Tag Archives: David Dvorak

UFC Vegas 66: Cannonier vs Strickland – Early prelims predictions

The final UFC card of 2022 is upon us after a crazy year, with middleweight contenders battling it out in the main event.

Jared Cannonier returns to the octagon after a failed title attempt to take on Sean Strickland, whose last fight saw him beaten by the current champion in the division.

It’s a stacked 14-fight card including people like Drew Dober, Manel Kape, Bryan Battle, Said Nurmagomedov and more.

Last weekend at UFC 282 we went 6/11 with one perfect pick (we don’t count draws) to move to 795/1238 (64.22%) with 326 perfect picks (41.01%). You can see our full pick history here.

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


Sergey Morozov (18-5) vs Journey Newson (10-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun scrap to open the card in the bantamweight division. Morozov is 2-2 in his last four, losing to Usman Nurmagomedov (UFC Fight Island 8) and Douglas Silva De Andrade (UFC 271) while beating Khalid Taha and Raulian Paiva most recently. Newson on the other hand was KO’d by Randy Costa at UFC Vegas 11, before taking over a year off and returning with a win over Fernando Garcia most recently.

Morozov is a solid all-rounder, with excellent striking technique and solid wrestling to go with his excellent top game with vicious ground and pound skills. Newson is on his way to becoming an all-rounder, but he’s not quite there yet although his Brazilian jiu-jitsu is very useful for him. With that said though, Morozov just seems to be better everywhere this fight goes.

He’s the better, more powerful and more aggressive striker, and his top game is far better than Newson’s bottom game is when it comes to ground-and-pound vs jiu-jitsu. I don’t see a finish because Newson is no pushover, but Morozov has the skills to win the close exchanges and take over more as the fight goes on to claim a decision on the cards.
PICK – Sergey Morozov via Decision

David Dvorak (20-4) vs Manel Kape (17-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Banger at flyweight next. Dvorak saw his 16-fight win streak snapped last time out when Matheus Nicolau earned a decision over him in his last bout. Kape alternatively has won his last two in a row, KO’ing both Ode Osbourne (UFC 265) and Zhalgas Zhumagulov (UFC Vegas 44).

Dvorak is a brilliant boxer with good footwork and a lovely jab, while his defensive grappling is also excellent to keep fights standing. His biggest weakness is that he can be a slow starter. Kape on the other hand is an explosive striker with great counter-striking and good defensive wrestling too. His biggest weakness is that he tends to wait a lot to counter attack, and that lack of volume cost him in his opening two UFC fights.

That slow start for Dvorak could be a huge issue, because Kape likes to come out of the blocks quickly with his big strikes looking for a finish and he has excellent knockout power. Dvorak can get hit and hurt, but if he gets past that stage then it will be an excellent striking match. I’ll lean with Kape because it’s highly unlikely he loses the first round if he fights properly, and that’s an obvious advantage.
PICK – Manel Kape via Decision



Bryan Battle (8-1) vs Rinat Fakhretdinov (19-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A very interesting welterweight bout up next. Battle is on a seven-fight win streak including winning the latest series of TUF, beating Gilbert Urbina in the finale, then beating Tresean Gore and KO’ing Takashi Sato most recently via head-kick. Fakhretdinov steps in on just two-weeks’ notice on an 18-fight win streak, who won his UFC debut last time out back in June.

Battle is a really good fighter with a bit of everything in his wheelhouse, with some solid wrestling and great submission skills as well as explosive striking when he needs it and unlimited cardio. “Gladiator” is likely to try and wrestle his way to victory here, but he has got crazy power too and often relies heavily on landing one big shot.

But with Battle’s style of moving constantly and being strong everywhere, it’s hard to see how he loses this one. There is always the chance that Fakhretdinov wrestles his way to a win, but he really lacks urgency to be busy and against Battle that is a recipe for disaster.
PICK – Bryan Battle via Decision

Rafa Garcia (14-3) vs Maheshate (9-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Lightweight banger up next between two prospects in the weight class. Garcia saw his two-fight win streak snapped last time out when he lost to Drakkar Klose at UFC 277, while Maheshate is on a seven-fight win streak with a first-round KO in his UFC debut against Steve Garcia most recently at UFC 275.

