Tag Archives: Javid Basharat

UFC Vegas 67: Strickland vs Imavov – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns after a month-long absence for it’s first card of 2023, and there has already been drama.

Originally slated to be a middleweight main event between Nassourdine Imavov and Kelvin Gastelum, before Gastelum fell out with a mouth injury during fight week.

He’s now replaced by Sean Strickland, who steps in after his main event defeat to Jared Cannonier in the final card of 2022.

During that even we went 9/13 with five perfect picks to end the year at #UFCVegas66, moving us to 804/1251 (64.27%) with 331 perfect picks (41.17%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims of the night, we move on to the prelims section now.


Allan Nascimento (19-6) vs Carlos Hernandez (8-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Another flyweight scrap in this one between two relatively experienced guys. Nascimento is 1-1 in the UFC, dropping a split decision to Tagir Ulanbekov before beating Jake Hadley most recently in May 2022. Hernandez on the other hand is on an eight-fight win streak, with a split decision over Victor Altamirano in his UFC debut back in February 2022 in his last fight.

Nascimento is the flyweight version of his countryman Charles Oliveira, that’s the best way to describe him. A stunning jiu-jitsu expert, his striking and wrestling have now caught up to an elite level and he is a genuine problem for the flyweight division. Hernandez is also a well-rounded fighter, with good power and solid scrambles, but his tendency to retreat in straight lines is an issue he must rectify.

Despite his qualities, Nascimento must stay patient in this bout. Expect him to strike early and mix in his wrestling skills control the fight, and then midway through the rounds land a nasty strike to drop Hernandez before pouncing on the neck for his first UFC finish.
PICK – Allan Nascimento via Submission, Round 2

Javid Basharat (13-0) vs Mateus Mendonca (10-0) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Banger at bantamweight between two undefeated prospects at 135-pounds. Basharat has impressed in the UFC with decision wins over Trevin Jones and Tony Gravely so far, while Mendonca makes his promotional debut after a 48 second KO in on the Contender Series back in September.

Basharat is a really slick operator with good grappling, but it’s his excellent striking and movement that stand out when he’s in the cage. Mendonca alternatively is like a bull who has seen red, constantly stepping forward and looking to take his opponent’s head off the whole time. That aggression could go either way, either leaving him looking silly or being the exact reason he gets the win.

But Basharat will comfortably be the best fighter that Mendonca has fought, and his style is designed to avoid getting his head knocked off it’s shoulders. With his experience and ability to mix up in grappling too, he should have too much for the hot prospect in this one.
PICK – Javid Basharat via Decision



Mateusz Rebecki (16-1) vs Nick Fiore (6-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Some interesting matchmaking in this one in the lightweight division. Rebecki is on a 13-fight win streak with 11 finishes in that run, including a submission against Rodrigo Lidio on the Contender Series in his most recent outing. Fiore on the other hand is undefeated with six finishes from six wins, including four submissions.

Rebecki is a powerhouse in the stand-up department of the cage, but he’s also got excellent wrestling and some ADCC level grappling too, making him a true threat no matter where this ends up. Fiore is a grappler first and foremost with tantalising jiu-jitsu, but his striking is improving with each outing. The problem he has here is that Rebecki is better than him everywhere.

The Poland native has all the tools to claim a big win here, and add the fact that Fiore is stepping in on just two weeks’ notice, this one is unlikely to last too long. Rebecki gets it done, and quickly.
PICK – Mateusz Rebecki via Knockout, Round 1

Claudio Ribeiro (10-2) vs Abdul Razak Alhassan (11-5) – (Middleweight/185bs)

Very fun middleweight scrap up next as the feature prelim of the event. Ribeiro is on a six-fight win streak with five of those coming as a first-round knockout, including his win over Ivan Valenzuela on the Contender Series most recently. Alhassan has lost four of his last five, with his only win coming in 17 seconds against Alessio Di Chirico. His last bout ended in a split decision loss to Joaquin Buckley.

Both men are absolute powerhouses with scary knockout power, but they’re at different ends of their career seemingly. Ribeiro tends to put his back to the fence and let fly, while Alhassan likes to back his opponent up against the fence and let fly with huge showers of strikes. That’s a recipe for disaster for Ribeiro, but he will be confident of finding Alhassan’s chin.

If the opening minutes don’t end in a KO, then Alhassan will know he can use his judo to slow things down if necessary. Despite that though, it will end early. The question is who lands the kill shot. For me, Ribeiro has a slight speed advantage but he’s never fought someone as scary as “Judo Thunder”. Alhassan’s blitzes will see more than one of his shots land in a row, and that’ll put Ribeiro’s lights out.
PICK – Abdul Razak Alhassan via Knockout, Round 1

UFC Vegas 60: Sandhagen vs Yadong – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas after the wild ride that was UFC 279 for a huge bantamweight main event.

