Tag Archives: Dricus Du Plessis

UFC 282: Blachowicz vs Ankalaev – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for UFC 282 as they will crown a brand new undisputed light heavyweight champion when Jan Blachowicz takes on Magomed Ankalaev in the main event.

Originally a three-round co-main, former champion Jiri Prochazka was forced to withdraw from his rematch with Glover Teixeira and vacate his title after suffering a shoulder injury in training, which saw this fight bumped up to a title fight.

We’ll also see the UK’s own compete as Paddy Pimblett and Darren Till compete on the main card, while there is some deep prelim fights on the card too.

Last time out at UFC Orlando we had a shocking night, going 5/14 with just one perfect pick to move to 789/1227 (64.3%) with 325 perfect picks (41.19%). You can see our full pick 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 here, we finish up with our main card picks now.


Bryce Mitchell (15-0) vs Ilia Topuria (12-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Arguably the fight of the night opens up the main card. Mitchell is a wrestling and submission specialist, undefeated professionally with decision wins over Charles Rosa, Andre Fili (UFC Vegas 12) and Edson Barboza in his last three. Topuria is a sensation too, also undefeated, with three consecutive KO wins against Damon Jackson (UFC Vegas 16), Ryan Hall (UFC 264) and a huge comeback against Jai Herbert last time out in London.

There may not be a more relentless and suffocating wrestler in the UFC than Mitchell, who grabs on to whatever he can get hold of and finds a away to take you to the mat. Once there he dominates the position and works for submissions, completely in control throughout. Topuria on the other hand is a stunning striker with great power and technique, but he is also a brilliant grappler himself with seven submission wins on his record. This is an incredible fight.

They are so well matched, both riding huge waves of momentum and both have pretty exciting styles. Both are supremely talented wherever this fight ends up, but Mitchell has fought the higher calibre of fighter. His win over Barboza is crazy good because he dominated on the feet and the mat and I’m not convinced Topuria is a better striker than Barboza is. With that said I’m leaning towards “Thug Nasty” to get the decision win, but don’t be surprised however this ends up.
PICK – Bryce Mitchell via Decision

Darren Till (18-4-1) vs Dricus Du Plessis (17-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A huge fight in the middleweight division once more on this card. Till has lost four of his last five, starting with a title fight loss to Tyron Woodley. He also lost to Jorge Masvidal, Robert Whittaker (UFC Fight Island 3) and Derek Brunson, but claimed a decision win over Kelvin Gastelum in the middle of that run. Du Plessis is 3-0 in the UFC with wins over Markus Perez (UFC Fight Island 5), Trevin Giles (UFC 264) and most recently Brad Tavares.

Till is a pure striker, with an unorthodox karate stance to go with his Muay-Thai striking skills and great power and speed. He’s also a black belt in jiu-jitsu, although we’ve never seen why, and he’s been working his grappling with the incredible Khamzat Chimaev in recent months too so it’s likely improved. Du Plessis is also a brilliant striker, with fantastic power in his punches and kicks and a wildly aggressive style. He pushes a hard pace and looks to take his opponent’s head off with every strike. Till is without a doubt the best striker he has ever faced though.

There’s no doubting that Till’s back is against the wall here and he needs a win, and there is a great opportunity for him. Du Plessis’ aggression leaves him open to be hit a lot and if Till lands flush he has the power to put you out. His movement is good too and countering is his best weapon. So long as he’s as sharp as we know he can be, Till counters Du Plessis with that bomb of a left hand and gets a career-saving win.
PICK – Darren Till via Knockout, Round 3

Alex Morono (22-7) vs Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-6) – (Catchweight/180lbs)

A short-notice catchweight bout up next. Morono is stepping in on a few days’ notice for Robbie Lawler while on a four-fight win streak, beating Matthew Semelsberger most recently at UFC 277. Ponzinibbio on the other hand has lost his last two, dropping razor thin decisions against Geoff Neal (UFC 269) and Michel Pereira most recently.

Morono is a power striker, who uses decent boxing combinations and a good mix of wrestling too to overwhelm his opponents with his cardio. Ponzinibbio is a sensational striker with excellent power in his hands and his kicks, as well as an iron chin and great combinations. The time away from the octagon saw Ponzinibbio lose his status as one of the guys, he’s still good enough to beat Morono for me.

Both of these guys will be amped, but the short-notice nature of it tells me Ponzinibbio will be able to push the pace more and try to overwhelm him with his pressure. If he can force Morono backwards against the cage and start throwing he should land enough and have enough moments to claim a win on the cards.
PICK – Santiago Ponzinibbio via Decision



Paddy Pimblett (19-3) vs Jared Gordon (19-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A banger in the co-main event in the lightweight division. Pimblett has taken the UFC by storm since arriving, going 3-0 with three finishes against Luigi Vendramini, Kazula Vargas and Jordan Leavitt most recently. Gordon on the other hand has won four of his last five, losing to Grant Dawson via submission before bouncing back last time out with a decision win over Leonardo Santos.

