Category Archives: Fight Predictions

Fight Predictions

UFC Vegas 74: Kara-France vs Albazi – Fight predictions

The UFC returns after a two-week break for another banger in the Apex as ranked flyweights compete in the main event.

Kai Kara-France returns for the first time since losing an interim title fight against current champion Brandon Moreno, while Albazi enters on a five-fight win streak looking to break into the top five of the rankings.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 73 we got the main event pick right when Mackenzie Dern dominated Angela Hill, although she didn’t get the submission we expected. You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here with our pick for this 125-pound banger.

Recent fight history

Kara-France found himself on a hot-streak in 2021 with back-to-back first-round knockout wins against Rogerio Bontorin and then former bantamweight champion Cody Gardbrandt.

He followed those up with a dominant decision win against Askar Askarov to set up his interim title fight against Moreno, which he suffered a knockout loss in after the ill effects of a body shot and the follow up ground and pound. This is his first fight in 11 months.

Albazi on the other hand has risen up the ranks in the UFC quickly after making his debut in the organisation back in July 202 with a first-round submission win over Malcolm Gordon.

After that he claimed a decision win over Zhalgas Zhumagulov, before back-to-back stoppage wis over Francisco Figueiredo and Alessandro Costa. This is his first UFC fight against an opponent ranked inside the top 10.

Fight styles

Kara-France is a kickboxer with fantastic striking and superb one-punch power for the 125-pound division.

His boxing is really good with great combinations and speed to go with it, while he also uses good low kicks and great footwork to avoid any counter strikes.

His grappling is competent too, but more in a defensive sense than offensively and he will want the fight to stay on the feet for as long as possible.

Albazi on the other hand is a world class grappler with fantastic jiu-jitsu skills and incredible wrestling, but his striking has also improved greatly in recent years.

His jab in particular is really strong and he has a nasty right cross that he throws too, but his greatest strength is without a doubt when he gets hold of guys and takes it down to the mat and starts working for limbs or a neck.


Stylistically this is a good fight for both guys, because Albazi will feel as though his grappling skills are too much for Kara-France.

But there’s a debate as to whether or not Albazi is a better wrestler than Askarov was, and Kara-France completely nullified him and controlled that fight from start to finish.

Even if he does get taken down, he is really good at getting back to his feet quickly and on the feet he certainly has the advantage in power, speed and technique.

It’s most definitely not an easy pick and I expect it will go back and forth throughout the 25 minutes, but Kara-France’s experience at the highest level and his willingness to go into the fire to land and make a statement should see judges lean in his favour on the scorecards in a close decision.

PICK – Kai Kara-France via Decision


UFC Vegas 73: Dern vs Hill – Fight predictions

From the big boys to the smallest girls, strawweights take centre stage at the UFC Apex this weekend as Mackenzie Dern and Angela Hill headline UFC Vegas 73.

After the previous main event for this event fell out, these two women stepped up on short notice to take the five round spot as they look to improve their recent runs and push up the rankings.

Last time out at UFC Charlotte we got our main event pick spot on with a perfect pick, boosting our overall record. You can see our full picks history here.

We’ll look to further improve that record here with the main event picks for this weekend.

Recent fight history

After establishing herself as a threat to the strawweight division after a four-fight win streak, Dern has struggled in recent outings.

She suffered a unanimous decision defeat to Marina Rodriguez in a five-round main event back in October 2021, before bouncing back with a split decision win over Tecia Torres in April 2022.

Straight after that though she once again suffered defeat in a five-round main event, with Yan Xiaonan claiming a majority decision win in her last fight to move her professional record to 12-3.

Hill on the other hand has recovered from a horrible run that saw her lose five out of six, including some really controversial decision defeats.

She has since won her last two outings though, claiming unanimous decision wins against Lupita Godinez and most recently Emily Ducote back in December. Her professional record now stands at 15-12.

Fight styles

Dern is one of the very best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world today, male or female, and nobody wants to go to the ground with her if they don’t have to.

Despite her excellent grappling skills though, Dern has shown a tendency to be able to strike with opponents in recent fights at least to a point where she is dangerous.

Her offensive wrestling continues to give her problems though, as she can’t use traditional takedowns to get the fight where she is strongest and it gives her opponents a chance.