Former title challenger Cory Sandhagen headlines the card against hot prospect Song Yadong, in his first main event and a real step up in competition.

A stacked 14-fight card will see several fights with some good debutants and some impressive prospects a chance to make themselves a name in the UFC.

Last time out at UFC 279 we went 8/13 with three perfect picks for the night to move to 723/1119 (64.61%) with 305 perfect picks (42.19%). You can see our full picks history here.

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


Nikolas Motta (12-4) vs Cameron VanCamp (15-6-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A fun lightweight scrap to open the card here. Motta suffered defeat in his UFC debut when he got KO’d by the legendary Jim Miller back in February, while VanCamp suffered the same fate against Andre Fialho at UFC 274 in his debut.

Motta is a counter striker who likes to use pressure to force his opponents into decisions they don’t want to make, before landing bombs of his own to starch opponents. He has won eight of 12 via knockout. VanCamp on the other hand is a striker too, but he has rather unorthodox technique and likes to use it to set up his solid submission game which has seen him earn nine tap out wins in his career.

Despite both guys getting knocked out last time they were in the cage, this fight tends to lean towards Motta’s style. He is aggressive with his strikes and has good takedown defence to keep the fight standing. VanCamp will look to create space using his size, but I expect Motta to be able to slip and counter to score a big knockout and get into the win column.
PICK – Nikolas Motta via Knockout, Round 2

Tony Gravely (23-7) vs Javid Basharat (12-0) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An exciting bantamweight clash up next between two fun guys. Gravely has won his last two after claiming a decision over Saimon Oliveira (UFC 270) before a knockout win over Johnny Munhoz Jr back in June. Basharat is an unbeaten fighter who claimed a decision win over Trevin Jones back in March in his debut.

Gravely is a very underrated 135-pounder with heavy hands and excellent wrestling in his back pocket and plenty of experience. Basharat is a super well-rounded fighter who has great striking and a decent submission game too, splitting his wins 6/5 between submissions and knockouts. This is a big step up in competition for him though and he’s never faced a wrestler as good as Gravely.

If Basharat is capable of moving well and stuffing takedowns against a guy that he has a decent size advantage on, then he will be proving that he’s ready for ranked opponents in my eyes. Gravely will be a phenomenal test, but I think he could be more eye catching with his strikes to claim a close decision win.
PICK – Javid Basharat via Decision



Mariya Agapova (10-3) vs Gillian Robertson (10-7) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An interesting women’s flyweight bout next. Agapova came into the UFC as a wrecking ball but has lost two of her last three, including a submission loss to Maryna Moroz at UFC 272 last time out. Robertson on the other hand is highly rated, but has lost three of her last four in the UFC dropping decisions to Taila Santos (UFC Vegas 17), Miranda Maverick (UFC 260) and JJ Aldrich most recently. She did submit Priscila Cachoeira at UFC 269 though.

Agapova is a powerful striker with great speed and movement in her arsenal, but big struggles with the grappling side of her game. Robertson is the opposite, a brilliant grappler with trouble on the feet against top strikers. So obviously, this fight will be exciting. Agapova will want to keep the fight standing and use her boxing combinations, while Robertson will try to wrestle and drag her to the mat to work her jiu-jitsu game.

Ultimately this is a question about whether or not Agapova is powerful enough to get a finish on the feet before she gets taken down, because she will get taken down. Robertson looked off against Aldrich but she’s shown enough in the past to convince me she can get this to the mat, and then she’ll work to get the back of a panicking Agapova and eventually take the neck for a choke.
PICK – Gillian Robertson via Submission, Round 1

Trey Ogden (15-5) vs Daniel Zellhuber (12-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

An intriguing lightweight scrap now closes out this section of the card. Ogden came into the UFC on a three-fight win streak, but suffered a split decision loss to Jordan Leavitt in his debut last time out. Zellhuber is an undefeated fighter, who earned a contract a year ago on the Contender Series thanks to a decision win.

Ogden is a wrestler with good cardio but he showed in his debut that his striking defence is essentially non-existent, especially when it comes to low kicks. That’s a big problem in this fight, as Zellhuber is a powerful striker with great footwork, cardio, crushing kicks and good defensive grappling. Stylistically it’s a really tough match up, but Zellhuber has the advantages.

“Golden Boy” has got good volume and his length should see him control the range, meaning he will be able to pick Ogden off with more leg kicks and eventually hurt Ogden with his combinations for a solid decision win.
PICK – Daniel Zellhuber via Decision

UFC Vegas 50: Santos vs Ankalaev – Prelims predictions

After a banger of a pay-per-view card last weekend the UFC returns to their APEX in Las Vegas for a big light heavyweight headline fight card as Thiago Santos takes on Magomed Ankalaev in the main event.

The 205-pound division is wide open at the top end and a big win for either man could see them enter title contention in the very near future.

