Tag Archives: Dominick Cruz

UFC San Diego: Vera vs Cruz – Main card predictions

The UFC heads to San Diego, California for a bantamweight banger in the main event between Marlon Vera and former champion Dominick Cruz.

A 13-fight card that has got plenty of fire match ups on it is headlined by the two contenders in the 135-pound division, where a win could put them firmly in title contention for early 2023.

Last week a UFC Vegas 59 we went 7/10 with one perfect pick, moving to 690/1069 (64.55%) with 292 perfect picks (42.32%). You can see our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and then moving on to the rest of the prelims picks, we finish up with our main card picks.


Bruno Silva (22-7) vs Gerald Meerschaert (34-15) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

If this fight goes the distance, I’ll eat my hat. Silva is a knockout artist with 19 wins via KO, including each of his last seven wins. His last win came over Jordan Wright at UFC 269 in just 88 seconds, although he lost his last fight to Alex Pereira via decision. Meerschaert is a stunning jiu-jitsu practitioner with 26 submission wins, including his last three although he also lost his last fight via decision.

Silva is an absolute powerhouse, stepping forward with pressure and lethal boxing combinations to send you into orbit. Meerschaert on the other hand is a brilliant grappler who wants the fight on the mat ASAP, because his striking is absolutely awful. The way this fight goes depends on if his chin holds up.

My bet is that it absolutely won’t. Silva is capable of eating big shots himself and Meerschaert isn’t the most powerful, so he’ll likely be open to taking one to give one. His grappling isn’t useless too and while he’s not on the same level “GM3”, he will be able to hold his own somewhat. It won’t get there though, because Silva takes his head off in the first.
PICK – Bruno Silva via Knockout, Round 1

Priscila Cachoeira (11-4) vs Ariane Lipski (14-7) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very interesting women’s flyweight bout opens up the main card here. Lipski snapped a two-fight losing streak after KO defeats to Antonina Shevchenko (UFC 255) and Montana De La Rosa (UFC Vegas 28) when she beat Mandy Bohm last time out. Cachoeira has won three of her last four with KO wins over Shana Dobson (UFC Vegas 14) and Gina Mazany (UFC 262) as well as a decision last time out against Ji Yeon Kim. She was beaten by Gillian Robertson in the middle of that at UFC 269 via first-round submission.

Lipski is an effective Muay Thai striker with excellent technique, but her power is lacking and she tends to be relatively hesitant to throw. Cachoeira is the opposite, with incredible power and wild technique as she marches forward and takes one to give two. Lipski is by far the more technical, but that means little if she can’t keep Cachoeira away from her as she throws bombs.

Cachoeira will move forward through the lack of power and look to blast her head off with elbows and hooks. If they clinch then Cachoeira is big and strong enough to break away and if it goes to the ground then the Brazilian has the advantage there too. If it’s clean and tidy then Lipski has a chance, but Cachoeira fights rarely are so expect a nasty win.
PICK – Priscila Cachoeira via Knockout, Round 2

Devin Clark (13-6) vs Azamat Murzakanov (11-0) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Light heavyweights go head-to-head in this one up next. Clark bounced back from two consecutive defeats to earn a knockout win over William Knight in his last bout, while Murzakanov is an unbeaten fighter with a flying knee KO win over Tafon Nchukwi in his UFC debut.

Clark is a classic wrestler, who will look to close distance and get on top of you on the mat to control you for 15 minutes. Eight of his 13 career wins have come via the judges. Murzakanov on the other hand is a wild man with incredible strking power, with eight wins via knockout in his career. This is a classic wrestler vs striker fight, but for once I favour the striker.

Clark has struggled big time in the past if he can’t get his wrestling going, and his conditioning has never been his greatest strength. Granted this is Murzakanov’s biggest test of his career, but his power means he can change the fight on it’s head in an instant and he’s capable of going for the full 15. He overcomes a tough first round to land big in the second and earn a big KO win.
PICK – Azamat Murzakanov via Knockout, Round 2



Yazmin Jauregui (8-0) vs Jasmin Lucindo (11-4) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Two women making their UFC debuts on the main card is rare, but this one deserves it. Jauregui is undefeated with six knockout finishes, having made her name in Combate. Lucindo is on a seven-fight win streak with 10 finishes in her career, with three of her last five ending via knockout.

Jauregui is a super talented kickboxer with unbelievable speed and power in her kicks, while her punches carry clean technique and great pop considering the weight division. Lucindo is a grappler by nature with her amazing jiu-jitsu, but she’s also a good wrestler who looks to get into good positions and then rain down ground and pound strikes on her opponent hence the amazing record.

This is a really fun fight in all honesty, especially because both women will be relative unknowns to the majority of the audience. Lucindo will look for a body lock to close the distance and get the fight down, but the speed of Jauregui means she could easily get caught on the counter. Grappling is usually the key though if you can control where the fight goes, but something is telling me Jauregui gets the win here. It’ll be close and entertaining as heck though.
PICK – Yazmin Jauregi via Decision

Nate Landwehr (15-4) vs David Onama (10-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Short-notice co-main event comes together in this one. Landwehr earned a big submission win over Ludovit Klein most recently, to make himself 2-2 in his last four. Onama made it 10 finishes in 10 wins in his career when he stopped Garrett Armfield via submission last month at UFC Vegas 58.

Landwehr is a strong wrestler with excellent submission skills off the mat, despite just one win via tap out in his career. He’s got good power in his hands too, but wrestling is where he tends to go in most of his fights. Onama on the other hand is a tremendous kickboxer with sensational power and speed, as well as picture perfect technique.

Onama needs to keep this simple to win. Keep distance, use his striking to do damage and be focused on avoiding prolonged grappling exchanges. Landwehr needs to make it a gruelling fight where he’s forcing Onama backwards and tiring him out. Onama is such a gifted athlete however and has the striking credentials to be able to do what he needs to do to claim a tidy decision win for the first time in his career.
PICK – David Onama via Decision

Marlon Vera (19-7-1) vs Dominick Cruz (24-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Big time banger at bantamweight headlines this card. Vera is on a great run of three wins in a row since losing to Jose Aldo at UFC Vegas 17, with wins over Davey Grant, Frankie Edgar (UFC 268) and Rob Font most recently. Cruz recovered from his loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 249 to win his next two, beating both Casey Kenney (UFC 259) and Pedro Munhoz (UFC 269) via decision.

Vera is a super well-rounded fighter, with much improved striking skills on show in recent fights to go with some excellent submissions on the mat too. Cruz is an unorthodox striker with top level wrestling in his back pocket too, with super movement making it hard for opponents to get a read on him. Vera will almost certainly take the centre and pressure Cruz, who will look to counter and manoeuvre away from his opponent.

It will be a really fun and close fight, but it’s hard to go against Vera right now with the improvements he’s shown. He’s powerful, a hard kicker, a good grappler and a quick striker too. Cruz has the experience, but both guys are well matched up skill-wise and Vera is the younger and more physical fighter. Expect fireworks early before a cagey affair that Vera is able to claim on the scorecards by way of the bigger shots and more pressure.
PICK – Marlon Vera via Decision

UFC 269: Oliveira vs Poirier – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Gillian Robertson def Priscilla Cachoeira via Submission (Rear naked choke), Round 1 (4:59)

Fast paced start to this fight as Robertson looks to take the centre and attempts a couple of takedowns early. Cachoeira defends them well and is starting to land some decent strikes on the feet, landing good jabs and starting to do damage. Robertson suddenly changes levels in the centre though and scores a nice takedown before looking to secure a kimura lock. She transitions into side control and then full mount and starts raining down huge elbows! Cachoeira is in danger and Robertson switches to the back and gets a choke in under the neck. Cachoeira tries to defend it by sticking her thumb in Robertson’s eye but she refuses to let it go and then gets the tap with one second left! What a performance!

Tony Kelley def Randy Costa via Knockout, Round 2 (2:15)

Very fast start from Kelley who steps forward immediately and starts chasing Costa across the cage looking to land big shots. Costa trying to weather the storm and countering with his jab, but Kelley continuing to come forward aggressively. Clinch against the cage and Kelley is trying to wear on Costa early, landing some nice knees but Costa seemingly the stronger fighter physically. Kelley switching stances as he throws his combinations and Costa is struggling to make reads, before they clinch up against the cage once again and tangle until the end of the round. 10-9 Kelley.

