Tag Archives: Irene Aldana

UFC 279: Diaz vs Ferguson – Main card predictions

The weirdest UFC pay-per-view event takes place this weekend at UFC 279 as Khamzat Chimaev battles Nate Diaz in the main event.

A five-round, non-title welterweight bout sees the undefeated fighter go up against the notoriously popular fighter whose record is bang average at best.

There is also a crazy welterweight fight between Li Jingliang and Tony Ferguson in the co-main event, while Kevin Holland and Daniel Rodriguez clash in a catchweight bout.

Last time out at UFC Paris we went 10/12 with four perfect picks for the night to move to 715/1106 (64.65%) with 302 perfect picks (42.24%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and then after picking the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card picks.


Johnny Walker (18-7) vs Ion Cutelaba (16-7-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An absolute banger at 205-pounds here. Walker is a wild man with incredible one-punch knockout power, but he’s lost his last two against Thiago Santos (UFC Vegas 38) and Jamahal Hill most recently. Cutelaba is also a wild man, with just one win in his last five fights and a submission loss to Ryan Spann in his last bout.

Walker is a power puncher with unorthodox movement and good kicks, but he’s proven to be chinny in more recent bouts and must stay alert to keep this fight at range. Cutelaba on the other hand is a super aggressive fighter who has good knockout power and excellent wrestling, but has had huge issues with his cardio and balancing that all out. Cutelaba has all the tools to win this, but it won’t be easy.

If Cutelaba blitzes early with takedown attempts and blasts him out of there it wouldn’t be a surprise at all. There’s also the opposite scenario that is possible too, with Walker definitely able to KO Cutelaba too. That said, “The Hulk” is most likely to be successful. He has different looks to make Walker think and his aggression should be enough to force Walker backwards, and I think he’ll claim the win.
PICK – Ion Cutelaba via Knockout, Round 2

Irene Aldana (13-6) vs Macy Chiasson (9-2) – (Catchweight/140lbs)

A fun bantamweight fight up next between these two ladies. Aldana has won three of her last four with a defeat to Holly Holm the only flaw, to which she rebounded from with a KO win over Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 264. Chiasson bounced back from a submission defeat to Raquel Pennington at UFC Vegas 45 with a big win over Norma Dumont at UFC 274 most recently.

Aldana is a solid boxer with great combinations and power in a division that lacks big hitters, while her takedown defence has shown great improvements too in recent fights. Chiasson is a Muay Thai fighter who likes to clinch with her opponents, while also using her range to flick out her jab and land low kicks. Both women’s ideal strategy fits right into the other’s and that makes this an excellent fight.

Chiasson could have trouble with the weight cut after even missing weight at featherweight last time out. Aldana is the better boxer and can use her jab to make Chiasson work, while threatening with that big left hook that is cash money when it lands. With that said, the Mexican should have enough to claim the win and potentially set herself up for a title shot in the near future.
PICK – Irene Aldana via Decision

Li Jingliang (19-7) vs Daniel Rodriguez (16-2) – (Catchweight/180lbs)

An excellent fight at a catchweight after being put together on short notice here. Jingliang comes into this fight after being dominated and humiliated by Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 267, before bouncing back with a brilliant KO win over Muslim Salikhov in July. Rodriguez on the other hand has won his last three, earning decisions against Mike Perry (UFC Vegas 23) and Kevin Lee while knocking out Steven Parsons too.

Jingliang is a power puncher, pure and simple. His speed and combinations are solid and his takedown defence has usually been pretty good, barring the Chimaev fight. Rodriguez alternatively is a super boxer with impressive technique and power, while his wrestling chops are solid too to make the opposition at least think about the potential threat. This is most likely to be a big striking affair, and the size of Rodriguez is likely to be key.

“The Leech” was preparing to fight someone smaller than him, with a great ground game but he’s now facing someone who weighed in ten-pounds heavier and is a pure striker. His power probably won’t be as effective now, and Rodriguez has the size to use his jab and potentially claim a late finish on this short notice fight.
PICK – Daniel Rodriguez via Decision



Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) vs Kevin Holland (23-7) – (Catchweight/180lbs)

Potentially the fight of the night here. Chimaev is 11-0 after ripping through the UFC, finishing John Phillips (UFC Fight Island 1), Rhys McKee (UFC Fight Island 3), Gerald Meerschaert (UFC Vegas 11) and Li Jingliang (UFC 267) before a fight of the year contender against Gilbert Burns (UFC 273). Holland has won his last two, knocking out Alex Oliveira at UFC 272 before claiming a submission win over Tim Means most recently.

