Tag Archives: Felicia Spencer

UFC Vegas 42: Holloway vs Rodriguez – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the APEX centre in Las Vegas this week for a banger of a featherweight main event between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez.

Holloway is considered the people’s champion of the division and wants to show the world why he is rightfully considered as the number one contender for the title, while Rodriguez is desperate to finally fulfil his potential after being considered a future champion for years.

It’s a very fun card also including the likes of Ben Rothwell, Cynthia Calvillo, Marc Diakiese, Thiago Moises and Khaos Williams.

Last week at UFC 268 we had a brilliant night, securing 13/14 correct picks with three perfect picks to move to 471/730 (64.52%) with 197 perfect picks (41.83%).

We’ll look to improve on that this week and after starting with the early prelims here and finishing off the rest of the prelims here, we’ll finish off the with the main card now.

Song Yadong (17-5-1) vs Julio Arce (17-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A banger at bantamweight between two guys on the edge of a ranking. Yadong bounced back from defeat to Kyler Phillips at UFC 259 with a split decision win over Casey Kenney at UFC 265. Arce returned from a near two-year absence with a KO win over Andre Ewell at UFC Vegas 32.

Yadong is a brilliant all-round fighter with great wrestling and even better striking, with tremendous speed and power. Arce is a great boxer in his own right with good power and great volume, but he has proven to be hittable on the inside in the past. That is somewhere that Yadong excels and could be a big problem for him in this fight.

Song is so experienced for a 23-year-old and ultimately I think the fact he is so well-rounded can only help him here. He has the power and speed to catch Arce in a stand-up battle and has the wrestling skills to make him think twice and therefore leaving him open to getting caught and getting beaten.
PICK – Song Yadong via Knockout, Round 2

Felicia Spencer (8-3) vs Leah Letson (5-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A women’s featherweight bout in this one, but I’m not sure why it’s on the main card. Spencer has lost her last two, losing a title fight to Amande Nunes at UFC 250 before Norma Dumont earned a split decision win at UFC Vegas 27. Letson is on a five-fight win streak but hasn’t fought since the TUF Finale back in 2018.

Spencer is a natural featherweight with decent boxing skills and a real lack of grappling skills in her weaponry. Letson is making a return after a bunch of health issues kept her out, but she is a good wrestler with decent volume on the feet too. Spencer has fought five times since Letson last did and she’s been in there with some of the best ever.

Ultimately these two have been matched up simply because the featherweight division is empty. Letson will make it competitive for the most part, but Spencer is comfortably better than her and will show it over 15 minutes to earn a victory.
PICK – Felicia Spencer via Decision

Miguel Baeza (10-1) vs Khaos Williams (12-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Absolute BANGER at welterweight in this one and my pick for fight of the night. Baeza was undefeated and brilliant before he stepped into the cage against Santiago Ponzinibbio last time out, while Khaos has won nine of his last ten bouts including a decision over Matthew Semelsberger at UFC Vegas 29 last time out.

Both of these guys are absolute powerhouses when it comes to striking. Baeza is a more technical striker on the feet with great power, while Khaos is one of the hardest hitters in the division with great speed. An issue for Baeza is that he has been hittable in the past and that is a big problem against someone like Williams, who will punish you for it.

Baeza has got brilliant leg kicks which can effect the footwork of Williams and when they get into exchanges, that could be the difference maker. Neither guy has been finished before, but I don’t see this one going the distance and I think Baeza’s greater technique serves to earn him a highlight reel KO.
PICK – Miguel Baeza via Knockout, Round 2

Ben Rothwell (39-13) vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima (18-8-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A big heavyweight bout is the official co-main event for this one. Rothwell has won three of his last four, earning a submission win over Chris Barnett last time out. De Lima on the other hand has alternated wins and losses since 2014, going 6-5 in his last 11 fights with a win over Maurice Greene at UFC Vegas 26.

Rothwell is a powerful striker with great boxing and good submission skills too. De Lima on the other hand is also a super exciting striker with crazy knockout power and good Muay-Thai skills, but the elephant is the room is that he is an out-of-shape light heavyweight. That is a big problem, because he’s big by choice and Rothwell isn’t.

Both of these guys love a first-round knockout, with THIRTY-SIX (36!) between them and the likelihood is we’ll see that again. De Lima is aggressive and has good hand speed, but Rothwell has an iron chin and a granite fist too. Rothwell catches him with a hook in the exchange early and earns a KO win.
PICK – Ben Rothwell via Knockout, Round 1

Max Holloway (22-6) vs Yair Rodriguez (14-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A title eliminator in the featherweight division is the main event of the night. Holloway bounced back from consecutive defeats to Alexander Volkanovski with a stunning performance at UFC Fight Island 7 in January over Calvin Kattar. Rodriguez hasn’t fought since a win over Jeremy Stephens back in 2019 but is still ranked at number three in the world.

