Tag Archives: Azamat Murzakanov

UFC San Diego: Vera vs Cruz – Main card predictions

The UFC heads to San Diego, California for a bantamweight banger in the main event between Marlon Vera and former champion Dominick Cruz.

A 13-fight card that has got plenty of fire match ups on it is headlined by the two contenders in the 135-pound division, where a win could put them firmly in title contention for early 2023.

Last week a UFC Vegas 59 we went 7/10 with one perfect pick, moving to 690/1069 (64.55%) with 292 perfect picks (42.32%). You can see our full picks history here.

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


Bruno Silva (22-7) vs Gerald Meerschaert (34-15) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

If this fight goes the distance, I’ll eat my hat. Silva is a knockout artist with 19 wins via KO, including each of his last seven wins. His last win came over Jordan Wright at UFC 269 in just 88 seconds, although he lost his last fight to Alex Pereira via decision. Meerschaert is a stunning jiu-jitsu practitioner with 26 submission wins, including his last three although he also lost his last fight via decision.

Silva is an absolute powerhouse, stepping forward with pressure and lethal boxing combinations to send you into orbit. Meerschaert on the other hand is a brilliant grappler who wants the fight on the mat ASAP, because his striking is absolutely awful. The way this fight goes depends on if his chin holds up.

My bet is that it absolutely won’t. Silva is capable of eating big shots himself and Meerschaert isn’t the most powerful, so he’ll likely be open to taking one to give one. His grappling isn’t useless too and while he’s not on the same level “GM3”, he will be able to hold his own somewhat. It won’t get there though, because Silva takes his head off in the first.
PICK – Bruno Silva via Knockout, Round 1

Priscila Cachoeira (11-4) vs Ariane Lipski (14-7) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very interesting women’s flyweight bout opens up the main card here. Lipski snapped a two-fight losing streak after KO defeats to Antonina Shevchenko (UFC 255) and Montana De La Rosa (UFC Vegas 28) when she beat Mandy Bohm last time out. Cachoeira has won three of her last four with KO wins over Shana Dobson (UFC Vegas 14) and Gina Mazany (UFC 262) as well as a decision last time out against Ji Yeon Kim. She was beaten by Gillian Robertson in the middle of that at UFC 269 via first-round submission.

Lipski is an effective Muay Thai striker with excellent technique, but her power is lacking and she tends to be relatively hesitant to throw. Cachoeira is the opposite, with incredible power and wild technique as she marches forward and takes one to give two. Lipski is by far the more technical, but that means little if she can’t keep Cachoeira away from her as she throws bombs.

Cachoeira will move forward through the lack of power and look to blast her head off with elbows and hooks. If they clinch then Cachoeira is big and strong enough to break away and if it goes to the ground then the Brazilian has the advantage there too. If it’s clean and tidy then Lipski has a chance, but Cachoeira fights rarely are so expect a nasty win.
PICK – Priscila Cachoeira via Knockout, Round 2

Devin Clark (13-6) vs Azamat Murzakanov (11-0) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Light heavyweights go head-to-head in this one up next. Clark bounced back from two consecutive defeats to earn a knockout win over William Knight in his last bout, while Murzakanov is an unbeaten fighter with a flying knee KO win over Tafon Nchukwi in his UFC debut.

Clark is a classic wrestler, who will look to close distance and get on top of you on the mat to control you for 15 minutes. Eight of his 13 career wins have come via the judges. Murzakanov on the other hand is a wild man with incredible strking power, with eight wins via knockout in his career. This is a classic wrestler vs striker fight, but for once I favour the striker.

Clark has struggled big time in the past if he can’t get his wrestling going, and his conditioning has never been his greatest strength. Granted this is Murzakanov’s biggest test of his career, but his power means he can change the fight on it’s head in an instant and he’s capable of going for the full 15. He overcomes a tough first round to land big in the second and earn a big KO win.
PICK – Azamat Murzakanov via Knockout, Round 2



Yazmin Jauregui (8-0) vs Jasmin Lucindo (11-4) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Two women making their UFC debuts on the main card is rare, but this one deserves it. Jauregui is undefeated with six knockout finishes, having made her name in Combate. Lucindo is on a seven-fight win streak with 10 finishes in her career, with three of her last five ending via knockout.

