Tag Archives: Jai Herbert

UFC London: Blaydes vs Aspinall – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to London’s O2 Arena for the second time this year for a stacked card, headlined by a heavyweight duel between top five big-men Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall.

We’ll also see the likes of Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann, Mason Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, Paul Craig and Muhammad Mokaev competing in an event sure to provide plenty of fireworks.

Last week at UFC Long Island we went 8/12 with three perfect picks, moving us up to 685/1032 (64.34%) with 284 perfect picks (42.77%). You can check out our full history of picks here.

We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.


Claudio Silva (14-3) vs Nicolas Dalby (19-4-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A fun welterweight scrap opens up the card in this one. Silva has lost his last two fights, dropping unanimous decisions to James Krause and Court McGee most recently. Meanwhile Dalby saw a six-fight undefeated streak snapped last time out, dropping a decision to Tim Means last time out.

Silva is a typical old fashioned Brazilian fighter who uses his excellent takedowns and jiu-jitsu skills to secure submissions, as his nine career submission wins show. Dalby on the other hand is a tidy kickboxer with decent boxing, but his takedown defence isn’t good and he’s a very slow starter.

That’s a big problem against someone like Silva, who will come out quickly and look to get this fight down to the ground quickly to work his grappling game. If he’s successful then this won’t last long, but if it goes on for a bit longer then Dalby should be able to grow and use his size and striking to pick Silva off from distance. That said, the fast start is a big problem so I think the Brazilian gets it done in this one, in one.
PICK – Claudio Silva via Submission, Round 1

Mandy Bohm (7-1) vs Victoria Leonardo (8-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Two women coming off losses go head-to-head next in the flyweight division. Bohm suffered the first defeat of her career last time out, dropping a decision to Ariane Lipski while Leonardo has lost her two, getting KO’d by Manon Fiorot at UFC Fight Island 8 and then breaking her arm and retiring on her stall against Melissa Gatto at UFC 265.

Bohm is a decent striker with good mobility and movement as she looks to keep distance and pick her opponents off. Leonardo on the other hand is a strong grappler and wrestler, who uses her physicality to drive opponents against the cage and work her takedowns.

Leonardo’s only defeats in her career so far have come against top opposition, and her strengths lie exactly where Bohm’s weaknesses sit. Bohm is the better striker, but if she allows Leonardo to close the distance and get hold of her then I expect her to claim a comfortable win with control and damage on the mat.
PICK – Victoria Leonardo via Decision



Jai Herbert (11-4) vs Kyle Nelson (13-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Banger at lightweight up next as Herbert makes his return from the last UFC London event. He has lost three of four in the UFC, getting KO’d by Francisco Trinaldo (UFC Fight Island 3), choked out by Renato Moicano and KO’d again by Ilia Topuria. He earned his own stoppage win over Khama Worthy in the middle of that. Nelson on the other hand is in the same boat, but his fights stretch back to 2018. His last bout saw him KO’d by Billy Quarantillo most recently at UFC Vegas 10.

Herbert is a guy who absolutely loves to go to war with his guys, with solid striking and some decent wrestling defence in his locker too. He’s looked chinny in the UFC though, getting put out cold in both his KO losses. Nelson is a decent striker himself, with decent power, but he’s naturally a featherweight and he has a considerable speed disadvantage in this one.

Nelson will look to wrestle and slow Herbert down, but Herbert is so quick with such great technique and power on the feet as well as his defence that he’s likely to be able to catch him first with some powerful strikes to claim the win in impressive fashion in front of his home nation crowd.
PICK – Jai Herbert via Knockout, Round 2

Muhammad Mokaev (7-0) vs Charles Johnson (11-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The super impressive undefeated Mokaev is back for his second UFC bout up next. He earned a brilliant debut win at UFC London back in March, choking out Cody Durden in just 58 seconds. Johnson on the other hand makes his UFC debut on a four-fight win streak, coming over from the LFA.

Mokaev is a brilliantly well-rounded fighter, with lightning quick strikes and good power to go with excellent grappling skills and some tight, technical chokes. Johnson meanwhile is super experienced, with good striking and scrambling skills and he will be a tough test for the 21-year-old without a doubt. With that said though, Johnson has some glaring faults that Mokaev should be more than ready to exploit.

