Tag Archives: Abdul Razak Alhassan

UFC Vegas 48: Walker vs Hill – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas this week for a card that has been littered with changes on short notice.

Originally scheduled to be headlined by Rafael Dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev, that fight was forced to be moved to UFC 272 due to visa issues and will now be headlined by Johnny Walker and Jamahal Hill.

It’s not the greatest of cards, with the only ranked fighters scheduled to compete in the main event but there are some decent fights expected to take place.

Last week at UFC 271 we had a great night, correctly predicting 11/14 fights with seven perfect picks which takes our picks totals to 539/840 (64.17%) with 231 perfect picks (42.86%).

Lets see if we can improve that here and after starting with the early prelims and rounding up our prelims picks here, we move to the main card now.


Joaquin Buckley (13-4) vs Abdul Razak Alhassan (11-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An absolute slugfest coming up in the middleweight division here. Buckley bounced back from a head-kick KO defeat to Alessio Di Chirico at UFC Fight Island 7 by KO’ing Antonio Arroyo back in September. Alhassan on the other hand snapped a three-fight losing streak in his last fight, by KO’ing Alessio Di Chirico via head-kick in just 17 seconds. MMA, eh?

Both of these fighters are powerhouses with tremendous knockout power in their hands and legs and put their opponents’ lights out. Buckley is a good wrestler, but he never uses it, instead opting to box with good head movement and keeping a good pace throughout. Alhassan is a patient striker with real one-shot power, but he tends to struggle outside of the first round and his cardio isn’t good at all. That spells problems to me.

While this fight is anyone’s to win in the first round, the longer it goes the more it suits Buckley. He has the cardio advantage and he’s shown that his power can carry through the full 15 minutes, so I expect him to drag it out a little and then secure a big knockout later in the fight.
PICK – Joaquin Buckley via Knockout, Round 2

Jim Miller (33-16) vs Nikolas Motta (12-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Legend vs prospect in this lightweight division fight. Jim Miller will extend his record as the man with the most fights in the UFC, coming in on a 2-2 run in his last four with a knockout win over Erick Gonzalez most recently. Motta on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak and makes his UFC debut in this fight following a win on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Miller is one of the best submission artists the UFC has ever seen, with great wrestling and incredible jiu-jitsu which has earned him 18 submission wins in his career. Motta on the other hand has got incredible hand speed with his boxing-heavy approach with a sprawl-and-brawl strategy usually in place for most of his fights. Miller will look to test that in order to try and land and big strike or wrap up a position on the ground, but if he can’t get it done early he could be in trouble.

Motta will likely play it relatively cautiously early on in order to allow Miller to potentially blow himself out, and then use his speed and superior striking to pile up damage in the later rounds. It could end up being a “comeback” win, but I expect Motta to never really be in too much danger and come away with a decision win.
PICK – Nikolas Motta via Decision

Parker Porter (12-6) vs Alan Baudot (8-2) – Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweights will be in Las Vegas for this fight card folks. Porter is on a two-fight win streak with decisions over Josh Parisian and Chase Sherman in his most recent outings, while Baudot was KO’d by Tom Aspinall in his debut at UFC Fight Island 5 before a defeat to Rodrigo Nascimento was overturned to a no contest.

Porter is a deceptively technical striker with good movement and speed, despite being 6 foot 7 and 260lbs. Baudot hasn’t shown much at all in the UFC so far, but he has got some decent power in his striking if I had to find something. This fight is likely to stay on the feet for the entirety of the bout, with Porter to use his jab and leg kicks to chip away at his defences.

Ultimately, this fight won’t be fun and I doubt there will be a finish because neither man is particularly known for being a power puncher. Porter has the cardio to go 15 minutes and I expect he will just piece him up throughout and earn a win.
PICK – Parker Porter via Decision



Kyle Daukaus (10-2) vs Jamie Pickett (13-6) – (Catchweight/195lbs)

A very intriguing short-notice catchweight fight between these two middleweight fighters. Daukaus lost two of his first three UFC bouts before a clash of heads before he tapped out Kevin Holland saw his last fight end in a no contest at UFC Vegas 38. Pickett steps in on short-notice on a two-fight win streak, with a decision against Joseph Holmes at UFC Vegas 46 last month.

Daukaus is a wrestler who looks to use his looping strikes to set up takedowns and then control his opponents on the ground for victories. Pickett on the other hand is a solid kickboxer with good Muay Thai skills and excellent power in his striking. That said, Pickett has found himself wrestling a lot since joining the UFC and if he does that here then he is likely to struggle to claim a victory.