Pimblett is a wild man, with fantastic ground skills when it comes to his jiu-jitsu and his submission skills, but his striking is decent too and he possesses good power. Gordon is a well-rounded fighter too with an excellent ground game himself, but he prefers to stand and strike and string combinations together. This is Pimblett’s biggest test to date in the UFC and this is not a gimme fight by any means.

On the feet I would say that Gordon has the edge. Pimblett is wild and leaves himself open to being clipped regularly sometimes, but when it comes to the ground Pimblett is the man with the advantage. He’s aggressive on the mat for submissions, his sweeps are excellent if he ends up on the bottom and he’s relentless when it comes to pressure. I don’t think Pimblett can secure the finish here, but he should be able to get enough control time on the mat and land enough on the feet to get another win.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Decision

Jan Blachowicz (29-9) vs Magomed Ankalaev (18-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Big time light heavyweight title fight up next in the main event. Blachowicz bounced back from losing the title to Glover Teixeira at UFC 267 with a win over Aleksandar Rakic in May, while Ankalaev extended his winning streak to nine in a row when he beat Anthony Smith via TKO back at UFC 277.

Blachowicz is a well-rounded fighter with fantastic power in his hands, but it’s his grappling where he really excels as he looks to use his size to wrestle opponents and control them on the mat. Ankalaev is a stunning striker with brilliant kickboxing skills, and his Dagestani background also means that he is a superb wrester and a master of Sambo fighting. Neither of these guys are particularly quick and their knockout power is prevalent but not their only route to victory.

It’s an interesting bout to analyse, but it would be very surprising if Ankalaev doesn’t claim the belt at this point in his career. He’s the better striker on the feet, his grappling is as good and he matches up well for size too, so it’s hard to see where Blachowicz can get the win. With that said, I’ve been wrong on Blachowicz before, but I expect a bit of a masterclass here from Ankalaev on the feet to claim a lopsided decision win.
PICK – Magomed Ankalaev via Decision

UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the T-Mobile Arena for UFC 276 for a double-header title fight event in what looks like one of the best cards of the year.

In the main event middleweight champion Israel Adesanya defends his title against ‘Tha Killa Gorilla’ Jared Cannonier, while Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway go head-to-head for a third time for the featherweight title in the co-main event.

We’ll also see the likes of Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira face off, while all of Robbie Lawler, Sean O’Malley, Maycee Barber, Brad Riddell, Jalin Turner and Dricus Du Plessis will all fight too.

We’ve had a few weeks off for picks due to a holiday, but our last time out at UFC 275 saw us go 7/11 with five perfect picks, moving us to 635/987 (64.33%) with 273 perfect picks (42.99%). You can view our full picks record here.

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


Brad Tavares (19-7) vs Dricus Du Plessis (16-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A really fun middleweight bout up next on this stacked card. Tavares is on a two-fight win streak after earning decisions against Antonio Carlos Jr (UFC 257) and Omari Akhmedov (UFC 264), while Du Plessis is on a four-fight win streak including winning both of his UFC bouts against Markus Perez and Trevin Giles via knockout.

Tavares is a boxer who uses thunderous leg kicks to hurt his opponents and works his jab well to maintain distance and keep his volume up. Du Plessis on the other hand is a powerful striker who likes to use his wrestling game to get top position and work a dominant ground and pound game.

It’s unlikely that game will find the success it usually does here, because Tavares has got excellent takedown defence. He stands tall, keeps his balance and uses his strength well. But on the feet however, Du Plessis is usually able to cause chaos and that suits him. “Stillknocks” has got a lethal left hook and his kicking game is solid too, and considering Tavares has been KO’d three times in the past I expect him to get caught with one of those big left hands to close the show early.
PICK – Dricus Du Plessis via Knockout, Round 2

Ian Garry (9-0) vs Gabe Green (11-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The next Irish hope is back for another UFC pay-per-view bout. Garry is an undefeated prospect and has won both of his UFC bouts to date, knocking out Jordan Williams (UFC 268) and then earning a unanimous decision against Darian Weeks. Green on the other hand is on a two-fight win streak earning a decision over Phillip Rowe (UFC 258) and then knocking out Yohan Lainesse most recently.

Garry is a brilliant kickboxer with incredibly fast counter strikes, and great power and accuracy reminiscent of his idol Conor McGregor. He has solid takedown defence too and is capable of working off his back if needs be too. Green alternatively is a powerhouse who likes to use aggression to cause damage, but he’s got problems in this match up. His wrestling is iffy, his takedown defence is poor and while he has great power in his hands he tends to lead with his chin.

That type of stylistic match up is a problem for Green, because Garry will use his movement and counters perfectly to land heavy shots and test the chin. If that doesn’t work, he has his judo black belt to fall back on too. Green could catch him clean and end it, but it’s far more likely that Garry does that to him.
PICK – Ian Garry via Knockout, Round 1



Jim Miller (34-16) vs Donald Cerrone (36-16) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two old school veterans going head-to-head on short notice for the right to say they have the most wins in UFC history. Miller is on a two-fight win streak earning back-to-back knockouts against Erick Gonzalez and Nikolas Motta, while Cerrone is winless in his last six fights with five losses and a no contest (originally a draw). Cerrone steps in on two week’s notice and goes up to welterweight for this fight.