Chimaev is one of the most dominant figures we’ve seen in MMA in a long time, with incredible wrestling and grappling skills as well as an insane chin to go with his crisp striking and powerful punches. Holland is a brilliant kickboxer with superb power and speed, while his takedown defence has improved greatly over the last 18 months and his jiu-jitsu has proven itself worthy. These two have genuine beef so this likely won’t last long.

The fact that Chimaev missed weight so badly would normally be a big issue, but he’s now fighting at a different weight against someone his size and didn’t need to cut much. Mix that in with his dominant wrestling, which Holland has struggled with badly in the past, expect Chimaev to dominate on the ground and take a late finish.
PICK – Khamzat Chimaev via Knockout, Round 4

Nate Diaz (21-13) vs Tony Ferguson (25-7)- (Welterweight/170lbs)

Diaz has fought three times since 2016, beating Anthony Pettis before getting smashed by Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards most recently (UFC 263). Tony Ferguson has lost his last four in a row, getting dominated by Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira (UFC 256), Beneil Darisuh (UFC 262) and then getting toe-punted into a new galaxy by Michael Chandler at UFC 274. He moves up to welterweight for the first time since winning TUF in 2011.

Diaz is a fan favourite who has got world class jiu-jitsu and decent boxing, but it’s his cardio and heart that are mentioned most when discussing Diaz. This fight realistically has no business being made, because there is a huge gulf in class between these two fighters right now. Ferguson is a bit of a crazy fighter, with relentless pressure being coupled with incredibly heavy hands, insane cardio and world class jiu-jitsu on the mat. This fight is absolutely wild and the fact that Ferguson is moving up in weight is incredibly interesting and exciting.

Ferguson has the power advantage, will feel as though he can more than hold his own on the ground and should be strong enough physically to control this fight. But the fact he was training for three rounds rather than five could go against him. Diaz will look to drag this out into the later rounds, but ultimately I think Ferguson will have too much pressure for him early on to be able to claim a big win in a far more competitive fight than what was originally planned for either guy.
PICK – Tony Ferguson via Decision

UFC 264: Poirier vs McGregor 3 – Results (Highlights)

**Hu Yaozong vs Alen Amedovski was cancelled just before the card started due to COVID-19 protocols.

EARLY PRELIMS

Zhalgas Zhumagulov def Jerome Rivera via Submission (Guillotine), Round 1 (2:02)

Good start to the fight from Rivera as he uses that long reach advantage to stab some kicks into the gut. Zhumagulov starts throwing some nice overhand right hands and is moving well but Rivera is putting the pace on him. Zhumagulov lands a nice left hook that drops Rivera and then synches up a nasty looking standing guillotine and forces the tap! Huge win!

Brad Tavares def Omari Akhmedov via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

Great start to the fight from Tavares as he uses his boxing well to light Akhmedov up nice and early. A nice exchange in the pocket and Tavares comes out on top of it. Nice low kick from Akhmedov but Tavares counters with a nice right hand. Akhmedov shoots in for a takedown and after a bounce on the cage gets it, but Tavares bounces straight back up. A few more takedown attempts but Tavares denies them all and lands some nice strikes in the exchanges to end the round. 10-9 Tavares.

Akhmedov steps into the second round with a nice jab and then a takedown attempt and while he gets him down he can’t hold him there and Tavares gets back up early. Tavares starts landing some heavy leg kicks and Akhmedov is feeling it. Nice jabs from Tavares but now Akhmedov is landing some heavy leg kicks of his own. Tavares steps in for a clinch and lands a big knee to the face, followed by a heavy low kick again. Akhmedov goes for another takedown but Tavares defends it well and should claim that round too. 20-18 Tavares.

Fast start to the final round from Tavares but staying patient with the volume of strikes, just pressing forward and forcing Akhmedov backwards. Tavares throws a heavy leg kick that drops Akhmedov, then lands another big one as he gets back to his feet. Great movement from Tavares and his jab is landing clean too. Akhmedov goes for a takedown but Tavares stuffs it brilliantly. Final minute and Tavares has rocked him! Big strikes just miss but Akhmedov is stumbling. Tavares lands a nice kick to end the round, great fight. 30-27 Tavares.