Pickett is the more technical striker of the two, but Daukaus is the more powerful of the two and is certainly the one who can dictate where this fight takes place. Add in a five-year age gap too, I expect Daukaus to be able to get this fight to the ground and eventually take the back to secure a rear-naked choke with his relentlessness.
PICK – Kyle Daukaus via Submission, Round 2

Johnny Walker (18-6) vs Jamahal Hill (9-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A banger at light heavyweight in the main event, where someone is likely to go to sleep. Walker was beaten in his last fight by Thiago Santos in a very cagey fight back at UFC Vegas 38, making it three defeats in his last four. Hill on thje other hand bounced back from the first defeat of his career to Paul Craig at UFC 263 by knocking out Jimmy Crute in just 38 seconds last time out at UFC Vegas 44 in December.

Both of these fighters are hugely explosive knockout artists with legitimate one-punch power in their hands. Walker is incredibly unorthodox with the way he strikes, and he uses his kicks well from the outside. Hill however is a decent wrestler with lightning fast strikes with either hand and legitimate one-punch power. This is a fight that is similar to the Santos and Walker bout, but Hill is far more unlikely to be hesitant when it comes to pull the trigger.

Hill will walk forward and cut the cage off to Walker, which narrows down his opportunities to be wild with his attacks and opens up Hill’s window to land a big strike. It may take a round to warm-up, but I don’t think we’ll need the extra ten minutes this bout has been given a Hill earns a big knockout win.
PICK – Jamahal Hill via Knockout, Round 2

UFC Vegas 35: Barboza vs Chikadze – Prelims predictions

The UFC featherweight division headlines a banger of a card in the APEX as Edson Barboza takes on Giga Chikadze in the main event, while The Ultimate Fighter finals take place too.

Chikadze takes on the former lightweight contender in his first main event, but before that the finale of both the bantamweight and middleweight division from the Ultimate Fighter Returns finale will take place as Ricky Turcios takes on Brady Hiestand, followed by Bryan Battle taking on late replacement Gilbert Urbina.

Kevin Lee also makes his return to the octagon against Daniel Rodriguez at welterweight in his first fight since he was submitted by Charles Oliveira back in March 2020.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 34 we went a disappointing 6/12 with two perfect picks for the night to move to 389/612 (63.56%) with 171 perfect picks (43.96%). We’ll look to improve that here, and after starting with the early prelims here are the picks for the rest of the prelims.


Dustin Jacoby (14-5-1) vs Darren Stewart (12-7) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A very interesting fight at 205lbs as the UK’s ‘Dentist’ moves up to light heavyweight. Jacoby won four-in-a-row before a draw against Ion Cutelaba last time out at UFC Vegas 25, while Stewart is winless in his last three after defeat to Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 11 before a no-contest and then a defeat to Eryk Anders at UFC 263.

Moving up to light heavyweight is an interesting decision from Stewart, because he’s not really the biggest 185lber in the land. Jacoby has good boxing skills and while his gas tank and wrestling skills aren’t the greatest, Stewart doesn’t really have any stand-out attributes himself. He’s very aggressive and is probably at his best when implementing ground-and-pound, but he may be undersized in this one.

Stewart is really hard to get a read on and while Jacoby isn’t exactly a world-beater, he has a clear path to victory here and I think his size will see him earn a win.
PICK – Dustin Jacoby via Decision

Sam Alvey (33-15-1) vs Wellington Turman (16-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Another bout with some big men on this card as ‘Smilin’ Sam Alvey takes on Brazilian sensation Wellington Turman. Alvey is winless in six fights, with five defeats and a draw including his most recent outing against Julian Marquez when he was submitted at UFC Vegas 23. Turman is a youngster with crazy experience, but he’s lost his last two fights by knockout to Andrew Sanchez at UFC Vegas 6 and then Bruno Silva at UFC Vegas 29.

Alvey is a powerful striker with very heavy hands and an iron chin, but a real lack of technique and anything else. Turman on the other hand is a talented grappler who has recently tried to show off his striking and been knocked out twice. Both these guys are likely to be on their way out of the UFC sooner rather than later but one of them will earn a stay of execution here.

Ultimately, Alvey has great takedown defence and great power while Turman tries for takedowns and doesn’t have a chin either. It’s a perfect storm for chaos and I think Alvey makes it 20 career KO’s and earns his first win since 2018.
PICK – Sam Alvey via Knockout, Round 1

Alessio Di Chirico (13-5) vs Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Another fun big-man fight in this one as Di Chirico takes on a short-notice replacement in Alhassan here. Di Chirico lost three-in-a-row before a stunning first-round knockout over Joaquin Buckley at UFC Fight Island 7 in January, while Alhassan has now lost three-in-a-row himself against Mounir Lazzez, Khaos Williams at UFC Vegas 14 and most recently Jacob Malkoun.