Garcia is a very good wrestler, who has got five round experience and fantastic cardio to be able to wrestle all night long. Maheshate is a striker, with a piston-like right hand that has the power and ability to put people out if he lands clean. Garcia is a very aggressive fighter which can leave opportunities for Maheshate to land counters, but this is a big step up in competition.

“Gifted” is likely to make this an ugly fight, because if it’s clean and technical then he is in Maheshate’s world. Garcia is likely to push him against the cage, constantly work for takedowns and use lots of dirty boxing and clinches. He’ durable and has great cardio to be relentless for 15 minutes, and I expect Garcia to put an end to the hype relatively comfortably in a fun fight.
PICK – Rafa Garcia via Decision

UFC Columbus: Blaydes vs Daukaus – Early prelims predictions


The UFC returns to the USA and a full crowd for a fight night event this weekend as Curtis Blaydes fights Chris Daukaus in Columbus.

After an amazing trip to London, we have another heavyweight main event this time with two fighters battling to stay in top five conversations and enter their name into the round-robin that’s buzzing in Francis Ngannou’s absence.

We’ll also see a huge flyweight eliminator between Askar Askarov and Kai Kara-France to see who could be the next title contender in the division.

Last time out at UFC London we had a great night, going 10/12 with our picks with three perfect picks to move up to 578/891 (64.87%) with 244 perfect picks (42.21%).

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


Luis Saldana (15-7) vs Bruno Souza (10-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun featherweight fight opens up this card. Saldana saw a five-fight win streak snapped last time out when he dropped a decision to Austin Lingo, while Souza lost his UFC debut at UFC 268 against Melsik Baghdasaryan.

Both of these guys are strikers but they have very different styles when it comes to attacking their opponents. Saldana is a more traditional striker with good jabs and low kicks, with excellent power and a real eye for a finish. Souza on the other hand is more of a point fighter, striking out of a karate stance and usually staying at distance and range while picking his opponents apart. Saldana is a good jiu-jitsu player too, but generally they are both going to look to keep this standing and trade hands.

Saldana is the more powerful striker, has really good range management and varies his attacks more and the low kicks that landed on Souza against Baghdasaryan should be part of his game plan. If they are, I expect his power and volume to be enough to earn a win, because Souza doesn’t do enough to push the pace and doesn’t have the power to threaten him with a one-and-done finish.
PICK – Luis Saldana via Decision

Matheus Nicolau (17-3-1) vs David Dvorak (20-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Very fun flyweight bout between two very highly rated fighters up next. Nicolau is on a four-fight win streak including 2-0 in the UFC after decision wins against Manel Kape at UFC Vegas 21 and Tim Elliott most recently. Dvorak is on a 16-fight win streak and is undefeated in the UFC, earning a first-round submission win over Juancamilo Ronderos in his last bout.

Nicolau is a pressure fighter who likes to grind on his opponents and has solid wrestling in his back pocket too. Dvorak is a really well-rounded fighter with great takedown defence and sharp boxing skills on the feet. Dvorak has more power in his hands and is a crisper striker, while on the ground they’re pretty evenly matched up.

This fight has no business being this far down the pecking order, it should absolutely be main card or at the very least a featured prelim bout. But regardless of that, in the cage it’ll be excellent. Dvorak’s sharper striking skills and own solid wrestling should be enough to see him claim a decision victory.
PICK – David Dvorak via Decision



Jennifer Maia (19-8-1) vs Manon Fiorot (8-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Another fight that has absolutely no business being this low down the fight card. Maia is a former title challenger but is 1-1 since then, with a win over Jessica Eye and then a defeat to Katlyn Chookagian last time out at UFC Vegas 46. Fiorot on the other hand is on an eight-fight win streak, going 3-0 in the UFC and earning a dominant decision win over Mayra Bueno Silva last time out at UFC Vegas 40.

