Tag Archives: Brad Tavares

UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the T-Mobile Arena for UFC 276 for a double-header title fight event in what looks like one of the best cards of the year.

In the main event middleweight champion Israel Adesanya defends his title against ‘Tha Killa Gorilla’ Jared Cannonier, while Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway go head-to-head for a third time for the featherweight title in the co-main event.

We’ll also see the likes of Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira face off, while all of Robbie Lawler, Sean O’Malley, Maycee Barber, Brad Riddell, Jalin Turner and Dricus Du Plessis will all fight too.

We’ve had a few weeks off for picks due to a holiday, but our last time out at UFC 275 saw us go 7/11 with five perfect picks, moving us to 635/987 (64.33%) with 273 perfect picks (42.99%). You can view our full picks record here.

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


Brad Tavares (19-7) vs Dricus Du Plessis (16-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A really fun middleweight bout up next on this stacked card. Tavares is on a two-fight win streak after earning decisions against Antonio Carlos Jr (UFC 257) and Omari Akhmedov (UFC 264), while Du Plessis is on a four-fight win streak including winning both of his UFC bouts against Markus Perez and Trevin Giles via knockout.

Tavares is a boxer who uses thunderous leg kicks to hurt his opponents and works his jab well to maintain distance and keep his volume up. Du Plessis on the other hand is a powerful striker who likes to use his wrestling game to get top position and work a dominant ground and pound game.

It’s unlikely that game will find the success it usually does here, because Tavares has got excellent takedown defence. He stands tall, keeps his balance and uses his strength well. But on the feet however, Du Plessis is usually able to cause chaos and that suits him. “Stillknocks” has got a lethal left hook and his kicking game is solid too, and considering Tavares has been KO’d three times in the past I expect him to get caught with one of those big left hands to close the show early.
PICK – Dricus Du Plessis via Knockout, Round 2

Ian Garry (9-0) vs Gabe Green (11-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The next Irish hope is back for another UFC pay-per-view bout. Garry is an undefeated prospect and has won both of his UFC bouts to date, knocking out Jordan Williams (UFC 268) and then earning a unanimous decision against Darian Weeks. Green on the other hand is on a two-fight win streak earning a decision over Phillip Rowe (UFC 258) and then knocking out Yohan Lainesse most recently.

Garry is a brilliant kickboxer with incredibly fast counter strikes, and great power and accuracy reminiscent of his idol Conor McGregor. He has solid takedown defence too and is capable of working off his back if needs be too. Green alternatively is a powerhouse who likes to use aggression to cause damage, but he’s got problems in this match up. His wrestling is iffy, his takedown defence is poor and while he has great power in his hands he tends to lead with his chin.

That type of stylistic match up is a problem for Green, because Garry will use his movement and counters perfectly to land heavy shots and test the chin. If that doesn’t work, he has his judo black belt to fall back on too. Green could catch him clean and end it, but it’s far more likely that Garry does that to him.
PICK – Ian Garry via Knockout, Round 1



Jim Miller (34-16) vs Donald Cerrone (36-16) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two old school veterans going head-to-head on short notice for the right to say they have the most wins in UFC history. Miller is on a two-fight win streak earning back-to-back knockouts against Erick Gonzalez and Nikolas Motta, while Cerrone is winless in his last six fights with five losses and a no contest (originally a draw). Cerrone steps in on two week’s notice and goes up to welterweight for this fight.

Miller is a wizard in the jiu-jitsu world with 18 career submission wins, but he’s got a lot of new-found power since the first time these two fought in 2014. Cerrone is a technical striker who also has great jiu-jitsu skills, but it’s his body kicks that do the most damage to his opponents. The problem for ‘Cowboy’ is that he simply doesn’t have a chin anymore.

As soon as he gets hit flush he seems to react badly and curl up, and Miller has got a new love for landing heavy strikes accurately on his opponent’s chin. At 170lbs Cowboy definitely has the size advantage, but he should’ve retired already at this point and I think Miller puts an exclamation point on the end of his career here.
PICK – Jim Miller via Knockout, Round 1

Brad Riddell (10-2) vs Jalin Turner (12-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Absolute banger in the lightweight division is the featured prelim bout of this card. Riddell saw a seven-fight win streak snapped last time out when he was knocked out by Rafael Fiziev at UFC Vegas 44, while Turner is on a four-fight win streak and knocked Jamie Mullarkey out cold in his last outing at UFC 272.