As for Hill, she’s a real grinder. “Overkill” is a fine striker with good boxing skills, but she is also a decent grappler with good wrestling.

Without doubt however her greatest attribute is her cardio and her grit, with a never-say-die attitude and an ability to maintain a fast pace for 25 minutes if necessary.


This fight goes one of two ways and it seems quite clear.

If the fight goes to the ground for any prolonged period of time, then Dern is going to submit Hill. If the fight stays standing for the longest period of time, then Hill is going to be victorious.

So really what we’re predicting is if Dern can get the fight down to the ground in any way shape or form and keep her there to work her submissions, and I would be surprised if she’s not capable of doing so at some point in the 25 minutes this is scheduled for.

Neither woman needs to worry about knockout power coming back at her the other way, and Dern has the option of pulling guard or using her speed and size advantage to get this where she wants it before eventually snatching up an arm or neck for the win.

PICK – Mackenzie Dern via Submission, Round 2

UFC Charlotte: Rozenstruik vs Almeida – Fight predictions

The big boys take centre stage at UFC Charlotte this weekend when Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Jailton Almeida headline the card to look to move up the heavyweight rankings.

Rozenstruik is looking to get back into the top five conversation with a win, with a current professional record of 13-4 including a 7-4 run in the UFC to date.

He’ll be coming up against the on-fire up and comer Almeida who is coming into this bout on a 13-fight win streak and is undefeated in the UFC, having fought at light heavyweight and heavyweight.

Last time out at UFC 288 we didn’t have the best night of picks as we went 6/12 with two perfect picks to move us to 872/1351 (64.54%) with 357 perfect picks (40.94%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to put that right here in this very intriguing match-up, with big top five consequences for the winner.

Recent fight history

“Bigi Boy” has had a tough time of things of late in the heavyweight division.

The Suriname native has lost three of his last five fights. He dropped a unanimous decision to Ciryl Gane before getting back in the win column with a first-round knockout over Augusto Sakai in the following bout.

That was followed up with a unanimous decision loss to Curtis Blaydes before Alexander Volkov turned in a striking clinic with a first-round knockout to put Rozenstruik on his first losing streak of his career. He bounced back last time out though with a knockout win over Chris Daukaus in 23 seconds.

Almeida on the other hand is absolutely flying in the UFC and this will be his biggest test to date.

So far the Brazilian has gone 4-0 in the UFC with all stoppages, claiming a knockout over Danilo Marques in his debut followed by submission wins against Parker Porter and Anton Turkalj.

Last time out against Shamil Abdurakhimov he earned another vicious knockout win despite being taken into the second round for the first time in his UFC tenure.

Fight styles

This is once again another classic striker vs grappler bout in the main event and it’s one that is very intriguing to break down.

Rozenstruik is a fantastic kickboxer with incredible one-punch power and strong low kicks, and his power carries through over the course of 25 minutes if necessary as we saw when he fought Alistair Overeem.

He likes to push opponents against the cage with pressure before unloading a flurry of strikes full of power, knowing that if one lands clean that could be the end of the bout.

Almeida on the other hand is a phenomenal grappler with world renowned jiu-jitsu skills. He’s also a nasty striker with good power, but it’s on the ground where he does his best work.

His offensive wrestling is not the greatest, but he does have good trips and throws and if he gets into top position on the ground then he stays there until the fight or the round ends.


Power or grappling is the big question in this one, and usually I lean towards the grappler who can control where the fight goes.

But there is a genuinely worrying size difference in this one with Almeida being a light heavyweight moving up, whereas Rozenstruik would struggle to weigh in at 205lbs if he cut a leg off.

If Rozenstruik lands clean then this one will end quickly, but Almeida is quick with his movements and his striking itself isn’t that bad so he will be able to hold his own for a short while. And if he is able to get his hands on Rozenstruik and take the fight to the mat then it will be over quickly.

As much as the one-punch power and size difference gives “Bigi Boy” a great chance for victory, I can’t see past Almeida being able to get him down and work for a submission quickly with his phenomenal skills to make himself a real threat in the heavyweight division.
PICK – Jailton Almeida via Submission, Round 1

UFC 288: Sterling vs Cejudo – Main card predictions

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 and then moving on to the rest of the prelim picks, we make our main card picks here.

