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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 Vegas 66: Cannonier vs Strickland – Main card predictions

The final UFC card of 2022 is upon us after a crazy year, with middleweight contenders battling it out in the main event.

Jared Cannonier returns to the octagon after a failed title attempt to take on Sean Strickland, whose last fight saw him beaten by the current champion in the division.

It’s a stacked 14-fight card including people like Drew Dober, Manel Kape, Bryan Battle, Said Nurmagomedov and more.

Last weekend at UFC 282 we went 6/11 with one perfect pick (we don’t count draws) to move to 795/1238 (64.22%) with 326 perfect picks (41.01%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and then picking the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card here.

Cody Brundage (8-2) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (17-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Interesting middleweight scrap opens up the main card here. Brundage has won his last two in a row, submitting Dalcha Lungiambula before KO’ing Tresean Gore most recently. Oleksiejczuk has won three of his last four, blasting Sam Alvey out of the octagon in his most recent fight for a first-round knockout.

Brundage is a wrestler who has transitioned to MMA, meaning he has developed a big overhand right and knows how to snatch a neck if the opportunity arises. However his bread and butter is takedowns and control from the top. “Hussar” on the other hand is a powerhouse knockout artist who has been competing at light heavyweight for a long time, but moves down here to a more natural looking weight class. He has good combinations and a great gas tank, but his takedown defence has been a problem throughout his career.

Normally that spells disaster, but Oleksiejczuk is now in his correct weight class and having smaller guys shooting on him could really help his defence. For as long as they’re standing, “Hussar” has the advantage and he will come forward with great pressure to stop Brundage shooting early and that means he should land clean to earn a big knockout win.
PICK – Michal Oleksiejczuk via Knockout, Round 1

Drew Dober (25-11) vs Bobby Green (29-13-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very interesting lightweight scrap up next. Dober has won his last two via knockout, stopping Terrance McKinney and Rafael Alves in each bout. Green on the other hand saw his two-fight win streak ended by Islam Makhachev in his last bout, a short-notice main event, before serving a suspension for a failed drugs test.

Dober is a powerful striker with terrific boxing combinations and some solid kicks too, with some much improved defensive wrestling to go with it. Green is a striker too, who is far better than many expect whenever he fights but he lacks that finishing power in his hands despite his amazing defensive skills. He shoulder rolls a lot and is able to counter really well, while also having a good wrestling pedigree in his back pocket too.

This is a much closer fight than many would have you think. Green will land clean a few times with his counters, and he’s highly unlikely to get finished in a stand-up fight because of the way he defends and shoulder rolls. But judges love pressure and output, something Dober does really well and with the fight being close, that is likely to be enough to earn him the win on the cards.
PICK – Drew Dober via Decision

Alex Caceres (19-13) vs Julian Erosa (28-10) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Featherweight scrap next in a decent fight. Caceres saw a five-fight win streak snapped by Sodiq Yusuff last time out, while Erosa has won his last three in a row after submitting Charles Jourdain and then earning decision wins over Steven Peterson and Hakeem Dawodu most recently.

Caceres is a karate fighter with some unorthodox striking techniques and a super aggressive jiu-jitsu game if the fight ends up on the ground, with really sneaky techniques to end up on his opponents’ backs. Erosa on the other hand is a well-rounded fighter with steady stand-up and decent power, while he also has a nasty choke game himself once he hurts an opponent. Erosa likes to fight his hands low and use range management to avoid taking damage, and Caceres doesn’t have the power to put him out if he lands clean.

That means Erosa will be comfortable at distance and can counter with his heavy handed hooks to land big shots. There will likely be some takedown attempts on both sides and some scrambles which could see someone see their neck snatched, but overall I see Erosa getting the job done with his striking.
PICK – Julian Erosa via Decision

Amir Albazi (15-1) vs Alessandro Costa (12-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Short-notice flyweight scrap up next. Albazi is on a four-fight win streak with three of those in the UFC, beating all of Malcolm Gordon (UFC Fight Island 2), Zhalgas Zhumagulov (UFC 257) and Francisco Figueiredo most recently. Costa makes his UFC debut on two weeks’ notice on a seven-fight win streak, winning his last fight via knockout in just 12 seconds.

Albazi is a brilliant grappler with nasty jiu-jitsu skills, helping him earn nine submission wins in his career to date. He’s also a very technical striker and has great talent wherever the fight goes. Costa has a very similar skillset, with great wrestling and submission skills earning him six tap out wins in his career, while he has good knockout power in his hands too. It’s hard to know who the better wrestler is, but the biggest factor is the short-notice nature of this fight.

