Tag Archives: Amanda Lemos

UFC Long Island: Ortega vs Rodriguez – Main card predictions

The UFC heads to Long Island for a fight night event with a live crowd, as two featherweight contenders go head-to-head in the main event when Brian Ortega takes on Yair Rodriguez.

A very solid card will see plenty of excellent fights, with the 145-pound eliminator bout right at the top of the card. We’ll also see the likes of Li Jingliang, Michelle Waterson, Jack Shore, Shane Burgos and Miesha Tate.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 58 we went 7/11 with two perfect picks, moving us to 656/1020 (64.31%) with 281 perfect picks (42.84%). You can check out our full picks 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 now.


Lauren Murphy (15-5) vs Miesha Tate (19-8) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An interesting flyweight bout that was rescheduled after a late cancellation off UFC 276. Murphy saw a five-fight win streak snapped when she challenged Valentina Shevchenko for the title in her last bout, getting dominated at UFC 266 for a KO defeat. Tate won on her UFC return against Marion Reneau, but was beaten last time out by Ketlen Vieira via decision.

Murphy is a great striker, no two ways about it. She’s a rangy fighter who looks to use her size to kick and hit strikes from distance, claiming eight wins via knockout in her career. She has just one KO win since 2016 though. Tate on the other hand is a bit of an all-rounder, but it’s her wrestling that separates her from other fighters and got her a world championship once upon a time. If she’s going to win this bout, then she’s got to work that wrestling to the best of her ability.

Tate is a dog, in the sense that she never gives in and is always persevering. Murphy is undoubtedly going to look to box and use her jab, but Tate will walk forwards until she gets her hands on her and as the naturally bigger fighter she shouldn’t struggle to get the fight down. Once it’s there, she’s in her own world and she should be able to dominate the fight. I don’t think she’ll be able to get the finish, but that advantage should be able to claim her the victory at the very least.
PICK – Miesha Tate via Decision

Shane Burgos (14-3) vs Charles Jourdain (13-4-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An absolutely insane fight at featherweight between two of the division’s most exciting athletes. Burgos snapped a two-fight losing streak when he earned a decision over Billy Quarantillo at UFC 268, while Jourdain is on a two-fight win streak with a decision against Andre Ewell before submitting Lando Vannata last time out.

Burgos is a terrific boxer with superb hand speed and power as well as counter striking. He does however also get hit an awful lot and relies heavily upon his durability to get into all-out wars with his opponents. Jourdain is also someone who looks to get into wars to try and catch his opponents with his speed and power. This is going to be a war, no doubt about it.

Stylistically they’re very similar, but I do feel that Burgos is the more powerful and more technical striker. Jourdain has never been KO’d before in his career, but Burgos is the best fighter he’s ever come up against. With a big reach advantage to work with, I expect Burgos will use his jab effectively and be able to land first in the wild exchanges to be able to claim a FOTN bonus and a win on the judge’s scorecards.
PICK – Shane Burgos via Decision

Matt Schnell (15-6) vs Sudumaerji (16-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A fun flyweight scrap between two top guys in the division up next. Schnell has picked up just one win in his last four, suffering a submission defeat to Brandon Royval in the first round back at UFC 274. Sudumaerji on the other hand has won three in a row, with a decision win over Zarrukh Adashev in his most recent bout back at UFC Fight Island 8 in January 2020.

Schnell is an excellent submission artist, with eight victories by way of tap out in his career. He’s a very good wrestler and has got solid striking too, but he struggles to mix things together which often leaves him in limbo. Sudumaerji on the other hand is a powerful striker with great footwork, but he struggles against takedowns and his grappling isn’t the best. These two are essentially polar opposites when it comes to fight styles.

I expect Sudumaerji will stay on the outside and use his striking skills while trying to maintain distance, while Schnell will look to close him down against the cage to get the fight into his submission world. The fact it’s orthodox vs southpaw means Sudumaerji’s striking will be even more at an advantage because his power strikes will have more space to land. With that, I think he should be able to push on past Schnell and higher up the rankings to claim an impressive win.
PICK – Sudumaerji via Knockout, Round 2



Li Jingliang (18-7) vs Muslim Salikhov (18-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A very fun welterweight scrap up next. Li is seen as a top prospect in the weight class despite being 34, but got dominated by Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 267 before being choked out last time out. Salikhov is on a five-fight win streak, with his last three all coming via decisions.

Li is a powerful striker who has got explosive traits and also got solid grappling skills too, as proven in his five submission wins during his career. Salikhov on the other hand is one of the most skilled strikers in MMA history, although his volume and technique outweighs his power these days. This fight depends on which approach Li takes in all honesty, because he’s capable of going both ways.

Salikhov will strike no matter what. Li prefers to strike when he has the opportunity, but he will know that is a dangerous game against someone as skilled as “King of Kung Fu”. That means he could look to mix it up and use his grappling here and he will have a big advantage in that field. If he just chooses to strike he’ll probably lose, but I don’t expect that to be his game plan and he should be able to grapple enough to earn the win.
PICK – Li Jingliang via Decision

Michelle Waterson (18-9) vs Amanda Lemos (11-2-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Considering the calibre of fight on show on this card, this co-main event is a little underwhelming. Waterson has lost three of her last four fights, with Marina Rodriguez claiming a decision against her last time out. Lemos on the other hand saw a five-fight win streak snapped last time out when she was submitted by Jessica Andrade in the first round.

Waterson’s nickname “The Karate Hottie” explains her style off the bat. She has a stand-up stance that keeps her distance and she likes to use kicks and manage distance well, but she’s also a pretty good grappler with decent wrestling skills in her back pocket. Lemos is a powerhouse striker on the feet, with seven wins in her career via KO who comes forward and knows she can end fights in an instant. This seems like quite a lopsided fight.

Lemos has a huge power advantage and will come forward with pressure plenty. Waterson will use her sidekick to try to maintain distance, but once Lemos gets past that she’s in danger. While I don’t think Waterson will be KO’d as she is pretty durable, Lemos is powerful enough to cause plenty of damage and keep the fight standing for the most part to claim a win.
PICK – Amanda Lemos via Decision

Brian Ortega (15-2) vs Yair Rodriguez (14-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Fight of the night and one of the most exciting match ups of the year. Ortega has fought for the title in two of his last three fights and been dominated, with Alexander Volkanovski smashing him at UFC 266 in his last outing. He dominated the Korean Zombie in between those fights though at UFC Fight Island 6. Rodriguez saw a three fight unbeaten run snapped by Max Holloway last time out, in one of the best fights of 2021 at UFC Vegas 42.

Ortega is a lethal jiu-jitsu practitioner with some of the best submissions in the UFC, but his striking has improved massively in recent years and he’s now a confident boxer too. Rodriguez on the other hand is an incredible striker with some of the best kicks in the UFC, with incredible speed and power on the end of them. His grappling defence isn’t the greatest though, as Holloway showed by taking him down and controlling him in the last fight. Stylistically, this is undoubtedly an incredible close fight.

Both guys will be happy to stand and strike, and if that’s the case then Ortega will be in trouble. He has been out-struck a lot in his career but his boxing is decent and any kicks will give him the chance to catch them and take the fight to the ground. If the fight is to end via knockout then it’s more likely to be a Rodriguez win, but with Ortega’s sensational grappling skills he seems to have more paths to victory and that leans me towards him getting the fight down to the mat and finding “El Pantera”‘s neck eventually to claim an impressive win.
PICK – Brian Ortega via Submission, Round 3

UFC Vegas 52: Lemos vs Andrade – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas once again for a women’s strawweight main event between Amanda Lemos and Jessica Andrade.

