Krzysztof Jotko (24-5) vs Brendan Allen (19-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
A really fun middleweight scrap up next. Jotko has won five of his last six including each of his last two, claiming decisions over Misha Cirkunov (UFC Vegas 38) and Gerald Meerschaert most recently. Allen has won four of his last five including his last two, submitting Sam Alvey in February before a decision win over Jacob Malkoun at UFC 275.
Jotko is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division, with an ability to wrestle and strike to a very high level depending on the opponent. Allen is in a very similar boat however, with more of a killer instinct to finish fights and that gives him a slight advantage here.
On the feet he is the more active and powerful striker with his kickboxing, while the wrestling looks pretty even when comparing their style and size. That additional output on the feet should be enough to claim a big shout on the scorecards, but he’ll have to be alert in a fight that is likely to lack big moments throughout. PICK – Brendan Allen via Decision
Joaquim Silva (11-4) vs Jesse Ronson (21-11) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
Two lightweights clash looking to get back in the win column here. Silva has lost his last two, getting KO’d by Nasrat Haqparast back in 2019 before his comeback fight ended in 37 seconds when Ricky Glenn KO’d him at UFC Vegas 29. Ronson also suffered defeat in his last bout, getting submitted by Rafa Garcia back in April.
Neto’s nickname is “Netto BJJ” but he is a straight up brawler when it comes to fight style, stepping forward and either killing or being killed. Ronson on the other hand is a power puncher too, with great durability and skill on the feet but he has real trouble when it comes to being taken down. This fight is really down to how Silva chooses to fight.
Should he opt to use his wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills then he should realistically be able to control him and potentially lock up a submission on the mat. But if he goes in as he has done throughout his UFC career and just goes for a brawl, he’ll get knocked out in the first round. I can’t pick someone off the basis of a ground duel when they’ve only attempted two takedowns in seven fights, so Ronson takes his head off early. PICK – Jesse Ronson via Knockout, Round 1
Jessica Penne (14-7) vs Tabatha Ricci (7-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
Baby shark returns to the cage to take on a veteran in this one. Penne saw a two-fight win streak, including an armbar win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 265, snapped last time out against Emily Ducote. Ricci on the other hand has won her last two in a row, beating Maria Oliveira and then Polyana Viana most recently.
Both these women are at their best when grappling on the inside, with Penne using her wrestling and Ricci trying to use her judo to win fights. Ricci is also a decent striker from range, using her reach and length to jab before looking to instigate the grappling. Penne will certainly try to grind her way to a win, but I think Ricci’s volume could be the difference.
Ricci has multiple avenues to takedowns and she’s more than capable of being able to grind out control on the ground and beginning to threaten with submissions. Penne has a size advantage which could help with her takedown attempts, but I’m going with youth on the scorecards on this occasion. PICK – Tabatha Ricci via Decision
Ilir Latifi (16-8) vs Aleksei Oleinik (60-16-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)
Featured prelim bout of the night has the heavyweights going at it. Latifi snapped a three-fight losing streak last time out when he claimed a split decision win over Tanner Boser at UFC Vegas 28. Oleinik on the other hand snapped his own three-fight losing streak after being KO’d by Derrick Lewis (UFC Vegas 6) and Chris Daukaus (UFC Vegas 19) before dropping a decision to Sergei Spivak when he submitted Jared Vanderaa at UFC 273.
Latifi is a serial wrestler, who looks to step forward and use double legs or single legs to get the fight to the ground where he can grind on top and control his opponent. He loves to loop his right hand over the top too and it does carry power. Oleinik on the other hand throws absolute bombs while he marches forward to get his hands on you and drag you to the mat to strangle you. Oleinik has a big size advantage and while Latifi has the wrestling advantage there is a huge submission threat even if Oleinik is on the bottom.
Expect Latifi to try to get on top with wrestling and be relatively successful with that, but eventually he’ll tire and Oleinik will be able to wrap him up with some kind of choke to earn the win. PICK – Aleksei Oleinik via Submission, Round 2
The UFC heads to Singapore for only the fifth time ever for UFC 275 this weekend as we’re treated to two huge title fights in the main events.
Glover Teixeira will defend the light heavyweight title for the first time when he takes on Jiri Prochazka in the headline fight, while Valentina Shevchenko will defend her flyweight title for the seventh time against first-time challenger Taila Santos.
We’ll also see the hotly anticipated rematch between Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk as well as the likes of Manel Kape, Brendan Allen and Andre Fialho competing too.
We come into this card after a small break from picks. We sit at 634/987 (64.24%) with 272 perfect picks (42.9%) and you can see our total picks list here.
Brendan Allen (18-5) vs Jacob Malkoun (6-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Banger in the middleweight division. Allen recovered from a shock KO defeat to Chris Curtis at UFC Vegas 44 by earning a submission win over Sam Alvey most recently after clubbing him to the mat first. Malkoun has bounced back from a horror debut that saw him KO’d in 18 seconds by Phil Hawes at UFC 254 by earning back-to-back wins over Abdul Razak Alhassan and AJ Dobson most recently at UFC 271.
Allen is exactly what his nickname suggests – “All In”. He is a brilliant grappler on the mat with a fearsome top game and nasty submission skills that have earned him ten wins via tap out, but he is also capable of standing and striking with good combinations and power. Malkoun on the other hand is very similar to teammate Robert Whittaker, with excellent range management and kickboxing skills as well as good wrestling to hold opponents down and control fights.
Malkoun will likely try to recreate his two wins with ground control and lots of risk averse tactics, but Allen is by far the best fighter he’s faced. Allen should be able to control the striking with his size advantage and pressure, and in the grappling department I’d expect Allen to have the advantage anyway whether it’s getting back up to his feet or keeping Malkoun down. Expect fast pace and a mix of attacks for Allen to earn another victory. PICK – Brendan Allen via Decision
Maheshate (6-1) vs Steve Garcia (12-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
Lightweight prospects go head-to-head in this one. Maheshate is on a six-fight win streak after earning a UFC contract with a win on Dana White’s Contender Series, while Garcia got the only UFC win of his career last time out when he KO’d Charlie Ontiveros.
Maheshate is a fighter who is at his most effective from long-range, using kicks and straight punches to keep distance and avoid damage while inflicting some of his own. Garcia on the other hand is well-rounded but tends to use aggressive strikes to move forward and close distance, while he has mixed in wrestling in previous fights too. This is a huge step up in competition for Maheshate and he will likely stick to what he knows, which is quick counters and point scoring.
For Garcia he has proven vulnerable to counters in the past, but his chin has never let him down to date and Maheshate isn’t the heaviest puncher out there. He should be able to walk through a couple to mix in his wrestling and use his aggression to catch the eyes of the judges a claim a decision win. PICK – Steve Garcia via Decision
Seungwoo Choi (10-4) vs Josh Culibao (9-1-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
Featherweight banger up next between a very good Asian prospect and one of Australia’s best. Choi earned three wins in a row in the UFC before his last fight against Alex Caceres ended in a second-round submission defeat. Culibao alternatively got back on the winning horse last time out with a unanimous decision win over Nuerdanbieke Shayilan after a loss and a draw in the two fights prior.
