Tag Archives: Fight Night

UFC Vegas 11: Covington vs Woodley – Main Card Predictions

A not-so stacked card last weekend is followed up this weekend by one of the most stacked Fight Night cards in recent memory as Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley finally meet in a grudge match in the main event.

The card will also see the likes of Donald Cerrone, Khamzat Chimaev, Kevin Holland and Mackenzie Dern on the main card, but the undercard isn’t short of names either. With a HUGE 14 fights scheduled for this weekend ahead of the UFC’s second trip to Fight Island, I will break down each fight and give my predictions.

Last weekend was my worst showing for picks so far, as I ended with just 6/12 and only 1 perfect pick (winner, method, round).

With EIGHT prelim fights scheduled at the time of writing, I’m splitting this card into three rather than the usual two. I have already predicted the early prelims of the card here and the rest of the prelims here, so now I’ll try my hand at the stacked main card to better last weeks attempts.

MAIN CARD

Kevin Holland (18-5) vs Darren Stewart (12-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

With so many contenders for fight of the night, this is another that stands out. Kevin Holland and Darren Stewart are making quick turnarounds after wins in their last bout. Holland knocked out Joaquin Buckley with a stunning punch in the third round last month, while Stewart secured a first round submission win over Maki Pitolo on the same card. Holland is a top level striker with good wrestling chops and has come into his own in recent months but has shown a propencity to showboat in the cage. Stewart is a powerful puncher who’s usual style is to sprawl-and-brawl, making himself very difficult to take down which allows him to open up his kickboxing game. With both guys preferring the stand-up game, it comes down to accuracy and power. Either fighter could knock the other out, but Holland is that little bit more dynamic and I think he should be able to get the win.
PICK – Kevin Holland via Knockout, Round 2

Mackenzie Dern (8-1) vs Randa Markos (10-8-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

This will be a fight that will almost certainly take place on the ground if Mackenzie Dern has anything to do with it, but Markos may need to have other ideas. Both women have only ever stopped fights via submission but Markos has a wrestling advantage. Dern is a multiple time jiu-jitsu world champion and holds a black belt, making her super dangerous no matter her position on the mat. After suffering her first defeat, she bounced back in her last bout with a kneebar submission win over Hannah Cifers back in May. Markos has alternated wins and losses over the last six years and lost her last fight to Amanda Ribas also. She would usually rely on top control to get a win but on the ground, she’s in danger in this bout. She will have to look to use striking to win this and while it’s not her usual path to victory, she has the edge on the feet. Dern’s takedowns aren’t good and her striking arsenal comprises of a looping hook and some wild overhands. Dern has the advantage on the ground which is where both women usually do their work, but she needs to get it there first.
PICK – Mackenzie Dern via Submission, Round 2

Johnny Walker (17-5) vs Ryan Spann (18-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A light heavyweight showdown where a one-time top prospect in Johnny Walker looks to get back to winning ways against another top prospect in Ryan Spann. Walker was on a wrecking path when he entered the UFC, with showreel knockout wins over Khalil Rountree, Just Ledet and Misha Cirkunov but he fell in to Corey Anderson in his biggest test via a first round knockout. His comeback fight in May against Nikita Krylov didn’t go his way either as he was held to a decision. Spann is on an eight-fight win streak including 4-0 in the UFC, with his latest win a split decision over Sam Alvey. Walker is an explosive kickboxer with vicious power and acrobatic ability while Spann is more of a boxer who uses his leg-kicks to set them up. Spann has severe cardio problems and we’ve seen Walker’s main issues come against those who are prepared to wrestle him. Anderson KO’d him simply because Walker wasn’t expecting anything other than takedown attempts, but he won’t have that issue with Spann. In a striking match, Walker should be able to land heavy blows for a knockout win as Spann begins to fade.
PICK – Johnny Walker via Knockout, Round 2

Khamzat Chimaev (8-0) vs Gerald Meerschaert (31-13) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

The hype train for Khamzat Chimaev returns to the APEX as he looks for his third UFC win against the biggest name he’s faced so far in Gerald Meerschaert. Chimaev destroyed John Phillips at middleweight and Rhys McKee at welterweight in just 10 days last time around, while Meerschaert was knocked out by Ian Heinisch in his last fight back in June. Chimaev has shown in his last two fights that he will go straight for takedowns and dominate with relentless strikes until he gets the submission or the referee stops it, but Meerschaert is a black-belt and will be able to hold his own on the ground. He also has good power in his hands but he is most dangerous on the ground, as his 23 submission wins show. Chimaev is a skilled kickboxer though and will have no issues keeping the fight standing for a while and using his superior striking skills for the first time in his short UFC career. Despite the big jump in competition, Chimaev is so skilled and good at what he does that he should be able to get a mightily impressive win here. The UFC obviously think so too, having already booked him for a fight after this one.
PICK – Khamzat Chimaev via Knockout, Round 2

Donald Cerrone (36-15 1NC) vs Niko Price (14-4 1NC) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

‘Cowboy’ Cerrone looks to ensure he doesn’t take the gatekeeper tag just yet as he looks to get into the win column after four straight defeats when he takes on Niko Price. Price is a knockout artist who is a natural 170lbs-er and that spells bad things for Cerrone. Both men throw great kickboxing combinations and while Cerrone is slightly better technically, Price’s extra power makes up for it. If Cerrone wants success he’ll need to use his footwork to get in and out quickly but Price has a three-inch reach advantage so will likely stay out of range. This is a fight where both men will employ similar tactics and it’s simply about who can outland the other. I think because of Price’s physicality advantage and power edge, he will be able to stay for the full three rounds and secure a big win.
PICK – Niko Price via Unanimous Decision

Colby Covington (15-2) vs Tyron Woodley (19-5-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The grudge match of the year. A fight over two years in the making is finally among us as Colby Covington looks to get back into the win column following his title defeat in December last year while Woodley looks to snap a two-fight losing streak against his long time rival. Woodley’s style is usually to sprawl and brawl, with his huge power in his right hand his most trusted weapon. He’s failed to throw it with any real vim in his last two fights though as he was crushed by both Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns. Covington is almost the worst possible match up for Woodley at this point. He has a suffocating wrestling style, much like Usman does, but he showed in that fight for the title last year that he has good striking too. His heavy hands caused damage to Usman and although he ultimately lost, he showed that he is the second best welterweight in the world. This fight is the type that ‘Chaos’ would have been dreaming of to get back into the picture – a big name, but past his best in the cage. Colby could go for a finish in this one just to make a statement, but I think he takes it the full 25 minutes for a dominant win.
PICK – Colby Covington via Unanimous Decision

UFC Vegas 8: Smith vs Rakic – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Mallory Martin def Hannah Cifers via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (1:33)

A slow start to the fight with lots of feints and jabs exploded into life halfway through as Hannah Cifers landed a big one-two down the pipe and knocked Martin down! She rushes in and lands huge ground and pound but Martin refuses to quit. More punches against the cage and the referee is super close to ending it, but Martin shoots for the takedown. Cifers stuffs it and lands more big shots but Martin pulls guard to survive the rest of the round. 10-8 Cifers.

Second round, Martin has recovered and immediately shoots for the takedown and gets it. She lands big ground and pound of her own on Cifers who can’t get out from under her smothering top pressure. She lands big elbows that cut Cifers and force her to turn on to her stomach. Martin immediately sinks in a rear naked choke and gets the tap. Huge comeback win!