On paper they’re pretty evenly matched up, but keeping up with Albazi is hard enough on a full camp never mind on just two weeks’ notice. Expect “The Prince” to be able to overcome a tough first round to eventually take over and work his usual game, pushing the pace hard, landing good strikes on the feet and mixing in takedowns to secure the decision.
PICK – Amir Albazi via Decision

Arman Tsarukyan (18-3) vs Damir Ismagulov (24-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Absolute banger at lightweight in the co-main event. Tsarukyan saw his five-fight win streak ended by Mateusz Gamrot last time out in a controversial decision, while Ismagulov comes into this fight on a 19-fight win streak including a decision over Guram Kutateladze last time out.

Tsarukyan is a brilliant striker with great power and technique, while he is also a very strong grappler with fantastic top control and vicious ground and pound. Ismagulov is a powerful striker who works from the outside with kicks and combinations who also has some good takedowns in his pocket also. This is an intersting bout though, because they both favour the opposite method of attack.

Ismagulov will no doubt look to strike and try to catch a submission if the opportunity arises, while Tsarukyan will come forward with pressure and looping right hands before looking for a takedown. Tsarukyan isn’t a better strker than Ismagulov, but he’s closer in that realm than Ismagulov is to him in the grappling. That’s a big wave of confidence for him, so I expect the win to go his way.
PICK – Arman Tsarukyan via Decision

Jared Cannonier (15-6) vs Sean Strickland (25-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Main event time in the 185-pound division. Cannonier beat both Kalvin Gastelum and Derek Brunson (UFC 271) to earn a title shot with Israel Adesanya, but he was comfortably beaten in that fight. Strickland on the other hand was on a six-fight win streak before running into the new champion Alex Pereira on that same card, getting KO’d in the first-round violently.

Cannonier is a powerhouse of a striker with vicious elbows and dynamite in both hands, while Strickland is a solid boxer who uses fantastic pressure to overwhelm opponents. He also doesn’t use his wrestling, despite being a solid wrestler where needed. If Strickland chooses to fight the same way as he did against Pereira here, then he’s probably going to get knocked out again. If they clinch “Killa Gorilla” also has a great advantage there, to go with a reach advantage.

One thing Strickland has is volume. His gas tank almost never seems to empty and he can go for a very long time, which could see him really overwhelm Cannonier and it wouldn’t be a surprise. But Cannonier only needs to land one big shot and we’ve seen Strickland’s chin tested before, including his most recent fight. It could go either way but I think Cannonier lands flush at some point and puts an end to this one.
PICK – Jared Cannonier via Knockout, Round 3

UFC Paris: Gane vs Tuivasa – Main card predictions

The UFC returns from a two week break to make history with the companies first ever card from Paris, France.

The historic card is headlined by hometown heavyweight favourite Ciryl Gane, as he takes on fan favourite and knockout artist Tai Tuivasa in the main event.

The co-main will also see two world class middleweight contenders go head-to-head too as Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori clash in a potential title eliminator.

Last time out at UFC 278 we saw an amazing card, where we landed 7/12 correct picks with three perfect picks to move to 705/1094 (64.51%) with 298 perfect picks (42.26%). You can see our full picks history here.

We’ll try to improve on that here with this solid card and after starting with the early prelims here and then picking the rest of the prelims, now we move onto the main card.

Charles Jourdain (13-5-1) vs Nathaniel Wood (18-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A super fun fight and potentially the fight of the night. Jourdain suffered a defeat to Shane Burgos in his last bout back in June, snapping a two fight win streak. Wood alternatively returned to the Octagon at UFC London after nearly two years out with a brilliant performance, earning him a decision win over Charles Rosa.

Jourdain and Wood are very similar fighters and that should make this a fantastic fight. Jourdain is a relentless fighter with powerful strikes and a fantastic gas tank, who is comfortable on the mat if the fight goes to the ground too. Wood is an excellent kickboxer with brilliant range management and solid wrestling techniques too, making him an all-round threat.

This will be really difficult to call. Jourdain is cutting weight for a second time in six weeks which could have an effect on his style, while Wood looked as sharp as ever last time out. He’s about the right size for the division and his range management and calf kicks could really help in keeping Jourdain at distance to maintain control. He’s also got the takedown threat, something Jourdain has struggled with and that leads me to think he can claim an entertaining win as the underdog.
PICK – Nathaniel Wood via Decision

William Gomis (10-2) vs Jarno Errens (13-3-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Two UFC debutants fight each other on the main card of this card. Gomis is on an eight-fight win streak, with his most recent coming with a third-round KO back in June. Errens earned a decision win less than a month ago and steps into this fight on short notice.

