout, Round 2
Punahele Soriano (8-1) vs Nick Maximov (7-0) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
A fun co-main event fight up next between two prospects early on in their career. Soriano suffered the first defeat of his career last time out to Brendan Allen at UFC Vegas 32, while Maximov remains undefeated and won his UFC debut against Cody Brundage at UFC 266 via decision.
This is a classic striker vs grappler match-up, with Soriano a solid boxer with good kicks and decent power. He has five knockouts in his career from eight wins. Maximov on the other hand is a top-level grappler with excellent jiu-jitsu and has earned two KO’s and three submissions in his career. The Nick Diaz Academy graduate Maximov has already earned a reputation because of his affiliation to the Diaz brothers, and he has a brown belt in jiu-jitsu while working on his boxing with Freddie Roach. Soriano has a good wrestling background himself and has shown good defence in the past, but Maximov’s takedowns and jiu-jitsu combination will provide a new problem to deal with.
Soriano has a very big striking advantage and his takedown defence is excellent but Maximov’s submissions are a genuinely huge threat. At 24 though, he has plenty of time to continue to improve and it feels like this may be a bit too big of a jump this time. Soriano will defend takedowns and pick him off on the feet to earn a wide and impressive decision win.
PICK – Punahele Soriano via Decision
Jack Hermansson (22-6) vs Sean Strickland (24-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
A big main event in the middleweight division as two top ten ranked fighters go head-to-head. Hermansson earned a victory in his most recent fight with a decision win over Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC Vegas 27. Strickland on the other hand is on a brilliant run since suffering a big motorcycle accident, with five wins in a row including defeating Uriah Hall in his first main event most recently at UFC Vegas 33.
Hermansson is a solid striker on the feet with very good grappling skills and submissions in his game, earning six submissions and 11 KO wins in his career to date. Strickland on the other hand is a pressure boxer with a stiff, crisp jab and good power in his combinations too. He has some solid takedown defence too as shown in his win over Brendan Allen, and that bodes well for him in this fight. Hermansson however does probably have the best wrestling and submission game that Strickland will have come up against in his career.
I expect Strickland to win the early rounds well with his boxing and takedowns, but to keep Hermansson off you for five rounds is a really tough job and once he’s on you it’s hard to get him off. With that said, I do expect Strickland to land enough on the feet to take a big enough lead into the latter rounds where a takedown shouldn’t matter too much so long as he survives. Strickland jabs and pressures his way to a win, but Hermansson will make it tough.
PICK – Sean Strickland via Decision