In a sneaky card that lacks real star power, the top of the division at 115-pounds could either find a brand new contender making waves or the return of a former champion into contention.

There are some pretty decent scraps on this card too, and we’ll break them all down.

Last week at UFC Vegas 51 in a largely disappointing card we managed to go 8/14 with three perfect picks on the night to move us to 601/929 (64.69%) with 255 perfect picks (42.43%).

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


Lando Vannata (12-5-2) vs Charles Jourdain (12-4-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Banger at featherweight to open up the main card in this one. Vannata claimed a split decision win back at UFC 262 in his last outing against Mike Grundy, while Jourdain earned a decision win over Andre Ewell at UFC Vegas 45 in his latest bout.

Vannata is a very talented kickboxer with great power in his hands and a sniper-like right hand, who absolutely loves a scrap and is more than willing to trade strikes for a knockout win. Jourdain on the other hand is also a brilliant kickboxer with great technique and power, but as a more regular featherweight we know he pushes the pace hard and eventually breaks opponents with his cardio as well as his striking. All of that equals a potential fight of the night bout between these two men.

Jourdain is the crisper striker from distance and while Vannata is a good wrestler, Jourdain is no scrub if the fight goes to the mat either. The early exchanges will undoubtedly be close and violent, but as the bout goes on I expect Jourdain to be able to carry it on further and with more weapons, he should claim a wild decision win.
PICK – Charles Jourdain via Decision

Alexandr Romanov (15-0) vs Chase Sherman (15-9) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Big short notice heavyweight bout up next, as Sherman returns to the organisation just days after initially being released by the company. Romanov is an undefeated monster with relentless grappling skills, beating Jared Vanderaa most recently via knockout back in October. Sherman is on a three-fight losing streak, getting submitted by Jake Collier at UFC Vegas 46 most recently in January.

Romanov is an exciting grappling machine, who uses amazing suplexes and takedowns to get the fight down before using a suffocating top game to blast his opponents with ground-and-pound as well as submissions. Sherman on the other hand is an old school heavyweight fighter, who stands quite flat footed and throws out jabs and low kicks one at a time before looping hooks as he looks to land a killer blow.

This is a shocking stylistic match up for Sherman and shy of landing a stunning one-punch KO there is only one direction that this fight is going in. Romanov will put him on his back and absolutely light him up until the referee pulls him off or the opportunity for a choke shows itself and he takes it. This won’t be a warm welcome back for Sherman and I’d be shocked if it gets out of the first round.
PICK – Alexandr Romanov via Submission, Round 1

Sumudaerji (16-4) vs Manel Kape (17-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Another contender for fight of the night in this flyweight bout. Sumudaerji is on a three-fight win streak in the UFC defeating Zarrukh Adashev most recently at UFC Fight Island 8 last January, while Kape has won his last two fights after KO’ing Ode Osbourne (UFC 265) and Zhalgas Zhumagulov (UFC Vegas 44) in the first round.

Sumudaerji is a very talented striker who has earned 11 knockout wins in his career. He uses his length excellently, with great kicks and very good punches down the middle and has got a decent grappling game too. Kape is a very solid wrestler but his flashy striking is the stand-out attribute in his game, using flying knees and his amazing hand speed to counter his opponents. He fires off good combinations, but recently his output has come into question and is the reason for his two defeats in the organisation.

Both guys have got real knockout power and insane hand speed and this is a really close fight. The grappling is a good avenue to victory for Kape, but he doesn’t tend to use it much without his wrestling shoes in the UFC. Neither guy has ever been knocked out before, but if Kape can get the fight down his five submission wins and Sumudaerji’s four submission defeats are worrying. I expect a banger, but Kape has more paths to win and I think he takes one of them.
PICK – Manel Kape via Decision



Maycee Barber (9-2) vs Montana De La Rosa (12-6-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very fun women’s flyweight bout sees ‘The Future’ return to the octagon. Barber ended a two-fight skid by claiming a split decision against Miranda Maverick back at UFC Vegas 32, while De La Rosa claimed a KO win over Ariane Lipski at UFC Vegas 28 in her most recet outing.

Barber is a fighter who strikes well, closes distance with kicks and has good wrestling to control her opponent and use aggressive ground and pound. Her takedown defence is excellent too, and she uses elbows and knees well in the clinch too. De La Rosa uses her jab well and her heavy-handedness to hurt but her head movement is really lacking. Her takedown game has improved in recent years, but she’s not amazing yet and it will be difficult to see her claim repeated takedowns in this fight. If she does though, her jiu-jitsu is very good as her eight submission wins show.

Ultimately, this seems like Barber’s fight to lose though. She has a huge power advantage on the feet, she’s more aggressive and physically stronger too. If De La Rosa can get a takedown then it changes things, but I think she gets put out before that happens.
PICK – Maycee Barber via Knockout, Round 2

Clay Guida (37-18) vs Claudio Puelles (12-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Grizzly veteran vs hot prospect in this co-main event. Guida is a legendary name in the sport and earned a submission win in his most recent fight against Leonardo Santos most recently back in December. Puelles on the other hand is on a four-fight win streak, earning a kneebar submission win against Chris Gruetzmacher most recently on the same card.

Guida is a grinder who uses his amazing cardio to constantly apply pressure on his opponents and wrestles them relentlessly. Puelles on the other hand is a lengthy fighter who uses kicks well but ultimately tries to get fights to the ground to use his amazing jiu-jitsu skills. He has some decent Muay-Thai skills too, using knees in the clinch well.

This fight is almost sure to take place largely against the cage with both guys working for control and trading shots on the inside. That screams like a Guida-style fight to me and there may be nobody better than him at this type of bout. Puelles on paper is likely to secure a submission, but he’s hittable on the feet and he doesn’t have better cardio than Guida so I have to go with the veteran here.
PICK – Clay Guida via Decision

Amanda Lemos (11-1-1) vs Jessica Andrade (22-9) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun strawweight main event between two fighters who are lacking star power but should still produce a great fight. Lemos has put together a five-fight win streak in the UFC, with a split decision win over Angela Hill most recently at UFC Vegas 45. Andrade took a trip to flyweight beating Katlyn Chookagian (UFC Fight Island 6) and Cynthia Calvillo (UFC 266) via first-round knockout either side of a title-fight defeat to Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 261.

Lemos is a very good striker, with good kicks and great counter-striking down the middle. Andrade is a powerful unit with brilliant knockout power and some really good takedowns and slams in her arsenal. Lemos likes to open quickly with a blitz of strikes and forward pressure, which is something that Andrade has struggled with in the past. She has great experience though and her cardio is something that is a big advantage for her here.

Andrade is able to weather storms and keep pushing forward, while Lemos is considerably slower in the third round than she is in the first. So with this fight set for five rounds, Lemos could be in trouble if she doesn’t get it done early. I don’t think she will either and Andrade will eventually slam her down and do enough damage on the mat to get a referee stoppage late on.
PICK – Jessica Andrade via Knockout, Round 4

UFC Vegas 45: Lewis vs Daukaus – Main card predictions

The final UFC event of 2021 is upon us and will be headlined by heavyweight bangers in Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

The two are at different ends of their career realistically and are fighting to carry the torch of the division into 2022.