Choi is an excellent striker who uses straights, hooks and uppercuts really well but often is guilty of headhunting regularly rather than mixing up the point of attacks. Culibao is also a talented striker, but he is more open to mixing in wrestling attacks to make up for a lack of one-punch power in the octagon. Both have improved since their initial signing with the organisation, but this seems to be a more favourable fight for Choi.
He has a big advantage in reach and height and Culibao’s wrestling against Charles Jourdain really saw him fail to implement his game plan. Choi isn’t the greatest wrestler either, but he’ll feel as if he has the advantage and could look to tie up and grapple every time Culibao closes the distance. It’ll be a fun stand-up battle for the most part, but Choi should claim the win on the cards. PICK – Seungwoo Choi via Decision
Vince Morales def Louis Smolka via Knockout, Round 1 (2:02)
Good early start from both guys as Smolka lands a low kick or two while Morales lands a few jabs cleanly and then goes to the body too. Smolka trying to push the pace and step forward, but Morales evading relatively easily and landing some nice strikes of his own. Smolka goes to clinch with a knee and as they separate Morales lands a huge right hand that puts Smolka out cold face first! He follows up with a couple but the referee stops it quickly and that’s that! What a KO!
Claudio Puelles def Chris Gruetzemacher via Submission (Kneebar), Round 3 (3:25)
Hard body kick to open up the fight for Puelles, but Gruetzemacher fires back with one of his own. Puelles shoots for a takedown and gets it, ending up on top and working from full guard. Gruetzemacher defending well from his back, taking very little damage. He throws up a lazy armbar which Puelles uses to pass guard and try to take the back, but Gruetzemacher gets his back to the cage and staying calm while fighting hands. Puelles steps over and moves into full mount and starts raining down elbows and strikes. Gruetzemacher avoiding most of the strikes and gets half guard back well and survives the round well. 10-9 Puelles.
Puelles opens up with kicks again and then goes for a couple of lazy takedowns again. Gruetzemacher denies it but rather than keeping the fight standing he tries to transition and ends up on top but not doing much offensively. Puelles throws up a triangle as a threat but Gruetzemacher defends well and eventually they get back to the feet. Puelles lands some big kicks and a nice left hand before another lazy takedown attempt that Gruetzemacher denies easily. Puelles trying to throw some hard head kicks but Gruetzemacher avoiding damage and lands some low kicks of his own. Clinch against the cage and Puelles lands some nice elbows and knees before switching levels for a takedown but it’s not a good attempt and the round ends. Probably 19-19 but could be 20-18 Puelles.
Final round and Gruetzemacher comes forward more aggressively and looks for a knee in the clinch but accidentally lands a low blow to cause a pause in the action. Restarted now and Gruetzemacher coming forward again with more volume. Nice body shots and a left hand before Puelles shoots and it gets sprawled. Some nice short elbows in the clinch by Gruetzemacher force another shot but he sprawls and then spins on to the back of Puelles for a few strikes before they get back to the feet. Gruetzemacher gets a nice foot sweep to be on top but Puelles goes for a leg and tries for a heel hook but Gruetzemacher defends it and ends up on the back. Nice ground and pound but Puelles rolls for the leg again and extends a straight kneebar to get the tap! Big win for Puelles!
William Knight def Alonzo Menifield via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)
Knight comes out quickly and goes straight for a takedown attempt but Menifield is able to sweep him as he hits the ground and ends up in side control. Knight manages to slip out around the back and tries to get into mount quickly before moving to the back and looking to lock in a rear-naked choke. Menifield defends it well and explodes back to the feet himself before they clinch up against the fence. Knight holding on to the neck of Menifield to stay standing, but Menifield doing well to stay out of a guillotine and force Knight to continue defending. Menifield throws a right hand but Knight counters with a big left hook that drops him! He goes for the finish but the buzzer goes and he survives. 10-9 Knight. Great round.
Menifield opens with a low kick and then a big strike that sends Knight backwards and literally running away from Menifield. Menifield lands a big right hand flush that wobbles Knight, but he stays patient then throws a low kick. Nice left hook from Menifield again and Knight looks very hesitant to throw now. Knight throwing wild strikes but missing hugely and Menifield staying calm and just looking to pick Knight off a little bit now. Left hand landing well for Menifield again and Knight doesn’t really have an answer for it. Knight explodes with the right hand with 15 seconds to go and starts going wild again but doesn’t land flush and the round ends. Definitely a Menifield round. 19-19.
Both guys look more hesitant in this round as they clinch up and Menifield pushes Knight to the cage. Menifield holding Knight against the cage and not much happening as we hit the halfway point of the round. 90 seconds left and it’s just more of the same position for this round. Separation as we get into the final minute and Knight goes for a flying knee. Some wild head kicks miss and Menifield stays on the outside for the rest of the round to likely earn a victory.
Cheyanne Vlismas def Mallory Martin via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Fast start to the fight from both women as Martin takes the centre and they start throwing hands. Some beautiful combos from Vlismas land but Martin is trading back and landing some shots of her own. Vlismas defending against Martin’s strikes well and landing some excellent counter strikes from the outside. Martin in the centre and start to fake some strikes but Vlismas reading well and countering. Martin lands a beautiful short left hook and Vlismas clinches up to throw some short uppercuts and dirty boxing before stepping out of the way again. Lovely right hand lands again as the rounds closes out. 10-9 Vlismas.
Fast start again from Vlismas as she steps forward with fast combinations again and excellent lateral movement. Martin standing in the centre again but she’s being more hesitant to throw now. Nice right hand, left high kick combo from Vlismas lands sbut Martin continues to come forward and then lands a nice body shot. Vlismas lands a beautiful counter right hand. Martin clinches and starts looking to wrestle a bit, but Vlismas defends it well and keeps it standing for now. Nice knees from both ladies landing but Martin is getting the better of the exchanges. They separate and both land a right hand simultaneously before going back to the pattern of the fight. 20-18 Vlismas.
Martin moves for a takedown early on in the final round but Vlismas defends it brilliantly against the cage again before separating. Beautiful one two lands from Vlismas and Martin goes for another takedown but Vlismas defends it well again. Martin lands some knees in the clinch but Vlismas is able to separate and comes forward with some more clean strikes of her own. Big right hand lands from Vlismas in the exchange and Martin steps back slightly before changing levels and going for a takedown again, but Vlismas keeps her balance and keeps it standing again. Both women landing their jabs together but then Vlismas lands a couple of extra shots that she adds to the end of it. Vlismas’ striking has just been a level ahead and she ends the fight stepping forward with big combinations! Great fight! 30-27 Vlismas for me.
