Tag Archives: Alen Amedovski

UFC Vegas 60: Sandhagen vs Yadong – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas after the wild ride that was UFC 279 for a huge bantamweight main event.

Former title challenger Cory Sandhagen headlines the card against hot prospect Song Yadong, in his first main event and a real step up in competition.

A stacked 14-fight card will see several fights with some good debutants and some impressive prospects a chance to make themselves a name in the UFC.

Last time out at UFC 279 we went 8/13 with three perfect picks for the night to move to 723/1119 (64.61%) with 305 perfect picks (42.19%). You can see our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that and after starting with the early prelims picks and then moving on to the rest of the prelims picks, we finish up with the main card now.


Anthony Hernandez (9-2) vs Marc-Andre Barriault (14-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A banger at middleweight opens the main card here. Hernandez shocked the world with a submission win over Rodolfo Vieira at UFC 258, before returning with a decision win over Josh Fremd at UFC 273 most recently. Barriault bounced back from a 16 second KO loss to Chidi Njokuani with a submission win over Jordan Wright in his most recent bout.

Hernandez is a technical freak with great wrestling and solid submission skills to go with excellent durability, footwork and decent striking. Barriault alternatively is a powerhouse striker with aggression and durability that tend to make up for his technical flaws. The Canadian tends to attempt to outwork his opponents and grind them out, but that’s unlikely to work in this one.

Barriault has struggled against fighters who pose a consistent takedown threat, and that’s exactly what Hernandez has. He rarely gets tired, can hold his own on the feet and has the wrestling to not allow Barriault a chance to find his rhythm on the feet. Expect relentless takedowns and some decent strikes on the feet to carry “Fluffy” to a win on the cards.
PICK – Anthony Hernandez via Decision

Tanner Boser (20-8-1) vs Rodrigo Nascimento (9-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Big boys back in the cage for this one. Boser snapped a two-fight skid when he claimed a KO win over Ovince Saint-Preux in his last fight back in June 2021, while Nascimento suffered a 45 second KO loss to Chris Daukaus before a KO win over Alan Baudot was overturned to a no contest in his last bout in July 2021.

Boser is a talented kickboxer, using solid leg kicks, feints and footwork to set up his huge right hand and keep opponents ticking over rather than standing still. Nascimento is an elite grappler who has fantastic submission skills and nasty ground and pound from the top too. He has finished all nine of his victories, including the overturned result.

Nascimento will look to close the distance and drag this fight to the mat, because on the feet he’s outmatched by Boser. Boser isn’t the best defensive grappler, but he’s very good at avoiding getting into grappling matches with his movement and range management. He should be able to stay on the outside and use his kicks and jab to earn a decision win, but there is a risk of Nascimento blitzing him and dragging him into his world on the floor.
PICK – Tanner Boser via Decision

Joe Pyfer (9-2) vs Alen Amedovski (8-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

“Be like Joe Pyfer,” said Dana White. Now he gets a chance to do it in the UFC after his KO win on the Contender Series earned him a contract back in July. Amedovski has lost his last three in a row, getting submitted in 64 seconds by Joseph Holmes back in May after almost two years out.

Pyfer is a power striker with good boxing combinations and the 25-year-old has got an experienced mind beyond his years. Amedovski on the other hand is a really powerful striker himself, but he lacks technique and timing and it’s a mystery how he’s still on the roster in reality. If we’re being honest, this is a bit of a set-up fight to get Pyfer some hype in the UFC.

He’s the bigger and more powerful fighter and he’s also got decent wrestling in his back pocket, something Amedovski simply won’t be able to cope with. But Pyfer will step forward and go to war, and that leaves him susceptible to getting KO’d. But with more ways to win, an advantage in technique and arguably more power too, I expect him to get the job done in highlight reel fashion.
PICK – Joe Pyfer via Knockout, Round 2



Andre Fili (21-9) vs Bill Algeo (16-6) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An absolutely brilliant bit of matchmaking in the featherweight decision up next. Fili has just one win in his last five, losing to Bryce Mitchell and getting KO’d by Joanderson Brito in just 41 seconds last time out with a no contest sandwiched between them. Algeo on the other hand is on a two-fight win streak after beating Brito at UFC Vegas 46 and then making Herbert Burns retire mid-round last time out.

Fili is a really exciting striker who has slick boxing and a nice kicking game, while also being a more than competent grappler on the mat too who excels in the scramble. Algeo is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, but he’s always ready for a war and he tends to get involved in striking battles a lot due to his love for Muay Thai. He tends to come forward a lot and that will leave him open to counter shots from “Touchy”.