Riddell is an amazing kickboxer, working as the head coach at Tiger Muay Thai once upon a time. He has got explosive power, brilliant dexterity in his kicks and his movement is exceptional too. Turner however is a powerhouse. He has got some solid wrestling skills in his back pocket, but it’s his terrifying one-punch power that has his opponents on notice. He’s also a tidy grappler too. This will be about who lands clean first, and I can’t look past Turner.

“Quake” is a notoriously slow starter, preferring to download data from a distance before working his combinations from inside. If he can survive the opening five minutes then the fight is his to lose, but Turner is unlikely to give him that for free. His huge frame will see him make it really difficult for Riddell and I think he’ll be able to land big and then his amazing finishing instincts take over to claim a huge win.
PICK – Jalin Turner via Knockout, Round 1

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

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

EARLY PRELIMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRELIMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAIN CARD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UFC 264: Poirier vs McGregor 3 – Early prelims predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Amir Albazi def Zhalgas Zhumagulov via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Good start to the bout from Zhumagulov as he lands two really nice combos on the feet. Albazi starting to work some leg kicks but Zhumagulov throwing a heavy overhand right that is just missing the target. Albazi starting to pressure against the cage and throws a big knee that Zhumagulov just steps out of the way of. Albazi shoots for a double leg and gets it, but Zhumagulov uses the cage to get back up quickly and they break apart. Both men exchange leg kicks in the centre, before Albazi lands a big right hand. Spinning back fist in response from Zhumagulov is followed by a left hook. Big double leg takedown from Zhumagulov takes Albazi down in the final seconds and ends the round on top. 10-9 Zhalgas.

Albazi comes out very aggressive in the second round and lands three big leg kicks early that get a reaction from Zhumagulov. Looks for a big knee against the cage but misses again and Zhumagulov lands a nice left hand. Albazi jabbing really well and pressuring against the cage, as Zhumagulov is loading a big right hand but can’t land it. Lots of movement and small touches from each man but Albazi controlling the pace of this round well. Zhumagulov shoots for a takedown with 20 seconds left but Albazi denies it and ends the round in a dominant position. 19-19.

Albazi controlling the distance in the final round here, landing jabs and maintaining his range. He shoots for the takedown and is denied but after a scramble he clinches up and gets Zhumagulov down and is in his full guard. Nice ground and pound and control from Albazi from the top position as he passes into side control and then takes the back. Albazi sinks the hooks in and threatens a rear naked choke but Zhumagulov fighting the hands well. Zhumagulov tries to turn into his guard but Albazi defends the position perfectly and continues the threaten the submission as we enter the final minute. Zhumagulov bursts out and gets back to his feet and starts firing punches and kicks. Albazi counters with a right hand and just using his footwork really well to avoid any damage and the round ends. Should be a win for Albazi. 29-28.

Movsar Evloev def Nik Lentz via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Interesting start to this fight, as Lentz throws a leg kick and shovel uppercut to start the fight before moving for a takedown against the cage. Evloev defends well and falls on top, but Lentz looks to lock in a guillotine choke! It gets tighter and tighter and Evloev has to roll through to escape, before rolling through once again to end up back on top. Lentz continue to threaten with the guillotine but Evloev defends well again and ends the round on top firing in some excellent ground and pound. 10-9 Evloev.

Lentz looking to stand in this round and landing well but Evloev trying to up the pace and coming forward with some more awkward striking. Trip attempt from Lentz against the cage and once again he goes for the guillotine and forces Evloev to roll away once again. Lentz seems to be landing the better strikes on the feet but Evloev is doing more damage to the blind eye. Nice uppercut from Evloev lands and Lentz charges forward looking for a trip but misses it. Evloev lands some shots to the eye and it’s causing Lentz some problems, so he goes for a front headlock looking for a guillotine again! Evloev escapes again though and smothers Lentz with a few strikes as they stand up. Round ends against the cage, 20-18 Evloev for me.