Gomis is a fantastic striker with a great arsenal of attacks, mixing up boxing combinations and kicks to go with lateral movement and great knockout power. Errens has got some decent boxing techniques too, while his submission skills have earned him five tap out wins in his career to date. This bout is a question of which version of Gomis steps up in reality.

If the really good version shows up, then he should run rings around Errens with his technique and power while trying to put a show on for his home nation fans. If it’s the version who looks for highlight finishes rather than fighting properly and backs himself against the cage then he’ll have a tough night. Obviously it’s impossible to know before the fight, but logic tells you to go with the best version of both guys in this one and that means Gomis gets a dominant win and probably finishes it in style.
PICK – William Gomis via Knockout, Round 2

John Makdessi (18-7) vs Nasrat Haqparast (13-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

An interesting lightweight scrap between two guys trying to make waves in the division. Makdessi has won four of his last five fights, with a win over Ignacio Bahamondes most recently at UFC Vegas 23 over a year ago. Haqparast has lost his last two against Dan Hooker (UFC 266) and Bobby Green (UFC 271) and will be keen to get back to winning ways.

Makdessi is a talented striker with unorthodox kicks and spinning attacks as part of his weaponry, but with a picture perfect jab arguably his best shot. Haqparast is also a brilliant striker, with a traditional boxing approach meaning his jab is sensational and he also packs great power to claim nine knockout wins in his career. Neither fighter is big on wrestling so this is likely to stay on the feet and that favours the younger southpaw, Haqparast.

The German knows how to smother his opponents lead hand and counter with a powerful left cross, and Makdessi’s game falls right into that trap. Both will jab a lot but when they counter each other and look for the kill-shot, it’s Haqparast who will land first and harder so I expect him to get a stoppage win midway through the fight.
PICK – Nasrat Haqparast via Knockout, Round 2

Alessio Di Chirico (13-6) vs Roman Kopylov (8-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A weird middleweight scrap up next between two heavy hitters. Di Chirico earned a memorable head-kick win over Joaquin Buckley at UFC Fight Island 7, but has lost the other four of his last five including his most recent fight against Abdul Razak Alhassan where he got KO’d in 17 seconds. Kopylov has lost his last two fights too, getting submitted in 2019 by Karl Roberson and then losing a decision to Albert Duraev at UFC 267 most recently.

Di Chirico is a bog standard striker with some okay takedowns and wrestling to go with it, while Kopylov is a good volume striker with lots of power and variety and some decent takedown defence. There is absolutely no reason for this fight to be on the main card, but the fact it is means the UFC expect something to happen. I don’t.

There will likely be quite a lot of stalemates against the cage as Di Chirico looks to close the distance and get the fight down, while Kopylov defends it with little striking in between. In the gaps Kopylov is likely to land good combinations and that should be enough for a judge’s decision, but this will be a great time to go for snacks or something.
PICK – Roman Kopylov via Decision

Robert Whittaker (24-6) vs Marvin Vettori (18-5-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A top level middleweight scrap up next. Whittaker 3-2 in his last five, with both defeats coming to Israel Adesanya in title fights (UFC 271). His wins were all via decision, where he dominated Darren Till (UFC Fight Island 3), Jared Cannonier (UFC 254) and Kelvin Gastelum. Vettori six of his last eight, with his two defeats also coming to Adesanya, with a title fight ending in defeat at UFC 263. He’s beaten Karl Roberson (UFC Vegas 2), Jack Hermansson (UFC Vegas 16), Kevin Holland (UFC Vegas 23) and most recently Paulo Costa.

Whittaker is arguably the best kickboxer in the UFC outside of Israel Adesanya, but he is also a brilliant wrestler and his dynamic movement make him a horror match up for anyone in the division. Vettori has got incredible cardio and uses that to over power his opposition with wrestling takedown attempts, and then smothering them from top position. The game plan will be clear here. Whittaker wants to stand and strike, Vettori wants the takedown.

I’m a big fan of Vettori even though he can be pretty boring to watch, but I’m a firm believer that Whittaker is the best in the world behind Adesanya and there’s a big gap between them and the rest. Whittaker’s pace, ability to mix it up and perfect technique when striking should see him do enough to claim a decision win as usual.
PICK – Robert Whittaker via Decision

Ciryl Gane (10-1) vs Tai Tuivasa (15-3) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

An absolute banger in the heavyweight division is the main event of this card. Ciryl Gane returns to the octagon for the first time since January, where he lost a title fight against Francis Ngannou via decision at UFC 270. His last win came at UFC 265 where he knocked out Derrick Lewis. Tuivasa is on an amazing roll, winning five in a row all by knockout against Stefan Struve (UFC 254), Harry Hunsucker (UFC Vegas 21), Greg Hardy (UFC 264), Augusto Sakai (UFC 269) and Derrick Lewis (UFC 271).