In the co-main we’ll see welterweight contender Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson enter the last chance saloon for title contention when he takes on Belal Muhammad, who is looking to break into the top five of the rankings for the first time.

Last time out at UFC 269 we went 9/14 on the night in a fantastic card to move to 500/779 (64.18%) with 211 perfect picks (42.2%).

We’ll look to end the year on a high here and after starting with the early prelims on this 14-fight card then picking the rest of the prelims here, we move onto the main card now.


Cub Swanson (27-12) vs Darren Elkins (27-9) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very fun featherweight fight between two vetereans of the fight game. Swanson earned a big KO win over Daniel Pineda at UFC 256 before getting smoked by Giga Chikhadze last time out at UFC Vegas 25. Elkins on the other hand has won his last two-in-a-row with a submission against Luiz Garagorri at UFC Vegas 13 before a knockout against Darrick Minner at UFC Vegas 32.

Swanson is a fantastic jiu-jitsu fighter with great power in his hands and plenty of experience to his name with 15 stoppage wins in his career. Elkins on the other hand is a pressure fighter with plenty of strikes and great wrestling in his weaponry. This will be an interesting fight because they are both well matched up and well-rounded.

Both of these guys will come forward and continue to pressure as usual, but I think Swanson has the edge on the feet and has enough about him to see off any wrestling attacks or submission threats and ultimately earn a judges decision.
PICK – Cub Swanson via Decision

Diego Ferreira (17-4) vs Mateusz Gamrot (19-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very fun lightweight bout here as the veteran Ferreira takes on the very hot prospect in Gamrot. Ferreira has lost his last two against Beneil Dariush via decision at UFC Vegas 18 and then Gregor Gillespie at UFC Vegas 26 when he got KO’d. Gamrot on the other hand bounced back from the first defeat of his career in his debut at UFC Fight Island 6 by earning wins over Scott Holtzmann at UFC Vegas 22 and then a submission over Jeremy Stephens at UFC Vegas 31.

Ferreira is a very good grappler, with great jiu-jitsu skills and some decent striking too earning him seven submission wins from ten stoppages in his career. Gamrot on the other hand is a machine when it comes to the wrestling, earning multiple takedowns and then using position to land solid ground-and-pound and threaten with submissions too to earn 11 stoppage wins in his career.

Gamrot is the physically bigger fighter and he seems stronger, which plays into his advantage in the grappling game. Ferreira is probably the better striker of the two, but he doesn’t really have the power to put Gamrot off coming forward. If ‘Gamer’ gets hold of him he should be able to take him down and control him, and I think his relentless pace earns him a ground and pound finish.
PICK – Mateusz Gamrot via Knockout, Round 2

Raphael Assuncao (27-8) vs Ricky Simon (18-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An interesting bantamweight fight between two guys on very different trajectories in their career. Assuncao has lost the last three fights he’s had, with a KO on the buzzer against Cody Garbrandt at UFC 250 in his last outing. Simon on the other hand has won three-in-a-row, earning a decision over Ray Borg before submitting Gaetano Pirrello at UFC Fight Island 8 and claiming another decision against Brian Kelleher at UFC 258.

Assuncao is a powerful striker with a great pace and some solid leg kicks, but he comes into this one aged 39 and on the decline big time. Simon on the other hand is a pure wrestling specialist who looks to secure positions on the ground and dominate from there on to usually grind out decisions. Assuncao has got great submission skills, claiming ten wins via tap-out in his career but Simon isn’t a scrub in the grappling.

Simon has got the ability to go into the octagon and wrestle for as long as is needed, whether that be 15 minutes, 25 minutes or an hour. He’s also a pretty good striker and can use that to set up his takedowns in this one, against a dangerous opponent. In the end though, Simon should be able to get the fight down and I back him to defend himself from top position to earn a victory.
PICK – Ricky Simon via Decision



Amanda Lemos (10-1-1) vs Angela Hill (13-10) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

An interesting strawweight clash between two wannabe contenders gets a high slot on this card. Lemos is on a four-fight win streak, including back-to-back knockout wins over Livinha Souza at UFC 259 and then Montserrat Ruiz at UFC Vegas 31. Hill on the other hand has lost three of her last four but has turned in great performances in every one, dropping decisions to Claudia Gadelha, Michelle Waterson at UFC Vegas 10 and Tecia Torres at UFC 265 with a win against Ashley Yoder at UFC Vegas 21 pausing the rot.

Lemos is a very powerful striker, with seven knockout victories in her career and some good defensive wrestling on her side too. Hill is a pressure fighter who can mix up her game really well, using kickboxing skills to mix in takedowns and a decent ground game too. Lemos will walk forward in this fight looking to land power shots, knowing that Hill isn’t powerful at all.

Hill will likely use her speed to step away, but Lemos will likely look to throw a hard low kick to stop that movement from being so effective and use that power to earn her a judges decision.
PICK – Amanda Lemos via Decision

Stephen Thompson (16-5-1) vs Belal Muhammad (19-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Ranked welterweights go head-to-head in the co-main event here. ‘Wonderboy’ saw a two-fight win streak snapped recently, after his win over Geoff Neal at UFC Vegas 17 was countered by a dominant decision loss against Gilbert Burns at UFC 264. Belal Muhammad is unbeaten in six, having battered Dhiego Lima at UFC 258 before his no contest against Leon Edwards. He then returned to dominate against Demian Maia at UFC 263.

Thompson is as pure a striker as you will find in the UFC, with his karate game making him an expert in movement, range control and kicking as well as his brilliant counter striking. Muhammad is a well-rounded fighter, who can mix volume and pressure with some good wrestling too to figure out his opponents. This is by far the highest level striker he has ever fought though and it’s going to be tough for Muhammad to get that wrestling going.

Muhammad will look to set up takedowns with his boxing skills, but he isn’t as good a striker as Thompson and ‘Wonderboy’ has got brilliant takedown defence regardless of Burns’ success last time out. I like Muhammad, but this is too big a step up and stylistically it stinks for him. ‘Wonderboy’ will move around for 15 minutes and land big enough shots without taking damage to earn a decision win.
PICK – Stephen Thompson via Decision

Derrick Lewis (25-8) vs Chris Daukaus (12-3) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Main event time and it’s a banger at heavyweight. Derrick Lewis was on a four-fight win streak with KO’s against Alexei Oleinik at UFC Vegas 6 and Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19 before he was beaten by Ciryl Gane at UFC 265 in an interim title fight. Daukaus on the other hand is on a five-fight win streak with all knockouts, with his most recent one coming impressively against Shamil Abdurakhimov at UFC 266 after he stopped Oleinik on the Blaydes-Lewis card.

Lewis is a one-shot killer, with ridiculous power in both hands and explosive power that can shut out anyones lights in an instant. Daukaus is a super powerful striker too with tremendous hand speed, but it’s the jiu-jitsu black belt that makes this extra intriguing. If Daukaus looks to take this fight to the ground, Lewis will throw uppercuts and knees before trying to explode to his feet. If they go on the feet, Daukaus will look to use volume and speed like Gane did before going for a killshot.

This is hard to predict, because a fighter with the power of Lewis is impossible to write off. But with Daukaus’ speed advantage, solid power himself and grappling expertise he has far more routes to victory and I think that ultimately he will be able to shake up the heavyweight division by claiming a knockout win.
PICK – Chris Daukaus via Knockout, Round 3

UFC Vegas 31: Makhachev vs Moises – Prelims predictions

The lightweight division takes centre stage once again for the UFC this weekend as the highly rated Islam Makhachev headlines his first card against Tiago Moises at UFC Vegas 31.