Kron Gracie (5-1) vs Charles Jourdain (13-6-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very intriguing and fun fight opens the main card. Kron Gracie makes his return to the octagon for the first time in over three years, following a one-sided loss to Cub Swanson back in 2019. Jourdain has lost his last two in a row against Nathaniel Wood and Shane Burgos, but had won the two prior to that against Andre Ewell and Lando Vannata.

Gracie will live up to the legendary name, with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and some okay striking to his name too. Jourdain is a super-active volume striker with some good knees and great grappling too. But there’s no doubt about who the better grappler and submission artist is here, which gives Jourdain a simple game plan to follow.

“Air” needs to stay patient and use his superior striking to cause damage while staying alert to any potential takedown attempts. Gracie will have to shoot at some point despite his poor wrestling skills, and if Jourdain isn’t wild like he usually is then that will be hard to do. Expect Jourdain to be a bit more relaxed and less crazy than normal to land plenty of big strikes and take the win on the cards.
PICK – Charles Jourdain via Decision

Movsar Evloev (16-0) vs Diego Lopes (20-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A short-notice bout at featherweight up next. Evloev comes into the fight as a 16-0 phenom, with his most recent win coming via decision against Dan Ige. Diego Lopes steps in on just five days’ notice on a two-fight win streak with two knockouts.

Evloev is a tremendous wrestler with fantastic skills and solid striking to go with it, but he also almost always plays safe and puts position before submission/knockouts. Lopes has claimed 18 finishes from his 20 career wins with 11 submissions, but he also has great power too with seven knockouts. He’s very well-rounded and has got plenty of experience despite having never been in the UFC before.

But fighting Evloev on five days’ notice would be difficult even for Alexander Volkanovski, never mind Lopes. As good as Lopes is with his skills, Evloev is just one of the very best in the world and has the skillset to nullify him and claim yet another decision win for his record.
PICK – Movsar Evloev via Decision

Jessica Andrade (24-10) vs Yan Xiaonan (16-3) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A banger with potential title implications at 115-pounds up next. Andrade saw a three-fight win streak snapped by the terrifying Erin Blanchfield up at flyweight most recently, while Yan snapped a two-fight losing streak to claim a decision win over Mackenzie Dern in her last bout back in October 2022.

Andrade is one of the most complete female athletes in MMA with insane power for her size and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to go with it. Yan is a fantastic kickboxer with some really good distance management and defensive wrestling skills too. This is power against technique, and either woman can win on their day.

But this pick has to be made based on both women turning up at their best, and I think there aren’t many women who beat Andrade when she’s really on. She’s so powerful with her striking, her cardio never lets her down and she has a ground game too if Yan gets the better of her in the striking. It will be close and entertaining, but Andrade should be able to do enough to claim the decision.
PICK – Jessica Andrade via Decision

Belal Muhammad (22-3) vs Gilbert Burns (22-5) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Absolute banger in the co-main event and it’s five rounds. Muhammad is undefeated in his last nine fights, with four wins either side of a no contest against current champion Leon Edwards. Most recently he earned a stunning knockout win over Sean Brady. Burns on the other hand bounced back from a decision loss to Khamzat Chimaev with two dominant wins this year against Neil Magny and Jorge Masvidal. This is his third fight in the space of a four months.

Muhammad is a cardio machine with excellent wrestling and a really grinding style, where his pressure makes most people crumble. He has developed his striking recently too, as shown with the knockout win over Brady. Burns on the other hand is a specimen with a fantastic ability everywhere the fight goes. He has great power and some solid boxing skills, as well as terrific offensive wrestling and some of the best jiu-jitsu in the entire organisation.

This fight is going to be high-paced and could go anywhere. But there are more avenues to victory for Burns in this fight in my eyes. He will be comfortable on top or on bottom position with his jiu-jitsu, and on the striking he is more powerful and will be comfortable trading shots. I don’t see a finish from either guy because they’re both so good, but I think Burns will be able to get it done.
PICK – Gilbert Burns via Decision

Aljamain Sterling (22-3) vs Henry Cejudo (16-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An amazing title fight headlines this card at UFC 288. Sterling comes into the bout on an eight-fight win streak including two title defences, with a dominant TKO win over TJ Dillashaw most recently. Cejudo’s last fight came in 2020 when he KO’d Dominick Cruz before retiring, which took his win streak to six in a row with three straight finishes.

