Tag Archives: Frankie Edgar

What’s next for Sean O’Malley after UFC 269 win?

The ‘Suga’ show once again delivered a spectacular performance in front of a sell-out crowd at UFC 269 as Sean O’Malley earned yet another highlight-reel victory against Raulian Paiva.

The two bantamweights went head-to-head in the main card opener at the T-Mobile arena, with O’Malley securing a third straight knockout victory when he launched a stunning combination at Paiva in the first round.

With 2022 just around the corner and ‘Suga’ almost certain to move into the rankings following this win, who should the UFC be looking at matching him up with going forward? Lets take a look at some options.



Pedro Munhoz

If the UFC fancy giving him a real push in 2022 as expected, then the veteran that is Pedro Munhoz would be a great option.

Both fought at UFC 269 and Munhoz found himself on the losing end of a decision against Dominick Cruz. He has never been finished in his professional MMA career and has excellent power in his hands and jiu-jitsu skills that would give O’Malley something to think about.

He currently sits in the top ten so it may be one too soon, but it’s surely a fight that would interest both guys.

Adrian Yanez

These two have been going back and forth on social media and are two of the very best prospects the UFC have to offer. The fact they compete in the same division makes it even more exciting.

Both of these two have made a real name for themselves by knocking their foes out in the UFC and both are looking to move into the ranked conversations next year and make a push to be a contender.

But with Yanez unranked, it would seem a backward step to pair them together now despite the fact they both want it. Maybe that’s one for 2023 if they keep winning..

Frankie Edgar

The veteran has found himself on a bad run over his last five fights. He was beaten handily by Max Holloway and Korean Zombie in 2019 before moving to bantamweight in 2020, earning a solitary yet controversial decision win over Munhoz.

Since then though he was KO’d violently by both Cory Sandhagen and Marlon Vera and has found himself on the edge of the rankings. A fight between himself and O’Malley would see if he can really still cut it, while also giving O’Malley a big name and a test against a ranked fighter.

This may be the most logical fight the UFC could make, although it’s probably not quite as exciting as some of the others mentioned.

Song Yadong

A super young prospect with plenty of experience, this fight would undoubtedly produce fireworks.

Both guys love to stand and strike, have genuine knockout power and have a super bright future if you ask anyone that knows the sport. The UFC could look to keep these two apart because of how popular they are, saving it for a future date instead with higher stakes.

If that isn’t part of their thinking though, this could be the best fight for the fans and for O’Malley too.

UFC 268: Usman vs Covington 2 – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Ode Osbourne def CJ Vergara via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Fun start to this fight with both guys staying in range and feinting a lot before exploding into strikes. Osbourne lands a nice left hand and then attempts a jump knee that just misses. Another left from Osbourne but Vergara trying to flick his jab and land hooks. Check-hook from Vergara lands but Osbourne rolls with it and replies with a strong right straight. Nice right hand from Vergara but neither fighter landing particularly flush yet. Osbourne goes for a takedown but Vergara gets himself to the cage and is able to defend it as we enter the final minute of the round. More close exchanges from both fighters before a strong right hand and head kick lands from Vergara right at the end of the round. 10-9 Osbourne for me, but close.

Vergara taking charge of the second round as we begin, stepping forward and throwing strong strikes on the inside. Osbourne starting to throw kicks to try and get some distance back between the two of them, but Vergara is doing well. Nice hook from Osbourne lands but Vergara replies with a left hand of his own. Osbourne growing into the round, landing his left hand more and busting up the nose of Vergara. Osbourne changes levels in the middle of an exchange to go for a takedown but Vergara defends really well. Osbourne continuing to throw combinations to the head and Vergara is slowing down. Front kick to the head just misses from Vergara, then he attempts another and Osbourne catches it and takes him down to end the round. 20-18 Osbourne.

Vergara trying to empty the tank in the final round, possibly feeling as though he’s behind, and Osbourne is starting to counter more and more. Two big left hands land and he drops Vergara, but he gets back up immediately and continues to step forward applying pressure. Osbourne goes for some takedown attempts but Vergara denies them and continues to walk him down. Vergara and Osbourne clinch in the middle and then Vergara trips him and ends up on top in Osbourne’s full guard. Osbourne is visibly tiring but is trying to tie him up to stall, but Vergara lands a big elbow from the top. More ground and pound attempts from Vergara but Osbourne is shifting his hips and looking to set up submissions. Vergara lands three big elbows from the top as we enter the final minute and now Osbourne is trying to get up to his feet. Vergara is able to pin him down and lands some more ground strikes but the round comes to an end and Osbourne should claim the tight decision win. 29-28 Osbourne for me.

Melsik Baghdasaryan def Bruno Souza via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Slow start to the fight with both guys feeling each other out early on, as Melsik lands two nice low kicks inside the first minute. Baghdasaryan starting to walk Souza down against the cage, but not much action so far. Souza goes for a jump knee but misses, before Baghdasaryan lands a nice left hand. Souza tries to create some distance with a few body kicks but Baghdasaryan showing real disdain for his power and walking him down with his hands really low. Souza shoots for a takedown after eating another hard low kick, but Baghdasaryan denies it excellently and they separate. Spinning kick from Baghdasaryan causes Souza to lose balance before a hard body kick, but Souza is struggling with speed and distance. 10-9 Melsik.

Souza opens up with a right hand but Baghdasaryan stepping forward again and just forcing him to fight on the back foot. Another hard low kick from Melsik, and another. Souza doing a lot of moving but not much else and Melsik currently seems content just to outwork him for a win. Melsik lands a nice overhand left but the two clinch and then separate. Another left hand lands and Souza lands two nice jabs, before Melsik evades and lands a beautiful uppercut-left hook combo. End of the second round, 20-18 Baghdasaryan.

Final round and Souza trying to come forward to claim the initiative. Baghdasaryan throwing low kicks and forcing Souza to switch stances a lot and buckling the leg. Lots of hesitation from both guys so far, before a strong knee from Souza. A longer exchange sees Baghdasaryan land a nice left hand. Entering the final minute and Souza goes for a takedown but once again Baghdasaryan defends it really well and kicks him away. More movement from both guys before a big right hand lands from Baghdasaryan and a final exchange before the bell. 30-27 Baghdasaryan for me. Not a great fight.

Dustin Jacoby def John Allan via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Very intriguing start to this fight with both guys standing right in front of each other and trading blows. Jacoby using his jab well and landing some low kicks, but Allan is throwing them too and landing them much heavier. Battle of the low kicks so far but Jacoby’s hands flowing much better and landing more fluently. Strong body kick from Allan followed up by a jab, but Jacoby is growing in confidence. Hard strikes from both again, but Jacoby has a slight speed advantage it seems. Head kick attempt from Jacoby just misses, then he follows up with a hard low kick again. Hard right hand from Jacoby right on the buzzer ends an entertaining round. 10-9 Jacoby.

Both guys throwing out hard low kicks once again in this second round. Jacoby’s jab starting to get through the guard of Allan, but neither guy going anywhere currently. Nice one-two from Jacoby but Allan steps forward and lands a nice left hand. Allan starting to apply more pressure and Jacoby is slowing down, but he’s still landing his jabs well. Allan getting more physical as he walks forward but Jacoby counters with a good one-two and a right hand down the middle. Final minute of the round and Allan pouring the pressure on, which causes a second accidental eye poke of the fight by Jacoby. The referee decides it’s accidental and the fight resumes without further punishment for 30 seconds before it ends. 20-18.

