Tag Archives: Ashley Yoder

UFC Vegas 21: Edwards vs Muhammad – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Matthew Semelsberger def Jason Witt via Knockout, Round 1 (0:16)

HOLY JESUS. Matthew Semelsberger lands a bomb of a right hand after 16 seconds and puts Witt out cold. Goodnight.

Jinh Yu Frey def Gloria De Paula via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Frey comes out with a nice left hand before the two ladies clinch and Frey gets an early takedown. De Paula threatens with an armbar from the bottom but Frey defends well and lands a few nice strikes from top position before a scramble allows her to take De Paula’s back. De Paula defends it well and is able to bring it back to full guard, before landing a couple of elbows from the bottom. Frey controlling the position with ease at the moment from the top although not much action from either fighter as we head into the final 90 seconds. Frey controls the position for the remainder of the round too as the buzzer goes. 10-9 Frey.

Slower start to the round from both women in this one as Frey lands a couple of nice left hands in exchanges. De Paula lands a few leg kicks from distance then goes up top with a nice head kick that lands clean. Frey continues to come forward to close the distance but De Paula doing well to get in and out quickly. De Paula in control of the exchanges on the feet halfway through the round and being first in the exchanges every time. Frey closes the distance and gets a clinch against the cage, but De Paula lands some nasty knees to the body and they separate. De Paula takes the centre now and is landing clean and fast into the final minute. Frey catches a kick but De Paula keeps her balance excellently to deny the takedown and should win the round. 19-19 going into the third.

De Paula comes out and throws her hands quickly once again, then has a kick caught and Frey sweeps her other foot away and gets an early takedown once again. Frey passes into half guard but De Paula threatens with a kimura grip, which allows Frey to pass into mount. De Paula tries to explode out but Frey takes the back and looks to sink in a rear naked choke. Frey staying composed on the back of De Paula who isn’t looking to get back to her feet at all as we enter the final minute. Frey gets the arm under the chin and tries for a one-armed choke but De Paula does really well to defend it and see the round out. Clear 29-28 win for Frey.

JJ Aldrich def Cortney Casey via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Aldrich takes the centre of the cage early on and has Casey circling the outside for the first 40-odd seconds before she engages in a clinch against the cage. Casey is able to stay strong and Aldrich separates, a big boost for Casey. Aldrich landing lots of leg kicks early on but Casey retaliates with some nice knees and a right hook as they clinch up once again. Casey charges forward once again with a flurry but Aldrich shoots and gets the takedown. Casey tries to threaten with a triangle and while Aldrich defends it will and lands a bit of ground and pound, Casey gets back to her feet. Aldrich gets it down again with a guillotine attempt in the final 30 seconds but Casey defends well and sees out the round. 10-9 Casey for me.

Casey looks stronger on the feet so far and she lands a big right hand that wobbles Aldrich! Casey follows it up with a head kick attempt that Aldrich catches and then Casey tries to jump on the back but ends up on the ground with Aldrich on top of her. Casey landing some nice strikes from the bottom but Aldrich now has wrist control after eating those shots and starts landing some huge ground and pound strikes with her left hand. Casey works her way back up to her feet against the cage with 90 seconds to go and throws two big right hooks that are blocked. Aldrich throws a right hook and then shoots in for another takedown with 20 seconds to go and gets it to end the round on top. 19-19 for me.

Final round and Aldrich comes forward again to get Casey backing up and she lands a nice one-two. Aldrich continues to push forward but Casey lands a couple of jabs nicely too. Big right hook and left straight from Casey lands and rocks Aldrich’s head back. A big exchange from the two sees them both landing well as we hit the halfway point. Aldrich lands a jab and then Casey turns away to move and Aldrich throws a big left straight down the pipe. Casey throws a hook that just misses and then Aldrich changes levels with a beautiful takedown. Casey gets back to her feet against the cage but Aldrich maintains a body lock until Casey is able to break the grip and separate. Casey comes forward with flurries again and is landing hard shots. Spinning back kick from Aldrich lands in Casey’s nether-regions and the referee pauses the fight with three seconds to go. Super close round, I’ve got it 29-28 Aldrich just.

