Tag Archives: Drakkar Klose

UFC 277: Pena vs Nunes 2 – Prelims predictions

The most anticipated women’s MMA rematch of all time as Julianna Pena defends her bantamweight title for the first time against Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 in the main event.

Pena completed one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport last time out, and now she looks to prove it wasn’t a fluke by beating her again.

In the co-main event we also have an interim flyweight title fight as former champion Brandon Moreno takes on Kai Kara-France in a rematch of their own, with the winner setting themselves up to take on injured champion Deiveson Figueiredo once he’s healthy.

Last time out at UFC London we had great fun live at the event, and we had a decent night with our picks too. We went 9/14 with five perfect picks to move to 673/1046 (64.34%) with 289 perfect picks (42.94%). You can check out our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that record here and after starting with the early prelims, we move on to the rest of the prelims.


Drakkar Klose (12-2) vs Rafa Garcia (14-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

One of the best fights on the card is buried in the prelims here with this one. Klose finally returned after a two-year absence to defeat Brandon Jenkins in his last bout, while Garcia comes into this on a two-fight win streak beating Natan Levy and Jesse Ronson in his last two.

Klose is a solid striker with great power and good wrestling skills, but defensively he is known to be caused trouble by active grapplers. Garcia is exactly that, with good takedowns and jiu-jitsu but he’s also talented on the feet too and can hold his own in that field. Klose was supposed to be fighting Diego Ferreira in this one, and that probably bodes well for him.

Garcia is an excellent fighter with legit skills, but Ferreira does everything he does better. Klose will know that and will have been preparing for that type of fight, so he will find confidence in that. He’s got the power to earn a KO, but more likely is that he defends the takedowns and just picks Garcia off on the feet from range to earn a win on the scorecards.
PICK – Drakkar Klose via Decision

Don’Tale Mayes (9-4) vs Hamdy Abdelwahab (5-0) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Big boys take the stage next in this short-notice heavyweight scrap. Mayes has won his last two earning a decision over Roque Martinez before KO’ing Josh Parisian last time out. Abdelwahab makes his UFC debut as an unbeaten prospect, with all four of his knockout wins coming in 33 seconds or less.

Mayes stands at 6ft 6 and has got solid striking power in his hands, with good leg kicks and decent wrestling. Abdelwahab is a super powerful puncher, but his background comes in wrestling where he competed in the Olympics for Egypt back in 2016. Despite that though, his top game is relatively weak in comparison and his striking is super limited outside of power. Mayes has plenty of experience and should look to use that.

He must avoid the early power strikes, before Abdelwahab looks to start wrestling. If he does get taken down, he needs to find a way to be able to get back up quickly because once we get into the latter rounds he’ll start fading. Mayes should be able to use his more varied game and experience to claim a late win, but his reaction to being taken down is entirely important. Ultimately though, experience gets him the win.
PICK – Don’Tale Mayes via Decision



Drew Dober (24-11) vs Rafael Alves (20-10) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Another super fun lightweight scrap up next between two guys sitting outside of the rankings. Dober bounced back from two straight losses with a big KO win over Terrence McKinney last time out, while Alves has won six of his last seven including a first-round submission win over Mark Diakiese at UFC Vegas 42 last time out.

Dober is a brilliantly technical striker with good wrestling skills and superman-like durability. Alves meanwhile is a wild man, with great striking power and unbelievable submission skills but the inbetweens are few and far between. His striking techniques aren’t great despite the power, and his wrestling game is severely lacking to bring his submissions into play. With that said though, he only needs one error to be able to capitalise and end the fight in an instant.

Unfortunately for him though, Dober is good enough to be able to not make those errors. On the feet he is far more technical and he also has decent power himself, while his wrestling is more than good enough to keep the fight standing. Alves must hope for an error to jump on, but I don’t think it comes and Dober could land enough strikes in those exchanges to earn a finish somewhere in the middle round.
PICK – Drew Dober via Knockout, Round 2

Alex Morono (21-7) vs Matthew Semelsberger (10-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two powerhouses at 170-pounds get the featured prelim slot for this card. Morono has won three in a row, KO’ing Donald Cerrone at UFC Vegas 10, before decisions over David Zawada and Mickey Gall most recently. Semelsberger has won his last two, sleeping Martin Sano at UFC 266 in 15 seconds before a decision win over AJ Fletcher most recently.