Di Chirico is a good grappler who has a chin and great strikes too, while Alhassan is as one-dimensional as they come. He has a boulder of a right hand in the opening minutes but once that fades, so does he and he tends to get dominated. Di Chirico has never been stopped by strikes despite being in there against bigger guys and hard hitters too and should he avoid the initial explosion, he has all the skills to dominate this fight.

Alhassan is moving up to middleweight so he will naturally be the smaller man and that only plays more into Di Chirico’s hands, so I think he’ll be able to score the win in this one.
PICK – Alessio Di Chirico via Decision

UFC Vegas 24: Whittaker vs Gastelum – Main card predictions

The middleweight division continues to move on at UFC Vegas 24 as Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker takes on short-notice replacement Kelvin Gastelum in the main event.

Whittaker knows a win cements his place as the number one contender for a potential rematch with Israel Adesanya, while Gastelum looks to get back to the sort of run that saw him fight Adesanya in an interim title fight two short years ago.

In the co-main event, Jeremy Stephens makes a return to the lightweight division for the first time since 2012 when he takes on heavy hitter Drakkar Klose at 155lbs.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 23 we had a pretty good night, going 9/13 with four perfect picks to take our total up to 279/439 (63.55%) with 125 perfect picks (44.8%).

In a fun 12 fight card we’ll look to improve that here. Having already predicted the early prelims and the rest of the prelims here, lets move on to the main card.


Luis Pena (8-3) vs Alexander Munhoz (6-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

‘Violent Bob Ross’ makes a return to the octagon to take on a young up and comer looking for his first win in the UFC. Pena was well beaten last time out against Khama Worthy at UFC Vegas 4, while Munhoz stepped in on short notice in August and was dominated by Nasrat Haqparast at UFC Vegas 5.

Pena is a great striker with a good submission game too, while Munhoz is a strict wrestler who if he can’t get the fight down to the ground will undoubtedly struggle. Pena has all the tools to put a good run together, but it just never seems to click for him in the cage. Munhoz suffered a first defeat last time out against one of the better boxers in the division last time out.

It’s a one-sided fight, it’s just hard to know which way it goes because of the weaknesses both men have leading in to the opposite numbers strengths. As it stands though, I think Munhoz is likely to get the takedowns needed to grind out a decision win.
PICK – Alexander Munhoz via Decision

Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-3) vs Jacob Malkoun (4-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An absolute powerhouse and a less experienced powerhouse collide in a bout almost certain not to see the judge’s scorecards in the middleweight division. Alhassan has lost each of his last two fights after a two-year absence, getting well beaten by Mounir Lazzez on Fight Island before being starched by Khaos Williams at UFC Vegas 14. Malkoun made his debut at UFC 254 and was flattened by Phil Hawes in just 18 seconds.

Both guys are violent strikers with power that puts people to sleep, but Alhassan is by far the more experienced man in the cage. Malkoun’s record is short and a bit stodgy and his biggest claim to fame is that he’s a training partner of Robert Whittaker’s. Both guys have the power to put the other to sleep, but I can’t see past Alhassan getting back on the winning trail with a big, violent stoppage.
PICK – Abdul Razak Alhassan via Knockout, Round 1

Andrei Arlovski (30-20) vs Chase Sherman (15-6) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The legendary former world champion makes a quick turnaround to take on a big prospect in the heavyweight division. Andrei Arlovski had won two in a row beating Phillipe Lins and Tanner Boser at UFC Vegas 13, before being submitted by Tom Aspinall at UFC Vegas 19 earlier this year. Sherman has won four in a row including his UFC return against Isaac Villanueva back in May 2020.

Arlovski is a legendary kickboxer with tremendous punching power and great technique, while Sherman is a bit more of a traditional boxer with great power in his hands. Sherman is a specialist knockout artist, but considering he’s mainly a boxer he gets hit an awful lot.

It’s a tough fight to call, because both men have had questionable chins in the past and while Sherman has more power now Arlovski is the better all-round fighter. Despite that, Arlovski has lost a step in age at 42-years-old now and I think Sherman should be able to get enough volume going to get a win.
PICK – Chase Sherman via Decision

Jeremy Stephens (28-18 1NC) vs Drakkar Klose (11-2-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

An intriguing lightweight bout in the co-main event as ‘Lil Heathen’ makes a return to 155lbs for the first time in nine years to take on the highly rated Drakkar Klose. Stephens was a contender at featherweight for a while but then went 0-4 (1 NC) in his last five to send him on a spiral back up to lightweight, while Klose had won three in a row before getting knocked out in a crazy fight against Beneil Dariush just over a year ago.