Another fast start from Kelley as he comes forward quickly again and starts the clinch battles again once again. Costa looks a little fatigued but he’s defending himself well and and staying in it. Costa starting to land his jabs well but Kelley closing the distance and making this fight ugly. Costa lands a nice kick and follows it up with a short right hand that hurts Kelley, but he clinches up quickly and starts defending. Kelley gets him in a Thai clinch and lands some big knees to the body and Costa drops to his knees! Kelley battering the body and thrashing elbows onto Costa who’s just trying to defend himself now. Kelley going for the finish and the referee steps in! What a performance from Kelley.

Ryan Hall def Darrick Minner via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-27)

Tactical start to the fight from both guys here as Minner lands a couple of leg kicks and misses wildly with some big strikes. Hall very patient and lands a nice body kick and then Hall shoots for the legs. Lots of transitions and rolling for submissions but Minner defending against the kneebars and heel hook attempts well. Minner gets back to the feet and lands a big right hand that cracks Hall who starts to retreat. Hall starts to go for a takedown again and ends up in top position landing some decent ground and pound to end the round. 10-9 either way, but I lean to Hall just.

Hall coming out more aggressive now as he starts swinging kicks, before Minner lands a nice right hand and gets a takedown as Hall goes for a leg. Minner in Hall’s full guard and looking for ground and pound, but Hall is looking to throw up an armbar or triangle submission. Minner stands up and slams Hall down to escape it and goes back for ground and pound. Hall throws up another triangle and it’s tight and he starts throwing big elbows from his back but Minner surviving. Hall looks to advance to a straight armbar but Minner denies it and then he rolls to an omoplata attempt and ends the round with ground and pound. 20-18 Hall.

Final round and Hall rolls under a punch and secures a triangle attempt immediately from his back. Minner defends it well but Hall then switches and is able to get on top. He advances to full mount and is in complete control here, looking for an arm triangle.

Erin Blanchfield def Miranda Maverick via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Good start to the bout for Maverick as she steps forward aggressively and throws a few strong strikes. Maverick looks to step in with a right hand but Blanchfield ducks under and immediately has a body lock from the back. She maintains the lock and continuously forces Maverick to the ground with excellent wrestling. She moves to full guard and maintains position again, dragging Maverick to the mat every time she tries to get back to the feet. 10-9 Blanchfield.

Maverick starts up well with a little blitz but immediately Blanchfield is able to hip throw her and end up on top. Blanchfield quickly transitions to a crucifix position and starts blasting elbows down on Maverick, but she manages to just about escape as Blanchfield switches to an armbar attempt. Maverick just about defends but Blanchfield then goes for a kimura, but Maverick defends it well. Blanchfield switches to another armbar attempt but Maverick defends it by scissoring the head of her and the buzzer goes. 20-18.

Final round and Maverick is trying to go for a finish because she knows she needs it, but Blanchfield is landing well too. Clinch up against the cage and then Blanchfield catches a leg and moves straight into a takedown. She moves into top control and looks to dominate again and starts landing some big shots from mount. She controls the rest of the round from the top and claims a dominant decision win.

Andre Muniz def Eryk Anders via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (3:13)

Good start to the fight for Anders as he takes the centre and starts to throw powerful strikes early. Muniz does well and throws a nice calf kick before throwing a short left hook. Anders goes for a right hand again and Muniz ducks under and changes levels with a big takedown. Muniz looks to pass from side control straight into mount but Anders defends it well. Anders gets to his feet but Muniz has a body lock and drags him back down after a bit of back and forth and takes the back. He threatens with a choke and then switches to an armbar attempt and forces the tap from Anders. What a performance.

PRELIMS

Bruno Silva def Jordan Wright via Knockout, Round 1 (1:28)

Crazy start to this fight as Wright charges forward and looks to engage quickly with hard strikes. Wright continues to come forward and attack and he hurts Silva! They clinch up and Wright lands some big knees but Silva lands some big strikes too. They separate and Silva lands two huge blows and Wright is wobbled! Silva goes for the finish and drops him! Some huge shots and the referee steps in! What a KO by Silva!

Tai Tuivasa def Augusto Sakai via Knockout, Round 2 (0:26)

Slow and steady start so far with Tuivasa in the centre stalking Sakai, who’s throwing leg kicks and circling on the outside. Tuivasa goes for a nice combination and Sakai retreats, before they clinch up and Sakai lands a nice knee to the body. More knees to the body from Sakai as he holds Tuivasa close to him, before they separate and Tuivasa just misses with a big uppercut. Sakai landing heavy knees and hurting Tuivasa, but he then retaliates with a big right hand and forces Sakai to cover up before they clinch again to end the round. 10-9 Sakai, but Tuivasa looking dangerous too.

Second round and Tuivasa lands a huge left hook early and Sakai is rocked! Tuivasa steps forward and goes for the kill, landing huge hooks as Sakai tries to cover up. Another huge strike and Sakai is out coldddd! What a KO!

Dominick Cruz def Pedro Munhoz via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Good start to this fight as both guys look to take the centre and trade leg kicks and movement. Munhoz throwing hard low kicks but Cruz making him miss big. Munhoz throwing bombs but only just missing and Cruz is doing well to land blitzes and flurries of strikes. Cruz goes for a big right hand and Munhoz lands first with a big left hand that drops him! Munhoz lands a huge left hook and goes for the finish but Cruz grabs a leg and somehow survives. He gets up and continues the pattern of the earlier fight. 10-9 Munhoz.

Second round and Munhoz coming forward again and looking for his big bombs. Cruz using his excellent footwork well again though and is using his speed brilliantly. Cruz throwing great combinations on the feet and Munhoz is eating shots, but there isn’t enough power in them to hurt him. Cruz throws a hard low kick that hurts Munhoz and continues to throw his strikes brilliantly. 19-19.

Final round and Cruz has definitely taken over now with his speed and footwork. Cruz has made his reads now and is landing his combinations well, but Munhoz is throwing powerful strikes back and just barely missing. Cruz lands a big one-two clean down the pipe and Munhoz is starting to back up a little. Munhoz lands some nice jabs but Cruz is too slick and is moving so well, throwing leg kicks and left hands. Cruz lands a big combo in the centre as the round comes to an end and that should be the comeback victory for him. 29-28 Cruz.

Josh Emmett def Dan Ige via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Nothing happens between these two in the opening minute and them Emmett explodes with a massive overhand right that drops Ige! Emmett goes down for a finish but Ige recovers quickly and starts to wrestle. Both guys scramble well and end up back to their feet where they separate. Ige taking the centre now and using his jab well and sees out the round relatively comfortably. 10-9 Emmett most likely for the knockdown, but could go either way in honesty.

Emmett comes out with a big right hand early once again but Ige takes it and continues to come forward. Good exchanges on the feet and Ige landing his jab well with movement and power. Emmett looking for one big shot but he keeps missing it. Ige replies with a big strikes and wobbles Emmett with a big left hook. He stays patient and Emmett eventually recovers. Ige staying so calm though and using that jab well again, circling on the outside and threatening then ending the round with a big right straight. 19-19, Ige round.

Final round and Ige takes the centre once again, looking to use that jab and counter with his left hook. Emmett still looking for the power right hand but Ige seems to have him scouted now. Emmett steps forward and throws a straight right down the middle and wobbles Ige but he recovers very quickly and circles out. Ige lands his jab over and over, but Emmett is being more aggressive and coming forward. Both guys are missing with big shots as we enter the final minute. Emmett ducks under a big head kick but then eats a big uppercut. Both guys throw a final flurry, but that’s a super tough fight to call. Great fight.



MAIN CARD

Sean O’Malley def Raulian Paiva via Knockout, Round 1 (4:42)

Composed start to this fight from both guys as Paiva looks for an early takedown attempt but O’Malley sidesteps him into the cage. Body kick grazes the cup of Paiva and causes a short pause in the action. Paiva throws a hard low kick that gets a reaction, before O’Malley steps in with a hard straight left hand. Paiva trying to apply pressure but O’Malley moving well and avoids a leg kick then lands two left jabs and a big right hand behind it. O’Malley steps well to his right and lands a huge right hand that wobbles Paiva! He stays composed and lands a beautiful combination that hurts him badly! Huge body shot and hook combo drops Paiva and the referee steps in, huge win for O’Malley! Amazing!

Kai Kara-France def Cody Garbrandt via Knockout, Round 1 (3:21)

Lots of range finding in the opening minute of this fight as Garbrandt finds himself with his back against the cage circling, throwing some loose kicks. Kara-France just misses with a big overhand right and then just avoids a big right-hook from Garbrandt. Kara-France lands a big right hand that flattens Garbrandt! A big follow up shot drops him again but Garbrandt retreats and eggs him on, but he’s clearly hurt! Kara-France staying patient and then he lands a stunning combination that ends with a massive uppercut and Garbrandt is out! Kara-France lands a couple of strikes before Herb Dean steps in, but that’s that! What a KO!