Gane is a tremendous fighter who is arguably the most well-rounded heavyweight fighter in the world outside of Jon Jones (maybe). His kicks are fantastic, he has good boxing and his wrestling is good too. He also possesses great cardio and some submission skills, making him a threat wherever the fight goes. Tuivasa on the other hand is a straight up brawler. He has got excellent leg kicks and dynamite in both hands, but he hasn’t been past the second round since losing to Blagoy Ivanov in 2019. This is a very similar match up to what people believed Gane vs Ngannou was, just on a different level.

“Bon Gamin” is likely to use his reach and kicks to dominate from the outside, bouncing around to avoid the heavy hands of Tuivasa. The difference from this fight to the title fight is that Tuivasa’s cardio is less reliable and he doesn’t have the new wrestling chops that Ngannou had to overpower him to the ground. Gane will take his time and wear Tuivasa out, before pouring it on late for a stoppage in his hometown.
PICK – Ciryl Gane via Knockout, Round 3

UFC Columbus: Blaydes vs Daukaus – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the USA and a full crowd for a fight night event this weekend as Curtis Blaydes fights Chris Daukaus in Columbus.

After an amazing trip to London, we have another heavyweight main event this time with two fighters battling to stay in top five conversations and enter their name into the round-robin that’s buzzing in Francis Ngannou’s absence.

We’ll also see a huge flyweight eliminator between Askar Askarov and Kai Kara-France to see who could be the next title contender in the division.

Last time out at UFC London we had a great night, going 10/12 with our picks with three perfect picks to move up to 578/891 (64.87%) with 244 perfect picks (42.21%).

We’ll look to improve on that and after starting with the early prelims here and rounding up the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card here.

Marc Diakiese (14-5) vs Viacheslav Borshchev (6-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A lightweight bout to open up the main card in this one. Diakiese has lost five of his last seven and is battling for his UFC career right now, having lost to Rafael Fiziev and then Rafael Alves most recently at UFC Vegas 42. Borshchev is 6-1 professionally with a huge body shot KO against Dakota Bush at UFC Vegas 46 in his debut last time out.

Diakiese and Borshchev are both strong kickboxers with good explosive power in their attacks, while grappling is their weakness although they’re strong enough to hold their own. Diakiese has a major speed advantage between the two and from the outside will look to land kicks and combinations, while Borshchev will look to walk forward and counter with power shots and he has the ability to end the show early.

This will be a highly entertaining striking battle and I’ll be surprised to see it go the distance. Diakiese’s defeats have come to some of the top guys in the division, and Borshchev is one of the best strikers in the division. It’ll be fun and competitive, but I think the power advantage will take it’s toll as the fight goes on for him to score a late finish.
PICK – Viacheslav Borshchev via Knockout, Round 3

Ilir Latifi (16-8) vs Aleksei Oleinik (59-16-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Big heavyweight bout in this one to warm the crowd up for the rest of the main card. Latifi is a former light-heavyweight who has lost three of his last four, but picked up a win against Tanner Boser last time out at UFC Vegas 28 via split decision. Oleinik has lost his last three, getting KO’d by Derrick Lewis (UFC Vegas 6), Chris Daukaus (UFC Vegas 19) and dropping a decision to Sergei Spivak most recently at UFC Vegas 29.

Latifi is a little man for the division with big weight and an excellent wrestling skillset, while Oleinik is a submission specialist looking for his 60th professional win. He is the master of the Ezekiel choke and is even capable of getting taps off his back with it, so Latifi must be careful. He has an incredible squeeze and can take a huge shot on the chin. Age is a big factor in this fight with a combined age of 82, so I don’t think it lasts too long.

Latifi is going to look to take the fight to the ground with wrestling and stay on top, throwing elbows and ground and pound to earn a win. Oleinik will happily go to ground and will look to sweep him with jiu-jitsu and then explode with chokes and limb attacks.

If this fight is on the way to the mat, then there are plenty of avenues from which Oleinik can secure a submission. He’s by far the bigger man, with Latifi way undersized for the division, and with great experience and submission skills I expect him to be be able to stay on top for long enough to wrap something up and squeeze the life out of Latifi for a win.
PICK – Aleksei Oleinik via Submission, Round 1

Askar Askarov (14-0-1) vs Kai Kara-France (23-9) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An absolute banger and my pick for the fight of the night in this flyweight bout. Askarov is undefeated earned a dominant win over Joseph Benavidez at UFC 259 last time out. Kara-France has found a resurgence recently and earned a huge KO win over Cody Garbrandt at UFC 269 to set this title eliminator bout up.