If he chooses to make this a grappling match he has a far better chance of success, but it won’t be easy because his wrestling has never dominated and Fili is a good defensive wrestler too. With his volume and counters on the feet and his ability to defend takedowns or get back to his feet, expect Fili to get back into the win column in this one.
PICK – Andre Fili via Decision

Chidi Njokuani (22-7) vs Gregory Rodrigues (12-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A really fun middleweight fight takes up the co-main event slot here. Njokuani is on a four-fight win streak, including knockout wins in the UFC over Marc-Andre Barriault and Dusko Todorovic most recently. Rodrigues saw his own four-fight win streak snapped by Armen Petrosyan, but he got back in the win column by KO’ing Julian Marquez most recently.

Njokuani is a powerhouse striker with excellent Muay Thai skills and great experience when it comes to clinch work and grappling defence. Rodrigues is a powerful striker too who tends to walk opponents down and encourage a brawl, but that is a dangerous strategy in this one.

“Bang Bang” is the more technical striker and if he extends his combinations on the feet he could potentially get a finish here. But Rodrigues is capable of switching it up and going for takedowns to make this ugly, which is his best way to win. The problem with that though is that isn’t “Robocop”s usual game plan and it could have an adverse effect on him, so I think Njokuani will be able to claim a decision victory in a tight affair.
PICK – Chidi Njokuani via Decision

Cory Sandhagen (14-4) vs Song Yadong (19-6-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

One of the best bantamweight fights available right now in a stacked division. Sandhagen suffered back-to-back defeats against TJ Dillashaw and Petr Yan (UFC 267) most recently despite stunning performances in both bouts, while Yadong enters on a three-fight win streak after beating Casey Kenny (UFC 265), Julio Arce and most recently Marlon Moraes.

Sandhagen is an incredible striker, with brilliant boxing and kicks as well as explosive attacks like flying knees and superman punches to go with his 5ft 11′ frame. Yadong is a powerful boxer with a more traditional style, with great footwork and decent grappling too that he tends to avoid using. Sandhagen will enjoy this fight because Yadong is often quite static and he often relies on his big right-hand or a short combination to do the damage.

“Sandman” is always happy to go the distance if he needs to, because he’s constantly touching his opponent with good jabs, low kicks and body work. His constant activity is going to be really difficult for Yadong to cope with, and this is comfortably the biggest test of his career. In his first five-rounder, this is a tough task. I expect Sandhagen to wear him out with constant attacks, and while Yadong is powerful I don’t see him putting Sandhagen out with one shot. I think Sandhagen touches him up and puts on a clinic for 25 minutes to claim a win.
PICK – Cory Sandhagen via Decision

UFC Vegas 55: Holm vs Vieira – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas for UFC Vegas 55, headlined by women’s bantamweight contenders Holly Holm and Ketlen Vieira.

In a rather underwhelming card, there is a banger of a co-main event on display though in the welterweight division when fan favourites Santiago Ponzinibbio and Michel Pereira clash in a ranked bout.

Last week at UFC Vegas 54 we went 6/11 on the night with three perfect picks, moving our total to 628/976 (64.34%) with 268 perfect picks (42.68%). You can check out our total picks chart in detail here.

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


Omar Morales (11-2) vs Uros Medic (7-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very fun lightweight bout up next. Martinez started his career 10-0 before he ran into Giga Chikadze at UFC Fight Island 5. He then beat Shane Young via decision at UFC 260 before losing last time out to Jonathan Pearce at UFC 266 via submission in the second round. Medic on the other hand suffered the first defeat of his career last time out, getting submitted by Jalin Turner so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back.

Morales is a steady fighter with good boxing and kicks, and decent power in his strikes too but the durability of a bull when it comes to taking damage. Medic showed in his last bout that he’s useless off his back, but he has got tremendous power in his strikes as once again the bout didn’t go beyond the first round. We haven’t seen much of him in the cage so it’s hard to get a read, and that makes it hard to pick him here too.

Morales is very well rounded, has solid leg kicks and has only ever been hurt by Chikadze in the octagon to date. If Medic can’t get him out of there in the first round we don’t know how he holds up, so I’m opting for a Morales decision once more.
PICK – Omar Morales via Decision

Jailton Almeida (15-2) vs Parker Porter (13-6) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Big boys step up to the plate next in this one. Almeida is on a ten-fight win streak with all finishes, split evenly between knockouts and decisions. He defeated Danilo Marques via knockout in the first-round in his UFC debut last time out. Porter on the other hand has won his last three in a row, all by decision, with a steady win over Alan Baudot most recently.