Geoff Neal def Santiago Ponzinibbio via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

Steady start to the fight for Neal with plenty of bouncing on his toes and throwing his jab and some leg kicks, forcing Ponzinibbio backwards. Both guys trade leg kicks and are starting to try and hold their ground in the centre. Neal lands a nice high kick and the referee warns both fighters about having their fingers out. A few short strikes each but not much damage so far. Neal using his jab well and both guys exchange before an accidental low kick from Neal causes a pause. They get back to it and Ponzinibbio lands a huge one-two right on the buzzer to end the round. 10-9 Neal for me.

More active start to the round as Ponzinibbio comes forward with a hard low kick and some straight right hands. Big one-two from Ponzinibbio down the middle to counter Neal’s leg kick and then a short right hand from Neal lands too. Ponzinibbio changes levels and blasts a takedown before Neal sweeps him to get back to his feet nearly immediately. Hard left hand lands from Neal, but Ponzinibbio lands a nice left jab-right hand. Neal lands a hard right hand but then eats a big leg kick in return, before a one-two of his own down the middle into the final minute of the round. Neal lands a big shot and Ponzinibbio claims it was a finger but the referee says no. They stare at each other and then trade a couple of strikes before the round ends. 19-19.

Final round and Ponzinibbio lands a right hand before Neal lands a left. More exchanges in the centre and Neal lands a hard right hook that wobbles Ponzinibbio but he recovers quickly and lands a hard low kick. Neal starting to come forward and throws his left hand before a left high kick that just misses. Right hand gets a reaction from Ponzinibbio again, but then he lands a hard low kick to get Neal to back up. Hard left hand from Neal lands but Ponzinibbio replies with a solid right hook himself. Hard low kick and Neal steps backwards, but then he counters another attempt with a right hand. Neal coming on strong with jabs but Ponzinibbio continues to come forward too. Neal lands a big three-punch combo with the left hand and Ponzinibbio is wobbled! Final 30 seconds and Ponzinibbio just misses with a right hand to end the fight. Good fight. 29-28 Neal for me.

Julianna Pena def Amanda Nunes via Submission (Rear-naked choke), Round 2 (3:26)

Nunes opens up with a hard low kick that drops Pena immediately. Nunes lets her up and kicks the leg again, before Pena tries to throw a small flurry. Nunes throws a right hand that drops Pena and then she eventually drops on top of her looking to control on the ground. Nunes looks to transition to the back for a rear-naked choke but Pena just about defends it, before Nunes gets back to top position. Pena threatens with a kimura from the bottom but Nunes stays patient, defends it and sees the round out on top. 10-9 champ.

Nunes takes the centre and she starts looking for huge strikes early doors but Pena isn’t going anywhere. Pena is landing her jab at will and Nunes is getting hurt! Nunes trying to slug it out but she’s slow and looks exhausted already. Pena keeps coming and is smashing Nunes up! Big strikes from Pena and Nunes is rocked! Pena goes for a takedown and immediately goes to the back and locks up a choke! NUNES TAPS! NUNES TAPS! AND NEWWWW!!!

Charles Oliveira def Dustin Poirier via Submission (Rear-naked choke), Round 3 (1:02)

Fast paced start to the fight as Oliveira looks to take the centre and land body shots and his jab, but Poirier lands a right hand that knocks Oliveira off balance. Oliveira lands a big strike of his own and backs Poirier up and then he clinches looking for knees. Poirier getting kicked in the body and firing back with big combinations and drops Oliveira again. He lands a huge shot on the ground but Oliveira ties him up and then Poirier stands them up again immediately. Body work from Oliveira again is affecting Poirier and the rounds ends. Wow. 10-9 Poirier.

Huge start to the second round again as the frantic pace starts again and Oliveira immediately goes in for a takedown against the cage. He drags Poirier to the ground but as he tries to escape Oliveira takes the back. Poirier tries to escape but Oliveira holds his arm in place and illegally holds the glove before rolling into full guard. He lands some huge, thudding elbows as Poirier looks to defend off his back. Oliveira absolutely dominant with pressure and elbows but Poirier survives. 19-19.

Oliveira comes out fast once again and shoots in for a takedown and immediately transitions to a body lock from behind. He drags Poirier down and then jumps on to his back, sinking in hooks and looking for a standing rear-naked choke. Poirier defending the hands but Oliveira continues to switch the grips, sinks in the choke and forces the tap! Amazing!! What a fight!

UFC 269: Oliveira vs Poirier – Prelims predictions

The final pay-per-view card of 2021 is finally upon us and it is absolutely stacked, with the lightweight championship bout between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier headlining the card.

‘Du Bronx’ is looking to legitimise his title reign when he takes on ‘Diamond’, who knows it is now or never to become undisputed champion during his career.

The co-main event features women’s G.O.A.T Amanda Nunes as she looks to silence all doubters when she takes on Julianna Pena in a bantamweight title fight.

Also on the main card will see the flyweight debut of Cody Garbrandt, who is looking to prove it’s the perfect weight class for him while Sean O’Malley hopes to kickstart a huge 2022 for himself when he takes on Raulian Paiva.

Last time at UFC Vegas 44 we had a pretty good night with our picks, as we went 9/13 with five perfect picks to move to 491/765 (64.18%) with 207 perfect picks (42.16%).

We’ll look to improve on that here on this massive 15-fight card and after starting with the early prelims we move on to the rest of the prelims here.


Andre Muniz (21-4) vs Eryk Anders (14-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A banger at middleweight in this one as the jiu-jitsu master takes on the powerhouse. Muniz is on a seven-fight win streak, culminating with a nasty submission win over Jacare Souza at UFC 262 where he broke the legendary Brazilian’s arm. Anders earned a victory in his last outing with a decision over Darren Stewart at UFC 263, which saw him then leave the UFC.

Muniz is one of the most dangerous jiu-jitsu artists in the game and he will look to get this fight down to the mat to use it. He’s a half-decent striker too, which helps him set those takedowns up. Anders on the other hand is a good Muay-Thai fighter with good clinch work and power on the feet, while he also has a big edge in speed. Unfortunately for Anders, there is such a huge gap on the ground that it’s hard to see how he wins this.

Anders has good takedown defence, but it only takes one to give Muniz a huge window to victory. Anders’ cardio isn’t amazing and ultimately, Muniz should be able to drag him down and take the back before securing the submission once again.
PICK – Andre Muniz via Submission, Round 2

Jordan Wright (12-1) vs Bruno Silva (21-6) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A kill or be killed bout at 185-pounds between two relative prospects. Wright has never seen the judge’s scorecards and after suffering the first defeat of his career to Joaquin Buckley at UFC 255, he bounced back against Jamie Pickett at UFC 262 with a first-round KO. Silva on the other hand is on a six-fight win streak with six finishes, including a big KO over Andrew Sanchez at UFC Vegas 40.

Wright is a talented kickboxer with excellent technique and good power too, while Silva is just a terrifying bulldozer of a striker who puts people out cold with 18 KO’s in 21 career wins. Wright has a decent wrestling background, but almost never uses it in the cage and getting into 50/50 exchanges with Silva is a recipe to go to sleep early.

Silva is likely to walk forward with pressure and with a huge advantage in power, cardio and experience this seems like a bit of a mismatch. Wright will try and likely land a couple of clean strikes, but eventually he gets clipped and finished off with some follow-ups to hand Silva yet another KO victory.
PICK – Bruno Silva via Knockout, Round 2

Augusto Sakai (15-3-1) vs Tai Tuivasa (13-3) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The only heavyweight fight on the card up next between a ranked opponent and an unranked fan favourite. Sakai has been defeated in each of his last two fights, which were main events, against Alistair Overeem and then Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC Vegas 28. Tuivasa returned from a slump to earn three knockout wins in a row, with the most recent coming against Greg Hardy at UFC 264.

Sakai is a good striker on the feet but he is also a decent wrestler with violent ground and pound attacks in his weaponary. Tuivasa is a straight up brawler with one-punch knockout power, more down the route of your traditional heavyweight fighter.

This won’t be the highest quality fight of the night, but there’s likely to be an early finish. The two will stand at range and trade leg kicks for a while before Tuivasa gets frustrated and looks to blitz him. If he lands a big shot after pushing Sakai against the cage, then this one is over. If Sakai goes against the grain and counters, he has the potential to end it early too. I lean towards Tuivasa simply because I expect him to be the guy on the front foot, meaning he’s more likely to land the big shot first.
PICK – Tai Tuivasa via Knockout, Round 1



Pedro Munhoz (19-6) vs Dominick Cruz (23-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Bantamweight banger up next as 135-pound royalty go head-to-head. Munhoz has lost three of his last four against elite competition, with decision losses to Aljamain Sterling, Frankie Edgar at UFC Vegas 7 and Jose Aldo at UFC 265 surrounding a win over Jimmie Rivera at UFC Vegas 20. Cruz on the other hand seems to have finally overcome his injury issues to secure a victory over Casey Kenney last time out at UFC 259.