Morono is an interesting fighter with great power in his hands and excellent jiu-jitsu skills, but it all gets bundled together wildly rather than technically. Semelsberger meanwhile is a terrific boxer with plenty of power, while his defensive wrestling skills have been proven in his recent fights. Both guys love a war and both guys will feel they can put the other out with one punch, so it should be entertaining for as long as it lasts.

But with that said, Semelsberger has a much clearer path to victory. He’s the more powerful of the two and his more technical striking should allow him to come out on top in those exchanges. Add his defensive wrestling meaning Morono will struggle to get his grappling into play, and I expect Semelsberger to be able to counter one of Morono’s wild swings to crack him clean and put this one to an end early.
PICK – Matthew Semelsberger via Knockout, Round 1

UFC Vegas 51: Luque vs Muhammad 2 – Prelims predictions

A huge welterweight main event is the main attraction at UFC Vegas 51 this weekend as Vicente Luque takes on Belal Muhammad in a rematch from 2016.

The two top six 170-pounders will go head-to-head looking to extend their winning streaks here, knowing that title contention won’t be far behind.

Last week at UFC 273 we saw a great card that was lacking a little bit on finishes, but we still managed to go 8/12 with four perfect picks to go to 593/915 (64.81%) with 252 perfect picks (42.5%).

You can view our complete pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims, we finish off our prelims picks here.


Rafa Garcia (13-2) vs Jesse Ronson (21-10) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Another fun lightweight fight opens up this section of the card. Garcia finally got into the win column in the UFC after defeats to Nasrat Haqparast (UFC Vegas 21) and Chris Gruetzmacher, besting Natan Lewy on the scorecards last time out. Ronson on the other hand comes back into the UFC for a fifth bout, having had a no contest with Nicolas Dalby in a short-notice bout back in 2020 in his last fight.

Garcia is a wrestle-boxer, using his cardio as a weapon and his stinging right hand to cause his opposition problems. Ronson has the nickname ‘the body snatcher’ because of his impressive body work when striking, although his wrestling defence leaves a lot to be desired and that screams problems in this fight.

Garcia’s cardio had always been great for him up until his fight against Gruetzmacher where it gave way, but his striking against someone like Ronson should open up plenty of takedown opportunities. That should find the 27-year-old in a position to dictate the fight’s direction and claim a big win.
PICK – Rafa Garcia via Decision

Drakkar Klose (11-2-1) vs Brandon Jenkins (15-8) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

More lightweights up next. Klose makes his first appearance in the octagon since his highlight reel knockout defeat to Beneil Dariush back in March 2020, while Brandon Jenkins returns following his debut defeat to Zhu Rong back in September last year.

Klose is a brawler with some decent takedowns and ground and pound in his game, with terrific power in his strikes and explosive speed. Jenkins is a wild fighter too, who walks forward and looks to land big techniques to secure knockouts. In short, this is as close to a tune up fight you’ll see in MMA.

Klose has got a huge advantage in every area of this fight and will likely be able to finish it in whichever way he assumes necessary. My guess is he walks Jenkins back to the cage and then lands a huge strike before following up with more shots to earn a big first-round knockout.
PICK – Drakkar Klose via Knockout, Round 1



Lina Lansberg (10-5) vs Pannie Kianzad (16-6) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Two of Sweden’s greatest MMA exports go head-to-head in the women’s bantamweight division next. Lansberg got well beaten by Sara McMann last time out back in 2020, while Kianzad saw a four-fight win streak snapped by Raquel Pennington in her last outing back in September 2021.