Makhachev is hotly anticipated to make a run for the lightweight title in the future but takes on arguably his biggest test so far in this main event clash, replacing Max Holloway vs Yair Rodriguez which fell apart due to an injury for ‘Blessed’.

Last week at UFC 264 we had an excellent run, going 11/12 with three perfect picks to move to 363/566 (64.13%) with 163 perfect picks (44.9%) overall.

Lets see if we can improve on that run here with this 11 fight card, starting with the early prelims and prelims here.


Alan Baudot (8-2) vs Rodrigo Nascimento (8-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A heavyweight banger to open the card as Baudot looks for his first UFC win against Nascimento. Baudot lost his debut, getting KO’d by Tom Aspinall at UFC Fight Island 5 while Nascimento won his debut but was knocked out by Chris Daukaus on the same card in 45 seconds.

Baudot is a heavy handed striker but quite slow on his feet, loading his strikes up but when landing taking someone’s head off. Nascimento is a supreme jiu-jitsu player with seven submissions from eight career wins, with superb top pressure and good sweeps from his back too. It’s a weird match up between them, but realistically Nascimento is likely to secure a takedown early and dominate to an early submission win if he can afford getting his head taken off first.

PICK – Rodrigo Nascimento via Submission, Round 1

Francisco Figueiredo (12-3-1) vs Malcolm Gordon (12-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The brother of the former champion in Figueiredo takes on Malcolm ‘X’ Gordon in the flyweight division. Figueiredo won his debut with the company with a win over Jerome Rivera at UFC Fight Island 8, while Gordon went 0-2 in 2020 with first round defeats to Amir Albazi at UFC Fight Island 2 and Su Mudaerji.

Figueiredo fights in a similar way to his brother, just without the x-factor power and submission skills. Gordon on the other hand is a good wrestler with heavy top pressure and tiring his opponent out from above. Figueiredo will almost certainly look to use his defensive wrestling to keep the fight standing and just piece him up on the feet, while Gordon will try hard to take him down and wear him out.

Unfortuately for Gordon, Figueiredo’s got good power in his left hand and good takedown defence so he should be able to secure the win.
PICK – Francisco Figueiredo via Decision

Miles Johns (11-1) vs Anderson Dos Santos (21-8) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun bantamweight bout here as Johns and Dos Santos look to make it two wins in a row against each other. Johns was stopped by Mario Bautista before bouncing back with a stoppage win of his own against Kevin Natividad at UFC Vegas 12. Dos Santos lost his first two UFC fights via decision, but finally got a win when he submitted Martin Day.

Johns has a stiff jab that lands very often and always has his wrestling skills to fall back on whenever necessary. Dos Santos on the other hand has good power in his hands but the techniques are limited to hooks mostly, while his submission game on the ground is great and dangerous.

Johns’ wrestling is good enough to control where the fight goes and has the better striking on the feet, so as long as his cardio holds up this should be a good win for him.
PICK – Miles Johns via Decision

Khalid Taha (13-3) vs Sergey Morozov (16-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolute banger coming up at 135lbs as Taha and Morozov look to bounce back from defeats last time out in the UFC. Taha put on an okay performance against Raoni Barcelos at UFC Vegas 13 but was beaten, while Morozov got beaten up and submitted by Umar Nurmagomedov at UFC Fight Island 8.

Taha is a solid striker with good pressure and volume to his game, while Morozov has excellent grappling skills despite the defeat in his last bout via submission. Both fighters have issues with the other’s strengths and realistically this is a fight that has two outcomes.

Either Taha can avoid the takedowns and batters Morozov on the feet, or Morozov eats a few punches to get the fight to the ground and dominates on the mat. The latter is more likely in my eyes judging by Taha’s previous attempts at defending takedowns, so Morozov gets my pick.
PICK – Sergey Morozov via Decision

Amanda Lemos (9-1-1) vs Montserrat Ruiz (10-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun fight in the women’s strawweight division between Lemos and Ruiz, both coming into the bout on win streaks. Lemos has won her last three, beating Mizuki Inoue at UFC Vegas 18 before KO’ing Livinha Souza at UFC 259. Ruiz on the other hand won her debut against Cheyanne Buys with an impressive performance at UFC Vegas 22.

Lemos is one hell of a striker, with great strikes and knees and also some really good takedown defence too. Ruiz is short and aggressive and in her last bout she showed that from the clinch she’s really dangerous with the head and arm throw to wear her opponents down.

Lemos is so powerful and has really good leg kicks to go with it too, so I’d be surprised if Ruiz can cope with this level of fighter right now.
PICK – Amanda Lemos via Knockout, Round 2

Daniel Rodriguez (14-2) vs Preston Parsons (9-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Featured prelim bout is an interesting welterweight clash between the young Daniel Rodriguez against UFC debutant Parsons. Rodriguez is 2-1 in his most recent fights seeing a decision loss to Nicolas Dalby at UFC 255 sandwiched between wins over Dwight Grant and Mike Perry at UFC Vegas 22. Parsons is on a four-fight win streak coming into this fight and steps in on short notice.

Rodriguez is a sensational boxer, with fantastic jabs and a powerhouse of a left hand. Parsons is a very heavy wrestler who has excellent submission skills and a violent clinch game too. While Rodriguez has never fought a fighter as heavily reliant on wrestling, he was preparing for Abubakar Nurmagomedov. Rodriguez is by far the best fighter Parsons has ever fought and on short notice it’s surely a hurdle too much to overcome.
PICK – Daniel Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 2

UFC 259: Blachowicz vs Adesanya – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Trevin Jones def Mario Bautista via Knockout, Round 2 (0:47)

Tentative start to the card as Bautista and Jones trade leg kicks and feints to feel each other out for the first minute or so of the bout. Bautista pushes forward with a flurry that Jones avoids and the two clinch up, with Jones controlling the underhooks and landing some nice knees to the thigh. Both fighters exchange body kicks, with Bautista landing a bit cleaner. Jones landing lots of leg kicks from the outside, as Bautista responds with some fast hands with a nice hook in particular. Jones lands a left hand and goes for a takedown as the round ends but Bautista fights it off well. 10-9 Bautista but not much in it.

Bautista comes out with some nice combos once again and Jones goes back to the leg kicks. Both exchange strikes and Jones slips a punch then throws a lead uppercut that drops Bautista! He follows up with some big ground and pound and the referee ends it early! Huge knockout win for Jones!

Uros Medic def Aalon Cruz via Knockout, Round 1 (1:40)

Fast start to the fight from Medic as he walks forward and clips Cruz with a big right hand quickly to the temple! Cruz looks for a takedown but Medic brushes him off and lands a big left hand too, then follows it up with a flying knee. Medic lands a barrage of strikes and the fight goes too long before the referee steps in and ends it! What a debut.

Amanda Lemos def Livinha Souza via Knockout, Round 1 (3:39)

Slow start to the bout as Lemos takes the centre of the cage and backs Souza up against the cage, landing jabs and hard leg kicks. Souza looks wary on the feet early on as Lemos lands a straight right hand that drops her! She goes for the ground and pound but Souza tries to grapple to survive and manages to tie her up. She goes for a heel hook but Lemos avoids it and starts landing huge strikes from the ground once again too. Lemos lands a stinging jab that drops Souza again and a few more strikes sees the referee step in and call it a night. What a performance from Lemos.