Munhoz is one of the strongest leg kickers in the game with good striking power and very sharp grappling skills, while Cruz is a very good wrestler who uses his excellent footwork to dart in-and-out of range and land his strikes. This is a very intriguing match-up because technically Cruz is a superior fighter, but his lack of power means Munhoz is likely to be willing to walk him down and chop his legs with those trademark kicks.

Cruz has the technical advantages and stylistically should win, but Munhoz’s power with the leg kicks could be a huge game-changer. With that said, Cruz was able to keep his footwork going when Kenney attacked the legs and I think he’s fast enough to make Munhoz miss a lot to claim a decision win.
PICK – Dominick Cruz via Decision

Josh Emmett (16-2) vs Dan Ige (15-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A banger at featherweight is the featured prelim bout. Emmett is on a three-fight win streak with his most recent coming in a fight of the year contender against Shane Burgos at UFC Vegas 3, while Ige is 1-2 in his last three with defeats against Calvin Kattar at UFC Fight Island 1 and Korean Zombie at UFC Vegas 29 coming either side of a 22-second KO win over Gavin Tucker at UFC Vegas 21.

Emmett is a solid boxer with big one-punch power that is almost always the main part of his game plan to a fight. Ige is a very well-rounded fighter with solid wrestling and good punching power to go with his boxing skills. It’s that well-roundedness that leads me to think Ige has a big edge here. Emmett’s persistence in landing that big bomb could let him down, as Ige will look to change levels and secure top position.

With that said, Ige has struggled to land takedowns against top level opposition in the past so Emmett will find comfort in his takedown defence. Emmett is coming off a long lay-off though and unless he is at 100% then Ige is good enough to box-wrestle his way to a judge’s decision.
PICK – Dan Ige via Decision

UFC 269 full card and location revealed

The UFC have announced the full card and location for their final pay-per-view event of 2021.

The card had been rumoured to have three title fights at one point, but the UFC last week announced that one of those had been moved to January 2022 at UFC 270.

But during UFC Vegas 40 on Saturday evening, the organisation officially announced the full card for the event on December 11th will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and it is STACKED!



The card will officially be headlined by the lightweight championship bout between undisputed champion Charles Oliveira defending for the first time against Dustin Poirier.

Oliveira won the title at UFC 262 in May with a stunning second-round knockout win over Michael Chandler after almost being knocked out himself in the first round.

He’ll take on Poirier, who many believe to be the best 155lbs-er in the world currently and is coming off consecutive stoppage wins over Conor McGregor at UFC 257 and UFC 264.

Dustin Poirier punches Conor McGregor of Ireland in their welterweight fight during the UFC 264 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021 in Las...

The co-main event will see Amanda Nunes return to the octagon to defend her bantamweight title, when she takes on Julianna Pena in their rescheduled fight from UFC 265 after it was cancelled when the champion tested positive for COVID-19.

Nunes is on an incredible 12-fight win streak with eight finishes in that run, including a reverse triangle armbar win over Megan Anderson at UFC 259 in March.

Pena on the other hand is 2-2 in her last four fights and earned a win over Sara McMann via rear-naked choke last time out to earn the fight.

Elsewhere on the card, Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal will finally settle their differences in the cage when they meet in the welterweight division.

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Edwards is on a ten-fight unbeaten streak (9 wins, 1 no contest) and most recently dominated against Nate Diaz at UFC 263. Masvidal is coming off consecutive title fight defeats to Kamaru Usman, including a brutal knockout loss at UFC 261.

The two have had a heated rivalry for several years now after a backstage altercation at UFC London led to Masvidal punching Edwards in the face and causing a cut under his eye.

Cody Garbrandt will also be on the main card making his flyweight debut when he takes on Kai Kara-France. Garbrandt snapped a three-fight with a brilliant knockout win over Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250, but then got dominated by Rob Font last time out in May.

Rounding off the main card, Sean O’Malley returns to take on the supremely talented Raulian Paiva in the bantamweight division. The fight is a chance for ‘Suga’ to enter the rankings before 2022, with Paiva currently the number 15 bantamweight in the UFC.

On the prelims, you’ll be able to Dominick Cruz vs Pedro Munhoz, Geoff Neal vs Santiago Ponzinibbio, Andre Muniz vs Dricus Du Plessis, Maycee Barber vs Erin Blanchfield as well as Gillian Robertson, Alex Perez and Ryan Hall too!

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FULL UFC 269 CARD

Charles Oliveira (c) vs Dustin Poirier – Lightweight
Amanda Nunes (c) vs Julianna Pena – Bantamweight
Leon Edwards vs Jorge Masvidal – Welterweight
Kai Kara-France vs Cody Garbrandt – Flyweight
Raulian Paiva vs Sean O’Malley – Bantamweight

Geoff Neal vs Santiago Ponzinibbio – Welterweight
Pedro Munhoz vs Dominick Cruz – Bantamweight
Andre Muniz vs Dricus Du Plessis – Middleweight
Maycee Barber vs Erin Blanchfield – Flyweight
Alex Perez vs Matt Schnell – Flyweight
Ryan Hall vs Darrick Minner – Featherweight
Gillian Robertson vs Priscilla Cachoeira – Flyweight
Randy Costa vs Tony Kelley – Bantamweight

Sean O’Malley masterpiece should set up clash with Dominick Cruz next

It’s safe to say that the ‘Suga Show’ had a grand re-opening at UFC 260 as Sean O’Malley made his return and picked up an impressive win against Thomas Almeida.

O’Malley put on a striking masterclass throughout his three round bout which ended with yet another highlight reel knockout victory in the third and final round, having learnt his lesson earlier in the fight about walking off before the job was done.

In the first round O’Malley scored a beautiful knockdown and chose to opt for a walk-off knockout win, but the referee refused to wave off the fight and Almeida was able to recover. In the third round when he knocked Almeida down again, he did the same thing and once again the referee didn’t call if off.

So O’Malley literally strolled over to Almeida who was staring at the ceiling and landed one huge right hand to close the show. ‘Suga’ was back with a literal bang.

In his post-fight interview he explained his reasons for going for the walk-off KO and for the flashy techniques he uses. It all matches up quite well with the persona he has created but also with exactly what fans want.

“If I wanted to get on him and get a TKO finish, I could’ve jumped on him and did that in the first round. That’s not what I’m in there for, I’m in there to put people’s lights out and I want to go viral.

“Like I said, I have 15 minutes in there, why end it in three minutes in the first round when I am still having fun in there, I just broke a sweat… I need to get in there and have some fun, you only get to fight a couple of times of a year.”

He earned the viral moment he craved, but more importantly he got himself back in the win column en route to the title that he is targeting. So what next?

As Dana White said, the rematch against Marlon Vera is always there for them. The two fought at UFC 252 and when Vera kicked O’Malley in the leg and made it numb after it affected the nerve, he was able to hand him his first defeat of his career with a knockout in the first round.

Since then Vera has been beaten by Jose Aldo, which could potentially set up a rematch with the two to try and break in towards the top five.

While it’s possible, it seems unlikely right now. O’Malley is a very big name and now that he’s back on the winning trail the UFC will want to continue building him as the superstar he is, so a bigger name is likely to be on his radar.

The name that makes the most sense now is former champion and recently returned Dominick Cruz.

Cruz fought Casey Kenney back at UFC 259 after back-to-back defeats and almost a year away from the octagon. He turned the clock back and showed his fancy footwork and wrestling is still as effective as always with a decision victory and after the fight didn’t call anyone out in particular – other than Monster’s Hans Monlenkamp.

UFC 260: O'Malley v Almeida : News Photo

This has left the window open for ‘Suga’ to make his move for a mega-fight, and he’s taken it. Speaking after his fight at UFC 260, O’Malley made his case for a fight against the legendary ‘Dominator’.

With Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor now likely to complete their trilogy at UFC 264 in July, O’Malley wants to place himself in the spotlight by being the co-main event for the fight.

“The second after you fight the question is, who’s next? I heard Dominick Cruz texted Chael Sonnen saying he wanted that fight. So, I don’t know if Chael got a prank text for a fake Dom or if that’s real. That’s a potential matchup.