Lansberg has the nickname the ‘Elbow Queen’ for a reason. She is a terrific striker with great clinch work, that she tends to try and break from with heavy elbows to the temple. Kianzad is a very crisp and clean boxer, who tends to use volume and speed to outwork her opponents and that seems like a great avenue to victory here against her 40-year-old countrywoman.

At her peak, Lansberg’s style would be great for her to try and grind Kianzad against the cage and frustrate her, but it seems unlikely. Her output is considerably lower than Kianzad’s and after a lengthy layoff, it’s unlikely to change much here so expect Kianzad to simply be too much for her.
PICK – Pannie Kianzad via Decision

Devin Clark (12-6) vs William Knight (11-3) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A featured prelim bout in the heavyweight division should be a banger. Clark has lost his last two, getting submitted by Anthony Smith before dropping a decision to Ion Cutelaba in his last fight. Knight claimed impressive wins over Fabio Cherant and Alonzo Menifield (UFC Vegas 44) before losing his last bout to Maxim Grishin at UFC 271.

Clark is a wrestler who looks to get into top position and land some solid ground and pound and control the position, while Knight is a brawler with horrendous technique but brutal ground and pound himself if he finds himself in top position. After a 12-pound weight miss last time by Knight, this fight takes place in a division above Clark’s natural weight class and that means Knight should have an advantage.

He is already incredibly powerful and explosive, so not having to cut weight means he should be really fresh for this match up. That said, it’s unlikely to be a fun bout. Neither guy has great cardio or output, so expect Knight to land the bigger strikes throughout the 15 minutes and muscle his way to a win.
PICK – William Knight via Decision

UFC Vegas 24: Whittaker vs Gastelum – Main card predictions

The middleweight division continues to move on at UFC Vegas 24 as Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker takes on short-notice replacement Kelvin Gastelum in the main event.

Whittaker knows a win cements his place as the number one contender for a potential rematch with Israel Adesanya, while Gastelum looks to get back to the sort of run that saw him fight Adesanya in an interim title fight two short years ago.

In the co-main event, Jeremy Stephens makes a return to the lightweight division for the first time since 2012 when he takes on heavy hitter Drakkar Klose at 155lbs.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 23 we had a pretty good night, going 9/13 with four perfect picks to take our total up to 279/439 (63.55%) with 125 perfect picks (44.8%).

In a fun 12 fight card we’ll look to improve that here. Having already predicted the early prelims and the rest of the prelims here, lets move on to the main card.


Luis Pena (8-3) vs Alexander Munhoz (6-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

‘Violent Bob Ross’ makes a return to the octagon to take on a young up and comer looking for his first win in the UFC. Pena was well beaten last time out against Khama Worthy at UFC Vegas 4, while Munhoz stepped in on short notice in August and was dominated by Nasrat Haqparast at UFC Vegas 5.

Pena is a great striker with a good submission game too, while Munhoz is a strict wrestler who if he can’t get the fight down to the ground will undoubtedly struggle. Pena has all the tools to put a good run together, but it just never seems to click for him in the cage. Munhoz suffered a first defeat last time out against one of the better boxers in the division last time out.

It’s a one-sided fight, it’s just hard to know which way it goes because of the weaknesses both men have leading in to the opposite numbers strengths. As it stands though, I think Munhoz is likely to get the takedowns needed to grind out a decision win.
PICK – Alexander Munhoz via Decision

Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-3) vs Jacob Malkoun (4-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An absolute powerhouse and a less experienced powerhouse collide in a bout almost certain not to see the judge’s scorecards in the middleweight division. Alhassan has lost each of his last two fights after a two-year absence, getting well beaten by Mounir Lazzez on Fight Island before being starched by Khaos Williams at UFC Vegas 14. Malkoun made his debut at UFC 254 and was flattened by Phil Hawes in just 18 seconds.