Polyana Viana def Emily Whitmire via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (1:53)

A quick start sees both women land big strikes with the hands, with Whitmire marking Viana’s face up. She goes for a clinch and looks for the takedown and after a scramble ends up on top, but Viana is throwing big elbows from the bottom and moving well to not let Whitmire settle. Viana continues with the elbows and then throws up an armbar out of nowhere, she rolls through and forces Whitmire to verbally tap almost instantly. Beautifully done and another first-round finish for the Brazilian.

Sean Brady def Christian Aguilera via Submission (Guillotine), Round 2 (1:47)

Good opening round for both fighters here as both Brady and Aguilera choose to stand for the majority of the round and exchange punches. Brady is landing a nice left hook quite often, which opens up a small cut over the eye of Aguilera but he continues to push forward and pressure. Aguilera lands a nice right hand and that’s the cue for Brady to rush in for a power double leg. He lands a bit of ground and pound in the final 60 seconds before the round ends. 10-9 Brady.

Second round starts with Aguilera looking to land a calf kick and punches but Brady is wise to it and lands a big power double leg takedown again. He’s looking to pass the guard and ties up the neck of Aguilera in doing so. He passes the knee over into mount and after a short scramble sinks in the mounted guillotine and puts Aguilera to sleep. Still undefeated, that was an excellent performance.

Alex Caceres def Austin Springer via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1 (3:38)

A very strange fight this one. Both men come forward throwing punches and leg kicks but making their opponent miss a fair amount. Springer throws lots of inside leg kicks but Caceres doesn’t mind too much. Caceres moves forward and lands a big body shot, which makes Springer shoot for the takedown. Caceres stuffs the takedown, moves immediately to the back and throws in a rear naked choke with a body lock too that puts him to sleep. 3 in a row for Bruce Leeroy.

Zak Cummings def Alessio Di Chirico via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

A tame first round between these two who are both throwing wild in the pocket exchanges but nothing much either side of that. Di Chirico lands a big left and right hook but Cummings eats it and continues to walk forward. As the round starts to wind down, the Italian lands a few more big shots that may have wobbled Cummings but overall a more strategic round than anything else. 10-9 Di Chirico.

Another very tactical round between the two fighters but Cummings seems to have been able to make the reads he needs. Di Chirico throwing a lot of the same shots as the first round but this time Cummings isn’t there to be hit, while he’s landing his left hand more often although not crazy powerfully. Nice inside leg kick towards the end of the round from Cummings drops Di Chirico but other than that a very close round. 19-19 for me.

Third round and Di Chirico comes out SWINGING. He’s throwing wide, looping hooks and he connects a few times but Cummings is countering with a straight left that lands flush on the nose. Cummings doing well to manage the distance between the two but lots of respect between both fighters with shadow-boxing and feints. A low blow from Cummings causes a short pause in the fight but as soon as they get back in there Cummings ducks a hook then lands a big left hook of his own. As the buzzer goes Cummings lands a huge head kick to Di Chirico and stumbles back to his corner, just about under his own power. That head kick wins him the fight for me on the scorecards. 29-28 Cummings.

Impa Kasanganay def Maki Pitolo via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Really fun first round between these two Contender Series fighters. Pitolo landing nice combos and snappy hooks while Kasanganay is looking for looping overhands that are connecting and causing damage. Pitolo stuffs a clinch attempt well and throws a head kick on the break but misses, before a huge overhand lands flush for Kasanganayand cuts Pitolo over the eye. A razor close first round, but for sheer volume I’d go 10-9 Pitolo.

Second round is a bit slower this time around but it’s more of the same in terms of action. Pitolo landing jabs well and snapping out counter strikes but Kasanganay’s big overhand is landing regularly again. Kasanganay starts upping the volume as the round begins to come to an end and lands a huge elbow off the clinch before a big one-two straight to the chin. Pitolo looks tired and Kasanganay is fresh. 19-19.

Pitolo’s cardio looks drained in this final round as Kasanganay continues to march forward and throw big hooks. Another big overhand right cracks the chin of Pitolo, but Pitolo is struggling to land anything significant in return in this round. Kasanganay seems stronger, fresher and quicker in this round but Pitolo showing an impressive chin just eating the shots. Round comes to an end with both men at a stalemate as Kasanganay will take the decision.

MAIN CARD

Ricardo Lamas def Bill Algeo via Unanimous Decision (29-27 x3)

A fast paced start to this first round as both guys throw big attacks early. Lamas is throwing a lovely front kick to the body and now mixing in head kicks while Algeo is keeping his hands low but throwing punches in bunches and stepping forward. Lots of wild exchanges but Lamas is now throwing a calf kick that is having great success and affecting the mobility of Algeo. A nice elbow at the end of the round for Algeo hurts Lamas but the experienced fighter clinches and holds out for the end of the round. 10-9 Lamas but a very close round.

Second round starts with a fast pace yet again but Lamas looks to slow it down with a takedown. He takes the back quickly but Algeo breaks the grip and scrambles out back to his feet quickly. More wild exchanges from both as Algeo cuts Lamas open with what could be a broken nose. Lamas now desperate for the takedown but Algeo continues to block them and land big strikes. Lamas goes for another takedown but Algeo throws a huge knee up the middle and rocks Lamas, who moves away and looks to avoid. Algeo goes for the takedown but after a scramble the fight goes back to the feet where Lamas has now recovered. Another fantastic round but that’s Algeo’s for me. 19-19.

Algeo starts on the front foot in this third round but Lamas gets an early takedown to take control in this round. He starts landing big ground and pound in an unorthodox crucifix position which cuts up Algeo and forces him into defence mode. Lamas lands big elbows and continues to hold him down in as many ways as possible, with hooks and taking the back into full mount too. Big elbows and huge punches can’t put Algeo away but they secure a 10-8 round for Lamas which should be a 29-27 win.

Alexa Grasso def Ji Yeon Kim via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A slow start to the round as both women look to feel each other out in the early exchanges. Grasso throws out stiff jabs and one-twos while Kim keeps constantly moving and then countering during any exchanges. Kim lands a huge left hook followed by a right overhand that both land but Grasso eats it well and continues to come forward. Another nice shot from Kim followed by a body kick as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Kim.

A much better round for Grasso in the next two rounds as she uses her heavier hands to inflict more damage and outmuscle her opponent. A dominant, professional win.

Neil Magny def Robbie Lawler via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

An interesting opening round between these two welterweights. Lawler comes forward with a nice body shot and then goes for a takedown but Magny stuffs it and reverses the position really well. A nice grappling exchange between the two ends with Magny on top with a neck crank, but Lawler defends it well. A small amount of ground and pound sees him inflict some damage but overall it’s a wrestling match win for Magny. 10-9.

Second round and Lawler comes out aggressive once again and lands a few strikes before Magny goes back to the wrestling that gave him so much success in the first round. He’s being very heavy on top and causing Lawler lots of problems. During transitions on the ground Magny attempts a Twister submission but can’t quite get the position and Lawler lands nice elbows to get out but Magny too strong and dominant in the wrestling department yet again. 20-18.

Lawler comes out all guns blazing in this final round, knowing he needs the finish for a win. He lands a nice right hand that hurts Magny, but the lanky fighter pulls guard and controls the fight from therein. He is just physically too strong for Lawler and able to dominate everywhere. On the feet again and Magny is landing his jabs and front kick to the body at will. Complete dominance and a masterful performance from the Haitian sensation.

