Tag Archives: Christian Rodriguez

UFC Vegas 63: Kattar vs Allen – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas for a featherweight clash in the main event between Calvin Kattar and Arnold Allen in a potential title eliminator.

Both guys are coming off great wins last time out and will be hoping to put their case forward for a shot against Alex Volkanovski in 2023.

There’s a pretty good undercard to go off too in comparison to recent weeks, so it’s a good set of fights to look forward to.

Last time out at UFC 280 we went 8/12 with four perfect picks to move to 749/1166 (64.58%) with 317 perfect picks (42.1%). You can see our full pick history here.

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

Christian Rodriguez (7-1) vs Joshua Weems (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An interesting bantamweight fight opens the card here. Rodriguez made his UFC debut back in February but was on the wrong side of a decision against Jonathan Pearce, while Weems makes his promotional debut in this one on a two-fight win streak via submissions.

Weems is a terrific grappler with a fantastic submission game, but he almost never uses it offensively and instead waits for his opponents to try and take him down before latching onto their neck or arm. He’s a brawler outside of that and it always makes for exciting bouts. Rodriguez on the other hand is a more steady boxer with good combinations and a decent low kick too, while his defensive grappling and offensive wrestling are decent too.

Both of these guys are unlikely to pull up any trees in the UFC any time soon, but Rodriguez certainly has more to his game. Weems is likely to come in as usual quite aggressively, and I expect Rodriguez to deal with that relatively easily with his jab and footwork. He’s got decent finishing power and with a really short-notice build for this for Weems, he could secure a late finish if he stays sharp and focus throughout.
PICK – Christian Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 2

Cody Durden (13-4-1) vs Carlos Mota (8-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Flyweights going at it next in a fun bout. Durden was submitted by Muhammad Mokaev in just 58 seconds back in March, but rebounded from that with a 68 second knockout win over JP Buys in June most recently. Mota makes his UFC debut in this one having won his last two in a row via first-round knockouts.

Durden is an excellent wrestler with great top control and some nasty ground and pound to go with it, while his improvements in the striking department are noted too. Mota is a super aggressive and brilliant striker with a phenomenal body attack and great power that has earned him four knockout wins in his career to date. The longer this stays standing it will suit the Brazilian, and Durden has got a habit of fading as we get later into the fight.

With that said though, Durden’s wrestling and experience at this level should be enough to win at least two rounds. Mota is a good scrambler but Durden doesn’t often need multiple takedowns to gain control, but he has it in his toolbox to do that. I expect him to win both the first two rounds with his wrestling and top game, before surviving a late comeback from Mota to earn the decision win.
PICK – Cody Durden via Decision

Chase Hooper (11-2-1) vs Steve Garcia (12-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Another fun bout this time in the featherweight division to close out this portion of the card. Hooper was super highly rated in the UFC but is now 2-2 in his last four, alternating losses to Alex Caceres (UFC 250) and Steven Peterson (UFC 263) with wins over Peter Barrett (UFC 256) and Felipe Colares most recently. Garcia on the other hand is 1-2 in the UFC, losing to Luis Pena, before beating Charlie Ontiveros and then losing most recently to Maheshate at UFC 275 in the first round.

Hooper is a grappling wizard on the ground with supreme technical skills in jiu-jitsu, who leaves a lot to be desired in the realm of striking on the feet. Garcia on the other hand is a striker who relies a lot on his power, but often overthrows and finds himself in trouble as he isn’t the most durable man on the roster. With that said, Hooper will be licking his lips at this match-making.

Garcia really struggles to control distance on the feet and if he gets too close and allows Hooper to grab him, this will likely end up on the mat. There he is basically in the ocean with a shark, as Hooper will control him relatively easily and likely cave his head in until the referee steps in to call it a day.
PICK – Chase Hooper via Knockout, Round 2

UFC Vegas 48: Walker vs Hill – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas this week for a card that has been littered with changes on short notice.

Originally scheduled to be headlined by Rafael Dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev, that fight was forced to be moved to UFC 272 due to visa issues and will now be headlined by Johnny Walker and Jamahal Hill.

It’s not the greatest of cards, with the only ranked fighters scheduled to compete in the main event but there are some decent fights expected to take place.

Last week at UFC 271 we had a great night, correctly predicting 11/14 fights with seven perfect picks which takes our picks totals to 539/840 (64.17%) with 231 perfect picks (42.86%).

Lets see if we can improve that here, starting with the early prelims.

Mario Bautista (8-2) vs Jay Perrin (10-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A short notice bout put together this week in the bantamweight division. Bautista saw a two-fight win streak snapped last time out when Tevin Jones KO’d him in the second round at UFC 259, while Perrin makes his UFC debut on a run of seven wins in eight fights.

Bautista is a pressure fighter who uses kicks to close distance and likes to chop at the legs. He’s also a good counter puncher with decent power and is well rounded. Perrin on the other hand is also a solid striker, with good leg kicks and always looking to extend his combinations to catch an opponent off guard.

Both fighters will be willing to shoot for takedowns as well as stand and bang, so the short-notice nature of the bout makes me lean towards Bautista. He’s never had an issue with his cardio and I’d argue he’s probably got the edge over Perrin in most, if not all, areas so he should be able to implement his game and score the win.
PICK – Mario Bautista via Decision

Jonathan Pearce (11-4) vs Christian Rodriguez (7-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A banger at featherweight between two very interesting fighters in yet another short-notice bout. Pearce is on a two-fight win streak having beaten Kai Kamaka III and Omar Morales most recently via submission at UFC 266. Rodriguez is undefeated and has split his wins 3-3-1 by knockout, submission and decision.

Pearce is a solid wrestler who uses a suffocating pace to wear on his opponents with some really decent striking too. He’ll be coming up against a really talented striker in Rodriguez, who has crisp boxing, a lovely one-two and lovely knees too. He’s a good grappler himself, but there is a big gap between himself and Pearce in that department and that’s a big problem.

Rodriguez is undoubtedly a superstar in the making, with lots of talent and potential, but this looks to be too big a step too soon – especially on short notice. Pearce will suffocate him with pressure, look for takedowns against the cage and throw big combinations to get the fight down and eventually get a finish via ground and pound.
PICK – Jonathan Pearce via Knockout, Round 3

Chad Anheliger (11-5) vs Jesse Strader (5-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A potential fight of the night at 135-pounds between two very talented fighters. Anheliger makes his UFC debut on a nine-fight win streak following his win on Dana White’s Contender Series back in September, while Strader got slept in his only UFC bout to date by Montel Jackson at UFC Vegas 22.

Anheliger is a tidy fighter, with great technical striking and counter punching, a deep gas tank and a granite chin. Strader on the other hand is an explosive fighter who looks to take his opponent out early with a blitz, before his cardio inevitably lets him down later in the fights. Strader is a great wrestler too, but almost never uses it. If he did use it then we’d see a very different fight, because all of Angeliger’s defeats have come via submission.

With that said though, Strader isn’t the best submission artist and I don’t see him wrestling for prolonged periods of time. With that, Anheliger will trade with him on the feet and look to use his counter strikes to pay dividends on the fading chin of Strader as we approach the end of the second round. It’ll be a fun fight while it lasts, but I don’t expect it to go the full 15 minutes.
PICK – Chad Anheliger via Knockout, Round 2