Jauregui is a super talented kickboxer with unbelievable speed and power in her kicks, while her punches carry clean technique and great pop considering the weight division. Lucindo is a grappler by nature with her amazing jiu-jitsu, but she’s also a good wrestler who looks to get into good positions and then rain down ground and pound strikes on her opponent hence the amazing record.

This is a really fun fight in all honesty, especially because both women will be relative unknowns to the majority of the audience. Lucindo will look for a body lock to close the distance and get the fight down, but the speed of Jauregui means she could easily get caught on the counter. Grappling is usually the key though if you can control where the fight goes, but something is telling me Jauregui gets the win here. It’ll be close and entertaining as heck though.
PICK – Yazmin Jauregi via Decision

Nate Landwehr (15-4) vs David Onama (10-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Short-notice co-main event comes together in this one. Landwehr earned a big submission win over Ludovit Klein most recently, to make himself 2-2 in his last four. Onama made it 10 finishes in 10 wins in his career when he stopped Garrett Armfield via submission last month at UFC Vegas 58.

Landwehr is a strong wrestler with excellent submission skills off the mat, despite just one win via tap out in his career. He’s got good power in his hands too, but wrestling is where he tends to go in most of his fights. Onama on the other hand is a tremendous kickboxer with sensational power and speed, as well as picture perfect technique.

Onama needs to keep this simple to win. Keep distance, use his striking to do damage and be focused on avoiding prolonged grappling exchanges. Landwehr needs to make it a gruelling fight where he’s forcing Onama backwards and tiring him out. Onama is such a gifted athlete however and has the striking credentials to be able to do what he needs to do to claim a tidy decision win for the first time in his career.
PICK – David Onama via Decision

Marlon Vera (19-7-1) vs Dominick Cruz (24-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Big time banger at bantamweight headlines this card. Vera is on a great run of three wins in a row since losing to Jose Aldo at UFC Vegas 17, with wins over Davey Grant, Frankie Edgar (UFC 268) and Rob Font most recently. Cruz recovered from his loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 249 to win his next two, beating both Casey Kenney (UFC 259) and Pedro Munhoz (UFC 269) via decision.

Vera is a super well-rounded fighter, with much improved striking skills on show in recent fights to go with some excellent submissions on the mat too. Cruz is an unorthodox striker with top level wrestling in his back pocket too, with super movement making it hard for opponents to get a read on him. Vera will almost certainly take the centre and pressure Cruz, who will look to counter and manoeuvre away from his opponent.

It will be a really fun and close fight, but it’s hard to go against Vera right now with the improvements he’s shown. He’s powerful, a hard kicker, a good grappler and a quick striker too. Cruz has the experience, but both guys are well matched up skill-wise and Vera is the younger and more physical fighter. Expect fireworks early before a cagey affair that Vera is able to claim on the scorecards by way of the bigger shots and more pressure.
PICK – Marlon Vera via Decision

UFC Vegas 50: Santos vs Ankalaev – Early prelims predictions

After a banger of a pay-per-view card last weekend the UFC returns to their APEX in Las Vegas for a big light heavyweight headline fight card as Thiago Santos takes on Magomed Ankalaev in the main event.

The 205-pound division is wide open at the top end and a big win for either man could see them enter title contention in the very near future.

We’ll also see Marlon Moraes take on Song Yadong in a bantamweight co-main event, while the likes of Drew Dober, Terrance McKinney, Miranda Maverick and Alex Pereira competing too in a sneakily stacked card.

Last time out at UFC 272 we went 9/13 with four perfect picks to move to 557/865 (64.39%) with 238 perfect picks (42.73%) with our picks.

We’ll look to improve on that going forward, starting with the early prelims on this 14-fight card here.


Tafon Nchukwi (6-1) vs Azamat Murzakanov (10-0) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An interesting light heavyweight bout opens the card up here. Nchukwi picked up a win in last fight, earning a decision over Mike Rodriguez most recently after suffering the first loss of his career prior to that against Jun Yong Park at UFC Vegas 26. Murzakanov makes his UFC debut in this one as an undefeated fighter.