Final round and Jacoby is landing his leg kicks well and throwing the jab out there once again. Allan on the front foot trying to pressure Jacoby, but his counters are quick and his movement still good enough to evade. Nice right hand lands from Allan knocks his mouthpiece out but Jacoby not hurt by it. Nice right hand lands down the pipe from Jacoby as we approach the half-way point of the final round. Allan continuing with the hard pressure to force Jacoby backwards but not throwing enough output right now. Head kick from Jacoby lands but is partially blocked as we enter the final minute. Nice body shot from Allan but Jacoby responds with three or four strikes to earn marks with the judges and the round comes to an end. 30-27 Jacoby.

Chris Barnett def Gian Villante via Knockout, Round 2 (3:22)

Some front kicks to the body attempted early on by Villante but they all miss, before Barnett lands a low kick. More low kicks from Barnett land but very little output from these two guys so far. Villante lands a nice body kick finally, before Barnett lands a nice body kick of his own and then they trade low kicks. Left hook lands for Villante but everything is singular right now from both guys. Villante looks for a head kick before Barnett counters with an uppercut and then blitzes forward with four strikes. Spin kick to the body by Barnett lands before the two fighters clinch up to end the round. 10-9 Barnett, but could be anything.

Another slow start to the round before Barnett throws a double spin kick that lands and gets a reaction from the crowd. Barnett throws a nice overhand right that lands, but Villante looks slow and goes for a head kick that misses. Barnett throws a wheel kick to the head and drops Villante! He follows him up with some heavy ground and pound strikes and Villante is just covering up and the referee stops it! Huge win for Barnett!

PRELIMS

Ian Garry def Jordan Williams via Knockout, Round 1 (4:59)

Garry goes in for a low kick and Williams counters with a fierce one-two that wobbles him! Garry recovers quickly and goes for another leg kick, but Williams lands another big one-two that snaps his head back. Williams staying patient though and looking to counter more. Nice body kick from Garry lands as he circles on the outside. Williams goes in for a big shot but over-reaches and misses then grabs a leg to engage a takedown against the cage. Garry defends it well and then switches the position briefly to gain some control as they battle in the clinch. Nice knee from Garry in the clinch to the head before a hard right hand lands on the break. Hard left high kick lands from Garry, but Williams drops his hands and continues to walk forward. Garry looking to counter and just about avoiding big strikes. Williams goes in for a big left hand that he slips and then lands a huge right straight that puts Williams out!! He lands a follow up and walks off before the referee waves it off! What a knockout! Wow!

Nassourdine Imavov def Edmen Shahbazyan via Knockout, Round 2 (4:42)

Lots of feinting early on between these two, as Shahbazyan lands a few hard low kicks. Imavov pushes Shahbazyan against the cage with pressure and lands a hard right hand, but Shahbazyan throws another hard low kick. Shahbazyan landing hard low kicks and he buckles Imavov’s leg with one, but Imavov responds with a hard right hand too. Clinch against the cage and Shahbazyan goes for a takedown and eventually gets it, but Imavov sinks in a guillotine! Shahbazyan is able to escape and gets back to the top position before they get back to the feet. Clinch against the cage and Imavov lands a big elbow before Shahbazyan switches the position and sees the round out. 10-9 Shahbazyan for me.

Another hard low kick by Shahbazyan and he’s getting reactions from Imavov for it now. Nice body work from Shahbazyan but Imavov looking to turn the pressure up a little in this second round, as they cinch up against the cage. Shahbazyan goes for a takedown again but Imavov looking for a standing guillotine and it looks really tight but Shahbazyan just about escapes! He drops down for another takedown and once again leaves his neck hanging out and Imavov takes it for a big submission but again Shahbazyan shows great heart to survive and escape! Imavov looks for a takedown and Shahbazyan takes his neck but he is able to switch sides and relieve the pressure. Shahbazyan is exhausted now and Imavov lands some huge elbows! He transitions on the ground into a crucifix position and lands some huge elbows until the referee calls an end to the fight! What a performance!

Chris Curtis def Phil Hawes via Knockout, Round 1 (4:27)

Good start to the fight for Hawes as he steps forward and lands some powerful shots down the middle and some brilliant front kicks. Hawes keeping the pace high and throwing lots of combinations, ripping body kicks and hard right hands to the face. Curtis tries to fire back but Hawes is too quick and too powerful so far, just throwing lots of shots and constantly stepping forward. Hawes lands a nice overhand right and fakes a level change too to keep Curtis guessing. Hawes looks brilliant so far, but Curtis counters a right hand with a left hook to the body. Both guys throw at the same time and Curtis lands a brilliant left hand straight to the chin that wobbles Hawes!! He goes for the finish and lands a knee to the body, then they separate and Hawes just falls to the ground! The referee steps in and it’s all over! What a comeback win!!

Bobby Green def Al Iaquinta via Knockout, Round 1 (2:25)

Fast start to the fight from both guys with Iaquinta stepping forward and looking to box, but Green standing with his hands low and using his great shoulder roll defence. Nice right hand lands from Green as he moves away from Iaquinta and avoids more strikes. Iaquinta steps forward and Green lands a left jab with a straight right hand behind it that drops Iaquinta!! He stuffs a takedown attempt and then rains down ground and pound until the referee steps in! Huge win for Green!

Alex Pereira def Andreas Michailidis via Knockout, Round 2 (0:18)

Both guys starting on the feet with distance and looking to land low kicks. Pereira goes for a one-two but Michailidis ducks under it and shoots in for a takedown. Pereira looks to defend it well but Michailidis overpowers him and gets him down to the mat. He looks to take his back and get some shots in, but Pereira defends it really well and gets back to his feet. The referee separates them after a lack of action, but then Michailidis goes straight back in for the takedown and they remain in a clinch against the cage for the rest of the round. 10-9 Michailidis.

Pereira comes out early with a head kick attempt. Michailidis fakes a level change and Pereira comes up with a flying knee and puts him out!! He follows up with one shot and then the referee ends it! Wow!

MAIN CARD

Justin Gaethje def Michael Chandler via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Gaethje opens up with a low kick that just misses and then Chandler lands a nice left hand. Gaethje slips a right hand and counters with one of his own, then lands a leg kick that wobbles Chandler. Chandler lands a hard leg kick of his own and then they exchange. Chandler lands a huge right hand in the exchange and both men are trying to take the other’s head off. Hard low kicks being exchanged and then Chandler lands a big right hand but Gaethje eats it! Both men land a jab and then Gaethje lands a hard low kick. Huge left hook from Gaethje lands and then Chandler lands a flush one two! Gaethje is hurt and Chandler goes for a flying knee! Chandler goes for the kill and wobbles Gaethje, but he fires back and now Chandler is hurt! Big hooks from Gaethje and Chandler eats it! Gaethje lands some huge uppercuts and Chandler is hurt! Huge right hand from Gaethje again, Chandler is exhausted and shoots for a takedown but Gaethje stuffs it! What a round! I have no idea how to score that!

More of the same in the second as Gaethje looks to counter Chandler’s jab with a hard one-two. Chandler fighting behind his jab now but Gaethje is countering brilliantly. Big right hand from Gaethje and then an uppercut. Hard left hook from Gaethje and then a massive uppercut drops Chandler! He goes for the finish but Chandler grabs onto a single leg and just stalls him to try and recover. Gaethje finally gets back to his feet and starts teeing off on Chandler again. Big uppercut from Chandler but Gaethje eats it, then stuffs a takedown. Chandler kicks off the cage with a superman punch that lands flush, but Gaethje lands a hard leg kick and Chanlder is wobbled. Hard right hand again from Gaethje and then Chandler lands a hard right hand, but seems to poke Gaethje and the referee pauses it. Quick restart and then the end of the round. Gaethje round with the knockdown. Amazing fight.