Bryan Barbarena def Darian Weeks via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)
Weeks coming out of the gate confidently throwing lots of kicks but nothing really landing. Barbarena launches forward and Weeks changes levels with a body lock and then secures a takedown, but Barbarena gets back to his feet quickly. Weeks looking very comfortable and throwing plenty of strikes, but Barbarena lands a big inside low kick and gets a big reaction. He throws a few more quickly after and Weeks is limping now, but fighting through it. Change of levels from Weeks as he gets it against the cage, but Barbarena reverses the position and starts chopping at the leg again. Weeks having problems with his leg but still stepping forward. Barbarena staying patient and lands a nice left hand before another heavy low kick to end the round. 10-9 Barbarena.
Weeks comes out early and secures a takedown immediately but Barbarena defends well from his back before eventually getting back to his feet. Weeks continuing to be aggressive but Barbarena using his experience well to stem the tide. Weeks throwing some wild hooks and Barbarena throwing some tired ones of his own and both are landing, but nothing doing too much damage yet it seems. Barbarena lands another hard low kick and starts to go to the body as the round ends. That’s anybody’s round but I lean towards Barbarena again. 20-18.
Barbarena turning the pace up in the final round, coming forward and throwing combinations but Weeks gets another body lock and pushes him against the cage. Nice knee from Barbarena and they trade big hooks before going back into the clinch. Barbarena throws a high kick and slips but he gets back up quickly. Weeks is tired now and Barbarena is coming forward, landing some big hooks to the body and then a left hand to the chin. Weeks lands a couple of hooks of his own but Barbarena eating them and coming forward again with the body shots. Hard low kicks again from Barbarena but Weeks is digging in and landing some big hooks of his own. A few hard strikes land well but Barbarena takes them and fires back with his own. He’s really taken over in this round and is continuing to pour the pressure on in the final minute. Weeks changes levels under a hook and secures a big takedown in the final seconds but Barbarena jumps up and lands a big strike that wobbles Weeks! He moves forward with big swinging strikes that miss as the buzzer goes! Great fight. 30-27 for me but could be 29-28 too with round two being close.
Manel Kape def Zhalgas Zhumagulov via Knockout, Round 1 (4:02)
Super fast start to this one as Kape opens with a flying knee attempt before both men trade combinations. Zhumagulov throwing hard leg kicks and hard right overhands and connecting with some, but Kape moving well and landing a few counters of his own. Zhumagulov lands a big right that sends Kape stumbling backwards, but he responds with a nice right hand too. Zhumagulov coming forward hard and fast and pushing the pace but Kape is moving well and countering effectively too. Kape lands a nice body shot and a knee and he starts picking his shots. Hard one-two lands and drops Zhumagulov! Kape steps forward and looking for the finish but staying calm, then lands a huge string of punches that puts Zhumagulov down covering up and the referee steps in! What a knockout! What a performance!
Dusko Todorovic def Maki Pitolo via Knockout, Round 1 (4:34)
Lively start from both guys looking to step in and land first with their jabs and some low kicks. Pitolo lands a low kick and then a big right hand lands flush. Another low kick gets a reaction from Todorovic but he changes levels and shoots in for a takedown. Pitolo latches on to the neck and goes for a guillotine but Todorovic stays calm, rides it out and eventually secures top position as he starts to look for ground and pound. Todorovic dominating on the ground and trying to move to a crucifix position while landing big strikes and then he moves into full mount. Todorovic flattens Pitolo out and starts raining down heavy ground and pound until the referee waves it off! Hugely impressive win.
Alex Morono def Micky Gall via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)
Slow start from both guys as Morono takes the centre and tries to feel his way into range before firing a strong right hand to the chin of Gall. Hard low kick from Gall lands but both fighters being very patient and not throwing much early on. Morono lands a nice right hand and then eats a body kick, before firing in another nice one-two that lands on Gall. Lots of feinting and patience and then Morono lands a jab that sits Gall down! Morono goes for the finish but Gall manages to tie him up on the ground by going for a leg lock and recovers enough to get back to his feet at the end of the round. 10-9 Morono.
Gall comes out for the second round with a jab to the body before a nice right hand lands. Morono comes back with a powerful hook himself and then he steps in with a left hook that lands well too. Gall charges forward and lands two big hooks and Morono just misses with a check-left hook counter. Gall continues to come forward with hooks and a jab and he’s fighting very well from range right now. Lovely right hook counter from Morono just clips Gall before he misses with another in the next attack. Gall trying to use his size to be first, but Morono using his technique to match him or even beat him to it. Gall changes levels and shoots for a takedown but Morono sprawls to deny it and ends the round landing a hard left hook. 20-18 Morono.
Big overhand right lands from Morono on Gall, who fires back with a body kick that just misses. Another nice right hand from Morono connects but Gall replies again with a nice double jab followed by a low kick. Morono staying out of range but stepping in quickly when he wants to throw his strikes. Gall misses with a big right hand as we enter the final two minutes. Hard right hand from Morono before both guys trade wild swings in the final minute. Spinning back fist from Morono lands and Gall starting to come forward with his hands down. Both guys swing wildly as the buzzer goes, should be comfortable for Morono.
Chris Curtis def Brendan Allen via Knockout, Round 2 (1:58)
Fast start from Allen as he comes out with a few strong strikes that just miss before a big takedown attempt sees him pick Curtis up and slam him down, before taking the back. Curtis defends well and they separate quickly though. Curtis lands a nice four-punch combo to the head of Allen but he eats it and comes back with a nice knee. Allen goes for a head kick before Curtis returns with some big strikes again. Hard body kick from Allen before they trade low kicks together. Lead elbow from Allen lands before Curtis lands a nice right hook counter and then goes to the body himself. Head kick from Curtis just misses but he follows it up with a nice one-two. Allen goes for a takedown and then transitions for a leg lock but Curtis defends it well and ends up on top to end the round. Close round, 10-9 Allen for me but only just.
Hard low kick early from Allen drops Curtis to one knee before another hard low kick lands. Both guys trade in the pocket and Allen just misses with a knee. Allen lands a hard body kick but Curtis replies with a nice one-two down the pipe. Both guys trade big right hooks and Allen is wobbled!! Curtis going for the finish and lands a strong knee and Allen goes down again and the referee waves it off! Amazing! What a KO!
Slow start to this one as Santos looks to keep his distance and use his powerful strikes from range. Santos lands a powerful body kick and Guida drops in pain! Santos goes for the kill with huge ground and pound strikes to the head and body but Guida is surviving currently. Santos blasting him with big strikes and the referee is looking closely but Guida is holding a leg and surviving! Guida gets up and manages to create separation and Santos is exhausted! Guida goes on the offensive for the final minute with his crazy pressure and wrestling! What a round! 10-9 Santos.
Guida comes out super aggressive and lands a big left hook then goes for a takedown again. He gets the fight down to the ground quickly and starts blasting knees to the body of Santos who is completely out of it through exhaustion. Guida goes for the neck, takes the back and sinks in a rear-naked choke and forces Santos to tap! Incredible! What a comeback.
Jamahal Hill def Jimmy Crute via Knockout, Round 1 (0:48)
Crute comes out hard with some heavy leg kicks and high kicks but Hill stepping out and avoiding too much damage. Hill fires a hard right hand down the pipe and drops Crute who immediately shoots for a takedown out of instinct. Hill gets some separation and counters with another solid right hook to the chin that puts Crute down and out! One more strike on the ground before the referee gets there and that’s that! Unbelievable from Jamahal Hill! Wow!