We’ll also see Marlon Moraes take on Song Yadong in a bantamweight co-main event, while the likes of Drew Dober, Terrance McKinney, Miranda Maverick and Alex Pereira competing too in a sneakily stacked card.

Last time out at UFC 272 we went 9/13 with four perfect picks to move to 557/865 (64.39%) with 238 perfect picks (42.73%) with our picks.

We’ll look to improve on that going forward and after starting with the early prelims on this 14-fight card here, we round off our prelims picks now.


Damon Jackson (19-4-1) vs Kamuela Kirk (12-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A short-notice featherweight fight brings great interest in this one. Jackson has won two of three in his most recent UFC run, with a KO defeat to undefeated Ilia Topuria sandwiched between wins over Mirsad Bektic at UFC Vegas 11 and Charles Rosa at UFC Vegas 39. Kirk on the other hand has won three-in-a-row, including a win over Makwan Amirkhani in his debut at UFC Vegas 28.

Jackson is a very talented all-rounder, with decent striking and a nasty ground game to go with his wrestling skills. Kirk on the other hand is a very skilled striker with good takedown defence and a decent ground game if he does end up on his back. If Jackson is able to get on top then he’ll have the advantage, because that is where he’s at his best, but aside from that I have Kirk with an advantage in most areas.

He’s a much superior striker, he’s a good wrestler defensively and offensively and his cardio doesn’t usually let him down. It’s a short notice bout so that could change, but I think Kirk could claim a big decision win here.
PICK – Kamuela Kirk via Decision

Trevin Jones (13-7) vs Javid Basharat (11-0) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A really fun bantamweight fight up next that’ll see an undefeated prospect make his debut. Jones earned a big KO win over Mario Bautista at UFC 259 after his debut was overturned to a no contest, before getting submitted against Saidyokub Rakhromonov most recently at UFC Vegas 34. Basharat is 11-0 and undefeated having finished each of his bouts inside the distance.

Jones is a good wrestler with a killer right hand and some serious knockout power, while Basharat is a composed Taekwando fighter with some excellent submission skills in his back pocket, contributing to six of his 11 finishes so far. Basharat has a size advantage in the fight, although a slightly lesser reach, and he will look to bounce around on the outside and counter with rangy attacks while dictating the pace.

He loves to attack the legs and body, which could allow Jones the chance to catch one and take him down, but even on the mat he has a very solid chance of controlling the bout. So long as he doesn’t get lamped with a one-and-done strike, I expect Basharat to claim the victory although I think he’ll see the judges for the first time.
PICK – Javid Basharat via Decision



JJ Aldrich (10-4) vs Gillian Robertson (10-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Another short-notice bout here in the women’s flyweight division this time. Aldrich is on a two-fight win streak after decisions against Cortney Casey at UFC Vegas 21 and Vanessa Demopoulos at UFC Vegas 35, while Robertson snapped a two-fight losing streak last time out against Priscila Cachoeira with a submission win at UFC 269. Robertson steps in on three-weeks notice, replacing Ariane Lipski.

Aldrich is a striker who looks to avoid wrestling on the mat, but she has little chance of doing that here against Robertson. ‘The Savage’ is a brilliant wrestler with exceptional jiu-jitsu skills on the mat and with a big experience difference, this weighs heavily in her favour.

Robertson is capable of holding her own on the feet for a short period before looking to change levels for a takedown or clinch against the cage and look for trips. Once she gets hold of her, it will be tough for Aldrich to step away from that and then Robertson has the big grappling advantage. Expect her to get it down, control her on the mat before finally sinking in a rear-naked choke.
PICK – Gillian Robertson via Submission, Round 2

Matthew Semelsberger (9-3) vs AJ Fletcher (9-0) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A fun welterweight bout is the featured prelim of the night with an interesting debutant. Semelsberger is a UFC veteran and scored a 15-second knockout win most recently at UFC 266 against Marin Sano to make it six wins in seven fights. Fletcher is an undefeated prospect who earned a contract with a flying knee KO win on Dana White’s Contender Series last time out. He’ll have Dustin Poirier in his corner this weekend.

Semelsberger is a heavy-handed puncher with a solid wrestling game, while Fletcher is also a well-rounded fighter who prefers his wrestling game to his striking, but he’s well capable of knocking guys out as his four career KO’s show. Despite the clear potential that Fletcher has though, this is a rough match up for him to debut in the organisation in. Semelsberger has terrific cardio and his wrestling is also good enough to compete against Fletcher, who is still relatively green in the MMA world.

Fletcher throws some naked kicks and has some good explosiveness, but those naked kicks are what Semelsberger thrives on to threaten takedowns and counter with his cement block of a right hand. Fletcher’s chin has never really been tested but we know Semelsberger has cardio for days and enough power to sleep people, so mixed with the wrestling I expect him to hand the newcomer his first defeat.
PICK – Matthew Semelsberger via Knockout, Round 2