Holloway is a sensational boxer, arguably the best in the entire UFC, with brilliant power, volume and an incredible gas tank that he uses to just annihilate opponents as the fight enters deep waters. Rodriguez is a very kick-heavy striker with good elbows and spinning attacks too, but generally using his legs to keep range and attack. These are the two best strikers in the division going toe-to-toe and it’s set to be a truly brilliant fight.

But when you look at the style of both of these fighters, it’s Holloway who stands out more. His boxing is so good with his head movement, footwork and jab and there is nobody in the UFC who closes the distance better than him. Rodriguez will have his moments, but overall Holloway is just a level above and I think his body work and boxing ultimately melts Rodriguez for a late finish.
PICK – Max Holloway via Knockout, Round 4

UFC Vegas 27: Font vs Garbrandt – Main card predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UFC 250 Results (Highlights)

UFC 250 Prelims

Maki Pitolo def Charles Byrd via TKO (Round 2, 1:10)

First round a great wrestling battle. Byrd on top for most of it but Pitolo showed he was no pushover. 10-9 Byrd.
Second round a striking bout and Pitolo shows his clear advantage. A left straight through the guard rocks Byrd, he then goes on to hit him with a 12 striker combo with strikes to the head and body before a tricky trip takes it to the ground. Pitolo continues to pummel Byrd with strikes on the ground until Herb Dean waves it off.

Big win and impressive performance from the 29 year old to make it 4 wins in his last 5 fights.

Cody Stamann def Brian Kelleher via Decision (30-27 x3)

Round 1 starts brightly with both men looking to take the centre of the Octagon. Stamann establishes control as both men exchange strikes throughout the round. Kellaher landing leg kicks to slow Stamann down but the first round ends without much of an exchange to talk about. 10-9 Stamann.

Second round is much looser. Both men landing with big shots, with Stamann getting the better of the exchanges. Kellaher lands a big right hand that makes Stamann retreat, but Mr. Wonderful recovers quickly and gets the takedown after a clinch. The round ends with Cody on top controlling posture and looking to land big shots. Another close round but I give it to Stamann. 20-18 Stamann.

Round 3 starts with Stamann coming out strong and lands a knockdown with a powerful right hand. Patience shown as he doesn’t launch for the finish and Kellaher gets back to his feet. Kellaher fighting like he knows he needs the finish and goes for a huge spinning back fist but hits nothing but air. ‘Boom’ pushing the pace towards the end and lands a big body shot but Stamann eats it. Final minute and Stamann looking is looking for a takedown to see the fight out but Kellaher denies him. Kellaher now goes for a takedown with a single leg but Stamann catches him by the neck and takes his opponent to the ground with a guillotine attempt as the clock runs down to zero.

Comfortable win in the end for Mr. Wonderful with a 30-27 x3 victory on the scorecards as he dedicates the victory to his recently deceased younger brother.

Ian Heinisch def Gerald Meerschaert via TKO (Round 1, 1:14)

This fight is over as quickly as it starts. Both men come out strongly with Heinisch getting the better of the exchange. Heinisch then fakes a level change and drops Meerschaert with a huge overhand right. Ground and pound strikes follow and this one is done. Big, impressive win.

Alex Caceres def Chase Hooper via Decision (30-27 x3)

First round starts with electric movement and some big strikes from Caceres. Hooper rushing in, almost playing up to the fact that he’s in the prelim main event, and getting caught with big shots. Caceres fires in a big right hand and drops Hooper but then lets him get back up. ‘Bruce Leeroy’ picking Hooper apart, showing the big step up that the 20 year old has taken in this fight. Caceres ends the round attempting the takedown, but Hooper reverses it into a kneebar attempt but the clock runs down on him. 10-9 Caceres.

Round 2 starts with Hooper again coming out trying to land big shots on Caceres. He keeps missing though and once again. Hooper looking to close the distance and get hold of a limb as he tries to climb the back of his opponent. ‘The Teenage Dream’ tries to pull guard twice as Caceres maintains top positions and lands some heavy shots. Lots of pressing from Hooper but not a lot else going for him right now. His unbeaten streak is in serious jeopardy here. 20-18 Caceres.

Final round begins and Caceres continues to show the superior level of striking he possesses. Picking him apart on the feet with jabs and big hooks, with Hooper being hit almost at will. Hooper goes for the takedown against the cage but Caceres defends it well before a low blow by Hooper causes a short break in the round. Hooper starting to get desperate with submission attempts and continuing to attempt to pull guard. Caceres avoiding all with ease however and continues to land at will on the feet. Hooper pulls guard with 40 seconds to go in the fight but Caceres lands some shots from top position before he stands back up and this is as one-sided as it gets. 30-27 Caceres.

UFC 250 Main Card

Sean O’Malley def Eddie Wineland via KO (Round 1, 1:54)

The fight opens up with both men attempting to feel each other out. O’Malley attempts a few spins but nothing lands and Wineland catches him with a nice right straight. ‘Suga Sean’ starts to loosen up now and starts landing a bit more often. BOOM! O’Malley fakes an uppercut then lands a massive right-hand on the jaw of Eddie Wineland and this one is over. A walk-off KO for O’Malley. Amazing performance.