Aleksandar Rakic def Anthony Smith via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

A war between two light heavyweights with title aspirations starts out with big leg kick exchanges between them. Rakic is firing them off and Smith is noticeably in pain, before two quickfire kicks land on Smith and he goes down! Rakic gets on top looking for ground and pound but Smith uses his grappling experience to survive well and take minimal damage while on the bottom. 10-9 Rakic but an odd round compared to what we expected.

Second round and Rakic comes out with an immediate leg kick again but Smith walks through it to close the distance. Smith throws a big right cross that catches Rakic flush and hurts him but then shoots in for a takedown, which Rakic uses his physical strength to deny it and ends up on top himself. Much like the first round now, Smith taking minimal damage but is on the bottom and struggling for anything significant. Rakic staying heavy on top as Smith tries to get back to his feet and ends the round dominant against the cage. 20-18 Rakic.

Rakic opens the final round with yet another leg kick and Smith is in agony. He closes the distance and looks for the back of Rakic, but they’re too sweaty and he slips off, ending up on the bottom once again. Half the round to go and Smith gets to his knees but Rakic so heavy on top and landing big knees to the leg and body. Into the final minute and the fight is the same as it’s been throughout with Rakic dominant on the ground. Hugely impressive performance in a fight that didn’t go anything like what was expected. 30-27 Rakic.

UFC Vegas 8: Smith vs Rakic – Main Card Predictions

A three round main event on top of a decent looking card is what the UFC have put together for the fans this weekend, as they return for yet another Fight Night card at the APEX in Las Vegas.

Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith takes on prospect Aleksandar Rakic in the light-heavyweight division, with all eyes on the top of the division following Jon Jones vacating the belt for a move up to heavyweight.

With 11 fights on the night including a stacked main card considering it’s a Fight Night event, i’ll break down the card and pick my winners for each fight. Last weekend’s card chopped and changed so much between the predictions being written up and the card happening (Thurs-Sat) that we didn’t keep track of the picks. Hopefully no such thing will happen here.

I picked the prelims already, which you can see here.

Magomed Ankalaev (13-1) vs Ion Cutelaba (15-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

The first time these two fought each other was one of the strangest fights in UFC history. Cutelaba came out super aggressive and nearly came to blows in the octagon with Ankalaev before the fight even started, before employing a “drunken master” strategy where he acted hurt when getting hit to egg Ankalaev on. It backfired though when the referee stepped in insanely early and handed Ankalaev a TKO win. The fight has been rescheduled three times since but fallen apart due to COVID-19 but is now finally set to happen. Realistically, Ankalaev is the better fighter. Both are strong wrestlers with powerful strikes but the Russian mixes his strikes up better with kicks too and his defence is much better. Cutelaba’s best chance is to hang in there until Ankalaev gets tired, or he lands a big punch.
PICK – Magomed Ankalaev via Knockout, Round 1

Ricardo Lamas (19-8) vs Bill Algeo (13-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

The legend that is Ricardo Lamas was supposed to take on Uriah Hall this week but with that falling apart, it’s UFC debutant Algeo who he’ll come up against instead. Algeo is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who’s sole aim in every fight is to get the fight to the ground, take his opponents back and strangle them. Lamas is a veteran who knows how to cope against all types of threats, but is on a 1-3 streak currently. He is a range fighter on the feet but if the fight goes to the ground Lamas has some of the best ground and pound in the game. I think it’s likely that this fight ends up with Lamas in top control landing shots with Algeo looking for a sweep and submission. Without a full camp though, ‘The Bully’ should be able to dominate his way to a comfortable decision win.
PICK – Ricardo Lamas via Unanimous Decision

Alexa Grasso (11-3) vs Ji Yeon Kim (9-2-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An interesting bout here between a former strawweight and a former bantamweight. Alexa Grasso is a fantastic boxer who has spent her entire career at 115lbs up to now. She’s struggled in the past against wrestlers and grapplers, but won’t have to worry about that against the bigger opponent in Kim. Both women are strikers first but with Grasso being at her more natural weight class for this fight, I expect her to be able to be quicker and with the more naturally heavy hands she should land the bigger shots throughout. The size discrepancy could potentially be a problem but Kim is likely to suffer in the cardio battle too, so Grasso should be able to get back in the win column.
PICK – Alex Grasso via Unanimous Decision

Robbie Lawler (28-14) vs Neil Magny (23-7) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The fight of the night in the co-main event of the night. Robbie Lawler steps in on short-notice to take on Neil Magny after Geoff Neal dropped out injured. Lawler is known for his violent style, in which he steps forward and goes for the kill at all times. He’s not fought since he was dismantled by Colby Covington just over a year ago. Magny is a rangy striker who has won his last two fights against Anthony Rocco Martin and Jingliang Li via decision. He used his footwork well and his karate style to counter strike and avoid any problems. Magny will have a 6 inch reach advantage and therefore will be able to implement his favoured style well, which has me leaning in his favour. Lawler has incredible power and wrestling skills though, so it’s not a sure-fire pick but I’ll go with my head and pick Magny via decision.
PICK – Neil Magny via Unanimous Decision

Anthony Smith (33-15) vs Aleksandar Rakic (12-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A firework in the light heavyweight division as former title challenger ‘Lionheart’ Smith takes on top prospect ‘Rocket’ in a fight that could determine who the first challenger to the soon-to-be-crowned new champion is. Smith went on a tear through the division beating legends Shogun Rua and Rashad Evans then Volkan Oezdemir before losing his title shot to Jon Jones. He bounced back from that by submitting Alexander Gustafsson in Stockholm but was then dismantled by Glover Teixiera in May. Rakic was on a 12 fight win streak including a violent first-round head-kick knockout of Jimi Manuwa before he was beaten by Oezdemir back in December. Both men are violent strikers with one punch power, but Smith is a talented grappler too which often gets overlooked. This main event is just three rounds, so cardio shouldn’t come into the equation so it’s all about who can land the bigger shots to catch the eye of the judges. It’s unlikely to get to the ground but just in case it does, I’m going with Smith to shut down the prospect and keep himself in the top of the division.
PICK – Anthony Smith via Split Decision

UFC Vegas 8: Smith vs Rakic – Prelims Predictions

A three round main event on top of a decent looking card is what the UFC have put together for the fans this weekend, as they return for yet another Fight Night card at the APEX in Las Vegas.

Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith takes on prospect Aleksandar Rakic in the light-heavyweight division, with all eyes on the top of the division following Jon Jones vacating the belt for a move up to heavyweight.

With 11 fights on the night including a stacked main card considering it’s a Fight Night event, i’ll break down the card and pick my winners for each fight. Last weekend’s card chopped and changed so much between the predictions being written up and the card happening (Thurs-Sat) that we didn’t keep track of the picks. Hopefully no such thing will happen here.