Sean Brady def Jake Matthews via Submission (Arm Triangle Choke), Round 3 (3:28)

Competitive start to the round with both guys standing in range of the other and exchanging small flurries of punches and leg kicks. Matthews using his range advantage well and throwing his jab nicely, but Brady avoiding it well and landing nice leg kicks. Matthews throws a big right hand that drops Brady but Brady doesn’t seem too hurt and manages to recover into top position after Matthews tried to grab the neck. Brady landing nice short shots from the top and trying to control the posture by holding the neck, but Matthews doing well to avoid too much damage in the final minute as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Matthews.

Brady opens up the round a bit more aggressive, taking the centre and being first with the jabs and short hooks. Matthews eventually takes control once again though and uses his length to start throwing some nice strikes. Brady shoots for the takedown and gets it first time and immediately takes the top position. He tries to work to the back but Matthews defends against the cage as Brady starts working for a guillotine. Good defence from Matthews as Brady continues to work the top mount and starts throwing nasty body strikes while wrapping up the neck. Matthews really struggling to do anything from his back as he gives up the position and Brady starts raining down punches as the round ends. Definite Brady round, 19-19 for me.

Matthews takes the centre early in the final round and tries to land a couple of flurries, but Brady trying to slow him down with some chopping leg kicks again. Brady lands a beautiful counter left hook that drops Matthews to one knee, but he stays patient and stays standing. He fakes a takedown but Matthews sprawls and it allows Brady to jump on his neck to threaten a guillotine. He moves to take the back and takes him against the cage to start throwing nice strikes on the ground and dominant once again. Brady continues to work the position and steps over into a head and arm choke to secure the tap out. Brilliant performance.

Kennedy Nzechukwu def Carlos Ulberg via Knockout, Round 2 (3:19)

Fast start from Ulberg as he hurts Nzechukwu! Ulberg on the back foot but threw some front kicks and a combination of strikes wobbles Nzechukwu but he keeps a high guard and survives the beating for now. Nzehukwu continues to walk forward but Ulberg stays patient and lands some nice leg kicks. Nzechukwu starting to come forward and land strikes of his own and a left hand wobbles Ulberg! Ulberg starts throwing some heavy body shots but Nzechukwu keeps coming forward and both men are trading in the centre now! Ulberg is very tired nowbut still landing the heavier shots as the round ends. 10-9 Ulberg. What a round!

A slower start to the round for Ulberg as he starts picking his shots more and landing jabs nicely. Nice on-two from Nzechukwu lands but both men landing heavy on each other. Big body kick from Ulberg followed with a one-two but there’s an accidental thumb in the eye that causes a short break in the action. Ulberg’s volume is higher but the power has diminished greatly from the opening exchanges and Nzechukwu’s cardio is carrying him through this bout right now. Nasty low kicks from Ulberg and a right hand lands then Nzechukwu lands a HUGE right hand!! Oh my god what a knockout!!! Kennedy Nzechukwu!

Tim Elliott def Jordan Espinosa via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-25)

Fast pace to start this fight with Espinosa flicking out jabs and kicks as Elliott walks him down and applies pressure. A clinch against the cage and Elliott lands some nice knees before they break and Espinosa lands a nice left hook before another clinch against the cage. They separate again and Espinosa throws a big head kick that misses by inches and Elliott is able to take him down and get on his back. Espinosa fighting the hands well as Elliott looks for a rear-naked choke but he gets his back to the cage and is able to avert that threat. Elliott controls the position for the rest of the round and should have that in the books. 10-9 Elliot.

Second round starts exactly as the first ended, with Espinosa throwing a head kick that Elliott ducks and gets the takedown but this time Espinosa is able to get back up to his feet quickly. Elliott pushes the pace and lands a second takedown quickly and stays in the half guard grinding away with short strikes. Elliott starting to suffocate Espinosa with pressure and a great wrestling game, riding the back and looking to sink in a rear-naked choke. Espinosa gets away from it but Elliott is smothering him and beating him up bad as he lands elbows and chokes him with his forearm until the round ends. That’s a 10-8 round, so 20-17 Elliott.

Espinosa opens the round with a flying knee but Elliott catches him with ease and takes the fight down to the ground immediately and starts throwing heavy strikes. Espinosa throwing some elbows from the bottom and cuts Elliott open badly, but he continues to be completely smothered by the top game. Elliott throwing heavy shots and some elbows of his own and then Espinosa throws up an armbar attempt that Elliott avoids and he controls from top position for the rest of the round. Great performance from Elliott.

PRELIMS

Kai Kara-France def Rogerio Bontorin via Knockout, Round 1 (4:55)

Good start to the round from Bontorin as he comes forward and strikes well, with a few leg kicks and some nice right hands. A right cross wobbles Kara-France and Bontorin goes in for a takedown and dumps him down with ease, then takes the back immediately. Bontorin threatening the rear-naked choke straight away and dominating on the back, flowing perfectly with a body triangle locked in but Kara-France is fighting the hands brilliantly to avoid the submission. He finally shakes Bontorin off and they get back to the feet with 30 seconds remaining. Bontorin looks tired but Kara-France comes forward and lands a three punch combo that puts Bontorin out!! Walk off KO!! Wow!!

Askar Askarov def Joseph Benavidez via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2. 30-26)

Good competitive start to the fight as Askarov throws some nice front kicks from the lead leg, while Benavidez looks to throw looping hooks. Askarov’s kicks doing damage early on to the mid-section, but Benavidez lands a nice one-two. Askarov keeps it coming and lands a big right hook, then a left hand behind it. Askarov eats a right hand from Benavidez then lands another right hand of his own, before he goes in for the takedown. He closes the distance, wins the scrambles and lifts before taking the back and threatening the submission before the round ends. 10-9 Askarov.

Benavidez comes out strong in the second round, looking to swarm him against the cage with his looping hooks but Askarov takes it and returns fire with his own. Askarov wobbles Benavidez with a right hand and goes right back to the takedown attempts, getting a lift and putting the fight on the ground immediately. Askarov dominating the grappling exchanges, landing short strikes on the ground while taking the back and threatening with choke positions too. Benavidez stays on the ground for the remainder of the round until with five seconds to go Askarov cracks him with a huge right hand on the feet. Huge round for Askarov again. 20-18.

Final round and Askarov staying very patient as Benavidez comes forward knowing he needs a finish. Lovely question mark kick lands flush on the chin of Benavidez but he eats it and comes forward again, moving forward with a head kick of his own that just misses. Right hook from Askarov lands and knocks Benavidez off balance but he gets back up quickly. Head kick again from Askarov is partially blocked by Benavidez but still lands enough to wobble him as we enter the final two minutes. Benavidez throws a big superman punch that lands clean but Askarov eats it and replies with a jab into the final minute. Lots of attempts from Benavidez for big strikes but he’s nowhere near Askarov and this should be a comfortable decision win. 30-27.

Kyler Phillips def Song Yadong via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Positive start for Phillips as he comes with a big right hand earlier then a spinning kick that just misses. Yadong eventually takes the centre and starts throwing some straights but Phillips throws a stunning head kick that lands flush but Yadong just eats it. Amazing. Phillips tries another spin but misses again as Yadong lands with a nice uppercut then misses with a spin kick of his own. Phillips landing first with his jabs and right straights so far but Yadong continues to move forward. Phillips changes levels and goes for a takedown but Yadong scrambles back up to his feet immediately and eats a one-two as the round ends with an exchange against the cage. 10-9 Phillips.