Maia is a jiu-jitsu master of her craft, with five submission wins in her career but an elite grappling game. Fiorot on the other hand is a brilliant striker with great physical strength and a decent ground game. This is a huge clash of styles and the winner will undoubtedly be determined by whoever can dictate where this fight happens. Maia will be desperate to get it down to the mat and keep Fiorot from being able to pound her head in, but Fiorot’s takedown defence is decent.

The French striker can learn a lot from Maia’s most recent bout. Stay on the outside, land big power strikes from range and completely avoid letting her get this to the ground. It’s easier said than done, but she’s capable and I expect her to do it.
PICK – Manon Fiorot via Decision

UFC Vegas 27: Font vs Garbrandt – Main card predictions

Bantamweights lead the way at UFC Vegas 27 this weekend when Rob Font and Cody Garbrandt go toe to toe in the main event.

The number three and four ranked 135lbers in the world will battle it out to give UFC president Dana White a headache when it comes to the top of the division right now, as ‘No Love’ looks to prove he really is back while Font looks to prove he’s a real contender among the elite.

Elsewhere on the card Yan Xiaonan takes on Carla Esparza in the co-main event to potentially determine the next contender for Rose Namajunas’ strawweight title, while Jack Hermansson and Edmen Shahbazyan meet in their delayed middleweight scrap too.

Last week at UFC 262 we didn’t have the best of nights prediction wise, going 6/12 with two perfect picks to move up to 314/494 (63.56%) with 136 perfect picks (43.31%).

We’ll look to improve that here with this 13-fight card, and after picking the early prelims here and the rest of the prelims here, we move onto the main card now.


Jack Hermansson (21-6) vs Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A fight that could easily have been a headline bout this time last year opens up the main card as the veteran Jack Hermansson takes on the prospect Shahbazyan in the middleweight division. Hermansson was on a decent run before getting knocked out by Jared Cannonier, before he bounced back with a very quick heel hook win over Kelvin Gastelum then got dominated by Marvin Vettori last time out. Shahbazyan was on an absolute tear himself, before his first main event against Derek Brunson saw him get dominated and finished in the third round.

Hermansson is one of the best grapplers in the division, with a sneaky submission game and fantastic top control once he gets on top, while Shahbazyan is as pure a striker as they come in the division with sensational kickboxing. Hermansson will be happy to stand if he can keep the distance short, but if he gets hold of him will almost certainly look to put him on his back.

While Shahbazyan has got great talent for all to see, his hype has made people forget he’s only 23. He’s in no rush to hit the top of the mountain right now and I think he still has holes in his game that ‘Joker’ can expose and I think he’ll get the win here.
PICK – Jack Hermansson via Knockout, Round 2

David Dvorak (19-3) vs Raulian Paiva (20-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A potential fight of the night at flyweight here as two 125lbers look to break into the top ten of the rankings with a big win. Dvorak has won 15 fights in a row, including wins over Bruno Silva and then Jordan Espinosa in 2020, while Paiva bounced back from consecutive defeats to earn back-to-back wins over Mark De La Rosa and then Zhalgas Zhumagulov at UFC 251.

Dvorak is a special grappler, with good striking to set up his takedowns where he will look to control position and eventually try and get to the back and look for chokes. Paiva on the other hand is a super striker with quick hands and great kicks, who’s ground game is okay but not so much when it’s against someone like Dvorak. ‘The Undertaker’ is relentless with his pressure and can hold his own on the feet too, meaning those kicks Paiva throws leave him susceptible to getting them caught and taken down.

Paiva could win the striking battle on the feet, but Dvorak will win any grappling battles on the mat and that’s where the difference lies. For me, Dvorak gets the fight down and controls position to nullify the threat of Paiva for a wide decision win.
PICK – David Dvorak via Decision

Felicia Spencer (8-2) vs Norma Dumont (5-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

The first ladies on the card get a nice spot on the main card as former title challenger Felicia Spencer looks to get back in the win column against Norma Dumont. Spencer took ‘Cyborg’ to a decision in a losing effort before beating Zarah Fairn dos Santos via KO in the first round to set up a defeat to Amanda Nunes at UFC 250. Dumont got slaughtered in her first UFC performance against Megan Anderson, before earning a win at bantamweight over Ashlee Evans-Smith.