Stephens is a well rounded fighter who often relies on his heavy hands and steady boxing for big wins and it’s come up trumps more often than not. While his recent record is horrendous, he’s only been beaten by the elite of the 145lbs division so it’s hard to see how far he’s fallen if at all. Klose on the other hand is fantastic wrestler who has heavy hands of his own, but usually looks to take fights to the mat and work his ground and pound.

This is a really fun fight, but I can’t see it going particularly well for Stephens. Klose is the more technical fighter of the two, and while both men are durable Stephens was getting hurt by smaller guys than Klose. I think Klose will threaten the takedown and throw his hands too to be able to secure a decision win.
PICK – Drakkar Klose via Decision

Robert Whittaker (23-5) vs Kelvin Gastelum (17-6) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

In the main event it’s a fight that was supposed to be for the middleweight title back at UFC 234 two years ago. Whittaker lost his belt to Israel Adesanya and has since won two in a row, defeating Darren Till at UFC Fight Island 3 before nullifying Jared Cannonier at UFC 254. Gastelum’s title shot was taken from him when Whittaker withdrew in need of emergency surgery, and then he lost to Adesanya for the interim title. He then got beaten by Till and by Jack Hermansson via heel hook at UFC Fight Island 2 but bounced back to a win over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258 a few months ago.

Whittaker is an elite level kickboxer who is a master of range, with heavy hands and great footwork. Gastelum on the other hand is a heavy-handed wrestler who has good submission skills too. Whittaker is one of the best middleweights of all-time but he does get hit and rocked quite often. Gastelum has the power to hurt Whittaker with his hands, but he needs to get close enough and land clean to do it and I can’t see that.

‘Bobby Knuckles’ is better in every aspect of MMA and while Gastelum has a remarkable chin that will likely hold out, I cannot look past Whittaker waltzing to a decision win once again.
PICK – Robert Whittaker via Decision

UFC Vegas 14: Felder vs Dos Anjos – Results (Highlights)

*Julian Marquez vs Saparbek Safarov, Eryk Anders vs Antonio Arroyo and Louis Smolka vs Jose Quinonez were all cancelled due to weight management issues for one fighter prior to the event starting.

The card will proceed with nine fights.*

PRELIMS

Don’Tale Mayes def Roque Martinez via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Cagey start to this one from both fighters as Mayes keeps his range well and lands some heavy leg kicks. Martinez trying to find a way to get on the inside but Mayes using his jab well to keep him at bay. Martinez throws a head kick but Mayes meets him with a left hook to counter it. Martinez goes for a roundhouse kick that misses and then Mayes moves in for a clinch and trip which puts Martinez on his back. Some ground and pound for Mayes ends the round. 10-9 Mayes.

Second round and Martinez comes out more aggressively trying to box with Mayes and the referee stops the fight momentarily to give Mayes a final warning about extending his fingers straight out. Mayes lands a big knee as Martinez looks to make his way on the inside again. Martinez is really struggling to mount any offense because of the range, with Mayes picking him off with jabs and straight punches. Martinez goes for a takedown but Mayes defends well and lands a big knee on the break. The two exchange combos as the round ends. 20-18 Mayes.

Mayes comes out in the final round bouncing, looking to maintain that distance that has served him so well so far. Martinez coming forward, knowing he needs a finish. Mayes goes for a clinch against the cage but Martinez gets hold of the neck and tries to sink in a guillotine. It’s under the chin but Mayes says he’s okay so Martinez lets go and Mayes gets straight back up to his feet. Martinez pushes forward with uppercuts and hooks and Mayes is wobbling but then he goes for a clinch and loses all his momentum. Mayes breaks away and lands a spinning elbow as we enter the final 30 seconds. Flying knee lands flush by Mayes but Martinez eats it and the round ends. 29-28 Mayes for me but could be 30-27.

Alex Morono def Rhys McKee via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

McKee comes out very aggressive to start with, walking forward and landing some nice shots but Morono shows him immediately that he needs to be respected with a big punch. Morono is planting his feet and swinging big hooks but McKee is firing back and using his footwork well. Nice jabs but more hooks land from Morono, with McKee being too keen and loading up too much. 10-9 Morono but McKee is in this fight.

More reserved start to the round from McKee, who seems to be a bit more settled now. He’s flicking out a jab to good effect but not with enough volume just yet, but Morono is doing well to continue to land heavy shots. McKee showing he has a great chin right now but it’s being hit far too much as he’s bleeding from the mouth now. Morono goes for a takedown and gets McKee down, but he gets straight back up and moves forward again. The two are trading shots in the centre of the octagon as McKee looks for a trip with 20 seconds to go but it’s defended well. 19-19 for me.