Both men choosing to strike in this round, trading jabs and kicks. Lentz looks very tired but is trying to take the centre, while Evloev is bouncing and moving well still. Evloev lands a nice three-punch combo and that gets Lentz to shoot for a takedown but Evloev defends it really well and gets back to the feet quickly. Evloev catches a kick from Lentz and lands a stiff right hand that wobbles Lentz, who looks exhausted now. Evloev dominating the fight now with sharp striking and short combos, really putting a hurting on Lentz. Round comes to an end with Evloev dominating the exchanges again, a beautiful performance. 30-27.

PRELIMS

Marcin Prachnio def Khalil Rountree Jr via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

A cagey start to this one with lots of feints and fakes from both fighters. Prachnio backs Rountree up against the cage and fires off some kicks, but Rountree comes back with some big punches of his own. Prachnio throwing a nice side kick to maintain distance, but Rountree switches to southpaw and starts throwing big straight left hands to steal the round potentially. 10-9 either way, but Rountree for me.

Rountree comes out hard and fast in the second round and wobbles Prachnio immediately but stays patient and doesn’t go for the kill. Some more left hands land from Rountree but Prachnio is swinging wildly and landing on occasion. Big exchange in the centre and then throws a lazy leg kick that gets countered with a powerful left hand. Rountree is countering Prachnio’s strikes really well and then lands a huge left hand that drops Prachnio! He stays patient and then lands a huge head kick but Prachnio keeps it standing and the round ends. Huge end for Rountree. 20-18 for me but could be even.

Big start to the third round for Rountree again as he lands a couple more of those big left hands to open up. Prachnio being a bit more patient and coming forward with his shots but Rountree looking good. Rountree defends two takedowns well and Prachnio starting to work on the body as Rountree is tiring. Lazy swings from Rountree now but then he lands a beautiful counter uppercut. Both men trading strikes in the centre of the octagon looking for a winning punch but the round comes to an end. Great fight, 29-28 Rountree for me but could well be the other way.

Juliana Pena def Sara McMann via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3 (3:39)

Cagey opening to this fight but both women looking to take this fight on the feet to start with, trading solid shots to the head. McMann fires off with a big right hand, Pena fires back with one of her own. Takedown attempt from McMann and she takes it, quickly progressing to take the back of Pena. She tries to sink the hooks in but doesn’t quite get it and they eventually scramble to a half-guard position with McMann on top. She lands a big elbow from the top and keeps the position for the rest of the round. 10-9 McMann.

Pena comes out with big pressure in the second round and forces McMann to shoot early. Pena looks to lock up a guillotine but McMann defends it really well and passes into guard. Pena being very active off her back, throwing lots of elbows and strikes and looking for submissions. McMann defending the submissions well though and landing some big elbows of her own. She tries to transition to the back but Pena defends well and gets back to the feet against the cage. Clinch position sees both women throw lots of knees to the body, before Pena lands a nice three-punch combo to end the round. 19-19 for me.

Big round for Pena as she comes out heavy with the strikes again before another clinch against the cage. This time Pena goes for a trip and gets it. She starts working the ground and pound from the top with McMann facing down on the ground. Pena takes the back, slaps on a body triangle and immediately goes for a rear naked choke. She sinks it in and McMann taps out. What a performance.

Brad Tavares def Antonio Carlos Junior via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Fast start to the fight for ‘Shoeface’ as the two trade strikes before he shoots for the takedown against the cage. He tries to lift the head above Tavares’ head to send him to the ground but he shows excellent flexibility to deny him. The two then trade big shots in the centre and Shoeface shoots again, powering Tavares across the cage. Tavares manages to keep his balance though and keep the fight standing after a clinch against the cage. A big exchange again sees Shoeface go for the takedown before they clinch against the cage and a big low blow accidentally lands from Shoeface. Fight paused but only a few seconds remain. 10-9 Shoeface.

Better start to the round for Tavares here as he lands some nice strikes before Shoeface changes levels and gets the takedown successfully this time. Shoeface tries to hold him down but Tavares pops back up to his feet again and manages to escape once again. Tavares landing his jab nicely which forces Shoeface to shoot for another takedown but he fails it again. Tavares lands a big one-two against the cage that drops Shoeface! He tries to go for the takedown to recover but Tavares defends it again and looks to land a big knee that misses and hits the cup to cause a pause and allow Shoeface to recover. Round ends with a big body kick from Tavares. 19-19.