Sterling is a strong wrestler with unorthodox striking, but it’s his phenomenal jiu-jitsu skills that separate him from most of the division. Cejudo is an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, but he is also a former Golden Gloves competitor in boxing with good power and speed. He’s also got solid low kicks to go with that. This is going to be a chess match, because both guys want the takedown but want to be in top position to be safe from the opponent’s strengths.

Both of these guys are fairly large for the weight class and are unlikely to stick around in the division for much longer, but this will be tougher for Sterling because of the variety of attack that Cejudo has. With his wrestling advantages it makes life difficult for Sterling to get the fight where he wants it, and with his power and excellent cardio Cejudo will build up to a strong finish before pouring it on late on to claim back the belt he never lost.
PICK – Henry Cejudo via Decision

UFC 288: Sterling vs Cejudo – Prelims predictions

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

UFC 288: Sterling vs Cejudo – Early prelims predictions

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, starting with the early prelims.

Daniel Santos (11-2) vs Johnny Munoz (12-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun bantamweight fight to open up the card. Santos comes into this fight 1-1 in his last two bouts, dropping a decision to Julio Arce before knocking out John Castaneda most recently back in October 2022. Munoz is also 1-1 in his most recent fights, getting knocked out by Tony Gravely before earning a decision win against Liudvik Sholinian most recently.

Santos is a wild man with a fantastic gas tank that he weaponises to push the pace against his opponent and launch a bombardment of attacks with his striking. He’s also a decent grappler, with really good scrambles and defensive transitions. Munoz is a solid grappler with seven of his nine finish wins coming via submission. He’s also got a strong jab, but prefers to fight at a relatively slower pace than what Santos will push on him.

Munoz needs to get a takedown and find a way to keep “Willycat” on the mat for as long as possible to drain him. That seems unlikely though considering Santos’ own good grappling abilities, and with the pressure and power he possesses in his strikes I expect him to cause Munoz big problems with his pressure and claim a stoppage win midway through the second round.
PICK – Daniel Santos via Knockout, Round 2

Joseph Holmes (8-3) vs Claudio Ribeiro (10-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Middleweight scrap up next between two relative newcomers to the UFC. Holmes made his UFC debut in 2022 and fought three times, going 1-2 with a submission loss to Jun Yong Park most recently. Ribeiro made it into the UFC thanks to a win on the Contender Series but he ran into Abdul Razak Alhassan on his debut and was KO’d 28 seconds into the second round.

Holmes is a decent boxer with some good wrestling, but his overall level isn’t the highest and he’s highly unlikely to ever make any big waves in the UFC. Ribeiro on the other hand is a power puncher with a fan friendly style that sees him throw bombs and hard low kicks, but his overall game is limited.

If this is an MMA fight then Holmes should be able to mix things together enough to find himself in dominant positions and using his jab and movement to earn the win. If they decide to just scrap though, Ribeiro will clean his clock. The safe pick here is Holmes to do enough to go the distance and win on the cards, but don’t be surprised if he gets splattered by one big right hand.
PICK – Joseph Holmes via Decision

Rafael Estevam (11-0) vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov (14-8) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very fun flyweight fight up next. Estevam makes his UFC debut as an undefeated fighter after winning on the Contender Series last time out, while Zhumagulov is coming off three losses in a row with the last two being controversial split decisions.

Estevam is a terrific wrestler with fantastic technique and some really good chain wrestling to make sure he gets the position he wants. He’s also got a great gas tank to be able to push for those takedowns relentlessly, although his stand up game is bang average. Zhumagulov is a decent well-rounded fighter with good grappling and striking, but his cardio often starts to fade in the second half of the fight and lands him in big trouble.

He has the skillset to start well in this fight and land well on the feet while avoiding takedowns, but as his cardio depletes and Estevam starts pushing more and more, he will fade again. Estevam will do damage and ultimately look to keep him down, and that should be enough to earn him the win on the judge’s cards.
PICK – Rafael Estevam via Decision

Phil Hawes (12-4) vs Ikram Aliskerov (13-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

This is a really fun middleweight bout. Hawes has lost two of his last three fights by stoppage, getting knocked out by Chris Curtis and Roman Dolidze but he claimed a stoppage win of his own between those fights over Deron Winn. Aliskerov makes his UFC debut in this one on a five-fight win streak, with four of those coming via finish. His only loss in his career came against Khamzat Chimaev back in 2019.