Johnson has a habit of throwing naked kicks in punching range, and also backing himself up against the cage and going on the defence quickly. That makes him bread and butter for a wrestler as good and relentless as Mokaev is, and while I think Johnson should be able avoid being submitted I do expect him to be dominated for 15 minutes for another big win for “The Punisher”.
PICK – Muhammad Mokaev via Decision

UFC London: Volkov vs Aspinall – Main card predictions

After a three year absence the UFC returns to London and the O2 Arena for a huge UFC London fight card, headlined by heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall.

A stacked card will see the two heavyweights competing to get title contention with a win, while we’ll also see the likes of Arnold Allen take on Dan Hooker, Paddy Pimblett makes his UK return while Jack Shore, Nathaniel Wood and Muhammad Mokaev also compete too.

In case you’re unaware, we’ve done a list of five things you must not miss from this card too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 50 we went 11/14 with three perfect picks to move to 568/879 (64.62%) with 241 perfect picks (42.43%). You can see our full record here.

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


Jai Herbert (11-3) vs Ilia Topuria (11-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A banger of a fight to open the main card in the 155-pound division. Herbert earned his first win in the octagon with a first-round KO against Khama Worthy at UFC Vegas 41, while Topuria is an undefeated prospect with his last win coming via brutal KO against Ryan Hall at UFC 264. This is Topuria’s debut at lightweight.

Herbert is a boxer with good power in his hands, but his defensive grappling isn’t great and that’s a big problem in this fight. Topuria is a super talented grappler with great cardio and also some solid boxing skills with knockout power. Topuria’s only disadvantage in this fight could end up being size, because he’s not the biggest in this weight class.

Topuria will trade on the feet until an opportunity for a takedown presents itself and he will take it immediately. Topuria will land nasty elbows on the mat, pass guard and eventually work to the back before snatching up the neck for an impressive win in quick fashion.
PICK – Ilia Topuria via Submission, Round 1

Molly McCann (11-4) vs Luana Carolina (8-2) – (Flyweight/135lbs)

‘Meatball’ is back and she’s back in London for this women’s flyweight bout on the main card. McCann suffered back-to-back defeats to Taila Santos and Lara Procopio before getting back in the win column against Ji Yeon Kim at UFC Vegas 36 most recently. Carolina has won her last two via decision, beating Poliana Botelho at UFC Vegas 25 and Lupita Godinez at UFC Vegas 40.

McCann is a pressure fighter who looks to use low kicks and boxing to force her opponent backwards and make them crumble. Carolina is a lengthy boxer herself, but she struggles to make the most of her reach advantage. Her takedown defence is good, but when it comes to mixing it all up she tends to be troubled and that’s what McCann is best at.

The Brit will be relentless with her forward pressure, will land strikes and will almost certainly mix it up with takedowns against teh cage and she’s good enough to hold Carolina down and control her for long periods of time. If Carolina is able to make reads and defend it though, her reach and speed should see her pick McCann apart. For my money, ‘Meatball’ comes forward enough to slip the reach disadvantage, get takedowns and win rounds.
PICK – Molly McCann via Decision

Gunnar Nelson (17-5-1) vs Takashi Sato (16-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A strange welterweight bout up next on the main card between two guys returning from lengthy lay offs. Nelson is on a two-fight losing streak after defeats to Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns back in 2019, while Sato lost via submission to Miguel Baeza back in November 2020 at UFC Vegas 15.

Nelson is a brilliant submission fighter with a karate stance where he looks to counter strike to land on his opponents clean. Sato on the other hand is a solid striker with an excellent jab and good combinations, and is confident in the grappling but mostly struggles against elites in that field. Nelson is elite in that field, but he’s been away for so long it’s hard to get a proper read on him.

Sato is coming in on very short notice in this bout, which goes against him, and if Nelson is at least not completely rusty and done then he should be able to get a pretty convincing win here.
PICK – Gunnar Nelson via Decision



Paddy Pimblett (17-3) vs Kazula Vargas (12-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The most popular fighter on the card by a distance makes a return to the UK fight scene to take on Rodrigo Vargas. Pimblett earned a massive comeback knockout win at UFC Vegas 36 against Luigi Vendramini, while Vargas snapped a two-fight losing streak against Rongzhu at UFC 261 last time out.