Yadong comes out strong in the second round but Phillips being first again. Phillips slowing down a little from the first round but still landing heavy and as they break from a clinch he throws a beautiful spinning back kick again. Song trying to close the distance and landing big hooks but Phillips doing well to be first and stay out of the way. Nice jab from Phillips knocks Yadong off balance on his way in, then after some back and forth on the feet Phillips slides in for a big takedown and gets it beautifully. Yadong scrambles his way back to the feet once again but he’s starting to look desperate. Big right hand lands from Yadong but the round ends with both men fresh. 20-18 Phillips.

Phillips looks calm as they enter the final round, with Yadong knowing he needs the finish. Phillips shoots for a takedown early but Yadong sprawls quickly and gets up to throw heat straight away. Nice flurry to the body ends with a left hook to the chin, but Phillips moves away and keeps his guard high. Both men exchange a straight right and Yadong is starting to close the distance a bit more and land better shots. Another exchange in the pocket that Yadong wins, but Phillips shoots in for a takedown and for the first time is able to keep him down. Phillips looks to take his back but Yadong reverses and ends up on top in the final minute. The round ends with Yadong on top and Phillips looking for a submission in what should be a Phillips decision win. 29-28.

Dominick Cruz def Casey Kenney via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Cruz starts with an immediate takedown attempt that is sprawled on by Kenney but breaks away from the front headlock position and starts landing some leg kicks. Kenney takes the centre and starts backing Cruz up against the cage with both guys exchanging low kicks. Big left hand lands from Cruz but Casey eats it and keeps walking forward, before Kenney throws another strong leg kick. Very back and forth round, I edge it 10-9 to Cruz.

Strong start to the round from Kenney as he lands a big leg kick that drops Cruz to one knee for a second. Cruz rallies with a nice one-two but Kenney starting to get the timing down a bit more and is landing cleaner shots now. Straight left from Kenney lands before two more leg kicks. Cruz lands a nice right hand to the body followed by a straight right to the face, but Kenney keeps coming forward and throws a body kick. Cruz avoids a right hand and charges forward with several clean shots to the face but Kenney takes them and lands two back of his own. Big right hand from Cruz lands but Kenney responds with another leg kick. Left hand from Kenney lands on the chin and then he grabs the neck for a guillotine attempt but Cruz is safe and the round ends. 19-19 but close yet again.

Cruz shoots in for a takedown early on then abandons it and lands a big left hook up top. Shoots back in for a takedown again against the cage, but Kenney looks to defend with a guillotine attempt although Cruz is on the right side to avoid the threat too much. Cruz takes half guard and starts landing some body shots but Kenney then gets up to his feet with ease and they go back to striking. Left hand from Kenney staggers Cruz who then is able to evade an attack and lands a counter right hand. Kenney lands a couple of big hooks but Cruz responds with three big punches of his own as we enter the final 90 seconds. Cruz denies another takedown attempt from Kenney and lands a big knee to the body, then follows up with a one two. Cruz then shoots for a takedown of his own and gets Kenney down and holds him down against the cage to see out the fight. 29-28 Cruz for me, but a great fight.

MAIN CARD

Aleksandar Rakic def Thiago Santos (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Tense opening to the fight as both men throw out feints and feelers but neither committing too much just yet. Santos charges forward with his left hand but Rakic steps back and lands a nice check right hook. A few leg kicks from each guy as Rakic takes the centre, but Santos staying patient on the outside. Big left hand from Santos but it’s blocked well from Rakic and they reset in the middle. Rakic fakes the right hand and Santos throws his left, which he slips and he throws a big head kick but Santos ducks under it. Nice jab from Rakic then a big body kick from Santos lands. 10-9 Rakic but not much action in that one.

Rakic takes the centre immediately as the round starts and lands a nice jab but both men being cautious once again. Rakic faking a level change and Santos threatens with a kick up the middle before trying to close the distance with his left hand but just missing. Rakic clinches up with Santos against the cage and both guys trade knees to the body and thighs. Another action-less round for the most part as we enter the final minute. Santos swings his left hand but misses and Rakic counters with a right hand and the round ends. 20-18 but not the most impressive performance so far.

Santos shoots for a takedown early on in the third round but Rakic is able to hold him off easily and turns the tables to put Santos against the cage. Huge body kick from Santos lands and Rakic tries to grab the leg but it looks like it hurt him a little. They trade leg kicks again before more feinting and missed hooks from both fighters. Rakic goes for a takedown but Santos defends well and starts landing some big elbows to the head. Rakic tries again but it’s defended well and Santos lands some nice knees in the clinch that follows as we enter the final minute. Not much happens in the final minute and it should be a win for Rakic on the scorecards. 30-27 or 29-28.

Islam Makhachev def Drew Dober via Submission (Arm Triangle Choke), Round 3 (1:37)

Good start from Dober as he fires in a low kick followed by a jab, before Makhahev shoots for a single leg takedown and gets the fight to the ground immediately. Makhachev in half guard but very heavy on top in a chest to chest position as he goes body head with strikes. Makhachev slides into mount momentarily but Dober gets it back to half guard before he passes into side control. Makhachev tries to slide onto the back of Dober but he manages to move away before Makhachev slides through quickly back into side control. He takes the back and then transitions to an armbar, but runs out of time and Dober survives. 10-9 Makhachev.

Second round once again and Makhachev avoids a big hook before another single leg takedown and trip gets the fight back to the ground. Makhachev is able to tie the legs of Dober up between his own and starts pressuring with his top game again with body strikes. Completely dominant so far from Makhachev in full guard, landing more and more ground and pound with a flush elbow to the face. Round ends with Makhacehv in control, 10-8 round. 20-17.

Dober throws a big left hand that Makhachev slips and then he goes for a bear hug like takedown and gets it. Dober attempts a kimura to defend but Makhachev is able to step over and defend it. As soon as Dober lets go Makhachev slides his shoulder under the chin of Dober and secures the submission out of nowhere! Super impressive performance from Makhachev.

Aljamain Sterling def Petr Yan via Disqualification (Illegal Knee), Round 4 (4:29)

Fast paced start to this fight from Sterling as he moves forward quickly and is right in the face of Yan applying lots of pressure. Constantly touching him and kicking his body and making it really uncomfortable. Body kick attempt from Sterling lands and gets caught by Yan who throws him to the ground. Sterling lands a flying knee and keeps coming forward then gets a takedown himself. Yan is able to get back to the feet then lands a big right hand that drops Sterling! Both fighters keep up the high pace for the rest of the round, super close. 10-9 Sterling but could go either way.

Sterling comes out fast again in the second round and goes for a takedown but Yan is able to defend it well and ends up standing with Sterling on the floor under him. The referee stands them up after some leg kicks from Yan and then Sterling goes in for the takedowns once again, but Yan defends well for the most part. Sterling goes for the takedown against the cage but Yan is defending well as we enter the final minute. Sterling steps away and tries to trip him but it fails and he continues to come forward. Yan ends up behind Sterling and takes him down for the final 15 seconds. 20-18 Sterling for me, but could be 19-19.