Hard low kick early in the third from Gaethje again and Chandler is suffering with it. Gaethje’s right hand lands, but then Chandler lands one and has to eat a huge leg kick again. Chandler starts working to the body and then Gaethje lands a big left hook and a hard leg kick. Gaethje follows up with two huge hooks and then Chandler shoots in for a takedown and gets it, but Gaethje scrambles out and ends up on top landing ground and pound. Chandler egging Gaethje on and he’s getting absolutely smashed now. Gaethje throwing huge hooks and Chandler is literally walking through him like a terminator! This is insane! Final minute and both men are exhausted but it’s Gaethje coming forward and that is the end of the night! What an incredible fight. Absolutely amazing. Gaethje wins for me. Insane.

Shane Burgos def Billy Quarantillo via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Fast start to this one as Burgos starts popping his jab and landing some hard low kicks. Nice right hand from Burgos lands and Quarantillo starts to get a little wilder and just misses with a jump knee. Burgos lands a jab, low kick and then grabs a body lock to try and control Quarantillo. A few knees each in the exchange and both guys are landing huge shots now. Burgos slipping with a big right hand, but Quarantillo’s jab is doing damage and busting the nose of Burgos up. Lots of low kicks from Burgos but Quarantillo still coming forward. Both guys trading hooks and Burgos gets the better of it and then Quarantillo shoots in for a takedown. Well defended by Burgos and then they separate. Burgos lands a huge right hand that drops Quarantillo to one knee and then he smashes him while he’s down but he just eats the shot. More back and forth as the round ends. 10-9 Burgos for me.. just.

Huge right hand from Burgos to start the round but Quarantillo returns with a big overhand right of his own. He pressures forward and just misses with a spinning back fist, and then Burgos digs to the body and lands a hard right hand. Quarantillo throwing jabs relentlessly but Burgos slipping some and then lands a hard low kick that drops Quarantillo down again. Quarantillo looking to be physical in the clinch but Burgos holding his own and then lands a nice hook to the body. Clinch again and Quarantillo just seems a physically stronger guy and is having his way here. Burgos lands two big hooks and then a hard low kick as Quarantillo misses with a wild overhand right. Quarantillo goes for a takedown but it’s denied and then they exchange big strikes again. Hard low kick again from Burgos but Quarantillo lands a flush right hand. Burgos starts slamming his shots in and Quarantillo is hurt! Burgos slamming in low kicks and smashing him with right hooks but the buzzer goes! Unbelievable fight! 20-18 Burgos for me but it’s close.

Final round and Burgos wants the kill. He’s stepping forward and landing his right hand, with the low kicks absolutely taking their toll now on Quarantillo who’s struggling to stand. Burgos lands a hard right hand again but Quarantillo clinches up after some failed takedown attempts. Quarantillo looking for some haymakers but Burgos is slipping and countering with short shots and now winning the clinch exchanges against a one-legged Quarantillo. Quarantillo shoots in for a takedown but again Burgos defends it well. Quarantillo trips him but Burgos jumps back up immediately and they start trading strikes again. Burgos chops at the leg again but Quarantillo responds with a big uppercut and then they clinch again exchanging knees. Wild flurry from both men at the end but Burgos should take the W.

Marlon Vera def Frankie Edgar via Knockout, Round 3 (3:50)

Fast start from Edgar as he steps forward with a nice right hand and then a level change to attempt the takedown, but Vera stuffs it. Vera taking the centre and throws a hard body kick that Edgar catches, but he again denies the trip attempt. Edgar bouncing around a lot and Vera staying calm in the centre. Edgar shoots for the takedown scrambles his way to the top and starts looking for ground and pound in the centre of the cage. Edgar lands some short elbows and starts going to the body, but Vera is landing some heavy elbows from the bottom too. Vera defending well from the bottom, but Edgar controlling the position and then lands another big elbow. Big upkicks from Vera land and Edgar drops down to his knee and back into full guard to work the short elbows. Edgar ends the round on top and Vera looking for an upkick. 10-9 Edgar.

Hard low kick from Vera at the start of the second and then a great left hand lands as they exchange strikes. Edgar lands a nice right hand over the top as Vera fires back with a right cross. Edgar changes levels and gets the takedown, but Vera immediately throws hard elbows to the head and lands some upkicks from the bottom too. Edgar stacking him and moving to get into full guard and attack with ground and pound but Vera rolls through and gets back to his feet. Vera denies another takedown from Edgar but he’s starting to walk forward now and trying to cut the cage off. Hard knee from Vera up the middle grazes Edgar and then a big left hand behind it. Vera closing the distance and lands another knee that drops Edgar momentarily. Low kick from Edgar lands hard and then a big right hand lands on the chin of Vera. Vera lands a short elbow that wobbles Edgar and then goes for another big knee right at the end of the round. 19-19 for me!

Both guys a little more hesitant in this final round to start, knowing it’s a close fight. Vera is pushing forward a lot now and forcing Edgar backwards to close distance. Edgar goes for a takedown but Vera stuffs it and makes him eat a nice left uppercut. Hard low kick from Vera lands and then a hard front kick to the body again. Jab lands from Vera but Edgar lands a nice body shot in return. Vera closing distance and he lands a hard left hook. Edgar goes for the takedown and gets it but Vera gets back up to his feet quickly and continues the pressure. Vera throws a HUGE front kick to the face and Edgar is out!!! Wow!!! What a knockout win!

Rose Namajunas def Weili Zhang via Split Decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)

Three hard outside leg kicks land from Zhang early on in the opening round, with Namajunas taking the centre and feeling her opponent out. Zhang lands another low kick, before Namajunas throws a low kick of her own then blitzes forward with some nice strikes to the face. Namajunas stepping forward again and lands another low kick followed by a left hook, before Zhang shoots for a takedown and gets it. Namajunas grappling well and defending her position on her back, but Zhang using her physicality to get on top and land some good strikes. Rose sweeps and gets back to her feet really well. Zhang throwing haymakers but Namajunas quick enough to evade so far and lands a few low kicks for good measure. Weili slips and Namajunas throws a beautiful right hand clean as the round ends. Close, but I think it’s 10-9 Zhang.

Namajunas moving well early in this second round and she lands a nice one-two that ends with a low kick that gets a reaction from Zhang. Namajunas threatening with the high kick from the first fight, but Zhang lands a big combination. Namajunas responds with one of her own though and Zhang just misses with her own head kick. Namajunas lands a left hook as Zhang lands another hard leg kick. Another hard leg kick from Zhang, but Namajunas still moving very well. Zhang lands a big right hand that wobbles Namajunas, who responds with a big head kick! Namajunas goes for another head kick but Zhang catches it and takes her down to the mat. Namajunas lands a big upkick, but then Zhang replies with a big strike from the top position before they get back to the feet. Namajunas with an outside trip for a takedown of her own and she moves into full mount but the buzzer ends her chances of success. Another very close round. 19-19.

Third round and Namajunas feinting a lot and making Zhang miss with a wild hook. Both women trade low kicks and then go back to bouncing and feinting each other. Zhang misses big with a few hooks, but Namajunas trying to counter and just missing herself. Hard low kick from Namajunas and then she slips out of the way of a big right hand. Hard right hand from Namajunas again but Zhang responds with a big low kick and then a body kick. Big exchange and Namajunas lands a left hook and low kick combination that drops Zhang! She looks to finish but Zhang clinches up and recovers against the cage before they trade low kicks again. Overhand right from Zhang but Namajunas counters with a left hook, right hand. Zhang fires back with a huge left hook that lands flush, but Namajunas still there. Zhang goes for a takedown and gets it, now tries to transition to the back. Namajunas is able to defend until the buzzer, but that’s a Zhang round. 29-28.