Almeida is a powerhouse who looks to drag his opponents to the ground quickly and then decides whether to smash their head in with strikes and elbows or take their back and choke them out. Porter is a steady fighter, more along the traditional heavyweight lines, with decent low kicks and boxing as well as a haymaker of a right hand. This is a total mismatch of a fight though.

Porter on his back is immediately in trouble and his takedown defence is essentially non-existent, especially against someone as dynamic and talented as Almeida. Once he gets it there it’s a straight up assault, so expect a quick win for Almeida where he just pounds on him until the referee steps in.
PICK – Jailton Almeida via Knockout, Round 1



Joseph Holmes (7-2) vs Alen Amedovski (8-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An interesting middleweight bout is the featured prelim bout of the night. Holmes made his UFC debut on short notice and suffered defeat to Jamie Pickett in his last bout, while Amedovski returns to fight for the first time since getting knocked out in 17 seconds back in 2019 by John Phillips.

Holmes is a well-rounded fighter with good height and range, using his kicks well and having some great chops on the ground to score submission wins too. Amedovski has been away for three years, so he may be a completely changed fighter. But the last time he fought he was a brawler with limited fight IQ considering he stood in the pocket and slugged it out with Phillips.

With that said, it’s impossible for me to go against Holmes. He has the ability to land at will from distance, has the durability to take Amedovski’s best shots, he’s been more active and his ground game is levels above anything we’ve seen in the past from his opponent. Holmes gets him down and strangles him early for the win.
PICK – Joseph Holmes via Submission, Round 1

UFC 264: Poirier vs McGregor 3 – Results (Highlights)

**Hu Yaozong vs Alen Amedovski was cancelled just before the card started due to COVID-19 protocols.

EARLY PRELIMS

Zhalgas Zhumagulov def Jerome Rivera via Submission (Guillotine), Round 1 (2:02)

Good start to the fight from Rivera as he uses that long reach advantage to stab some kicks into the gut. Zhumagulov starts throwing some nice overhand right hands and is moving well but Rivera is putting the pace on him. Zhumagulov lands a nice left hook that drops Rivera and then synches up a nasty looking standing guillotine and forces the tap! Huge win!

Brad Tavares def Omari Akhmedov via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

Great start to the fight from Tavares as he uses his boxing well to light Akhmedov up nice and early. A nice exchange in the pocket and Tavares comes out on top of it. Nice low kick from Akhmedov but Tavares counters with a nice right hand. Akhmedov shoots in for a takedown and after a bounce on the cage gets it, but Tavares bounces straight back up. A few more takedown attempts but Tavares denies them all and lands some nice strikes in the exchanges to end the round. 10-9 Tavares.

Akhmedov steps into the second round with a nice jab and then a takedown attempt and while he gets him down he can’t hold him there and Tavares gets back up early. Tavares starts landing some heavy leg kicks and Akhmedov is feeling it. Nice jabs from Tavares but now Akhmedov is landing some heavy leg kicks of his own. Tavares steps in for a clinch and lands a big knee to the face, followed by a heavy low kick again. Akhmedov goes for another takedown but Tavares defends it well and should claim that round too. 20-18 Tavares.

Fast start to the final round from Tavares but staying patient with the volume of strikes, just pressing forward and forcing Akhmedov backwards. Tavares throws a heavy leg kick that drops Akhmedov, then lands another big one as he gets back to his feet. Great movement from Tavares and his jab is landing clean too. Akhmedov goes for a takedown but Tavares stuffs it brilliantly. Final minute and Tavares has rocked him! Big strikes just miss but Akhmedov is stumbling. Tavares lands a nice kick to end the round, great fight. 30-27 Tavares.

Jennifer Maia def Jessica Eye via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Interesting start as both women stay standing and Eye is landing really well. Nice kicks and some good hooks but Maia fires back too with a big knee up the middle. Eye lands some more short strikes and is just too fast so far. Some nice shots from Eye land and send Maia stumbling backwards and then Eye goes for a takedown and ends the round on top. 10-9 Eye.

Another good start from Eye as she continues to walk forward and lands short shots and apply pressure to Maia, who is being forced to fight on the back foot. Eye throwing some nice leg kicks but Maia is responding with a nice one-two up the middle that is landing well and often. Maia is pushing the pace now and landing big strikes. An accidental clash of heads opens up a massive cut on the head of Eye as the round ends. 19-19.

