Tag Archives: Danilo Marques

UFC Vegas 47: Hermansson vs Strickland – Early prelims predictions

After a short two week break following on from the return of fights in 2022, the UFC is back with a middleweight main event at UFC Vegas 47 this weekend.

In the headline fight Jack Hermansson looks to make it back-to-back wins when he takes on Sean Strickland at 185-pounds, where we could either see a new contender in the division or find out that neither are championship calibre.

Last time out at UFC 270 we had a bad night, going 5/11 with one perfect pick to move to 519/813 (63.84%) with 218 perfect picks (42%).

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


Malcolm Gordon (13-5) vs Denys Bondar (16-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An exciting flyweight bout to open the card up. Gordon suffered defeat in his first two UFC bouts to Amir Albazi and Su Mudaerji, before finally getting in the win column last time out against Francisco Figueiredo at UFC Vegas 31, while Bondar makes his UFC debut on an eight-fight win streak.

Gordon is a talented striker on the feet with good technique and leg kicks, while Bondar is a relentless grinder who looks for wrestling and top control to dominate his opponents. With 16 finishes from 16 wins, his top control is so smooth and he looks for finishes over just holding the position which isn’t good news for someone like Gordon who struggles in the grappling department.

Bondar will come forward and look to score the takedown eventually and the only way that Gordon wins this is via a submission off his back or by avoiding takedowns for the entire 15 minutes. That just doesn’t seem likely to me, so I think Bondar secures a ground-and-pound finish midway through the second after wearing Gordon down.
PICK – Denys Bondar via Knockout, Round 2

Jason Witt (19-7) vs Phil Rowe (8-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two welterweights looking to make an impression on the UFC fanbase in this one. Witt bounced back from a 12-second KO defeat at UFC Vegas 21 with a majority decision win over Bryan Barbarena at UFC Vegas 33, while Rowe claimed a knockout win over Orion Cosce on the same card to bounce back from his own defeat in the previous fight.

Witt is an excellent wrestler with a good gas tank, but his glass chin doesn’t help him when he comes up against true power punchers. Rowe is, unsurprisingly, a great power puncher with good technique and good range too. Rowe also has a massive 10.5 inch reach advantage and knows how to use that distance well, so he will likely step away plenty to avoid getting into grappling exchanges.

I expect Witt will be able to start the fight well and potentially take the round, but Rowe will know it only takes one big shot to put Witt down. On this occasion, I expect Rowe will survive a bad opening round off his back then get back to his feet and land a big right hand that puts Witt out, again.
PICK – Phil Rowe via Knockout, Round 2



Jailton Almeida (14-2) vs Danilo Marques (11-3) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A very fun light heavyweight bout between two Brazilians in this one. Almeida makes his UFC debut on a nine-fight win streak, who earned a contract thanks to a submission win on Dana White’s Contender Series. Marques on the other hand saw a four-fight winning streak snapped last time out, when he got knocked out by Kennedy Nzechukwu at UFC Vegas 30.

Almeida has previously described himself as ‘the Brazilian Khabib’ and you can see why in his fighting style. ‘Malhadinho’ looks to get takedowns quickly and with little energy being exerted, before wrapping up the legs and landing damage and advancing position. He has finished all his victories, with nine of them coming via submission. Marques on the other hand is also a talented grappler, who has some good kicks and looks to set up grappling exchanges once he’s closed the distance.

If Marques tries to engage in grappling then he’ll find himself quickly outmatched by the athleticism and power of Almeida. On the feet, it’s a pretty even match up but Almeida once again seems to have the advantage and while his cardio is untested at this level, we watched Marques’ fail him in his most recent fight. Overall, Almeida gets top position and pushes for submissions but claims a wide decision win by the end of this one.
PICK – Jailton Almeida via Decision

UFC Vegas 30: Gane vs Volkov – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex this weekend with some giant European heavyweights headlining the card as Ciryl Gane takes on Alexander Volkov with a potential title shot looming for the winner.

A make-believe European title will be on the line as the two top five heavyweights clash, coming into the fight off the back of win streaks over top contenders too.

Elsewhere on the card in the co-main event, Ovince Saint-Preux moves up to heavyweight to take on short-notice opponent Tanner Boser while Raoni Barcelos gets back in the octagon to take on Timur Valiev in an absolute banger at bantamweight.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 29, we went 8/12 on the night with four perfect picks to go up to 346/542 (63.84%) with 155 perfect picks (44.8%).