Championship rounds and they’re going for it! Zhang looks for a hook and Namajunas lands a big right hand that stuns Zhang! Namajunas lands it twice more and then Zhang catches a kick and takes the fight to the mat, but Namajunas with upkicks get back up immediately. Namajunas goes for a right hand but Zhang shoots in and gets the back of Namajunas again. Namajunas staying calm though and defends it well, then sweeps and explodes to get top position. Decend ground and pound strikes from Namajunas on top and Zhang fighting to control her. Namajunas on top and lands a big left hand as the round comes to an end. 38-38 going into the final round for me!

Final round and Zhang going for the leg kicks once again. Zhang goes for a big strike but Namajunas slips it and then flies into a takedown with a big outside trip. Namajunas lands a big strike on the ground and is controlling from top position and Zhang looks very tired. Zhang looking for upkicks but Namajunas able to avoid damage and trying to move to side control now. Zhang gets it back to full guard and is throwing elbows from the bottom as well as upkicks now. Namajunas however staying calm and controlling position as we enter the final minute. Nice elbows from the bottom but then Namajunas stands, lands a leg kick to a downed Zhang and then a big left hand to go back into guard to see the round out on top. That should see her retain the belt! What a fight!

Kamaru Usman def Colby Covington via Unanimous Decision (48-47 x2, 49-46)

Early jab lands for Usman with both fighters far more cautious in the opening moments of this fight than their first. Usman pressuring forward and forcing Covington backwards, who just misses with a wild left hand. Covington goes for a takedown and Usman immediately rolls through it, takes the controlling position and then they get to the feet. Hard left hand lands for Covington but Usman eats it and looking to land his jab again. Usman steps in to strike but Covington moves and lands a good left hand. Usman shoots for the takedown as Covington looks to blitz, but Covington able to get back up immediately too. Covington throwing a straight left well, but Usman eating it and fires back with a right hand of his own. Nice left by Covington again as the round ends. Close one, 10-9 Covington.

Usman opens the round up with a nice left hook but Covington staying calm and fighting a slower pace than either usually fight at. Covington goes for a left hand and Usman clinches up, with boy guys trading body shots before they separate. Big body shot from Usman and Colby just misses with a left hand. Hard low kick from Covington but Usman responds with a body kick and a jab. Big right hand from Covington lands and then he changes levels for a takedown, but Usman defends it really well against the cage and muscles his way out of it. Usman by far the more aggressive so far and leading the fight. Usman lands a big left hook that drops Covington! Colby gets back up but Usman lands another hard left hand that drops him again. Covington grabbed on to a leg and survived 15 seconds until the bell. Mad. 19-19 for me, but Usman could be 20-18 up.

Round three and Usman taking the centre again and staying patient. Using the jab well again but then Covington lands a big one-two that lands clean. Usman pawing away with the jab as both guys fake takedown attempts. Covington lands a body kick but Usman just walking him down and lands a nice right hand. Covington lands a big left hand clean and then goes for a takedown but Usman defends it with ease and lands some ground strikes from the front headlock position. Big body kick from Usman and then a straight right hand. Both guys trading strikes and Usman lands a nice right hand before going back to his jab. Covington lands a few big left hands and then finally secures a late takedown with a trip and a few strikes before the buzzer. 29-28 Usman.

Championship rounds now and Usman seems to have lost a little focus. Covington landing his left hand well and clean. Nice jab from Covington before Usman throws a wild hook to the body. Covington lands a left hand and just misses with an uppercut. Covington lands the big left hand again and then follows up with a jab, right hand and left hook again! Usman stays calm though and responds with some big right hands of his own and this is becoming more like the first fight now. Usman lands a big right hand but Covington now taking the centre. Covington lands a big body kick and then three or four big left hands that have Usman wobbled. Covington goes for a takedown but Usman defends against the cage. Nice strikes from Covington and then a big left hand wobbles Usman right on the buzzer!! Wow! 38-38 going into the final round!

Final round and Usman looking to work the body, but Covington looking to land his left hand again. Usman lands a nice right hand before Covington lands two big lefts and Usman starts wobbling again! Covington shoots for a takedown and Usman stuffs it well, then lands a great jab once they’re back on the feet. Head kick from Usman lands but then Covington lands a nice left hand again. Covington goes for a head kick but Usman slips and then Covington goes for a takedown again. Usman defends and keeps it against the cage. Covington lands a big elbow as they break but Usman stepping forward in the final minute with his jab. Usman looks to evade a strike but gets a finger in the eye accidentally with 40 seconds left to pause the action. Head kick from Usman and they trade strikes until the final buzzer. What a fight. Who knows what the score is.

UFC 268: Usman vs Covington 2 – Main card predictions

An absolute banger of a card takes place from Madison Square Garden this weekend as UFC 268 finally is upon us.

A welterweight championship rematch headlines the card as Kamaru Usman looks to lap the division when he takes on Colby Covington in the main event, while Rose Namajunas is looking to bring some stability to strawweight but she’ll have to dispatch of Weili Zhang once again in the co-main.

We also have violence guaranteed in the main card opener between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler in a lightweight contender bout.

Last week at UFC 267 we had a great night, picking 12/14 fights correctly with four perfect picks to move us up to 458/716 (63.97%) with 194 perfect picks (42.36%).

We’ll look to continue that good momentum with this 14-fight card and after starting off with the early prelims here, we completed our prelim picks here and now move on to the main card.


Justin Gaethje (22-3) vs Michael Chandler (22-6) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Not only my pick for fight of the night, but arguably and potentially the fight of the year opens up the UFC 268 main card. Gaethje is coming off his lightweight title shot defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 last October, following a four-fight win streak before that. Chandler is 1-1 in the UFC after KO’ing Dan Hooker at UFC 257 before losing his lightweight title shot to Charles Oliveira at UFC 262.

Gaethje is a straight up brawler, with persistent forward pressure and amazing punching power with a brilliant wrestling pedigree in his background too. Chandler is also a brilliant wrestler with a solid background, with powerful punching and solid hooks also. This fight is sure to be fireworks and that means Gaethje has the advantage.

His constant pressure and amazing cardio is brilliant to watch and he has genuine one-punch knockout power. He has great combinations and his leg kicks are legendary. With that said though, Chandler is arguably a more willing wrestler and that is his path to victory. Chandler could throw up a shock, but I can’t look past Gaethje earning yet another highlight reel knockout win.
PICK – Justin Gaethje via Knockout, Round 1

Shane Burgos (13-3) vs Billy Quarantillo (16-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very fun featherweight fight next between two guys looking to become contenders in the division. Burgos is on a two-fight losing streak after a decision loss to Josh Emmett before getting KO’d by Edson Barboza at UFC 262. Quarantillo suffered defeat to Gavin Tucker at UFC 256, but bounced back with a KO win over Gabriel Benitez at UFC Vegas 31.

Burgos is a very, very good boxer and is up there with Rob Font and Max Holloway as the best strikers in the division. Quarantillo is a fan favourite who is a brilliant cardio fighter, using his gas tank as a weapon to go along with his solid striking skills. This is set to be a striking fan’s paradise, with both guys going toe-to-toe and using their excellent technique to get one over their opponent.

Quarantillo has a jiu-jitsu advantage but Burgos’ wrestling is good enough to avoid that even coming into the equation and on the feet, I think he has the edge. He has big power, great combinations and excellent body work so I think he claims a fun decision win that gets fans up on their feet throughout.
PICK – Shane Burgos via Decision

Frankie Edgar (24-9-1) vs Marlon Vera (17-7-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very exciting fight in the bantamweight division between two guys looking to become contenders. Edgar opened his 135lbs career with a decision win over Pedro Munhoz at UFC Vegas 7, before a jump-knee KO defeat to Cory Sandhagen at UFC Vegas 18. Vera in the other corner has alternated wins and losses recently, KO’ing Sean O’Malley at UFC 252, then dropped a decision against Jose Aldo at UFC Vegas 17 before bouncing back with a win over Davey Grant at UFC Vegas 29.

