The UFC returns from a two week break to make history with the companies first ever card from Paris, France.
The historic card is headlined by hometown heavyweight favourite Ciryl Gane, as he takes on fan favourite and knockout artist Tai Tuivasa in the main event.
The co-main will also see two world class middleweight contenders go head-to-head too as Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori clash in a potential title eliminator.
Last time out at UFC 278 we saw an amazing card, where we landed 7/12 correct picks with three perfect picks to move to 705/1094 (64.51%) with 298 perfect picks (42.26%). You can see our full picks history here.
We’ll try to improve on that here with this solid card, starting with the early prelims here.
Stephanie Egger (7-3) vs Ailin Perez (7-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
Women’s featherweights will make history with the first UFC fight in Paris ever. Egger fought less than a month ago and was submitted by Mayra Bueno Silva via armbar in that bout, while Perez makes her promotional debut on the back of consecutive stoppage wins at Samurai Fight House this year.
Egger is a judoka specialist with solid submission skills and some decent striking on the feet too, while Perez is a Muay-Thai striker who excels in the clinch. The big issue for her is that by getting to the clinch she’s putting herself in danger and she doesn’t have particularly good striking or jiu-jitsu to put Egger off from throwing her to the mat.
After getting relatively embarrassed by Bueno Silva last time out, she’ll have a point to prove and with a size advantage I expect her to push forward and get a dominant win early doors.
PICK – Stephanie Egger via Submission, Round 1
Khalid Taha (13-4) vs Christian Quinonez (16-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A fun bantamweight scrap up next. Taha is without a win since 2019, with a no contest against Bruno Silva before back-to-back defeats to Raoni Barcelos (UFC Vegas 13) and Sergey Morozov most recently. Quinonez makes his UFC debut on a four-fight win streak, having earned his spot on the roster with a win on the Contender Series back in October 2021. He steps in on nine days’ notice.
Taha is a powerful striker with some excellent leg kicks and good cardio, while his grappling skills tend to keep him safe if he ends up on the mat. Quinonez on the other hand is a long striker who uses his good jab and powerful leg kicks of his own to piece up his opponents. This is going to be a really close bout.
Both guys will try to counter the big strikes of the other, but because Taha tends to rely on heavy shots the speed of Quinonez with his jab could prevent that. Both guys will smash the leg kicks in and that could be detrimental too at any moment, but with just nine days’ notice it’s tough to pick Quinonez. On a full camp I think he could get it done, but on this occasion “The Warrior” should claim the win.
PICK – Khalid Taha via Decision
Benoit Saint-Denis (9-1) vs Gabriel Miranda (16-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
A very fun lightweight scrap with a hometown hero on the card. Benoit Saint-Denis came into the UFC unbeaten but got dominated on his debut against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (UFC 267) before dropping down to lightweight and earning a submission win over Niklas Stolze last time out. Miranda on the other hand makes his UFC debut off the back of three straight submission wins.
Saint-Denis is a very strong wrestler with good power to keep his opposition on the mat, as well as powerful strikes with lots of venom before moving to get takedowns. Miranda on the other hand is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu master who is incredibly slippery on the mat, and he looks to brawl whenever the fight is standing. Realistically however, this should be a pretty one-sided scrap for up to 15 minutes.
“God of War” is by far the better wrestler offensively and is definitely a more comfortable striker on the feet, while his own jiu-jitsu skills mean he should feel comfortable enough on the mat if he chooses to take it there. Miranda will look for sweeps and kill-shot submissions off his back, but aside from landing one of those it’s highly unlikely he does anything to stop Saint-Denis working on the mat and claiming another win.
PICK – Benoit Saint-Denis via Decision