PRELIMS

Christian Aguilera (14-6) vs Sean Brady (12-0) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

After an impressive short notice win back in June, Christian Aguilera gets another shot in the UFC this time against undefeated Sean Brady. Aguilera is on a three-fight win streak heading into this bout with two knockout wins, while Brady has won four of his last five by unanimous decision. Aguilera has great power in his hands but other than that doesn’t hold any substantial advantages in this fight. Brady is a Gracie-black belt in jiu-jitsu but also comfortable on the feet and he’ll be more of an issue than Anthony Ivy was wherever the fight ends up. He should be able to control the bout on the feet and on the floor and he’ll scoop another decision win.
PICK – Sean Brady via Unanimous Decision

Emily Whitmire (4-3) vs Polyana Viana (10-4) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

After fighting in the Ultimate Fighter house, ‘Spitfire’ has gone 2-2 in her last four fights including submission defeats to Gillian Robertson and then Amanda Ribas in her last outing. She takes on Polyana Viana who has lost her last three in a row after winning her UFC debut. This will be her first fight in over a year. Whitmire has struggled against grapplers and wrestlers in almost all of her fights and she comes up against a submission expert in Viana. Despite her recent poor run, Viana has all the skills and strengths to be able to secure a tap in this fight. She had the same advantages in her last fights though and failed, so this is far from a guaranteed pick but I expect her to snap her streak.
PICK – Polyana Viana via Submission, Round 1

Alex Caceres (16-12) vs Austin Springer (12-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Caceres will enter the Octagon this Saturday night against a third scheduled opponent of fight week after original opponent Giga Chikadze dropped out for undisclosed reasons before initial replacement Kevin Croom also dropped out. He now takes on Springer, who’s holds a win over Chikadze on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2018. Despite a late submission win in that fight, he didn’t earn a contract and has one win since, last October. Caceres has back-to-back wins for the first time in four years after victories over Steven Peterson and Chase Hooper. Caceres has a great ground game and good submission skills but Springer is stronger on the feet as his 7 KO wins show. It’s sure to be a tight affair but with such short notice for the fight, Caceres should be able to scrape a close decision win.
PICK – Alex Caceres via Unanimous Decision

Zak Cummings (23-7) vs Alessio Di Chirico (12-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Most of Cummings’ career so far in the UFC has been at welterweight, but he takes on ‘Manzo’ at 185lbs in this fight as he looks to take his UFC record to 9-4. Di Chirico is 3-4 in the UFC coming into this fight, having lost his last two fights via decision to Kevin Holland and Makhmud Muradov. Cummings, despite being a slightly smaller guy in the fight, he has the more powerful hands, the better wrestling and the more prominent submission game with with 12 of his 23 wins coming via tap-out. He should be able to control this bout regardless of where it ends up and secure a relatively easy decision win.
PICK – Zak Cummings via Unanimous Decision

Hannah Cifers (10-6) vs Mallory Martin (6-3) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

After losing her UFC debut to Maycee Barber, Cifers went on to win her next two via decision before being finished in her next three fights against Angela Hill, Mackenzie Dern and Mariya Agapova. She steps into the octagon to take on Mallory Martin who had won five in a row before a submission defeat in her UFC debut to submission expert Virna Jandiroba back in December. Cifers has a big right-hand but other than that, Martin dominates her. She’s got a reach and height advantage over Cifers plus a much stronger wrestling game. She should be able to just overpower Cifers to the ground and beat her down using ground and pound for a finish or a very wide decision win.
PICK – Mallory Martin via Knockout, Round 2

Impa Kasanganay (7-0) vs Maki Pitolo (13-6) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

After being submitted in the first round by British fighter Darren Stewart earlier this month, Maki Pitolo returns to the octagon to take on a Contender Series winner with an even shorter turnaround on fights. Kasanganay beat Anthony Adams via decision just 18 days prior to this Saturday night and will come in as an underdog in his UFC debut. Pitolo is a bruiser who has great boxing and enough power to finish Justin Sumter with body shots. Kasanganay is a wrestler who seems to take big shots before eventually feeling his way into a fight but is also capable on the feet. The big difference for me here is that Pitolo will comfortably be the best fighter Kasanganay has ever fought. The waiver is that both are coming off quick turnarounds but one off a win and one off a stoppage defeat. It’s a tough fight to pick and could be fight of the night, but I’m leaning towards Pitolo to grind out a decision.
PICK – Maki Pitolo via Unanimous Decision

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UFC Vegas 7: Munhoz vs Edgar – Results (Highlights)

The UFC hosted yet another card from the APEX in Las Vegas, but it was chopped and changed a crazy amount in the 24 hours prior.

Calen Born didn’t weigh in for his fight with Dwight Grant, while Takashi Sato successfully weighed-in before being pulled from the fight against Daniel Rodriguez by the medical team. Grant and Rodriguez will now fight each other.

Marc Striegl pulled out of the opening fight following weight-cut related issues and was replaced by Trevin Jones on short notice to make the bout a catchweight 140lbs fight.

Ovince Saint-Preux tested positive for COVID-19 on the day of the fight and therefore his fight against Alonzo Menifield was cancelled. It will be rescheduled for some time in September, per the UFC.

PRELIMS

Trevin Jones def Timur Valiev via Knockout, Round 2 (1:59)

A fast paced opening round between these two with Valiev putting in plenty of body work to begin with. Valiev showing good movement and excellent kicking skills while he’s making Jones bite on all his feints. A beautiful teep kick down the middle sees Jones fold in pain and Valiev jumps on the attack with knees, elbows and body punches but Jones stays in the fight. Jones shoots for a takedown with seconds remaining and gets it to end the round on top and get into the second round. 10-9 Valiev.

With the encouragement of that takedown at the end of the first round, Jones comes out a bit looser and looks for another right off the bat but Valiev does well to stuff it against the cage. More kicks and feints from Valievas he lands three nasty leg kicks in a row. Valiev goes for another leg kick but Jones counters with a beautiful right hook that drops him! He jumps on top with the ground and pound and the referee stops the fight! Huge upset, huge win, huge knockout!

Matt Semelsberger def Carl Minus via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)

A fun, evenly matched first round in the books of this one as these two UFC debutants look to make a good first impression. Both men staying in boxing range and exchanging punches, with Semelsburger throwing heavier punches but Minus landing a bit more accurately. Minus is on the back foot more but both men are well in the fight and it could have gone either way. 10-9 Semelsberger for me, simply for the extra power in the shots.

A very similar start to the second round with Semelsberger still throwing extra power in the exchanges between the two. A big right hand in counter to a body kick by Semelsberger puts Minus on his ass. He rushes over for some ground and pound but Minus makes him miss before giving up his back. Semelsberger locks in a body triangle and attempts for a rear naked choke but Minus defends very well. He spins out and gets back to the feet as the round ends. 20-18 Semelsberger for me.

A much better third round from Minus as Semelsberger seemed to slow down a little. Minus lacking power but he’s putting some nice combinations together and landing almost at will. Semelsberger, visibly tired, shoots for the takedown and gets it but Minus defends well on the ground and gets back to his feet quickly. Final minute and both guys throw heavy punches in the pocket as the round comes to an end. 29-28 Semelsberger for me.

Jordan Wright def Ike Villaneuva via Knockout (Doctors stoppage), Round 1 (1:31)

Well that didn’t last long! Wright opens the fight with a spinning heel kick to the head of Villaneuva who hits the mat immediately. He jumps up and Wright gets him in a Thai clinch and lands huge knees to the face that busts the eye wide open. The referee stops the fight so the doctor can take a look and he calls the fight off immediately. What a win for the Beverly Hills Ninja.