Rafael Fiziev def Brad Riddell via Knockout, Round 3 (2:20)
Tactical start to this one from both guys as they throw out some feelers for each other. Fiziev looks to land one of his trademark head kicks but just misses, before both guys trade hooks. Big exchange of counter strikes from Fiziev in particular as he rips the body with his lead leg. Riddell just misses with a right hand and then slips a kick from Fiziev. Riddell goes for a jab to the body and overhand right but just misses as Fiziev takes the centre and pushes him back against the cage with pressure. Both guys land a big right hook each before Fiziev fires a hard low kick at the end of it. Hard body kicks again from Fiziev before Riddell ends the round with a beautiful combination that sees two strikes land on the chin. Good round, 10-9 Fiziev.
Hard low kick from Riddell opens the round up. Riddell throwing his jab out before committing to combinations, but Fiziev lands a nice right hand counter too. Fiziev lands a jab followed with a step-in elbow that cuts Riddell badly over the eye. Nice left hand from Riddell lands though and then Fiziev lands with a short left hook. Both guys fire the same combination that ends with a left hook at the same time and both land too. Lovely right hook lands from Fiziev and then he goes for a knee but Riddell ties him up in a clinch before they separate. Back to the body kick from Fiziev and that’s the round. 20-18 Fiziev for me but could be 19-19.
Fiziev goes for a low leg kick but Riddell catches it and shoots for a takedown and briefly gets it, but Fiziev pops up to his feet quickly. They clash together again and Fiziev lands a hard right hand in the exchange, but Riddell’s right hand landed too. Big left hook from Riddell lands after a body shot as he starts to get more aggressive in this final round. Riddell changes levels and attempts a takedown but Fiziev denies it, before a big clash of strikes yet again from both guys. Riddell circles away on the outside and Fiziev throws a spinning wheel kick and catches Riddell clean in the face!! Riddell is out on his feet and Herb Dean steps in quickly before any more damage can be done!! WOW! What a KO! Amazing!
Jose Aldo def Rob Font via Unanimous Decision (50-45 x2, 49-46)
Fast start to this fight as Font comes forward and starts to use his jab immediately, following up with one-twos. Aldo lands a body kick before Font charges forward and gets a surprising takedown. Font forcing Aldo to be very defensive in the early going, landing his jab clean and following it with a right hand too. Font just misses with an uppercut but lands a glancing elbow as Aldo looks to step away. Aldo ducks under a straight right and counters with a pull right hand, but Font is putting it on him so far. Big body shot from Aldo lands and both guys trade leg kicks. Font lands his jab again and a nice right hand before Aldo rolls and blocks the follow up strike attempts. Aldo lands a one two straight down the pipe and Font goes down! Aldo goes for the finish but after a couple of shots on the ground the buzzer goes to end the round. Whew. 10-9 Font.
Font coming forward once again behind his jab with a relentless pace trying to offset Aldo’s rhythm. Nice right hand from Font lands but Aldo seems calm. Aldo lands a huge one-two again and the right hand is flush and sends Font backwards reeling, but Aldo goes for a big knee that misses and Font is able to recover. Aldo just misses with a big left uppercut and then blocks a right hook from Font. Right hand lands from Font and gets Aldo’s attention, so he fires back with another hard right hand himself. Font trying to land but he seems to be lacking in power, so Aldo returns with a big right hand again. Font goes for a takedown but Aldo denies it easily, but then eats a right hand. Huge body shot from Aldo. Round ends, what a fight. 19-19.
Aldo has returned to his old ways and lands three very hard low kicks early on that are affecting Font immediately. Nice one-two from Font and then he goes for a takedown that Aldo manages to defend and reverse to end up on top himself. Aldo into side control and lands a nice short elbow before going back into full guard. Font looking to be active from his back but Aldo doing well to control him and minimise the threat. Font gets back to his feet and looks for some combos but Aldo pushes him off. Aldo’s right eye has closed up now but he lands a hard body shot before Font comes over the top with a right hand that just misses. Hard low kick again from Aldo and it drops Font! Another hard one but Font is coming forward again and landing his jab well. Another low kick from Aldo to end the round, but he looks like he’s tiring. 29-28 Aldo.
Font comes aggressively but Aldo rolls with it and lands a huge right hand once again that drops Font! Font is wobbling badly and Aldo going for the finish but Font is scrambling and Aldo eventually settles in side control. Font trying to find a way back to his feet, but Aldo controlling him well and looking to pass. Aldo eventually passes into mount but Font quickly gets full guard back. Aldo looking to get some ground and pound off but Font is defending it well and landing some short elbows of his own off his back. Aldo continuing to control the position on the ground though as the round ends and he’ll take the round. 39-37 Aldo.
Fast start from Font as he comes out swinging hard in combinations to the body and to the head. Aldo looks hesitant and tired now but Font is coming forward much fresher. Font clinches up and Aldo is tying him up against the cage, then Font lands a big elbow. Aldo coming forward and lands a big right hand again before Font clinches again against the cage. Font throwing some strikes but Aldo fairly comfortable with where the fight is currently. Font creates space and lands a big uppercut but Aldo responds with a hard right hand and wobbles Font again! Aldo lands two more and Font goes down but Font ties up Aldo on the mat to try and recover. Aldo gets to his back and gets two hooks in and is seemingly looking for a choke, but he’s not rushing. Aldo locks in a body triangle and is looking for a rear-naked choke with 30 seconds left but Font fights out of it and survives the round to make the buzzer. What a fight. 49-46 Aldo for me.
Alex Morono (20-7) vs Micky Gall (7-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
A very interesting welterweight fight between two guys still looking to make a big impression in the UFC. Morono is on a two-fight win streak after KO’ing Donald Cerrone at UFC Vegas 26 before a decision win over David Zawada in September. Gall on the other hand has alternated wins and losses since 2016, going 4-3 with a first-round submission win over Jordan Williams in his most recent outing.
Morono is a powerful striker with looping hooks and good timing with his counter strikes, while Gall is a supreme jiu-jitsu grappler with decent wrestling in his back pocket too. Gall has however shown more of a willingness to strike in recent fights, and that is a recipe for trouble in the one. Morono has the power to stop him, but if Gall chooses to wrestle and use his jiu-jitsu then he will likely have much more success.
Morono isn’t hard to take down but he is hard to keep down, so that will be an interesting battle. Ultimately however, Morono’s ability to get back to his feet and keep pushing will likely wear Gall down over the 15 minutes and be able to earn a decision win. PICK – Alex Morono via Decision
Brendan Allen (17-4) vs Chris Curtis (27-8) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
An absolute banger at middleweight as Brendan Allen takes on the short-notice replacement Chris Curtis in this one. Allen is on a two-fight win streak after submitting Karl Roberson at UFC 261 before a decision win over Punahele Soriano last time out. Curtis on the other hand made his debut at UFC 268 against Phil Hawes and after overcoming a tough first-round, he landed a nasty right hand a KO’d him for a huge upset win.