Final round and Maia is staying patient and not going straight for the cut. Lots of short strikes again but Eye is coming forward and landing some decent hooks and leg kicks of her own. Maia is doing really well to land the right hand and counter Eye’s pressure on the back foot. Big strikes from Maia as she applies heavy pressure herself with Eye bleeding heavily now. Great scrap, 29-28 Maia for me

PRELIMS

Dricus Du Plessis def Trevin Giles via Knockout, Round 2 (1:41)

A very tense start to the fight for both guys as they both show lots of feints and bouncing on their feet. Du Plessis throwing some leg kicks to get some score with the judges and just misses with a flying knee. Du Plessis goes for the takedown against the cage and gets it, then passes into mount immediately. He starts targeting submissions but Giles defending fairly well and scrambling to safety. Du Plessis ends up back on top and looks for a big elbow but ends the round on top. 10-9 Du Plessis.

Good start to the round from Giles as he steps forward looking to land big heavy strikes early on. Du Plessis staying patient and avoids a big flying knee but backs up to the cage after landing a nice left hand. He throws a left jab that misses then throws a big right hand that lands flush and puts Giles out! He lands some follow up punches but this one is all over! What a knockout!

Ilia Topuria def Ryan Hall via Knockout, Round 1 (4:27)

Very tense start to the fight with Hall backing up against the cage and Topuria pressuring him. Hall throws a big spinning back kick that lands well. He starts rolling for emenari rolls but Topuria is avoiding them all and doing really well to skip out. Several minutes pass of Hall rolling for legs but missing, and then Hall goes for another spin kick. Topuria catches it and forces Hall to the ground, then lands some heavy shots that put Hall out! Huge win for Topuria!

Michel Pereira def Niko Price via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Slow start to the fight as Pereira lands a nice jab and Price starts to go for some takedowns against the cage. Pereira defends well against the cage and starts firing off some big shots and his speed is troubling Price. Some superman punch attempts just miss but Pereira is doing well to keep attacking with volume. Rolling thunder attempt to finish the round and it’s 10-9 to the Brazilian.

Second round and Pereira is coming out strong, throwing a nice body kick that hurts Price. He goes on the attack and starts throwing some heavy strikes and gets Price down to the ground. Pereira starts looking for an americana submission but Price defends it, so Pereira starts raining down strikes instead. Price is just about surviving and Pereira moves to his back looking for a choke, but Price is able to roll out and get back to his feet before the round ends. 20-18 Pereira.

Final round and Price is pouring on the pressure nice and early as he sees Pereira is tiring. Price landing some big shots and Pereira just doesn’t have the same pop to his counters or movement in his legs anymore. Price pouring it on and landing some big strikes but Pereira is surviving. Nice left hand from Pereira but Price keeps coming forward. He goes all out before the end of the round but it’s likely not enough. 29-28 Pereira for me.

Max Griffin def Carlos Condit via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Hugely impressive start to the fight from Griffin as he lands some heavy leg kicks early that are getting big reactions from Condit. Griffin keeping a big pace and is doing lots of work on Condit who just can’t get going at all. Griffin landing some big strikes and Condit is in trouble! Griffin goes for the finish but Condit survives and the round ends. 10-9 Griffin, potentially even a 10-8.

Second round and Condit has come out and is walking forward and Griffin has slowed down considerably. Condit more willing to take the strikes as he comes forward and Griffin has so far completely stopped with the leg kicks. Condit continuing to step forward and landing some nice strikes but Griffin not getting hurt too much and is trying to counter. Condit lands a few more as the round ends, 19-19.

Griffin coming out much more aggressive in the final round and landing some nice jabs. Few big haymakers from Griffin are getting through, and Condit is being forced to back up now as he starts to tire. Condit starts firing back with some heavy body shots and a right hand, but Griffin throws a couple of leg kicks to snap the momentum immediately. Nice right hand again from Griffin and Condit backs up, so Griffin goes for the takedown and keeps the fight there until the round ends. 29-28 Griffin for me. Great fight.

MAIN CARD

Sean O’Malley def Kris Moutinho via Knockout, Round 3 (4:33)

Solid start to the fight from O’Malley. Suga is pushing the pace and landing some really nice jabs. Lots of heavy strikes landing but Moutinho stepping forward and looking for a right hook. O’Malley continues with the jabs and hooks through the guard and he is beating Moutinho up badly. Big right hook lands and drops Moutinho and then he goes for a spin kick that just misses. Lots of strikes and Moutinho is getting pieced up. O’Malley throws a pull right cross counter and drops Moutinho! He goes for the guillotine submission but time runs out. 10-8 O’Malley.