Third round and Yan is starting to go for the body a bit more as Sterling starts to slow down. Sterling still touching him with jabs but Yan is taking over now a bit more, landing more shots and seeing everything Sterling is doing. Sterling trying to throw more strikes but he’s considerably tired and the champ is opening up a bit more with some takedowns of his own as well as a few solid right hands. 29-28 either way.

Fourth round and Yan is taking over the fight now. Sterling is shooting in with lazy takedown attempts and Yan is dominating the striking exchanges and landing at will almost. Yan stuffing all the takedown attempts at chopping away at the legs and body of Sterling, controlling the entire pace of the fight. Yan holds Sterling down and throws an illegal knee to the head of Sterling! Oh my goodness. Sterling is out of it right now and the referee calls in the doctor and waves the fight off. Wow. New champion via DQ.

Amanda Nunes def Megan Anderson via Submission, Round 1 (2:03)

Anderson takes the centre of the cage and Nunes takes her time to step forward.. big overhand right lands from Nunes and rocks Anderson immediately. She steps forward and lands two more that drop Anderson. She lands some ground and pound then switches to an armbar and triangle at the same time to force the submission. The best ever.

Jan Blachowicz def Israel Adesanya via Unanimous Decision (49-45 x2, 49-46)

Composed start to the fight from both fighters as Adesanya looks to get his range with feints while Blachowicz takes his time coming forward. Adesanya throws a few head kicks that are blocked by Blachowicz, who throws a few leg kicks that land and some right hands that miss. A few more leg kicks from each fighter as the fight continues at a relatively slow pace. Adesanya lands a nice body kick but is forced backwards as Blachowicz comes forward with a left straight. Round comes to an end without much action but probably an Adesanya round for pressing the action.

Adesanya comes out with a bit more speed in this round and flicks out his leg kicks well, but Blachowicz starts checking them. Blachowicz fires back with a nice one-two that lands on Adesanya but doesn’t connect quite flush. Adesanya chopping away at the leg of Blachowicz who lands a nice jab to the body and closest the distance and tries to clinch, but Adesanya escapes quickly. Adesanya lands an inadvertant low blow that causes a very short break in the action before a second low blow moments later is also accidental and causes a break. Blachowicz comes forward with a flurry into a clinch pop Adesanya gets out and keeps landing jabs and low kicks. 20-18 Adesanya but not a lot of big moments so far.

Blachowicz comes out harder in the third round and starts blasting some punches that land, then shoots in for a takedown and gets it. He tries to take Adesanya’s back but Izzy slips away and counters with a big left hand that rocks Blachowicz! Adesanya lands a few jabs but stays relatively calm before Blachowicz clinches up with him again against the cage but Adesanya once again pulls away. Both fighters exchange jabs and then Blachowicz lands a nice stiff right straight. Adesanya goes for a body kick that gets caught but nothing comes from it and the round ends. 30-27 Izzy, but could be 29-28.

Fourth round and Adesanya is opening up a bit more now. Some nice jabs and leg kicks land as Blachowicz is still looking for the big hooks and straights. More of the same as the round progresses before Blachowicz shoots for a takedown and gets it. From there on, he controls from half guard and side control and drops big ground and pound strikes and just wears on Adesanya. Jan’s round without a doubt. 39-37 Izzy for me but could be 38-38.

Final round and Blachowicz is breathing very heavily, so Adesanya comes forward with a bit more pace. Lots of jabs and he tries to follow it up with a straight right hand but Blachowicz avoids. Not much urgency from either fighter just yet and Blachowicz blasts a takedown half way through the round. Blachowicz starts hammering away with ground and pound and moves into half guard. He continues to control the round and then moves into mount as it comes to an end to reign down punches. 3-2 either way.. good fight.

UFC 259: Blachowicz vs Adesanya – Early prelims predictions

The biggest and best card of 2021 is finally upon as as a title fight triple header takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Petr Yan will defend his bantamweight title against Aljamain Sterling in potentially the best 135lbs title fight ever, before Amanda Nunes returns to the octagon to fight Megan Anderson in a featherweight title fight. The card will be headlined by Israel Adesanya trying to become just the fifth dual-weight simultaneous champion in the companies history as he moves up to light heavyweight to take on Jan Blachowicz.

Elsewhere on the card, Islam Makhachev returns to the octagon to take on Drew Dober while bantamweight great Dominick Cruz headlines the prelims against Casey Kenney in a do-or-die fight for his career on a blockbuster 15 fight card.

Last week at UFC Vegas 20 we had a poor night for predictions going 4/9 on the night, although it was worsened by a majority draw and a dodgy decision too. It moved us to 240/380 (63.16%) with 108 perfect picks (45%) since starting our predictions.

We’ll look to move ahead with a big week this week on a stacked card, breaking the card down into three this week.


Mario Bautista (8-1) vs Trevin Jones (12-6 1NC) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The opening fight of the card is a fun bantamweight fight between two up and comers in the UFC. Bautista is coming off two wins in a row after losing his debut on short-notice to Cory Sandhagen, where he beat Jin Soo Son and Miles Johns, while Jones’s UFC debut win over Timur Valiev at UFC Vegas 7 was overturned to a no-contest following a positive test for marijuana.

Bautista is a great striker, with fantastic knees and straight punches while Jones is a power puncher with a strong wrestling base behind him too. Bautista has really good takedown defence too but is so well rounded when it comes to MMA that he should be considered a threat wherever the fight goes. Jones is more one-dimensional and will likely find himself with his back to the cage and his best path to victory is with that role reversed. Bautista is good enough to avoid takedowns and if he doesn’t, he’s great at getting back to his feet quickly. On the feet, Bautista has a clear advantage and I think he’ll be able to pick Jones off for the victory while standing.
PICK – Mario Bautista via Decision

Uros Medic (6-0) vs Aalon Cruz (8-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A UFC debut for Serbian lightweight Uros Medic as he takes on fellow Contender Series alumni Aalon Cruz. Medic is 6-0 with all finishes in his career, including a knockout against Mikey Gonzalez back in August. Cruz made his UFC debut in February last year where he was knocked out in 85 seconds by Spike Carlyle.

Medic has never gone past the first minute of a second round because of the pure power and aggression he shows in fights. While Cruz is the more weathered fighter who has fought much better competition, he tends to back up in straight lines when defending and when he got cracked by Carlyle his response was less than impressive. He has a huge reach advantage over Medic but he doesn’t really fight in a way that uses it well and if Medic steps forward with the same aggression and clips him early then this could be a short night in ‘The Doctor’s’ favour.
PICK – Uros Medic via Knockout, Round 1

Livinha Souza (14-2) vs Amanda Lemos (8-1-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A strawweight fight between two women who won their only fight in 2020 and will look keep that momentum going in 2021. Souza won her first two fights in the UFC before losing to Brianna Van Buren, but she bounced back with a unanimous decision win over Ashley Yoder at UFC 242. Lemos made it consecutive wins in the same month with her decision win over Mizuki Inoue making her 2-0 since her suspension for a failed drugs test.

Souza’s skillset should see her much higher up in the reckoning of the strawweight world. She has tremendous striking, brilliant jiu-jitsu skills and even some judo throws under her belt with ten stoppage wins in her career paying to that. Lemos is an active striker, with great grappling skills of her own but her volume should see her take this fight. If Souza can’t outwrestle her opponent she seems to panic a bit despite her great skills and she just doesn’t let her hands go. If that’s the case here, Lemos will punish her with strikes and should take the victory.
PICK – Amanda Lemos via Decision

Sean Brady (13-0) vs Jake Matthews (17-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A cracker of a fight at welterweight between the undefeated Sean Brady and ‘The Celtic Kid’ Jake Matthews. Brady made his UFC debut back in 2019 and has gone 3-0, beating Christian Aguilera last time out in August 2020 at UFC Vegas 8. Matthews is a UFC vet despite being only 26 years old and is on a three-fight win streak after beating Diego Sanchez on Fight Island last year at UFC 253.

