Tag Archives: Edson Barboza

UFC 272: Covington vs Masvidal – Main card predictions

A super highly anticipated grudge match main event at UFC 272 is finally upon us as Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal will clash in the welterweight division.

‘Chaos’ and ‘Gamebred’ will finally settle their very personal differences in the octagon after their friendship went sour several years ago, but while fans are hoping for a scrap it could actually be a bit of a mistmatch.

We’ll also see a five-round co-main event that was put together on short-notice as Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Renato Moicano at a 160-pound catchweight.

The last time we made picks was at UFC Vegas 48: Walker vs Hill a couple of weeks ago and we did pretty well, going 9/12 with three perfect picks to move to 548/852 (64.32%) with 234 perfect picks (42.7%).

Check out our full record for our predictions to date here.

We’ll look to improve that record here and after starting with the early prelims, and then completing our prelims picks here, lets move on to the main card.


Serghei Spivac (13-3) vs Greg Hardy (7-4) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A big heavyweight fight that got delayed a few months from UFC 270 and placed at the start of this main card. Spivac saw a three-fight win streak snapped by Tom Aspinall most recently at UFC Vegas 36, while Hardy has suffered consecutive KO defeats to Marcin Tybura at UFC Vegas 17 and then Tai Tuivasa at UFC 264 most recently.

Spivac is a fighter who looks to chain together his takedowns and uses his wrestling to get the fight to the ground and use vicious ground and pound. Hardy is a powerhouse who just brawls, but has been trying to use his kicks more as fights have gone on and his career has developed. Unfortunately for him though, his ground game is non-existent and if he ends up on his back then this fight is as good as over.

His takedown defence has been pretty good so far considering his short amount of time in the sport, but Spivac is one of the better wrestlers in the division. So long as he doesn’t get blitzed with a big shot early on, the fight begins to lean into his favour the longer it goes and eventually he will secure a takedown and then it’s a matter of when not if he gets the finish.
PICK – Serghei Spivac via Submission, Round 2

Kevin Holland (21-7) vs Alex Oliveira (22-11-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A really intriguing fight for the 2020 Fighter of the Year winner as he finally makes the move into a new weight class. Holland got defeated by Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 22 and Marvin Vettori at UFC Vegas 23 in short succession, before a no-contest against Kyle Daukaus following a clash of heads means he’s three fights without a win. ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira has lost his last three in a row, with submissions against Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 254, Randy Brown at UFC 261 and then a decision against Niko Price at UFC Vegas 38.

Holland is an excellent kickboxer with some solid grappling skills too, but his wrestling defence has let him down in fights against dominant wrestlers. Oliveira is not that, although his jiu-jitsu skills are great and he has decent power in his hands. Holland will look to stay away from the body lock of Oliveira, using his range to land kicks and long, straight strikes and he absolutely has the power to put people out in this division.

Oliveira is good and is definitely a threat in some situations, but this seems like Holland’s fight to lose. He is the bigger fighter, the more powerful striker and has a huge speed advantage. I expect Oliveira to make a go of it early on, but Holland will land big later in the first round and claim an impressive finish to get his career back on track.
PICK – Kevin Holland via Knockout, Round 1

Edson Barboza (22-10) vs Bryce Mitchell (14-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

This is a really exciting featherweight fight between two guys with title aspirations in their sights. Barboza saw a two-fight win streak ended when Giga Chikadze blitzed him in the main event at UFC Vegas 35, while Mitchell is undefeated in his professional career officially although he did get beaten on TUF by Brad Katona. His most recent win came via unanimous decision over Andre Fili at UFC Vegas 12.

This is as big a striker vs grappler fight as you will see in the UFC at the top level for a while. Barboza is a skillful striker who uses hard leg kicks, spinning techniques and brilliant boxing skills too, while Mitchell is all about securing a takedown and then wrapping you up in submissions. His striking isn’t horrendous, but it’s certainly his glaring weakness.

If this fight stays standing, then I expect Barboza to do a lot of damage. Mitchell’s head movement isn’t very good and he relies heavily on getting those takedowns, something that Barboza blows hot and cold on defending. If it stays standing, Barboza wins. If Mitchell gets it down, he’ll keep getting takedowns and control rounds as well as anyone. It’s tough to call, but I have to go with the pressure of Mitchell to eventually secure those takedowns and claim the win.
PICK – Bryce Mitchell via Decision



Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13) vs Renato Moicano (16-4-1) – (Catchweight/160lbs)

A very short-notice five-round fight between two excellent Brazilians in the co-main event. Dos Anjos was supposed to fight Rafael Fiziev before VISA issues and then COVID put an end to that. RDA hasn’t fought in over a year, with a win over Paul Felder at UFC Vegas 14 his last bout. Moicano is ona two-fight win streak after submission wins over Jai Herbert at UFC Vegas 30 and then Alexander Hernandez just a few weeks ago at UFC 271.

Dos Anjos is a former world champion, with an incredibly well-rounded skillset that can see him strike, wrestle and grapple with the very best at 155-pounds. Moicano is a slick striker with phenomenal jiu-jitsu skills, who spent a lot of his career at featherweight. Dos Anjos is usually at his best when he secures a takedown, takes control on the ground and then starts working for submissions. If he is on the ground with Moicano though, there is danger there.

