The UFC returns to the T-Mobile Arena for UFC 276 for a double-header title fight event in what looks like one of the best cards of the year.
In the main event middleweight champion Israel Adesanya defends his title against ‘Tha Killa Gorilla’ Jared Cannonier, while Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway go head-to-head for a third time for the featherweight title in the co-main event.
We’ll also see the likes of Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira face off, while all of Robbie Lawler, Sean O’Malley, Maycee Barber, Brad Riddell, Jalin Turner and Dricus Du Plessis will all fight too.
We’ve had a few weeks off for picks due to a holiday, but our last time out at UFC 275 saw us go 7/11 with five perfect picks, moving us to 635/987 (64.33%) with 273 perfect picks (42.99%). You can view our full picks record here.
We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.
Jessica-Rose Clark (11-7) vs Julija Stoliarenko (9-7-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
An interesting women’s bantamweight fight to open the card in this one. Clark was on a two-fight win streak before her last fight against Stephanie Egger, who tapped her in the first-round via armbar. Stoliarenko has lost each of her last three fights in the UFC, dropping a decision to Yana Kunitskaya before getting submitted by Julia Avila and then dropping another decision most recently to Alexis Davis.
Clark is a serious grinder with her wrestling, using her striking to simply set up takedowns and then control from top position with nice ground and pound. Stoliarenko on the other hand is a competent striker on the feet and is a nasty submission artist, with all eight of her professional finishes coming via armbar. But once opponents are clued up on that armbar, she tends to run out of options on the ground.
Stoliarenko will want to keep distance as the bigger fighter and use her striking to edge Clark out, but Clark will know that so long as she keeps focus on the ground and avoids the arm attacks she will win this fight. Expect “Jessy Jess” to be aggressive and push forward with takedowns, then dominate on top while staying safe to claim a decision win.
PICK – Jessica-Rose Clark via Decision
Jessica Eye (15-10) vs Maycee Barber (10-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A banger at flyweight between two women at different moments in their careers right now. Eye has lost four of her last five and each of her last three in a row, dropping unanimous decisions to Cynthia Calvillo (UFC Vegas 2), Joanne Wood (UFC 257) and Jennifer Maia (UFC 264). Barber returned from a serious knee injury and has won her last two fights, claiming a split decision against Miranda Maverick before a dominant win over Montana De La Rosa most recently.
Eye likes to try and box her opponents from range, using foot work to get in and out of distance, while Barber is a solid wrestler with excellent top control and some good power in her hands too. Eye is on a run that doesn’t lend well to that, because her last three opponents have been able to drag her to the mat and dominate her there. That seems like the perfect route to victory for Barber here too.
Barber won’t be afraid to exchange strikes too, but she will likely come forward to force Eye against the cage and then use her physicality and strength to get the bout down. From there it’s just pure control and damage to be inflicted, and while I don’t expect a finish it’s not something that would surprise me.
PICK – Maycee Barber via Decision
Uriah Hall (18-10) vs Andre Muniz (22-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Middleweight fireworks ready for this one. Hall was on a four-fight win streak heading into his bout with Sean Strickland back in July 2021, where he got dominated and suffered defeat. Muniz on the other hand is on an eight-fight win streak, including first-round armbar finishes in each of his last three against Bartosz Fabinski, Jacare Souza (UFC 262) and Eryk Anders (UFC 269).
Hall is a kung-fu fighter with incredibly powerful striking skills with punches and kicks, with brilliant counter striking. Muniz on the other hand is a submission master, who has shown an ability to force an opponent to tap or get their bone snapped in recent bouts. His Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills are unmatched in the division, but he is also a talented striker too.
Despite being a super hot prospect at one point in time, Hall still has very similar weaknesses today that he did then. He doesn’t like pressure and he’s susceptible to wrestling, while he’s not comfortable on his back. Thats not good when he’s across the cage from Muniz. The Brazilian will storm forward and try to get this on the ground ASAP and once it’s there, it’s a matter of time before he secures another quick tap.
PICK – Andre Muniz via Submission, Round 1
One thought on “UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier – Early prelims predictions”