The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas for a featherweight clash in the main event between Calvin Kattar and Arnold Allen in a potential title eliminator.
Both guys are coming off great wins last time out and will be hoping to put their case forward for a shot against Alex Volkanovski in 2023.
There’s a pretty good undercard to go off too in comparison to recent weeks, so it’s a good set of fights to look forward to.
Last time out at UFC 280 we went 8/12 with four perfect picks to move to 749/1166 (64.58%) with 317 perfect picks (42.1%). You can see our full pick history here.
We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims, we move on to the rest of the prelims here.
Joseph Holmes (8-2) vs Junyong Park (14-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Middleweights step into the octagon next. Holmes saw a seven-fight win streak snapped in his UFC debut against Jamie Pickett back at UFC Vegas 46, but bounced back with a first-round submission win over Alen Amedovski in May last time out. Park alternatively saw a three-fight win streak in the UFC ended when Gregory Rodrigues knocked him out in October last year, but he rebounded with a split decision win over Eryk Anders in his last fight.
Holmes is an excellent wrestler who comes into this fight with a huge advantage in height and reach, while his submission game and top control are big weapons that he likes to use. Park is a bit of a wild man in the octagon, with decent striking and good grappling defence but not really excelling in any department outside of his excellent cardio.
On paper Holmes should be able to use his reach to control where this fight takes place, but Park is very durable and will pressure Holmes plenty during this fight. Expect him to overwhelm Holmes and land the more eye-catching shots while refusing to be held down to score a win on the judge’s scorecards.
PICK – Junyong Park via Decision
Andrei Arlovski (34-20) vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima (19-9-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)
Heavyweight scrap up next between two veterans of the game. 43 year old Arlovski has bounced back from a submission loss to Tom Aspinall (UFC Vegas 19) with four straight wins over Chase Sherman, Carlos Felipe, Jared Vanveraa (UFC 271) and Jake Collier most recently. De Lima is 37 himself and is 2-2 in his last four, losing to Alexander Romanov (UFC Vegas 13) and Blagoy Ivanov either side of wins against Maurice Greene and Ben Rothwell.
Arlovski is one of the most complete heavyweights in history, with an excellent wrestling game to go with his expert kickboxing and good power. De Lima is a bulldozer who steps forward looking to end the fight in the first 150 seconds before slowly falling off a cliff with his cardio in the bin. This looks like another typical bout for Arlovski that he likely won’t be losing.
If De Lima lands flush a couple of times then Arlovski is going to sleep, but we’ve said that often in recent years and it hasn’t happened. Arlovski is still savvy enough to avoid those big shots and get his own damage in, and with De Lima’s cardio so poor, expect him to see off the initial blitz and then mix in some wrestling and clinch work to claim a decision win.
PICK – Andrei Arlovski via Decision
Phil Hawes (12-3) vs Roman Dolidze (10-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Banger at middleweight in the featured prelim bout of the night. Hawes was on an absolute tear in the UFC winning his first three fights over Jacob Malkoun (UFC 254), Nassourdine Imavov and Kyle Daukaus, before a shock loss to Chris Curtis at UFC 268. He responded to that with a KO win over Deron Winn most recently. Dolidze recently made it two wins in a row, beating Kyle Daukaus via first-round KO.
Hawes is a brilliant kickboxer with legitimate knockout power and fantastic wrestling to go with it, making him a legitimate threat in the weight division. Dolidze on the other hand is a super wrestler who looks to use that to grind on his opponents and control them on the ground, handing out some decent ground and pound in the process. Big problem for him here though, he’s not as good at Hawes at anything.
“No Hype” should be able to have his way with Dolidze wherever this fight goes, but Dolidze is talented enough to make him pay if he isn’t at the top of his game. Hawes has got great power and a great array of attacks, so he should be able to land well and mix it up enough to potentially claim a finish but I do think Dolidze will be able to go the full 15.
PICK – Phil Hawes via Decision
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