PRELIMS

Nasrat Haqparast def Rafa Garcia via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Good start to the round for the debutant as Garcia takes the centre of the octagon and starts looking to land strikes through the guard of Haqparast. Lots of feelers and blocked strikes from both as Haqparast throws a very heavy left hand that that is partially blocked too. Garcia shoots in for a takedown against the cage but Haqparast denies him, but Garcia lands a nice knee to the body on the break. Garcia fakes a takedown and throws a huge overhand right that lands flush and wobbles Haqparast, but he recovers quickly and keeps going. Great rip to the body from Haqparast but Garcia backs him against the cage and throws a nice elbow that just misses too. Garcia goes for two more takedowns against the cage but they get stuffed well too as the round ends. 10-9 Garcia but it’s a close round.

Garcia comes out quickly in the second round once again and puts the pressure on against the cage well. Garcia lands a couple of nice hooks but Haqparast stays composed and starts digging to the body with some great punches. Nice elbow from Haqparast lands and Garcia comes forward with a right hand of his own. Haqparast lands two nice left hands and Garcia charges forward again with jabs and front kicks to the body. Haqparast denies a takedown attempt and then lands a left hand, before throwing Garcia to the floor with a judo throw. Great uppercut lands from Haqparast but Garcia continues to walk forward with jabs, before Haqparast lands a big body kick too. Big front kick to the body again from Haqparast who denies another takedown on the buzzer. 19-19 for me, but could be 20-18 Haqparast.

Garcia looks a bit slower in this final round but is still coming forward with intensity. Haqparast has started finding his timing now though and lands a great elbow followed by an uppercut and hook that land clean. Another elbow and uppercut from Haqparast lands as Garcia continues to come forward, but Haqparast throwing body kicks hard that are slowing Garcia down more and more. Straight left lands against for Haqparast as Garcia is bleeding now and getting picked apart on the feet. Garcia lands a nice right hand as we enter the final minute of the round and they exchange kicks. Big head kick from Haqparast twice lands but he doesn’t get the finish as the round ends. 29-27 for me.

Rani Yahya def Ray Rodriguez via Submission (Head and Arm Choke), Round 2 (3:09)

Fast start as Rodriguez goes for a head kick off the bat and then lands a straight right in an exchange, but Yahya goes straight for a body lock looking for a takedown and eventually gets it. Yahya with heavy top pressure, landing some nice ground and pound but really just trying to maintain position from half guard. Yahya looking to move into side control with great shoulder pressure but abandons it after decent defence from Rodriguez. Final minute now and Rodriguez manages to get into full guard for a few seconds before Yahya looks to lock up a head and arm choke with 20 seconds left but Rodriguez defends well and survives the round. 10-9 Yahya, easily.

Rodriguez opens the second round with some nice boxing once again, keeping a distance and doing well but he backs up to the cage and Yahya gets another takedown at the first attempt once again. Straight back into half guard once again and Yahya starts threatening with the head and arm choke early on. Rodriguez tries to explode up with the butterfly guard but Yahya jumps over it, gets back into half guard and passes to the other side. He sinks in the head and arm choke and forces Rodriguez to tap. Beautiful performance from Yahya.

Charles Jourdain def Marcelo Rojo via Knockout, Round 3 (4:31)

Fun start to the first round as both men trade hard kicks to begin, with Jourdain throwing lots of head kicks. Rojo throws a right hook that misses and then they clinch, with both men landing nice knees before Jourdain separates. Nice left hand from Rojo looking to counter but just misses, then Jourdain lands a nice uppercut in the clinch. Rojo throwing lots of knees in the clinch towards the face, but they’re not quite landing yet. Rojo lands a leg kick that drops Jourdain, then lands a one-two as Jourdain gets back to his feet. Very even round as we head into the final 90 seconds and Rojo throws a nice flurry that lands nicely before looking to rip Jourdain’s body with a left hook. Jourdain retaliates with nice body shots in the clinch before the round ends. 10-9 Rojo for me but genuinely could go either way.

Rojo comes out hard in the second round and throwing some hard shots and combinations that either graze or just miss Jourdain. Strong leg kick is responded to by Jourdain with a great jab, who then lands a big right hook. A close exchange sees Jourdain accidentally eye-poke Rojo which forces a pause in the action but they get back to it quickly with flurries. Jourdain catches a kick and lands a big body shot and right hook, before Rojo charges forward and lands a big three-punch combo to the head, followed by a knee and body shot. Clinch against the cage is a stalemate and Rojo looks for a spinning elbow on the break. Snappy jab from Jourdain lands flush but Rojo continues to come forward and just misses with that big knee again. Jourdain eats some big leg kicks and responds with a huge flying knee that lands! He lands a couple of big hooks too with Rojo rocked but he survives the round. Another close one, 19-19 for me.