Edgar is a legend of the game, previously holding the title at 155lbs, who has tremendous wrestling and an excellent ground game. Vera is a fighter who stylistically is relatively similar, with excellent ground game and powerful striking on the feet too with heavy leg kicks. This is a really even match up, but ultimately father time may have finally caught up with Edgar.

At 40-years-old now and with four defeats in his last six, it’s hard to see him claiming victory here. Vera can match him in the wrestling, is probably the better striker and has the output and cardio to go hard for 15 minutes so I think he claims an important decision victory.
PICK – Marlon Vera via Decision



Rose Namajunas (11-4) vs Weili Zhang (21-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Without a doubt the hardest fight to pick on the entire card is the women’s strawweight title fight. Namajunas has won her last two-in-a-row, defeating Jessica Andrade before KO’ing Weili Zhang at UFC 261, snapping the Chinese fighter’s 21-fight winning streak.

Namajunas is a very well-rounded fighter, with much improved striking over the years and good power in her punches and kicks. She is also a very good grappler, with half of her career wins coming via submission. Zhang is a powerhouse of a fighter with ten knockout wins but also good wrestling and submissions herself. It’s a very well-rounded and evenly matched fight, which makes it so hard to pick.

In their first fight at UFC 261, I predicted Zhang to use her physicality and power to grind away and earn a stoppage. But after that fight, it’s hard to go against Namajunas. She has a speed advantage, uses her kicks brilliantly and can more than hold her own on the ground so I think she’ll be able to go 25 minutes and hang with Zhang to earn yet another win and cement herself as one of the best ever at this weight.
PICK – Rose Namajunas via Decision

Kamaru Usman (19-1) vs Colby Covington (16-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The grudge match of all grudge matches at welterweight as the champ defends his title in a rematch from 2019. Usman is on an 18-fight win streak including a fifth-round KO of Covington in his first title defence at UFC 245. He’s since beaten Masvidal twice and KO’d Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 too. Covington has only fought once since, stopping Tyron Woodley at UFC Vegas 11 in September 2020.

Usman and Covington are both primary wrestlers, but have great volume and striking on the feet too which led to zero takedown attempts during their first fight. Usman has however greatly improved his striking since that fight, with two KO’s in three fights since. Covington went back to his pressuring wrestling against Woodley to earn a dominant win, but whether he can implement that style against Usman is hard to say.

Colby is unlikely to get into a straight striking war again after he got his jaw broken in their first fight, which means he’ll probably try to wrestle more. But Usman is the physically stronger fighter and arguably the superior wrestler, so it’s really tough to see how Covington can get a win. Usman’s striking is powerful and greatly improved under Trevor Wittman, and his wrestling is still unmatched in the division (maybe the company?). Ultimately, Usman is the best and won’t lose this title until he retires probably so I think he earns the big win yet again to cement his legacy as one of the best ever.
PICK – Kamaru Usman via Knockout, Round 3

UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs Volkov – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Ode Osbourne def Jerome Rivera via Knockout, Round 1 (0:26)

Both fighters come out and meet in the centre and Rivera throws a high left kick. Osbourne rolls the kick, catching the kick on his shoulder and lands a huge left hand straight down the pipe! Rivera is down, Osbourne lands a couple of strikes on the ground but it’s over inside 30 seconds! Wow!

Timur Valiev def Martin Day via Unanimous Decision (30-25 x2, 30-26)

Good start to the round for Valiev as he comes out and attacks the legs early with a series of kicks. Day counters another leg kick with a short combo in the pocket but Valiev steps out of the way and then goes for a single leg takedown. He takes the back against the cage and has a body lock before dragging Day down to the mat, only for Day to get back up quickly. Valiev finally gets the fight down and stops the scramble attempt to end up in top position. Some nice short elbows from Valiev but Day is defending well as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Valiev.

Valiev opens the second round with some more leg kicks, before a nice one-two and a takedown have the fight on the ground in the centre of the octagon. Valiev passes into side control and Day tries to get back to his feet but it’s prevented well with some solid ground and pound. Valiev completely dominant right now with constant pressure on the ground, staying busy and landing shots to the body and head of Day. Complete domination for the entire second round, could be a 10-8 round. 20-17 Valiev.

Final round and Day starts throwing some kicks and a few strikes, knowing he needs a finish in this round. It doesn’t last long though as Valiev gets another takedown early in the round and controls the positions once again. More ground and pound strikes on the ground as Day tries to get back up, but Valiev is a nuisance and keeps a body lock and just drags him up and down as much as possible. Valiev switches between half-guard, mount and side control for the rest of the round for a dominant decision victory. 30-26 Valiev.

Seungwoo Choi def Youssef Zalal via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Tactical start to this fight from both guys as Choi takes the centre, but Zalal is happy to circle on the outside and jab while avoiding heavier shots. Choi throws a few big head kicks but Zalal slips them relatively easily. Zalal shoots for the takedown and gets in on the hips but Choi steps over the trip attempt and they end up tied up against the cage. Zalal continues to look for the takedown against the cage but they’re at a stalemate and the referee separates them. Another clinch against the cage as the round comes to an end and Choi gets a takedown right on the horn. 10-9 Zalal for me but could go either way.

Second round starts with an exchange of kicks before another clinch against the cage, as Zalal looks for the takedown again. He gets a single leg but Choi defends really well against the cage until the referee separates them again. Body kick and one-two from Choi lands clean as he starts to come forward more. He pushes forward with another combo before the clinch again against the cage, before Choi gets Zalal down to the mat before letting him straight back up. A few more exchanges before the end of the round, this one more clear cut in Choi’s favour. 19-19 or 20-18.

Choi starts the final round strong, as he looks to have Zalal beat in all areas right now. They clinch against the cage again and Zalal finally gets the fight to the ground and goes straight for a guillotine. It looks tight as he rolls through but Choi eventually turns into it and ends up on top in guard. Choi eventually works his way back up to the feet but Zalal goes for a single leg takedown again and gets Choi down against the cage. Every time Zalal gets him down in this round he pops straight back up, refusing to accept bottom position as we enter the final 40 seconds. Round comes to an end with a clinch against the cage and it will likely be a Choi decision win. 29-28 Choi.

Lara Procopio def Molly McCann via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Fast start to this fight as McCann comes out throwing leg kicks and punch combinations early, while Procopio looks to walk her to the cage and go for a takedown. After a battle against the cage, Procopio gets a beautiful trip and ends up in top position halfway through the round. Procopio dominating on the ground and has McCann’s neck tight to control posture, but McCann fights out of that position, although she eventually pushes into full mount. McCann gives up the back and Procopio looks for an armbar before transitioning to the back and looking for a choke but the horn goes. Dominant from Procopio, 10-9.

McCann comes out aggressively again and looks to keep Procopio with her back against the cage, but a clinch and takedown attempt ends with McCann on her back. Procopio looks to transition into different positions but McCann throws up an armbar! Procopio looks to stack her to escape but McCann rolls through and locks it in tight! She has a full extension but Procopio refuses to tap and eventually is able to escape the position! Eventually the women get back to their feet against the cage and then Procopio lands another takedown inside the final minute as both women trade shots before the horn. 19-19.

Final round and Procopio is breathing heavy, but she still engages with the clinch situation against the cage looking for a takedown. She gets the fight down to the ground in scrappy fashion and then quickly transitions looking for a heel hook. McCann rolls through twice and escapes, but Procopio immediately gets back on her and brings McCann back down to the ground a further three times just using her size advantage. 30 seconds to go and Procopio takes the back of McCann and starts throwing punches to see the round out and take a decision win. 29-28 Procopio.