“I know Dustin Poirier tweeted the other day, July 10, so I think I’m a pretty good co-main event type dude,” O’Malley continued. “Dustin vs. Conor, Suga vs. Dominick, I don’t know, that makes sense, that might be it. July, we’ll see. I definitely want to get in there a couple more times this year.”

The fight would absolutely make a lot of sense for both parties too. Cruz is determined to get back into the title picture after proving he isn’t ready to be seen as a gatekeeper yet, while O’Malley is arguably the most popular fighter in the division right now.

Stylistically it’s an exciting fight for the fans but also it would serve as the perfect co-main event to the Poirier vs McGregor trilogy. O’Malley has previously appeared on the undercard of several top pay-per-views and was scheduled for the McGregor undercard against Donald Cerrone, only for his suspension issues to come to the fore once again.

Now he is back in full flow and with his popularity eerily similar to that of McGregor in his earlier UFC career, it’s a no-brainer to make this bout happen.

UFC 259: Blachowicz vs Adesanya – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Trevin Jones def Mario Bautista via Knockout, Round 2 (0:47)

Tentative start to the card as Bautista and Jones trade leg kicks and feints to feel each other out for the first minute or so of the bout. Bautista pushes forward with a flurry that Jones avoids and the two clinch up, with Jones controlling the underhooks and landing some nice knees to the thigh. Both fighters exchange body kicks, with Bautista landing a bit cleaner. Jones landing lots of leg kicks from the outside, as Bautista responds with some fast hands with a nice hook in particular. Jones lands a left hand and goes for a takedown as the round ends but Bautista fights it off well. 10-9 Bautista but not much in it.

Bautista comes out with some nice combos once again and Jones goes back to the leg kicks. Both exchange strikes and Jones slips a punch then throws a lead uppercut that drops Bautista! He follows up with some big ground and pound and the referee ends it early! Huge knockout win for Jones!

Uros Medic def Aalon Cruz via Knockout, Round 1 (1:40)

Fast start to the fight from Medic as he walks forward and clips Cruz with a big right hand quickly to the temple! Cruz looks for a takedown but Medic brushes him off and lands a big left hand too, then follows it up with a flying knee. Medic lands a barrage of strikes and the fight goes too long before the referee steps in and ends it! What a debut.

Amanda Lemos def Livinha Souza via Knockout, Round 1 (3:39)

Slow start to the bout as Lemos takes the centre of the cage and backs Souza up against the cage, landing jabs and hard leg kicks. Souza looks wary on the feet early on as Lemos lands a straight right hand that drops her! She goes for the ground and pound but Souza tries to grapple to survive and manages to tie her up. She goes for a heel hook but Lemos avoids it and starts landing huge strikes from the ground once again too. Lemos lands a stinging jab that drops Souza again and a few more strikes sees the referee step in and call it a night. What a performance from Lemos.

Sean Brady def Jake Matthews via Submission (Arm Triangle Choke), Round 3 (3:28)

Competitive start to the round with both guys standing in range of the other and exchanging small flurries of punches and leg kicks. Matthews using his range advantage well and throwing his jab nicely, but Brady avoiding it well and landing nice leg kicks. Matthews throws a big right hand that drops Brady but Brady doesn’t seem too hurt and manages to recover into top position after Matthews tried to grab the neck. Brady landing nice short shots from the top and trying to control the posture by holding the neck, but Matthews doing well to avoid too much damage in the final minute as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Matthews.

Brady opens up the round a bit more aggressive, taking the centre and being first with the jabs and short hooks. Matthews eventually takes control once again though and uses his length to start throwing some nice strikes. Brady shoots for the takedown and gets it first time and immediately takes the top position. He tries to work to the back but Matthews defends against the cage as Brady starts working for a guillotine. Good defence from Matthews as Brady continues to work the top mount and starts throwing nasty body strikes while wrapping up the neck. Matthews really struggling to do anything from his back as he gives up the position and Brady starts raining down punches as the round ends. Definite Brady round, 19-19 for me.

Matthews takes the centre early in the final round and tries to land a couple of flurries, but Brady trying to slow him down with some chopping leg kicks again. Brady lands a beautiful counter left hook that drops Matthews to one knee, but he stays patient and stays standing. He fakes a takedown but Matthews sprawls and it allows Brady to jump on his neck to threaten a guillotine. He moves to take the back and takes him against the cage to start throwing nice strikes on the ground and dominant once again. Brady continues to work the position and steps over into a head and arm choke to secure the tap out. Brilliant performance.

Kennedy Nzechukwu def Carlos Ulberg via Knockout, Round 2 (3:19)

Fast start from Ulberg as he hurts Nzechukwu! Ulberg on the back foot but threw some front kicks and a combination of strikes wobbles Nzechukwu but he keeps a high guard and survives the beating for now. Nzehukwu continues to walk forward but Ulberg stays patient and lands some nice leg kicks. Nzechukwu starting to come forward and land strikes of his own and a left hand wobbles Ulberg! Ulberg starts throwing some heavy body shots but Nzechukwu keeps coming forward and both men are trading in the centre now! Ulberg is very tired nowbut still landing the heavier shots as the round ends. 10-9 Ulberg. What a round!

A slower start to the round for Ulberg as he starts picking his shots more and landing jabs nicely. Nice on-two from Nzechukwu lands but both men landing heavy on each other. Big body kick from Ulberg followed with a one-two but there’s an accidental thumb in the eye that causes a short break in the action. Ulberg’s volume is higher but the power has diminished greatly from the opening exchanges and Nzechukwu’s cardio is carrying him through this bout right now. Nasty low kicks from Ulberg and a right hand lands then Nzechukwu lands a HUGE right hand!! Oh my god what a knockout!!! Kennedy Nzechukwu!

Tim Elliott def Jordan Espinosa via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-25)

Fast pace to start this fight with Espinosa flicking out jabs and kicks as Elliott walks him down and applies pressure. A clinch against the cage and Elliott lands some nice knees before they break and Espinosa lands a nice left hook before another clinch against the cage. They separate again and Espinosa throws a big head kick that misses by inches and Elliott is able to take him down and get on his back. Espinosa fighting the hands well as Elliott looks for a rear-naked choke but he gets his back to the cage and is able to avert that threat. Elliott controls the position for the rest of the round and should have that in the books. 10-9 Elliot.

Second round starts exactly as the first ended, with Espinosa throwing a head kick that Elliott ducks and gets the takedown but this time Espinosa is able to get back up to his feet quickly. Elliott pushes the pace and lands a second takedown quickly and stays in the half guard grinding away with short strikes. Elliott starting to suffocate Espinosa with pressure and a great wrestling game, riding the back and looking to sink in a rear-naked choke. Espinosa gets away from it but Elliott is smothering him and beating him up bad as he lands elbows and chokes him with his forearm until the round ends. That’s a 10-8 round, so 20-17 Elliott.

Espinosa opens the round with a flying knee but Elliott catches him with ease and takes the fight down to the ground immediately and starts throwing heavy strikes. Espinosa throwing some elbows from the bottom and cuts Elliott open badly, but he continues to be completely smothered by the top game. Elliott throwing heavy shots and some elbows of his own and then Espinosa throws up an armbar attempt that Elliott avoids and he controls from top position for the rest of the round. Great performance from Elliott.

PRELIMS

Kai Kara-France def Rogerio Bontorin via Knockout, Round 1 (4:55)

Good start to the round from Bontorin as he comes forward and strikes well, with a few leg kicks and some nice right hands. A right cross wobbles Kara-France and Bontorin goes in for a takedown and dumps him down with ease, then takes the back immediately. Bontorin threatening the rear-naked choke straight away and dominating on the back, flowing perfectly with a body triangle locked in but Kara-France is fighting the hands brilliantly to avoid the submission. He finally shakes Bontorin off and they get back to the feet with 30 seconds remaining. Bontorin looks tired but Kara-France comes forward and lands a three punch combo that puts Bontorin out!! Walk off KO!! Wow!!

Askar Askarov def Joseph Benavidez via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2. 30-26)

Good competitive start to the fight as Askarov throws some nice front kicks from the lead leg, while Benavidez looks to throw looping hooks. Askarov’s kicks doing damage early on to the mid-section, but Benavidez lands a nice one-two. Askarov keeps it coming and lands a big right hook, then a left hand behind it. Askarov eats a right hand from Benavidez then lands another right hand of his own, before he goes in for the takedown. He closes the distance, wins the scrambles and lifts before taking the back and threatening the submission before the round ends. 10-9 Askarov.