Fast start for Jourdain in this final round as he comes forward and puts the pressure on Rojo immediately, landing his left hand a lot. Rojo is considerably slower now and Jourdain is picking him apart, then lands a huge left hand down the middle that drops him! Jourdain jumps on him and looks for the ground and pound finish, then runs and jumps off the cage to continue the strikes. Heavy shots on the ground but Rojo is tiring and Jourdain is landing big. Jourdain lets Rojo back up and they start throwing haymakers against each other looking for a finish. Jourdain keeps pounding away and lands another left hand that drops Rojo and the referee ends it! What a performance!

Angela Hill def Ashley Yoder via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Competitive start to the fight with Hill looking to land straight rights and Yoder landing some nice kicks so far. Hill has the centre of the cage and is feinting the body shots, then shoots in against the cage for a clinch. Hill lands some nice knees before Yoder looks for a head and arm throw but it’s well defended by Hill. Hill responds with a huge elbow and then goes back to the clinch before they separate with about 90 seconds to go in the round. Hill controlling the range right now and landing shots freely and has a big speed advantage to get in and out, avoiding the attacks of Yoder. Hill steps in with a front kick to the body then lands three huge overhand rights that rock Yoder! She goes for a finish and takes Yoder down but she recovers enough to see out the round. 10-9 Hill.

More of the same in this second round as Hill takes the centre and looks to land body kicks and overhand rights. Yoder can’t get close enough for the takedown and is getting picked apart on the feet. Hill lands a big straight right hand once again that snaps Yoder’s head back and she’s in total control right now. Hill goes for a clinch and lands some nice knees to the body, with Yoder starting to slow down a bit. Hill lands more right hands and now is chopping down the legs of Yoder. Big knee to the body followed by a kick and Yoder is hurting. Flurry of punches to the head and Yoder is surviving right now, then Hill goes for a knee to the body and Yoder catches it and secures a takedown to end the round on top. 20-18 Hill.

Yoder comes out like a bull in a china shop looking to close the distance and get a takedown but Hill immediately out-muscles her, clinches up and starts landing big knees to the body against the cage. Hill just too strong physically for Yoder and completely dominating the position and pace of the fight. Big punch to the body again from Hill before another clinch and some more nasty Muay Thai knees to the body allow Yoder to overpower her onto the floor. Yoder controls the position from the top and is fighting Hill well, but Hill is too strong and gets back to the feet and lands more knees again. Round comes to an end with Hill landing two big right hands to take a wide decision. Great performance. 30-27 Hill.

MAIN CARD

Eryk Anders vs Darren Stewart – NO CONTEST (Illegal knee)

Lots of feelers being put out by both guys early on with feints and flicks before Stewart lands a nice left hand. A good exchange between the two and it’s Stewart who comes out on top once again, as he starts showboating a little. Anders shoots in for a takedown but Stewart does well to defend it and the battle in the clinch. Stewart lands some good knees but then Anders lands a huge left hand that rocks him! Anders lands some huge punches and drops Stewart but the Brit continues to fight back. Anders throws an illegal knee (d’oh!) against the cage and the referee stops the fight. Stewart tries to continue but the doctor calls the fight off. No contest called.

Matheus Nicolau def Manel Kape via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Fun start to the fight as both men look to feint early. Nicolau lands an immediate leg kick that hurts Kape but he continues to come forward with jabs and leg kicks of his own. Nicolau being more explosive and faster right now and Kape falling into the same trap as his first fight by being not active enough. Nicolau gets a takedown and Kape is able to work his way back to the feet and slip out of a guillotine attempt. Nicolau gets another takedown and ends the round on top. 10-9 Nicolau.