Askarov is phenomenal. His wrestling is so clean and crisp, and his grappling skills deserve far more praise than they get and they already get plenty. Askarov’s striking is decent too, with decent power and enough to concern opponents to back up to the cage which allows his takedowns. Kara-France has got solid boxing skills and great power in his hands, while his takedown defence is decent and his lateral movement is solid.

This is a really good match-up, with different outcomes possible for both fighters. Ultimately though, the wrestling of Askarov just looks like too much for Kara-France to handle. Despite his good scrambling skills, Askarov has a habit of controlling guys once he has them down and his attempts are relentless until he gets them there. I’ve not seen anybody deny him on the mat yet, so until Kara-France does it it’s hard to predict he will.
PICK – Askar Askarov via Decision

Matt Brown (25-18) vs Bryan Barberena (16-8) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Big banger at welterweight incoming here. ‘The Immortal’ Brown is on a farewell tour and earned a big KO win over Dhiego Lima at UFC Vegas 29 in his last bout, while Barberena is 2-2 in his last four with a win over Darian Weeks at UFC Vegas 44 last time out bringing him on a wave of momentum.

Brown is a brawler at this stage of his career, with violent striking and great power in his limbs while he looks to take your head off. He’s also a solid wrestler when he needs to lean on it, which isn’t very often. Barberena is a powerful brawler too, but he’s been more prone to punishment since getting badly beaten by Vicente Luque five fights ago.

This fight will almost certainly be a barn-burner. Barberena will walk forward into the range that makes Brown incredibly dangerous and they’ll brawl in a phone booth until someone falls. Brown could get clipped, but the likelihood is he uses his clinch game well to land elbows and knees too. Ultimately that will be the difference and Brown climbs further up the all-time knockout list.
PICK – Matt Brown via Knockout, Round 2

Joanne Wood (15-7) vs Alexa Grasso (13-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A women’s flyweight fight as the co-main event, but no idea why considering some of the fights on this card. Wood (formerly Calderwood) is on a two-fight losing streak, dropping a decision to Lauren Murphy at UFC 263 and then getting submitted by Taila Santos at UFC Vegas 43. Grasso on the opposite hand has won each of her last two, claiming a decision win against Maycee Barber most recently at UFC 258.

Wood is a solid striker on the feet with good pressure fighting, mixing in clinches but struggling to battle against submission and grappling experts. Grasso is a solid boxer with some decent takedown skills of her own, while the volume of her striking is high. Wood likes 50/50 positions quite a lot to try and stamp her authority on fights, but Grasso will look to avoid them and just pump her jab and kicks from distance.

Defensively both of these women are not good defensively when it comes to grappling, so expect it to stay on the feet as much as possible. Wood needs to close the distance and will try to clinch, but Grasso has good movement and excellent boxing and that should ultimately be enough to stay away from the clinch and claim a pretty comfortable win.
PICK – Alexa Grasso via Decision

Curtis Blaydes (15-3) vs Chris Daukaus (12-4) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweight main event, stake your claim for fight of the night. Blaydes was on a great run before running head first into a Derrick Lewis uppercut at UFC Vegas 19 and going unconscious, but bounced back with a dominant win over Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 266. Daukaus was doing the same until Lewis KO’d him against the cage at UFC Vegas 45 in the final card of 2021 to snap a five-fight win streak.

Blaydes’ game plan is the same against everyone – shoot for the takedown and dominate you on the ground until you can’t get up or the timer runs out. Daukaus on the other hand has got brilliant boxing and hand speed and is believed to have tremendous jiu-jitsu skills although it’s not been seen in the UFC just yet. If he’s going to win here though, he’ll need to show it from his back.

Blaydes will use his looping hooks on the feet and some low kicks to set up takedowns against the cage and while that’s the plan Daukaus will use his speed to land as much damage as he can. Once Blaydes shoots though, it’s unlikely he doesn’t get the fight down and then it’s a case of whether or not Daukaus can get back up or submit him from his back. I’d hedge my bets that is highly unlikely. Blaydes will lay and pray for 25 minutes from top position and do enough damage to earn a dominant win.
PICK – Curtis Blaydes via Decision

UFC Vegas 47: Hermansson vs Strickland – Main card predictions

After a short two week break following on from the return of fights in 2022, the UFC is back with a middleweight main event at UFC Vegas 47 this weekend.

In the headline fight Jack Hermansson looks to make it back-to-back wins when he takes on Sean Strickland at 185-pounds, where we could either see a new contender in the division or find out that neither are championship calibre.

Last time out at UFC 270 we had a bad night, going 5/11 with one perfect pick to move to 519/813 (63.84%) with 218 perfect picks (42%).