Benavidez comes out strong in the second round, looking to swarm him against the cage with his looping hooks but Askarov takes it and returns fire with his own. Askarov wobbles Benavidez with a right hand and goes right back to the takedown attempts, getting a lift and putting the fight on the ground immediately. Askarov dominating the grappling exchanges, landing short strikes on the ground while taking the back and threatening with choke positions too. Benavidez stays on the ground for the remainder of the round until with five seconds to go Askarov cracks him with a huge right hand on the feet. Huge round for Askarov again. 20-18.

Final round and Askarov staying very patient as Benavidez comes forward knowing he needs a finish. Lovely question mark kick lands flush on the chin of Benavidez but he eats it and comes forward again, moving forward with a head kick of his own that just misses. Right hook from Askarov lands and knocks Benavidez off balance but he gets back up quickly. Head kick again from Askarov is partially blocked by Benavidez but still lands enough to wobble him as we enter the final two minutes. Benavidez throws a big superman punch that lands clean but Askarov eats it and replies with a jab into the final minute. Lots of attempts from Benavidez for big strikes but he’s nowhere near Askarov and this should be a comfortable decision win. 30-27.

Kyler Phillips def Song Yadong via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Positive start for Phillips as he comes with a big right hand earlier then a spinning kick that just misses. Yadong eventually takes the centre and starts throwing some straights but Phillips throws a stunning head kick that lands flush but Yadong just eats it. Amazing. Phillips tries another spin but misses again as Yadong lands with a nice uppercut then misses with a spin kick of his own. Phillips landing first with his jabs and right straights so far but Yadong continues to move forward. Phillips changes levels and goes for a takedown but Yadong scrambles back up to his feet immediately and eats a one-two as the round ends with an exchange against the cage. 10-9 Phillips.

Yadong comes out strong in the second round but Phillips being first again. Phillips slowing down a little from the first round but still landing heavy and as they break from a clinch he throws a beautiful spinning back kick again. Song trying to close the distance and landing big hooks but Phillips doing well to be first and stay out of the way. Nice jab from Phillips knocks Yadong off balance on his way in, then after some back and forth on the feet Phillips slides in for a big takedown and gets it beautifully. Yadong scrambles his way back to the feet once again but he’s starting to look desperate. Big right hand lands from Yadong but the round ends with both men fresh. 20-18 Phillips.

Phillips looks calm as they enter the final round, with Yadong knowing he needs the finish. Phillips shoots for a takedown early but Yadong sprawls quickly and gets up to throw heat straight away. Nice flurry to the body ends with a left hook to the chin, but Phillips moves away and keeps his guard high. Both men exchange a straight right and Yadong is starting to close the distance a bit more and land better shots. Another exchange in the pocket that Yadong wins, but Phillips shoots in for a takedown and for the first time is able to keep him down. Phillips looks to take his back but Yadong reverses and ends up on top in the final minute. The round ends with Yadong on top and Phillips looking for a submission in what should be a Phillips decision win. 29-28.

Dominick Cruz def Casey Kenney via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Cruz starts with an immediate takedown attempt that is sprawled on by Kenney but breaks away from the front headlock position and starts landing some leg kicks. Kenney takes the centre and starts backing Cruz up against the cage with both guys exchanging low kicks. Big left hand lands from Cruz but Casey eats it and keeps walking forward, before Kenney throws another strong leg kick. Very back and forth round, I edge it 10-9 to Cruz.

Strong start to the round from Kenney as he lands a big leg kick that drops Cruz to one knee for a second. Cruz rallies with a nice one-two but Kenney starting to get the timing down a bit more and is landing cleaner shots now. Straight left from Kenney lands before two more leg kicks. Cruz lands a nice right hand to the body followed by a straight right to the face, but Kenney keeps coming forward and throws a body kick. Cruz avoids a right hand and charges forward with several clean shots to the face but Kenney takes them and lands two back of his own. Big right hand from Cruz lands but Kenney responds with another leg kick. Left hand from Kenney lands on the chin and then he grabs the neck for a guillotine attempt but Cruz is safe and the round ends. 19-19 but close yet again.

Cruz shoots in for a takedown early on then abandons it and lands a big left hook up top. Shoots back in for a takedown again against the cage, but Kenney looks to defend with a guillotine attempt although Cruz is on the right side to avoid the threat too much. Cruz takes half guard and starts landing some body shots but Kenney then gets up to his feet with ease and they go back to striking. Left hand from Kenney staggers Cruz who then is able to evade an attack and lands a counter right hand. Kenney lands a couple of big hooks but Cruz responds with three big punches of his own as we enter the final 90 seconds. Cruz denies another takedown attempt from Kenney and lands a big knee to the body, then follows up with a one two. Cruz then shoots for a takedown of his own and gets Kenney down and holds him down against the cage to see out the fight. 29-28 Cruz for me, but a great fight.

MAIN CARD

Aleksandar Rakic def Thiago Santos (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Tense opening to the fight as both men throw out feints and feelers but neither committing too much just yet. Santos charges forward with his left hand but Rakic steps back and lands a nice check right hook. A few leg kicks from each guy as Rakic takes the centre, but Santos staying patient on the outside. Big left hand from Santos but it’s blocked well from Rakic and they reset in the middle. Rakic fakes the right hand and Santos throws his left, which he slips and he throws a big head kick but Santos ducks under it. Nice jab from Rakic then a big body kick from Santos lands. 10-9 Rakic but not much action in that one.

Rakic takes the centre immediately as the round starts and lands a nice jab but both men being cautious once again. Rakic faking a level change and Santos threatens with a kick up the middle before trying to close the distance with his left hand but just missing. Rakic clinches up with Santos against the cage and both guys trade knees to the body and thighs. Another action-less round for the most part as we enter the final minute. Santos swings his left hand but misses and Rakic counters with a right hand and the round ends. 20-18 but not the most impressive performance so far.

Santos shoots for a takedown early on in the third round but Rakic is able to hold him off easily and turns the tables to put Santos against the cage. Huge body kick from Santos lands and Rakic tries to grab the leg but it looks like it hurt him a little. They trade leg kicks again before more feinting and missed hooks from both fighters. Rakic goes for a takedown but Santos defends well and starts landing some big elbows to the head. Rakic tries again but it’s defended well and Santos lands some nice knees in the clinch that follows as we enter the final minute. Not much happens in the final minute and it should be a win for Rakic on the scorecards. 30-27 or 29-28.

Islam Makhachev def Drew Dober via Submission (Arm Triangle Choke), Round 3 (1:37)

Good start from Dober as he fires in a low kick followed by a jab, before Makhahev shoots for a single leg takedown and gets the fight to the ground immediately. Makhachev in half guard but very heavy on top in a chest to chest position as he goes body head with strikes. Makhachev slides into mount momentarily but Dober gets it back to half guard before he passes into side control. Makhachev tries to slide onto the back of Dober but he manages to move away before Makhachev slides through quickly back into side control. He takes the back and then transitions to an armbar, but runs out of time and Dober survives. 10-9 Makhachev.

Second round once again and Makhachev avoids a big hook before another single leg takedown and trip gets the fight back to the ground. Makhachev is able to tie the legs of Dober up between his own and starts pressuring with his top game again with body strikes. Completely dominant so far from Makhachev in full guard, landing more and more ground and pound with a flush elbow to the face. Round ends with Makhacehv in control, 10-8 round. 20-17.

Dober throws a big left hand that Makhachev slips and then he goes for a bear hug like takedown and gets it. Dober attempts a kimura to defend but Makhachev is able to step over and defend it. As soon as Dober lets go Makhachev slides his shoulder under the chin of Dober and secures the submission out of nowhere! Super impressive performance from Makhachev.

Aljamain Sterling def Petr Yan via Disqualification (Illegal Knee), Round 4 (4:29)

Fast paced start to this fight from Sterling as he moves forward quickly and is right in the face of Yan applying lots of pressure. Constantly touching him and kicking his body and making it really uncomfortable. Body kick attempt from Sterling lands and gets caught by Yan who throws him to the ground. Sterling lands a flying knee and keeps coming forward then gets a takedown himself. Yan is able to get back to the feet then lands a big right hand that drops Sterling! Both fighters keep up the high pace for the rest of the round, super close. 10-9 Sterling but could go either way.

Sterling comes out fast again in the second round and goes for a takedown but Yan is able to defend it well and ends up standing with Sterling on the floor under him. The referee stands them up after some leg kicks from Yan and then Sterling goes in for the takedowns once again, but Yan defends well for the most part. Sterling goes for the takedown against the cage but Yan is defending well as we enter the final minute. Sterling steps away and tries to trip him but it fails and he continues to come forward. Yan ends up behind Sterling and takes him down for the final 15 seconds. 20-18 Sterling for me, but could be 19-19.