Nchukwi is an explosive striker with good wrestling skills, but a real lack of speed to go with his karate background. Murzakanov on the other hand is a very quick 205-pounder, with a Sambo background to match up in the grappling and serious power in his hands and feet too. Nchukwi has a big problem with his volume and while a lack of speed isn’t usually too much of an issue in this weight class, Murzakanov is much faster than the average light heavyweight.

Technically on the feet Murzakanov is a better striker, has a serious speed advantage, is just as powerful and can match up (if not better) Nchukwi on the ground. This is all set up for a mightily impressive performance from the debutant to earn a big win.
PICK – Azamat Murzakanov via Knockout, Round 2

Kris Moutinho (9-5) vs Guido Cannetti (8-7) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fan favourite returns looking to get his first win in the UFC in this one. Kris Moutinho earned a boat-load of fans for his heart and performance in defeat to Sean O’Malley on short-notice at UFC 264, while Cannetti returned after one year away to suffer a split-decision loss against Leomana Martinez at UFC Vegas 35 to make it three losses in a row.

Moutinho is a pressure fighter who has a granite chin and undeniable cardio, while Cannetti is a powerful striker with good wrestling but horrendous cardio. The question for this fight is simple; can Cannetti get him out of there in the first round? If not, he’s going to lose this fight.

Moutinho will not stop coming forward and that will wear on Cannetti. ‘Ninja’ could look to earn a takedown or two to get some control, but Moutinho has got some decent takedown defence too. If he fails, that just empties the gas tank quicker and while Moutinho isn’t the most powerful the volume could add up and see him earn a stoppage via accumulation.
PICK – Kris Moutinho via Knockout, Round 3



Dalcha Lungiambula (11-3) vs Cody Brundage (6-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Very interesting middleweight fight up next between two relative UFC newcomers. Lungiambula is 2-2 in the company alternating his wins and losses, with the most recent win coming against Markus Perez at UFC Fight Island 8 and a defeat to Marc-Andre Barriault at UFC Vegas 36. Brundage suffered defeat in his UFC debut to Nick Maximov at UFC 266 via decision.

Lungiambula is a powerhouse who uses looping strikes and patience, while he has a good judo background and a solid leg kick too. Brundage however is a grinding wrestler, which looks to spell big trouble for the former LFA double champion. Lungiambula has a tendency to load up his strikes too much and move backwards towards the cage, which against a wrestler is a formula for trouble.

Brundage does leave his chin exposed sometimes and if he gets caught with a lazy entry then he could very well wake up staring at the ceiling, but the likelihood is that he gets to the hips, gets takedowns and just grinds his way to an impressive decision win.
PICK – Cody Brundage via Decision

Sabina Mazo (9-3) vs Miranda Maverick (11-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very good women’s flyweight bout up next between two hot prospects at 125-pounds. Mazo went 3-1 in her first four UFC fights but has since suffered defeat in each of her last two, dropping a decision to Alexis Davis at UFC Vegas 20 and then being submitted by Mariya Agapova at UFC Vegas 39. Maverick opened her career with a 2-0 start in the UFC, but then suffered short-notice defeats to both Maycee Barber and Erin Blanchfield at UFC 269 in her most recent bouts.

Mazo is a striker but has really struggled to impress in the organisation so far, with even her victories showing her struggles more than her triumphs in the cage. Maverick on the other hand has been the opposite, dominating her opponents while her defeat to barber was controversial and Blanchfield is a stunning prospect in her own right. Stylistically, she is a strong wrestler who is very aggressive with her striking and her pace is relentless. That spells big trouble for ‘Colombian Queen’.

She has struggled badly in the past against wrestle-heavy opponents like Davis, while on the feet she lacks the volume to keep Maverick at range. Despite a big size advantage in height and reach, expect Maverick to overpower Mazo into clinch or wrestling situations to claim an impressive win.
PICK – Miranda Maverick via Decision

UFC Vegas 44: Font vs Aldo – Early prelims predictions

After a two-week break from action, the UFC returns with a very fun 15-fight card at the Apex in Las Vegas for UFC Vegas 44, headlined by two top five bantamweights.