Pimblett is a solid all-rounder, with excellent submissions skills and much improved striking in recent years with great knockout power. Vargas on the other hand is a decent boxer with plenty of experience but while he has a bigger frame and could overpower Pimblett, the trouble is he’s outmatched in skill.

‘The Baddy’ is a great kicker from range and has got the ability to take this fight wherever he feels he has the most advantage. He has promised a first-round finish, so who am I to go against that. Pimblett lands a hard right hand to drop Vargas and then jumps on the neck for a quick finish.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Submission, Round 1

Arnold Allen (17-1) vs Dan Hooker (21-11) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A truly brilliant fight in the featherweight division in the co-main event as both guys look to become a serious contender at 145-pounds. Allen is on a ten-fight win streak, including a big decision of Sodiq Yusuff last time out at UFC Vegas 23. Hooker on the other hand has lost three of his last four to Dustin Poirier (UFC Vegas 4), Michael Chandler (UFC 257) and Islam Makhachev (UFC 267) most recently with a win against Nasrat Haqparast just before that at UFC 266. He returns to featherweight for the first time since 2016.

Allen is a tremendous wrestler and solid defensive fighter on the feet who knows exactly what he’s good at and goes straight to it. Hooker on the other hand is a striker who doesn’t want to be on the ground, but is capable of holding his own down there and battling to get it back into a striking battle. Allen will not allow that.

‘Almighty’ is strong in the grappling, good enough to hold his own in the striking, has constant volume, is younger, fresher and won’t be struggling with the weight cut. This is his chance to make a real impact on the division and I think he does just that.
PICK – Arnold Allen via Decision

Alexander Volkov (34-9) vs Tom Aspinall (11-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweight main event in what should be an absolute banger. Volkov has won three of his last four, with defeat to Ciryl Gane at UFC Vegas 30 splitting up wins over Walt Harris, Alistair Overeem (UFC Vegas 18) and Marcin Tybura (UFC 267) most recently. Aspinall is an undefeated 4-0 in the UFC with stoppage wins over Jake Collier (UFC Fight Island 3), Alan Baudot (UFC Fight Island 5), Andrei Arlovski (UFC Vegas 19) and Sergei Spivak (UFC Vegas 36).

Volkov and Aspinall are both tremendous boxers, with brilliant jabs and combinations as well as legitimate knockout power. The difference between the two fighters is that Aspinall is a true grappler also, with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and some solid wrestling too. Aspinall has a speed advantage and with a five-year age gap, his cardio has looked good so far. He has never fought in front of a live UFC crowd though and has never had a five-round fight in his career.

This fight will stay on the feet for the early exchanges as Aspinall looks to test the chin and make reads. His jab is more than good enough to land despite the size advantage but it’s the submission and grappling threat that will open up a big opportunity for him to land a combination. That could be enough to put Volkov out, but if not he’ll take the neck and secure a submission as a result to claim the biggest win of his career.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 3

UFC Vegas 41: Costa vs Vettori – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex once again for UFC Vegas 41 this weekend as Paulo Costa takes on Marvin Vettori in the middleweight division.

The Brazilian is looking to earn some respect back following his excuses and defeat to Israel Adesanya, while Vettori is looking to finally get that marquee name on his resume following his most recent defeat to… Israel Adesanya.

It’s not the most stacked card this week in name value, but there are some very fun fights on the card that we’ll look to predict.

Last week at UFC Vegas 40 we struggled at went 5/10 with zero perfect picks, moving us to 439/689 (63.72%) with 187 perfect picks (42.6%) since June 2020.

We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.


Jonathan Martinez (13-4) vs Zviad Lazishvili (13-0) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A super short notice fight to open up the card as an undefeated champion makes his UFC debut. Martinez has done well in the UFC but was beaten by knockout last time out against Davey Grant at UFC Vegas 21, while Lazishvili earned a submission win in his last bout in September 2020.

