The UFC returns to pay-per-view with a banger of a main event that will see Aljamain Sterling defend his bantamweight title against Henry Cejudo.
The reigning champion takes on the two-weight world champ who never lost his belts as he returns to the octagon for the first time in three years.
We’ll also see a welterweight title eliminator in the co-main event as Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns go head-to-head in a five-round fight on just two weeks’ notice.
Last time out at UFC Vegas 72 we got the main card pick wrong, but our last full card predictions went well at UFC 287 as we went 8/12 with three perfect picks to move to 866/1339 (64.68%) with 355 perfect picks (40.99%). You can see our full picks 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 prelim picks.
Marina Rodriguez (16-2-2) vs Virna Jandiroba (18-3) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
This is a really fun and interesting strawweight bout between two women who want to push up to title contention. Rodriguez saw a four-fight win streak snapped by Amanda Lemos most recently with a third-round knockout loss, while Jandiroba bounced back from defeat to Amanda Ribas with a win over Angela Hill most recently.
Rodriguez is an excellent boxer with great length and distance management, and her takedown defence has been good in recent times as shown against Mackenzie Dern. Jandiroba though will put that to the test as one of the more relentless takedown artists in the division, with great strength and technique to go with some decent striking too.
Jandiroba can leave herself quite open on the feet and that will allow Rodriguez a chance to land game-changing strikes. But Rodriguez has been taken down at least once in each of her last seven fights, which gives Jandiroba a chance to work her submission game. With that said though, there is a considerable size and power edge for Rodriguez and I believe she will be able to survive if that happens to claim the win.
PICK – Marina Rodriguez via Decision
Khaos Williams (13-3) vs Rolando Bedoya (14-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
Banger at 170-pounds up next. “Khaos” has been fantastic in the UFC but has gone 2-2 in his last four with wins over Matthew Semelsberger and Miguel Baeza sandwiched between losses to Michel Pereira and Randy Brown most recently. Bedoya makes his UFC debut on a ten-fight win streak including a knockout and submission in his last two.
Williams is an excellent boxer with ridiculous one-punch power, while Bedoya is a tricky grappler with some decent wrestling skills. But Bedoya has a huge problem in this fight because not only is he stepping in on short-notice, but his striking defence is his biggest problem which means Williams will have a fine target to land on.
If Bedoya can get the fight to the ground then he has a great chance of scoring the submission, because Khaos isn’t the best grappler. But to do that he’ll have to get close to Williams and that means he’ll probably be on his back staring at the ceiling before he can really drag him to the mat.
PICK – Khaos Williams via Knockout, Round 1
Kennedy Nzechukwu (11-3) vs Devin Clark (14-7) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
An interesting light heavyweight scrap coming up next. Nzechukwu has won his last two fights, KO’ing Karl Roberson and Ion Cutelaba in his most recent outings. Clark on the other hand is 2-1 in his last three, with a loss to Azamat Murzakanov sandwiched between wins over William Knight and Da Woon Jung.
“African Savage” is a powerful striker with tremendous size and strength, but his grappling defence has been an issue that he’s had to deal with throughout his UFC career. In Clark he’ll be coming up against one of the better wrestlers in the division, but the rest of his skills are average and he’s fairly small for the 205-pound weight class.
It’s a really interesting scrap because Clark has the skills to hurt Nzechukwu and nullify him, but the sheer size difference is definitely an issue and I think he won’t have the physicality to hold him down meaning he gets pieced up on the feet for the most part.
PICK – Kennedy Nzechukwu via Decision
Drew Dober (26-11) vs Matt Frevola (10-3-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
An absolute banger at lightweight in the featured prelim of the night. Dober comes into this fight on a three-fight win streak, having claimed knockout wins against Terrence McKinney, Rafael Alves and Bobby Green. Frevola on the other hand is on a two-fight win streak, with knockouts over Genaro Valdez and Ottman Azaitar most recently.
Both of these guys are absolute scrappers and entertainment is essentially guaranteed for this one. Dober is a solid boxer and has great movement to go with his power and accuracy, while he also has a super chin. Frevola has those things to but not to the level of Dober, so he’ll have to use his wrestling more where he has an advantage.
With that said though Dober is very difficult to control on the ground and he has good scrambles, which means Frevola needs to turn in the performance of his life to get the win here. Expect Dober to start fast and break down the chin and body of Frevola before landing the finishing blows in the second round.
PICK – Drew Dober via Knockout, Round 2
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