Tag Archives: Holly Holm

UFC Vegas 55: Holm vs Vieira – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas for UFC Vegas 55, headlined by women’s bantamweight contenders Holly Holm and Ketlen Vieira.

In a rather underwhelming card, there is a banger of a co-main event on display though in the welterweight division when fan favourites Santiago Ponzinibbio and Michel Pereira clash in a ranked bout.

Last week at UFC Vegas 54 we went 6/11 on the night with three perfect picks, moving our total to 628/976 (64.34%) with 268 perfect picks (42.68%). You can check out our total picks chart in detail here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and finishing our prelims picks here, we move on to main card now.

Eryk Anders (14-6) vs Junyong Park (13-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An interesting middleweight scrap opens up the main card here. Anders picked up a big win over Darren Stewart back at UFC 263, but then had his arm ripped off by Andre Muniz at UFC 269 in no time at all last time out. Park picked up a good win over Tafon Nchukwi at UFC Vegas 10, before getting stopped by Gregory Rodrigues in the second round in his last bout.

Anders is a solid wrestler with some good straight punches, but his durability in the past has been questioned and his cardio has never been the greatest. Park is a super steady fighter with a solid all-round game, although none of his attributes really stand out among others. This is likely to be a pretty steady fight with both guys waiting for the other to move first.

Because of that, I expect Park’s fundamentals to get him the win. He has good variety in his attacks, has good wrestling and his straight cardio usually holds up so expect him to pick up an underwhelming decision victory.
PICK – Junyong Park via Decision

Polyana Viana (12-4) vs Tabatha Ricci (6-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Strawweights go head-to-head in this main card scrap. Viana snapped a three fight losing streak when she submitted Emily Whitmire via first-round armbar at UFC Vegas 8, then did the same to Mallory Martin in her last bout at UFC 258 too. Ricci got stopped in her UFC debut by Manon Fiorot at UFC Vegas 28, but got back in the win column against Maria Oliveira at UFC Vegas 41.

Viana is an excellent grappler with brilliant submissions off her back and on top, while her striking is pretty solid too earning her four knockout wins in the past. Ricci will walk forward to try and blitz strikes before clinching and looking for a takedown herself, so where this bout ends up will be pivotal to the result. Whoever is on top will have the greater success, with both women Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts.

Ricci’s awkward striking makes me lean towards Viana though. Viana has a big size advantage for height and reach, but she does struggle technically with her striking. But the size should be enough to avoid any strikes and clinches with the judoka and lots of scrambles, but I think Viana should be able to get on top and control position enough for a win.
PICK – Polyana Viana via Decision

Chidi Njokuani (21-7) vs Dusko Todorovic (11-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Another middleweight scrap here between two guys who know how to bang. Njokuani is on a three-fight win streak including a violent knockout win over Marc-Andre Barriault in just 16 seconds back in February. Todorovic snapped a two-fight losing skid with a first-round knockout win over Maki Pitolo in his last bout back at UFC Vegas 44.

Njokuani is a powerhouse with fantastic hand speed and great striking, while he has got decent wrestling in his back pocket too. Todorovic is a former Serbian grappling world champion, but loves to step forward and use his kickboxing although his defensive striking is pretty poor. Todorovic tends to stand up straight and with Njokuani’s hand speed, that makes the target bigger and easier to hit.

Both of these fighters are strong in the stand up and steady in the grappling, able to mix it up well so where this fight goes will be interesting. But with that said, the lack of head movement from Todorovic and his willingness to move backwards will open up the chance for ‘Bang Bang’ to land a nasty combination that turns the lights out.
PICK – Chidi Njokuani via Knockout, Round 2

Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-5) vs Michel Pereira (27-11) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Fight of the night, bar none, without question. Ponzinibbio once upon a time was a serious contender at welterweight, but a long injury layoff saw him miss several years and he’s returned to mixed fortunes. He was flatlined by Li Jingliang at UFC Fight Island 7, before earning a brilliant win over Miguel Baeza at UFC Vegas 28. Last time out though, he was beaten by Geoff Neal at UFC 269. Pereira on the other hand is on a four-fight win streak, with impressive decision wins against Niko Price (UFC 264) and Andre Fialho (UFC 270) most recently.