Third round and Yan is starting to go for the body a bit more as Sterling starts to slow down. Sterling still touching him with jabs but Yan is taking over now a bit more, landing more shots and seeing everything Sterling is doing. Sterling trying to throw more strikes but he’s considerably tired and the champ is opening up a bit more with some takedowns of his own as well as a few solid right hands. 29-28 either way.

Fourth round and Yan is taking over the fight now. Sterling is shooting in with lazy takedown attempts and Yan is dominating the striking exchanges and landing at will almost. Yan stuffing all the takedown attempts at chopping away at the legs and body of Sterling, controlling the entire pace of the fight. Yan holds Sterling down and throws an illegal knee to the head of Sterling! Oh my goodness. Sterling is out of it right now and the referee calls in the doctor and waves the fight off. Wow. New champion via DQ.

Amanda Nunes def Megan Anderson via Submission, Round 1 (2:03)

Anderson takes the centre of the cage and Nunes takes her time to step forward.. big overhand right lands from Nunes and rocks Anderson immediately. She steps forward and lands two more that drop Anderson. She lands some ground and pound then switches to an armbar and triangle at the same time to force the submission. The best ever.

Jan Blachowicz def Israel Adesanya via Unanimous Decision (49-45 x2, 49-46)

Composed start to the fight from both fighters as Adesanya looks to get his range with feints while Blachowicz takes his time coming forward. Adesanya throws a few head kicks that are blocked by Blachowicz, who throws a few leg kicks that land and some right hands that miss. A few more leg kicks from each fighter as the fight continues at a relatively slow pace. Adesanya lands a nice body kick but is forced backwards as Blachowicz comes forward with a left straight. Round comes to an end without much action but probably an Adesanya round for pressing the action.

Adesanya comes out with a bit more speed in this round and flicks out his leg kicks well, but Blachowicz starts checking them. Blachowicz fires back with a nice one-two that lands on Adesanya but doesn’t connect quite flush. Adesanya chopping away at the leg of Blachowicz who lands a nice jab to the body and closest the distance and tries to clinch, but Adesanya escapes quickly. Adesanya lands an inadvertant low blow that causes a very short break in the action before a second low blow moments later is also accidental and causes a break. Blachowicz comes forward with a flurry into a clinch pop Adesanya gets out and keeps landing jabs and low kicks. 20-18 Adesanya but not a lot of big moments so far.

Blachowicz comes out harder in the third round and starts blasting some punches that land, then shoots in for a takedown and gets it. He tries to take Adesanya’s back but Izzy slips away and counters with a big left hand that rocks Blachowicz! Adesanya lands a few jabs but stays relatively calm before Blachowicz clinches up with him again against the cage but Adesanya once again pulls away. Both fighters exchange jabs and then Blachowicz lands a nice stiff right straight. Adesanya goes for a body kick that gets caught but nothing comes from it and the round ends. 30-27 Izzy, but could be 29-28.

Fourth round and Adesanya is opening up a bit more now. Some nice jabs and leg kicks land as Blachowicz is still looking for the big hooks and straights. More of the same as the round progresses before Blachowicz shoots for a takedown and gets it. From there on, he controls from half guard and side control and drops big ground and pound strikes and just wears on Adesanya. Jan’s round without a doubt. 39-37 Izzy for me but could be 38-38.

Final round and Blachowicz is breathing very heavily, so Adesanya comes forward with a bit more pace. Lots of jabs and he tries to follow it up with a straight right hand but Blachowicz avoids. Not much urgency from either fighter just yet and Blachowicz blasts a takedown half way through the round. Blachowicz starts hammering away with ground and pound and moves into half guard. He continues to control the round and then moves into mount as it comes to an end to reign down punches. 3-2 either way.. good fight.

UFC 259: Blachowicz vs Adesanya – Prelims predictions

The biggest and best card of 2021 is finally upon as as a title fight triple header takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Petr Yan will defend his bantamweight title against Aljamain Sterling in potentially the best 135lbs title fight ever, before Amanda Nunes returns to the octagon to fight Megan Anderson in a featherweight title fight. The card will be headlined by Israel Adesanya trying to become just the fifth dual-weight simultaneous champion in the companies history as he moves up to light heavyweight to take on Jan Blachowicz.

Elsewhere on the card, Islam Makhachev returns to the octagon to take on Drew Dober while bantamweight great Dominick Cruz headlines the prelims against Casey Kenney in a do-or-die fight for his career on a blockbuster 15 fight card.

Last week at UFC Vegas 20 we had a poor night for predictions going 4/9 on the night, although it was worsened by a majority draw and a dodgy decision too. It moved us to 240/380 (63.16%) with 108 perfect picks (45%) since starting our predictions.

We’ll look to move ahead with a big week this week on a stacked card, breaking the card down into three this week. We’ve already looked at the early prelims here, so move onto the rest of the prelims now.


Rogerio Bontorin (16-2) vs Kai Kara-France (21-9) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A really enticing flyweight bout here between two guys looking to climb the rankings in the UFC. Bontorin lost his only fight in 2020 via decision to Ray Borg, while Kara-France has lost two of his last three to Brandon Moreno and most recently Brandon Royval at UFC 253 with a win over Tyson Nam sandwiched between them.

Bontorin is a fighter who loves to fight wherever the bout goes. He’s a tireless striker and relentless with pressure but probably prefers the fight on the ground where he can fish for submissions as his 11 wins via tap-out show. Kara-France himself is a great striker with good striking defence but also excellent wrestling defence. It’s a traditional grappler vs striker bout, but with both guys willing to enter the other’s world if needs be. Both can hold their own in the other’s strengths and it makes it a competitive bout. Kara-France’s volume is good and defensively he is better, but Bontorin could potentially get the takedown early and throw this all out of the water but I think he gets it done.
PICK – Kai Kara-France via Decision

Joseph Benavidez (28-7) vs Askar Askarov (12-0-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A really super fight in the 125lbs division as Joseph Benavidez returns to the octagon for the first time since being choked unconscious by Deiveson Figueiredo in a title fight on Fight Island, while Askar Askarov looks to remain unbeaten after beating Alexandre Pantoja on the same card.

Benavidez is a sensational fighter and arguably one of the best to never win UFC gold and is coming off consecutive losses for the first time in his illustrious career. Askarov on the other hand is 2-0-1 in the UFC, drawing his debut against Brandon Moreno before defeating Tim Elliot and Pantoja. Benavidez is a tremendous striker with great speed and combinations, with a great ground game and also great defence while Askarov is a great power striker with super technique.

The real question in this fight is whether getting separated from consciousness by Figueiredo twice in five months has a lasting effect on him. I think he’s too experienced to let it and Benavidez’s hand speed should cause him problems but it’s a super close fight.
PICK – Joseph Benavidez via Decision

Song Yadong (16-4-1) vs Kyler Phillips (8-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A banger at bantamweight as the ever-impressive Yadong returns to the octagon to take on ‘Matrix’ on a three-fight win streak. Yadong beat Marlon Vera back in May last year, while Phillips got two wins in 2020 against Gabriel Silva and Cameron Else.

Yadong is a brilliant boxer and at 23 looks as obvious a prospect as you’ll ever see, but he showed in his last two fights that he still has plenty to work on in his game. Phillips is a power striker himself, who’s not quite as technical but is arguably just as solid when it comes to a knockout finish. His gas tank has given him issues in the past and Phillips will look to use his wrestling skills if they become prevalent once again, but I believe Yadong will address those issues in this fight and be able to strike his way to a win.
PICK – Song Yadong via Decision

Dominick Cruz (22-3) vs Casey Kenney (16-2-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The featured prelim bout is a bantamweight banger too as the legendary Dominick Cruz returns to the octagon to take on the impressive prospect in Casey Kenney. Cruz’s last fight was a defeat to Henry Cejudo at UFC 249, with the referee’s decision to stop it still criticised to this day. On the other hand, Kenney went 3-1 in 2020 following up a defeat to Merab Dvalishvili with wins over Louis Smolka, Heili Alateng and then Nathaniel Wood at UFC 254.

Cruz is one of the best ever, with incredible footwork and excellent striking to go with his world class wrestling base. Kenney is a super grappler with a good striking toolbox too, but his gas tank issues have been a big deal in recent bouts. He was visibly tiring in his win over Wood, but that’s a completely different level of fighter compared to what we know Cruz to be. Kenney will march forward and put pressure on Cruz, but ‘The Dominator’ is phenomenal at evading big strikes for the most part and I think he will be able to use that experience to get a win – but it’s entirely dependable on which Cruz turns up.
PICK – Dominick Cruz via Decision

Dominick Cruz fighting to keep the torch of his career burning

If you go back through the history of the UFC bantamweight division, there is one name synonymous with the title picture.