Martinez is a technical boxer with a great jab and some heavy low kicks, but he has a lot of issues with his weight at these smaller divisions. Lazishvili is a grappler extraordinaire who uses his excellent wrestling to get the fight to the ground and work for his submissions.

Lazishvili will look to close the distance, wrestle Martinez to the ground and hold him there until a submission shows itself or the referee brings the round to an end. Martinez is good in the grappling himself but he won’t want to find himself under Lazishvili. It should be a banger, but I have to go with the undefeated fighter for his ability to dictate where the fight goes.
PICK – Zviad Lazishvili via Decision

Livinha Souza (14-3) vs Randa Markos (10-12-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun strawweight bout is scheduled for the card here between two fighters coming off defeats. Souza got a win against Ashley Yoder at UFC 252, before she lost via TKO to Amanda Lemos at UFC 259 most recently. Markos on the other hand has lost four straight, including a submission to Mackenzie Dern at UFC Vegas 11 and then via DQ last time out at UFC Vegas 25 for an illegal up-kick.

Souza is a good wrestler with some really strong takedowns in her arsenal, but she is one of the best when it comes to poor game plans and throwing away fights. Markos on the other hand is a good striker, who has seen her takedown defence exposed in recent fights. Souza has a habit of trading strikes with opponents even when it’s their strength and her weakness.

If she remembers that she’s a judo black belt and has a huge advantage on the ground in this fight, she would win relatively easily. If she chooses to strike, which she almost certainly will, she gives Markos a chance. Unfortunately for Markos though, the takedown is always there against her and I expect Souza will use it at some point to earn a decision win.
PICK – Livinha Souza via Decision


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Jeff Molina (9-2) vs Daniel Lacerda (11-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A banger at flyweight in this one between two hot prospects. Molina in on an eight-fight win streak, winning his UFC proper debut via decision against Qileng Aori at UFC 261. Lacerda in the other corner is on a three-fight win streak, all coming in the first-round and he makes his UFC debut.

Molina is a technical boxer on the feet with great volume and good cardio, while Lacerda is a violent kickboxer with some brilliant submissions off his back and in his back pocket. Molina has a great jab, good low kicks and his takedown defence is probably average which sets up a brilliant fight. Lacerda has insane power in his legs with kicks and scary power in his hands, never going beyond the second-round in his career.

Lacerda’s only defeat came via an injury to his shoulder, but the fact he has never gone into deep water is a worry. We don’t know how good his cardio is and we know that Molina can control the pace for a full 15 minutes. With that said, Lacerda has a brilliant killer instinct and because of his submission game the kickboxing could potentially open up for him to score a finish.
PICK – Daniel Lacerda via Knockout, Round 1

Khama Worthy (16-8) vs Jai Herbert (10-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very fun lightweight scrap between the veteran Worthy and the newbie fighting for his UFC career in Herbert. Worthy has lost each of his last two via knockout, getting stopped by Ottman Azaitar at UFC Vegas 10 before Jamie Mullarkey KO’d him at UFC 260. Herbert has also been stopped in his two UFC outings, getting KO’d by Francisco Trinaldo at UFC Fight Island 3 before a submission defeat to Renato Moicano at UFC Vegas 30.

Both of these guys have got genuine knockout power in their strikes, with Worthy earning nine KO wins in his career and Herbert earning eight KO wins in his career. Both guys are kickboxers at their core, but Worthy is far more power-based rather than technical, while Herbert is tidy striker with the power to match.

Worthy is likely to try and close distance and land one heavy shot to turn the lights out, but if Herbert can stay long and use his range well he will have an edge. The longer the fight goes, Herbert has more advantages under his belt and I think Herbert’s power and technique together mean he can stay in there to do enough damage and save his UFC career.
PICK – Jai Herbert via Knockout, Round 2

UFC Vegas 30: Gane vs Volkov – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex this weekend with some giant European heavyweights headlining the card as Ciryl Gane takes on Alexander Volkov with a potential title shot looming for the winner.

A make-believe European title will be on the line as the two top five heavyweights clash, coming into the fight off the back of win streaks over top contenders too.