We’ll look to improve that record here and after starting with the early prelims of this 13-fight card and moving on to the rest of the prelims here, we finish off our picks with the main card here.

Julian Erosa (26-10) vs Steven Peterson (19-9) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very fun featherweight scrap opens up the main card. Erosa had an exciting 2021 earning a flying knee over Nate Landwehr at UFC Vegas 19 before getting KO’d himself by Seung Woo Choi at UFC Vegas 29. He then got back on the winning trail last time out with a submission over Charles Jourdain at UFC Vegas 36. Peterson was out for almost two years before returning against Chase Hooper and earning a decision win at UFC 263.

Erosa is a huge pressure fighter with really good submissions skills and some explosive striking abilities too with his kickboxing background. Peterson on the other hand is a jiu-jitsu black belt who doesn’t have the wrestling capabilities to get the fight to the ground as often as he’d quite like. When standing, he looks to grind his opponents with clinches to try and turn momentum until he can secure a takedown.

This is weird match-making based on their recent runs, and I can’t see past an Erosa win. A wrestle-based attack is something Erosa will be used to and know how to deal with and on the feet he has a huge advantage with his striking. Peterson has only been finished once in his career, so I think it goes the distance, but I expect Erosa to get his hand raised at the end of it.
PICK – Julian Erosa via Decision

Tresean Gore (4-0) vs Bryan Battle (7-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A really fun fight that should have been the finale of the most recent Ultimate Fighter series, only for Gore to suffer an injury. That allowed Battle to defeat Gilbert Urbina in the finale instead at UFC Vegas 35 and claim a UFC contract.

Gore is a solid striker, with fluid kicks and a powerful striking offence as well as a decent wrestling background. Battle on the other hand is a primary grappler, with some great submission skills which have made up five of his seven career wins. Battle is a grinder with great cardio, who works for position on the ground and then looks for the neck to choke the opponent out. Gore looked mightily impressive throughout the TUF process though and fully deserves his shot in the organisation.

Battle got dropped and hurt by Urbina in his only UFC fight, and if he gets hit like that by Gore he won’t survive. Gore is more powerful and better with striking, while his wrestling is arguably better too. He lacks in the submission department, but Gore was the favourite before the finale and is the favourite here for a reason too. Gore lands big early on and gets a KO win.
PICK – Tresean Gore via Knockout, Round 1

Sam Alvey (33-16-1) vs Brendan Allen (17-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A weird fight that has no business even taking place comes up next. Sam Alvey is 0-6-1 in his last seven fights, with a submission loss against Julian Marquez at UFC Vegas 23 before a split decision defeat to Wellington Turman at UFC Vegas 35. Brendan Allen steps in on short-notice, moving up a weight division, for this fight on the back of a surprising KO defeat to Chris Curtis at UFC Vegas 44 last year.

Alvey is not a UFC calibre fighter and hasn’t been for a very long time. He’s got a very heavy right hook and his takedown defence is decent, but he finds himself with his back to the cage a lot and just waiting. Allen on the other hand is a fast-paced fighter with good striking but also has a suffocating ground game where he blasts double legs and controls position from the top. The only advantage that Alvey has in this fight is his size, but even then he isn’t that much bigger. He’s a natural middleweight too and they’re both 6ft 2, but he’s fought at 205lbs before.

Allen is comfortably the better wrestler and grappler and he has good enough striking to land hard on Alvey too. He will have to avoid that right hook, which could KO him, but aside from that this is his fight to lose.
PICK – Brendan Allen via Submission, Round 2

Shavkat Rakhmonov (14-0) vs Carlston Harris (17-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

My pick for fight of the night here between two exciting welterweights. Rakhmonov is an undefeated fighter, who earned a submission win over Michel Prazeres most recently at UFC Vegas 30. Harris on the other hand is on a five-fight win streak with a KO win over Impa Kasanganay at UFC Vegas 37 in his last fight.

Rakhmonov is a very well-rounded fighter with some really crisp boxing and excellent submission skills too. All of his 14 wins have come via finish, evenly split between knockouts and submissions. Harris on the other hand is a heavy-handed wrestler with some slick submissions himself and plenty of experience in his back pocket. These two are so well-rounded and well matched, but it seems as though Rakhmonov will have too much on this occasion.

He has excellent distance striking, great mid-range strikes and in-close he is a big submission threat as well as possessing great knees and elbows. His wrestling is good enough to neutralise Harris’ biggest strengths, and I think Rakhmonov will be able to land heavy shots and claim yet another knockout win midway through the fight.
PICK – Shavkat Rakhmonov via Knockout, Round 2

Punahele Soriano (8-1) vs Nick Maximov (7-0) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A fun co-main event fight up next between two prospects early on in their career. Soriano suffered the first defeat of his career last time out to Brendan Allen at UFC Vegas 32, while Maximov remains undefeated and won his UFC debut against Cody Brundage at UFC 266 via decision.