Spencer is a natural 145lbser among the women which is a positive immediately, with great striking and decent grappling to boot. Dumont on the other hand is a grappler with jiu-jitsu skills and a decent bit of striking on the feet, but will have a huge size disadvantage that she’ll need to overcome. Spencer is the far better wrestler and has better striking and this fight just seems like a lay up for the bigger woman in a division that is limited in it’s contenders.

Spencer should be able to have her way entirely in this one for a dominant decision win.
PICK – Felicia Spencer via Decision

Justin Tafa (4-2) vs Jared Vanderaa (11-5) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The big men get a run-out in this one as ‘Bad Man’ Justin Tafa takes on Jared Vanderaa in the heavyweight division. Tafa is 1-2 in the UFC, losing his debut to Yorgan De Castro before knocking out Juan Adams and then losing to Carlos Felipe at UFC Fight Island 7 in January. Vanderaa on the other hand also lost his UFC debut, getting KO’d by Sergey Spivak at UFC Vegas 19.

Tafa is a brawler, with tremendous power in his hands but an interesting chin and not the best boxing skills as he showed against Felipe. Vanderaa is a striker/wrestler type, who will look to step forward to close the distance with his hands and then get hold of you to put you on the ground. He has a big height and reach advantage meaning Tafa will have to take risks to step inside.

Despite that, I don’t think Vanderaa will be able to get a finish. If Tafa lands a heavy shot or two early on it could cause big problems, but Vanderra should be able to use his size and experience to see out a pretty comfortable win.
PICK – Jared Vanderra via Decision

Yan Xiaonan (13-1 1NC) vs Carla Esparza (18-6) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A huge fight at the top of the strawweight division between a touted future champion against the inaugral champ of the weight class. Xiaonan is on a six-fight win streak and undefeated in her last 12 fights, with an impressive win over Claudia Gadelha back at UFC Vegas 13, while Esparza has won four-in-a-row including a split decision over Marina Rodriguez at UFC Fight Island 3 last summer.

Xiaonan is a great striker, with terrific speed and solid kicks to go with some brilliant takedown defence. That will be put to the test though against Esparza, who’s biggest strength is her wrestling skills. She can get you to the ground and control the top position, with decent strikes and submission skills. Xiaonan’s path to victory is clearly on the feet, with decent power although all her UFC fights thus far have gone the distance.

Ultimately it comes down to whether or not Esparza can put Xiaonan on her back and keep her there, but I’d be very shocked if that’s the case. Expect Xiaonan to piece her up on the feet and deny the takedown attempts to cruise to a huge win on the judge’s scorecards.
PICK – Yan Xiaonan via Decision

Rob Font (18-4) vs Cody Garbrandt (12-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolute banger of a main event that will almost certainly be the fight of the night as Rob Font and Cody Garbrandt do battle at 135lbs. Font is coming off the back of a three-fight win streak, with a stunning first-round knockout over Marlon Moraes last time out at UFC Vegas 17, while Garbrandt snapped a three-fight knockout loss streak with a stunning knockout win over Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250.

Both Font and Garbrandt are boxing heavy fighters, with terrific hand speed and legitimate one-punch power. Font is the technically cleaner fighter of the two, working behind his jab with great footwork and combinations, while Gabrandt is quicker and more powerful but a bit looser with his technique. Font’s biggest win came in his last fight and while impressive on paper, Moraes has proved to be rather chinny in recent fights and that’s definitely something to consider. Garbrandt’s three losses were all by knockout because he refused to fight smart but we’ve seen his brilliance in the past and he looked much better against Assuncao too.

It’s a super even fight, between two guys who will feel they can beat the other at what they do best. For Font, he’s never been knocked out in the past but also never had to go five rounds. Despite that, I think Garbrandt’s past of being knocked out viciously could play against him in this one. Font hits hard and clean and with his speed to counter, I think he gets the biggest win of his career.
PICK – Rob Font via Knockout, Round 3

UFC Vegas 11: Covington vs Woodley – Prelims Predictions

A not-so stacked card last weekend is followed up this weekend by one of the most stacked Fight Night cards in recent memory as Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley finally meet in a grudge match in the main event.