We’ll look to improve on that here with this 13-fight card and after starting off with the early prelims here, we move on to the rest of the prelims here.


Marcin Prachnio (14-5) vs Ike Villanueva (18-11) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An interesting light heavyweight scrap booked in this one as Prachnio looks to make it back-to-back wins over ‘Hurricane’ Ike Villanueva. Prachnio lost three-in-a-row including a first-round stoppage against Mike Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 7, before bouncing back with a decision win over Khalil Rountree JR at UFC 257. Villanueva himself lost two in a row, including a KO inside 90 seconds against Jordan Wright at UFC Vegas 7 before beating Vinicius Moreira by knockout at UFC Fight Island 8.

Both guys are strikers and while Prachnio opts for volume and combinations, Villanueva just looks for a slug fest. Both guys have been beaten by knockouts but the nature of those finishes were very different. Villanueva got stopped by a cut and by a heavyweight, while Prachnio got separated from consciousness three times and could’ve been against an exhausted Rountree last time too.

I don’t think either guy are really UFC calibre at this point, but I’d trust Villanueva to land the big show-stopping punch before Prachnio so he’ll get the dub.
PICK – Ike Villanueva via Knockout, Round 1

Warlley Alves (15-4) vs Jeremiah Wells (8-2-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A banger at welterweight ar Warlley Alves takes on UFC debutant Jeremiah Wells. Alves returned from over two years out with a first-round stoppage win over Mounir Lazzez, while Wells is on a two-fight win streak but hasn’t fought since 2019.

Alves is super powerful but is more known for his terrific grappling skills that go with being a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Wells is a great wrestler with good hand speed and jiu-jitsu brown belt, making him a legit threat to Alves wherever the fight ends up. It’s tough to see an ideal path to victory for Wells because he prefers to wrestle his way into fights, but he won’t want to be on the ground with Alves.

Overall, I think Alves is the man who has the advantage with this one and I think he can out-grapple Wells or potentially KO him with the short notice aspect working in his favour too.
PICK – Warlley Alves via Decision

Shavkat Rakhmonov (13-0) vs Michel Prazeres (26-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A really exciting welterweight fight as the undefeated Rakhmonov takes on the highly underrated Prazeres in this one. Rakhmonov won his UFC debut at UFC 254 with a submission over Cowboy Oliveira, while Prazeres is well over two years out from his last fight – a defeat to Ismail Naurdiev.

Rakhmonov is an absolute beast of a fighter, with seven knockouts and six submission wins. He is a fantastic grappler on the ground but also a crisp striker on the feet. Prazeres on the other hand is a tremendous grappler and is very grapple heavy stylistically, looking for takedowns early and then working to positions where he can attack submissions. Rakhmonov though has a HUGE advantage in size, with a nine inch height advantage and ten inch reach advantage.

Prazeres is very good, but Rakhmonov has all the advantages at this stage and this could be a real showcase fight for the Kazakhstan fighter.
PICK – Shavkat Rakhmonov via Knockout, Round 2

Kennedy Nzechukwu (8-1) vs Danilo Marques (11-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A banger at 205lbs as ‘African Savage’ Nzechukwu takes on Danilo Marques in the featured prelim bout. Nzechekwu returned to the UFC after an 18-month absence to knock out Carlos Ulberg at UFC 259, while Marques has won his last four including a submission over Mike Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 18.

Nzechukwu is a powerful puncher with good accuracy who showed some improved cardio in his last fight, as well as a solid chin. Marques on the other hand is a terrific grappler on the ground who can match Nzechukwu for size, standing at 6ft 6′. He has lots of good tripping techniques and has the clear advantage on the ground, so if he can get the fight down then it’s his to lose.

Nzechukwu is a power puncher but Marques has shown a decent chin and unless he can stop the takedown attempts I can’t see the Nigerian getting the win on this occasion.
PICK – Danilo Marques via Submission, Round 2

UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs Volkov – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Ode Osbourne def Jerome Rivera via Knockout, Round 1 (0:26)

Both fighters come out and meet in the centre and Rivera throws a high left kick. Osbourne rolls the kick, catching the kick on his shoulder and lands a huge left hand straight down the pipe! Rivera is down, Osbourne lands a couple of strikes on the ground but it’s over inside 30 seconds! Wow!