Miller is a wizard in the jiu-jitsu world with 18 career submission wins, but he’s got a lot of new-found power since the first time these two fought in 2014. Cerrone is a technical striker who also has great jiu-jitsu skills, but it’s his body kicks that do the most damage to his opponents. The problem for ‘Cowboy’ is that he simply doesn’t have a chin anymore.

As soon as he gets hit flush he seems to react badly and curl up, and Miller has got a new love for landing heavy strikes accurately on his opponent’s chin. At 170lbs Cowboy definitely has the size advantage, but he should’ve retired already at this point and I think Miller puts an exclamation point on the end of his career here.
PICK – Jim Miller via Knockout, Round 1

Brad Riddell (10-2) vs Jalin Turner (12-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Absolute banger in the lightweight division is the featured prelim bout of this card. Riddell saw a seven-fight win streak snapped last time out when he was knocked out by Rafael Fiziev at UFC Vegas 44, while Turner is on a four-fight win streak and knocked Jamie Mullarkey out cold in his last outing at UFC 272.

Riddell is an amazing kickboxer, working as the head coach at Tiger Muay Thai once upon a time. He has got explosive power, brilliant dexterity in his kicks and his movement is exceptional too. Turner however is a powerhouse. He has got some solid wrestling skills in his back pocket, but it’s his terrifying one-punch power that has his opponents on notice. He’s also a tidy grappler too. This will be about who lands clean first, and I can’t look past Turner.

“Quake” is a notoriously slow starter, preferring to download data from a distance before working his combinations from inside. If he can survive the opening five minutes then the fight is his to lose, but Turner is unlikely to give him that for free. His huge frame will see him make it really difficult for Riddell and I think he’ll be able to land big and then his amazing finishing instincts take over to claim a huge win.
PICK – Jalin Turner via Knockout, Round 1

UFC 264: Poirier vs McGregor 3 – Results (Highlights)

**Hu Yaozong vs Alen Amedovski was cancelled just before the card started due to COVID-19 protocols.

EARLY PRELIMS

Zhalgas Zhumagulov def Jerome Rivera via Submission (Guillotine), Round 1 (2:02)

Good start to the fight from Rivera as he uses that long reach advantage to stab some kicks into the gut. Zhumagulov starts throwing some nice overhand right hands and is moving well but Rivera is putting the pace on him. Zhumagulov lands a nice left hook that drops Rivera and then synches up a nasty looking standing guillotine and forces the tap! Huge win!

Brad Tavares def Omari Akhmedov via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

Great start to the fight from Tavares as he uses his boxing well to light Akhmedov up nice and early. A nice exchange in the pocket and Tavares comes out on top of it. Nice low kick from Akhmedov but Tavares counters with a nice right hand. Akhmedov shoots in for a takedown and after a bounce on the cage gets it, but Tavares bounces straight back up. A few more takedown attempts but Tavares denies them all and lands some nice strikes in the exchanges to end the round. 10-9 Tavares.

Akhmedov steps into the second round with a nice jab and then a takedown attempt and while he gets him down he can’t hold him there and Tavares gets back up early. Tavares starts landing some heavy leg kicks and Akhmedov is feeling it. Nice jabs from Tavares but now Akhmedov is landing some heavy leg kicks of his own. Tavares steps in for a clinch and lands a big knee to the face, followed by a heavy low kick again. Akhmedov goes for another takedown but Tavares defends it well and should claim that round too. 20-18 Tavares.

Fast start to the final round from Tavares but staying patient with the volume of strikes, just pressing forward and forcing Akhmedov backwards. Tavares throws a heavy leg kick that drops Akhmedov, then lands another big one as he gets back to his feet. Great movement from Tavares and his jab is landing clean too. Akhmedov goes for a takedown but Tavares stuffs it brilliantly. Final minute and Tavares has rocked him! Big strikes just miss but Akhmedov is stumbling. Tavares lands a nice kick to end the round, great fight. 30-27 Tavares.

Jennifer Maia def Jessica Eye via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Interesting start as both women stay standing and Eye is landing really well. Nice kicks and some good hooks but Maia fires back too with a big knee up the middle. Eye lands some more short strikes and is just too fast so far. Some nice shots from Eye land and send Maia stumbling backwards and then Eye goes for a takedown and ends the round on top. 10-9 Eye.

Another good start from Eye as she continues to walk forward and lands short shots and apply pressure to Maia, who is being forced to fight on the back foot. Eye throwing some nice leg kicks but Maia is responding with a nice one-two up the middle that is landing well and often. Maia is pushing the pace now and landing big strikes. An accidental clash of heads opens up a massive cut on the head of Eye as the round ends. 19-19.