Elsewhere on the card in the co-main event, Ovince Saint-Preux moves up to heavyweight to take on short-notice opponent Tanner Boser while Raoni Barcelos gets back in the octagon to take on Timur Valiev in an absolute banger at bantamweight.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 29, we went 8/12 on the night with four perfect picks to go up to 346/542 (63.84%) with 155 perfect picks (44.8%).

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


Renato Moicano (14-4-1) vs Jai Herbert (10-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very intriguing lightweight fight to open the main card as Renato Moicano takes on the UK’s Jai Herbert. Moicano has lost three of his last four fights, including most recently getting knocked out by Rafael Fiziev at UFC 256. Herbert on the other hand got knocked out in his UFC debut by Francisco Trinaldo at UFC Fight Island 3 to snap a six-fight win streak.

Moicano is a super technical striker with some brilliant jiu-jitsu skills, while Herbert is a fine striker of his own accord but seems to have left his chin behind at Cage Warriors after his last outing. Herbert has good power on his feet too but Moicano’s grappling is so far and away from Herbert’s that it makes it incredibly lopsided.

Moicano can work his way in to grappling range with his striking and can end up getting the fight down and working for a submission. Herbert is technical enough to avoid the submissions on the ground, but Moicano should control on the ground for a wide decision win.
PICK – Renato Moicano via Decision

Tim Means (31-12-1) vs Nicolas Dalby (19-3-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two welterweights coming into this one on win streaks as Tim Means takes on Nicolas Dalby at 170lbs. Means has won two-in-a-row, with decision wins over Laureano Starapoli at UFC Vegas 6 and Mike Perry at UFC 255. Dalby had a no-contest against Jesse Ronson at UFC Fight Island 3 where he lost by submission on the night, before he bounced back with a win over Daniel Rodriguez.

Means is a fantastic boxer on the feet but he also has some good wrestling skills, while Dalby is a solid wrestler with some okay boxing skills too. Means doesn’t have top level power but he has enough to put a hurting on someone who doesn’t excel at striking, just like Dalby. Dalby is durable though but even his most recent performances haven’t been too convincing.

Means should pick Dalby apart using his jab and power strikes following them up but I don’t expect he’ll get the knockout.
PICK – Tim Means via Decision

Andre Fili (21-8) vs Daniel Pineda (27-14) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun featherweight banger between Andre ‘Touchy’ Fili as he takes on Daniel Pineda with both guys coming off a loss. Fili was well beaten by Bryce Mitchell at UFC Vegas 12 back in October last year, while Pineda followed up a win over Herbert Burns at UFC 253 by getting knocked out cold by Cub Swanson at UFC 256.

Both these guys are really well rounded, but have their main strengths at opposite ends. Fili’s solid grappling is usually his starting spot for game plans, with good volume to his striking and a good ability to mix it up. Pineda is a boxing heavy guy who has some decent grappling skills to fall back on if needed, as seen with his stunning 18 submission wins. It’s a really, really interesting fight that will likely be in the conversation for fight of the night.

With that said Fili is the master of the decision and I think he’s capable of riding out the storm and using his good striking to earn a win.
PICK – Andre Fili via Decision

Raoni Barcelos (16-1) vs Timur Valiev (17-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

My pick for fight of the night, an absolute bantamweight banger in this one. Barcelos returned from a near two-year absence with a fight of the night win over Khalid Taha to extend his win streak up to nine in a row. Valiev on the other hand is officially on an eight-fight unbeaten run although he was knocked out by Trevyn Jones at UFC Vegas 7 in his debut only for it to be overturned. He returned with a great win over Martin Day at UFC Vegas 18 though.

Barcelos is a stunning fighter, with brilliant striking, jiu-jitsu, scrambles and footwork. Valiev is a black-belt in jiu-jitsu too with good kicks but he’s a striker first and foremost and both these guys will come forward and trade. Unfortunately for Valiev, that fight against Jones did happen and you can’t overlook it.