In his advantage though, this is a full camp RDA who used to fight at welterweight taking on Moicano who is coming in on five-days’ notice in a 25-minute bout. On the feet RDA should have the advantage with his size despite the height and reach disadvantage, because he’ll use hard leg kicks and his weight to lean on Moicano. Eventually he’ll get him down, wear on him and secure a late finish against a game Moicano.
PICK – Rafael Dos Anjos via Submission, Round 4

Colby Covington (16-3) vs Jorge Masvidal (35-15) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The biggest fight of the night and the one everyone will be waiting for. Covington 1-2 in his last three fights, with a win over Tyron Woodley at UFC Vegas 11 sandwiched between defeats to Kamaru Usman in title fights, the most recent coming at UFC 268 in November last year. Masvidal is on a two-fight losing streak, with both defeats coming to Usman in title fights too at UFC 251 and UFC 261. Prior to that he had won three in a row, all via knockout.

Covington is the best wrestler in the division after Usman, with incredible cardio and much improved striking in his game since leaving American Top Team. Masvidal is a brawler with excellent boxing, a great switch kick and good defensive wrestling skills. The fact these two are former best friends and teammates with a personal rivalry means we’re expecting a scrap, but Covington is unlikely to engage in a straight up war with ‘Gamebred’.

Expect the younger fighter with the better wrestling to use his pressure to force Masvidal backwards, strike from range to set up his takedowns and constantly drag him down against the fence to wear on him. Masvidal will try to get back up, but Covington will bring him down again and land dominant shots on the ground to earn a wide decision victory in a fight that won’t have the fireworks many people are hoping for.
PICK – Colby Covington via Decision

UFC Vegas 35: Barboza vs Chikadze – Main card predictions

The UFC featherweight division headlines a banger of a card in the APEX as Edson Barboza takes on Giga Chikadze in the main event, while The Ultimate Fighter finals take place too.

Chikadze takes on the former lightweight contender in his first main event, but before that the finale of both the bantamweight and middleweight division from the Ultimate Fighter Returns finale will take place as Ricky Turcios takes on Brady Hiestand, followed by Bryan Battle taking on late replacement Gilbert Urbina.

Kevin Lee also makes his return to the octagon against Daniel Rodriguez at welterweight in his first fight since he was submitted by Charles Oliveira back in March 2020.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 34 we went a disappointing 6/12 with two perfect picks for the night to move to 389/612 (63.56%) with 171 perfect picks (43.96%). We’ll look to improve that here, and after starting with the early prelims and the rest of the prelims we’ll pick the main card now.


Makhmud Muradov (25-6) vs Gerald Meerschaert (32-14) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very fun middleweight fight to open the main card as Muradov and Meerschaert meet in a classic striker vs grappler bout. Muradov has won 14-in-a-row including three-in-a-row in the UFC with his most recent fight against Andrew Sanchez ending with a flying-knee KO at UFC 257. Meerschaert bounced back from two losses in a row against Ian Heinisch and Khamzat Chimaev at UFC Vegas 11 before a submission win over Bartosz Fabinski.

Muradov is a sensational striker with great boxing skills and excellent footwork for a big man, while Meerschaert is a submission expert with 24 wins via tap out in his career. While he’s a great grappler though, he’s not a good wrestler and that is what Muradov is best at – denying takedowns and beating people up on the feet. Muradov has a tremendous speed advantage in this one and with his crisp striking it seems most likely that he can secure a win.

Overall, Muradov should have way too much for Meerschaert here. 17 wins via knockout tells me he has a killer instinct too and I think he’ll hit Meerschaert clean enough to get that big KO once again.
PICK – Makhmud Muradov via Knockout, Round 2

Andre Petroski (5-1) vs Micheal Gillmore (6-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Two TUF contestants from this season go head-to-head on the finale in this one at middleweight. Petroski is 5-1 with a defeat in his most recent professional fight via knockout, while Gillmore is on a three-fight win streak in his professional career before losing in the first round of the TUF house to finalist Gilbert Urbina.

Petroski is a powerhouse wrestler with powerful striking too and a good submission game. Gillmore on the other hand is a former karate champion with great striking and okay wrestling to try and keep fights standing. The issue for him is that his wrestling isn’t even close to that of Petroski’s and his showing in the TUF house won’t do much to convince anyone of anything different.

He walked backwards with little aggression and that allowed Urbina to score an early takedown so if Petroski gets that chance then this fight won’t last long at all.
PICK – Andre Petroski via Submission, Round 1

Kevin Lee (18-6) vs Daniel Rodriguez (15-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

‘The Motown Phenom’ is back in the octagon as he takes on the highly impressive ‘D-Rod’ in the welterweight division. Lee has struggled in the octagon recently, with just one win in his last four and no fights since March 2020 while Rodriguez has impressively won his last two-in-a-row against Mike Perry at UFC Vegas 23 and Preston Parsons.

Lee is a tremendous wrestler with great pedigree, but has spent most of his career in the lightweight division making him a bit of an inbetweener for division. Rodriguez on the other hand is a natural welterweight with tremendous boxing and a big size advantage for the fight. Rodriguez will use his jab plenty, but Lee will be happy to strike with him as he tries to open up the opportunities for takedowns.