Neil Magny def Anthony Martin via Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

A slow first round to say the least following the action from the previous fight. A lot of feeling each other out. Both fighters landing on the other and engaging in the clinch, with not a lot happening other than that. 10-9 Martin.

Second round more clinches engaged and Magny doing slightly better this time around. Both men looking to push forward and take the advantage in front of the judges. Magny lands some nice knees and punches, Martin retaliates with a right hand of his own. Another slow round but Magny edges this one. 19-19.

Third and final round and both men come out strong, knowing this fight is up for grabs. Magny with a trademark surge in the final stages of the fight, pouring it on with his tremendous conditioning. Knees in the clinch plus more right hands, Magny is now chasing Martin around the Octagon looking for a finish. Magny with a very, very strong finish to the round – commentators even suggesting it could be a 10-8 round.

Aljamain Sterling def Corey Sandhagen via Submission (RNC) (Round 1, 1:28)

Funkmaster comes out quickly across the Octagon to meet Sandhagen and apply pressure. He throws a few feeler shots out before attacking with the takedown and gets it quickly. Aljamain goes straight for the back and gets it, applying a body triangle immediately and working for the rear naked choke. Sandhagen fights the hands and refuses to tap out to a face crank, but Sterling readjusts in the backpack position, puts the arm under the chin and chokes Sandhagen out cold. What a win for The Funkmaster!

Cody Garbrandt def Raphael Assuncao via KO (Round 2, 4:59)

Cody starts the fight with two strong calf kicks to the lead leg of Assuncao. Assuncao fires back with a kick of his own but ‘No Love’ throws a super fast right hand to counter that. Lots of feeling each other out in the first round with Assuncao feinting and ducking to gather his range. Cody looks energetic and sharp but not much activity from either fighter in the opening round. Cody edges it, just. 10-9 Garbrandt.

Second round starts out with Cody going for a strange leg sweep/kick variation to attack the lead leg of Assuncao once again. A scramble ensues and Cody lands a few short right hands before a huge head kick as they stand together, but Raphael eats it well. Both fighters still trying to establish range and movement of their opponent but Cody throws a nice uppercut. A big overhand right follows and Assuncao drops but recovers quickly. The fighters talk to each other but the round is drawing to a close with Cody edging it again. Assuncao goes for a big body kick against the cage but doesn’t land. Garbrandt ducks low to change levels and comes out of nowhere with a crazy right hand and knocks Assuncao out cold at the buzzer! What a punch! This is all over! Oh my goodness what a knockout.

Amanda Nunes def Felicia Spencer via Decision (50-44 x2, 50-45)

The champion opens the fight with a front kick to the body as she takes control of the centre of the Octagon. A bit of feeling each other out and Spencer charges across the cage but Nunes catches her with a big right hand. Nunes lands two or three more big shots but Spencer eats them and pushed the champ towards the cage for a clinch. Nunes counters Spencer’s takedown attempt with a judo throw and lands on top of the challenger. ‘The Lioness’ takes control on the ground and starts pummelling Spencer with elbows. Spencer is cut and this round is done. 10-9 to the champion.

Second round starts in a similar fashion to the first, with Nunes hitting Spencer flush but it being absorbed. Amanda is loosening up now and flowing with strikes. Spencer is in and looks for a guillotine as Nunes charges for a takedown, but Nunes turns it around and lands some big shots on the ground. A short scramble and both fighters return to their feet before the round comes to an end. 20-18 Nunes.

The third round begins with heavy shots from the Brazilian. Nunes lands a huge right hand that rocks Spencer. The Canadian’s mouthpiece falls out and Herb Dean stops the action (!?) to put it back in. In the short break Spencer seems to recover and Nunes doesn’t pounce. The champion is just piecing Spencer up now with hard 1-2 combos. Spencer is limping heavily on her left leg and the champion is not letting up. More heavy shots to close out the round, this fight is looking like a formality at this point. 30-27 Nunes.

Spencer’s hematoma
Image credit: Twitter @Tony96116971

Into the Championship rounds and Nunes is looking for a finish. Hard 1-2 combinations are causing Felicia Spencer a lot of problems. Nunes with a single leg takedown without any attempt to keep it on the ground and just allows her challenger to get back up. The champion is proving she is just a level above right now. Nunes lands a huge shot that rocks Spencer and she starts teeing off on her. Plenty of strikes and the referee is looking at stopping this. Spencer charges for a takedown in desperation but Nunes sprawls, takes the back and sinks in a deep rear naked choke with 10 seconds on the clock. Spencer holds out and survives but has a huge Joanna Jedrzejczyk-like hematoma on her head. 10-8 round for Nunes.

The final round starts with Nunes looking as fresh as she did at the opening bell. More hard shots from the champion and then a takedown as she looks to see this fight out. Hard shots while she’s staying in Spencer’s guard with no clear will to progress position. A merciful fifth round comes to an end and Amanda Nunes will retain her featherweight title. 50-44 on my scorecard.