Amanda Lemos def Mizuki Inoue via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A violent first round from Amanda Lemos showed that she is well within her rights to be in the octagon with Mizuki. Inoue used her usual pressing style to get Lemos against the cage and wear her out but Lemos was physically strong enough to withstand it and then throws huge bombs. After landing a big four-punch combo, she steps back and lands a big one-two down the middle that drops Mizuki but she manages to hold Lemos down while she’s on her back. She threatens with an armbar attempt but Lemos defends it and lets her up as the round ends. 10-9 Lemos.

More pressing from Mizuki at the start of the second as she pins Lemos against the cage in a clinch looking for the takedown. Both ladies throw big elbows before Mizuki eventually tries to drag Lemos down. Lemos too physically strong again though and powers out and eventually ends up on top of Mizuki looking to pass her guard. Lemos is starting to tire now but Mizuki still pouring forward with pressure as the round ends. 20-18 Lemos.

Mizuki pushes Lemos against the cage quickly and early in the final round but the Brazilian still too strong for her and is able to stuff all attempts. Mizuki trying to wear her down and shoots for the legs but Lemos defends well before breaking away from the clinch and landing a big elbow to Mizuki’s eye. Once again Mizuki pushes the clinch against the cage and Lemos is just cruising at this point. She lands a big knee to Mizuki who separates from the clinch and then she lands a big right hook. Mizuki still marching forward but this fight is done. 29-28 Lemos.

MAIN CARD

Daniel Rodriguez def Dwight Grant via Knockout, Round 1 (2:24)

What. A. Fight. Inside the first 30 seconds Rodriguez charges forward and Grant lands a big right hook on the way backwards that drops him! He pounces on the ground and pound and lands lots and lots of punches but Rodriguez is moving and trying to get to his feet while covering his head. As he gets back to the feet and Grant is visibly exhausted from trying to finish the fight, Rodriguez lands a left hand that drops Grant. He charges and walks Grant down landing heavy shots, before he connects with another big left hook that drops Grant again! Some more punches against the cage sees Grant drop a third time and the referee steps in and ends the fight. Crazy!

Shana Dobson def Mariya Agapova via Knockout, Round 2 (1:38)

Agapova is absolutely mental! She essentially sprints out as the round starts and throws bombs, showing several high kicks and big elbows but Dobson goes for a takedown to slow it down quickly. Agapova though starts throwing heavy elbows from the bottom and explodes back to her feet. She lands some ground and pound but Dobson gets back up and lands another takedown. Agapova is now looking more tired as Dobson takes her back but the Kazakhstani reverses the position and looks to attack with a rear naked choke. Good defence from Dobson though as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Agapova.

Second round and Dobson has come out aggressive and she’s lighting Agapova up on the feet. Agapova looks exhausted and shoots for a takedown early to seemingly get a bit of a rest. She gets into the guard and lands some nice punches but Dobson sweeps her from the bottom and ends up in full mount. She lands some big ground and pound and Agapova is barely responding through sheer exhaustion. More punches land and the referee finally ends it. What an upset!

Joe Solecki def Austin Hubbard via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1 (3:51)

What a performance from Joe Solecki! Both fighters exchange some nice boxing in the centre before Solecki gets Hubbard against the cage. He goes for a single leg before transitioning to the back and slowly climbs up the back of Hubbard, locking in a standing body triangle. He starts landing a few punches and keeps the triangle locked in. After a short hand fight, Solecki sinks the arm under the chin and gets the tap without the fight ever hitting the ground. Brilliant from Solecki.

Mike Rodriguez def Marcin Prachnio via Knockout, Round 1 (2:17)

A feeler of a start for both as both fighters throw out some leg kicks and jabs to establish range. Rodriguez using his Muay-Thai background to land some nice knees to the body in the clinch which is causing Prachnio some issues. Another clinch and this time Rodriguez throws a big elbow to the head as Prachnio looks to defend the body and puts his lights out! Two big punches land as an exclamation point but Prachnio is out and the referee calls this one off. Impressive win for Mike Rodriguez.

Frankie Edgar def Pedro Munhoz via Split Decision (48-47 x2, 46-49)

A quick start for both fighters in this bout as Edgar uses his excellent footwork and speed advantage to land combinations and then get out of range. Munhoz throwing bombs and heavy leg kicks to try and prevent Edgar’s movement. Munhoz cutting the angles off for Edgar to move too much and lands a nice three punch combo of hooks to mark up Edgar’s face. Munhoz lands a big left hand as Edgar steps away after a small exchange as the round ends. 10-9 Edgar but could go either way.

Edgar comes out more aggressive in the second round and lands some nice right hands to open up a cut over the eye of Munhoz. Edgar mixing in the threat of the takedown as Munhoz continues to pressure forward and close the angles down. Edgar shoots for a takedown and gets it, but Munhoz uses his scrambling to shoot back up quickly. Edgar is landing a lot more regularly now that Munhoz is worrying about the takedowns, but he continues to pressure forward. Big left hook from Munhoz lands followed by a kick as the round ends. 20-18 Edgar.

Third round a bit tamer from both fighters but with a similar pattern, Munhoz charging forward and Edgar moving around and landing combinations. Munhoz landing lots of leg kicks and they’re starting to have an effect on Edgar who’s moving gingerly on it. More jabs from Munhoz as he uses his range well and prevent Edgar shooting for any takedowns. Fun third round where both were busy, I give it to Munhoz. 29-28 Edgar for me.

Edgar comes out and goes straight for a takedown in round 4 and gets it, but once again he’s unable to hold Munhoz down for any period of time. Munhoz lands more leg kicks and a big body kick as Edgar is moving considerably slower in this round. Edgar lands some nice jabs but both fighters are cancelling each other out at the moment. Edgar moves forward with a three punch combination but Munhoz eats them and then lands a big overhand right. Edgar throwing lots of combinations but not putting anything behind them really, so no chance of him stopping Munhoz in this fashion. Great round for both, but I think Munhoz takes it for landing the bigger shots. 38-38 for me.

Final round and Munhoz comes out with two body kicks and a head kick attempt. Munhoz then throws a leg kick and Edgar looks for the single leg but Munhoz defends brilliantly, then throws another leg kick for good measure. Edgar steps forward into the pocket and throws a big combination that Munhoz matches, and both fighters land big shots to the head. Edgar lands a big right hook and then follows it up with a spinning back fist, but Munhoz not being put off coming forward in the slightest. Both guys exchange a bit left hook each as we enter the final 90 seconds. Edgar lands a great straight right hand to the chin, Munhoz continues to pressure forward. Final 10 seconds and Munhoz throws a big right hook and leg kick as the buzzer goes. 48-47 Munhoz for me.

UFC Vegas 7: Munhoz vs Edgar – Main Card Predictions

The UFC returns to it’s Fight Night schedule this weekend following UFC 252 last week at the APEX Centre in Las Vegas.

11 fights await us on this card, as Frankie Edgar drops down to Bantamweight finally to take on Pedro Munhoz in the main event. Ovince Saint-Preux returns to light heavyweight in the co-main event for a clash with Contender Series contestant Alonzo Meinfield who steps in on short-notice.

Last week at UFC 242: Miocic vs Cormier, I correctly predicted 7/11 on the night with four of the seven completely perfect picks (winner, method, round). I’ll break down this card and try to do better on this occasion than the last. You can see my picks for the prelims here.