The fight comes down to whether or not Lee can get a takedown and I’m not sure he can. Rodriguez absolutely has the striking advantage and power edge, and I think the size he has will be enough to stop Lee getting significant takedowns enough to score a close decision win.
PICK – Daniel Rodriguez via Decision

Ricky Turcios (10-2) vs Brady Hiestand (5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The first final from this year’s TUF series is the bantamweights. Turcios won two wars on the series this year but his most recent professional fights have been mixed, going 2-2 in his last four. Hiestand on the other hand had a close fight in the first round before securing an early TKO in his semi-final, while he is 1-1 professionally in his last two fights.

Turcios is a freestyle fighter who has good strikes with lots of volume and awkward movements, while he also has really good jiu-jitsu too. Hiestand is a solid wrestler with good top control and decent striking, but he has a lot less experience in this fight. Turcios knows how to work a crowd and judges and his volume is great, always moving forward with an iron chin.

Overall, I think once again we’ll see Turcios bring an entertaining fight but come out with a big win to be crowned the winner of this series and earn the contract.
PICK – Ricky Turcios via Decision

Bryan Battle (5-1) vs Gilbert Urbina (6-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

The middleweight finale for TUF has a short-notice replacement involved after Tresean Gore pulled out with injury. Bryan Battle makes his UFC debut after two big wins as an underdog during the competition, while Urbina is brought back in to the finale after being KO’d by Gore in the semi-final in the house.

Battle is a mixed-style fighter with lots of heart and excellent cardio, with solid striking and excellent scrambles on the ground. Urbina on the other hand is a good striker with good volume but with some great wrestling to back him up too. The issue for Urbina is that he’s a welterweight naturally and against a natural middleweight he could struggle to get that wrestling going.

Battle is a great scrambler if he does get taken down and he has the volume and size advantage so should be more than able to secure an impressive win and earn himself a UFC contract.
PICK – Bryan Battle via Decision

Edson Barboza (22-9) vs Giga Chikadze (13-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

The featherweight main event is upon us and it’s a striker’s paradise for MMA fans. Barboza has won his last two-fights in a row since moving down to 145lbs including a stunning knockout over Shane Burgos at UFC 262, while Chikadze has won his last eight-in-a-row including the last two by first round knockout against Jamey Simmons at UFC Vegas 13 and Cub Swanson at UFC Vegas 25.

Barboza is a stunning striker, with incredible kicks but also brilliant power in his hands with fun body shots and ripping crosses to the chin, while Chikadze is a super accurate kickboxer with a trademark body/head kick and crisp hands. The problem for Chikadze in this banger of a fight is that Barboza throws more volume and also has some pretty good grappling too.

Overall, it comes down to who can hit their opponent the most and harder and I think that Barboza has that advantage in this fight. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chikadze won, but Barboza is so polished at the highest level that I can’t go against him here.
PICK – Edson Barboza via Decision

UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Christos Giagos def Sean Soriano via Submission (D’arce Choke), Round 2 (0:59)

Big start to the fight for both guys as Giagos lands a nice right hand to open that wobbles Soriano, who responds with a nice low kick that puts Giagos down to one knee. Giagos shoots for a takedown and pushes the fight against the cage before switching to take the back, before letting it go before they separate. Soriano lands a nice one-two down the middle and Giagos is wobbling again, but he responds with a combo of his own. Soriano’s speed is causing Giagos big problems and he’s landing clean. Giagos goes for a takedown but Soriano sprawls well and denies it. Both guys head hunting with the punches right now, but Soriano mixing in some leg kicks too and it’s serving its purpose so far. Head kick from Soriano lands partially as he slips, before Giagos shoots for a takedown and dumps him down as the round ends. 10-9 Soriano.

Soriano comes out heavy once again and lands a big right hand but Giagos goes for a takedown much earlier this time and gets top position quickly. He flows through the position and Soriano tries to get back up, but Giagos locks up a d’arce choke and sits down on it! It’s super tight and Soriano stops fighting it and goes to sleep! Huge win for Giagos!

Tucker Lutz def Kevin Aguilar via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Fast start from Aguilar as he presses forward and applies pressure early looking to throw big strikes to the head. Lutz looking to slow him down a little with leg kicks and then a clinch, but Aguilar doing well to separate and lands a nice left hook. Lutz now starting to come forward more and he lands a nice left hook of his own clean, before a head kick lands partially too. Aguilar is doing well to be dangerous in the pocket and make Lutz think first, then Lutz lands a huge uppercut. Big takedown from Lutz, with perfect timing and minimal effort, before shifting Aguilar over to the cage and starts landing some decent ground and pound to control the position. Aguilar trying to get back up but Lutz does well to keep him down and end the round on top. 10-9 Lutz.

Aguilar charges forward early once again at the start of the round but Lutz times him well and lands a decent left hook counter once again. Good little flurry while moving forward from Lutz again, but Aguilar looking to counter with a hard right hand. Aguilar looks to grapple against the cage but Lutz is able to stop him in his tracks easily then separates with a knee to the head. Aguilar comes forward and lands a nice body shot, but Lutz is timing everything perfectly so far and shoots in for a takedown to get it with ease again. This time though Aguilar is able to battle back to his feet quickly with his legs, before Lutz starts up on the leg kicks and left hooks once again. A more even round certainly, but still Lutz’s for me. 20-18.