Allen is a primary grappler with terrific wrestling, while he has also improved his striking in recent fights to be able to mix it up well. Curtis on the other hand is a very well-rounded fighter with tremendous power in his hands to go with his high level wrestling. He was a UFC calibre fighter way before his debut, and he proved it on the night. In this one though, it could be a rough night. Allen is relentless with his pressure and his takedowns, then once he gets it down he possesses a very real submission threat.
Curtis has the ability to knock anyone in the division out, without a doubt, but Allen just seems to be a bit too much of a level up on this occasion. Curtis is a natural welterweight too and Allen is as big a middleweight as there is. He’s going to pressure him, use his size and eventually grind his way to a relatively comfortable decision win. PICK – Brendan Allen via Decision
Clay Guida (36-18) vs Leonardo Santos (18-5-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
The grizzly veterans go head-to-head in the lightweight division here. Guida is 1-3 in his last four, with a split decision defeat to Mark O Madsen last time out. Santos on the other hand saw a 13-fight unbeaten run snapped last time out when Grant Dawson knocked him out in the final second of their bout at UFC Vegas 22.
Guida is a grinder, who steps forward with reckless abandon and then shoots for a double leg takedown to try and earn top control. Santos uses his jiu-jitsu and Muay-Thai skills generally to damage his opponents, but at 41-years-old now he is certainly slowing down. He seems to fatigue earlier and earlier in bouts, but he is still super dangerous in the first round.
With that said, Guida’s chin hasn’t started letting him down yet and with his amazing cardio and volume-heavy style the likelihood is that he grinds his way to another career win. PICK – Clay Guida via Decision
Jimmy Crute (12-2) vs Jamahal Hill (8-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
A very fun light heavyweight bout in this one as two prospects look to bounce back from unfortunate defeats last time out. Crute was beaten by Anthony Smith at UFC 261 when a leg kick caused his leg to completely give way, forcing the doctor to stop the fight after the first round. For Hill, he took on Paul Craig at UFC 263 and saw his arm disturbingly dislocated and then was elbowed into oblivion for defeat.
Beyond those defeats though, both of these guys are excellent prospects. Crute is a decent striker with a good job and winging hooks, but it’s his amazing wrestling and ground game that separates him from the pack. Hill on the other hand is a power striker with unbelievable knockout power and good speed on the feet. He probably has a slight edge in a striking battle, but Crute has a huge edge when it comes to the ground game.
Crute will likely stand on the feet for just long enough to time a takedown and secure top control, where he will work his way to the back via ground and pound and then secure a rear-naked choke at some point in the middle round. PICK – Jimmy Crute via Submission, Round 2
Brad Riddell (10-1) vs Rafael Fiziev (10-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
This one is a genuine contender for fight of the night. Riddell is on a seven-fight win streak with four coming in the UFC, including a decision over Drew Dober at UFC 263. Fiziev is on a four-fight win streak, with a decision over Bobby Green at UFC 265 in his last outing.
Both guys are amazing strikers, with brilliant kickboxing technique and knockout power as well as some decent wrestling defence on both sides too. Both have kick heavy attacks, with Fiziev’s body kick a trademark weapon of his while Riddell is arguably more comfortable with his hands in the striking department.
Both will throw leg kicks but Fiziev’s preference to fight at range is likely to be a difference maker here. He’s had some cardio issues in the past which Riddell could look to target in the latter rounds, but I do think that Fiziev’s kicking game and edge in power will see him claim a hugely entertaining victory. PICK – Rafael Fiziev via Decision
Rob Font (19-4) vs Jose Aldo (30-7) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A truly brilliant main event to headline this card between two top five bantamweights. Font is on a four-fight win streak, after stopping Marlon Moraes at UFC Vegas 17 and dominating Cody Garbrandt most recently. Aldo on the other hand has picked up consecutive wins for the first time since February 2019 when he earned decisions over Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz most recently at UFC 265.
Both of these guys could easily have turned professional when it comes to their boxing skills, with brilliant jabbing skills and excellent combinations. They both also have solid leg kicks, while Aldo is also a jiu-jitsu black belt although he very rarely uses it at all. Font has a slight reach advantage in this one which will undoubtedly play a part in the striking battle that will ensue.
Font’s combinations are truly great and if he can work the body of Aldo then it could pay dividends in the latter rounds, with the Brazilian fading in his most recent fights. However Aldo has got his own combinations, throws super-hard leg kicks and his own body work is great too. The grappling is something we could end up seeing out of Aldo which would lean it towards him, but it’s the low kicks and combinations to the head that have me edging the victory in Aldo’s favour. PICK – Jose Aldo via Decision
Arguably the best fight of the year not on a pay-per-view card headlines UFC Vegas 32 this weekend as Cory Sandhagen puts his number one contender status on the line against the returning former champion TJ Dillashaw.
Elsewhere on the card, two young female prospects go head-to-head when Miranda Maverick and Maycee Barber square off on the main card in the flyweight division. Knockout sensation Adrian Yanez also returns to the octagon to take on Randy Costa too.
Last time out at UFC Vegas 31, we went 7/10 with one perfect pick on the night to move up to 370/576 (64.24%) with 164 perfect picks (44.32%).
We’ll look to improve on that here with this 13-fight card and after starting with the early prelims here, we finish off our prelims picks now.
Micky Gall (6-3) vs Jordan Williams (9-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
An intriguing welterweight fight between CM Punk’s slayer Micky Gall against Jordan Williams looking to earn his first win in the UFC. Gall has yo-yo’d wins in the UFC since 2016 in his last six fights, losing to Mike Perry last time out at UFC Vegas 4. Williams lost his UFC debut to Nassourdine Imavov at middleweight in October last year.
Gall is a wrestler with good jiu-jitsu skills and really poor striking but his submission is capable of earning him a win against anyone on the ground. Williams on the other hand is a complete wild man of a fighter who has a background in his wrestling but great power in his hands, with seven knockouts in his nine professional wins. Williams’ power is scary good and while he gets hit a bit himself, Gall’s striking is nothing for him to worry about.
With Williams’ defensive wrestling chops, his size advantage and the power in his hands, I think he gets a memorable stoppage win on the feet early on. PICK – Jordan Williams via Knockout, Round 1
Nassourdine Imavov (9-3) vs Ian Heinisch (14-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Imavov is a terrific grappler who looks to take his opponents to the ground but is also confident on the feet with his striking. One thing he struggles with though is pressure, and Heinisch loves to grind his wrestling into the ground and really push forward against his opponents. That’s a positive for him and with his good kicks and knees, mixed in with his brilliant cardio he’s got the edge here.
Heinisch is not on the best of a momentum swing but he’s got the tools to edge a decision win here. PICK – Ian Heinisch via Decision
Punahele Soriano (8-0) vs Brendan Allen (16-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Soriano has got great kickboxing but it’s his hands that are the most violent weapon he has. Nobody has ever tried to take him down in the UFC yet but that will change in this fight, with Allen being a great wrestler with an excellent submission game on the ground. Both prospects are really good at implementing their style on a fight and it could go either way.