Mariya Agapova (9-1) vs Shana Dobson (3-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

This is a fight that I’m not entirely sure on the reason that it’s happening. Agapova is coming off a three-fight win streak, including a first-round submission win over Hannah Cifers back in June, while Dobson has lost three in a row including being knocked out in just 40 seconds back in February. Agapova is a lethal striker with a good ground game to back her up and while she has inexperience and is still green at just 23 years old, Dobson doesn’t have the wrestling skills to get her down where she’s uncomfortable. Agapova has the pick of how she wants to win this fight and I think she ends it violently with a first-round knockout.
PICK – Mariya Agapova via Knockout, Round 1

Takashi Sato (16-3) vs Daniel Rodriguez (12-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A bout between two powerhouse knockout artists which could end up being the fight of the night, Sato looks to make it back-to-back wins in the UFC while D-Rod looks to extend his win streak to nine in a row. Both fighters carry crazy power in their hands but Rodriguez tends to be a bit more of a counter-puncher than Sato. Sato has good boxing but his KO wins have come against two fighters he was clearly better than and Rodriguez and he are on a similar level. It could be a case of whoever lands the first clean punch wins and with Rodriguez often countering, he’s likely to catch Sato unaware before he gets caught himself.
PICK – Daniel Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 2

Marcin Prachnio (13-4) vs Mike Rodriguez (10-4) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Both these big hitters come in on the back of defeats, with Rodriguez losing to Da Un Jung back in December last year while Prachnio lost to Magomed Ankalaev and Sam Alvey back to back in 2018 and hasn’t fought since. In reality this fight has no business being on the main card here, but it is. Overall its a real pick-em fight, it could go either way and it won’t be of the highest quality at all. Despite having the slightly more impressive CV, two years without competing is a long time and I think that may be the difference here.
PICK – Mike Rodriguez via Unanimous Decision

Ovince Saint Preux (24-14) vs Alonzo Meinfeld (9-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A short notice fight for Meinfeld after stepping in on one week’s notice for Shamil Gamzatov, he is looking to bounce back from his first professional defeat against Devin Clark back at UFC 250. Ovince Saint Preux was once an opponent for Jon Jones in a title eliminator, but he has now lost four of his last six bouts. Meinfeld’s last appearance saw him get completely outclassed and when he couldn’t land that big punch, he was beaten. OSP will have a four inch reach advantage, a wrestling advantage and is experienced enough to avoid that big punch. If he can get the fight to the ground, it’s impossible to rule out OSP landing ground and pound before ending the fight with his signature Von-Preux choke.
PICK – Ovince Saint Preux via Submission, Round 2

Pedro Munhoz (18-4-0 1NC) vs Frankie Edgar (23-8-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A super main event in store as the legendary Frankie Edgar moves down to his natural weight class of 135lbs for the first time, to take on UFC veteran Pedro Munhoz. Munhoz most recently got himself into the contender conversation with a sensational knockout win over Cody Garbrandt, but was then beaten dominantly by Aljamain Sterling in his last outing. Edgar has lost three of his last four including being knocked out decisively by both Brian Ortega and Korean Zombie, while he took a beating in his 145lbs title fight against Max Holloway too. Both fighters have a great wrestling background and are therefore not afraid to let their hands go, knowing that they’re more than comfortable on the ground too. The problem for Edgar here, is that while both men have been around for a long time it’s he who has been in there with far bigger men for most of his career. Having previously stood up with his chin in fights, his last three defeats have been humbling and at 38 years of age it’s unlikely it’s going to get any better now. Munhoz has power in his hands, as he showed against Garbrandt, and is an excellent wrestler capable of securing takedowns against anyone. Overall, I think the miles on the clock will harm Frankie Edgar more than they’ll help him in this fight.
PICK – Pedro Munhoz via Unanimous Decision

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know on Twitter.

UFC Vegas 7: Munhoz vs Edgar – Prelims Predictions

The UFC returns to it’s Fight Night schedule this weekend following UFC 252 last week at the APEX Centre in Las Vegas.

11 fights await us on this card, as Frankie Edgar drops down to Bantamweight finally to take on Pedro Munhoz in the main event. Ovince Saint-Preux returns to light heavyweight in the co-main event for a clash with Contender Series contestant Alonzo Meinfield who steps in on short-notice.

Last week at UFC 242: Miocic vs Cormier, I correctly predicted 7/11 on the night with four of the seven completely perfect picks (winner, method, round). I’ll break down this card and try to do better on this occasion than the last.

PRELIMS

Timur Valiev (16-2) vs Mark Striegl (18-2-0 1NC) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

After VISA issues put a hold on Valiev’s debut against Jamal Emmers last month, he now drops down to his natural weight-class to take on fellow debutant in Mark Striegl. Valiev is an excellent striker on the feet and is very, very high volume. Striegl is a wrestler who has 14 submission wins on his record but on the feet he struggles massively. Valiev’s a good scrambler on the ground and good enough to avoid the takedown and then dominate on the feet with his style.
PICK – Timur Valiev via Unanimous Decision

Matt Semelsberger (6-2) vs Carlton Minus (10-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two strikers match up in this welterweight bout where both fighters make their UFC debuts. Carlton Minus’s only defeat was against ex-UFC contender Rick Story in a short notice bout, but prior to that he was dominant in his fights while winning the only fight since via unanimous decision this past February. Semelsberger is an aggressive brawler who’s record isn’t the most impressive but the power in his hands gives him an undeniable path to victory. Minus’ loss saw him be outwrestled and submitted, something that should not be a problem here. Semelsberger will look to close the distance with power punches and while Minus isn’t the most elusive, he should be able to see these punches coming and land counters to secure a comfortable decision win.
PICK – Carlton Minus via Unanimous Decision

Ike Villaneuva (16-10) vs Jordan Wright (10-0) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Ike Villaneuva returns to his natural weight class in this one after he was knocked out by Chase Sherman in his last bout at heavyweight. He was due to take on Jorge Gonzalez but injury means undefeated Jordan Wright steps in on less than a weeks notice. Wright was beaten on Dana Whites’ Contender Series in just 40 secs by Alexander Hernandez, but it was overturned to a no-contest and following that fight and an 18 month hiatus, Wright returned with a stunning second-round KO over jiu-jitsu specialist Gabriel Checco. Both guys will look to slug it out early and will believe their power is enough to put their opponent away, but Wright has a severe speed and athleticism advantage. If he can use that to get in quickly, land and step out he should be able to secure a knockout win.
PICK – Jordan Wright via Knockout, Round 1

Dwight Grant (10-2) vs Calen Born (7-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Dwight Grant is a kung-fu fighter who isn’t fond on throwing volume with his hands despite possessing great power and skill. Born stepped into this fight on just two-days notice and has a good record for submissions with four of his seven wins coming via tap-out. I haven’t seen anything of Born in all honesty, but coming in on such short notice can’t be a good thing and with Grant’s power this is likely to be a short fight anyway. Grant is capable of staying on the feet for long enough to land some big blows and get the win.
PICK – Dwight Grant via Knockout, Round 1

Austin Hubbard (12-4) vs Joe Solecki (9-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A contender for fight of the night as two all-rounders come back into the lightweight scene for this fight. Austin Hubbard fought just two months ago, securing the stoppage win over Max Roshkopf who quit on his stall between rounds after a beating in the second while Joe Solecki is currently on a four-fight win streak. Hubbard is someone who prefers to strike but is comfortable on the ground, while Solecki is the opposite with a black belt in jiu-jitsu. Solecki has enough about him to cause Hubbard trouble on the feet, much like Roshkopf did last time out but with a full camp he won’t be worried about his cardio coming into question. If he does get tired, he has the jiu-jitsu to fall back on and I think that will get him the decision win.
PICK – Joe Solecki via Unanimous Decision

Mizuki Inoue (14-5) vs Amanda Lemos (7-1-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

The headline fight for the prelims sees Amanda Lemos looking for back-to-back wins in the UFC against Mizuki Inoue looking for the same. Inoue’s most recent defeat came in Invicta to Virna Jandiroba, who has taken the UFC by storm including a first-round submission win over Felice Herrig last weekend. Lemos isn’t an unknown by any means but she is definitely less well known than Inoue and that’s for good reason. Lemos has fought for just four minutes in the last three years following a USADA suspension and has now dropped from bantamweight down to strawweight. Inoue is as good a striker and has excellent submission skills, while Lemos has been known to struggle with her cardio in the past. The win in her last fight didn’t show whether she’d conquered those problems because it ended inside the opening round, but if she hasn’t then Inoue will take her into deep waters.
PICK – Mizuki Inoue via Unanimous Decision

UFC Vegas 6 Fallout: What Next For Derrick Lewis and Chris Weidman?