Both guys are fantastic prospects, but Barcelos has the knockout power and durability to stop this one early if it does become a war.
PICK – Raoni Barcelos via Knockout, Round 2

Tanner Boser (19-8-1) vs Ovince Saint-Preux (25-15) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A strange co-main event as Tanner Boser steps in on short-notice to take on Ovince Saint-Preux, moving up to heavyweight for this one. Boser has lost each of his last two, dropping decisions to Andrei Arlovski at UFC Vegas 13 and Ilir latifi last month at UFC Vegas 28. ‘OSP’ on the other hand was knocked out in his last one at light heavyweight against Jamahal Hill at UFC Vegas 16.

Boser is a boxer with a decent kicking game in his arsenal, while OSP is a laboured striker with terrific grappling skills including his own patented choke. OSP has fought at heavyweight before but made his name at 205lbs and Boser is not a small heavyweight fighter. Considering OSP has been KO’d at the smaller weight class before, that doesn’t pose too well against heavyweights.

OSP is likely to try and use his grappling skills in this one but Boser’s takedown defence is good and his striking is better than OSP’s, so I think he’ll take the win after 15 minutes.
PICK – Tanner Boser via Decision

Ciryl Gane (8-0) vs Alexander Volkov (33-8) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A really intriguing fight in the main event as Ciryl Gane puts his undefeated record on the line to take on Alexander Volkov with a future title shot surely on the line. Gane has beaten Junior Dos Santos at UFC 256 and then Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC Vegas 20 in a dominant performance, while Volkov bounced back from defeat to Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 3 with knockout wins over Walt Harris at UFC 254 and Alistair Overeem at UFC Vegas 18.

Gane is a Muay-Thai fighter with some good grappling skills in his weaponary too, while Volkov is a rangy boxer standing at 6ft 7′ tall. Volkov’s performance against Overeem was arguably his best, as he used his jab brilliantly and stuffed some takedown attempts to keep the fight standing while against Blaydes he really struggled to do that. Blaydes is a far better grappler than Gane though, who is very patient and accurate with his striking.

Volkov’s got real knockout power in his hands and uses his body kicks well, while Gane’s stoppages come more from volume than just putting people away. It’s a really intriguing fight but having never seen Gane lose, it’s hard to know how he reacts to adversity. Volkov will land strikes and he has lots of experience, so I think Volkov is able to get the job done at this stage of their careers.
PICK – Alexander Volkov via Knockout, Round 4

UFC Fight Island: Whittaker vs Till – Prelims Predictions

As the UFC brings to an end the first edition of Fight Island, the middleweight division is hotting up. Former champion Robert Whittaker makes his return in his first bout since losing the belt as he takes on former welterweight title contender Darren Till in the main event.

Before that though, a stacked FIFTEEN fight card will see plenty of big fights and talented fighters enter the octagon. I’ll break down the prelims here, and offer up my predictions for each fight.

Last time out for UFC Fight Island: Figueiredo vs Benavidez 2, I correctly predicted 6/10 winners on the night with just one of those completely correct (winner, round, method). I expect to do much better this time around and hope to improve on that record.

EARLY PRELIMS

Nathaniel Wood (16-4) vs John Castaneda (14-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

‘The Prospect’ came from Cage Warriors into the UFC and lived up to his name, with three successive submission wins before he finally fell to John Dodson in his last bout. He was originally scheduled to fight Umar Nurmagomedov, but he pulled out of the fight when his father died. Contender series fighter Castaneda didn’t earn a contract on the show despite his win but has stepped in at short notice for this bout. Wood is excellent in all realms of MMA when going forward but has a few holes defensively in the stand-up aspect, as exploited by Dodson. Castaneda is a steady striker with decent wrestling to fall back on, but realistically Wood is on another level at this point. Wood has enough power to put Castaneda down and I think he’ll use his ground game from there on to collect a submission win.
PICK – Nathaniel Wood via Submission, Round 2

Ramazan Emeev (18-4) vs Nicklas Stolze (12-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Another fight put together at short notice, German Stolze replaces Shavkat Rakhmonov who had to withdraw two weeks ago. A very capable striker, he doesn’t quite possess the elite level that Rakhmonov has and that should make it a bit easier for Emeev to deal with. The Russian is a complete wrestler with his only intention to get the fight down and keep you floored. He is relentless in his search for a takedown and once he gets you there it’s just a waiting game for him to wear you out. All of his UFC fights so far have gone the distance, with a 3-1 record and I think extends that record to get back in the win column.
PICK – Ramazan Emeev via Unanimous Decision