With that said though, Allen’s capabilities on the ground give him the edge here. There’s every chance he could get clipped and put to sleep while trying to enter for a takedown, but if he gets the fight down the fight is in his world and I think he’ll be able to get the submission win. PICK – Brendan Allen via Submission, Round 2
Ariane Carnelossi def Liang Na via Knockout, Round 2 (1:28)
Super fast start to this fight as the two women meet in the middle and Na lands a big right hand that drops Carnelossi to one knee immediately! Na pushes for a finish with a clinch and knee, then Na drops for a takedown. They scramble and Na ends up on top landing some nice ground and pound, but Carnelossi is defending quite well considering. Carnelossi gets back to her feet and lands some nice right hands, but Na gets another takedown and ends up on top again. Carnelossi threatens with an armbar from her back but Na defends it and ends up on bottom, but then she throws up an armbar of her own! Carnelossi defends it and ends on top landing big ground and pound strikes. Carnelossi takes the back of Na but is able to avoid. Carnelossi transitions to a mounted triangle during a scramble and lands some big shots on the ground as the round closes out! What a round! 10-9 Carnelossi.
Fast start to the second round again as Na lands a nice head kick and goes for a flurry of punches before a judo throw takes the fight to the ground again. Carnelossi is able to take the back of Na after escaping a headlock and starts raining down ground and pound once again. The referee tells Na to defend herself, she doesn’t and he stops the fight! Hugely impressive win for Carnelossi.
Jeffrey Molina def Aoriqileng via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 29-27)
A strong start to the round from Aoriqileng steps forward and starts walking Molina down early, backing him against the cage and cutting off the angles. Molina moving well and trying to counter Aoriqileng but the Chinese fighter staying long and landing well. Nice flurry in the clinch as Aoriqileng looks to take the fight down but Molina is scrambling well and fighting it off. A bit of a stalemate between both men as they trade clinch knees. Both men just miss with the right hand as they separate but the round ends without too much more action. 10-9 Aoriqileng.
Molina trying to keep off the cage at the start of this round but Aoriqileng’s pressure paying off right now as he uses his length well. Molina landing his left jab well as he circles but Aoriqileng is throwing his counter right hand well and it’s landing hard and flush too. Both men throwing bombs in the middle of the octagon now and Molina lands a nice one-two that sits Aoriqileng down! Aoriqileng returns fire and as Molina throws a high kick it gets caught and then he gets dropped with a right hand too! Molina starts to circle and move backwards again and as Aoriqileng throws a lazy kick right at the end of the round, Molina lands a perfect right hand that drops him! Molina goes for the finish but the buzzer goes. 19-19!
Aoriqileng is coming forward in this final round and “fighting angry” according to the commentary team but he’s landing some nice right hands with the extra pressure. Molina moving well though and landing his jab well and great counter shots. Aoriqileng shoots for a takedown but Molina stuffs it really well and keeps the fight standing. Molina starting to throw some great combinations and is throwing in body shots too. Big left hand from Molina forces Aoriqileng to cover up and Molina is starting to pick him apart now. Big elbow as Aoriqileng is starting to slow down and eat these big shots. Big body shot followed up with a clean one-two and Molina is picking him apart as we enter the final minute. Aoriqileng throwing back but just eating so many shots and taking so much damage. Molina bites down and looks for a finish with 10 seconds to go but gets rocked! Aoriqileng goes for a finish but the round ends. 29-28 Molina.
Kazula Vargas def Rongzhu via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 29-28 x2)
A much more composed start to this fight from both fighters as Vargas looks to get some offence off early with feints and some low kicks. Vargas is landing really well, striking first and hard as Rongzhu seems to have a case of the nerves. A couple more low kicks lands and sends Rongzhu to the mat. Both guys land nice right hands simultaneously but as Vargas lands first Rongzhu is missing with the majority of his counters as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Vargas.
Second round sees Rongzhu come out fast and take the centre and a quick takedown attempt but Vargas defends well. A second attempt sees Vargas synch in a guillotine and it’s tiiiight! Rongzhu fighting the legs(?) of the closed guard from Vargas as he squeezes the choke, but Rongzhu refusing to tap and staying calm. Vargas blowing his load squeezing and eventually Rongzhu escapes and starts landing some ground and pound and riding Vargas. He tries to take his back but Vargas is able to escape it and ends up on top again with top control. Rongzhu eventually gets back to his feet and shoots for another takedown as the round ends, close round. 20-18 Vargas for me though.
Vargas being very patient in this final round as he looks a bit more fatigued and almost expects to be winning the fight currently. Rongzhu flicking out his jab and looking to land a straight right hand, but Vargas keeps coming forward. Rongzhu lands a huge right hand on the chin but Vargas eats it and lands a jab, before Rongzhu lands a big right again on Vargas’ entry that drops him to one knee. Vargas landing his jab well now as Rongzhu starts to walk him down in the final 90 seconds. Vargas keeps circling away and Rongzhu almost chasing him now. Rongzhu shoots for a takedown and after a scramble ends up on top with 10 seconds to go, landing ground and pound. Close round again, 29-28 Vargas in the end for me.
Batgerel Danaa def Kevin Natividad via Knockout, Round 1 (0:50)
Natividad starts quickly, rushing in with a couple of heavy right hands. Danaa throws a front kick that just misses and a right hand that lands on the temple. Natividad charges forward and Danaa steps forward, slips the punch, switches stances and lands a stunning left hook that puts Natividad down! Danaa lands some heavy ground and pound and the referee steps in to end the fight! What a knockout!
Patrick Sabatini def Tristan Connelly via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Lots of pressure from Connelly early on as he forces Sabatini backwards and looks to flick out his jab and land a right hand down the pipe. Sabatini moving well and quickly changes direction to land a right hand that drops Connelly! Sabatini moves into top position quickly and starts working to pass guard, landing some short shots and forcing Connelly to defend from the bottom. Sabatini moves into an arm triangle position and Connelly gives up his back immediately, which allows Sabatini to lock in a body triangle and look to work for a rear naked choke. Sabatini starts landing some punches to try and open up the neck for the choke but Connelly is defending the hands really well and manages to see out the round. 10-9 Sabatini.
Connelly comes out in the same way as the first, with lots of pressure to back Sabatini against the cage moving backwards. Sabatini nice and calm though and eventually changes levels and lands a power double leg takedown to end up in top position early on. Sabatini avoids the upkicks of Connelly and moves into side control before looking to step into mount, but ends up in half guard. Sabatini floats through and ends up taking the back and is looking for a submission but Connelly escapes and continues to get dominated. Sabatini takes the back and locks in a body triangle again, then moves for an arm triangle and then takes the back again. Connelly is defending the submissions well but Sabatini is in complete control and sees out the round in control again. 20-18 Sabatini.