PRELIMS

Karol Rosa def Joselyne Edwards via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

An immediate shot and takedown from Rosa gets the fight down to the ground and the Brazilian into a strong position. She sits in half guard comfortably, throwing some nice ground and pound and just completely controlling the fight. Rosa moves into full mount and starts teeing off before Edwards throws her legs up and rolls through to get back to the feet. Both women exchange shots on the feet with Rosa beating up the legs as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Rosa.

Rosa comes out aggressively again with some heavy leg kicks, and Edwards buckles under the power of the kicks too. Rosa steps in and clinches before the separate and Rosa throws more kicks. Edwards charges forwards with a combination of hooks that land clean but she eats them well and comes forward with some shots of her own. Edwards comes forward again with a rush but Rosa gets hold of her and the fight goes back to the ground with Rosa on top. Rosa’s mouth is bleeding heavily but she’s staying on top and landing ground and pound well as the round ends. 20-18 Rosa.

Final round and after one exchange on the feet Rosa goes straight for the takedown and secures it. After some ground and pound and some grappling on the ground Rosa gets back to the feet herself and lets Edwards up, before they clinch up against the cage again. Edwards battling to stay on her feet as Rosa looks to wear on her with her physical advantage. Rosa drags Edwards down to the ground with under 90 seconds remaining and controls the position for the remainder of the round before ending with a big flurry of punches to take a decision win. 30-27 Rosa.

Devonte Smith def Justin Jaynes via Knockout (Doctor Stoppage), Round 2 (3:38)

Cagey start to the fight as both men look to feel each other out before committing to any big shots early on. Smith lands some nice jabs that rock Jaynes a little, but Jaynes is throwing tight left hook counters that are just missing too. Smith’s jab is working well to keep Jayne’s away from him but then Jaynes lands a nice right hand that wobbles Smith. Jaynes is covering up from the jab and then Smith lands a nice left followed by a kick that Jaynes catches. Smith lands some big shots while his leg is still in the air and Jaynes is rocked! Smith throws some knees and a right hand but Jaynes weathers the storm and the round ends. 10-9 Smith.

Jaynes comes out in the second round and goes straight for a takedown and they clinch up against the cage. Jaynes goes to sweep him but Smith explodes and reverses the position to end up on top in side control. He throws some nice knees to the body and some short punches to cause Jaynes some problems. Smith passes into full mount with ease and starts raining down punches before taking the back and looks for the rear naked choke but Jaynes reverses and escapes. Smith explodes back to his feet quickly and tells the referee he wants it back on the feet. Referee pauses the fight with Jaynes’ eye swelled shut and the doctor waves it off. TKO win for Smith!

MAIN CARD

Danilo Marques def Mike Rodriguez via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (4:51)

Immediate takedown from Marques as he shoots in for a single leg and uses lots of movement before eventually tripping him down. Rodriguez fighting hard to get back to his feet against the cage, but Marques keeping his hands locked up and eventually gets him back down once again. Marques working hard to keep Rodriguez down and he’s tying up the legs to do so. Rodriguez gets back to the feet but once again Marques drags him back down. Rodriguez gets back to the feet with 15 seconds to go and throws a few knees and body shots but he looks exhausted. 10-9 Marques.

Second round starts with the two exchanging feints on the feet, with Rodriguez landing a nice low kick. Marques fakes a couple of takedown attempts before landing an overhand right and then finally getting the big takedown. Marques passes into full mount against the cage and he starts raining down big ground and pound punches. Both men look exhausted as Rodriguez gets back to a knee, but Marques keeps landing big punches and then takes the back with both hooks in. He rolls to the back and sinks in a rear naked choke and puts Rodriguez to sleep. Wonderful performance from Marques.

Beneil Dariush def Diego Ferreira via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

A crazy pace to start this fight as Dariush comes out firing with strikes before shooting for a takedown. Ferreira defends it by pulling guard with an omoplata before exploding out back to his feet, but Dariush looks for a takedown again against the cage. When he can’t get it he separates and the two start trading bombs! Both men land huge shots on each other but Dariush keeps coming forward. Big knee to the body and Ferreira goes down! Dariush looks for ground and pound but Ferreira ties him up on the ground and is able to ride it out. Final 30 seconds and they get back to the feet, and Ferreira lands a big right hand clean. Dariush returns with a right of his own before a front kick to the face from Ferreira lands flush. What a round! 10-9 Dariush.

Second round starts as the first ended with both men throwing big strikes once again. Dariush looking a bit more tired than Ferreira, so he shoots for a takedown and then gets a trip against the cage and lands on top. Ferreira gets back up but Dariush puts him straight back down and starts to control on top. Ferreira defending but the pressure of Dariush is causing him a big problem and Dariush ends the round controlling position from the top. 20-18.

An insane pace continues into the third round as Ferreira starts to use his footwork more to avoid a brawl and keep out of the way of the takedown attempts. Dariush lands a couple of punches himself and misses a takedown before a kick lands on the cup of Ferreira and causes a short pause. Halfway through the round and we haven’t hit the ground yet but Dariush lands a beautiful one-two to the chin. Ferreira catches a kick and looks to put Dariush on the ground but a great scramble means they both get back to the feet and start swinging for the fences. Dariush shoots for a takedown with a minute remaining and gets it, and takes the back with a body lock as he sinks the hooks in but Ferreira shakes him off and the two scramble to the horn. Great fight, 30-27 Dariush for me though.

Alexandre Pantoja def Manel Kape via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Fun start to the fight as Pantoja looks to get right in Kape’s face early but ‘Starboy’ showing his amazing speed and slipping all attacks with his hands low. Kape making Pantoja miss a lot but barely throwing any strikes of his own as we move through the round, while Pantoja is trying to make reads and can’t. Kape’s jab is landing nicely when he throws it but just not enough volume. Pantoja lands a nice body kick and then Kape goes for a cartwheel kick that misses and Pantoja ends up on top. A couple of big strikes land while Kape is on the ground but he gets back up and ends the round with a takedown attempt of his own. 10-9 Pantoja.

Pantoja comes forward in the second round and throwing lots of kicks, and while Kape isn’t getting hurt or the sheer activity is giving Pantoja the rounds. Kape lands a nice one-two but Pantoja returns with some body kicks. Right hand lands from Pantoja but Kape returns fire with a nice one-two of his own. Kape trying to up the pace a little but still not throwing enough to trouble his opponent as we enter the final minute. Kape throws a head kick, follows it up with a left hand and then a takedown, but Pantoja rolls through and gets back to the feet quickly. Better round for Kape and it’s hard to score so could go either way. 19-19 for me.

Slower start to the round by both men in this one as Kape continues to feint and bounce, while Pantoja is almost waiting so he can counter. Nice left hook from Kape lands but Pantoja returns fire with a body kick. Leg kick from Pantoja misses and Kape lands a nice left hand in return before Pantoja lands a head kick. Kape not showing much urgency as we enter the final 90 seconds. Kape lands a left hand that troubles Pantoja and he follows it up with a nice combo. Kape shoots for a takedown and gets it but Pantoja rolls out again and the fight comes to an end. 29-28 either way for me.

Clay Guida def Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A super fun start to this fight as Johnson and Guida meet in the middle of the cage and start trading bombs! Johnson lands a few nice shots before Guida responds with a right hand that lands on the eye and causes Johnson big problems. Guida keeps marching forward and lands more shots with the right hand before he shoots for the takedown and eventually gets him down. Johnson manages to get back to the feet and they clinch against the cage and exchange knees. Guida’s right hook is causing Johnson problems but he’s firing back with nice hooks of his own. Fun round, 10-9 Guida.

Second round continues at a frantic pace as Guida goes straight for a takedown this time against the cage. Johnson battles really well to stay up on his feet before breaking away and landing a nice knee, but Guida is relentless with his pressure and is forcing Johnson to grind. Several attempts are denied by Johnson between now and the end of the round as Johnson looks very tired when the horn goes. 20-18 Guida.