Second round and Kape comes out with more urgency this time. Big left uppercut lands and rocks Nicolau early! He follows it up with a couple of other shots and when he’s landing he’s hurting Nicolau. He stuffs a takedown attempt and comes forward again, but this time Nicolau lands a big hook of his own. Kape lands a leg kick and then a knee followed by a right hand that lands flush. Kape walking Nicolau down against the cage and letting strikes flow but Nicolau shoots for a power double across the cage and gets him down, but Kape bounces straight back up. Nicolau tries to launch forward with a left hand but misses and Kape counters with a right hook. 19-19, much better.

Kape takes the centre in the third round and is letting his hands go again. Kape throws a nice leg kick but Nicolau throws a nice left hand that lands on the forehead. Kape stings him with a nice jab and then lands a nice counter right hook again. Nicolau goes for a takedown but Kape stuffs it brilliantly and stands back up immediately. Nicolau gets back up and drops Kape with a leg kick and starts landing with a lot of volume. Big hooks and straight land but Kape replies with a right hook well. Final minute and Kape throws a head kick then follows it up with a left hook. He stuffs two takedown attempts brilliantly and is throwing big combinations too. Huge flying knee lands from Kape and then he follows it up with another to the body! Nicolau lands a spinning back elbow as the round ends! Super close round but I think Kape edges it. 29-28.

Davey Grant def Jonathan Martinez via Knockout, Round 2 (3:03)

Good start to the round from Grant as he comes forward well and applies pressure with lots of strikes and kicks. Martinez happy to stand and trade with him and throws an excellent leg kick to hurt Grant. Grant continues with spinning kick attacks and high kicks but Martinez is countering really well with his fast hands. Grant with a switch step and a big right hook but it’s well blocked by Martinez. Big leg kick from Martinez again but Grant keeping the pressure on with kicks from range and heavy hooks. Huge left hook from Martinez lands on the chin and Grant gets dropped! Martinez looks to land some ground and pound but the round ends and allows Grant a chance to recover. 10-9 Martinez.

Grant comes out nice and aggressive in the second round and continues to chop away at the leg, before Grant lands a right hand on the chin. Grant continues to come forward with flurries and then shoots in for a takedown but Martinez defends it brilliantly. Grant lands another right hand and is throwing combinations now just to touch him and is stopping Martinez from throwing anything significant because of the pace. Grant throws a body shot and left hook and Martinez is OUT!! Grant follows it up with an extra shot but it’s all over! Wow!

Dan Ige def Gavin Tucker via Knockout, Round 1 (0:22)

DAN IGE!!! ONE PUNCH KNOCKOUT!! HOLY COW!

Ryan Spann def Misha Cirkunov via Knockout, Round 1 (1:11)

Fast start to the round from both fighters as they exchange jabs and kicks, as Cirkunov lands a low blow by accident after 30 seconds. A short pause and they get to it again and Spann lands a straight right hand that drops Cirkunov! He goes for the ground and pound but Cirkunov kicks him off and so Spann makes him get back to the feet. Spann stays calm and then lands a big punch on the side of the head that drops him again and after some ground and pound the referee waves it off! Huge KO for Ryan Spann!

Leon Edwards vs Belal Muhammad – NO CONTEST (Accidental eye poke)

Tentative start to the fight as Edwards takes the centre of the cage and forces Muhammad backwards immediately, landing a body kick and following up with a big one two. Edwards goes for a takedown against the cage but Muhammad clinches up and reverses the position well before they separate. Edwards throws a head kick and wobbles Muhammad! Edwards throws some wild hooks but Muhammad blocks them all and then Edwards shoots for a takedown but once again it’s denied well by Belal. Body kick from Muhammad lands nicely but it’s Edwards pushing the pace and pressuring forwards. Big one-two from Edwards lands again and wobbles Muhammad before the buzzer goes to end the round. 10-9 Edwards.

Second round starts and both guys are aggressive early on. Edwards goes to throw a head kick and his hand accidentally pokes Muhammad in the eye as it lands. Muhammad goes down screaming and crying, saying he can’t see anything. Herb Dean waves the fight off almost immediately and it’s another no contest.

UFC Vegas 21: Edwards vs Muhammad – Prelims predictions

It’s finally a Leon Edwards fight week! After almost two years away from the cage for several reasons, the Briton returns to the octagon to take on short-notice opponent Belal Muhammad in the main event.

Edwards has been promised a title shot with a big performance and knows that just winning isn’t enough, while Muhammad will be keen to show he does belong in there and isn’t just a late replacement.