Sabatini and Connelly both spend the entire first half of the final round competing in the clinch, exchanging knees and positions against the cage but next to no strikes thrown between them. Connelly throws a solid right hand that lands on the chin, and Sabatini immediately shoots for the takedown but Connelly stuffs it well. Connelly walking Sabatini down as we enter the final minute and lands a nice overhand right, but Sabatini clinches up again to slow the fight down. Connelly gets a nice trip and ends up on top with 30 seconds to go, but Sabatini defends well and grabs a leg to stifle any attacks and the round ends. 29-28 Sabatini but it was a much more lopsided fight than that will suggest.
Brendan Allen def Karl Roberson via Submission (Straight Ankle Lock), Round 1 (4:55)
Fast start to the fight as both men open up with a head kick attempt, throwing heavy shots behind them too. Roberson throwing his left hand well and lands his jab nicely too, before a big right hand cracks Allen. Allen steps forward with a left straight and the two clinch up, which allows Allen to get the takedown against the cage. He’s able to step over into mount while Roberson is upright against the cage, but he keeps his chin tucked and is able to fight off the guillotine attempt. Allen overpowers him and is able to move him across the octagon and starts controlling on top again. Roberson looks to attack a leg to escape, but that allows Allen to grab a leg too. Allen then torques on an ankle lock and leans back and Roberson taps! Beautiful submission win from Allen!
Dwight Grant def Stefan Sekulic via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
A conservative start from both fighters as Sekulic takes the centre and pumps out a jab along with some feints, while Grant is looking to get his range with feelers and feints of his own. Sekulic is trying not to rush in and get Grant on the end of his punches but Grant doing well to avoid for the most part. Head kick from Sekulic but Grant returns fire with a heavy low kick. Sekulic coming forward again and leaps in with a flying knee that just grazes Grant. Sekulic shoots in for a takedown in the final 30 seconds and gets it to probably snatch the round. 10-9 Sekulic.
A slow start once again to the second round as they continue to try and establish range and set traps for each other, but not much action in the opening minute or so. Sekulic shoots for a takedown but Grant stuffs it well, then throws a big right hand that wobbles Sekulic! He goes in to land a few more shots but Sekulic threatens with a knee up the middle and then a spinning wheel kick that both just miss and they both reset. Wild left hook from Grant just misses the chin of Sekulic as both guys trade low calf kicks before Sekulic shoots in deep for a takedown again and gets it. Sekulic starts trying to advance but Grant pops up to his feet with 45 seconds left in the round. Sekulic shoots in again and they clinch against the cage to end the round. 20-18 Sekulic.
Grant comes out with a bit more urgency in this round, and gets an early takedown of his own to end up on top. Sekulic looks for a shoulder lock off his back but Grant defends it, lands some big ground and pound strikes then gets up to bring the fight back up to the feet. Sekulic doing really well to stay at distance and gets a takedown of his own, but Grant gets back up quickly. Sekulic is landing nice straight shots with good movement and he lands a big shot that drops Grant! He moves in for a finish and sinks in a deeeeep guillotine attempt and just as Grant is going out the buzzer goes to end the round! 30-27 Sekulic, great performance from him.
Randy Brown def Alex Oliveira via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1 (2:50)
A very intense start from both fighters as Brown comes out hard looking to do damage. Cowboy responds with lateral movement and some nice leg kicks that are causing problems early for Brown. Cowboy throws three, four more kicks and Brown drops down to one knee. Brown comes forward again and clips him with a left before he lands a BOMB of a right hand to drop Oliveira! Brown goes for the kill with ground and pound but Cowboy starts to grab him and eventually survives. Brown gets to mount and then takes the back of Cowboy who’s fighting the hands, but then Brown gets one arm under the chin. Oliveira fights the other hand to stop a grip but Brown presses his hand against the shoulder of Cowboy and eventually brings Cowboy down to force the tap with a one-handed rear-naked choke! Wow! What a performance!
Anthony Smith def Jimmy Crute via Knockout (Doctor Stoppage), Round 1 (5:00)
Slow start to this one as it takes around a minute for both guys to start engaging, with Crute opting for low kicks and Smith landing nice jabs. Crute’s leg kicks are having an early effect on the movement of Smith so far, but the jab is landing clean and often and has stunned Crute! Smith lands a big, clean right hand and works Crute out. Smith returns a huge leg kick of his own that lands just behind the knee and Crute’s leg gives way completely. Crute shoots for a takedown and ends the round on top but he’s in trouble.
Between rounds the doctor examines Crute and waves the fight off as he can barely walk without it giving way. Crazy ending!
Uriah Hall def Chris Weidman via Knockout (Broken Leg), Round 1 (0:17)
Chris Weidman threw a leg kick and his leg has snapped in half! Oh my God! The literal first kick of the entire fight. Oh my goodness that is horrific. Get well soon Weidman.
Valentina Shevchenko def Jessica Andrade via Knockout, Round 2 (3:19)
Very composed start from both ladies, as Shevchenko flicks a jab and then lands a nice one-two down the middle. Andrade misses with a couple of leg kicks and then Shevchenko closes the distance quickly and gets a takedown! Shevchenko dominating the position as Andrade gets back up and then dragged back down again. Shevchenko just misses with a head kick as they break, but then they clinch up again and Shevchenko trips her. She works for position and ends up on Andrade’s back and sinks an arm under the chin but the angle doesn’t allow the squeeze for a choke. She lets Andrade back up, holds her in place and then drags her down one more time to end the round in top position. 10-9, could argue a 10-8 maybe.
Both women come into the middle to start the round and after a short flurry between them both, Shevchenko overpowers Andrade and slams her to the mat once again. Andrade gets back up and pushes her against the cage but Shevchenko is overpowering Andrade and not allowing her to lift her for a takedown. Shevchenko then once again rag dolls Andrade and trips her down to the mat. Shevchenko quickly moves from side control and into a crucifix position and starts hammering away on Andrade’s face. Andrade trying to defend but Shevchenko turns the punches into elbows and the referee mercifully stops the fight. What a performance!
Rose Namajunas def Weili Zhang via Knockout, Round 1 (1:18)
Nice start from both women as Rose bounces around on the outside while Zhang throws some low kicks. Rose lands a jab and steps out to avoid a big right hand from Zhang. Namajunas fakes a low kick and goes to the chin and Zhang is OUT!! Rose lands three follow up shots and the referee steps in to wave it off! It’s over! AND NEWWWW!
Kamaru Usman def Jorge Masvidal via Knockout, Round 2 (1:02)
Tense start to the title fight as Usman takes the centre of the cage and looks to land his excellent jab, while Masvidal is throwing some leg kicks. Usman lands a big overhand right flush on the chin but Masvidal shouts in his face after eating it. A few tighter exchanges and Masvidal goes for a flying knee, but Usman catches it and dumps him on his back. Masvidal fights get his full guard and starts throwing elbows from the bottom, but Usman stays strong on top and prevents him from getting back up to his feet too quickly but he eventually does. Usman lands a right hand and then a jab but Masvidal responds with a flurry of strikes and a big knee as the round ends. Close round, but 10-9 Usman for me.