Jennifer Maia def Jessica Eye via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Interesting start as both women stay standing and Eye is landing really well. Nice kicks and some good hooks but Maia fires back too with a big knee up the middle. Eye lands some more short strikes and is just too fast so far. Some nice shots from Eye land and send Maia stumbling backwards and then Eye goes for a takedown and ends the round on top. 10-9 Eye.

Another good start from Eye as she continues to walk forward and lands short shots and apply pressure to Maia, who is being forced to fight on the back foot. Eye throwing some nice leg kicks but Maia is responding with a nice one-two up the middle that is landing well and often. Maia is pushing the pace now and landing big strikes. An accidental clash of heads opens up a massive cut on the head of Eye as the round ends. 19-19.

Final round and Maia is staying patient and not going straight for the cut. Lots of short strikes again but Eye is coming forward and landing some decent hooks and leg kicks of her own. Maia is doing really well to land the right hand and counter Eye’s pressure on the back foot. Big strikes from Maia as she applies heavy pressure herself with Eye bleeding heavily now. Great scrap, 29-28 Maia for me

PRELIMS

Dricus Du Plessis def Trevin Giles via Knockout, Round 2 (1:41)

A very tense start to the fight for both guys as they both show lots of feints and bouncing on their feet. Du Plessis throwing some leg kicks to get some score with the judges and just misses with a flying knee. Du Plessis goes for the takedown against the cage and gets it, then passes into mount immediately. He starts targeting submissions but Giles defending fairly well and scrambling to safety. Du Plessis ends up back on top and looks for a big elbow but ends the round on top. 10-9 Du Plessis.

Good start to the round from Giles as he steps forward looking to land big heavy strikes early on. Du Plessis staying patient and avoids a big flying knee but backs up to the cage after landing a nice left hand. He throws a left jab that misses then throws a big right hand that lands flush and puts Giles out! He lands some follow up punches but this one is all over! What a knockout!

Ilia Topuria def Ryan Hall via Knockout, Round 1 (4:27)

Very tense start to the fight with Hall backing up against the cage and Topuria pressuring him. Hall throws a big spinning back kick that lands well. He starts rolling for emenari rolls but Topuria is avoiding them all and doing really well to skip out. Several minutes pass of Hall rolling for legs but missing, and then Hall goes for another spin kick. Topuria catches it and forces Hall to the ground, then lands some heavy shots that put Hall out! Huge win for Topuria!

Michel Pereira def Niko Price via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Slow start to the fight as Pereira lands a nice jab and Price starts to go for some takedowns against the cage. Pereira defends well against the cage and starts firing off some big shots and his speed is troubling Price. Some superman punch attempts just miss but Pereira is doing well to keep attacking with volume. Rolling thunder attempt to finish the round and it’s 10-9 to the Brazilian.

Second round and Pereira is coming out strong, throwing a nice body kick that hurts Price. He goes on the attack and starts throwing some heavy strikes and gets Price down to the ground. Pereira starts looking for an americana submission but Price defends it, so Pereira starts raining down strikes instead. Price is just about surviving and Pereira moves to his back looking for a choke, but Price is able to roll out and get back to his feet before the round ends. 20-18 Pereira.

Final round and Price is pouring on the pressure nice and early as he sees Pereira is tiring. Price landing some big shots and Pereira just doesn’t have the same pop to his counters or movement in his legs anymore. Price pouring it on and landing some big strikes but Pereira is surviving. Nice left hand from Pereira but Price keeps coming forward. He goes all out before the end of the round but it’s likely not enough. 29-28 Pereira for me.

Max Griffin def Carlos Condit via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Hugely impressive start to the fight from Griffin as he lands some heavy leg kicks early that are getting big reactions from Condit. Griffin keeping a big pace and is doing lots of work on Condit who just can’t get going at all. Griffin landing some big strikes and Condit is in trouble! Griffin goes for the finish but Condit survives and the round ends. 10-9 Griffin, potentially even a 10-8.

Second round and Condit has come out and is walking forward and Griffin has slowed down considerably. Condit more willing to take the strikes as he comes forward and Griffin has so far completely stopped with the leg kicks. Condit continuing to step forward and landing some nice strikes but Griffin not getting hurt too much and is trying to counter. Condit lands a few more as the round ends, 19-19.

Griffin coming out much more aggressive in the final round and landing some nice jabs. Few big haymakers from Griffin are getting through, and Condit is being forced to back up now as he starts to tire. Condit starts firing back with some heavy body shots and a right hand, but Griffin throws a couple of leg kicks to snap the momentum immediately. Nice right hand again from Griffin and Condit backs up, so Griffin goes for the takedown and keeps the fight there until the round ends. 29-28 Griffin for me. Great fight.