Second round and O’Malley is doing more of the same, just landing heavy strikes and really beating Moutinho up. Moutinho keeps storming forward though and is just missing with his right hooks. O’Malley smashing hooks and jabs through the guard but starting to tire. Moutinho keeps going forward and is talking to O’Malley and surviving the beating somehow. 20-17.

O’Malley comes out in the third round firing once again but Moutinho is just a zombie coming forward. O’Malley throwing knees, kicks, strikes and uppercuts but Moutinho is talking to him and smiling. O’Malley is fading but still throwing beautiful jabs and combinations. As the round comes into the final 30 seconds O’Malley lands a huge combination and Moutinho is hurt! He’s still standing but the referee waves it off after an accumulation.

Irene Aldana def Yana Kunitskaya via Knockout, Round 1 (4:35)

Good start to the fight from Kunitskaya with some kicks to counter the boxing attack of Aldana early on. Kunitskaya goes for a spinning wheel kick and then clinches up looking for a takedown, but Aldana defends it really well. Aldana slips a charge and lands a big right cross to the nose and then a jab, then lands a beautiful left hook to the body that hurts Kunitskaya. Some good jabs and slips and then she lands a big left hand again that drops Kunitskaya. Aldana rains down ground and pound but Kunitskaya tries to survive it by holding her hands for control. Aldana gets on top of her, slams big strikes into her face and the referee steps in to end it! Huge performance from Aldana!

Tai Tuivasa def Greg Hardy via Knockout, Round 1 (1:07)

Tuivasa comes out and lands some heavy leg kicks to start that Hardy immediately feels and struggles with. They start going wild with strikes and Hardy tags Tuivasa bad! He rushes in for the finish but Tuivasa counters with a crazy left-hook that puts Hardy out!!! Wow! What a knockout!!

Gilbert Burns def Stephen Thompson via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Very cagey start to the fight from both guys as they look to feel each other out. Burns steps forward with some looping hooks but Thompson avoids and moves out of range once again. Burns shoots in for a takedown against the cage and after a stalemate gets the fight down. He holds top position for the remainder of the round without landing too much damage. 10-9 Burns.

Thompson comes out more on his toes and lands some good side kicks and lots of body shots to keep Burns at distance. Some nice right hands and Burns bites down on his mouthpiece to fire back but Thompson is out of the way swiftly. More kicks from Thompson and as the round comes to an end Burns gets Thompson down once again and lands some decent strikes but that’s a Thompson round. 19-19.

Final round and Burns comes out hot and heavy ready to go. Nice right hand lands and then Burns shoots for the takedown and gets it around halfway through the round. Burns sits on top of Thompson and applies pressure, with good ground and pound and just staying heavy to take what should be a decision win for him. 29-28 Burns.

Dustin Poirier def Conor McGregor via Doctor Stoppage (Broken Ankle), Round 1 (5:00)

McGregor comes out and lands two sharp spinning kicks to the body followed by his teet kick. Poirier coming forward but McGregor slams some hard leg kicks into him to slow him down. Poirier responds with a couple of his own but McGregor going for the kicks. McGregor lands a nice left hand but Poirier responds with a combination that seems to buzz McGregor. McGregor clinches and Poirier goes for the takedown, but McGregor looks to sink in a guillotine choke. Poirier avoids and starts slamming in some heavy ground and pound shots, big elbows to McGregor who’s hurt! Poirier piling on the pressure and looking for a finish but McGregor is surviving for now. Poirier lets McGregor back up and he throws a punch that misses but as he plants his back foot his leg gives way and snaps! Poirier lands some shots on McGregor while he’s down as the round ends.

McGregor tells the referee and doctor his leg is broken and the doctor waves the fight off immediately! What an anti-climax to a crazy fight and trilogy!

UFC 264: Poirier vs McGregor 3 – Early prelims predictions

The biggest trilogy fight in UFC history arguably is finally upon us as Dustin Poirier takes on Conor McGregor to break the deadlock between them at UFC 264.

McGregor knocked Poirier out in their first fight back in 2014, but Poirier got his own back in January at UFC 257 with a knockout win of his own to level it up at 1-1. The winner of this bout is highly likely to challenge for the lightweight title in their next bout, so the stakes could not be any higher.