Ponzinibbio is a stud striker with great boxing and superb power in his hands, while his kicks are among the best in the division even today. Pereira is one of the wildest fighters in UFC history, pulling off capoeira techniques including back flips and spinning attacks to go with his incredible dynamic power and excellent grappling. This fight has got fireworks written all over it.

Pereira will likely lean on his grappling in this fight quite heavily, because a firefight with Ponzinibbio is a huge risk he just doesn’t have to take. After a few initial blitzes and exchanges, expect Pereira to change levels and get a takedown to control him on the ground in order to save his energy for any blitzes that he needs in the latter rounds.
PICK – Michel Pereira via Submission, Round 3

Holly Holm (14-5) vs Ketlen Vieira (12-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Main event time as the former champion returns to the cage. Holm has won her last two, defeating Raquel Pennington and Irene Aldana via decision but hasn’t fought since October 2020. Vieira on the other hand picked up a huge win over Miesha Tate back in Novemeber to put her name firmly on the map, claiming a unanimous decision win.

Holm is one of the best pure strikers in women’s MMA history, using a karate style and kickboxing skills that secured her several world championships outside of the UFC. Her kicks are remarkable and her footwork excellent, but her volume is sometimes lacking and her power isn’t what it once was. Vieira on the other hand has shown great improvement in her striking recently, but it’s the grappling where her bread gets buttered and she will be looking to get this fight to the ground ASAP.

Vieira absolutely needs this fight on the mat to win. Holm is so good with her striking and movement that she can piece her up on the feet, and her defensive grappling has been solid in the past. But Vieira is the best grappler she’s faced probably and it’ll be tough, especially now that she’s 40. With that said, her style suits this match up favourably and she should claim a decision win quite comfortably.
PICK – Holly Holm via Decision

UFC Fight Island 4: Holm vs Aldana – Main Card Predictions

After a successful return to Fight Island last weekend for UFC 253, the women take over the island this weekend.

Holly Holm takes on Irene Aldana in the main event on a card with plenty of room to make new stars as lots of relatively unknown names make the cut for this one. With 11 fights in total on the card, I’ll look to have a much better weekend of picks this time around. I’ll go through the card in it’s entirety and break down each fight and offer up my predictions.

I have already predicted the prelims here, so now lets check out the main card.

Last weekend at UFC 253, I managed to get just 5/11 in total with only two perfect picks. It was comfortably the worst showing I’ve had while doing these picks.


Dequan Townsend (21-11) vs Dusko Todorovic (9-0) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A fight for the younger man to make a name for himself in this fight as Dequan Townsend looks to earn his first UFC win at the fourth attempt against young Serbian Dusko Todorovic. After picking up a win on Dana White’s Contender Series, Todorovic makes his UFC debut in this one and will look to overwhelm his opponent with a fast pace and good striking skills. He has finished all but one of his wins inside the distance with five knockout victories. While Townsend has knockout power and good counter striking, his lack of ability to control a fight often sees him struggle against the higher output type fighters. This bout looks tailor-made for Todorovic to come into the UFC and impress.
PICK – Dusko Todorovic via Unanimous Decision

Kyler Phillips (7-1) vs Cameron Else (10-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

This is one of those fights where the records and streaks are a little bit off. Cameron Else has come up training under Donald Cerrone and is currently on a six-fight win streak but it’s a very padded record. He beat Cage Warriors star Paddy Pimblett back in 2013 but other than that he’s fought nobody of substance and only one of the six in his current streak had a winning record. Phillips is a super striker and won his UFC debut back in February with a decision win over Gabriel Silva. He will arguably be the best striker that Else has come up against in his career and the way he dealt with the previous two really good strikers he fought doesn’t stand him in good stead. Phillips showed in that Silva fight that he is more than capable of defending takedowns too, so Else will need to look to land a big one-punch knockout before Phillips ends his night early.
PICK – Kyler Phillips via Knockout, Round 1

Germaine De Randamie (9-4) vs Julianna Pena (10-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The former featherweight champion and bantamweight championship contender Germaine de Randamie makes her return to the octagon for the first time this year against Julianna Pena. A former kickboxing world champion, de Randamie is an excellent striker with fantastic power as she showed in her knockout win over Aspen Ladd. Pena is as pure a grappler as they come in the women’s division and she can take a punch too but the way this fight goes really is dependant on if she can get the takedown. When de Randamie came up against Pennington, she managed to stuff the takedowns and deliver big shots for the full duration of the fight. If she can do something similar she should win this fight but with Pena’s skill it will be tough. Pena will take encouragement from Nunes’ ability to take de Randamie down and hope she can do the same to lock up a submission. With just one fight in three years though, I think ‘The Iron Lady’ will be able to keep it standing for the most part to be able to take a decision win.
PICK – Germaine de Randamie via Unanimous Decision

