Tag Archives: Alateng Heili

UFC 279: Diaz vs Ferguson – Early prelims predictions

The weirdest UFC pay-per-view event got even weirder on the day of weigh-ins, as the top three fights of the card all got switched.

Initially supposed to be Khamzat Chimaev and Nate Diaz in the main event, “Borz” missed weight by over 7lbs which sparked mega changes.

It will now be Nate Diaz fighting Tony Ferguson in the main event, a five-round welterweight bout, while Chimaev will now fight Kevin Holland at a 180lbs catchweight.

Ferguson’s original opponent Li Jingliang will now fight Daniel Rodriguez at a catchweight, who was originally supposed to fight Kevin Holland. Crazy.

Last time out at UFC Paris we went 10/12 with four perfect picks for the night to move to 715/1106 (64.65%) with 302 perfect picks (42.24%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.


Darian Weeks (5-2) vs Yohan Lainesse (8-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two guys yet to taste victory in the UFC open up the card. Darian Weeks has lost his last two, dropping decisions to Bryan Barbarena (UFC Vegas 44) and Ian Garry (UFC 273) while Lainesse was KO’d by Gabriel Green back in April in his debut.

Weeks is an all-rounder but doesn’t have any standout attributes really with decent wrestling and okay striking, but no real submission threat and little KO power. Lainesse is of a similar ilk in style, but he has got far more power in his hands as his six career KO wins show. Weeks’ wrestling wasn’t enough to contain Barbarena and on the feet against Garry he struggled. Lainesse should dominate the first round, but his cardio may then drop off a cliff.

If it does then Weeks will be confident of being able to take over down the stretch and earn a win. If he’s fixed that, Lainesse should cruise to a victory landing the more eye-catching shots and mixing in takedowns too. Ultimately if the cardio does fade, I expect it will be late enough that he’s already done enough to win on the scorecards.
PICK – Yohan Lainesse via Decision

Melissa Martinez (7-0) vs Elise Reed (5-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun strawweight scrap up next. Martinez makes her UFC debut as an undefeated fighter with five knockouts from seven career wins, while Reed is 1-2 in the UFC with a win over Cory McKenna sandwiched between losses against Sijara Eubanks and most recently Sam Hughes. This will be Martinez’ first MMA fight since December 2019.

Martinez is a pure striker and has been training that skill over recent years as she went full-time kickboxer, but her grappling was already pretty weak before that break. Reed is a striker with poor wrestling, who also sees herself as a bit of a kickboxer. If she tries to make it a striking battle though, she could be in trouble.

Reed isn’t a good enough wrestler to be able to take it to the ground at will and throw Martinez off her game, and the power difference is in the Mexican’s favour. If her cardio holds up and her grappling hasn’t got any worse, then she should be able to claim the victory.
PICK – Melissa Martinez via Decision



Chad Anheliger (12-5) vs Alatengheili (15-8-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Bantamweight banger up next. Anheliger was 2-5 at one point in his career but comes into this on a seven-fight win streak with a KO win over Jesse Strader in his UFC debut last time out. Heili is 1-1-1 in his last three, losing to Casey Kenny, drawing with Gustavo Lopez and then finally earning a KO win over Kevin Croom in just 47 seconds.

Anhelinger is a powerful striker whose defensive wrestling has been a disaster since arriving in the UFC, while Heili is a strong wrestler who also has great knockout power and this fight seems like one that is heavily in his favour.

He’s powerful and fast, plus his wrestling is more than good enough to dictate where this fight ends up. He should dominate the position and absolutely control this fight for the full 15 minutes, and could even earn finish from top position in the latter rounds.
PICK – Alatengheili via Decision

Norma Dumont (7-2) vs Danyelle Wolf (1-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An interesting featherweight scrap here. Dumont is arguably the only natural 145-pounder in the UFC right now, but she was beaten by Macy Chiasson last time out at UFC 274 to see a three-fight win streak snapped. Wolf is 1-0 professionally after being an excellent amateur boxer, earning her spot on the roster with a controversial win on the Contender Series.

Dumont is a very powerful striker with good boxing combinations, but she also has decent Brazilian jiu-jitsu and good wrestling skill too. Wolf is a top boxer with a very good jab and a nice right cross, but her grappling game was non-existent in her only pro fight and her improvements are likely to be limited by the fact she’s 38-years-old.

It would be a real surprise if Dumont doesn’t completely dominate Wolfe in this fight. She’s capable of holding her own in the striking realm but if it starts to get a bit sticky she can switch to a grappling game plan and will have her way with Wolf. It’s a baptism of fire for her, and Dumont should get back in the win column with relative ease.
PICK – Norma Dumont via Submission, Round 1

UFC Vegas 51: Luque v Muhammad – Early prelims predictions

A huge welterweight main event is the main attraction at UFC Vegas 51 this weekend as Vicente Luque takes on Belal Muhammad in a rematch from 2016.