Final round and Maia is staying patient and not going straight for the cut. Lots of short strikes again but Eye is coming forward and landing some decent hooks and leg kicks of her own. Maia is doing really well to land the right hand and counter Eye’s pressure on the back foot. Big strikes from Maia as she applies heavy pressure herself with Eye bleeding heavily now. Great scrap, 29-28 Maia for me

PRELIMS

Dricus Du Plessis def Trevin Giles via Knockout, Round 2 (1:41)

A very tense start to the fight for both guys as they both show lots of feints and bouncing on their feet. Du Plessis throwing some leg kicks to get some score with the judges and just misses with a flying knee. Du Plessis goes for the takedown against the cage and gets it, then passes into mount immediately. He starts targeting submissions but Giles defending fairly well and scrambling to safety. Du Plessis ends up back on top and looks for a big elbow but ends the round on top. 10-9 Du Plessis.

Good start to the round from Giles as he steps forward looking to land big heavy strikes early on. Du Plessis staying patient and avoids a big flying knee but backs up to the cage after landing a nice left hand. He throws a left jab that misses then throws a big right hand that lands flush and puts Giles out! He lands some follow up punches but this one is all over! What a knockout!

Ilia Topuria def Ryan Hall via Knockout, Round 1 (4:27)

Very tense start to the fight with Hall backing up against the cage and Topuria pressuring him. Hall throws a big spinning back kick that lands well. He starts rolling for emenari rolls but Topuria is avoiding them all and doing really well to skip out. Several minutes pass of Hall rolling for legs but missing, and then Hall goes for another spin kick. Topuria catches it and forces Hall to the ground, then lands some heavy shots that put Hall out! Huge win for Topuria!

Michel Pereira def Niko Price via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Slow start to the fight as Pereira lands a nice jab and Price starts to go for some takedowns against the cage. Pereira defends well against the cage and starts firing off some big shots and his speed is troubling Price. Some superman punch attempts just miss but Pereira is doing well to keep attacking with volume. Rolling thunder attempt to finish the round and it’s 10-9 to the Brazilian.

Second round and Pereira is coming out strong, throwing a nice body kick that hurts Price. He goes on the attack and starts throwing some heavy strikes and gets Price down to the ground. Pereira starts looking for an americana submission but Price defends it, so Pereira starts raining down strikes instead. Price is just about surviving and Pereira moves to his back looking for a choke, but Price is able to roll out and get back to his feet before the round ends. 20-18 Pereira.

Final round and Price is pouring on the pressure nice and early as he sees Pereira is tiring. Price landing some big shots and Pereira just doesn’t have the same pop to his counters or movement in his legs anymore. Price pouring it on and landing some big strikes but Pereira is surviving. Nice left hand from Pereira but Price keeps coming forward. He goes all out before the end of the round but it’s likely not enough. 29-28 Pereira for me.

Max Griffin def Carlos Condit via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Hugely impressive start to the fight from Griffin as he lands some heavy leg kicks early that are getting big reactions from Condit. Griffin keeping a big pace and is doing lots of work on Condit who just can’t get going at all. Griffin landing some big strikes and Condit is in trouble! Griffin goes for the finish but Condit survives and the round ends. 10-9 Griffin, potentially even a 10-8.

Second round and Condit has come out and is walking forward and Griffin has slowed down considerably. Condit more willing to take the strikes as he comes forward and Griffin has so far completely stopped with the leg kicks. Condit continuing to step forward and landing some nice strikes but Griffin not getting hurt too much and is trying to counter. Condit lands a few more as the round ends, 19-19.

Griffin coming out much more aggressive in the final round and landing some nice jabs. Few big haymakers from Griffin are getting through, and Condit is being forced to back up now as he starts to tire. Condit starts firing back with some heavy body shots and a right hand, but Griffin throws a couple of leg kicks to snap the momentum immediately. Nice right hand again from Griffin and Condit backs up, so Griffin goes for the takedown and keeps the fight there until the round ends. 29-28 Griffin for me. Great fight.

MAIN CARD

Sean O’Malley def Kris Moutinho via Knockout, Round 3 (4:33)

Solid start to the fight from O’Malley. Suga is pushing the pace and landing some really nice jabs. Lots of heavy strikes landing but Moutinho stepping forward and looking for a right hook. O’Malley continues with the jabs and hooks through the guard and he is beating Moutinho up badly. Big right hook lands and drops Moutinho and then he goes for a spin kick that just misses. Lots of strikes and Moutinho is getting pieced up. O’Malley throws a pull right cross counter and drops Moutinho! He goes for the guillotine submission but time runs out. 10-8 O’Malley.

Second round and O’Malley is doing more of the same, just landing heavy strikes and really beating Moutinho up. Moutinho keeps storming forward though and is just missing with his right hooks. O’Malley smashing hooks and jabs through the guard but starting to tire. Moutinho keeps going forward and is talking to O’Malley and surviving the beating somehow. 20-17.