Hawes is a powerhouse with great striking power and some decent wrestling, although he hasn’t used it effectively during his run in the UFC yet. Aliskerov is a similar fighter with some good striking, but his greatest strength is his wrestling ability and his cardio that he weaponises really well. That’s an issue for Hawes as the fight goes on, because his cardio has let him down several times before.

Aliskerov is going to want to chain wrestle and put the pressure on Hawes early to take away the big power. If he’s successful with that, then he should be able to control the fight more and more as it goes on with his wrestling and claim a comfortable win.
PICK – Ikram Aliskerov via Decision

Braxton Smith (5-1) vs Parker Porter (13-8) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Big boys are out to play in this one. Smith is 5-1 professionally, but his only loss came against Chase Sherman way back in 2014. Since returning to MMA in 2022 he has gone 5-0 with five first-round knockouts. Porter on the other hand is a UFC veteran at this point, and has been stopped in the first round of each of his last two fights against Jailton Almeida and Justin Tafa.

Smith is as basic a heavyweight as they come, with a good chin and a ridiculously heavy right hand but limited skills anywhere else. Porter on the other hand has that too, but he’s also a grinding wrestler when he needs to be and he has plenty of experience on the big stage and how to get wins.

Unless “The Beautiful Monster” lands a stunning punch early doors that catches Porter off guard, expect him to end up with his back on the mat and Porter doing plenty of ground and pound damage to a tired opponent to make the referee step in and wave it off inside the distance.
PICK – Parker Porter via Knockout, Round 2

UFC Vegas 72: Song vs Simon – Fight predictions

The UFC is back for another fun Apex card with a short notice main event in the bantamweight division between Song Yadong and Ricky Simon.

Song comes into this fight looking to bounce back after defeat last time out in his first UFC main event, with his professional record of 19-7-1 coming at the ripe old age of 25 years old.

He’ll face a Ricky Simon who is on fire with five-straight wins, amassing a professional record 20-3 as he looks to push into the upper end of the rankings to get to an eventual title shot.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 71 we got the main event pick wrong between Sergei Pavlovich and Curtis Blaydes. You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to put that right here in this very intriguing match-up, with big top five consequences for the winner.

Recent fight history

Song Yadong had been absolutely flying in recent times, winning three fights in a row heading into his most recent bout.

He claimed a split decision win over Casey Kenney at UFC 265, before earning back-to-back knockout wins over Julio Arce and then Marlon Moraes. Then he ran into Cory Sandhagen however, who pieced him up on the feet and showed the levels to earn a stoppage victory in his most recent fight.

Simon on the other hand comes into this one on a five-fight winning streak, including ending the unbeaten run of Jack Shore most recently via submission. Prior to that he knocked out Raphael Assuncao, beat Brian Kelleher in a dominant decision, submitted Gaetano Pirello and beat Ray Borg via decision too.

Fight styles

Much like last week’s main event, this is a real clash of styles with Song Yadong being a really solid boxer with active striking while Simon is a stout wrestler with tremendous takedowns.

Yadong has great volume and has shown he is capable of putting on a strong pace, however his power is also underrated and he has got real knockout power.

He trains at Team AlphaMale, meaning his wrestling is strong and defensively he should feel confident of dealing with the wrestling of Simon.

But Simon is one of the most relentless wrestlers in the division with great technique and power, as well as fantastic cardio to push the boundaries for as long as necessary.

His striking has certainly improved in recent years too and he uses those techniques to set his wrestling up more nowadays, but striking with Song would be a very odd game plan.


Much like last week, this will come down to whether Simon can get the takedown early and be able to hold Song down.

Curtis Blaydes crazily didn’t shoot for a takedown until he was already hurt and it cost him, but Simon is very experienced and surely won’t make the same error here.

Song’s footwork is very good and he has the volume to match with his power, but if Simon is able to close the distance and get his hands together then I would expect him to be successful with his takedowns far more often than not.

The fact this fight changed from 15 minutes to 25 minutes on just a few weeks’ notice won’t be ideal for Simon, but as the wrestler he should be able to dictate the pace of the fight more and I would expect enough control on the mat for him to secure a decision on the judge’s scorecard and a victory.