Both guys are violent strikers with power that puts people to sleep, but Alhassan is by far the more experienced man in the cage. Malkoun’s record is short and a bit stodgy and his biggest claim to fame is that he’s a training partner of Robert Whittaker’s. Both guys have the power to put the other to sleep, but I can’t see past Alhassan getting back on the winning trail with a big, violent stoppage.
PICK – Abdul Razak Alhassan via Knockout, Round 1

Andrei Arlovski (30-20) vs Chase Sherman (15-6) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The legendary former world champion makes a quick turnaround to take on a big prospect in the heavyweight division. Andrei Arlovski had won two in a row beating Phillipe Lins and Tanner Boser at UFC Vegas 13, before being submitted by Tom Aspinall at UFC Vegas 19 earlier this year. Sherman has won four in a row including his UFC return against Isaac Villanueva back in May 2020.

Arlovski is a legendary kickboxer with tremendous punching power and great technique, while Sherman is a bit more of a traditional boxer with great power in his hands. Sherman is a specialist knockout artist, but considering he’s mainly a boxer he gets hit an awful lot.

It’s a tough fight to call, because both men have had questionable chins in the past and while Sherman has more power now Arlovski is the better all-round fighter. Despite that, Arlovski has lost a step in age at 42-years-old now and I think Sherman should be able to get enough volume going to get a win.
PICK – Chase Sherman via Decision

Jeremy Stephens (28-18 1NC) vs Drakkar Klose (11-2-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

An intriguing lightweight bout in the co-main event as ‘Lil Heathen’ makes a return to 155lbs for the first time in nine years to take on the highly rated Drakkar Klose. Stephens was a contender at featherweight for a while but then went 0-4 (1 NC) in his last five to send him on a spiral back up to lightweight, while Klose had won three in a row before getting knocked out in a crazy fight against Beneil Dariush just over a year ago.

Stephens is a well rounded fighter who often relies on his heavy hands and steady boxing for big wins and it’s come up trumps more often than not. While his recent record is horrendous, he’s only been beaten by the elite of the 145lbs division so it’s hard to see how far he’s fallen if at all. Klose on the other hand is fantastic wrestler who has heavy hands of his own, but usually looks to take fights to the mat and work his ground and pound.

This is a really fun fight, but I can’t see it going particularly well for Stephens. Klose is the more technical fighter of the two, and while both men are durable Stephens was getting hurt by smaller guys than Klose. I think Klose will threaten the takedown and throw his hands too to be able to secure a decision win.
PICK – Drakkar Klose via Decision

Robert Whittaker (23-5) vs Kelvin Gastelum (17-6) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

In the main event it’s a fight that was supposed to be for the middleweight title back at UFC 234 two years ago. Whittaker lost his belt to Israel Adesanya and has since won two in a row, defeating Darren Till at UFC Fight Island 3 before nullifying Jared Cannonier at UFC 254. Gastelum’s title shot was taken from him when Whittaker withdrew in need of emergency surgery, and then he lost to Adesanya for the interim title. He then got beaten by Till and by Jack Hermansson via heel hook at UFC Fight Island 2 but bounced back to a win over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258 a few months ago.

Whittaker is an elite level kickboxer who is a master of range, with heavy hands and great footwork. Gastelum on the other hand is a heavy-handed wrestler who has good submission skills too. Whittaker is one of the best middleweights of all-time but he does get hit and rocked quite often. Gastelum has the power to hurt Whittaker with his hands, but he needs to get close enough and land clean to do it and I can’t see that.

‘Bobby Knuckles’ is better in every aspect of MMA and while Gastelum has a remarkable chin that will likely hold out, I cannot look past Whittaker waltzing to a decision win once again.
PICK – Robert Whittaker via Decision

UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs Lewis – Prelims predictions

It’s take two in the heavyweight division for this weekend’s main event as Curtis Blaydes takes on Derrick Lewis in their rearranged fight from November 2020.

The two were scheduled to meet at UFC Vegas 15 before a positive COVID-19 test ruled Blaydes out just hours before the weigh-ins. They’ll meet now, knowing that the path to the heavyweight title shot they both feel they deserve is now clearer than it was back then.