In the co-main event we have a huge welterweight contender fight too as former title challengers Gilbert Burns and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson go head-to-head with each other to try and climb towards another shot against Kamaru Usman in the near future.

Also on the card is the return of ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley as he opens up the main card, while the prelims are full of exciting bouts too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 30, we went 12/6 with two perfect picks for our selection for a not so good outing. That took us to 352/554 (63.54%) with 160 perfect picks (45.45%) since starting up.

We’ll look to improve that with this huge 13 fight card, starting with the early prelims here.


Hu Yaozong (3-2) vs Alen Amedovski (8-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An interesting fight to open up the card in the middleweight division as Hu looks to earn his first UFC win against the knockout machine Amedovski. Hu made his UFC debut in 2017 and has lost his two fights, with his last bout coming in November 2018, while Amedovski went 8-0 with eight knockouts before losing his first two UFC bouts too back in 2019.

Hu has been severely beaten in both his bouts so far in the UFC, showing some poor striking defence and some okay wrestling mixed in with it. Amedovski’s UFC career is shocking so far but he can genuinely bang with his hands. He has legit KO power and while his grappling isn’t great, it’s not the worst I’ve seen.

Hu will be without his coaching team due to visa issues and will be dealing with a big time difference issue since he is only arriving in Vegas just five days before the fight. All of this adds up to Amedovski starching him into oblivion and likely out of the UFC – but this fight won’t be super high level.
PICK – Alen Amedovski via Knockout, Round 1

Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-5) vs Jerome Rivera (10-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Two more fighters likely fighting for their UFC future in the flyweight division as Zhumagulov and Rivera look for their first wins in the organisation. Zhumagulov has lost his last two, dropping a decision to Raulian Paiva at UFC 251 before losing to Amir Albazi at UFC 257 in January. Rivera on the other hand has lost three in a row, getting KO’d by Tyson Nam at UFC Vegas 11 before dropping a decision to Francisco Figueiredo at UFC Fight Island 8 and then getting KO’d by Ode Osbourne a month later at UFC Vegas 18.

Zhumagulov is a solid striker on the feet who switches stances well and throws great combinations, while Rivera is a grappler who looks to gain top control and work for a submission – something he’s done to win seven fights. It’s a real clash of styles in this one but Zhumagulov’s record in the UFC reflects badly on his talent.

The Kazakhstani fighter is supremely talented, has great scrambling to prevent Rivera’s top control from gaining momentum and he has good knockout power too. I expect he’ll be able to get the win using his superior striking and scrambling skills.
PICK – Zhalgas Zhumagulov via Decision

Omari Akhmedov (21-5-1) vs Brad Tavares (18-7) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very intriguing middleweight bout between two veterans in the UFC in what should be a very fun fight. Akhmedov has won four of his last five fights, losing to Chris Weidman at UFC Vegas 6 before bouncing back with a submission win over Tom Breese in January. Tavares on the other hand bounced back from a two-fight losing skid to get a win over Antonio Carlos Jr at UFC 257 via decision.

Akhmedov is a fighter who is very keen on getting the fight down to the ground quickly. He steps forward looking to clinch and then starts to try for trips and lifts, meaning Tavares’ striking game will be front and centre as his defence whenever Akhmedov comes forward. His takedown defence is excellent and his cardio always holds up, so it will be tough for Akhmedov to get his preferred game plan going.

Tavares is the crisper striker, better athlete and overall more well-rounded martial artist so I expect he’ll come away with a win here.
PICK – Brad Tavares via Decision

Jennifer Maia (18-7-1) vs Jessica Eye (15-9) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very strange early prelim bout between two of the most recent title contenders in the division between Maia and Eye. Maia earned a win over Joanne Calderwood at UFC Vegas 5 before losing to champion Valentina Shevchenko via decision at UFC 255, while Eye has lost three of her last four including a decision to Cynthia Calvillo at UFC Vegas 2 and and Calderwood at UFC 257.

Maia, like her name-sake Demian, is a jiu-jitsu master and is at her best when she gets the fight to the ground and works for submissions, even winning a round against Shevchenko from that position. Eye on the other hand prefers to stand and box, with a decent jab and a good right hook in the back pocket too. Despite that though, Maia’s grappling is most likely to come out on top here.

Maia can hold her own on the feet and will be able to close the distance to bring the fight to her world and likely control position for long enough to earn a judge’s decision.
PICK – Jennifer Maia via Decision