Rob Font will look to break through the glass ceiling and become a genuine title contender when he steps into the octagon against former featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo, who knows a win could set up a dream bout next for himself.

We also get to finally see the exciting bout between Brad Riddell and Rafael Fiziev, while Jimmy Crute and Brendan Allen also return to action on the main card.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 43 we went 6/11 on the night with two perfect picks to move to 482/752 (64.1%) with 202 perfect picks (41.91%).

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


Louis Smolka (17-7) vs Vince Morales (10-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very fun bantamweight bout to open the card here. Smolka is 2-2 in his last four fights, but earned a win over Jose Alberto Quinonez via KO at UFC Vegas 16 last time out, while Morales bounced back from consecutive defeats to earn a decision win over Drako Rodriguez at UFC 265.

Smolka is an excellent grappler with some solid submission skills, earning seven tap-outs wins in his career, while Morales is a technical striker who has a missile of a right hand. This is a fight that is close because they both have glaring advantages over their opponent in different areas and it’s all about where the fight takes place. Smolka’s submission skills mean he will want the fight on the mat, while his ‘kill or be killed’ mindset plays right into Morales’ hands.

With that said, Smolka is notoriously bad at securing takedowns himself and while the fight is on the feet he is in danger of being clipped. Because of that, I expect Morales to be able to keep it standing and land enough power shots to secure a judge’s decision.
PICK – Vince Morales via Decision

Jared Vanderaa (12-6) vs Azamat Murzakanov (10-0) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A heavyweight bout up next with a short-notice opponent stepping in against an undefeated prospect. Vanderaa steps in on a week’s notice to take on UFC debutant Murzakanov after getting stopped by Alexandr Romanov at UFC Vegas 39.

Vanderaa is a power puncher on the feet who is a natural heavyweight fighter, with a six-inch height advantage and a nine-inch reach advantage over Murzakanov in this fight. ‘The Professional’ is a natural light heavyweight fighter who has great power in his hands too and has earned eight stoppage wins from ten career wins. Murzakanov has got excellent footwork and movement, but this size difference is a big thing to overcome.

Thankfully for him, Murzakanov has got excellent wrestling available to him too and that could be the difference here. Vanderaa’s takedown defence is basically non-existent and with the power both guys have, the likelihood is he takes it down to the mat and works him with ground and pound to secure a big debut win.
PICK – Azamat Murzakanov via Knockout, Round 3



Claudio Puelles (11-2) vs Chris Gruetzemacher (15-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The lightweight division is on show in this one to close out the early prelims. Puelles has won three-in-a-row with a decision win over Jordan Leavitt at UFC Vegas 28 most recently following a two-year absence, while Gruetzemacher earned a decision win over Rafa Garcia last time out to get back on the winning trail following a 1-3 run.

Puelles’ record looks good but when you watch the fights in the UFC, they’re less than impressive. He was battered by Felipe Silva before securing a comeback submission, Mariano isn’t UFC calibre and Leavitt was dead on his feet after the first round. He’s still a good submission artist though and has a solid top game. Gruetzemacher is a power puncher with solid wrestling and terrific cardio, which makes this bout a rough time for Puelles.

On the feet Gruetzemacher has a clear edge and Puelles’ takedown game isn’t strong enough to get his top game going here. Overall, Gruetzemacher has a clear edge everywhere unless he ends up under Puelles, so I think Gruetzemacher will be able to slam an exclamation point with this win with a KO.
PICK – Chris Gruetzemacher via Knockout, Round 2

Alonzo Menifield (11-2) vs William Knight (10-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Fireworks at 205lbs in this one as Menifield and Knight finally get to meet after their bout was scrapped twice earlier this year. Menifield earned consecutive wins with a submission of Fabio Cherant at UFC 260 before a decision over Ed Herman at UFC 265, while Knight KO’d Cherant at UFC Vegas 34 following a mauling against Da Un Jung at UFC Vegas 23.

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 while Knight’s ground-game is better, Menifield has changed up his approach in recent fights and fought well from the outside in his most recent bout. It’ll be competitive, but I think Menifield lands a big right hand on a blitzing Knight to secure a KO win.
PICK – Alonzo Menifield via Knockout, Round 2