Tavares popping his jab out nicely in the final round, keeping Shoeface at a distance. Shoeface shoots for another takedown but once again it’s defended perfectly against the cage and comes out firing big leg kicks. Tavares is slipping the punches of Shoeface now and landing big strikes of his own and defending takedowns too for the rest of the round to claim what should be a decision win for the Hawaiian. 29-28.

Arman Tsarukyan def Matt Frevola via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Fast paced start to this one as Frevola steps out with a wild right hook that misses and Tsarukyan shoots straight in for a takedown and gets it. Frevola scoots back to the cage and gets back to his feet before being lifted and slammed back down. Frevola gets back to his feet quickly again but Tsarukyan continues to stay in the pocket and changes levels for more takedowns. Frevola continues to reverse positions and get back to his feet quickly though and is throwing with great power on the feet to end the round. 10-9 Tsarukyan but could go either way.

Fast start to the second round here too as Tsarukyan comes out and moves straight for a takedown and gets it. He finally manages to hold Frevola down and starts landing some nice ground and pound strikes from the top. Frevola tries to escape but Tsarukyan drags him back down to the ground and starts to dominate. He keeps him down and lands more big strikes and passes position to take the round. 20-18 Tsarukyan.

Final round and Tsarukyan is maintaining a good pace and gets another takedown early. Frevola gets back to the feet quicker this time and the two engage in a bit more of a striking battle. Some great jabs land before more takedowns from Tsarukyan as he starts to hold position and dominate from the top. Fantastic performance and it should be enough to get him the decision. 30-27.

MAIN CARD

Marina Rodriguez def Amanda Ribas via Knockout, Round 2 (0:54)

Good start to the fight for Ribas as she takes the centre of the cage, applies pressure and throws a few flurries of punches. Rodriguez looks to come in with a punch and Ribas slips it and gets a takedown early on. She keeps top position and starts landing some nice ground and pound strikes as Rodriguez looks to defend from her back. Ribas continues to control from the top landing strikes and sees out the round. 10-9 Ribas.

Rodriguez comes out in the second round and lands a huge right hand early that drops Ribas! She lands some huge shots and the referee steps in then steps back out.. Ribas gets back up with Rodriguez celebrating but the fight isn’t over. Rodriguez comes back, lands a huge elbow and two massive right hands before the referee waves it off! What a knockout!

Makhmud Muradov def Andrew Sanchez via Knockout, Round 3 (2:59)

Tense start to this fight with both men bouncing in and out of distance looking to get a reaction from each other. Sanchez shoots in for a takedown but Muradov sprawls and defends it perfectly, as he gets back up quickly and throws some heavy calf kicks. Muradov lands a nice right hand on the chin, but Sanchez eats it well. More calf kicks from Muradov before a nice one-two to the body. Another leg kick but Sanchez throws a nice right hand to counter and lands it well. Muradov goes for a flying knee but Sanchez lands a nice strike. Muradov goes for a takedown with seconds remaining but Sanchez denies it. 10-9 Muradov.

An interesting second round as Muradov continues to look for leg kicks, while Sanchez is closing the distance well and landing a straight right hand. Lots of bouncing and feinting again from both men as Sanchez goes for a takedown against the cage but Muradov defends it well. Muradov lands a nice right hand but Sanchez continues to walk forward and strike. Big left hook from Muradov lands with a straight right behind it. Big flying crane kick from Muradov and a huge right hand behind it opens a big cut on the nose of Sanchez as the round ends. Close round, but that final exchange edges it to Muradov. 20-18.

Slower start to the third round as Muradov looks to take the centre and control the pace. Some nice body shots land before a big right overhand right connects, but Sanchez is still in there firing back. Muradov has abandoned the leg kicks now it seems and is looking for a big knockout. Sanchez lands two big shots, but Muradov returns fire with a big overhand right that makes Sanchez do the chicken dance. Flying knee behind it before some bombs and the referee waves it off. Huge win!