O’Malley comes out in the third round firing once again but Moutinho is just a zombie coming forward. O’Malley throwing knees, kicks, strikes and uppercuts but Moutinho is talking to him and smiling. O’Malley is fading but still throwing beautiful jabs and combinations. As the round comes into the final 30 seconds O’Malley lands a huge combination and Moutinho is hurt! He’s still standing but the referee waves it off after an accumulation.

Irene Aldana def Yana Kunitskaya via Knockout, Round 1 (4:35)

Good start to the fight from Kunitskaya with some kicks to counter the boxing attack of Aldana early on. Kunitskaya goes for a spinning wheel kick and then clinches up looking for a takedown, but Aldana defends it really well. Aldana slips a charge and lands a big right cross to the nose and then a jab, then lands a beautiful left hook to the body that hurts Kunitskaya. Some good jabs and slips and then she lands a big left hand again that drops Kunitskaya. Aldana rains down ground and pound but Kunitskaya tries to survive it by holding her hands for control. Aldana gets on top of her, slams big strikes into her face and the referee steps in to end it! Huge performance from Aldana!

Tai Tuivasa def Greg Hardy via Knockout, Round 1 (1:07)

Tuivasa comes out and lands some heavy leg kicks to start that Hardy immediately feels and struggles with. They start going wild with strikes and Hardy tags Tuivasa bad! He rushes in for the finish but Tuivasa counters with a crazy left-hook that puts Hardy out!!! Wow! What a knockout!!

Gilbert Burns def Stephen Thompson via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Very cagey start to the fight from both guys as they look to feel each other out. Burns steps forward with some looping hooks but Thompson avoids and moves out of range once again. Burns shoots in for a takedown against the cage and after a stalemate gets the fight down. He holds top position for the remainder of the round without landing too much damage. 10-9 Burns.

Thompson comes out more on his toes and lands some good side kicks and lots of body shots to keep Burns at distance. Some nice right hands and Burns bites down on his mouthpiece to fire back but Thompson is out of the way swiftly. More kicks from Thompson and as the round comes to an end Burns gets Thompson down once again and lands some decent strikes but that’s a Thompson round. 19-19.

Final round and Burns comes out hot and heavy ready to go. Nice right hand lands and then Burns shoots for the takedown and gets it around halfway through the round. Burns sits on top of Thompson and applies pressure, with good ground and pound and just staying heavy to take what should be a decision win for him. 29-28 Burns.

Dustin Poirier def Conor McGregor via Doctor Stoppage (Broken Ankle), Round 1 (5:00)

McGregor comes out and lands two sharp spinning kicks to the body followed by his teet kick. Poirier coming forward but McGregor slams some hard leg kicks into him to slow him down. Poirier responds with a couple of his own but McGregor going for the kicks. McGregor lands a nice left hand but Poirier responds with a combination that seems to buzz McGregor. McGregor clinches and Poirier goes for the takedown, but McGregor looks to sink in a guillotine choke. Poirier avoids and starts slamming in some heavy ground and pound shots, big elbows to McGregor who’s hurt! Poirier piling on the pressure and looking for a finish but McGregor is surviving for now. Poirier lets McGregor back up and he throws a punch that misses but as he plants his back foot his leg gives way and snaps! Poirier lands some shots on McGregor while he’s down as the round ends.

McGregor tells the referee and doctor his leg is broken and the doctor waves the fight off immediately! What an anti-climax to a crazy fight and trilogy!

UFC 264: Poirier vs McGregor 3 – Prelims predictions

The biggest trilogy fight in UFC history arguably is finally upon us as Dustin Poirier takes on Conor McGregor to break the deadlock between them at UFC 264.

McGregor knocked Poirier out in their first fight back in 2014, but Poirier got his own back in January at UFC 257 with a knockout win of his own to level it up at 1-1. The winner of this bout is highly likely to challenge for the lightweight title in their next bout, so the stakes could not be any higher.

In the co-main event we have a huge welterweight contender fight too as former title challengers Gilbert Burns and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson go head-to-head with each other to try and climb towards another shot against Kamaru Usman in the near future.

Also on the card is the return of ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley as he opens up the main card, while the prelims are full of exciting bouts too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 30, we went 12/6 with two perfect picks for our selection for a not so good outing. That took us to 352/554 (63.54%) with 160 perfect picks (45.45%) since starting up.

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


Trevin Giles (14-2) vs Dricus Du Plessis (15-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An absolute banger at middleweight in this one as Giles takes on Du Plessis at 185lbs. Giles has won three-in-a-row including a knockout over Bevon Lewis at UFC Vegas 13 before a decision against Roman Dolidze at UFC Vegas 22, while Du Plessis is also on a three-fight win streak after winning his UFC debut against Markus Perez via first-round knockout at UFC Fight Island 5.

Giles is a solid kickboxer, with a good power jab and lots of kicks and combinations. Du Plessis is also a good striker with good power but he also has a solid ground game with nine submission wins in his career and a 100% finish rate in his career. The South African always throws some heavy leg kicks and looks for some top control.

