A super highly anticipated grudge match main event at UFC 272 is finally upon us as Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal will clash in the welterweight division.
‘Chaos’ and ‘Gamebred’ will finally settle their very personal differences in the octagon after their friendship went sour several years ago, but while fans are hoping for a scrap it could actually be a bit of a mistmatch.
We’ll also see a five-round co-main event that was put together on short-notice as Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Renato Moicano at a 160-pound catchweight.
The last time we made picks was at UFC Vegas 48: Walker vs Hill a couple of weeks ago and we did pretty well, going 9/12 with three perfect picks to move to 548/852 (64.32%) with 234 perfect picks (42.7%).
Check out our full record for our predictions to date here.
We’ll look to improve that record here and after starting with the early prelims, here are our prelims picks.
Maryna Moroz (10-3) vs Mariya Agapova (10-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A very fun bout in the women’s flyweight division opens up the prelims of this card. Moroz hasn’t fought for almost two years, but won her last two fights while Agapova earned a rear-naked choke win over Sabina Mazo at UFC Vegas 39 in her last time out.
Moroz is a primary boxer, who has got credentials as a national boxing champion and boxing coach in her homeland. Agapova on the other hand is also a strong striker, but she has really developed her grappling game in recent years to really round out her game. Her cardio has been a problem in the past, because he style is do-or-die and she tries to fly through her opponents as quickly as possible.
She does have a pretty big advantage when it comes to the grappling game, and she’s also arguably more powerful on the feet, but Moroz is the more skilled fighter when it comes to the striking department. But with two years out, plus the grappling advantage for Agapova, I expect the younger fighter to be able to claim a win and maybe even a finish via ground-and-pound.
PICK – Mariya Agapova via Knockout, Round 2
Nicolae Negumereanu (11-1) vs Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
An intriguing light heavyweight fight up next between two guys currently in purgatory between the rankings and the rubbish. Negumereanu has won his last two, earning a split decision over Aleksa Camur at UFC Vegas 29 before a KO against Isaac Villanueva at UFC Vegas 41, while Nzechukwu was KO’d violently by Da Un Jung at UFC Vegas 42 last time out. He steps in on one months notice for this bout.
Negumereanu is a good wrestler, who looks to press forward for takedowns and then try and earn points on the ground with control and ground and pound. Nzechukwu is a good defensive wrestler with some solid cardio and boxing when attacking, plus a good chin. If his chin has recovered from his KO loss last time out, then he should win this fight relatively comfortably.
Despite his slower starts, his volume is usually enough to keep fighters away and he is also a much bigger fighter in the cage. He has a big height and reach advantage, as well as power and striking. If Negumereanu is able to get the fight down he’ll have a good chance, but I think Nzechukwu should claim the win here from distance.
PICK – Kennedy Nzechukwu via Decision
Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2) vs Yan Xiaonan (13-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
A potential title eliminator in the women’s strawweight division here. Marina Rodriguez is on a brilliant three-fight win streak, with a KO over Amanda Ribas at UFC 257 before main event decision wins against Michelle Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 26 and Mackenzie Dern at UFC Vegas 39. Xiaonan on the other hand saw a six-fight win streak in the UFC snapped by Carla Esparza last time out at UFC Vegas 27 when she got KO’d.
Rodriguez is a sensational boxer with excellent takedown defence, solid cardio and really good power in her hands too. Xiaonan on the other hand is also a very positive striker with good power speed. It’s highly unlikely that either of these fighters will be going for takedowns here, so keep your eyes peeled on this one.
Xiaonan is basically coming up against a bigger version of herself, who also has good skills in the clinch and that’s why I’ve got Rodriguez to win this. She’s just as quick but also more powerful, has more variety from range and has a size advantage. I expect it to be relatively close, but Rodriguez will land the more noticeable shots and claim the decision win.
PICK – Marina Rodriguez via Decision
Jalin Turner (11-5) vs Jamie Mullarkey (14-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
A super fun lightweight fight in the featured prelim bout of the night. Turner is on a three-fight finishing streak with a knockout over Josh Culibao before submission wins against Brok Weaver and then Uros Medic at UFC 266 most recently. Mullarkey on the other hand is on a two-fight KO streak himself, beating Khama Worthy at UFC 260 and then stopped Devonte Smith at UFC Vegas 38 most recently.
Turner is a rangy power puncher with some improved wrestling in recent fights, while Mullarkey looks to bully his way into range and then fire off his cement blocks called hands to KO his opponents. Combined, these two fighters have managed 18 career wins via knockout, so expect someone to go to sleep in this one.
Turner has a big size advantage with this one and arguably hits harder than anyone else Mullarkey has faced off against. If Mullarkey looks to come forward as recklessly as he has in the past, then his chin will be tested like never before. He doesn’t have the wrestling to lean on either because of Turner’s improvements and because of the range advantage, I expect him to land heavy sooner and claim a big knockout win.
PICK – Jalin Turner via Knockout, Round 1
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