PRELIMS

Bethe Correia (11-4-1) vs Pannie Kianzad (13-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

After her huge upset win over Sijara Eubanks in October 2019, Bethe Correia snapped a three-fight losing streak in the UFC. She was in her prime way back in 2015 and it’s shown her recent performances. Kianzad was a TUF finalist, being beaten by Macy Chiasson before returning back home to Sweden for a win in the regional circuit. She came back to the UFC and has gone 1-1 and should be able to get a win here. She has a striking advantage over Correia, has a big height and reach advantage and then on top of that has a better output when it comes to volume. Neither fighter really has the power to end fights, as their combined 18 decision wins shows. So long as Kianzad doesn’t get sucked into a brawl with Correia, she should win this pretty comfortably in unspectacular fashion.
PICK – Pannie Kianzad via Unanimous Decision

Tanner Boser (18-6-1) vs Raphael Pessoa (10-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Tanner Boser completes a one-month turnaround to compete on Fight Island against Raphael Pessoa. The movement heavy Boser is a good boxer and possesses a great leg-kick, something that will cause the flat-footed Pessoa trouble in this bout. The Brazilian won his last fight via decision against Jeff Hughes but it was a low quality bout. Boser is the better striker, better mover and has more power. He could potentially land a knockout win here, similar to the combination that put down Phillipe Lins down in his last fight.
PICK – Tanner Boser via Knockout, Round 1

Movsar Evloev (12-0) vs Mike Grundy (12-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A sleeper for fight of the night this one, two wrestlers who use their strikes knowing they can fall back on their grappling if necessary. Evloev is 2-0 in the UFC, beating Enrique Barzola in his last bout in a super impressive decision win. Both fighters are quite evenly matched and love a submission once they’re on the ground. Grundy will lead with power punches and level change but Evloev is arguably the slightly better wrestler between the two and should be able to deal with it. In a close fight, Evloev edges a decision win that plays out on the ground and with scrambles.
PICK – Movsar Evloev via Unanimous Decision

Tom Aspinall (7-2) vs Jake Collier (11-4) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Tom Aspinall makes a return to the UFC after an attempt to start a boxing career against Collier, who is 2-2 in the UFC having previously won one and lost one in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. Collier hasn’t fought since 2017 due to injuries and a USADA suspension and this is akin to stepping out of the frying pan and into the flame. Aspinall has genuine one-punch knockout power while he’s also an accomplished jiu-jitsu practitioner too. Mix that all in with Collier’s inactivity and natural size disadvantage, Aspinall should be able to get a win fairly quickly in this one.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 1

Nicolas Dalby (18-3-1) vs Jesse Ronson (21-10) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Another short notice fight as Jesse Ronson steps in for his first UFC fight in six years to take on Dalby at welterweight. Dalby has previously beaten Alex Oliveira and Elizeu Zaleski while also getting a draw against Darren Till in the 170lbs division. On the other hand, Ronson is naturally a lightweight and lost two of his last three in the PFL. Technically both fighters are pretty evenly matched but Dalby has the huge size advantage and should have enough about him, especially with Ronson coming in without a full camp, to take over as the fight progresses and earn a decision win.
PICK – Nicolas Dalby via Unanimous Decision

Francisco Trinaldo* (25-7) vs Jai Herbert (10-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
*Trinaldo missed weight, fight is now a catchweight fight at 160lbs

At 41 years old, we may have seen the signs that Trinaldo’s body is giving up on him. He missed weight for this one, coming in 4lbs over the 156lbs limit and Jai Herbert is a younger fighter in his prime years. The Brit is a superb jiu-jitsu practitioner who hasn’t really had to use his grappling too much in his career, with 8 of his 9 stoppage wins coming via knockout. He has got great power in his hands and while Trinaldo has always been very well rounded, his last loss was due to the forward pressure of Alex Hernandez. Herbert certainly has more chance as the fight continues on, but I’m going to back him for the upset in this fight with a submission win.
PICK – Jai Herbert via Submission, Round 3

Main card picks to follow, do you agree with my picks so far? Let me know.