Elsewhere on the card former RIZIN champion Manel Kape looks to avenge his disappointing debut with a quick turnaround against Matheus Nicolau in the flyweight division.

Last weekend at UFC 259 we managed to go 10/15 on our predictions with four perfect picks to take our total up to 250/395 (63.29%) with 112 perfect picks (44.8%).

We will look to improve that further with this 13 fight card and having already predicted the early prelims here, lets move on to the rest of the preliminary bouts.


Nasrat Haqparast (12-3) vs Rafa Garcia (12-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A truly exciting lightweight fight between ‘Baby Gastelum’ Nasrat Haqparast against undefeated debutant Rafa Garcia in a short-notice fight. Haqparast won his last fight against Alex Munoz at UFC Vegas 6 and was scheduled to fight Arman Tsarukyan at UFC 257 before failing to weigh in. Rafa Garcia makes his UFC debut after over a year away from the cage, coming in as a highly rated grappler.

Haqparast has great hand speed and fantastic footwork and while his takedown defence isn’t phenomenal, his ability to get back to his feet after being taken down is. He has good power in his hands too with nine knockout wins in his career. Garcia is a fighter who pushes a crazy pace and hunts his opponents down for a takedown so he can work his tremendous submission game, as his seven wins by tap-out show. He has decent striking too and much like Kamaru Usman, uses his strikes to back you up to the cage and put you on the mat.

It’s a really good match up where both men’s strengths compliment their opponents but the stand up skills of Haqparast and the fact he was in a full camp already mean I lean his way. He’s got great boxing and a power advantage and as the fight goes on, the cardio will have a big say.
PICK – Nasrat Haqparast via Knockout, Round 3

Rani Yahya (26-10-1) vs Ray Rodriguez (16-7) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An intriguing bantamweight bout between two MMA veterans at completely different ends of their UFC career. Yahya has been with the UFC since 2011 but hasn’t won either of his last two fights going back to 2018 after losing to Ricky Simon and then fighting to a draw with Enrique Barzola in March 2020. Rodriguez made his UFC debut on short notice back in September and was submitted in just 39 seconds by Brian Kelleher.

That doesn’t bode well for Rodriguez, who comes up against a jiu-jitsu master in Yahya in this one. Yahya has won 20 of his fights via submission with 12 of those coming in the first round. His game plan is always the same, ambush his opponent with multiple takedown attempts and use technique to get an early submission until he’s too tired – and then just don’t get KO’d in the hope he doesn’t lose a third round 10-8. Against Rodriguez, that should work considering his not-so-great takedown defence and poor submission defence.
PICK – Rani Yahya via Submission, Round 1

Charles Jourdain (10-3-1) vs Marcelo Rojo (16-7) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An absolute banger at featherweight as a short-notice bout comes together for ‘Air’ Jourdain and debutant Marcelo Rojo. Jourdain’s UFC tenure has been more than interesting, going 1-2-1 in his four bouts, with a defeat to Andre Fili at UFC Vegas 2 before a draw against Joshua Culibao back in October. Rojo originally stepped in to face Raoni Barcelos on short-notice, only for Barcelos to drop out and this fight to be made and he will finally return to the cage for the first time since September 2019.

Both guys like to come out and fight fire with fire, throwing bombs and looking to knock their opponent out with power. Both hit hard and have skills on the ground with 24 finishes in their career but prefer to keep the bout on the feet. Jourdain seemingly has the power advantage and has fought in the UFC before although his run hasn’t been good. Neither will look to wrestle but the cardio is also in Jourdain’s favour so with Rojo stepping up a weight-class to fight a bigger and better fighter than he has before, I think Jourdain edges it in a fight of the night contender.
PICK – Charles Jourdain via Knockout, Round 3

Angela Hill (12-9) vs Ashley Yoder (8-6) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A rematch made on short notice in the women’s strawweight division. These two met back in 2017 in the TUF finale, with Hill getting a decision win. Fast forward to now, Hill fought four times in 2020 and went 2-2, with back-to-back defeats against Claudia Gadelha and Michelle Waterson in controversial fashion. Yoder went 1-1 in 2020, losing to Livinha Souza at UFC 252 before bouncing back with a win over Miranda Granger in November.