Third round and Guida comes firing out once again with crazy pressure. Johnson circles and looks to land a jab but Guida is throwing hooks and uppercuts, then lands a big knee before shooting for a takedown. They clinch up against the cage before Guida gets him down before taking his back. He locks up a body triangle and rolls him over, then looks to sink in a rear naked choke. Johnson fights the hands and breaks the grip on the hands but can’t break the body triangle and the horn sounds for the end of the fight. Clay Guida should take the win here, 30-27.

Cory Sandhagen def Frankie Edgar via Knockout, Round 1 (0:28)

Edgar comes out into the centre with Sandhagen and throws a leg kick as ‘Sandman’ circles on the outside. Edgar steps in with a looping left and SANDHAGEN WITH A FLYING KNEE!!!! EDGAR IS OUT COLD!!! OH MY GOD!!

Alexander Volkov def Alistair Overeem via Knockout, Round 2 (2:06)

Odd start to the round as Volkov throws a leg kick and Overeem seems to freeze and shell up against the cage, allowing Volkov to land some shots. Volkov continues to step forward with leg kicks and Overeem looks tense, but he explodes with two heavy left hands that land clean. Both men trade shots at the same time but as Volkov lands Overeem loses his balance and falls. Volkov jumps on him to land ground and pound but Overeem gets back to his feet quickly and they break. Volkov walking Overeem down against the cage and unloads a big combo as he covers up before the round comes to an end. 10-9 Volkov.

Volkov starts landing some nice jabs and Overeem is struggling to cope with the length and power. Volkov’s strikes landing through the guard of Overeem and he is busting him up bad. Overeem looks for a takedown but Volkov stops it easily and starts landing more shots. Overeem is badly hurt but he’s trying to fight back. Volkov lands a big left hand and Overeem falls to his knees and the referee waves it off to prevent further damage. What a performance from Volkov!

UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs Volkov – Main Card Predictions

The UFC returns to the APEX in Las Vegas for the first time in 2021 after a successful trip to Fight Island kicked the year off.

Alistair Overeem looks to continue his final run en route to UFC gold when he takes on Alexander Volkov in the heavyweight division in the main event, with both men knowing they need a win to enter the top five conversations.

In the co-main, Cory Sandhagen takes on the legendary Frankie Edgar in the bantamweight division with both guys believing a win could set them up with a title shot against the winner of UFC 259’s title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.

In a 13 fight card, we’ve split it up into three to break down and predict. We’ve already predicted half the prelims here and the second half here, so now we move onto the main card.

Last time out we went 4/10 at UFC 257 with three perfect picks for a bad night, to take us to 216/337 (64.09%) with 96 (44.44%) perfect picks. We look to improve that record with this card.

Diego Ferreira (17-2) vs Beneil Dariush (19-4-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A really fun fight in the lightweight division between two of the dark horses in the 155lbs division. Diego Ferreira has won his last six, defeating Anthony Pettis by submission last time out in January 2020, while Dariush has won his last five in a row including a spinning back fist against Scott Holtzman last time out in August.

These two met seven years ago, with Dariush coming out on tap in a grappling match essentially for a decision win. Since then, Ferreira has become a top pressure fighter with good punching power too. Dariush’s striking has improved too in that time, but not like Ferreira’s. That said, he still maintains the grappling advantage so Ferreira will look to keep the fight standing. It should be a fantastic fight between these two and a contender for fight of the night, and I’m backing another win for Dariush.
PICK – Beneil Dariush via Decision

Cody Stamann (19-3-1) vs Askar Askar (11-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A short notice fight between two bantamweights fighting at featherweight, as Cody Stamann takes on highly rated UFC debutant against Askar Askar.

Stamann went 1-1 in 2020, beating Brian Kelleher in June at UFC 250 before losing on Fight Island against Jimmie Rivera, while Askar won his last fight in the LFA with a decision victory over Kevin Wirth in October. Stamann is a straight up wrestler, who looks to get the fight down to the ground early and control from the top position for decision wins while Askar is a striker who has great leg kicks and good power punches, but is also a fantastic wrestler looking for top control.

It’s really going to be a battle of who can cope better with the pressure and it’s hard to go against Stamann considering the level of competition he has beaten previously in comparison. I think it’ll go the distance and will be well contested, but Stamann will take the win.
PICK – Cody Stamann via Decision

Alexandre Pantoja (22-5) vs Manel Kape (15-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An incredibly fun fight in the flyweight division between two fighters looking to get into the title conversation at 125lbs at some point in 2021. Pantoja was expected to be one of the lead contenders in 2020 but two defeats in his last three have pushed him down the pecking order, including his decision loss to Askar Askarov on Fight Island in July. Manel Kape was the Rizin champion before moving to the UFC and served as the back up for the UFC 256 title fight and is tipped for a huge 2021.

Pantoja is a really good kickboxer but an even better submission grappler, while Kape is a fantastic boxer with incredible footwork. They have a a common opponent, where Kape was beaten and Pantoja strangled him within a round but Kape has improved immensely since then. Kape has a speed and power advantage in this fight and if he can deny Pantoja’s takedowns he should be able to get the win on the feet in a potential fight of the night.
PICK – Manel Kape via Decision

Michael Johnson (20-16) vs Clay Guida (35-17) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Two veterans of the UFC octagon meet in the lightweight division as Michael Johnson looks to return to the win column after losing six of his last eight and each of his last three. He’ll take on the legendary Clay Guida who has lost three of his last four including both of his last two, including against Bobby Greene back in June 2020.

Johnson has struggled in the past against pressure fighters but has had incredible knockout power in his hands throughout his career. That said, his last knockout win came all the way back in 2016 when he stopped Dustin Poirier. Guida is a grinder who loves to use his volume punches to apply pressure and get takedowns with his wrestling. Guida has the wrestling advantage while Johnson’s power is greater, but stylistically it’s not a fun fight for Johnson. He doesn’t like being forced to fight at a pace and without a knockout in nearly five years, I don’t know if he has that one punch power anymore. Guida will overwhelm him with volume and score takedowns to take a decision win.
PICK – Clay Guida via Decision

Cory Sandhagen (13-2) vs Frankie Edgar (23-8-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

This fight could easily be a main event in it’s own right, as two bantamweight contenders face off looking for title contention with a win. Sandhagen bounced back from an embarrassing 88 second defeat to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 250 with a spinning heel kick knockout over Marlon Moraes. Edgar bounced back from defeat in the featherweight title fight with a win in his bantamweight debut over Pedro Munhoz in a close fought fight.

Sandhagen is a lengthy striker, with fantastic jabs and a great kicking game while Edgar is a wrestler by trade who can more than hold his own in the striking realm too. He’s finally fighting in his natural weight class too, after being a champion at 155lbs before becoming a contender at 145lbs. It’s a really interesting fight, because Sandhagen has shown a flaw in his game by being taken down in the past but Edgar has been wobbled before by clean strikes and isn’t exactly a spring chicken anymore.

It’s a really fun fight and one that I don’t see ending early, but I think Sandhagen can use his length and strikes to outland Edgar and keep off the mat for a decision win.
PICK – Cory Sandhagen via Decision

Alistair Overeem (47-18) vs Alexander Volkov (32-8) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Main event time and it’s a fight that will shape up the heavyweight division going forward. Alistair Overeem has been open in saying this is his final run in the UFC, and he is currently on a run of four wins in his last five with the defeat pretty controversial. Volkov is in a similar boat, having won three of his last five with one of those defeats being a knockout to Derrick Lewis with 11 seconds left after dominating the entire fight.