It’ll be a really close one but Giles has a tendency to start relatively slowly and make weird decisions, which will allow Du Plessis the opportunity to earn the victory in a wild back and forth bout.
PICK – Dricus Du Plessis via Decision

Ryan Hall (8-1) vs Ilia Topuria (10-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very, very fun fight in the featherweight division as jiu-jitsu wizard Ryan Hall takes on the undefeated Ilia Topuria. Hall has won eight fights in a row but hasn’t fought since 2019 due to lots of people not wanting to fight him, while Topuria is 2-0 in the UFC with a decision win over Youssef Zalal at UFC Fight Island 5 and then knocking out Damon Jackson at UFC Vegas 16.

Hall is an absolutely brilliant jiu-jitsu practitioner but he also has great kicks and some decent striking while standing too. Topuria on the other hand is a really good wrestler and submission artist himself but he also has some really good boxing too. He’ll need to use that boxing in this fight because he does not want to go to ground against Hall.

Topuria has all the tools to counter Hall’s strengths and so long as it’s him pushing the pace of the fight and not on the defensive the whole time, he should be able to get an entertaining win.
PICK – Ilia Topuria via Decision

Niko Price (14-4) vs Michel Pereira (25-11) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Potentially a fight of the night contender here in the welterweight division as two absolute entertainment machines go head-to-head. Price has alternated wins and losses in his most recent fights but saw his draw against ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC Vegas 11 overturned to a no contest after a positive marijuana test. Pereira is a showman who likes flips and dancing in the cage but has managed to win his last two-in-a-row against Zelim Imadaev and then Khaos Williams at UFC Vegas 17.

Price is a solid boxer who comes forward with reckless abandon and looks to put you out with every shot, while Pereira is a wild man who is spectacular and free-flowing with his attacks. Both guys throw with ridiculous venom and while Price has excellent cardio, Pereira’s is questionable at best.

Despite that though, Pereira has shown in his last two fights that he can tone down the crazy and be quite devastating. For that reason, I think he has the advantage. His grappling is excellent and he has genuine knockout power too so I think he’ll catch Price coming in and then get a submission to close the show.
PICK – Michel Pereira via Submission, Round 2

Carlos Condit (32-13) vs Max Griffin (17-8) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

One of the best welterweights of all time goes head-to-head with ‘Pain’ Max Griffin in the featured prelim bout of the night. Condit snapped a five-fight win streak by beating Court McGee before earning a decision over Matt Brown at UFC Fight Island 7, while Griffin has won his last two with a KO over Ramiz Brahimaj before a knockout over Kenan Song at UFC Vegas 22 too.

Condit is great at everything, with good kickboxing skills and some excellent chokes on his record too while Griffin is a power striker but he’s also a strong wrestler now too. Condit has historically always had bad takedown defence and that isn’t good against someone who is happy to take his opponent down and stay patient on top with ground and pound to stay busy.

Griffin is fragile sometimes but there’s been a switch in mentality recently and while Condit looked better in his last two, it’s not enough to convince me he’s back.
PICK – Max Griffin via Decision

UFC Fight Island 5: Moraes vs Sandhagen – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Tagir Ulanbekov def Bruno Silva via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Really fun first round here as both men come out swinging heavy blows. Silva works on the leg with some big calf kicks and Ulanbekov looks to counter it with his range and big punches. Both men land heavy shots throughout the round and Ulanbekov does score a takedown at one point but doesn’t land much damage while down there. Silva did more damage in the round, but it’s super close. 10-9 Silva for me.

Another thrilling round as Ulanbekov avoids the leg kicks for the most part and pops the jab to secure some dominance. He’s landing the jab and countering the leg kicks that do come with a big right hand that opens up a cut under Silva’s eye. A nice takedown where he lands some damage but a scramble gets them back up. Good round, frantic pace. 19-19.

More jabs and more control from Ulanbekov in the final round as he establishes more control. Silva is throwing haymakers but Ulanbekov countering with strikes of his own. Takedown attempts are generally denied by Silva and there are several scrambles to keep everyone on their toes. Ulanbekov continues to land nice jabs and avoid leg kicks and despite a late flurry from Silva, he should take the win here.

Tracy Cortez def Stephanie Egger via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A competitive first round between the two ladies as Cortez does well with the striking before then jumping into a takedown and controlling the fight on the ground. Egger does well to eventually get back up but Cortez really controlling where the fight takes place and what happens there too. 10-9 Cortez.

A very active second round for Cortez once again here as she lands some nice shots again before landing a takedown. She lands some heavy ground and pound but then gets rocked by an up-kick by Egger! She jumps on Cortez’s back and tries to sink in a rear-naked choke but Cortez does well to shake her off and get back on top. More heavy ground and pound and she takes the back too to land more damage and control the rest of the round. Great performance so far from her. 20-18 Cortez.

Final round and it’s more of the same from Cortez. Egger tries to push forward for a takedown of her own but Cortez defends it well and lands some nice strikes. She defends really well against the cage again to deny the takedown before spinning out and landing a trip of her own to take the back. From there on out she controls the rest of the round with ground and pound and should earn a comfortable win. 30-27 Cortez.