Big left hand lands early from Aguilar and gets the crowd on their feet, before another left hand lands and sends Lutz backwards. Lutz replies with a big uppercut and hook combo that rocks Aguilar, but he keeps coming forward and lands more shots making this ugly and hurting Lutz. Aguilar goes for a one-two but Lutz ducks under it and gets the takedown, shuffling him over to the cage and stacking him. Aguilar explodes back to his feet and eats a couple of punches and a knee for his troubles, but he continues to come forward looking to be aggressive. Aguilar shoots for a takedown of his own but Lutz denies him and they go back to trading. Lutz keeping distance with leg kicks and clinching whenever Aguilar gets close as we enter the final 30 seconds. Big left hand from Aguilar snaps Lutz’s neck back but he keeps calm, keeps moving and should take the win. 29-28 Lutz.

Priscilla Cachoeira def Gina Mazany via Knockout, Round 2 (4:51)

Cachoeira comes out of the blocks very aggressive, right hand loaded looking for a power strike but Mazany nice and busy early with her jab and a small flurry. Mazany clinches up and is able to trip Cachoeira down to the top position and while Cachoeira gets up quickly, she’s immediately brought back down to the mat. Mazany starts landing some nice ground and pound as she controls the position, before Cachoeira eventually gets back up and starts landing some nice right hands. Mazany ducks under and gets another takedown to control the rest of the round from top position with ground and pound. 10-9 Mazany, easily.

Immediate takedown at the start of the round for Mazany has them in exactly the same position that they ended the first round in, with top control and suffocating pressure. Cachoeira looks to get back to her feet but Mazany transitions and takes the back, before Cachoeira rolls back onto her back to go into full guard again. More control from Mazany on top as she lands a couple of big elbows. The referee pauses the fight after she fails to advance position and stands them up and now Cachoeira is walking Mazany down and has thrown some big punches. Huge right hands landing from Cachoeira and Mazany is exhausted and hurt! Mazany looking for the takedowns but can’t get it and Cachoeira is beating her up and the referee steps in! Huge win for Cachoeira!

PRELIMS

Andrea Lee def Antonina Shevchenko via Submission (Triangle Armbar), Round 2 (4:52)

Busy start to the fight from Lee early on, looking to land some kicks and a jab early on while Shevchenko is getting her reads and looking to counter. Lee clinches up against the cage and looks for some knees but she gets overpowered by Shevchenko who lands some of her own before the separate. Shevchenko engages in a clinch this time and lands several knees to the body before Lee is able to get away from it. Shevchenko goes for a spinning back first but Lee lands a big head kick and wobbles her, then goes for a takedown and eventually is able to trip her. Lee looks for a big hammer fist that just misses but she’s controlling the top position and sees the round out on top. Close round that Lee probably takes because of the takedown. 10-9.

Lee opens up the round with a huge spinning back elbow that lands flush and rocks Shevchenko! She goes for a finish and Shevchenko grabs her but Lee hip tosses her and ends up in a very dominant position. Big elbows to the head of Shevchenko and she transitions into a mounted triangle and rolls through. She starts throwing elbows off her back with the triangle on and she’s looking for an armbar too but Shevchenko is just about surviving. Huge elbows from Lee with the triangle still synched in and she finally is able to extend the arm of Shevchenko and gets the tap right at the end of the round! Huge win!

Jordan Wright def Jamie Pickett via Knockout, Round 1 (1:04)

Pickett opens the round with a big body kick and charges in for a takedown. Wright stays standing and starts throwing some big elbows to the side of the head and Pickett is hurt! Wright lands some big knees and sends Pickett stumbling as he swings a big right hand. Wright holds on to Pickett in a clinch and throws a big knee up the middle that drops him! He starts landing some huge ground and pound and the referee steps in to end if mercifully! Huge win for Wright! What a performance.

Lando Vannata def Mike Grundy via Split Decision (29-28, 27-30, 30-27)

A very tactical start from both guys as Vannata bounces around on the outside throwing feints and leg kicks while Grundy is switching stances and staying out of range. Grundy charges in for a takedown but Vannata holds up and both men throw a knee and land in the groin to cause a pause. They resume action and Vannata lands a couple of nice strikes before Grundy gets a single leg takedown. Lots of scrambling as Grundy looks to keep the grip but eventually Vannata is able to escape. Vannata lands a nice knee and then a right hand behind it, before Grundy goes for another takedown but he gets back up to his feet very quickly. Vannata doing well to defend all these takedown attempts and get back up and separated quickly, but not enough action from him so that’s likely a Grundy round. 10-9.

Vannata looks very fluid and relaxed in the second round here as he fakes a knee up the middle, but Grundy fires forward with a takedown attempt once again. Vannata stays standing once again before both men exchange nice, tight right hooks. Vannata pushing forward with pressure and lands a nice kick, before Grundy explodes forward with a big right hand that lands clean. Vannata lands a nice combo that ends with a leg kick before Grundy shoots for yet another takedown. Head kick from Vannata lands and then as he starts faking uppercuts Grundy replies with a big overhand right. Vannata having more success in this round as it ends, 19-19 heading into the third.