PICK – Ricky Simon via Decision

UFC Vegas 71: Pavlovich vs Blaydes – Fight prediction

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas for a fight night card headlined by two heavyweight contenders in Sergei Pavlovich and Curtis Blaydes.

Pavlovich enters on a hugely impressive run of knockout victories among the big men, while Blaydes is still searching for that elusive title shot having never quite managed to get over the line to earn one in the past.

Last week at UFC Kansas City we perfectly predicted a Max Holloway win on the scorecards, moving us to three out of four with two correct picks on main event only picks. Our overall record for full cards stands at 866/1339 (64.68%) with 355 perfect picks (40.99%). You can see our pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on our main event only picks here, as these two behemoths meet in a clash of styles.

Recent fight history

Sergei Pavlovich comes into this bout on an impressive five-fight winning streak, with his last loss coming in his UFC debut when he was knocked out by Alistair Overeem.

He is yet to come out of the first round in his UFC career, with first-round knockout wins over all of Marcelo Golm, Maurice Greene, Shamil Abdurakhimov, Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa.

As for Blaydes, he comes into this fight on a three-fight winning streak with his last defeat coming in that highlight reel knockout loss to “The Black Beast” back in 2021.

Since then he has dominated Jairzinho Rozenstruik to a decision win, before knocking out Chris Daukaus and then earning a win over Tom Aspinall when the Brit injured his knee in the opening seconds of the fight.

Fight styles

In case his record didn’t make it very clear, Pavlovich is a powerhouse of a striker with incredible knockout ability and good boxing.

We’re yet to see his grappling tested in the octagon so it’s hard to know how he fares, but he has got enough power to put people to sleep with just one shot.

His boxing is good with his jab usually setting up a big overhand right, before he launches on his opponents for the finish.

But against Blaydes he will be coming up against arguably the best wrestler in the division, with phenomenal grappling skills to go with his nasty ground and pound elbows as well as his top control.

Pavlovich’s only defeat in the UFC came when he was tripped from a Thai clinch and then couldn’t get back to his feet from under Overeem, but if Blaydes is able to get him down to the mat it certainly raises questions about if he will be able to get back up and away from where “Razor” thrives.

Blaydes has only ever lost to Francis Ngannou (twice) and Lewis, with both guys landing huge one-punch finishes. However his chin has held up excellently in other fights, and this will be a big task for Pavlovich.


There’s no doubting that Pavlovich has earned his spot in this main event, but we cannot ignore the route he took to get here.

He dominated guys he was supposed to dominate, then came up against an ageing and gun-shy Lewis before landing a brawl against the guy with the worst striking defence at the top of the division.

Blaydes is easily the best fighter that he will have ever come up against, and his weaknesses lie exactly where his opponent’s strengths are.

If he is able to survive the initial first-round blitz that will no doubt come, Blaydes should find the takedown easier and easier to come by as the fight goes on.

Expect that he lands big ground and pound before Pavlovich gets back to his feet, and puts an end to the hype train in an emphatic way.

PICK – Curtis Blaydes via Knockout, Round 4

UFC Kansas City: Holloway v Allen – Fight predictions

The UFC makes it’s way to Kansas City for a huge Fight Night card, headlined by the top of the featherweight division as Max Holloway takes on Arnold Allen in the main event.

Holloway hasn’t fought since his latest title shot against Alexander Volkanovksi ended in defeat back in July 2022, while Allen will be keen to claim a huge win to put himself into title contention for the first time in his career.

Last time out at UFC 287 we went 8/12 with three perfect picks, moving us up to 866/1339 (64.68%) with 355 perfect picks (40.99%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here as we break down the big featherweight bout and make our picks for the main event.

Recent fight history

Considered by many to be one of the best featherweight fighters of all time, “Blessed” has had a tough time recently having lost four of his last seven fights.

A move up to lightweight back in 2019 saw him lose to Dustin Poirier and snap his 13-fight win streak, before a return to 145lbs saw him defend his title against Frank Edgar.

He then lost the first of his trilogy bouts against Volkanovski before losing the rematch controversially too, but then he earned a third bout by defeating Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez in back-to-back fights.

Allen on the other hand comes into this fight in incredible form, having won each of his last 12 fights including all ten of his bouts in the UFC.

Most recently he has earned himself plenty of attention with a decision victory over Sodiq Yussuf, before knocking out Dan Hooker in the first-round and following that up with a TKO win over Calvin Kattar due to a knee injury.