Timur Valiev def Martin Day via Unanimous Decision (30-25 x2, 30-26)

Good start to the round for Valiev as he comes out and attacks the legs early with a series of kicks. Day counters another leg kick with a short combo in the pocket but Valiev steps out of the way and then goes for a single leg takedown. He takes the back against the cage and has a body lock before dragging Day down to the mat, only for Day to get back up quickly. Valiev finally gets the fight down and stops the scramble attempt to end up in top position. Some nice short elbows from Valiev but Day is defending well as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Valiev.

Valiev opens the second round with some more leg kicks, before a nice one-two and a takedown have the fight on the ground in the centre of the octagon. Valiev passes into side control and Day tries to get back to his feet but it’s prevented well with some solid ground and pound. Valiev completely dominant right now with constant pressure on the ground, staying busy and landing shots to the body and head of Day. Complete domination for the entire second round, could be a 10-8 round. 20-17 Valiev.

Final round and Day starts throwing some kicks and a few strikes, knowing he needs a finish in this round. It doesn’t last long though as Valiev gets another takedown early in the round and controls the positions once again. More ground and pound strikes on the ground as Day tries to get back up, but Valiev is a nuisance and keeps a body lock and just drags him up and down as much as possible. Valiev switches between half-guard, mount and side control for the rest of the round for a dominant decision victory. 30-26 Valiev.

Seungwoo Choi def Youssef Zalal via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Tactical start to this fight from both guys as Choi takes the centre, but Zalal is happy to circle on the outside and jab while avoiding heavier shots. Choi throws a few big head kicks but Zalal slips them relatively easily. Zalal shoots for the takedown and gets in on the hips but Choi steps over the trip attempt and they end up tied up against the cage. Zalal continues to look for the takedown against the cage but they’re at a stalemate and the referee separates them. Another clinch against the cage as the round comes to an end and Choi gets a takedown right on the horn. 10-9 Zalal for me but could go either way.

Second round starts with an exchange of kicks before another clinch against the cage, as Zalal looks for the takedown again. He gets a single leg but Choi defends really well against the cage until the referee separates them again. Body kick and one-two from Choi lands clean as he starts to come forward more. He pushes forward with another combo before the clinch again against the cage, before Choi gets Zalal down to the mat before letting him straight back up. A few more exchanges before the end of the round, this one more clear cut in Choi’s favour. 19-19 or 20-18.

Choi starts the final round strong, as he looks to have Zalal beat in all areas right now. They clinch against the cage again and Zalal finally gets the fight to the ground and goes straight for a guillotine. It looks tight as he rolls through but Choi eventually turns into it and ends up on top in guard. Choi eventually works his way back up to the feet but Zalal goes for a single leg takedown again and gets Choi down against the cage. Every time Zalal gets him down in this round he pops straight back up, refusing to accept bottom position as we enter the final 40 seconds. Round comes to an end with a clinch against the cage and it will likely be a Choi decision win. 29-28 Choi.

Lara Procopio def Molly McCann via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Fast start to this fight as McCann comes out throwing leg kicks and punch combinations early, while Procopio looks to walk her to the cage and go for a takedown. After a battle against the cage, Procopio gets a beautiful trip and ends up in top position halfway through the round. Procopio dominating on the ground and has McCann’s neck tight to control posture, but McCann fights out of that position, although she eventually pushes into full mount. McCann gives up the back and Procopio looks for an armbar before transitioning to the back and looking for a choke but the horn goes. Dominant from Procopio, 10-9.

McCann comes out aggressively again and looks to keep Procopio with her back against the cage, but a clinch and takedown attempt ends with McCann on her back. Procopio looks to transition into different positions but McCann throws up an armbar! Procopio looks to stack her to escape but McCann rolls through and locks it in tight! She has a full extension but Procopio refuses to tap and eventually is able to escape the position! Eventually the women get back to their feet against the cage and then Procopio lands another takedown inside the final minute as both women trade shots before the horn. 19-19.

Final round and Procopio is breathing heavy, but she still engages with the clinch situation against the cage looking for a takedown. She gets the fight down to the ground in scrappy fashion and then quickly transitions looking for a heel hook. McCann rolls through twice and escapes, but Procopio immediately gets back on her and brings McCann back down to the ground a further three times just using her size advantage. 30 seconds to go and Procopio takes the back of McCann and starts throwing punches to see the round out and take a decision win. 29-28 Procopio.