Overeem beat Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai most recently, while Volkov was beaten by Curtis Blaydes back in June before beating Walt Harris with a knockout at UFC 254. Both men are excellent kickboxers with power in their hands and feet. Volkov has struggled with takedowns in the past, something Overeem will likely try to exploit but Volkov has shown an ability to get back up to his feet. Both are great strikers and they match up really, really well.

‘Demolition Man’ has got great ground and pound but also legit submission skills and I think the takedown ability and change in style over recent years will lead him to getting a win once again, potentially via stoppage with that ground and pound.
PICK – Alistair Overeem via Decision

Cory Sandhagen looking to end Frankie Edgar’s final run at UFC gold

It’s a common consensus among MMA fans that when Frankie Edgar finally decides to hang up his gloves and retire, he will go down as one of the all-time greats.

A former lightweight champion and a serious contender at featherweight, Edgar is now finally fighting at his most “natural” weight class according to many, at 135lbs at bantamweight.

After a long awaited debut against Pedro Munhoz saw him fight well to a split decision win, he will now take on ‘Sandman’ Cory Sandhagen as both men look to put their name in the hate for title contention.

Sandhagen was in the mix previously, having racked up five wins in a row after making his debut with the company back in January 2018, before falling to the now number one contender Aljamain Sterling in humiliating fashion.

The two met at UFC 250 knowing the winner would get to face the winner of Petr Yan and Jose Aldo in a title shot, and Sterling swarmed Sandhagen immediately and secured a submission victory in just 88 seconds.

He bounced back on Fight Island in October though, with a vicious knockout win over Marlon Moraes in round two of their main event clash. But a fight against Edgar is arguably the biggest of his career so far.

Having come so far to get the Sterling fight and then failing miserably, he did better than many expected when he stopped Moraes the way he did. He looked light on his feet, aggressive in the striking exchanges and never needed to use his excellent grappling skills either.

He seems to have rounded his game out well, but Edgar has made a career off beating guys that people believed he had no right beating. When you stand them together side by side, this is another of those fights.

But Sandhagen is keen to not only get back in the title picture, but make some noise while he’s there. Wins and losses are part of MMA, but at 28-years-old he will feel there is no time like the present to be challenging for the top honour in the 135lbs weight class in the sport.

Edgar wants another crack at UFC glory having failed three times to become the featherweight champion, but he’s walked himself into the most stacked division in the company. Everyone in the top ten has genuine championship credentials and could all beat each other on different days with the style match ups.

This is one of the better match ups in terms of style for Sandhagen and he knows it. He’s bigger, stronger, faster, hits harder and as good of a grappler against the more experienced Edgar.

A win for ‘Sandman’ cements his spot as the number two ranked fighter and almost guarantees that he gets the next shot at the title – unless TJ Dillashaw gets granted an immediate rematch.

But not only does it help him, it likely ends any chance of Edgar wearing gold in the UFC ever again.

What next for TJ Dillashaw?

The wait is over, TJ Dillashaw is available to re-enter the octagon once again.

The former UFC bantamweight champion of the world has seen his two-year suspension from competition completed, after he tested positive after fighting against Henry Cejudo for the flyweight title back in 2019.

Since then Cejudo moved up to bantamweight, won the title, defended it and retired, then Petr Yan won the vacant belt. It’s been a whirlwind of a two years for the UFC’s 135lbs weight class, but Dillashaw believes that he is the uncrowned champ after never losing the belt.

Despite admitting to cheating to help him cut weight for his fight with Cejudo, Dillashaw is now eligible to return to action and many have thrown their names into the hat to welcome him back to the division.

The fight on everyone’s lips right now is Jose Aldo. The Brazilian former featherweight champion has come down to bantamweight while Dillashaw has been away and had mixed success. He lost his debut to Marlon Moraes, although many had him winning on the scorecards, before being granted a title shot for the vacant title and being knocked out by Petr Yan.

He returned to action with a win over Marlon Vera at the back end of 2020 and called out Dillashaw for his next bout and it’s a fight that makes sense.

Two huge names, both looking to get back into contention for the title and on a similar timeline for a bout. It could work.

Rob Font also got a big win on the same card, knocking out Marlon Moraes viciously in the first round of their fight before calling out Dillashaw himself. Font made waves with the win and moved up into contender status and believes a fight against the former champ will boost him into the conversation more.

Dillashaw however doesn’t agree with either of those bouts, as he feels he deserves to get straight back in the cage in a title fight.

That would mean he would fight the winner of the Yan vs Aljamain Sterling bout that is currently scheduled for UFC 259 in March. The two were scheduled to fight in December originally but Yan was forced to withdraw following visa complications owing to COVID-19.

With that fight now ready to happen, if Dillashaw wants to wait for the winner then we likely won’t be seeing him in action until the third quarter of the year. There is also no guarantee that the UFC give him that fight, with the division absolutely stacked with talent right now.

His best bet in my eyes, would be a fight with the winner of the co-main event at UFC Vegas 18 between Cory Sandhagen and Frankie Edgar.

The two are due to meet after winning their last bouts relatively comfortably, when Sandhagen knocked out Moraes in the second round in a stunning performance, while Edgar came away with a split decision win against Pedro Munhoz.

With both men coming off a win having lost the previous bout, a win in this one alone likely won’t be enough to earn them a title shot unless it’s a highly spectacular performance. The best bet for them is likely to be a clash with Dillashaw after this fight, to set up a number one contender bout for the winner of Yan vs Sterling.

With Cody Garbrandt calling for an Aldo fight before moving down to flyweight to challenge for a title, Font can fight with Moraes to keep the division moving.

That leaves the top of the division all matched up and with the biggest star in the weight class returning for a high stakes fight. Make it happen Dana.

UFC Fight Island 5 Fallout – Bantamweight Shaping Up, Greatest KO Ever?

One of the wildest cards of the year so far took place this past weekend and the UFC bantamweight division is finally shaping up for 2021.

Marlon Moraes took on Cory Sandhagen in the main event with title picture implications, and a masterful performance from the US native on Fight Island saw him come away with a spinning wheel kick TKO victory in the second round.

It was a highly impressive performance from ‘The Sandman,’ who was bouncing back from a humiliating submission loss to Aljamain Sterling back in June. He used his range well to from distance and avoid damage from the Muay-Thai black belt.

It was a sign of confidence in the second round that he told the world that Moraes had a broken orbital bone just moments before he knocked him out. He was so comfortable in the cage with one of the best strikers in the division that he decided to play mind games in the middle of a fight.

Following his huge win, he acknowledged that he is behind Aljamain Sterling in the pecking order for the title fight against Petr Yan and decided to call out two former champions instead. With disgraced former champion TJ Dillashaw due back from his suspension in January and Frankie Edgar firmly in position in the 135lbs division following his win over Pedro Munhoz, Sandhagen sees his path to a title fight coming after a win against one of those two.

It likely means he won’t fight again this year which gives him plenty of time to start training towards those potential bouts and focus on whoever wins between the inevitable clash between Petr Yan and Sterling.

I can’t let this card go by without mentioning the most incredible knockout, potentially ever, that took place on the card too.

During the Impa Kasanganay vs Joaquin Buckley fight, both men were throwing heat throughout the opening round. Buckley came out with strong hooks and wobbled Kasanganay a few times but the undefeated fighter looked to come back with body shots, using his long limbs to try and keep distance. In the second round though Buckley threw a head-kick that Kasanganay caught but with his foot still in Kasanganay’s hand, he spun off the floor and hit a heel kick straight to the jaw of his opponent. Buckley moved away as Kasanganay crashed to the canvas already unconscious with his eyes rolling back in his head.

It was a stunning knockout that caught the eye of the entire world and Buckley will now look to ride that momentum in the 185lbs division as he looks to push into the Top 15 rankings.

There were several impressive performances on this card so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on all the fighters that were involved going forward.

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.