This is a classic striker vs grappler match-up, with Soriano a solid boxer with good kicks and decent power. He has five knockouts in his career from eight wins. Maximov on the other hand is a top-level grappler with excellent jiu-jitsu and has earned two KO’s and three submissions in his career. The Nick Diaz Academy graduate Maximov has already earned a reputation because of his affiliation to the Diaz brothers, and he has a brown belt in jiu-jitsu while working on his boxing with Freddie Roach. Soriano has a good wrestling background himself and has shown good defence in the past, but Maximov’s takedowns and jiu-jitsu combination will provide a new problem to deal with.

Soriano has a very big striking advantage and his takedown defence is excellent but Maximov’s submissions are a genuinely huge threat. At 24 though, he has plenty of time to continue to improve and it feels like this may be a bit too big of a jump this time. Soriano will defend takedowns and pick him off on the feet to earn a wide and impressive decision win.
PICK – Punahele Soriano via Decision

Jack Hermansson (22-6) vs Sean Strickland (24-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A big main event in the middleweight division as two top ten ranked fighters go head-to-head. Hermansson earned a victory in his most recent fight with a decision win over Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC Vegas 27. Strickland on the other hand is on a brilliant run since suffering a big motorcycle accident, with five wins in a row including defeating Uriah Hall in his first main event most recently at UFC Vegas 33.

Hermansson is a solid striker on the feet with very good grappling skills and submissions in his game, earning six submissions and 11 KO wins in his career to date. Strickland on the other hand is a pressure boxer with a stiff, crisp jab and good power in his combinations too. He has some solid takedown defence too as shown in his win over Brendan Allen, and that bodes well for him in this fight. Hermansson however does probably have the best wrestling and submission game that Strickland will have come up against in his career.

I expect Strickland to win the early rounds well with his boxing and takedowns, but to keep Hermansson off you for five rounds is a really tough job and once he’s on you it’s hard to get him off. With that said, I do expect Strickland to land enough on the feet to take a big enough lead into the latter rounds where a takedown shouldn’t matter too much so long as he survives. Strickland jabs and pressures his way to a win, but Hermansson will make it tough.
PICK – Sean Strickland via Decision

UFC Vegas 32: Sandhagen vs Dillashaw – Main card predictions

Arguably the best fight of the year not on a pay-per-view card headlines UFC Vegas 32 this weekend as Cory Sandhagen puts his number one contender status on the line against the returning former champion TJ Dillashaw.

The two were supposed to fight back in May, only for Dillashaw to sustain a cut in training forcing the bout to be postponed. In what should be an incredibly close fight, the winner is likely to get the next title shot against the winner of Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan’s rematch.

Elsewhere on the card, two young female prospects go head-to-head when Miranda Maverick and Maycee Barber square off on the main card in the flyweight division. Knockout sensation Adrian Yanez also returns to the octagon to take on Randy Costa too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 31, we went 7/10 with one perfect pick on the night to move up to 370/576 (64.24%) with 164 perfect picks (44.32%).

We’ll look to improve on that here with this 13-fight card and after starting with the early prelims here and finishing off our prelims picks here, we move on to our main card picks here.

Adrian Yanez (13-3) vs Randy Costa (6-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolute banger of a scrap at bantamweight as two super hot prospects go head-to-head here. Yanez is 2-0 in the UFC with two stunning knockout wins over Victor Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 12 and then Gustavo Lopez at UFC Vegas 22. Costa has won his last two in the UFC, including a stunning head-kick KO over Journey Newson at UFC Vegas 11.

Yanez has been dubbed the ‘mini Masvidal’ for his brilliant boxing skills and great kicks to the body, while Costa is a fantastic striker himself. Yanez is really good at setting up his kicks to the body and he has genuine knockout power in his hands. Costa on the other hand is a tricky fighter who switches stances, and that could allow Yanez to catch him on the inside.

It’s due to be a phenomenal striking battle and neither will want to give up anything against the other which could see a finish and I think Yanez will edge it, but don’t be surprised if Costa scores the win.
PICK – Adrian Yanez via Knockout, Round 2

Miranda Maverick (11-2) vs Maycee Barber (8-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An incredibly fun UFC flyweight fight in this one as two of the hottest prospects in the division. Maverick is on a five-fight win streak and is 2-0 in the UFC with wins over Liana Jojua at UFC 254 and Gillian Robertson at UFC 260. Barber on the other hand was looking to become the youngest champion in UFC history before a defeat to Roxanne Modafferi where she tore her ACL, then lost her return against Alexa Grasso at UFC 258.