Despite their close fight the first time around, I can’t see this one being as competitive. Hill is the better striker by a distance and has improved her ground game to a point where she can stuff the takedowns of some of the better wrestlers in the division and fight off her back and get back to her feet well. Yoder will try to get this fight to the ground to add to her four submission wins, but Hill is just too advanced now and should get a pretty comfortable win.
PICK – Angela Hill via Decision

UFC Vegas 20: Rozenstruik vs Gane – Prelims predictions

Part two of the UFC heavyweight main events in Vegas takes place this weekend as Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane clash in the octagon in the Apex.

After a big card last weekend saw Derrick Lewis knockout Curtis Blaydes in the second round while Tom Aspinall, Chris Dauakaus and Serghei Spivac all picked up wins in the heavyweight division too, Gane looks to assert himself as the king of the new gen by moving to 8-0 against a man who was on a war path until recently.

Last week we went 6/12 for predictions with just two perfect picks, taking us to 236/371 (63.61%) with 106 (44.92%) perfect picks since starting in June 2020. We’ll look to improve that this weekend with a fun 12 fight card, starting with the seven prelim fights here.


EARLY PRELIMS

Dustin Jacoby (13-5) vs Maxim Grishin (31-8-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
**Maxim Grishin weighed in 3.5lbs over the weight limit of 206lbs**

A fun light heavyweight clash to open the night between two fighters looking to make it back-to-back wins in the UFC. Jacoby won on the Contender Series back in August, before finishing Justin Ladet in October on his debut via leg kicks and punches. Grishin on the other hand tried his luck at heavyweight on his debut and got beaten by Marcin Tybura, but recovered at 205lbs with a knockout win over Gadzhimurad Antigulov on Fight Island.

Jacoby is a solid striker who had a few cardio issues during his Contender Series bout, but considering it was only his second MMA bout since 2015 you can probably make a case of exception. Grishin is a talented kickboxer with great conditioning and a huge experience advantage. It’s a pretty even contest and one that will likely go the distance, but considering the cardio issues in the past and the level of inactivity I think Grishin can sneak a decision win here.
PICK – Maxim Grishin via Decision

Vince Cachero (7-3) vs Ronnie Lawrence (6-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An intriguing fight between two guys looking for their first UFC wins as Cachero takes on Lawrence. Cachero was 1-2 in his last three LFA fights before taking a super-late notice fight with Jamall Emmers up in the featherweight division in August, being dominated to a wide decision defeat. Lawrence on the other hand got a dominant decision go his way on the Contender Series despite being a huge underdog.

Lawrence is a super talented wrestler, who has a gas tank for days and secured a dozen takedowns in his last fight. That doesn’t bode well with Cachero struggling in the past against people who are great wrestlers. That said, Cachero is a powerful striker and Lawrence sometimes throws lazy shots which could give him a chance to land some valuable strikes. Despite that, I think Lawrence is able to get the takedowns he wants and secures a decision win for a debut victory.
PICK – Ronnie Lawrence via Decision

PRELIMS

William Knight (9-1) vs Alonzo Menifield (9-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

This will be fireworks in the 205lbs division. William Knight is on a three-fight win streak currently, including his most recent win in his UFC debut against Aleksa Camur at UFC 253. Menifield on the other hand has lost his last two fights in the UFC, losing a decision to Devin Clark at UFC 250 before getting knocked out by Ovince Saint-Preux in September.

Knight’s striking isn’t the cleanest and his offensive wrestling isn’t the most impressive, but he uses his brute strength in clinch situations to get the fight down to the ground and then unleash violent ground and pound. Menifield is a bit more well rounded but seems to lack some cage IQ and struggles to make in-fight adjustments. He seemed shocked by the strength of OSP and if that’s the case, then Knight could blow him out of the water.

That said it’s a 50/50 fight between these two and I think the ground game of Knight and the fact he’s been to a judges decision before and won is a positive. It’s a solid match up and I think Knight just edges a good, competitive bout.
PICK – William Knight via Knockout, Round 2

Alexis Davis (19-10) vs Sabina Mazo (9-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fight between two women at completely different points of their UFC careers in the women’s bantamweight division. Davis is a UFC veteran who has lost her last three fights by decision to Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia and Viviane Araujo most recently back in 2019. Mazo on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak, beating Shana Dobson, JJ Aldrich and Justine Kish last time out in September 2020.