Last week at UFC 258 we went 6/10 with our predictions, with three perfect picks to take us up to 230/359 (64.07%) with 104 (45.22%) perfect picks since we started out back in June 2020.

We have a monster 15 fight card this weekend, so the predictions will be split into three parts rather than the usual two. We’ve already predicted the first five fights of the night, so will get on with the rest of the prelims here.


PRELIMS

Nate Landwehr (14-3) vs Julian Erosa (24-9) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Currently 1-1 in his third stint in the UFC, Landwehr takes on the impressive Julian Erosa in a potential fight of the night on this card. Landwehr’s current stint started with a defeat to Herbert Burns, before an impressive win last time out against Darren Elkins via decision. Erosa is in his second stint with the company after losing three in a row first time out, before a win against AJ Bryant in CageSport before a return win against Sean Woodson last June.

Landwehr is a pressure fighter and will throw a lot of volume, but is also very capable in the ground game. Erosa is a talented grappler who has got good power in his hands too, with 11 submission wins and ten knockouts in his career to date. Despite his huge size advantage, Erosa tends to prefer just going to war and that should favour Landwehr who has great technique and is more durable.

‘The Train’ has the better techniques on the feet and mixes his attacks up more, and thus I think he’ll be able to get the nod in a great fight that goes the distance.
PICK – Nate Landwehr via Decision

Eddie Wineland (24-14-1) vs John Castaneda (17-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The man probably known to most UFC fans as the guy who got starched by Sean O’Malley takes on the guy known to most UFC fans as the man who got dominated by Nathaniel Wood in this one. Eddie Wineland is a vet in the UFC having made his debut in 2011, but his record of 6-8 is less than flattering, while Castaneda got beaten on his company debut.

Wineland has a super right hook, great pressure and good takedown defence too which has seen him finish all his wins in the last decade bar one via stoppage. Castaneda is a good kickboxer too, with a bit of a speed advantage over Wineland. Castaneda doesn’t have as much power though and while ‘Sexi Mexi’ loves to throw a calf kick or ten, Wineland’s added experience should see him able to land the more notable strikes in the fight and take the win.
PICK – Eddie Wineland via Decision

Drakkar Klose (11-2-1) vs Luis Pena (8-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A return to the octagon for Drakkar Klose after being knocked out in a crazy fight against Beneil Dariush in March 2020, as he takes on ‘Violent Bob Ross’ Luis Pena in the lightweight division. Pena was submitted in his last bout against Khama Worthy in June, meaning he has now lost two of his last three.

Pena is a fantastic grappler, with really good submission skills and has a huge size advantage in this fight. On the feet he’s not the most polished though and he’s struggled to use his length in the past. Klose is a power puncher who has great boxing, but he has struggled in the past against long fighters. Pena has the attributes to cause Klose a lot of problems, but he doesn’t use those attributes usually. Stepping in on just two-weeks notice for this fight, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to use them here.

If Pena can get into clinch situations against the cage and take the back he will have success, but the likelihood is that Klose kicks his lead leg hard to beat him up and lands big powerful strikes every time he gets within distance of Pena to take a win.
PICK – Drakkar Klose via Decision

Jared Gordon (16-4) vs Danny Chavez (11-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun fight in the featherweight division as ‘Flash’ Gordon looks to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since 2017 when he takes on Danny Chavez. Gordon bounced back from a defeat to Charles Oliveira by beating Chris Fishgold back in July, while Chavez won his debut with the company against an overweight TJ Brown at UFC 252 in August.

Chavez is a fantastic striker who throws calf kicks for days, while Gordon is a wrestler who looks to wear his opponent down from top position. The problem for Gordon in this fight, is that Chavez has really good takedown defence and the leg kicks will really effect his ability to get in close and shoot for takedowns. If Gordon can get the fight down, he’ll have the advantage over Chavez and ‘The Colombian Warrior’ has shown some cardio issues in the past later in the fight.
PICK – Jared Gordon via Decision