PRELIMS

Giga Chikadze def Omar Morales via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A competitive opening round between these two featherweights. Giga Chikadze throwing lots of kicks to maintain distance and range but Morales is retaliating with haymakers. Chikadze keeps with the body kick that lands beautifully but Morales continues to come forward. Good pressure and a good pace for the Georgian. 10-9 Chikadze.

Second round is more of the same as Chikadze throws nice kicks again to try and maintain distance but Morales coming forward with hooks, overhands and jabs. Some leg kicks from Chikadze cause a big lump on the front of Morales’ leg and he’s struggling to move too freely on it but both guys continue to put everything into their strikes as the second round closes. 20-18 Chikadze.

Final round and Morales marches forward to close the distance early. Chikadze unable to set his feet too well and is moving around well but lots of jabs landing but big punches missing the target. Chikadze throws a huge straight right that lands flush and knocks Morales down! He jumps on him and looks for ground and pound to finish the fight but Morales defends well to avoid the majority of the strikes and manages to get back to his feet. Chikadze desperate for the finish starts throwing axe kicks, superman punches and even a rolling lariat kick but he doesn’t quite get it. 30-27 Chikadze.

Tony Kelley def Ali AlQaisi via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

A very fun round! AlQaisi gets an early takedown and lands lots of knees to the body before a scramble. AlQaisi gets a nice trip but Kelley sinks in a deep triangle and attacks the the arm too for the second half of the round. AlQaisi is tough and Kelley extends the arm fully but he refuses to tap out! The round comes to an end, crazy round. 10-9 Kelley.

Kelley comes out in the second round a bit more aggressive, looking to take the centre again and throw strikes. AlQaisi moves for a takedown but Kelley blocks well, then AlQaisi steps forward and eats a huge knee! Kelley lands a right straight too and pounces on top looking to finish the fight but AlQaisi does well to avoid it and get back up in a clinch. AlQaisi secures a trip of his own and ends up on top looking for ground and pound before looking for another guillotine to finish the round. Tough round but 20-18 Kelley for me.

Immediate takedown for AlQaisi to open the round but Kelley gets straight back up. Another clash and Kelley lands that huge knee again to drop AlQaisi! Big punches as he tries to put him away but AlQaisi survives again. Kelley looks to sink in a submission but he never gets the chance to really lock it up. AlQaisi gets back to his feet and lands a beautiful spinning back-fist flush on the chin! Kelley stays standing though and lands a low blow accidentally. A short pause and they get back to with Kelley taking the centre and the two exchanging wild swings before the buzzer. 30-27 Kelley but a great fight.

Joaquin Buckley def Impa Kasanganay via Knockout, Round 2 (2:03)

What a fight this is! Both men come out with bombs and Buckley is getting the better of the shots. Big hooks land and back Kasanganay up against the cage but he throws huge shots back and connects too. Big uppercut from Buckley lands right on the eye but neither man goes backwards at all. Buckley lands a takedown and throws some vicious elbows but Kasanganay gets back to his feet well and lands a nice knee up the middle that knocks the mouthguard out of Buckley’s mouth. Fun first round. 10-9 Buckley.

Second round is much of the same with both men throwing heavy shots looking to take each other’s heads off. Kasanganay marches forward then throws a knee and Buckley responds with a head kick. Kasanganay catches the kick but Buckley, with his foot still in Kasanganay’s hand, spins and throws a spin kick with his other foot into the face and gets a violent knockout!! WOW! Knockout of the year!

Chris Daukaus def Rodrigo Nascimento via Knockout, Round 1 (0:45)

That was quick! Chris Daukaus steps forward and lands a bomb of a right hand that instantly hurts Nascimento. He lands some big ground and pound and is clearly hurting Nascimento with the power and speed. Nascimento gets back up but a big one-two lands again that drops him and the referee stops it. Hugely impressive knockout win.

Tom Breese def KB Bhullar via Knockout, Round 1 (1:42)

Tom Breese is back! He starts the fight with a snapping jab to the chin, Bhullar starts countering with leg kicks. Breese lands a beautiful left hook into the jaw of Bhullar who’s rocked but Breese keeps calm. He steps forward and lands another big jab that drops Bhullar and then some ground and pound gets the referee to stop the fight. Big win for Breese!

MAIN CARD

Illia Topuria def Youssef Zalal via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Zalal comes out and is bouncing around the octagon with movement to stay away from the takedown attempts that are inevitably on the way. Topuria steps forward with nice jabs and then finally shoots, clinches up and throws Zalal over his head for a lovely suplex takedown. Topuria immediately jumps into mount and looks to sink in several submission attempts but Zalal survives them all as the buzzer goes. 10-9 Topuria.

The second round starts with Zalal looking for a takedown against the cage but Topuria defends himself perfectly well and then secures a trip of his own to take the fight down. More submission attempts from Topuria again but Zalal showing his jiu-jitsu chops to defend everything well but he looks tired and out of ideas on the feet. 20-18 Topuria.