Grundy opens up the round with two immediate takedown attempts but Vannata denies them both and fires back with a hard calf kick. Grundy shoots in again but Vannata throws a hard knee that lands flush on the chin but Grundy powers through it and gets Vannata down finally. He starts working to the back but Vannata gets back up, avoiding a submission attempt from Grundy, before picking up and slamming Grundy down to the mat. Grundy explodes back up to his feet and Vannata starts pressuring forward once again as both fighters exchange head kicks. Final minute and both guys still look sharp as Vannata denies yet another takedown attempt to end the round. Great fight, I’ve got it 29-28 Vannata.

Andre Muniz def Jacare Souza via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (3:59)

Good start to the fight for Jacare as he comes forward landing some nice kicks to the body with a few flurries of strikes before shooting in for a takedown against the cage. Jacare lifts and sweeps the legs to complete the takedown, immediately stepping over and throwing some good ground and pound strikes. Muniz is able to kick his way up and then shoots in for a takedown of his own and lands it. Jacare is able to work his way back up to the feet but Muniz gets him down again and Jacare jumps up again quickly. Muniz jumps on the back and tries to roll over the top, but holds on to Jacare’s arm and sinks in a deep armbar. Jacare’s arm visibly snaps and the referee waves the fight off! Insanity! What a submission win!

*TRIGGER WARNING*

MAIN CARD

Edson Barboza def Shane Burgos via Knockout, Round 3 (1:16)

Big start to the fight from Barboza as he steps forward and lands four huge calf kicks to Burgos that immediately causes problems. Burgos starts firing out his jabs but Barboza is looking to counter them with a heavy leg kick every time. Jab starts to land for Burgos and opens up a cut over the eye of Barboza, who then throws a spinning back kick to the body. Burgos starting to land more and then rips the body big and follows up with a nice left hook too. Barboza throws the uppercut and Burgos replies with a right hand. Barboza spins with a wheel kick and rocks Burgos, then follows up with two or three big right hands! Burgos keeps coming forward though and gets wobbled off a jab. Barboza continues to land the right hook and leg kicks as the round ends. 10-9 Barboza.

Burgos comes forward to apply pressure early in this round but Barboza continues to throw the leg kicks. Burgos goes body, body head while standing and lands nicely. Barboza throws another heavy leg kick and follows it up with a huge left hook, but Burgos keeps coming. Burgos throwing a nice front kick to the body, then follows up with a left hook to the body too. Burgos lands two leg kicks of his own now, before a spinning back kick to the body from Barboza. Burgos throws another calf kick but Barboza responds with a big left hook combo to the body and then the head. Three big body shots from Burgos and then Barboza goes for the wheel kick that just misses as the round ends. What a fight this is. 20-18 Barboza for me, but could be 19-19.

Final round and Burgos is pouring on the pressure now, but Barboza standing with him and throwing those leg kicks once again. Burgos comes forward with the body shots again, and Barboza lands a great body shot before a left hook and overhand right land flush. Both men reset but suddenly Burgos starts to stagger backwards and just falls against the cage! Barboza goes for the finish and the referee ends it quickly! What a fight.

Katlyn Chookagian def Viviane Araujo via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Fast start to the fight for Araujo as she steps forward looking to land hard shots and closing the distance to prevent Chookagian’s kicking game from getting going. A nice left hook from Araujo leaves a mark on the cheek of Chookagian, but she fires back with a nice front kick to the body. Araujo throwing a lot of power into all of her shots and missing wildly so far and Chookagian is starting to get her kicks and jab working. Araujo starting to slow down a bit already and Chookagian lands two nice kicks to the body before Araujo shoots in for a takedown. They clinch up against the cage as Chookagian stuffs it and both ladies trade knees to the body as the round ends. 10-9 Chookagian.

Good start to the round from Chookagian as she seems to have figured out her range now, slipping a couple of Araujo strikes before landing a push kick to the chest that sits Araujo down. Chookagian moving well and throws a body kick but Araujo catches it and puts her on the ground. Araujo gets on top and looks to move into full mount. She looks to synch up a guillotine but Chookagian survives it and eventually is able to get back up to her feet. Chookagian now starts throwing big strikes to an exhausted Araujo as the round starts coming to an end. 19-19. Big final round incoming.

Araujo comes out aggressive in the third, looking for nice hooks but Chookagian showing her range once again and landing nice jabs and body kicks. Araujo still coming forward and looking to cause damage with her hands, but Chookagian’s footwork has been great throughout this fight and she is sticking and moving well. Side kick to the body of Araujo, then she counters Araujo’s right overhand with a left high kick. Araujo goes for a takedown but Chookagian does brilliantly to defend it then lands a huge knee up the middle as they separate. Big right hand lands from Araujo in the final 10 seconds but Chookagian fires back with a flurry of punches and kicks to end the round strong. 29-28 Chookagian for me, but it’s all on how the first round was scored.

Rogerio Bontorin def Matt Schnell via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Pretty slow start to this one as both guys look to go make their reads early on. Schnell takes the centre of the cage and cuts off the centre as Bontorin circles on the outside, with the odd jab and low kick each. Schnell finally strings together a flurry of strikes but Bontorin does well to avoid damage, before landing a big right cross. Left hook and then a jab follows it, before a calf kick puts Schnell down on one knee. Bontorin lands a left hand but Schnell replies with a beautiful right hand then a pull left-hook counter that wobbles Bontorin. Bontorin lands a hard calf kick and the round comes to an end. 10-9 Bontorin.