MAIN CARD

Sean O’Malley def Kris Moutinho via Knockout, Round 3 (4:33)

Solid start to the fight from O’Malley. Suga is pushing the pace and landing some really nice jabs. Lots of heavy strikes landing but Moutinho stepping forward and looking for a right hook. O’Malley continues with the jabs and hooks through the guard and he is beating Moutinho up badly. Big right hook lands and drops Moutinho and then he goes for a spin kick that just misses. Lots of strikes and Moutinho is getting pieced up. O’Malley throws a pull right cross counter and drops Moutinho! He goes for the guillotine submission but time runs out. 10-8 O’Malley.

Second round and O’Malley is doing more of the same, just landing heavy strikes and really beating Moutinho up. Moutinho keeps storming forward though and is just missing with his right hooks. O’Malley smashing hooks and jabs through the guard but starting to tire. Moutinho keeps going forward and is talking to O’Malley and surviving the beating somehow. 20-17.

O’Malley comes out in the third round firing once again but Moutinho is just a zombie coming forward. O’Malley throwing knees, kicks, strikes and uppercuts but Moutinho is talking to him and smiling. O’Malley is fading but still throwing beautiful jabs and combinations. As the round comes into the final 30 seconds O’Malley lands a huge combination and Moutinho is hurt! He’s still standing but the referee waves it off after an accumulation.

Irene Aldana def Yana Kunitskaya via Knockout, Round 1 (4:35)

Good start to the fight from Kunitskaya with some kicks to counter the boxing attack of Aldana early on. Kunitskaya goes for a spinning wheel kick and then clinches up looking for a takedown, but Aldana defends it really well. Aldana slips a charge and lands a big right cross to the nose and then a jab, then lands a beautiful left hook to the body that hurts Kunitskaya. Some good jabs and slips and then she lands a big left hand again that drops Kunitskaya. Aldana rains down ground and pound but Kunitskaya tries to survive it by holding her hands for control. Aldana gets on top of her, slams big strikes into her face and the referee steps in to end it! Huge performance from Aldana!

Tai Tuivasa def Greg Hardy via Knockout, Round 1 (1:07)

Tuivasa comes out and lands some heavy leg kicks to start that Hardy immediately feels and struggles with. They start going wild with strikes and Hardy tags Tuivasa bad! He rushes in for the finish but Tuivasa counters with a crazy left-hook that puts Hardy out!!! Wow! What a knockout!!

Gilbert Burns def Stephen Thompson via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Very cagey start to the fight from both guys as they look to feel each other out. Burns steps forward with some looping hooks but Thompson avoids and moves out of range once again. Burns shoots in for a takedown against the cage and after a stalemate gets the fight down. He holds top position for the remainder of the round without landing too much damage. 10-9 Burns.

Thompson comes out more on his toes and lands some good side kicks and lots of body shots to keep Burns at distance. Some nice right hands and Burns bites down on his mouthpiece to fire back but Thompson is out of the way swiftly. More kicks from Thompson and as the round comes to an end Burns gets Thompson down once again and lands some decent strikes but that’s a Thompson round. 19-19.

Final round and Burns comes out hot and heavy ready to go. Nice right hand lands and then Burns shoots for the takedown and gets it around halfway through the round. Burns sits on top of Thompson and applies pressure, with good ground and pound and just staying heavy to take what should be a decision win for him. 29-28 Burns.

Dustin Poirier def Conor McGregor via Doctor Stoppage (Broken Ankle), Round 1 (5:00)

McGregor comes out and lands two sharp spinning kicks to the body followed by his teet kick. Poirier coming forward but McGregor slams some hard leg kicks into him to slow him down. Poirier responds with a couple of his own but McGregor going for the kicks. McGregor lands a nice left hand but Poirier responds with a combination that seems to buzz McGregor. McGregor clinches and Poirier goes for the takedown, but McGregor looks to sink in a guillotine choke. Poirier avoids and starts slamming in some heavy ground and pound shots, big elbows to McGregor who’s hurt! Poirier piling on the pressure and looking for a finish but McGregor is surviving for now. Poirier lets McGregor back up and he throws a punch that misses but as he plants his back foot his leg gives way and snaps! Poirier lands some shots on McGregor while he’s down as the round ends.

McGregor tells the referee and doctor his leg is broken and the doctor waves the fight off immediately! What an anti-climax to a crazy fight and trilogy!