Final round and an immediate takedown from the Spaniard gets him back in control. Scrambles and attacks on the ground see Topuria take Zalal’s back but once again the Moroccan defends multiple submission attempts. Back to the feet with a minute to go and both men are now exhausted. Zalal comes forward with some nice punches but Topuria shoots and gets another takedown to see out the fight. 30-27 for me.

Tom Aspinall def Alan Baudot via Knockout, Round 1 (1:35)

Both men come out swinging big, heavy shots nice and early. Baudot throws some spinning attacks that miss wildly as Aspinall just waits out for the right moment. He rushes him against the cage with a front kick to the thigh and then lands two big short right hands to the jaw of Baudot. He changes levels and gets a takedown straight into mount and pours on some heavy ground and pound with elbows. Baudot curls up in a ball and the referee stops the fight. Another quick win for the Brit.

Dricus Du Plessis def Markus Perez via Knockout, Round 1 (3:22)

Perez storms out across the octagon and pressurises the debutant immediately, suffocating him against the cage. Du Plessis throwing lots of leg kicks but Perez eating them and returns a solid body kick of his own. Du Plessis throwing lots of volume but not landing much of anything significant as he continues to throw leg kicks. He rushes across with a combo but misses them all and both fighters end up against the cage. Perez tries for a back elbow and Du Plessis lands a short left hook to the side of the head that drops Perez! He lands two big shots while Perez is down and the referee waves it off. Huge debut win fo Du Plessis!

Marcin Tybura def Ben Rothwell via Unanimous Decision (29-27 x3)

A straight up slug fest of an opening round between these two heavyweights. Rothwell comes out with punches in bunches and lots of forward pressure, almost forcing Tybura to just cover up and take them. He moves around well and starts landing some of his own shots but both guys basically sitting in a phone box and swinging. Great entertainment. 10-9 Rothwell.

Second round is more of the same but at a bit of a slower pace. Rothwell has lost the pop he had in the first round but is still coming forward and landing short hooks and straights, while Tybura is landing kicks and jabs well. Tybura landing heavy shots on a very tired Rothwell now but he continues to march forward and bite down on his mouthpiece. Into the final round! 19-19.

Tybura comes out in the third round as the much fresher fighter and starts picking Rothwell apart using his speed and jab. Rothwell is still throwing heavy shots but Tybura using his footwork and head movement to make him miss and lands a lovely uppercut against the cage. Another flurry from Rothwell but again Tybura avoids and this time he changes levels and secures a takedown. Tybura gains the top position and goes to work with the ground and pound. Completely dominant third round and a big win for the Pole. 29-27 for me.

Edson Barboza def Makwan Amirkhani via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)

A very tentative start to the fight from both guys as then just circle the outside of the octagon trying to make reads and make their opponent bit on feints. Barboza throws a nice body kick, Amirkhani responds with a nice jab. Takedown attempt by Amirkhani is well defended by Barboza who separates immediately and breaks away. Barboza throws a body kick but Amirkhani catches it and takes Barboza down with 5 seconds of the round left. That probably steals the round too. 10-9 Amirkhani.

Second round begins and it’s still pretty tentative between the two. Barboza throws a nice leg kick but lots of feints and reads. Barboza throws a beautiful right straight that drops Amirkhani! He looks for the ground and pound but Amirkhani survives and pops back up to his feet. Barboza feinting again and lands the exact same shot again and gets another knockdown! He goes for the ground and pound again but this time he tries to wrap up an anaconda choke but Amirkhani breaks out of it. Final seconds of the round and Amirkhani lands another takedown to close it out but that’s a Barboza round. 19-19 at best for Amirkhani. 20-17 at worst.

Final round and Amirkhani comes out firing looking for a takedown early. He powers through after an initial good bit of defence from Barboza and stacks him up against the cage. Now he’s raining down ground and pound but Barboza moving well off his back to avoid all the damage. The referee stands the fighters back up bemusingly and Barboza lands a big left hand to the head. The fight ends with both men raising their arms but there’s only one winner here. Barboza back in the W column.

Cory Sandhagen def Marlon Moraes via Knockout, Round 2 (1:03)

A combative and intense opening round as both fighters look to take control early on. They trade leg kicks with Moraes throwing overhand rights to counter the rangier Sandhagen. Both guys taking it in turns to step forward and initiate the attacks. Spinning back fists from both guys too and then a nice one-two combo from Sandhagen is followed up with a solid body kick. Sandhagen throws another one but Moraes catches it and drags the fight to the ground as the round ends. 10-9 Moraes but it’s a very close, competitive fight so far.

Second round comes out and lots of feinting and leg kicks from Sandhagen. Out of nowhere Sandhagen shouts out to the commentators that Moraes’ orbital bone might be broken. More leg kicks and Moraes flies in with heavy hooks that miss wildly. Sandhagen throws a spinning wheel kick that lands on the top of the head and drops Moraes! Sandhagen pounces on top and lands ground and pound before the referee waves it off. What a finish! What a win!