Right high kick from Schnell opens up the round and lands flush on the nose, before following it up with a nice right hand too. Schnell lands a nice jab, low kick combo but Bontorin replies with another strong leg kick of his own. Bontorin is landing his left hook cleanly at will, but Schnell is still coming and landing some good strikes of his own. Schnell throws a nice four-punch combination before Bontorin replies with a low kick and left hook. Bontorin lunges forward and lands a big left hand that wobbles Schnell and he lands two or three more before missing with a big knee as they separate. Another short flurry from Schnell as the round ends, very close round but it’s probably Bontorin’s again for the more eye-catching strikes.

Both men look fearful of making a mistake to lose this fight as we start the third round. Schnell looking to get his combinations off but Bontorin landing the bigger strikes once again. Bontorin moves forward with a big left, right, left combination that rocks Schnell! He changes levels as Schnell is hurt and gets a takedown and starts landing some big elbows on the ground. Schnell tries his best to get out but Bontorin controls the position and sees the round out on top. 30-27 for me.

Beneil Dariush def Tony Ferguson via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Very aggressive start to the fight from Dariush as he takes the centre and throws a big left hand early. Ferguson not really throwing anything yet and Dariush closes the distance quickly and shoots in for a takedown against the cage. He locks the hands and dumps him down on the mat and Ferguson immediately starts throwing elbows from the bottom. Dariush starts swinging some heavy ground and pound but nothing really landing. Dariush controlling the position from the top and while there’s not much damage being handed out, he’ll take that round. 10-9 Dariush.

Second round starts in a similar way and Dariush rushes him for a takedown and immediately gets it against the cage. Ferguson looks to synch up a d’arce choke but Dariush stays so calm and eventually pops his head out with no danger. Dariush starts raining down ground and pound again and Ferguson eventually tries to sweep him, but they end up entangled on the ground. Dariush synches in a heel hook super deep and Ferguson is grimacing with pain but he refuses to tap out! Dariush lets it go then moves to control top position for the rest of the round again. 20-18 Dariush.

Third round and Fergusons leg is in bits after the heel hook. Dariush lands a nasty body kick and then shoots in for a takedown once again and gets Ferguson down with a slam. Dariush goes into side control and is just completely controlling the positions. Ferguson is looking for some type of offence from his back but Dariush dominating him from top position into the final 30 seconds. Dariush rains down some ground and pound to end the fight but that is as one-sided a fight as you’ll see. Huge win. 30-27 Dariush.

Charles Oliveira def Michael Chandler via Knockout, Round 2 (0:19)

Fast start to the fight as Oliveira comes out and drops Chandler with a calf kick early. Chandler comes forward and throws a flurry of strikes, with a left hook busting open the eye of Oliveira. Oliveira shoots in for a takedown and Chandler sinks in a deep guillotine! Oliveira manages to escape and then Chandler gives up his back trying to get back up. Oliveira sinks in both hooks and starts working for the rear-naked choke but Chandler works back to his feet with Oliveira on his back and just drops backwards. He explodes out of the body triangle and gets back to his feet, then rocks Oliveira with a huge punch. He starts teeing off on Oliveira and cuts him up but Oliveira survives the round. Crazy! 10-9 Chandler.

Chandler comes out hard in the second round and Oliveira slips a big shot then lands a picture perfect left hook that drops Chandler! Oliveira charges over and starts blitzing Chandler who is in trouble! Oliveira lands another left hook that crumbles Chandler and it’s all over!!! AND NEWWWW!

UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler – Main card predictions

The new king of the lightweight division will be crowned at UFC 262 when Charles Oliveira takes on Michael Chandler for the vacant 155lbs title.

203 days after Khabib Nurmagomedov retired, the number three and four ranked fighters in the division go head to head to be crowned champion but the division will be far from settled after this fight.

In the co-main event both Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush will bring the chaos as both men enter a crossroads phase of their career, trying to get to the top but having to cross a top guy on their path.

Last week at UFC Vegas 26 we went 6/9 on an interesting card with one perfect pick to move to 308/482 (63.9%) with 134 perfect picks (43.51%).

We’ll look to improve that record with this 12 fight card and having started with the early prelims here and rounded off the rest of the prelims here, we move onto the main card.


Shane Burgos (13-2) vs Edson Barboza (21-9) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

My pick for fight of the night here as two absolute bangers meet in the featherweight division to open up the main card. Burgos was beaten by Josh Emmett in his last fight at UFC Vegas 3, with both guys trading absolute bombs on the feet, while Barboza “lost” his featherweight debut to Dan Ige before destroying Makwan Amirkhani at UFC Fight Island 5.

Both of these guys are expert strikers, with Burgos coming with a fairly heavy boxing approach while Barboza is as good a kickboxer as there is in the UFC. Both guys use great pressure to overwhelm their opponents and are happy to hold their ground in the centre of the cage rather than back up. Both guys have genuine KO power, but one thing about Burgos is that he is hittable.