UFC 264: Poirier vs McGregor 3 – Main card predictions

The biggest trilogy fight in UFC history arguably is finally upon us as Dustin Poirier takes on Conor McGregor to break the deadlock between them at UFC 264.

McGregor knocked Poirier out in their first fight back in 2014, but Poirier got his own back in January at UFC 257 with a knockout win of his own to level it up at 1-1. The winner of this bout is highly likely to challenge for the lightweight title in their next bout, so the stakes could not be any higher.

In the co-main event we have a huge welterweight contender fight too as former title challengers Gilbert Burns and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson go head-to-head with each other to try and climb towards another shot against Kamaru Usman in the near future.

Also on the card is the return of ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley as he opens up the main card, while the prelims are full of exciting bouts too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 30, we went 12/6 with two perfect picks for our selection for a not so good outing. That took us to 352/554 (63.54%) with 160 perfect picks (45.45%) since starting up.

We’ll look to improve that with this huge 13 fight card, and after starting with the early prelims here and the rest of the prelims here, here are our main card picks.


Sean O’Malley (13-1) vs Kris Moutinho (9-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun fight to open up the main card as ‘Suga’ returns to action against short-notice opponent Kris Moutinho, making his UFC debut. O’Malley bounced back from the first defeat of his career to Marlon Vera at UFC 252 with a stunning knockout win against Thomas Almeida at UFC 260, while Moutinho has won his last two including most recently in May.

O’Malley is a phenomenal striker, with quick kicks and bricks for hands as well as his excellent jiu-jitsu skills too. Moutinho is a good striker too, with good front kicks and a nice right cross to go with it. His issue in this fight is going to be the speed difference, where O’Malley absolutely blows him out of the water.

He’s too fast, too strong and too precise and this is more of a showcase fight for O’Malley than anything else.
PICK – Sean O’Malley via Knockout, Round 1

Irene Aldana (12-6) vs Yana Kunitskaya (14-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very fun fight in the women’s bantamweight division between two potential title contenders in the near future. Aldana lost her last fight, getting dominated by Holly Holm while Kunitskaya has won her last two in a row via decision against Julija Stoliarenko at UFC Vegas 6 and Ketlen Vieira at UFC Vegas 19.

Aldana is a very good boxer, with a good reach and a great left hook that knocked out Vieira in the past. She’s quite one dimensional though and Kunitskaya is very good at battling against her opponents strengths since she is so well rounded herself. She has good punches and kicks and some good takedown abilities, much better than Holm at least who dominated Aldana on the ground.

That leads me to believe that Kunitskaya will be able to do the same and if she can avoid getting hit clean and hard early on, but I’m not sure she will.
PICK – Irene Aldana via Decision

Tai Tuivasa (12-3) vs Greg Hardy (7-3) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The big boys are on the card once again as the heavyweights take up the midway point of the main card. Tuivasa had lost three-in-a-row but has since bounced back with big knockout wins over Stefan Struve at UFC 254 and then Harry Hunsucker at UFC Vegas 22. Hardy on the other hand won two in a row including a KO win over Maurice Greene at UFC Vegas 12 before getting KO’d himself by Marcin Tybura at UFC Vegas 17 last time out.

Tuivasa is a juggernaut who has legitimate one-punch knockout power but he also has a great calf kick to set up his big right hand and okay cardio for a heavyweight. Hardy is ever improving and has good power in his hands too, but is still struggling with pacing himself in fights and often blows his load in the cage. Both guys have the power to put the other away but I trust Tuivasa’s chin more than Hardy’s and he paces himself better too.

Overall it won’t be the highest quality but there will be bombs thrown and I expect Tuivasa to land one on Hardy’s chin that sends him to a new realm of consciousness.
PICK – Tai Tuivasa via Knockout, Round 2

Gilbert Burns (19-4) vs Stephen Thompson (16-4-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

An absolute banger of a bout at welterweight in a real contender bout at 170lbs between Burns and Wonderboy. Burns went on a six-fight win streak to earn himself a title shot against Kamaru Usman at UFC 258 but he was knocked out in the third round by his former teammate. Thompson on the other hand has overcome a bad run to win his last two, including a dominant win over Geoff Neal at UFC Vegas 17.

Burns is a jiu-jitsu fighter predominantly but he has recently fallen in love with his hands and has terrific power in both his fists for a knockout, while Thompson is a karate-style fighter who uses excellent footwork to move and his long range to score points on his opponent. Burns is at a disadvantage in height and reach and that means he has to come forward to close the distance, which is where Thompson is at his best.