The inaugural champion, the champion with the most successful defences in the division’s history and one of the greatest of all-time, Dominick Cruz will undoubtedly go down as a legend of the sport.

His phenomenal footwork and speed to go with his striking and grappling have not only made him the benchmark for years, but they’ve also seen his career progress into him becoming one of the better analysts and commentators around right now.

It’s so easy to forget that Cruz is only 35 years old right now. The physical prime of his career and he should be peaking right now if you look at the rest of the division. Instead, we’re contemplating whether a defeat could spell the end of his career inside the cage as an active fighter.

It’s indisputable that his time at the top of the game has been severely plighted by injuries. Torn ACL’s, torn groins, broken hands, plantar fascia tendinitis, a broken arm and a shoulder injury later, Cruz finds himself on the back of back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career.

Those fights were more than three years apart, but now less than a year after his last fight Cruz will step into the cage in a non-title fight for the first time since 2014.

He won’t even be on the main card, as he takes on Casey Kenney in the featured prelim bout at UFC 259. It could potentially mark the passing of the guard, with Cruz unlikely to continue as an active competitor should he be defeated by the up and coming 29-year-old.

That’s not because Kenney isn’t good though, he’s excellent. But it would be a signal to Cruz that the game has moved on from him and his qualities and he’s no longer going to be able to compete at the top end of the division like he wants to.

With so many issues with his body, it’s unlikely that if he can’t compete with the best that he’d want to continue. But he does want to continue.

Cruz has stated many times that he feels he has plenty left to give the sport after missing so many years through injuries. He still has fight miles on his clock and he believes he is still good enough to be the world champion. His last fight was a shot at the title, where a controversial stoppage saw him KO’d for the first time in his career by Henry Cejudo.

UFC 249 Cejudo v Cruz : News Photo

He was fell in the fight up to that point and showed he still has the skill to throw down with the best. But his body gave out on him again. Now Kenney will come in with hunger and youth on his side, with a very physical style and approach and will look to break the legendary former champion.

On paper, anyone who’s watched Cruz in the past would be expecting him to waltz through this fight because when he’s at his best he is one of the best to ever do it. The problem is now that we have no idea if that level is attainable anymore or if it ever will be again.

Kenney poses a very real threat to the career of ‘The Dominator’, with his phenomenal wrestling and work rate. He’s more than capable of getting a win over this version of Cruz, but that’s just it. This version.

If Cruz loses this weekend, not only is it the start of something special for Kenney but it will likely be the end of a golden career for one of the best ever.

Top 5 most disrespectful mid-fight UFC moments

When two men step in the cage to fight, there is usually more than just a win or a loss at stake for both men.

Whether it’s a title, pride or just respect, it’s always more than just the result that’s important. So when a fighter shows a level of disrespect in the cage it’s always a moment to remember.

After Max Holloway’s performance at UFC Fight Island 7 against Calvin Kattar, we took a look back in the time chamber at the top five most disrespectful mid-fight moments in UFC history.


5. Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez (UFC 205)

This was the ultimate Conor McGregor performance. If anyone ever asks you what all the hype was about, don’t bother showing the Jose Aldo knockout just show them this fight.

McGregor stepped up in a quest to become the first double champion in the companies history, after a gruesome double-header with Nate Diaz, to fight Eddie Alvarez in for the 155lbs lightweight title. McGregor turned in a masterful performance, knocking Alvarez down three times in the first round before a stoppage finish in the second.

But mid way through the second round, before the knockout, McGregor showed that he was levels clear of Alvarez on the feet by putting both hands behind his back and leaving his chin exposed as Alvarez stood in front of him. It was the ultimate show of disrespect and went unpunished as he claimed the belt just a few minutes later.


4. Dominick Cruz vs Cody Garbrandt (UFC 207)

Pre-injuries, it wasn’t a crazy opinion to have if you said Dominick Cruz was the greatest bantamweight of all time. So after coming out on top in his legendary rivalry with Urijah Faber, ‘No Love’ Cody Garbrandt emerged to avenge his mentors defeats.

In a bantamweight title fight at UFC 207, Gabrandt turned in a masterful five-round performance to claim the title from Cruz in a unanimous decision win but it was his antics during the fight that caught the eye most.

Garbrandt would slip shots and look in the opposite direction, started breakdancing mid-fight and just generally dominated the man who was considered the best ever in what still stands up as the best performance of his career to date. The fight was personal and ‘No Love’ rubbed salt in the wounds.


3. Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega (UFC 231)

This was supposed to be Max Holloway’s toughest test as UFC featherweight champion, with Brian Ortega the best jiu-jitsu technician he had ever come against.

Instead what we saw was a stand-up clinic from ‘Blessed’ as he beat the living hell out of Ortega for a full four rounds before the doctor stopped the fight. But what took place just minutes before was something never seen before.

Holloway stopped punching Ortega in the face for a few seconds, to help teach him how to block in the middle of the fight. He took his hands and moved them closer to face and threw a soft punch to show him the benefits, before touching gloves and getting back to it. Rude.


2. Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz (UFC 183)

The Diaz brothers are known as two of the more… outspoken members of the UFC roster over the last 20 years. This is probably the defining moment of either of their careers though when it comes to disrespect.

During a grudge match against the legendary Anderson Silva, Diaz had repeatedly jabbed at him during press conferences and interviews but got no reaction. When they finally stepped into the octagon, he upped the gamesmanship by a level almost immediately after the fight began though.

With Silva not really pressing the action in the opening 90 seconds, Diaz started trying to antagonise him. He literally lay on the ground as if he was sunbathing, he backed himself against the cage and invited Silva to come and fight and then stood still as Silva circled.

It turned into a five round war and as of this writing, was the last time we saw Diaz in the octagon.


1. Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar (UFC Fight Island 7)

The most recent display of disrespect but for me, the most disrespectful thing ever.

Holloway was paired up against Kattar for his first non-title fight since 2016, with Kattar stating that ‘Blessed’ was just a man in his way en route to a title shot. He claimed to be the best boxer in the UFC and said he’d be able to take Holloway’s record of never being knocked down before away from him.

The Hawaiian clearly took offence to the comments as he slaughtered Kattar to a 50-42, 50-42, 50-43 decision win at UFC Fight Island 7. But in the final round, after already battering Kattar to a pulp, he started talking to the commentators while still in the cage. He commented about the record breaking stats he’d put together, snapped a jab off and then slipped Kattar’s counter punches while walking backwards and not even looking at him.

It was incredible to watch, while being skilful and disrespectful at the same time. Max Holloway, take a bow.

UFC Vegas 7 Fallout – Frankie Edgar A Problem At 135lbs

After a super fun card at the APEX on Saturday night, the UFC has a familiar name at the top of a new division.

A split decision win for Frankie Edgar over Pedro Munhoz saw ‘The Answer’ become a problem for the contenders at the top of the bantamweight division. Munhoz was ranked #5 in the official UFC rankings before the fight so a win for Edgar, who was ranked #8 in the featherweight division, will likely see him leapfrog into that top 5.

The bantamweight title picture is seemingly quite murky at the moment, with Dana White refusing to commit to making Aljamain Sterling the number 1 contender despite his recent five-fight win streak. That leaves Marlon Moraes, Dominick Cruz and Cory Sandhagen potentially to take the title fight, although Sterling just beat Sandhagen with an 88 second submission win at UFC 250.

After the UFC’s decision to gift Jose Aldo a title shot despite him losing his 135lbs debut to Moraes and having lost 4 of his previous 6 fights in total. He was beaten by Petr Yan at UFC 251 on Fight Island but with Frankie Edgar’s win, you now couldn’t really put it past then potentially fast-tracking him to a title fight.

MMA media and fans were quick to call for Frankie Edgar to fight Dominick Cruz, who was the first ever bantamweight champion but has suffered with crippling injuries over the years. His last fight was at UFC 249 where he took on then champion Henry Cejudo, but was beaten via controversial knockout in the second round.

A fight between Cruz and Edgar would be an exciting bout for fans, with both having a similar style in the sense that footwork comes first and they’re happy to box knowing they have their wrestling to fall back on. Cruz’s kicking game would open up the wrestling for Edgar and it would be fun to see how both would counter the opposite style.

If the UFC aren’t keen to give Sterling the next title shot, they could look to pit him against Edgar in order to determine the next title contender. Should Sterling win, he would solidify his spot but if he lost the UFC would then feel justified in not giving him that shot and would then not feel any way about giving the former lightweight champion a fast-tracked title shot.

The UFC have a hierarchy problem in the bantamweight division right now. Frankie Edgar could be ‘The Answer’ to their issues.