The two top six 170-pounders will go head-to-head looking to extend their winning streaks here, knowing that title contention won’t be far behind.

Last week at UFC 273 we saw a great card that was lacking a little bit on finishes, but we still managed to go 8/12 with four perfect picks to go to 593/915 (64.81%) with 252 perfect picks (42.5%).

You can view our complete pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.


Alateng Heili (14-8-2) vs Kevin Croom (21-14) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun bantamweight bout kicks off this card. Heili is winless in his last two, losing to Casey Kenney before a draw last time out against Gustavo Lopez, while Croom has lost his last two dropping decisions to Alex Caceres at UFC Vegas 20 and then Brian Kelleher most recently at UFC Vegas 46.

Heili has got a solid right hand but it’s his grappling skills that see him have the edge here, against the dogged Croom who uses his cardio as a weapon to pressurise his opponents as much as possible. Heili though does have a big issue when it comes to urgency and output, and against Croom’s pressure that could see him fold.

He does have the skills to earn a win in this one though, because Croom was outwrestled by Kelleher quite comfortably in January. Croom does have decent submission skills and we know he can push for 15 minutes, but I’d expect Heili to earn a pretty close decision win.
PICK – Alanteng Heili via Decision

Istela Nunes (7-2) vs Sam Hughes (5-4) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Women’s strawweights stand up, as two women at very different ends of their UFC careers go head-to-head. Nunes was stopped in her UFC debut by Ariane Carnelossi back in October, but Hughes has gone 0-3 in the organisation so far. She was stopped by Tecia Torres at UFC 256, before dropping decisions to Loma Lookboonmee at UFC Vegas 25 and Luana Pinheiro most recently.

Nunes is a solid striker on the feet, with some decent takedown defence which she showed early on in her last fight before running out of gas following three years without a fight. Hughes is a wrestler, whose striking has been pretty abysmal and she’s shown that without the takedown available she’s pretty easy to beat.

Hughes will take some joy from the fact Nunes got taken down six times in her debut, but Hughes isn’t as aggressive as Carnelossi and Nunes has been in the cage more recently so should have been able to work on her cardio and crisp striking. Ultimately, this goes in a similar way to Hughes’ other UFC bouts and Nunes earns the decision win.
PICK – Istela Nunes via Decision



Jordan Leavitt (9-1) vs Trey Ogden (15-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

An intriguing lightweight fight up next. Leavitt won his UFC debut with a 22-second slam at UFC Vegas 16 but then was beaten for the first time when Claudio Puelles got the better of him on the judge’s scorecards. He bounced back with a submission win over Matt Sayles at UFC Vegas 45 last time out. Ogden makes his UFC debut on a three-fight win streak, with all three coming via submission.

Leavitt is an excellent wrestler with some amazing submission skills, including an inverted triangle win in his last bout. His striking is unorthodox and is usually to set up his takedowns more than to do any actual damage, while Ogden is also a stud wrestler but his striking has shown vast improvements in his recent bouts. His wrestling looks better than Leavitt’s, which means he should be able to dictate where this fight takes place.

Ogden has some solid leg kicks and so long as he isn’t careless when scoring takedowns to allow Leavitt to bring his submission game into play, he should claim a debut win here. He has the power, the speed and the wrestling advantages so he should edge out a decision.
PICK – Trey Ogden via Decision

Chris Barnett (22-7) vs Martin Buday (9-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The UFC needed heavyweights, so there’s a debut on the card for ‘Badys’. Barnett was beaten in his UFC debut by Ben Rothwell, but bounced back with an incredible spinning wheel kick KO of Gian Villante at UFC 268 last time out. Buday on the other hand has won his last eight fights, with his only career defeat coming against current UFC star Juan Espino.

Barnett is a wild striker, who throws incredible spinning attacks and has great power in his hands, while his athleticism is surprising considering his size and physique. Buday is a grinder with good clinch work and solid power in his hands, while his aggressive approach and pressure looks to be the perfect counter for Barnett’s style.

Buday will walk forward to smother Barnett’s explosive power and unless he gets clipped on his way in, he should be able to put Barnett against the cage and work his grinding style to claim yet another win by knockout.
PICK – Martin Buday via Knockout, Round 2

UFC Vegas 37: Smith vs Spann – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to our screens this weekend after a two week break with a huge 15-fight card, headlined by light heavyweights Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith and Ryan Spann.