The card will also see the likes of Donald Cerrone, Khamzat Chimaev, Kevin Holland and Mackenzie Dern on the main card, but the undercard isn’t short of names either. With a HUGE 14 fights scheduled for this weekend ahead of the UFC’s second trip to Fight Island, I will break down each fight and give my predictions.

Last weekend was my worst showing for picks so far, as I ended with just 6/12 and only 1 perfect pick (winner, method, round).

With EIGHT prelim fights scheduled at the time of writing, I’m splitting this card into three rather than the usual two. I have already predicted the early prelims of the card here. I will do the rest of the preliminary card here and try to improve on my poor showing last week.

PRELIMS

Jessica-Rose Clark (9-6) vs Sarah Alpar (9-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

This is one of those fights that is going likely be pretty one-sided, but which side depends entirely on who can assert themselves first. Sarah Alpar makes her UFC debut 13 months after her win on Dana White’s Contender Series, after three consecutive wins. Jessica-Rose Clark is most known for her decision win over Paige VanZant back in January 2018 but she has lost two in a row since then including to Jessica Eye and most recently Pannie Kianzad in November of last year. Alpar is an aggressive grappler with an excellent top game who hasn’t got the greatest hands in women’s MMA while Clark is more of a striker who is uncomfortable on the ground. The big question in this fight, is can Alpar get the takedown or will Clark’s defence stand-up in the bantamweight division. The expectation is Alpar will eventually get the takedown and she’ll be able to keep it there and control the fight there for a decision win.
PICK – Sarah Alpar via Unanimous Decision

Jordan Espinosa (15-7) vs David Dvorak (18-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

One of the closest fights on the card here as two ranked flyweights clash in the octagon looking to work their way up. Espinosa has lost two of his last three fights, both by submission, but got the win last time out against Mark De La Rosa back in June. Dvorak is on a 14 fight win streak, with his UFC debut coming in his last bout with a win over Bruno Silva despite being knocked down early on. Espinosa is a top wrestler who knows how to use his hands to a competent enough level to set up takedowns, but Dvorak has excellent takedown defence and is nasty counter-striker. He also has the submission skills to punish Espinosa should he lazy with any takedowns, as he was against Alex Perez. Should Dvorak push the pace as he usually does, he will test the cardio of Espinosa and has the power to finish the fight late on if the conditioning becomes an issue.
PICK – Dvid Dvorak via Unanimous Decision

Mayra Bueno Silva (5-1) vs Mara Romero Borella (11-8 3NC) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An interesting bout in the women’s flyweight division here. Silva’s record is fresh and she’s only 29, but she’s coming off her first professional defeat after winning by submission on Dana White’s Contender Series and then in her UFC debut against Gillian Robertson. Borella on the other hand has lost four of her last five including her last three in a row. Silva is a volume striker on the feet and has great submission skills, shown in her three submission wins from five on her record. Borella’s best path to victor is wrestling and top control but Silva may have her trumped on the ground with submissions so she’d need to be extra careful even then. On the feet it’s lopsided in Silva’s favour and because of that Borella will be forced into a ground fight where Silva is more than comfortable.
PICK – Mayra Bueno Silva via Submission, Round 1

Mirsad Bektic (13-3) vs Damon Jackson (17-3-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Bektic takes on Damon Jackson who steps in on very late notice in this featherweight bout, replacing Luiz Garagorri. Bektic has lost his two in a row to Josh Emmett and Dan Ige but prior to that had beaten Ricardo Lamas and Godofredo Castro. Jackson returns to the UFC after four years away following a winless three-fight run in the company previously. Since leaving though he has been in the PFL and done well, winning 8 of 10 including his last bout by submission. Jackson has the advantage in this if he can get into submission situations but other than that, this is Bektic’s fight to lose. He has better striking, better cardio, better clinches and better kicking. So long as he keeps this fight standing, which he should with his takedown defence, Bektic takes this in the later rounds.
PICK – Mirsad Bektic via Knockout, Round 3