Both men standing in the centre, not looking to give up an inch as Masvidal throws a few leg kicks to keep distance. Usman drops his level and throws a huge right straight that knocks Masvidal out cold!!!! Usman follows up with heavy ground and pound and the referee steps in! AND STILLLL!! What a knockout!
Patrick Sabatini (13-3) vs Tristan Connelly (14-6) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
A UFC debut for the submission specialist Patrick Sabatini as he takes on former lightweight Tristan Connelly in the featherweight division. Sabatini has won five of his last six, evenly split 2-2-2 with KO’s, submissions and decisions. Connelly won his last bout at WELTERWEIGHT against Michel Pereira way back in 2019 in his UFC debut.
Sabatini is a brilliant chain wrestler and has a deep submission bag, with seven rear-naked choke wins from nine tap-out wins. Connelly is a wrestler too, who looks to get top position and land some nice ground and pound to grind out wins. A big issue for Connelly is that not only is he coming off a neck injury, but he’s 35 and cutting to 145lbs for the first time in six years.
Sabatini has him beat where he’s strongest and is as good where they’re both weaker so I expect the younger man to get him down, eventually take his back and earn another rear-naked choke submission win. PICK -Pat Sabatini via Submission, Round 1
Karl Roberson (9-3) vs Brendan Allen (15-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Roberson is a striker by nature with good kickboxing skills, while Allen is a ground specialist who has a nasty submission game to go with his heavy hands. Roberson is a rangy fighter who isn’t afraid to throw kicks and if he does that here, Allen will be grinning from ear-to-ear as he’ll catch it and chuck him to the mat. Roberson does have decent offensive wrestling, but his defence is poor and Allen is more than capable of holding his own on the feet until an opportunity arises to take him down himself.
Because of those reasons, it’s hard to see this fight going any other way than Allen securing a dominant submission win. PICK – Brendan Allen via Submission, Round 1
Dwight Grant (10-3) vs Stefan Sekulic (12-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
Grant has incredible power in his hands and has scary knockout power, but he rarely throws strikes other than one at a time. That’s a big problem because it allows opponents to get their own attacks together and cause his issues. Not to mention the fact that Grant seemed to blow his load in last fight against Rodriguez, which is a concern. Sekulic is a good wrestler on his own accord and is very good at grinding away from top position on opponents.
Grant has cracking hands and has shown in the past that he’s able to get up off his back if he does get taken down, so as long as he doesn’t sit on his hands he should get the win here. PICK – Dwight Grant via Knockout, Round 2
Alex Oliveira (22-9-1) vs Randy Brown (12-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
Oliveira is a super well-rounded fighter who is entering the twilight of his career now. He has great boxing and good power, but is also excellent on the ground and has good evasive footwork. Brown is a potential contender at 170lbs, with great power in his strikes and really good wrestling too. He is powerful and has great cardio too, but has shown skills off his back with a submission of Warlley Alves and with where they both are currently it’s hard to see him not taking over the longer this fight goes.
Brown has the striking edge on the feet, the clear advantage in the cardio department and is competent enough in the grappling to hold his own, so I think he dominates to a decision win. PICK – Randy Brown via Decision
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.
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.
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.
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
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
There are currently scheduled to be 11 fights on this card, with six prelim bouts followed up by a five-fight main card. I have already predicted the prelims here and will now try to predict the main card.
Last time out I secured a great round of predictions with 10/11 correct picks, including four perfect picks. Lets see if I can’t improve that this time around.
Claudia Gadelha (18-4) vs Yan Xiaonan (12-1 1NC) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
A classic striker vs grappler bout in this one, as Gadelha looks to make it three wins in a row against Xiaonan in the most exciting women’s division. Xiaonan is undefeated in the UFC, winning all five of her fights so far and currently 10-0 with one no contest in her last 11 fights. Gadelha is a tremendous grappler who has a few issues with cardio, often fading away in the latter parts of fights. Xiaonan is a very active kickboxer, who has been working on her takedown defence even more so in recent weeks. Her excellent ability to keep a fast pace throughout the entire fight will also play a big part and while it’s possible Gadelha gets her down and controls her on the ground, I think this is Xiaonan’s fight to lose. PICK – Yan Xiaonan via Decision
Ian Heinisch (14-3) vs Brendan Allen (15-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
The fight of the night as far as my picks go for that, two very good middleweights go head to head. Heinisch got back into the win column at UFC 250 against Gerald Meerschaert following two back-to-back defeats prior to that. Allen is on a seven fight win streak, including a stoppage win over Kevin Holland and a decision over Kyle Daukaus last time out. Allen is a phenom on the ground, with 8 submission wins on his record while also capable on his feet. Heinisch is also a tremendous wrestler but has struggled in the past against the pure strikers he’s faced. It’s really a battle of who turns up on the night because it really is a 50/50 fight. Heinisch has good leg kicks and body work, so if he can prevent Allen’s takedowns he should win. Something tells me though that Allen will be able to get top position and grind out a win. PICK – Brendan Allen via Decision
Raoni Barcelos (15-1) vs Khalid Taha (13-2 1NC) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A short notice fight as Barcelos steps in on short notice to take on Taha in place of Jack Shore. Barcelos is currently on an eight fight win streak, including a win over Said Nurmagomedov last time out at the back end of 2019. He has a fantastic skillset, where he has proven he has knockout power to go with his counter-striking as well as a great base for his ground game. Taha is a powerhouse on the feet with serious knockout power though so Barcelos will have to be careful for the most part. Barcelos should prove himself to be too well rounded during this fight though and I expect him to get the fight to the ground and secure a submission win. PICK – Raoni Barcelos via Submission, Round 2
Andrei Arlovski (29-19 2NC) vs Tanner Boser (19-6-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)
The legendary Arlovski is back in the octagon and he’ll take on a man who is looking for his third win of 2020. Boser knocked out Phillipe Lins in June before then knocking out Raphael Pessoa a month later. Arlovski’s last fight was also against Phillipe Lins but he got the win via a decision. Arlovski has great output for a 41 year old and he obviously has knockout power but Boser is the guy with the advantages right now. He has a wicked leg kick and has shown in the past that he can go the distance quite comfortably. In recent fights though he has shown a willingness to go for the kill and that is something Arlovski won’t be looking forward to. A string of combinations lands in the second and gets the legendary Russian out of there. PICK – Tanner Boser via Knockout, Round 2
Thiago Santos (21-7) vs Glover Teixeira (31-7) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
A fight to determine who’s at the top of the light heavyweight division, Thiago Santos makes his return to the octagon for the first time since July 2019 when he lost a title fight to Jon Jones, while Teixeira is coming off a thumping win over Anthony Smith. Santos has terrifying knockout power and a fantastic kicking game, while Glover is a boxer first and foremost but his ground game is fantastic too. If Glover gets the fight down to the ground, he’s almost always able to keep it there and dominate whoever is under him. Santos is incredibly explosive though and isn’t a novice on the ground either but his wrestling is poor. Santos is so powerful on the feet though, I think he’ll be able to land flush on Glover relatively early on and end the fight before his ground game gets tested too much. PICK – Thiago Santos via Knockout, Round 2