Fight styles

Stylistically this fight is set to be a really, really exciting bout.

Holloway is one of the best boxers in the UFC with fantastic volume and jabs to go with a great shot selection.

His defence isn’t the greatest, but his chin has never let him down as he remains the fighter with the most UFC bouts to have never been knocked down in a fight.

He’s also got some decent wrestling in his back pocket too as he showed against Yair Rodriguez in that vital win, while his kicking game has improved tremendously.

“Blessed” is arguably the man with the best gas tank in the organisation too, and is one of the very best when it comes to weaponising it.

Allen on the other hand is a very well-rounded fighter with great power in his hands, but also some very good wrestling skills that allow him to control opponents from top position.

His cardio is also excellent and he is riding the wave of momentum, but Holloway is comfortably the best fighter he has come up against before.


This is a very classic case of power vs volume in the striking realm.

Holloway hits like no other, with over 4 significant strikes per minute on average in his fights and he is constantly moving forward to force his opponent backwards.

Allen simply can’t keep up with that on the feet, so his best chance will be to claim takedowns and use his power. But Holloway’s takedown defence is potentially some of the best ever, and even when he does go down he’s able to pop back up fairly quickly.

That means Allen will likely be holding out on Holloway slowing down a bit (which won’t happen) or landing a big enough shot that he can hurt him and then pounce.

We’ve just never seen that happen to Holloway though.

Against Poirier at 155 the power advantage was huge but he never stopped coming forward, and he got completely outclassed by Volkanovski last time out but Allen is nowhere near that level yet.

Realistically unless Holloway has got worse following the defeat to Volkanovski almost a year ago, or Allen has improved drastically since beating Kattar, then this fight is “Blessed’s” to lose over 25 minutes.

PICK – Max Holloway via Decision

UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2 – Main card predictions

The UFC returns with yet another banger of a title fight rematch at UFC 287 when Alex Pereira defends his middleweight title for the first time against long-time rival Israel Adesanya in the main event.

This will be the fourth time these two have met in a fight, with Pereira winning each of the previous three but Adesanya running him super close every time.

We’ll also see Gilbert Burns fight Jorge Masvidal in the co-main event, while we’ll also see the likes of Kevin Holland, Raul Rosas Jr, Adrian Yanez, Rob Font, Kelvin Gastelum and Chris Curtis fighting on the card.

Last time out at UFC San Antonio we got the main event pick correct with Cory Sandhagen beating Marlon Vera, although it wasn’t a perfect pick. You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve our overall record here and after starting with the early prelims then moving on to the rest of the prelims, we head to the main card now.

Raul Rosas Jr (7-0) vs Christian Rodriguez (8-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The youngest fighter in UFC history lived up to the hype last time out and he’s back on a pay-per-view main card next. Rosas Jr stepped into the octagon as a 17-year-old and submitted Jay Perrin in the first round, making it five wins via tap out in seven career bouts. Rodriguez on the other hand suffered the only loss of his career in his UFC debut against Jonathan Pearce, but bounced back with a submission win over Joshua Weems last time out in October 2022.

Rosas Jr is a ridiculous talent with fantastic wrestling and a nasty Brazilian jiu-jitsu game to go with his massive frame for 135-pounds. Rodriguez is a kickboxer with a wrestling background and good jiu-jitsu skills of his own to make this a very interesting fight on paper. Rosas Jr is big for the division, but he tends to be quite aggressive and with Rodriguez’s skills he could make him pay for the smallest mistakes by taking his neck or being more patient when it comes to the striking.

But with that said, Rosas Jr is a stud of an athlete despite his age and he has been able to show great composure and skill on the biggest stages so far. It won’t be nearly as quick or lopsided as his debut, but Rosas is a good enough grappler to get a takedown and control the fight for the rest of that round to secure a win on the scorecards.
PICK – Raul Rosas Jr via Decision

Kevin Holland (23-9) vs Santiago Ponzinibbio (30-6) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A super fun welterweight scrap up next between two fan-friendly styles. Holland is 2-2 in his last four, with wins over Alex Oliveira and Tim Means before back-to-back defeats against Khamzat Chimaev and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson most recently. Ponzinibbio on the other hand snapped a two-fight losing streak to Geoff Neal and Michel Pereira by knocking out Alex Morono to come from behind in his last outing.