The 205lbs division is top heavy right now, with lots of guys vying for title contention and that includes former challenger Smith. A win for Spann however in his first ever main event would be a huge deal for him and mean he has no easy fights in his future.

Elsewhere on the card there is a hotly anticipated match-up between Ariane Lipski and debutant Mandy Bohm in the women’s flyweight division, while the likes of Joaquin Buckley, Nate Maness, Raquel Pennington, Impa Kasanganay and Arman Tsarukyan all fight too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 36, we had a decent run going 6/9 with three perfect picks. That moved us to 402/633 (63.51%) with 177 perfect picks (44.03%) since we began.

A huge card, we’ve split our picks up into three this week so we’ll start with the opening four early prelim bouts.


Emily Whitmire (4-4) vs Hannah Goldy (5-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A start to the card with two women who have each lost their last two fights in the UFC. Whitmire was submitted by Amanda Ribas and then Polyana Viana in her two bouts, most recently at UFC Vegas 8, while Goldy dropped decisions to Miranda Granger in 2019 and then Diana Belbita in July.

Whitmire is a pressure fighter with decent striking in her arsenal, and her ground game isn’t as bad as the two defeats against elite competition made it look. Goldy is a striker who looks to overwhelm her opponent from distance with lots of volume, but defensively she is poor and she has a horrible tendency of backing herself up against the cage.

Neither of these women are the greatest and the loser will likely get cut from the company. Whitmire has the advantage in the sense that her style almost perfectly suits a fighter who hates pressure like Goldy does. Whitmire’s grappling and pressure should be enough to see her sail through to a comfortable decision win.
PICK – Emily Whitmire via Decision

Gustavo Lopez (12-6) vs Alateng Heili (14-8-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The super exciting Lopez makes his return to the octagon to take on ‘Mongolian Knight’ Heili in the bantamweight division. Lopez submitted Anthony Birchak at UFC Vegas 13 before a fight of the night defeat to Adrian Yanez in March at UFC Vegas 22. Heili was on a four-fight win streak before stepping into the octagon against Casey Kenney in August 2020 last time out.

Lopez is a brilliant all-round fighter with really good jiu-jitsu skills on the mat but some electric striking too. Heili is a very solid wrestler with a powerful right hand to fall back on if needed and that could be big in this fight. Lopez has fallen in love with his hands recently despite his great ground game but it could help him against Heili who is a really low output fighter with poor cardio.

Heili will have the wrestling edge, meaning he could rack up top control in the early rounds and he’s powerful enough to keep Lopez worried about his striking. But my gut tells me Lopez is able to scramble back to his feet if he gets taken down and do plenty of damage on the feet with his hands to secure a late stoppage.
PICK – Gustavo Lopez via Knockout, Round 3

Impa Kasanganay (9-1) vs Carlston Harris (16-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A very interesting bout at 170lbs sees two relative newcomers to the UFC go head-to-head. Kasanganay has fought three times in the UFC, winning his debut before being on the wrong end of one of the greatest KO’s ever against Joaquin Buckley. He returned at welterweight and secured a submission win over Sacha Palatnikov at UFC Vegas 23. Harris made his UFC debut in May at UFC Vegas 26 and defeated Christian Aguilera via submission in the first-round.

Kasanganay is physically bigger and likes to try and lean on his wrestling for wins, but his punching power for his size isn’t impressive at all and his striking is relatively stiff. On the other side of the cage will be Harris, who is a lethal submission artist with great punching power and good wrestling to glue it all together.

Ultimately, this is a tough match up for Kasanganay. His strongest attributes aren’t as good as Harris’ abilities in those fields and his weaknesses play into Harris’ strengths too. Unless there has been lots of improvement, I expect Harris to just be a step too far and to be able to control the fight and potentially secure a submission on the ground.
PICK – Carlston Harris via Decision

Erin Blanchfield (6-1) vs Sarah Alpar (9-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A UFC debut for a very highly-rated fighter in Blanchfield as she takes on Alpar, who is yet to win in the UFC. Blanchfield has won her last three in a row but hasn’t fought for over a year, while Alpar lost her UFC debut against Jessica-Rose Clark at UFC Vegas 11 last time out.

Blanchfield is a brilliant grappler with true submission skills to go with some great kickboxing and solid wrestling too. Alpar is a bantamweight who is moving down to flyweight for this fight so she will be the bigger fighter, but her wrestling being her biggest strength puts her in a world of danger against a top prospect.

It’s a lose-lose for Blanchfield to be honest. There’s plenty of expectation on her shoulders and if she wins then it’s what she’s supposed to do, but if she loses then it’s a worry because Alpar isn’t the greatest fighter. With that said, I expect a good performance and a big win for Blanchfield.
PICK – Erin Blanchfield via Submission, Round 2