He’s as durable as they come though and while he has the ability to get the knockout, Barboza’s ability to use kicks to keep range and some decent grappling in his arsenal too I think he takes a super close fight.
PICK – Edson Barboza via Decision

Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) vs Viviane Araujo (10-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A striker’s paradise in the women’s flyweight division here as former title challenger Chookagian looks to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since 2019. Chookagian lost to Valentina Shevchenko before beating Antonina just two months later. She then got knocked out by Jessica Andrade due to a body shot at UFC Fight Island 6 before bouncing back with a decision win over Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 255. Araujo has won her last two in the UFC, beating Montana De La Rosa before a win over Roxanne Modafferi at Fight Island 8.

Chookagian is a great kicker from distance, but showed in her last fight that she’s capable of mixing in some wrestling to her game too. Araujo on the other hand walks her opponents down and uses good striking and clinches to wear her opponent down for two rounds before slowly fading in the third.

This is a really close fight on paper and in the octagon, but I think Chookagian is able to mix it up that little bit more and has no issues with her gas tank so she should be able to outlast Araujo and get the win.
PICK – Katlyn Chookagian via Decision

Matt Schnell (15-5) vs Rogerio Bontorin (16-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun bantamweight fight between two natural flyweights that was bumped up to the main card following a change in the cards. Schnell has won five of his last six fights, with a win over Tyson Nam at UFC Fight Island 8 most recently. Bontorin has lost his last two in a row, including a violent KO loss to Kai-Kara France III as recently as UFC 259.

Schnell is a brilliant grappler, but he’s shown in recent fights that he has got great power on his feet too and solid technique. Bontorin is a very similar fighter, with good skills on the ground backing up his powerful striking technique. On the feet Schnell has a slight power advantage and in the grappling both have the ability to control from the top but not get submitted from the bottom.

Schnell has a great cardio advantage though and in a scrap I expect to be quite scramble-heavy, I think he can keep the pressure up late to get a stoppage.
PICK – Matt Schnell via Knockout, Round 3

Tony Ferguson (26-5) vs Beneil Dariush (20-4-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Enter chaos for this huge lightweight fight between ‘El Cucuy’ Tony Ferguson and the division’s dark horse Beneil Dariush. Ferguson was on a record-breaking 12-fight win streak before getting dominated by both Justin Gaethje and then Charles Oliveira at UFC 256. Dariush on the other hand is on a six-fight win streak including a memorable KO win over Drakkar Klose before a spinning-back fist win over Scott Holtzman at UFC Vegas 6 and a split decision win over Diego Ferreira at UFC Vegas 19.

Ferguson is elite at absolutely everything. He brings total chaos to fights with unrivalled forward pressure, heavy hands with his unorthodox striking and great jiu-jitsu skills from top position or off his back. Dariush is similar, with stunning jiu-jitsu skills now being paired with heavy hands and improved striking of his own. This fight will undoubtedly be wild for as long as it lasts, but Ferguson is still by far the best fighter Dariush has ever fought. The question is which Ferguson turns up; the savage or the new version who can’t take the punishment anymore?

My bets are on the old Ferguson, simply because Dariush isn’t even close to being as good and dangerous as Gaethje and Oliveira are. Dariush will however take encouragement from the fact that Oliveira was able to dominate Ferguson on the mat. Despite that though, I think Ferguson comes through the other side and gets a highlight reel KO win to get back on track.
PICK – Tony Ferguson via Knockout, Round 1

Charles Oliveira (30-8 1NC) vs Michael Chandler (22-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

There will be a new lightweight champion crowned this weekend when two styles clash in the main event. Oliveira is on an impressive eight-fight win streak including wins over Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson, while Chandler is on a three-fight win streak of his own including a vicious knockout win in his company debut against Dan Hooker at UFC 257.

Oliveira is a third-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, with heavy hands and great volume on the feet too. Chandler on the other hand is a world class wrestler with great power in both his hands to set up those grinding takedowns. Oliveira is a scary proposition for anyone right now, with the most submission wins in UFC history but enough power and range to really cause Chandler problems. Chandler will undoubtedly be looking to put Oliveira on his back foot in a similar way that he did against Hooker but he will need the fight to stay on the feet to have his best chance of winning.

It’s going to be a crazy fight regardless of how it goes, but Oliveira just has so many paths to victory. The one thing we haven’t see from him is if his cardio can hold up for 25 minutes since he’s never gone past a third round before. Despite that, I think he gets it done with a knockdown followed by a submission to become the new champion.
PICK – Charles Oliveira via Submission, Round 2

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!

UFC Fight Island 5: Moraes vs Sandhagen – Main Card Predictions

The UFC returns to Fight Island for part three of their five part series this time around and it’s a bantamweight clash that headlines this one.

Marlon Moraes looks to get back into title contention following his win over controversial win over Jose Aldo last year when he takes on Cory Sandhagen who tries to bounce back from his defeat to Aljamain Sterling back in June.

It’s a full card this weekend with 13 fights scheduled so we’re going to split it into three once again and look to break down each fight and predict how they all go. I’ve already predicted the early prelims of the card here and predicted the prelims of the card here.

Last weekend we secured 7/11 correct picks with four perfect picks (winner, method, round) so we’ll look to carry on the good run with this card.