Yorgan De Castro (6-1) vs Carlos Felipe (8-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The weirdest co-main event fight of the year comfortably. Two unranked heavyweight fighters square off coming off losses in their last bouts. De Castro is a short heavyweight but he packs good power in his hands and has a really nice low kick that he showed off in his fight with Greg Hardy before injuring his foot. Felipe is your standard unranked heavyweight. Big, powerful and one-punch power but he lacks athleticism and any sort of plan B. He has a height and reach advantage in this fight but I am not expecting this to be a fight that many people remember going past the night. It’ll either be an early knockout or a slow, tiresome decision win for De Castro.
PICK – Yorgan De Castro via Knockout, Round 1

Holly Hom (13-5) vs Irene Aldana (12-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A former world champion kickboxer, Holly Holm made her name with a world-shaking knockout win over Ronda Rousey way back when. Since then, Holm has gone 3-5 though while Aldana has gone 5-1 in her last 6 since 2018. Holm is the more experienced fighter but she’s also fought the better calibre of fighters in the UFC too. She’s physically stronger and despite a one inch height disparity, she also has the slight reach advantage. That will suit her kickboxing style but Aldana isn’t a woman to be messed with either. She has 6 knockouts and 3 submission wins in 12 career victories but 6 of her last 8 fights have gone the distance. She’s yet to do five rounds in the UFC and I think that will be a big advantage for Holm. The experience will be enough to see her through the fight and land enough big shots to get the nod from the judges.
PICK – Holly Holm via Unanimous Decision

Womens Bantamweight Division Due For A Shake Up At UFC Fight Island 4

After going all of 2020 without a womens bantamweight title defence, the UFC are finally setting up the division to move forward.

Amanda Nunes’ victory over Germaine de Randamie in December 2019 was the last time we saw the 135lbs belt defended, with the Brazilian earning a decision win by using her ground game to grind out a big win. Despite being dominated on the ground, the Dutch fighter showed that Nunes is human by rocking her with an upkick in the second round although she couldn’t get the job done.

Since then, the division has been held up as Nunes defended her featherweight title against Felicia Spencer at UFC 250 and the contenders fought each other to sort out a ranking of some sort. Now three of the top four contenders will all fight on the same card as they look to set up the next title fight against The Lioness.

Holly Holm will take on Irene Aldana in the main event of UFC Fight Island 4 on Saturday night, knowing that a win could earn her a rematch against Nunes who defeated her via head-kick in July 2019. Since then she has defeated Raquel Pennington via a unanimous decision in January, while Aldana is looking to make it three wins in a row to earn herself a first title shot in the UFC.

But as Germaine de Randamie is still ranked officially as the #1 contender, she believes a win for her against Julianna Pena should set up a rematch of her own against Nunes. Pena is ranked as #6 officially but has just 1 win since 2017 after taking almost 30 months off following defeat to Valentina Shevchenko. A win for Pena would likely see her move into contention for a shot, although an immediate bout for the title is unlikely.

UFC 208: Holm v de Randamie : News Photo

With Amanda Nunes set to defend her featherweight title yet again in December against Megan Anderson at UFC 256, there is scope for the UFC to fit another bantamweight clash in between the winner of both fights on Fight Island to determine Nunes’ next opponent at bantamweight.

Holm and de Randamie have fought once before, with the ‘Iron Lady’ controversially getting the win despite some strikes after the horn on several occasions and many scoring the fight in favour of Holm too. A rematch between the two, should they both win as expected, would be welcomed by fans and experts but would also provide the chance for the UFC to determine a true number 1 contender on a winning run and give time for Nunes to recover from her December bout too.

Should Aldana pick up a win against Holm, to keep her active she could then fight the winner of the de Randamie vs Pena bout too to add some legitimacy to her title challenge too. The likelihood though is that she’d wait it out and look to immediately take on the GOAT of women’s MMA.

The division is finally moving though and while Nunes has cleared the division out there are some nice back-stories that can be made of any potential future match ups.