PRELIMS

Karol Rosa def Joselyne Edwards via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

An immediate shot and takedown from Rosa gets the fight down to the ground and the Brazilian into a strong position. She sits in half guard comfortably, throwing some nice ground and pound and just completely controlling the fight. Rosa moves into full mount and starts teeing off before Edwards throws her legs up and rolls through to get back to the feet. Both women exchange shots on the feet with Rosa beating up the legs as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Rosa.

Rosa comes out aggressively again with some heavy leg kicks, and Edwards buckles under the power of the kicks too. Rosa steps in and clinches before the separate and Rosa throws more kicks. Edwards charges forwards with a combination of hooks that land clean but she eats them well and comes forward with some shots of her own. Edwards comes forward again with a rush but Rosa gets hold of her and the fight goes back to the ground with Rosa on top. Rosa’s mouth is bleeding heavily but she’s staying on top and landing ground and pound well as the round ends. 20-18 Rosa.

Final round and after one exchange on the feet Rosa goes straight for the takedown and secures it. After some ground and pound and some grappling on the ground Rosa gets back to the feet herself and lets Edwards up, before they clinch up against the cage again. Edwards battling to stay on her feet as Rosa looks to wear on her with her physical advantage. Rosa drags Edwards down to the ground with under 90 seconds remaining and controls the position for the remainder of the round before ending with a big flurry of punches to take a decision win. 30-27 Rosa.

Devonte Smith def Justin Jaynes via Knockout (Doctor Stoppage), Round 2 (3:38)

Cagey start to the fight as both men look to feel each other out before committing to any big shots early on. Smith lands some nice jabs that rock Jaynes a little, but Jaynes is throwing tight left hook counters that are just missing too. Smith’s jab is working well to keep Jayne’s away from him but then Jaynes lands a nice right hand that wobbles Smith. Jaynes is covering up from the jab and then Smith lands a nice left followed by a kick that Jaynes catches. Smith lands some big shots while his leg is still in the air and Jaynes is rocked! Smith throws some knees and a right hand but Jaynes weathers the storm and the round ends. 10-9 Smith.

Jaynes comes out in the second round and goes straight for a takedown and they clinch up against the cage. Jaynes goes to sweep him but Smith explodes and reverses the position to end up on top in side control. He throws some nice knees to the body and some short punches to cause Jaynes some problems. Smith passes into full mount with ease and starts raining down punches before taking the back and looks for the rear naked choke but Jaynes reverses and escapes. Smith explodes back to his feet quickly and tells the referee he wants it back on the feet. Referee pauses the fight with Jaynes’ eye swelled shut and the doctor waves it off. TKO win for Smith!

MAIN CARD

Danilo Marques def Mike Rodriguez via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (4:51)

Immediate takedown from Marques as he shoots in for a single leg and uses lots of movement before eventually tripping him down. Rodriguez fighting hard to get back to his feet against the cage, but Marques keeping his hands locked up and eventually gets him back down once again. Marques working hard to keep Rodriguez down and he’s tying up the legs to do so. Rodriguez gets back to the feet but once again Marques drags him back down. Rodriguez gets back to the feet with 15 seconds to go and throws a few knees and body shots but he looks exhausted. 10-9 Marques.

Second round starts with the two exchanging feints on the feet, with Rodriguez landing a nice low kick. Marques fakes a couple of takedown attempts before landing an overhand right and then finally getting the big takedown. Marques passes into full mount against the cage and he starts raining down big ground and pound punches. Both men look exhausted as Rodriguez gets back to a knee, but Marques keeps landing big punches and then takes the back with both hooks in. He rolls to the back and sinks in a rear naked choke and puts Rodriguez to sleep. Wonderful performance from Marques.

Beneil Dariush def Diego Ferreira via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

A crazy pace to start this fight as Dariush comes out firing with strikes before shooting for a takedown. Ferreira defends it by pulling guard with an omoplata before exploding out back to his feet, but Dariush looks for a takedown again against the cage. When he can’t get it he separates and the two start trading bombs! Both men land huge shots on each other but Dariush keeps coming forward. Big knee to the body and Ferreira goes down! Dariush looks for ground and pound but Ferreira ties him up on the ground and is able to ride it out. Final 30 seconds and they get back to the feet, and Ferreira lands a big right hand clean. Dariush returns with a right of his own before a front kick to the face from Ferreira lands flush. What a round! 10-9 Dariush.