One of the less impressive cards on paper in recent times turned into an entertaining one at the UFC Apex thanks to six finishes on the night.

Derrick Lewis won the main event with an explosive start to the second round after struggling in the first with Alexei Oleinik’s grappling skills, while Chris Weidman got back in the win column for the first time since July 2017 with a hard fought decision win over Omari Akhmedov.

Darren ‘The Dentist’ Stewart shocked everyone when he submitted Maki Pitolo in the first round via guillotine choke and Beneil Dariush continued his win streak in a foul-littered first round when he knocked out Scott Holtzman with a stunning spinning back-fist.

Further down the card, Andrew Sanchez stopped up and coming prospect Wellington Turman via knockout in the first round with a huge right hand. Returning fighter Gavin Tucker had to weather the storm against Justin Jaynes after being knocked down, but it seemed to wake him up and he went up a gear to get the finish in the second round.

While the card and results won’t do much for any future bouts in reality, it does throw up a few fun scenarios. Derrick Lewis said he won’t be taking any fights until the end of the year because he wants to lose 15-20lbs, but was then immediately called out on Twitter by #3 ranked heavyweight Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes.

Blaydes is coming off a win over Alexander Volkov back in June, when he dominated for the majority of the fight before his cardio seemed to drain away and Volkov looked to make a comeback. Dana White said after that fight that he wasn’t impressed by Blaydes’ performance and the 29 year old knows he’s behind Francis Ngannou in the pecking order for a title shot.

At middleweight, Chris Weidman got his first win in over three years and declared that he’s back. The ‘All-American’ showed his wrestling skills as usual with a strong display in the first and third rounds, despite his energy being completely drained by midway in the second. It’s only his second win since he lost his 185lbs title to Luke Rockhold back in 2015 and there are now calls for a rematch to take place between two fighters who’s careers have only gone downwards since winning the belt.

Rockhold has lost 3 of his 4 fights since he beat Weidman, being knocked out on every occasion. Both fighters tried their luck in the light heavyweight division but were knocked out and now that Weidman has come back down and won, it’s possible that Rockhold could do the same.

If not, there is a chance that Weidman takes on Anderson Silva for a third time although that’s slim. Akhmedov was ranked at #11 going into this fight so it can be expected that Weidman will take that spot. He spoke prior to this fight about how potential bouts with Edmen Shahbazyan, Jack Hermansson and Yoel Romero never quite came to fruition. With Shahbazyan losing to Brunson in his last fight and being ranked ahead of Weidman, that’s a logical fight to revisit and book for later this year.

All eyes are now on the future of the middleweight and heavyweight divisions but with titles fights in both scheduled for the next two pay-per-view cards, the cogs in the machine are all moving.

UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Oleinik – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Irwin Rivera def Ali Al-Qaisi via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Fight pass issues mean I didn’t get to see this one in it’s entirety. The final minute of the second round and whole third round however were razor close and the commentators weren’t even sure about who won. Both fighters landed heavy punches, big kicks and were able to secure takedowns but it was ‘The Beast’ who got the nod from the judges.

Youssef Zalal def Peter Barrett via Unanimous Decision (30-26 x2, 30-27)

Fun first round in the books as the Moroccan opens the fight with a low calf kick and follows it up with a huge spinning back kick that catches Barrett flush in the face and knocks him down. Zalal sprints over and lands a barrage of ground and pound trying to put him away. Barrett recovers though and uses his wrestling well, but Zalal is staying out of range and enjoying the striking exchanges. 10-9 Zalal.

A second round that is majority grappling as Zalal shows his skill level is just a notch above Barrett’s. A lovely throw from Zalal takes the fight to the ground and he immediately takes the back. The rest of the round is Zalal looking for a rear-naked choke but Barrett is very tough and avoids it throughout to get through to a third round. 20-18 Zalal.

Third round is excellent fight management from Zalal. He gets the fight back down to the ground and controls it once again staying out of danger and looking for chokes throughout. A comfortable win for the Moroccan Devil.

PRELIMS

Gavin Tucker def Justin Jaynes via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3 (1:43)

What a round! Both guys come out with a similar game plan to throw straight punches, high kicks and to control the octagon. It’s a razor close round and Jaynes lands a huge uppercut that drops Tucker. Jaynes runs in for some ground and pound but Tucker does well to survive before turning it around and getting back to his feet. A few more punches land from Jaynes before Tucker shoots for a single leg that Jaynes turns into a guillotine attempt. Tucker escapes, losing his shorts in the process, and manages to reverse the position to an arm-triangle choke! Jaynes survives the round still in the choke. 10-9 Tucker for me, despite the knockdown.

Second round seems like Tucker was woken up and angered by the knockdown in the first. He’s hunting Jaynes down and stalking him across the octagon, landing heavy punches and kicks. He’s mixing up strikes from head to body to legs and Jaynes is visibly tiring as the round goes on. A super round for Tucker that is unquestionably his. 20-18 for me.

Jaynes comes out swinging for the fences in the third but Tucker lands a beautiful knee that would have dropped Jaynes if not for the fence holding him up. Jaynes is wobbling and shoots for the takedown but Tucker sprawls well and turns a tired and hurt Jaynes over and takes his back. He locks in a body triangle, finds the rear-naked choke and secures the tap. Big win for Tucker.

Andrew Sanchez def Wellington Turman via Knockout, Round 1 (3:46)

Turman comes out aggressive in the first and looks to take Sanchez down immediately, tying him up in a clinch but ‘El Dirte’ defends well and keeps it on the feet. Both men start striking and landing some heavy blows, but Sanchez seems to be landing cleaner and harder shots. Turman goes for a head kick but Sanchez evades the kick and lands a lovely right cross counter that stuns Turman. He steps forward and lands a jab followed by another heavy right hand that drops Turman out cold. He follows up with two more hammer fists but the referee stops it immediately. Huge win for Andrew Sanchez.

Nasrat Haqparast def Alex Munoz via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A tense first round between these two lightweights that starts off with an immediate takedown from Munoz. Haqparast gets back up quickly and Munhoz lands a low blow against the cage as they clinch which causes a pause in the action. Following that though, Haqparast seems to go up a level with his striking. He starts landing a nice uppercut and hooks, while reading Munoz’s level changes well. Towards the end of the round Munoz starts to mix it up a bit more but Haqparast is comfortable and takes the round. 10-9.