MAIN CARD

Youssef Zalal (10-2) vs Illia Topuria (8-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Youssef Zalal makes his fourth appearance of 2020 and looks to go 4-0 against the undefeated debutant in Illia Topuria. Zalal is a great kickboxer and show his well-rounded skills in his wins over Austin Lingo, Jordan Griffin and Peter Barrett. Topuria on the other hand is a grapple heavy fighter who is all about the choke as his record shows. Seven wins from his eight have come via submission showing that if the fight goes to the ground he is in his element. His trouble will be that Zalal has proven he manages distance so well so far throughout his UFC career and his striking is on another level to that of Topuria. He hasn’t got the knockout power to end the fight with one punch which will give the Spaniard hope but overall I think Zalal keeps the fight standing to outscore his opponent with the judges.
PICK – Youssef Zalal via Unanimous Decision

Alan Baudot (8-1) vs Tom Aspinall (8-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A big heavyweight clash between two up and comers in the UFC as debutant Alan Baudot takes on the UK’s Tom Aspinall looking for his second win in a row. Aspinall fought back in July on Fight Island and knocked out Jake Collier in just 45 seconds. He is an ex-professional boxer with crazy power in his hands and big things are expected of him in the UFC. Alan Baudot is making the step up to heavyweight for this one, with his entire career prior to this taking place at 205lbs. Neither man have ever seen the judges scorecards in a fight and I think it’s safe to say that continues here. Baudot is a fast and accurate striker but defensively he’s questionable. Against guys his own size he can get away with it but in the UFC against a striker as lethal as Aspinall, it only goes one way.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 1

Markus Perez (12-3) vs Dricus Du Plessis (14-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An clash between a veteran and a true blue-chip prospect at middleweight as Markus Perez looks to bounce back from a defeat in his last outing against short-notice step in Dricus Du Plessis. Perez is an explosive striker on the feet but also a very ample technician on the mat, as his six submission wins show. Du Plessis though is one of the best middleweights outside of the UFC prior to this fight and has held the KSW middleweight title. The South African is aggressive, athletic and capable wherever the fight may go. More to the point, he is a finisher. He’s never seen the judges scorecards in a fight before and is always a threat. Neither fighter has fought this year but I think Du Plessis has a big chance to make a name for himself here. He has the power, the athleticism and the fight IQ to cause Perez problems and potentially even score the finish.
PICK – Dricus Du Plessis via Submission, Round 2

Ben Rothwell (38-12) vs Marcin Tybura (19-6) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The big boys are back in action on Fight Island as two UFC veterans face off in the heavyweight division. Rothwell is coming off two wins in a row, knocking out Stefan Struve before taking a decision win over Ovince St. Preux in May. Marcin Tybura is also coming off back-to-back wins, beating both Sergey Spivak and Maxim Grishin via unanimous decision. Rothwell is 50 fights and 21 years deep into his career at this point so we know what to expect. He is a powerful puncher with deceptively fast hands and has a great choke game, while Tybura is a fighter who looks to take his opponent down and grind out wins from top position. Rothwell is the bigger puncher in this fight and if Tybura mistimes a takedown, Rothwell is more than capable of taking his neck and wrapping this fight up quickly.
PICK – Ben Rothwell via Knockout, Round 2

Makwan Amirkhani (16-4) vs Edson Barboza (20-9) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

This will be one hell of a fight. ‘Mr. Finland’ has won four of his last six fights including his last bout against Danny Henry back in July, while somehow Edson Barboza has lost five of his last six. That includes his move down to featherweight, where he lost a razor close decision to Dan Ige last time out. Amirkhani is a submission specialist, with 11 of his career wins coming via tap-out. Barboza on the other hand is one of the best strikers the sport has ever seen. If you’re in any way a fan of MMA, you’ve probably seen his spinning wheel kick knockout win over Terry Etim. His wrestling defence is sublime but in recent fights he’s been overpowered. The Paul Felder fight could have gone either way as could the Dan Ige fight, so the record looks much worse than it actually is. This will be Amirkhani’s toughest test yet, and on short notice, is a big ask. Barboza knocked out Beneil Dariush in 2017 who has a similar submission heavy style, so with short notice and power on his side, I think Barboza gets back in the win column in this fight.
PICK – Edson Barboza via Knockout, Round 2

Marlon Moraes (23-6-1) vs Cory Sandhagen (12-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The main event is one of the best match-ups in the bantamweight division and could have title implications. Marlon Moraes was in title contention and even took on Henry Cejudo for the vacant title after TJ Dillashsaw vacated, and dominated the opening round. He gassed out after the first round though looking for a finish and Cejudo turned it around and got the knockout win himself. He then took on Jose Aldo and while many believed he lost the fight, the judges gave him the win. Cory Sandhagen was on the title hunt too before his fight with Aljamain Sterling went as badly as possible when he was choked unconscious back in June at UFC 250 in under 90 seconds. He is a stud wrestler with good hands and submission skills and will be looking to get back into the win column. Moraes is a Muay Thai black belt who loves to throw leg kicks, head kicks and can switch stances. It’s a tough fight in general because Sandhagen definitely has the advantage on the ground, but he has to get it there. Moraes has a good wrestling defence and the experience of a five round fight. While he struggled with the pace agains Cejudo and Aldo, if he can iron that out I expect him to get the win here.
PICK – Marlon Moraes via Knockout, Round 3