Second round starts as the first ended with both men throwing big strikes once again. Dariush looking a bit more tired than Ferreira, so he shoots for a takedown and then gets a trip against the cage and lands on top. Ferreira gets back up but Dariush puts him straight back down and starts to control on top. Ferreira defending but the pressure of Dariush is causing him a big problem and Dariush ends the round controlling position from the top. 20-18.

An insane pace continues into the third round as Ferreira starts to use his footwork more to avoid a brawl and keep out of the way of the takedown attempts. Dariush lands a couple of punches himself and misses a takedown before a kick lands on the cup of Ferreira and causes a short pause. Halfway through the round and we haven’t hit the ground yet but Dariush lands a beautiful one-two to the chin. Ferreira catches a kick and looks to put Dariush on the ground but a great scramble means they both get back to the feet and start swinging for the fences. Dariush shoots for a takedown with a minute remaining and gets it, and takes the back with a body lock as he sinks the hooks in but Ferreira shakes him off and the two scramble to the horn. Great fight, 30-27 Dariush for me though.

Alexandre Pantoja def Manel Kape via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Fun start to the fight as Pantoja looks to get right in Kape’s face early but ‘Starboy’ showing his amazing speed and slipping all attacks with his hands low. Kape making Pantoja miss a lot but barely throwing any strikes of his own as we move through the round, while Pantoja is trying to make reads and can’t. Kape’s jab is landing nicely when he throws it but just not enough volume. Pantoja lands a nice body kick and then Kape goes for a cartwheel kick that misses and Pantoja ends up on top. A couple of big strikes land while Kape is on the ground but he gets back up and ends the round with a takedown attempt of his own. 10-9 Pantoja.

Pantoja comes forward in the second round and throwing lots of kicks, and while Kape isn’t getting hurt or the sheer activity is giving Pantoja the rounds. Kape lands a nice one-two but Pantoja returns with some body kicks. Right hand lands from Pantoja but Kape returns fire with a nice one-two of his own. Kape trying to up the pace a little but still not throwing enough to trouble his opponent as we enter the final minute. Kape throws a head kick, follows it up with a left hand and then a takedown, but Pantoja rolls through and gets back to the feet quickly. Better round for Kape and it’s hard to score so could go either way. 19-19 for me.

Slower start to the round by both men in this one as Kape continues to feint and bounce, while Pantoja is almost waiting so he can counter. Nice left hook from Kape lands but Pantoja returns fire with a body kick. Leg kick from Pantoja misses and Kape lands a nice left hand in return before Pantoja lands a head kick. Kape not showing much urgency as we enter the final 90 seconds. Kape lands a left hand that troubles Pantoja and he follows it up with a nice combo. Kape shoots for a takedown and gets it but Pantoja rolls out again and the fight comes to an end. 29-28 either way for me.

Clay Guida def Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A super fun start to this fight as Johnson and Guida meet in the middle of the cage and start trading bombs! Johnson lands a few nice shots before Guida responds with a right hand that lands on the eye and causes Johnson big problems. Guida keeps marching forward and lands more shots with the right hand before he shoots for the takedown and eventually gets him down. Johnson manages to get back to the feet and they clinch against the cage and exchange knees. Guida’s right hook is causing Johnson problems but he’s firing back with nice hooks of his own. Fun round, 10-9 Guida.

Second round continues at a frantic pace as Guida goes straight for a takedown this time against the cage. Johnson battles really well to stay up on his feet before breaking away and landing a nice knee, but Guida is relentless with his pressure and is forcing Johnson to grind. Several attempts are denied by Johnson between now and the end of the round as Johnson looks very tired when the horn goes. 20-18 Guida.

Third round and Guida comes firing out once again with crazy pressure. Johnson circles and looks to land a jab but Guida is throwing hooks and uppercuts, then lands a big knee before shooting for a takedown. They clinch up against the cage before Guida gets him down before taking his back. He locks up a body triangle and rolls him over, then looks to sink in a rear naked choke. Johnson fights the hands and breaks the grip on the hands but can’t break the body triangle and the horn sounds for the end of the fight. Clay Guida should take the win here, 30-27.

Cory Sandhagen def Frankie Edgar via Knockout, Round 1 (0:28)

Edgar comes out into the centre with Sandhagen and throws a leg kick as ‘Sandman’ circles on the outside. Edgar steps in with a looping left and SANDHAGEN WITH A FLYING KNEE!!!! EDGAR IS OUT COLD!!! OH MY GOD!!