Brady and Matthews are very similar in style and this should be a competitive match up. Both are good wrestlers with good striking too, but Matthews is more of a finisher on the mat while Brady tends to mix it up a little more. Despite that, Matthews has only had one submission win in the last five years and while he’ll look for the takedowns more Brady is arguably the slightly better wrestler of the two and he has the edge on the feet too. That quality should shine through and Brady should do enough to get a decision win.
PICK – Sean Brady via Decision

Kennedy Nzechukwu (7-1) vs Carlos Ulberg (5-0) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Two relative newcomers to the light heavyweight division meet up on the card where the title is on the line to showcase their skills as prospects. ‘The African Savage’ is 1-1 in the UFC and took all of 2020 off following his last win, while Ulberg is an undefeated prospect making his UFC debut in this game.

Nzechukwu is 6ft 5′ tall and incredibly lengthy when it comes to his striking, while Ulberg is a former professional kickboxer who has transitioned over to MMA and brought those striking skills to the fore with him. Nzechukwu doesn’t like to commit too much and a real lack of volume means he’s in for a torrid time against Ulberg who is quicker, better technically and arguably just as powerful. Ulberg will feint, leg kick and then terrorise Nzechukwu for a spectacular finish.
PICK – Carlos Ulberg via Knockout, Round 2

Tim Elliott (17-11-1) vs Jordan Espinosa (15-8) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A super fun flyweight fight between two guys who could be fighting for their careers in the company. Both Elliott and Espinosa have lost three out of their last four, with Elliot winning against Ryan Benoit last time out on Fight Island after defeats to Deiveson Figueiredo, Askar Askarov and Brandon Royval. Espinosa lost his last fight to David Dvorak at UFC Vegas 11, after beating Mark De La Rosa and losing to Alex Perez and Matt Schnell.

Elliott is a wrestler by trade and always looks to get the takedown and smother his opponents on the ground, while Espinosa is a mobile striker who likes to shoot himself in the foot strategically in fights. Elliott will look to box himself into takedown range and despite Espinosa’s reach and footwork advantage he should be able to push the pace for a relatively comfortable win.
PICK – Tim Elliott via Decision

UFC Vegas 7: Munhoz vs Edgar – Prelims Predictions

The UFC returns to it’s Fight Night schedule this weekend following UFC 252 last week at the APEX Centre in Las Vegas.

11 fights await us on this card, as Frankie Edgar drops down to Bantamweight finally to take on Pedro Munhoz in the main event. Ovince Saint-Preux returns to light heavyweight in the co-main event for a clash with Contender Series contestant Alonzo Meinfield who steps in on short-notice.

Last week at UFC 242: Miocic vs Cormier, I correctly predicted 7/11 on the night with four of the seven completely perfect picks (winner, method, round). I’ll break down this card and try to do better on this occasion than the last.

PRELIMS

Timur Valiev (16-2) vs Mark Striegl (18-2-0 1NC) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

After VISA issues put a hold on Valiev’s debut against Jamal Emmers last month, he now drops down to his natural weight-class to take on fellow debutant in Mark Striegl. Valiev is an excellent striker on the feet and is very, very high volume. Striegl is a wrestler who has 14 submission wins on his record but on the feet he struggles massively. Valiev’s a good scrambler on the ground and good enough to avoid the takedown and then dominate on the feet with his style.
PICK – Timur Valiev via Unanimous Decision

Matt Semelsberger (6-2) vs Carlton Minus (10-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two strikers match up in this welterweight bout where both fighters make their UFC debuts. Carlton Minus’s only defeat was against ex-UFC contender Rick Story in a short notice bout, but prior to that he was dominant in his fights while winning the only fight since via unanimous decision this past February. Semelsberger is an aggressive brawler who’s record isn’t the most impressive but the power in his hands gives him an undeniable path to victory. Minus’ loss saw him be outwrestled and submitted, something that should not be a problem here. Semelsberger will look to close the distance with power punches and while Minus isn’t the most elusive, he should be able to see these punches coming and land counters to secure a comfortable decision win.
PICK – Carlton Minus via Unanimous Decision

Ike Villaneuva (16-10) vs Jordan Wright (10-0) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Ike Villaneuva returns to his natural weight class in this one after he was knocked out by Chase Sherman in his last bout at heavyweight. He was due to take on Jorge Gonzalez but injury means undefeated Jordan Wright steps in on less than a weeks notice. Wright was beaten on Dana Whites’ Contender Series in just 40 secs by Alexander Hernandez, but it was overturned to a no-contest and following that fight and an 18 month hiatus, Wright returned with a stunning second-round KO over jiu-jitsu specialist Gabriel Checco. Both guys will look to slug it out early and will believe their power is enough to put their opponent away, but Wright has a severe speed and athleticism advantage. If he can use that to get in quickly, land and step out he should be able to secure a knockout win.
PICK – Jordan Wright via Knockout, Round 1

Dwight Grant (10-2) vs Calen Born (7-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Dwight Grant is a kung-fu fighter who isn’t fond on throwing volume with his hands despite possessing great power and skill. Born stepped into this fight on just two-days notice and has a good record for submissions with four of his seven wins coming via tap-out. I haven’t seen anything of Born in all honesty, but coming in on such short notice can’t be a good thing and with Grant’s power this is likely to be a short fight anyway. Grant is capable of staying on the feet for long enough to land some big blows and get the win.
PICK – Dwight Grant via Knockout, Round 1

Austin Hubbard (12-4) vs Joe Solecki (9-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A contender for fight of the night as two all-rounders come back into the lightweight scene for this fight. Austin Hubbard fought just two months ago, securing the stoppage win over Max Roshkopf who quit on his stall between rounds after a beating in the second while Joe Solecki is currently on a four-fight win streak. Hubbard is someone who prefers to strike but is comfortable on the ground, while Solecki is the opposite with a black belt in jiu-jitsu. Solecki has enough about him to cause Hubbard trouble on the feet, much like Roshkopf did last time out but with a full camp he won’t be worried about his cardio coming into question. If he does get tired, he has the jiu-jitsu to fall back on and I think that will get him the decision win.
PICK – Joe Solecki via Unanimous Decision

Mizuki Inoue (14-5) vs Amanda Lemos (7-1-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

The headline fight for the prelims sees Amanda Lemos looking for back-to-back wins in the UFC against Mizuki Inoue looking for the same. Inoue’s most recent defeat came in Invicta to Virna Jandiroba, who has taken the UFC by storm including a first-round submission win over Felice Herrig last weekend. Lemos isn’t an unknown by any means but she is definitely less well known than Inoue and that’s for good reason. Lemos has fought for just four minutes in the last three years following a USADA suspension and has now dropped from bantamweight down to strawweight. Inoue is as good a striker and has excellent submission skills, while Lemos has been known to struggle with her cardio in the past. The win in her last fight didn’t show whether she’d conquered those problems because it ended inside the opening round, but if she hasn’t then Inoue will take her into deep waters.
PICK – Mizuki Inoue via Unanimous Decision