Joanne Calderwood def Jessica Eye via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Fast start to this fight as Calderwood moves in quickly with clinch and lands some dirty boxing and knees to the body. Eye trying to use her physicality edge by wearing Calderwood up against the cage and firing back with strikes of her own. Calderwood landing some nice knees to the body as Eye looks to find a takedown against the cage. Lots of body work in the clinch from both ladies, with slightly more diverse attacking from Calderwood. Very even round.

Eye is marching forward in this round and landing her right hand well, but Calderwood using her length well from the outside. Nice push kicks and a big right hand lands for Calderwood, but Eye fires back with some uppercuts in the clinch and a nice elbow. Huge knee to the face by Calderwood on the break from a clinch and a huge body kick follows it up. Calderwood striking really well from range, althought Eye gets a takedown late on in the round but should still be a Calderwood round. 20-18 or 19-19.

Eye comes out aggressively in the final round and goes straight with a clinch against the cage as she looks for an opportunity for a takedown. Calderwood defending really well but not much action being seen as they battle to a stalemate against the cage and the referee breaks them apart. Clinch in the centre and Calderwood lands some nice knees again, then stuffs a takedown attempt. Nice right hand from Calderwood lands and then she sprawls quickly to deny Eye’s takedown attempt. Final 30 seconds and they clinch again, with both women throwing big knees and Calderwood lands a strike that cuts Eye wide open above the eye! That should be a Calderwood decision win.

Michael Chandler def Dan Hooker via Knockout, Round 1 (2:30)

Very tense start to the bout as the first 90 seconds are essentially just Hooker circling away from Chandler. A few leg kicks land but Chandler keeps coming forward. Long jab to the body and a huge left hook lands and drops Hooker!! He pounces and smashes him on the ground until the referee steps in and ends the fight! Wow! What a debut!

Dustin Poirier def Conor McGregor via Knockout, Round 2 (2:32)

Fast start from McGregor as he comes out into the centre quickly and throws a straight left. Poirier slips another one and returns with a right hook then gets an outside trip and takes the fight to the ground (!?) McGregor scoots back to the cage and works his way back up to his feet. Clinch against the cage and the two exchange shoulder strikes before breaking. The two break and Conor lands a clean left hand on the chin that wobbles Poirier but he stays standing Both guys land nice shots. Poirier working the leg kicks but McGregor fires back to end the round. 10-9 Conor.

Second round and Poirier continues to fire leg kicks and they seem to be hurting Conor more and more. McGregor is struggling to walk on the leg and Poirier is starting to turn the pressure up. Nice shots land and McGregor is hurt. He’s sitting in the pocket and trading, but Poirier is landing heavy shots. He lands a big combination and sits McGregor down! Follows up with a few more but the referee waves it off! Wow!

UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor – Prelims Predictions

A swift return to action for the UFC as the final instalment of their Fight Island triple header is upon us, with Dustin Poirier taking on Conor McGregor in a lightweight eliminator.

A rematch from six years prior, both men look to put their stamp to a claim to be the next challenger for the 155lbs championship while in the co-main event, two other lightweight contenders scrap to do the same thing. Michael Chandler makes his UFC debut after signing from Bellator to take on Dan Hooker, with both men knowing that a win puts them firmly in the conversation for the next title shot.

A fun 11 fight card is on the horizon here, with plenty of good fights on the undercard to come before the two big bouts of the night.

Last time out at UFC Fight Island 8, we went 12/14 with our picks with four perfect picks to boost us up to 212/327 (64.83%) with 93 perfect picks (43.87%) since starting our picks back in June 2020.

We’ll look to improve that record here, starting with the six prelim bouts.

PRELIMS

Amir Albazi (13-1) vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Both these men had differing debut experiences in the UFC on Fight Island last year and now meet together in the card opener.

Albazi won his debut with a first round submission over Malcolm Gordon, while Zhumagulov was beaten rather controversially in a unanimous decision defeat to Raulian Paiva. Zhumagulov is a tidy striker, throwing lots of one-twos but also with strong wrestling skills. Albazi is also a tidy striker but he has supreme submission skills from his back and even moreso from top position.