Solid final round with both guys coming out strong and exchanging in the middle yet again. McKee starting to work the body a little bit, noticing that Morono is tiring. Two big hooks to the body look like they hurt Morono, who goes straight for the takedown but McKee aggressive off his back and eventually gets back to the feet. Clinch against the cage sees McKee’s mouth-piece fall out and the fight is paused for several minutes as it has fallen under the cage and can’t be found. Fight restarts and McKee lands a nice body kick and then goes straight for another takedown to see this round out. He manages to win a scramble and ends up in full mount landing big elbows from ground and pound as the fight comes to an end. Great fight, 29-28 Morono for me.

Tony Gravely def Geraldo De Freitas via Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)

Very quick start to this fight as both men come out throwing big shots early. Gravely shoots for a takedown and gets it, but De Freitas avoids damage on the ground and manages to get back to the feet quickly. Heavy calf kick from De Freitas and a big left hand lands and forces Gravely to get back to the takedown. De Freitas looking for all types of submissions off his back tough and almost locks in an armbar but for Gravely powering out. Some more tangles on the ground and then De Freitas gets back to his feet and goes for a flying knee which Gravely catches and takes De Freitas down again to see the round out. 10-9 Gravely.

De Freitas comes out aggressive once again in this round looking for wild shots and then goes in for a takedown of his own. Gravely spins out and reverses the takedown to end up on top, defending submission threats well and landing some good ground and pound himself. De Freitas fights his way back up to the feet but Gravely holds on to a leg and gets him back down. They break away and start striking but Gravely gets another takedown and then another, ending the round with ground and pound. 20-18 Gravely.

Gravely continues to impress here as he opens the round with an exchange of punches and then yet another takedown. De Freitas clearly more tired now and Gravely is controlling the position at this point, landing some nice ground and pound strikes. De Freitas is throwing some shots from his back and still looking for submissions but eventually works his way back to his feet. Big one two lands through the guard of Gravely and he’s wobbled but he immediately changes levels and goes for a takedown but De Freitas eventually defends. More big one-twos from De Freitas and Gravely is wobbling, shooting for takedowns but De Freitas defends three or four in a row to keep the pressure up. Gravely finally gets a trip to slow him down with 25 seconds to go and ends the round throwing shots of his own. A super fight, 30-27 Gravely for me.

Kanaka Murata def Randa Markos via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Fast start from both women in this fight with Murata getting a takedown inside the first minute. Markos looks to tie her up from her back but Murata is able to pass the guard quickly and starts throwing some strikes. Markos eventually gets back to the feet and both women exchange knees to the body in the clinch. Murata looks for an inside trip which is defended well but she chain wrestles her way to eventually end up on top again. Murata passes the guard again and starts throwing some huge elbows that look like they could stop the fight but time runs out on her. 10-9 Murata.

Murata looks very fresh coming out in this second round, fainting and bouncing but Markos not backing up either. Markos doing well to stay in the centre and circle away from any potential takedown attempts that could come. Markos lands a nice leg kick that causes Murata to lose her balance but she shoots in for a takedown and gets it against the cage. She looks to pass Markos’ guard and lands a few ground and pound strikes before Markos is able to get back to her feet as the round comes to an end. 20-18 Murata.

Patient opening to the third round from both fighters here but then suddenly Murata shoots for a double leg and slam but once Markos defends it she immediately lands a trip instead. Murata looks to lock in a d’arce choke and it’s tight but Markos defends incredibly well and eventually manages to re-guard. Murata lands some big ground and pound shots but again Markos moves and defends well. The rest of the fight plays out on the ground and Murata should win comfortably.

MAIN CARD

Cory McKenna def Kay Hansen via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

A very active start as both fighters enter their range and start firing off combinations on each other. McKenna lands a beautiful one-two down the pipe but Hansen also happy to compete and throws some shots of her own again. Hansen goes for a clinch against the cage but McKenna defends well and lands a stiff right hand that wobbles Hansen. Hansen goes for a clinch against the cage again and this time gets it to the ground and takes the back of McKenna. While there she just gets punched in the face a lot by McKenna instead but the takedown probably secured her the round. 10-9 Hansen.

Second round and both women look confident on the feet once again. Lots of exchanges as both look to be first and they continue to land good damage on each other. Clinch attempt from Hansen is stuffed by McKenna again but eventually she manages to secure the takedown and immediately sinks in a rear naked choke! McKenna fights the hands and escapes and eventually ends up on top herself and sees out the round on top landing ground and pound shots for the final minute. 19-19.

McKenna using her range more in this final round, landing her jab and then following it up with a big one-two to the chin. McKenna throws out a couple of jabs of her own but Hansen ducks under and shoots for a beautiful takedown and ends up in top position. Hansen is looking to advance her position on the ground and land ground and pound but McKenna is staying active off her back and landing elbows of her own. Hansen looks to lock in a head and arm choke from full mount but McKenna reverses the position completely and ends the round landing ground and pound from the top. What a great fight. 29-28 Hansen for me.