Davis is a solid grappler, even fighting her way to a title shot back in the day against Ronda Rousey. She has eight submission wins on her record, plus two knockouts too. Mazo is a fantastic kickboxer with some great wrestling defence and she has a decent ground game herself, winning her last fight by rear naked choke. The ‘Colombian Queen’ is only 23, but she’s super busy and has good footwork and I think she should be able to deny the takedowns and land enough on the feet to get a win.
PICK – Sabina Mazo via Decision

Alex Oliveira (22-9-1) vs Ramazan Kuramagomedov (8-0) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A highly anticipated short-notice debut for Kuramagomedov as he takes on the wily veteran ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira. Oliveira has lost four of his last six fights, including his most recent to Shavkat Rakhmonov via a first-round submission at UFC 254. Kuramagomedov got a win against Jordan Williams on the Contender Series back in 2019 but didn’t get signed, but has maintained his unbeaten record and now gets a big chance on five days’ notice.

Oliveira is a powerful striker but he has relatively low output in most bouts and likes to get top control to reserve his energy until the later rounds. Kuramagomedov is a versatile striker with a suffocating top game too, who focuses heavily on leg attacks to make the takedowns a bit easier. When someone fires back with lots of volume, like Williams did on the Contender Series, then his defence gets called into question. This fight is unlikely to go that way though, with the Russian able to outland on the feet with his volume and he’s the considerably better wrestler too.

Kuramagomedov should be able to get the win here, but you can never rule out Oliveira in a fight like this.
PICK – Ramazan Kuramagomedov via Decision

Alexander Hernandez (12-3) vs Thiago Moises (14-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A really exciting lightweight bout as the featured prelim in this one between two of the better prospects in the division. Hernandez started his UFC run with knockout wins over Beneil Dariush and Olivier Aubin-Mercier, before being stopped in his tracks by Donald Cerrone. His last fight was a knockout win over Chris Gruetzemacher in October. Moises is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with unbelievable grappling skills who has never been stopped in his career, winning his last two fights against Michael Johnson and Bobby Green in October.

Hernandez has all the tools to win here. He’s a powerful striker and loves to take the centre of the cage, with excellent wrestling defence and a fantastic gas tank. Moises struggles off his back foot and will look to get his hands on Hernandez to bring the fight down to the ground. If Hernandez stays aggressive like he has in all his UFC wins so far and fights on the front foot, he gets the win. Unfortunately, I don’t think he does so Moises should do enough for the victory.
PICK – Thiago Moises via Decision

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

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

The card will proceed with nine fights.*

PRELIMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAIN CARD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UFC Vegas 14: Felder vs Dos Anjos – Prelims Predictions

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

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

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

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

EARLY PRELIMS

Don’Tale Mayes (7-4) vs Roque Martinez (15-6-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Two big heavyweights coming off the back of defeats in the UFC looking to finally make their way onto the win column. Mayes is a power puncher who finally got a contract with a win in Dana White’s Contender Series at the third attempt last year before being submitted by Cyril Gane and Rodrigo Nascimento. Martinez made his short notice debut against Alexander Romanov back in September and was rag-dolled for two rounds before being choked out by the hugely impressive prospect. Both these guys are brawlers and Mayes has a huge eight inch height advantage and ten inch reach advantage, as well as more power. Martinez has the better technique but with such physical disadvantages, he eventually gets clipped and put out for a quick night.
PICK – Don’Tale Mayes via Knockout, Round 1

Tony Graveley (19-6) vs Geraldo De Freitas (12-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

After entering the UFC on an 11-1 streak thanks to a stoppage victory on Dana White’s Contender Series, Tony Graveley looks to get his first win in the organisation proper when he takes on Geraldo De Freitas. De Freitas himself entered the UFC having not lost since 2015 but was ultimately pipped in his last fight in a controversial split decision loss to Chris Gutierrez. Graveley should have the advantage in this fight in most areas. He’s an excellent wrestler and keeps a tremendous pace, while also having the skills on the feet to stand with anyone in and around him in the division. De Freitas has a tendency to drop his hands low when anticipating takedown attempts, so Graveley has many paths to victory and I think he’ll be able to get top position at some point and land enough ground and pound for a wide decision win.
PICK – Tony Graveley via Decision

PRELIMS

Randa Markos (10-9-1) vs Kanako Murata (11-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