It’s a well contested fight with two relatively evenly-matched fighters. On the feet they’re almost identical in technique and execution and on the ground I give the edge to Albazi so I think he’ll be able to take a tight decision win.
PICK – Amir Albazi via Decision

Nik Lentz (30-11-2) vs Movsar Evloev (13-0) – (Catchweight/150lbs)

UFC Veteran Nik Lentz returns to the octagon for the first time in a year to take on an undefeated Russian in Movsar Evloev, who steps in on short notice to take this.

Lentz has lost his last two, being knocked out by Charles Oliveira in 2019 before dropping a decision to Arnold Allen in January 2020. Evloev is undefeated and 3-0 in the UFC, with wins over Seung Woo Choi, Enrique Barzola and Mike Grundy on Fight Island last year. Lentz is a solid grappler who has some striking power, but Evloev is a well-rounded stud who holds the advantage everywhere in this fight.

This should be a pretty one-sided fight, with Evloev just a level above Lentz. His wrestling will see him take the top position at some point and control for 15 minutes for a lopsided win.
PICK – Movsar Evloev via Decision

Khalil Rountree Jr (9-4) vs Marcin Prachnio (13-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A return to the octagon after over a year away for Khalil Rountree as he takes on ‘Polish power V2’ in Marcin Prachnio.

Rountree turned in a fantastic performance to beat Eryk Anders in April 2019, before dropping a first round KO to Ion Cutelaba last time out. Prachnio came into the UFC in great nick, but has been knocked out in the first round of all three of his UFC fights so far including most recently against Mike Rodriguez in August 2020.

Rountree’s trip to Thailand has turned his style on it’s head, and he’s a great power puncher with speed and accuracy. Prachnio comes forward looking for the knockout but it just doesn’t seem to work in the UFC. His karate style likes to see him stay at range but Rountree’s speed and power should be enough to see him get another win.
PICK – Khalil Rountree Jr via Knockout, Round 1

Juliana Pena (10-4) vs Sara McMann (12-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Juliana Pena returns to the octagon having lost two of her last three fights to take on 40-year-old Sara McMann in the women’s bantamweight division.

Pena’s last win came against Nicco Montano in July 2019, but that was sandwiched between losses to Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine De Randamie. McMann has also lost two of her last three, but she returned after almost two years out to get a decision win over Lina Lansberg last time out.

Both these women will look to take the fight to the ground with striking neither of their strong suits, with McMann a strong wrestler while Pena is a black-belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It’s all about who ends up on the top in this one and the wrestling advantage gives McMann the edge in that, so she has the best chance of winning.
PICK – Sara McMann via Decision

Brad Tavares (17-7) vs Antonio Carlos Junior (11-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An interesting middleweight scrap between two prospects at 185lbs. Tavares has lost his last two fights, losing to champion Israel Adesanya back in 2018 before losing to Edmen Shahbazyan in November 2019 via first round knockout. ‘Shoeface’ is in the same boat too, losing his last two to Ian Heinisch and Uriah Hall in September 2019.

Both men have not looked good in their most recent fights but have taken a long time away from the sport recently. Tavares has a good striking background while Shoeface has some of the strangest striking techniques you’ll ever see, but is a very good grappler. He has a huge jiu-jitsu advantage and with the grappling advantage too, I think Tavares taps out for the first time in his career.
PICK – Antonio Carlos Junior via Submission, Round 2

Arman Tsarukyan (15-2) vs Nasrat Haqparast (12-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A sleeper for fight of the night after the top two fights on the card, these two lightweights look to steal the show on a card where their division is in the limelight.

Tsarukyan has won his last two in a row in the UFC, with decision wins over Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Davi Ramos last year on Fight Island, while ‘Baby Gastelum’ Haqparast bounced back from a first round knockout loss to Drew Dober with a decision win over Alex Munoz in August.

Haqparasr is a really good boxer with good footwork and a great jab, but also strong takedown defence too with over 80% success rate in his UFC career. Tsarukyan is another good striker but he has tremendous takedowns and chain wrestling. He’s also a tidy striker on his own, but his game plan is almost always to strike until the opportunity presents itself to get the takedown. It all hangs on whether Haqparast can keep it standing and I’m not so confident he will this time around.
PICK – Arman Tsarukyan via Decision