Sean Strickland def Brendan Allen via Knockout, Round 2 (1:32)

Great start to the fight as expected as both fighters look to set their pace early on. Strickland stringing together some nice combinations, using his length well. Allen goes for a kick that Strickland catches and then he trips Allen and secures a takedown. Good control against the cage and he takes the back but Allen defends well and eventually breaks away. Strickland popping his jab really well but then Allen lands a big left hook that wobbles Strickland! Allen starts coming forward with more venom but Strickland uses that jab again and then lands a front kick to the face clean too. Round ends as they stare each other down. 10-9 Strickland.

Fast start to the second round again as Allen comes forward and is getting picked off by the straight punches by Strickland. Big calf kick from Allen has Strickland moving gingerly but Strickland starts throwing shots down the middle and Allen is hurt. One-two followed by a left hook drops Allen and Strickland follows it up with some huge shots against the cage and it’s all over! Huge win for Sean Strickland!

Ashley Yoder def Miranda Granger via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 29-27 x2)

Interesting opening round as Ashley Yoder looks to use her grappling skills to her advantage for the most part. Some good striking to start with but Yoder tries to take her back but misses the hooks and ends up breaking. A few more shots and Yoder rushes in and uses a head and arm throw to get the fight to the ground but it’s against the cage in an awkward position. After a short scramble, Granger ends up on top and lands some nice ground and pound shots. Yoder throws up a triangle and pulls the arm through, so close to sinking it in but Granger uses her long legs to defend and the round ends in a stalemate position. 10-9 Yoder but very close round.

Competitive second round too as the first half of it is spent tying each other up and looking to gain control against the cage in the clinch. Granger throws some nice knees and shoulder strikes but Yoder eventually gets the throw although she ends up with Granger on her back. She nullifies the threat and turns the position around and now looks to advance from side control. Granger is threatening with a kimura but Yoder continues with body shots until the buzzer goes. 20-18 Yoder for me.

Granger comes out aggressively in this round throwing a heavy calf kick and some nice strikes but Yoder goes in for an early takedown and secures it well. Some ground and pound opens up submission attempts from Yoder but Granger defending really well. Some big ground and pound from Yoder and Granger is in trouble. Final few seconds and Yoder finally sinks in a rear naked choke deep! Granger holds out and refuses to tap as the buzzer goes and it will go to the judges. 30-27 Yoder for me.

Khaos Williams def Abdul Razak Alhassan via Knockout, Round 1 (0:30)

Quick start with some heavy leg kicks by Khaos, showing his speed advantage in this one early. The two come together in the middle of the octagon and both swing, Khaos lands a straight right hand through the guard and on the chin and Alhassan is OUT! Stiff as a board, this one is over!! What a knockout!!

Rafael Dos Anjos def Paul Felder via Split Decision (47-48, 50-45 x2)

Fast paced start to this fight as both guys throw fast combinations to start the fight. Felder lands a nice straight right and a front kick to the body before Dos Anjos lands two fierce body kicks of his own. Spinning elbow attempt from Felder just misses and Dos Anjos goes for a takedown and gets it. He looks to advance position but Felder defends well and eventually gets back up to his feet. Felder looks very sharp on the feet but both guys go for a takedown at the same time and it’s Dos Anjos who gets the edge against the cage as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Felder but it’s very close.

A great pace to this fight as both guys look to control the range. Felder is throwing a great jab but Dos Anjos is countering with a straight left from the southpaw position. Felder looking to keep the fight standing by staying in the centre and exchanging but Dos Anjos moving well to force him against the cage. He shoots for the takedown and Felder defends well but the second time around Dos Anjos gets him down. The rest of the round is a clinch affair against the cage as Felder eventually gets himself back to his feet but Dos Anjos continues to attack. 19-19.

Dos Anjos comes out aggressive in this third round as he goes for an early takedown against the cage inside the opening minute of the round. Felder denies him this time and lands a nice front kick to the body but Dos Anjos goes again and this time secures the dump. Felder defending the position really well and preventing damage for the most part but Dos Anjos is relentless right now. Dos Anjos goes again and this time lifts and slams Felder down to end the round in top position again. 29-28 Dos Anjos.

More of the same for this round as Dos Anjos meets Felder in the middle and exchanges a few punches before backing him up to the cage with a clinch. Both guys look in good condition for the fourth round but Dos Anjos’ game plan is working to perfection right now. Big left hand by Dos Anjos opens up a big cut over Felder’s eye. Felder comes out and lands some nice combinations and then scores a takedown of his own but Dos Anjos gets to the cage quickly to get back up and the round ends. 39-37 Dos Anjos.

