The UFC returns to the Apex arena for another UFC Vegas card, headlined this time by huge lightweight contenders as Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Rafael Fiziev in the main event.
The number seven ranked 155-pounder takes on the number 11 ranked 155-pounder, but they’re backed up by a solid card this weekend including one UFC debutant and a list of experienced talent too.
Last time out at UFC 276 e went 8/11 (we don’t count no contests) with two perfect picks, moving us to 649/1009 (64.32%) with 279 perfect picks (42.99%). You can check out our total picks history here.
We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.
Ronnie Lawrence (8-1) vs Saidyokub Kakhramonov (9-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A banger at bantamweight to start the card here. Lawrence is on a five-fight win streak including a KO win in his UFC debut against Vince Cachero before earning a decision over Leomana Martinez at UFC 271 last time out. Kakhramonov on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak, including a submission win in his debut last time out over Trevin Giles.
Lawrence and Kakhramonov are both grapplers by trade, with great wrestling and some good submission skills in their arsenal too. However both are capable of keeping up a high pace and can land a good volume of strikes too, which is what this fight may turn into. There, Lawrence has a slight advantage and it could prove pivotal in this match up.
Kakhramonov showed a vulnerability when forced against the cage in his last bout and while he arguably has the power advantage, Lawrence seems like the most durable of the two too. Expect both men to keep it standing until an opportunity presents itself for a takedown, but Lawrence should be able to use his volume and pressure to force his opponent backwards and mix in takedown threats to earn the decision win.
PICK – Ronnie Lawrence via Decision
Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-3) vs Karl Roberson (9-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
An interesting light heavyweight bout up next. Nzechukwu started his UFC career 4-1, but has lost each of his last two fights after getting KO’d by Da Un Jung at UFC Vegas 42 before dropping a split decision to Nicolae Negumereanu at UFC 272 most recently. Roberson has lost his last three in a row, getting finished by all of Marvin Vettori (UFC Vegas 2), Brendan Allen (UFC 261) and Khalil Rountree.
Nzechukwu is a volume heavy striker who tends to walk forward head first and pressure opponents until they crumble, while Roberson is a solid all-rounder who can’t game plan to save his life. He grapples with grapplers, tries to jiu-jitsu with jiu-jitsu players and doesn’t use his striking game nearly enough. That’s a big problem against Nzechukwu, who will be the much bigger man coming into this fight.
Roberson’s volume isn’t great and if he chooses to just stand with his back against the cage and exchange strikes he’ll likely get stopped. Nzechukwu must let his hands go more often and continue to come forward, and he should be able to land enough to secure a close decision win.
PICK – Kennedy Nzechukwu via Decision
David Onama (9-1) vs Garrett Armfield (8-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
A super short notice bout makes it to the card at the last minute. Onama suffered defeat in his UFC debut on short notice to Mason Jones, but bounced back with a big win over Gabriel Benitez when he KO’d him in the first round. Armfield on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak and makes his UFC debut in this bout, with seven finishes in his eight career wins.
Armfield is a well-rounded fighter with great hand speed and power, to go with some excellent wrestling abilities and a great fight IQ. Onama alternatively is a brilliant kickboxer with excellent power and speed, with explosiveness for days and a decent ground game too. These two guys have fought before, with Onama earning a victory via unanimous decision during their amateur days.
Onama has the striking advantage by a distance, but in the grappling he’s at a big disadvantage. His defensive wrestling and grappling isn’t great and Armfield has the ability to step in and wrestle for 15 minutes. The issue is he’s coming in on three days’ notice against a guy who has beaten him before. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him claim a decision win, but it’s a huge ask and I expect Onama to work the body and use his length to claim another win.
PICK – David Onama via Decision