Alexander Volkov def Alistair Overeem via Knockout, Round 2 (2:06)

Odd start to the round as Volkov throws a leg kick and Overeem seems to freeze and shell up against the cage, allowing Volkov to land some shots. Volkov continues to step forward with leg kicks and Overeem looks tense, but he explodes with two heavy left hands that land clean. Both men trade shots at the same time but as Volkov lands Overeem loses his balance and falls. Volkov jumps on him to land ground and pound but Overeem gets back to his feet quickly and they break. Volkov walking Overeem down against the cage and unloads a big combo as he covers up before the round comes to an end. 10-9 Volkov.

Volkov starts landing some nice jabs and Overeem is struggling to cope with the length and power. Volkov’s strikes landing through the guard of Overeem and he is busting him up bad. Overeem looks for a takedown but Volkov stops it easily and starts landing more shots. Overeem is badly hurt but he’s trying to fight back. Volkov lands a big left hand and Overeem falls to his knees and the referee waves it off to prevent further damage. What a performance from Volkov!

UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs Volkov – Prelims Predictions

The UFC returns to the APEX in Las Vegas for the first time in 2021 after a successful trip to Fight Island kicked the year off.

Alistair Overeem looks to continue his final run en route to UFC gold when he takes on Alexander Volkov in the heavyweight division in the main event, with both men knowing they need a win to enter the top five conversations.

In the co-main, Cory Sandhagen takes on the legendary Frankie Edgar in the bantamweight division with both guys believing a win could set them up with a title shot against the winner of UFC 259’s title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.

In a 13 fight card, we’ve split it up into three to break down and predict. We’ve already predicted half the prelims here and now move onto the second half.

Last time out we went 4/10 at UFC 257 with three perfect picks for a bad night, to take us to 216/337 (64.09%) with 96 (44.44%) perfect picks. We look to improve that record with this card.

Karol Rosa (13-3) vs Joselyne Edwards (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A quick return to the octagon for Edwards, after a win on her UFC debut on Fight Island two weeks ago against Wu Yanan, where she will take a big step up in competition to fight Karol Rosa. Rosa’s last fight came on the first Fight Island event back in July, winning against Vanessa Melo to make it four wins in a row.

Edwards is a good Muay-Thai fighter, who’s takedown defence and offence is hot and cold at best. Rosa on the other hand is also a very good striker, but showed some great takedown chops in her last fight. Rosa has great volume and a really good pressure game, which could put the pace on Edwards and I’m not sure she’d be able to match it. With more volume, crisper striking and a wrestling advantage I think Rosa should be able to keep her winning streak going.
PICK – Karol Rosa via Decision

Devonte Smith (10-2) vs Justin Jaynes (16-6) – (Catchweight/160lbs)

A return to the octagon after over a year out for Devonte Smith, as he takes on short-notice opponent against Justin Jaynes. Smith lost his last fight, getting knocked out by Khama Worthy before picking up a serious achilles injury, while Jaynes won a crazy debut against Frank Camacho in June before losing his next two against Gavin Tucker and Gabriel Benitez.

Smith is a powerful striker and his defeat to Worthy was interesting since they were training partners and he fought a weird fight. All ten of his wins have come via stoppage, with nine knockouts. Jaynes is a heavy handed striker too but his flaws have shown in his two most recent fights. He’s quite one dimensional and has a huge nine inch reach disadvantage and Jaynes literally never uses his wrestling base to score takedowns. In short, Smith picks up where he left off before the Worthy fight with a spectacular first round KO.
PICK – Devonte Smith via Knockout, Round 1

Mike Rodriguez (11-5) vs Danilo Marques (10-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

After a controversial defeat last time out, Rodriguez returns to take on Marques in the 205lbs division. Rodriguez seemingly won his last bout via a second round knockout, only for the referee to deem a body shot as a low blow, restart the fight and Rodriguez to get submitted by Ed Herman. Marques on the other hand has won three in a row, including his UFC debut against Khadis Ibragimov at UFC 253.

Marques has some decent wrestling behind him and was able to use those takedowns and to get his win over Ibragimov. The issue for Rodriguez is that he seems to get taken down far too easily by anyone, including striking specialist John Allan. Rodriguez has much superior striking to Marques but the takedowns are an issue. If he can stay on the feet, he will crack the fairly hittable Marques and could finish him early. But if Marques comes forward and implements the wrestling it could be a long night. I’m backing the power of Rodriguez though.
PICK – Mike Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 1