Haqparast is turning up the heat in this second round. Heavy shots land and more stuffing of Munoz’s takedowns have him in complete control of this fight. There’s a clear speed and power advantage for Haqparast and he shows it with a big one-two that staggers Munoz! He presses forward for more shots but Munoz avoids flush strikes for a while and recovers. More damage lands and cuts open Munoz below his right eye and a clash of heads opens up a cut on Haqparast’s head too but it’s another round for Baby Gastelum. 20-18.

Final round and it’s more of the same. Haqparast out-boxing Munoz and allowing absolutely nothing in terms of takedowns from Munoz. He’s landing at will and cutting up the face of Munoz and not taking much damage himself. Round ends with Haqparast on the attack yet again and Munoz well and truly beaten. 30-27.

Kevin Holland def Joaquin Buckley via Knockout, Round 3 (0:32)

Fireworks! Buckley has come to take Holland’s head off with huge hooks and Holland is looking for something spectacular too. Buckley is throwing big, powerful combinations to the body but Holland is looking to throw elbows whenever he gets inside. Buckley is loading up way too much and Holland is reading the shots easily now and lands a crisp right straight that drops Buckley! The debutant recovers quickly and gets back to his feet and the round ends. Holland’s round but Buckley is in this fight. 10-9.

An interesting second round, where Buckley was the aggressor but the reach disadvantage really stopped him landing anything significant. Holland wasn’t as active but ensured he countered successfully and probably landed the bigger shots of the round. 20-18 Holland but could go the other way.

Well…. that close round didn’t matter. Holland comes out in the third round and lands two body kicks, avoids a looping hook from Buckley, readjusts and then lands a sniper-like right straight that knocks the mouthpiece out of Buckley’s mouth and lands him a walk off knockout. What a punch, oh my goodness.

Tim Means def Laureano Staropoli via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Fight starts off with a fast pace and Means gets an early takedown. Staropoli jumps up to his feet quickly and the two start exchanging body shots as Means looks for the clinch and knees. Both fighters throwing similar shots and landing at a similar rate. A thumb to the eye from Means causes a short pause in the action but following that both guys get right back to it. Close round but I’m giving it to Means. 10-9.

Second round starts with a huge spinning elbow by Staropoli as Means runs in for a takedown. Means eats it though and holds on to a body lock to recover. More exchanges from both guys and Means lands a huge kick that drops Staropoli! He rushes in for the ground and pound to finish the fight but Staropoli defends well and recovers. Lots of body shots from Means as Staropoli is visibly beginning to tire now. Means closes the round out looking for a takedown against the cage before landing a heavy elbow. 20-18 Means for me.

Third round is excellent wrestling from Tim Means. The veteran used his wrestling well to keep the fight at a safe distance and had him up against the cage for a large portion of the round. The referee separated them at one point due to a fence grab but Means did well to land punches and then take it straight back. Excellent fight management. 30-27 Means for me.

MAIN CARD

Beneil Dariush def Scott Holtzman via Knockout, Round 1 (4:38)

Big body kick by Dariush opens the fight but almost immediately after Holtzman accidentally puts a thumb in his eye. They get back to it and Dariush lands a glancing low blow and then Holtzman with another eye poke, all within the first 60 seconds. Dariush now goes for a takedown against the cage but Holtzman reverses against puts Dariush against the cage. They engage in a clinch and Dariush lands a huge knee to the face. Dariush pushes forward looking for a finish but Holtzman recovers well. Dariush continues to push forward, throws a nice body kick then fakes the jab and lands a huge spinning back fist! Walk off knockout! Oh my God! Wow!

Yana Kunitskaya def Julija Stoliarenko via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Aggressive start from Stoliarenko but Kunitskaya turns it around and gets a clinch against the cage. She lands some nice knees to the body and is showing that he’s physically stronger right now. Stoliarenko attempts to pull guard with a guillotine but Kunitskaya defends well and gets the fight back into the previous position for the remainder of the round, landing knees and the odd punch. 10-9 Kunitskaya.

Second round starts off exactly as the last round ended, with Kunitskaya overpowering Stoliarenko and getting the fight to the cage in a clinch and landing knees. Stoliarenko is desperate to get this fight to the ground but Kunitskaya defending it perfectly and keeping the fight exactly where she wants it. Countless body shots with the knees really taking their toll on Stoliarenko and she pulls guard again. This time Kunitskaya stays there and lands a big elbow but Stoliarenko eats it and throws up her patented armbar. It’s closing to getting locked in but the cage position saves Kunitskaya and she manages to hold out for the end of the round. 20-18.

Third round goes straight back to the clinch exchange against the cage to open the round, but Stoliarenko manages to get it down to the mat much quicker this time around. She attempts to throw up a rubber guard but there’s just not enough space to do anything with it. Referee stands them up and it’s more of the same before the round and fight comes to an end. 30-27 Kunitskaya but it’s not a fight anyone will remember.

Darren Stewart def Maki Pitolo via Submission (Guillotine), Round 1 (3:41)

A tense start to the fight sees both men circling the octagon throwing out short combination punches but nobody really landing anything. Pitolo lands a nice right hand that seems to stun Stewart but he shakes it off and continues to come forward himself. Pitolo shoots for a single leg takedown but Stewart slides an arm under the chin and locks in a guillotine choke. He adjusts the grip to tighten it up and secures the tap. Huge win for The Dentist!

Chris Weidman def Omari Akhmedov via Unanimous Decision (29-27 x2, 29-28)

Weidman comes out bouncing on his toes before shooting immediately for a takedown. Akhmedov avoids the first few attempts but Weidman relenteless in his search. Akhmedov lands a nice right straight that stuns Weidman, but he recovers well and goes back to his search for the takedowns. Akhmedov shoots for his own takedown but Weidman holds him down and eventually ends up in top position, controlling but not landing much damage. 10-9 Weidman.

Second round starts with Akhmedov landing a takedown of his own. He hits some nice ground and pound but Weidman gets back to his feet and now it’s almost a complete reverse of the first round. Akhmedov is getting more and more aggressive and persistent with his takedown attempts and Weidman is exhausted. Akhmedov lands more takedowns but Weidman is getting up pretty quickly. 19-19 going into the third in a stalemate of a fight.

Round 3 and Weidman flies out for the takedown to open the round. He drives Akhmedov against the cage, before a beautiful trip gets Weidman into a dominant position. Weidman attempts for a variation of a ‘Suliev Stretch’ but it’s not quite working so he transitions himself to the back and then into full mount. He attempts for an arm triangle but doesn’t quite have the squeeze so starts dropping big elbows to close out the round. 29-28 Weidman for me.

Derrick Lewis def Alexei Oleinik via Knockout, Round 2 (0:21)

Lewis starts the fight with a high kick and starts throwing bombs. Oleinik weathers the storm and engages the clinch, but Lewis literally throws him to the ground and goes for ground and pound strikes. Oleinik does well to ride it out and takes control on the ground, reversing positions and dominating the grappling. Oleinik attempts to go for a scarf-hold but while he’s not close to securing a tap he’s definitely making Lewis uncomfortable. The round ends with Oleinik very close to securing a key-lock submission. 10-9 Oleinik.

Second round starts and Lewis charges out with a flying knee to the chest and huge right hand! Oleinik falls and Lewis pounces with the ground and pound for the finish. 3 wins in a row for The Black Beast.