Final round and Felder knows he needs a finish. He comes out aggressively, throwing big punches but Dos Anjos throws his own and shoots for the takedown and this time gets it away from the cage. Felder looks tired now and Dos Anjos’ top pressure has been excellent all night. The rest of the round consists of Dos Anjos dominating the clinch and scoring takedowns, with Felder defending well but not doing enough to get a win. 49-46 Dos Anjos for me.

UFC Vegas 14: Felder vs Dos Anjos – Main Card Predictions

A wild week surrounding this fight card will finally come to a head at the UFC Apex when former lightweight champions Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Paul Felder, who steps in on five days notice for this main event.

After Islam Makachev withdrew from the fight with injury, Felder stepped in from the commentary booth to put his gloves on once again with the hope that a big win on short notice can get him a top five opponent in the near future.

The fight will have 11 other fights on the card too, including Brendan Allen taking on Sean Strickland in a short-notice fight following his fight against Ian Heinisch falling through on fight night last week.

Last weekend, I correctly predicted 8/10 fights with three perfect picks for a pretty solid week of predictions. This week with 12 fights on the card, I’ll see if I can better that and continue with a pretty decent percentage. I’ve already predicted the prelims of the card here, so lets get on with the main card.

MAIN CARD

Antonio Arroyo (9-3) vs Eryk Anders (13-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Eryk Anders comes into a fight as an explosive athlete who just near enough refuses to use his athletic gifts, while Antonio Arroyo looks to bounce back from his UFC debut defeat to Andre Muniz almost exactly a year ago. Anders has lost four of his last six since abandoning raw power and trying to become more well rounded. It means he has started throwing less shots and timing takedowns badly, despite his wrestling prowess in his past. Arroyo is a specimen himself but his cardio really let him down in his bout against Muniz, although he showed impressive kicking skills and has proven he has the ability to end fights inside the distance having only won via decision once. I have to go with Anders in this one, simply because if he turns up and executes a game plan his skillset is better suited to this fight. He can get takedowns and has power in his hands which should keep Arroyo tentative enough for a decision win and a more dominant end of fight period when the Brazilian’s cardio starts to fail him again.
PICK – Eryk Anders via Decision

Kay Hansen (7-3) vs Cory McKenna (5-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun fight between two up and comers in the women’s strawweight division where matchmakers have done a great job. Both 21 years old, Hansen is looking to make it back to back wins in the UFC following her win over Jinh Yu Frey in June while McKenna makes her UFC debut following a decision win on Dana White’s Contender Series back in August. Hansen has the better wrestling but often puts herself in dangerous positions with poor striking, which is where McKenna excels. She’s got slick striking and is capable of sinking in submissions quickly in a scramble but her wrestling is completely unproven. It should be a really good fight to watch but I think Hansen’s ability to get the fight to the ground should be enough to win her the fight.
PICK – Kay Hansen via Decision

Julian Marquez (7-2) vs Saparbek Safarov (9-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

This is a fight that doesn’t really deserve it’s place on the card, as two middleweights not in the upper echelons of talent on the roster take each other on. Julian Marquez is a straight up brawler. He comes out from the opening bell looking to take your head off, even after he gasses himself out and his technique leaves him behind. Safarov on the other hand has nothing particularly stand out about his game and also has cardio issues of his own. It’s a weird fight that is essentially on just to build Marquez up again after two years off and give them a reason to release Safarov. Marquez lands a big punch early in the first and wraps this one up quickly.
PICK – Julian Marquez via Knockout, Round 1

Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-2) vs Kalinn Williams (10-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A welterweight bout between two power punchers is the penultimate fight of this card. Alhassan has ten wins in his career and all have come via knockout but his last fight saw him unable to put away debutant Mounir Lazzez for his first defeat since 2017. ‘Khaos’ Williams has won seven fights in a row with four stoppages (two KO’s, two submissions) including his last fight against Alex Morono where he won in just 27 seconds. With that said, all paths lead to an Alhassan win in this one. He’s more powerful and a better wrestler if it gets to that but Williams would need to survive the opening round without getting his head taken off. The likelihood is that they both get into a phone box and exchange hooks, with Alhassan putting ‘Khaos’ to sleep.
PICK – Abdul Razak Alhassan via Knockout, Round 1