He hasn’t been taken down in over four years and his striking looks crisper than ever before, so I think this could end up being quite a one-sided decision win for ‘Wonderboy’.
PICK – Stephen Thompson via Decision

Dustin Poirier (27-6) vs Conor McGregor (22-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The biggest fight of the year so far for the UFC and there isn’t a title in sight as Poirier and McGregor look to end their stalemate once and for all. Poirier is currently on a run of seven wins in nine (one no contest) with the only defeat coming to Khabib Nurmagomedov, and his most recent wins coming over Dan Hooker at UFC Vegas 4 and McGregor himself in January. ‘Notorious’ has actually lost three of his last six stretching all the way back to 2016.

Poirier is a boxer with good grappling skills and some solid kicks too as seen in the most recent bout between the two. McGregor on the other hand is a sensational kickboxer who took a more boxing heavy approach last time out to his detriment. It’s the same fight as six months ago in reality, with the difference going to be who makes the better adjustments from that bout.

The crowd being back will be a boost for McGregor but Poirier is legitimately one of the all-time great lightweights ever and he seemed to be able to take Conor’s left-hand in the first round last time. If he can do that again, the longer the fight goes the better it is for Poirier and I see him taking a unanimous decision win in a scrap that will send fans home happy.
PICK – Dustin Poirier 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.

MAIN CARD

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.

UFC 250 Fallout – What’s Next For Nunes?

Another UFC PPV is done and into the history books as UFC 250 lived up to it’s billing with a highlight filled card.

Double champion Amanda Nunes retained her featherweight belt with a dominant performance over Felicia Spencer, where the two 50-44 scorecards were deeemed generous in Spencer’s favour. A striking masterclass from the Brazilian, who’s now on an 11-fight win streak stretching back to 2014, saw ‘The Lioness’ become the first fighter in history to defend two belts, in two different weight classes, while holding both belts simultaneously.

It means she continues her streak of cleaning out her divisions and it begs the question “who’s next?”

UFC commentators Jon Anik, Daniel Cormier and Joe Rogan began discussing this during the fifth round of her bout, such was her dominance against Spencer. Dana White said in the post-fight presser that “there is always someone next” and that he had “no interest” in making a trilogy super-fight with 125lbs champ Valentina Shevchenko because Nunes is 2-0 up. So who is really available?

When you go down the rankings of the 135lbs division, there are no stand-out challengers. #1 Germaine De Randamie and #2 Holly Holm have already been beaten recently and convincingly by Nunes. #3 is Aspen Ladd, who has won four from five of her UFC bouts. Three of those were KO/TKO victories, but the first time she stepped up to top level competition she was KO’d in 16 seconds by Germaine De Randamie. With a 9-1 record she’s best placed for a title fight but the expectation would once again be that Nunes storms to victory.

Beyond Ladd, Juliana Pena and Irene Aldana are hovering in the rankings at #4 and #5 but again neither of their CV’s stand up as a firm competitor for Nunes’ belt.

With Amanda Nunes’ revelation that she’s likely to take the rest of the year off to heal up and prepare for parenthood (her partner Nina Ansaroff is due to give birth in September), it may give the UFC a chance to build a new challenger for her.

A mini tournament between Ladd, Pena, Aldana and Ketlen Vieira could be the way forward. Aldana and Vieira fought most recently in December 2019, with Aldana earning a KO victory. Mixing the matches of the tournament up may be a way to bring new eyes to the division too with new matchmaking.

Aspen Ladd vs Irene Aldana would be an interesting battle of striking. Ladd would have to fight down the rankings which could be an issue for the likes of Sean Shelby to convince her, however the promise of a title shot with two back-to-back wins should be enough to do it.

The winner of that fight would then face the winner of Juliana Pena vs Ketlen Vieira in what could become an interesting grappling match. Pena has the advantage on the feet between the two but with Vieira’s priority to take the fight down to the ground it may not matter too much.

The winners fight each other and the UFC bill the “tournament finale” as a big deal, maybe even a co-main event slot on a PPV card to give it more eyes. While the skillset of each fighter won’t change in two fights, the reputation could grow massively. Two back-to-back performances against high level competition also makes them seem like a much more dangerous threat towards Nunes’ crown.

The Lioness right now is overseeing her kingdom with little threat of a real challenge coming her way any time soon. The UFC need to build for the post-Nunes era and this may be the only solution.