Holland is a very well-rounded fighter with fantastic striking and good knockout power to go with solid grappling and jiu-jitsu skills, although he struggles when it comes to the wrestling both offensively and defensively. Ponzinibbio is a straight up striker with fantastic power in his hands and kicks, and some good takedown defence in his back pocket to boot. This one is going to be very, very fun.

Ponzinibbio was one of the most feared welterweights around before a two-year layoff saw him come back as a very different fighter. Holland is so active and has shown he can hang with the best, while his chin has held up against some real power punchers too. It’s going to be fun, but expect Holland to land the bigger shots and eventually stun Ponzinibbio with a counter before launching on his neck and taking a win on the mat.
PICK – Kevin Holland via Submission, Round 2

Rob Font (19-6) vs Adrian Yanez (16-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolutely amazing fight for the fans up next at bantamweight. Font had won four-in-a-row before dropping his last two against Jose Aldo and Marlon Vera by decision. Yanez is 5-0 in the UFC with four knockouts, including a first-round stoppage over Tony Kelley most recently. He’s now on a nine-fight win streak.

Font is a fantastic boxer with great speed and combinations, and he showed in his most recent win over Cody Garbrandt that he is also a more than competent wrestler too when he needs to mix things up. Yanez is also a super boxer with fantastic combinations and power, while his takedown defence has passed the test every time it’s been called upon. This is going to be a straight up banger between two studs.

Yanez is the favourite heading into this, but Font is far and away the best fighter he has ever come up against. His ability to box with Yanez shouldn’t be overlooked, but the ability to mix in his wrestling and his strong low kicks can disrupt the rhythm of the younger fighter. I absolutely love Yanez, but Font is no pushover and I think the veteran claims an entertaining win in the fight of the night on the cards.
PICK – Rob Font via Decision

Gilbert Burns (21-5) vs Jorge Masvidal (35-16) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Welterweight contender bout up next between two hugely popular stars. Burns is 2-2 in his last four having been beaten by Kamaru Usman in a title fight and then losing a razor close decision to Khamzat Chimaev, while he has dominated Stephen Thompson and Neil Magny most recently via a first-round arm triangle submission. Masvidal on the other hand has lost his last three, losing to Usman twice in two title fights before being controlled by Colby Covington most recently over a year ago.

Burns is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard with incredible submission skills, but he has also got hugely improved striking and fantastic power in his hands to go with it. Masvidal is a terrific kickboxer with super boxing skills and a nasty body kick, while his wrestling defence and submission defence have been fairly good in his career. This is arguably the last chance for two legends to make a title run.

Masvidal’s best hope of winning this fight is keeping it standing and getting into a striking battle with Burns. But Burns is no pushover in the stand up exchanges and he has the ability to force Masvidal to the ground with his wrestling and grappling skills. “Gamebred” has the one-punch power most fighters dream of, but Burns is very good at staying safe and also has a granite chin so I expect him to get Masvidal down and control him for 15 minutes to claim the win in Miami.
PICK – Gilbert Burns via Decision

Alex Pereira (7-1) vs Israel Adesanya (23-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A banger in the middleweight division as we find out who the better man is between these two once and for all (maybe?). Pereira is undefeated in the UFC after KO’ing Andreas Michailidis, Sean Strickland and Adesanya last time out, while he also has a decision win over Bruno Silva. Adesanya is one of the best middleweights ever, with his defeat to Pereira last time out ending a 12-fight win streak in the division in the UFC.

Both of these guys are long time kickboxers at a world class level, and both have transitioned exceptionally to MMA with those skills. Adesanya is the more experienced fighter and has shown some more grappling skills than his opponent, and he may need to use that in this fight to finally get one over on his long time rival. The bouts they’ve had previously have seen Adesanya winning until late on when the power of Pereira caught up.

That means Adesanya knows he can hang with him, and by mixing in more takedowns and making Pereira grapple with him throughout the opening 20 minutes it’s likely to wear on him more for that final round where he has proved so dangerous. “The Last Stylebender” is the better fighter in my mind despite the results of their previous bouts and I think he finally gets it done this time around on the scorecards to win his title back and set up a UFC trilogy later in 2023.
PICK – Israel Adesanya via Decision