Paul Felder (17-5) vs Rafael Dos Anjos (29-13) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Former lightweight world champion Rafael Dos Anjos returns to the division for the first time since 2016 to take on fighter turned commentator turned cornerman turned fighter again Paul Felder on just five days notice. Felder’s last appearance in the octagon came in defeat to Dan Hooker back in February, where he teased retirement. Dos Anjos moved up to welterweight and did well initially but as he got to the top of the division the better fighters chewed him up. A win over Kevin Lee sits between defeats to Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman, Leon Edwards and Michael Chiesa meaning he is 1-4 in his last five. Felder is a tremendous kickboxer with good power and speed and great durability. Dos Anjos was one of the best pressure fighters around during his peak with excellent boxing and solid grappling skills too but he has regressed in recent years and is unlikely to get back to where he once was. If this was the originally scheduled fight and both fighters had a full camp, I’d go with Felder. But with five days’ notice at such a high level it’s hard not to go with RDA due to the fact he’s had a full camp and will be in fight mode. It’s a true 50/50 fight though and should be an absolute banger.
PICK – Rafael Dos Anjos via Decision

UFC Fight Island: Kattar vs Ige – Main Card Predictions

After a super successful UFC 251 card, the UFC makes a quick turn-around for it’s second card on Fight Island this week.

The card has some good fights on the undercard but the main card is where all the action After picking 12 out of 13 winners at UFC 251, I take a look at this card to see if I can maintain that success rate. You can see my prelims predictions here.

Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-1) vs Mounir Lazzez (9-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

With 10 wins and 10 knockouts, Alhassan is one of the biggest prospects in the welterweight division. After his first professional defeat to Omari Akhmedov, he bounced back with three big wins including in his last fight where he knocked out Niko Price in just 43 seconds. ‘Sniper’ Lazzez makes his UFC debut with a similarly impressive record, having won 8 of his 9 fights by knockout. Alhassan missed weight for this fight and they’ll now fight at a catchweight. After almost two years away due to legal troubles, ‘Judo Thunder’ will want to come back with a bang and I think we’ll see that here.
PICK – Abdul Razak Alhassan via Knockout, Round 1

Molly McCann (10-2) vs Taila Santos (15-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Meatball Molly comes into this fight on a three fight win-streak, knowing that a win could see her move into the Top 15. Taila Santos came into the UFC off the back of a 15-0 record but then lost her first ever fight in the organisation by split decision. The record is incredibly padded though, having fought several women with losing records or making their pro debuts. McCann is very good at closing range down and throws good volume. She’s arguably the best fighter that Santos has ever fought and when she doesn’t wilt under the power in the first round, she will likely take over.
PICK – Molly McCann via Unanimous Decision

Jimmie Rivera (22-4) vs Cody Stamann (19-2-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Cody Stamann makes a quick turnaround after his win at UFC 250, against Rivera who is looking to get back on the horse having lost three of his last four bouts. These two usually both compete at bantamweight but due to the short notice it’s been bumped up to featherweight by the UFC and should be an exciting fight. Rivera is a super well-rounded fighter, good at everything but not exceptional anywhere while Stamann is very much a wrestler. This is a bout almost guaranteed to go the distance with the two having 27 decision wins between them and I think Rivera should get it done. He’s been unlucky in his recent fights and I think he may just be a level above where Stamann is at currently.
PICK – Jimmie Rivera via Unanimous Decision

Tim Elliott (15-11-1) vs Ryan Benoit (10-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A fight between two fighters coming off losses, with Elliott potentially fighting for his career in the UFC. Elliott has lost four of his last five including his last three in a row, while Benoit has yo-yo’d his last ten fights going 5-5 with no streaks involved. Elliott is very similar to another Octagon veteran in Clay Guida, in the sense that he’s just constantly active. Whether he’s striking, grappling, scrambling or defending he’s constantly busy and Benoit is unlikely to be able to keep up in the cardio department. Benoit has decent power and a big shot is his most likely path to victory, but I think Elliott does enough to earn the nod from the judges.
PICK – Tim Elliott via Unanimous Decision

Calvin Kattar (21-4) vs Dan Ige (14-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A top 10 clash in the 145lbs division headlines the second card on Fight Island for the week. Calvin Kattar comes in with three wins from his last five including a vicious KO of Jeremy Stephens in his last bout. ‘Dynamite’ Dan Ige is on a six-fight win streak including a decision win over former lightweight contender Edson Barboza in his last fight. While Ige was given the nod, it was a controversial decision with many scoring it in favour of the Brazilian. He is a grappler with submissions on his record and he will look to smother Kattar’s strikes and close the distance to clinch and get a takedown. Kattar is a clear level above Ige though in my opinion on the feet but the ground game is untested. If Ige can get the takedown, then he will have the advantage. Ige was dropped three times in his win over Barboza though and Kattar will take confidence in that. In a five round war, I think Kattar will be able to land enough damage on the feet to secure a TKO win.
PICK – Calvin Kattar via Knockout, Round 4