‘Quiet Storm’ Randa Markos puts her winning record on the line in a short notice fight against Invicta strawweight champion Kanako Murata. Murata is a stud amateur wrestler who has eeked her way to a super 11-1 record and is currently on a seven-fight win streak. Markos is a grapple heavy fighter who alternated wins and losses religiously until she was beaten twice in a row earlier this year by Amanda Ribas and then Mackenzie Dern in September. This is a big step up in competition for Murata, depending on which version of Markos shows up. If the passive, reactionary version shows up then Murata should land takedowns and dominate from top position for three rounds. If the aggressive and determined version shows up then this will be a very evenly contested fight. Solely due to the short notice factor, I fear the former shows up and Murata gets a statement win in her UFC debut.
PICK – Kanako Murata via Decision

Louis Smolka (16-7) vs Jose Quinonez (8-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A bantamweight clash between two guys trying to find their standing in the division. Louis Smolka, who has been around forever but mainly as a flyweight, is a submission starlet who also carries power in his hands. After leaving the UFC off a four-fight skid, he returned after winning his next three and has since alternated wins and losses. He lost his most recent fight to Casey Kenney back in May when he was submitted in the first round. Jose Quinonez has an interesting record where he is 5-3 in the UFC but none of the guys he has beaten are still with the company, while his defeats have come to contenders in Alejandro Perez, Nathaniel Wood and Sean O’Malley. Overall, Quinonez has the advantage on the feet and physically is the bigger man. He’s got good wrestling chops too but Smolka is good enough on the ground to wrap up a submission if he is successful with just a single takedown attempt. It should be a back and forth fight but I believe Quinonez will be able to land more and more significantly throughout the 15 minutes for a big win.
PICK – Jose Quinonez via Decision

Alex Morono (17-6) vs Rhys McKee (10-3-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

After being run over by Khamzat Chimaev back in July, Rhys McKee returns to the octagon to take on UFC veteran Alex Morono. McKee had won three in a row before his short-notice UFC debut against Chimaev and is a very well rounded fighter. He has good jiu-jitsu and great stand up, while his long frame makes him awkward to fight against. His issue is he lacks true power. Morono is also well rounded and has a lot more experience in his pocket. He’s got a massive edge in wrestling, with a power advantage on the feet too. The fact he has these advantages here mean he essentially controls where this fight goes and while McKee definitely has a chance if he can keep the fight standing, it’s hard to go against Morono in this one.
PICK – Alex Morono via Decision

Ashley Yoder (7-6) vs Miranda Granger (7-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

This might be the most even fight in women’s MMA history. Both women are 5ft 7′ with just an inch difference in reach (in Yoder’s favour) and with almost identical fighting styles. Yoder has lost five of her last seven in the UFC, including her last two but her record looks much worse on paper than it should. Four of those losses came in very competitive decisions against Angela Hill, Mackenzie Dern, Randa Markos and Livinha Souza who are all top fighters in their own right. Granger on the other hand was 7-0 going into her last bout, where she was stopped by Amanda Lemos by submission in the first round. Yoder will look to get the fight to the ground and control with her top game while Granger tends to use her frame and range better, despite a slight disadvantage in this fight. It’s really a case of who implements their game better early on and because of how close they are I think the fact Granger is capable of using her range more will help her get the decision win.
PICK – Miranda Granger via Decision

Brendan Allen (15-3) vs Sean Strickland (21-3) – (Catchweight/195lbs)

Potentially the fight of the night as Brendan Allen and Sean Strickland meet in a short notice catchweight bout. Allen was supposed to fight Ian Heinisch last weekend but a positive COVID-19 test scrapped the fight at the last minute. Strickland won two weeks ago in a thriller of a fight against Jack Marshman, where he showed a new level to his striking game to get the comfortable decision win. Allen is a phenom on the ground, with 8 submission wins on his record while also capable on his feet while Strickland is just as good on the ground. The new level of striking Strickland showed with his combinations and power could be a big, big problem for Allen and after a win so recently he will be flying high on momentum. It’s a really, really tough fight to call but I think Allen is going to be pumped up for this. He will be coming up against a similar style to the one he was scheduled to fight last week and will be fresher than Strickland too. It really is a toss up but I’m going with Brendan Allen in fight of the night.
PICK – Brendan Allen via Decision