Maverick and Barber are both excellent strikers with genuine knockout power. Barber is a very solid wrestler who will look to hold her opponent down and slam ground and pound until she separates them from their consciousness. Maverick is really good at throwing in combinations on the feet and using her elbows and kicks well.

It’s a really tight fight and one that could well be the birth of a star and also fight of the night. Both have a path to victory but I think if they both tire, Maverick’s technique may help her out to land the better shots late and eek a close decision win.
PICK – Miranda Maverick via Decision

Darren Elkins (26-9) vs Darrick Minner (26-11) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

The worst tattoo in the UFC (maybe the world?) returns to the octagon to take on Minner in the featherweight division. Elkins snapped a four-fight win streak last time out with a submission win over Luiz Garagorri at UFC Vegas 13, while Minner has won his last two against TJ Laramie at UFC Vegas 11 and then beating Charles Erosa at UFC Vegas 19.

Elkins is a well rounded fighter who is excellent at firing strikes with volume and pushing the pace. Minner on the other hand is a remarkable submission artist with 22 of his 26 wins coming via tap out. Elkins has some good body kicks and solid wrestling too and his scrambles are solid but Minner is so good on the ground it might not even matter.

‘The Damage’ is 37 now though and past his prime and while he beat Garagorri, that’s not a big teller of where he is right now. Minner on the ground is unreal and this fight will almost certainly go to the ground, so I can’t see how he doesn’t secure a submission once again.
PICK – Darrick Minner via Submission, Round 2

Kyler Phillips (9-1) vs Raulian Paiva (20-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very fun bantamweight banger as ‘The Matrix’ takes on the the decision master that is Paiva. Phillips has won four-in-a-row including all three of his UFC bouts against Gabriel Silva, Cameron Else and most recently Song Yadong at UFC 259. Paiva has won his last two, including his most recent against Zhalgas Zhumagulov at UFC 251.

Phillips is a solid striker on the feet with a background in wrestling to fall on where needed. He’s got good kickboxing and mixes it well with takedowns and makes it really hard to make reads on him for his opponents. Paiva is a good striker in his own right but he is a flyweight moving up and that won’t stand him in good stead here.

Phillips is bigger, stronger, more well rounded and this should be a pretty easy win barring something miraculous happening.
PICK – Kyler Phillips via Decision

Aspen Ladd (9-1) vs Macy Chiasson (8-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An intriguing fight at the top of the women’s bantamweight division as Aspen Ladd takes on Macy Chiasson. Ladd is a great striker, who’s only defeat came in just 16 seconds against Germaine De Randamie. She bounced back from that with an impressive KO win over Yana Kunitskaya back in 2019 but hasn’t fought since. Chiasson won TUF 28 and has since gone 4-1 in the UFC proper, with her most recent win coming against Marion Reneau at UFC Vegas 22.

Ladd is a brilliant wrestler who has some violent ground and pound and vicious striking on the feet to go with it, while Chiasson is a super well-rounded fighter herself too with an even split of finishes via knockout and submission. Ladd is returning from a torn ACL/MCL injury but while Chiasson has got some good names on her resumé she’s not fought anyone of the calibre of Ladd before.

Ladd is powerful, quick, a great striker and has the advantage with the wrestling too which means she can dictate where this fight goes. Because of that, she’ll only need one takedown per round to control and land some vicious shots and therefore I think she’ll get the win.
PICK – Aspen Ladd via Knockout, Round 2

Cory Sandhagen (14-2) vs TJ Dillashaw (17-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Arguably the best main event of the year so far for a fight night card, Sandhagen takes on the returning Dillashaw in the headline fight. Sandhagen has won nine of his last 10 fights, including two in a row against Marlon Moraes at UFC Fight Island 5 and Frankie Edgar at UFC Vegas 18. Dillashaw is coming off a two-year suspension for failing a drugs test, after losing in under a minute to Henry Cejudo at flyweight last time out.

Sandhagen is an amazing technical striker, with his last two wins coming via a spinning wheel kick followed by ground and pound and then a flying knee walk-off KO. Dillashaw is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division with excellent wrestling and powerful striking and kicks. Having been out for two years though, at this level, is something that is incredibly tough to overcome.

If Dillashaw can get in and wrestle Sandhagen he has a good chance, but ‘Sandman’ is one of the best at range management in the division and he has been very active while Dillashaw has been away. For that reason, I think he’s able to secure a huge win for his career in a real banger of a fight.
PICK – Cory Sandhagen via Decision