Tag Archives: Jimmy Crute

UFC Vegas 44: Font vs Aldo – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Vince Morales def Louis Smolka via Knockout, Round 1 (2:02)

Good early start from both guys as Smolka lands a low kick or two while Morales lands a few jabs cleanly and then goes to the body too. Smolka trying to push the pace and step forward, but Morales evading relatively easily and landing some nice strikes of his own. Smolka goes to clinch with a knee and as they separate Morales lands a huge right hand that puts Smolka out cold face first! He follows up with a couple but the referee stops it quickly and that’s that! What a KO!

Claudio Puelles def Chris Gruetzemacher via Submission (Kneebar), Round 3 (3:25)

Hard body kick to open up the fight for Puelles, but Gruetzemacher fires back with one of his own. Puelles shoots for a takedown and gets it, ending up on top and working from full guard. Gruetzemacher defending well from his back, taking very little damage. He throws up a lazy armbar which Puelles uses to pass guard and try to take the back, but Gruetzemacher gets his back to the cage and staying calm while fighting hands. Puelles steps over and moves into full mount and starts raining down elbows and strikes. Gruetzemacher avoiding most of the strikes and gets half guard back well and survives the round well. 10-9 Puelles.

Puelles opens up with kicks again and then goes for a couple of lazy takedowns again. Gruetzemacher denies it but rather than keeping the fight standing he tries to transition and ends up on top but not doing much offensively. Puelles throws up a triangle as a threat but Gruetzemacher defends well and eventually they get back to the feet. Puelles lands some big kicks and a nice left hand before another lazy takedown attempt that Gruetzemacher denies easily. Puelles trying to throw some hard head kicks but Gruetzemacher avoiding damage and lands some low kicks of his own. Clinch against the cage and Puelles lands some nice elbows and knees before switching levels for a takedown but it’s not a good attempt and the round ends. Probably 19-19 but could be 20-18 Puelles.

Final round and Gruetzemacher comes forward more aggressively and looks for a knee in the clinch but accidentally lands a low blow to cause a pause in the action. Restarted now and Gruetzemacher coming forward again with more volume. Nice body shots and a left hand before Puelles shoots and it gets sprawled. Some nice short elbows in the clinch by Gruetzemacher force another shot but he sprawls and then spins on to the back of Puelles for a few strikes before they get back to the feet. Gruetzemacher gets a nice foot sweep to be on top but Puelles goes for a leg and tries for a heel hook but Gruetzemacher defends it and ends up on the back. Nice ground and pound but Puelles rolls for the leg again and extends a straight kneebar to get the tap! Big win for Puelles!

William Knight def Alonzo Menifield via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Knight comes out quickly and goes straight for a takedown attempt but Menifield is able to sweep him as he hits the ground and ends up in side control. Knight manages to slip out around the back and tries to get into mount quickly before moving to the back and looking to lock in a rear-naked choke. Menifield defends it well and explodes back to the feet himself before they clinch up against the fence. Knight holding on to the neck of Menifield to stay standing, but Menifield doing well to stay out of a guillotine and force Knight to continue defending. Menifield throws a right hand but Knight counters with a big left hook that drops him! He goes for the finish but the buzzer goes and he survives. 10-9 Knight. Great round.

Menifield opens with a low kick and then a big strike that sends Knight backwards and literally running away from Menifield. Menifield lands a big right hand flush that wobbles Knight, but he stays patient then throws a low kick. Nice left hook from Menifield again and Knight looks very hesitant to throw now. Knight throwing wild strikes but missing hugely and Menifield staying calm and just looking to pick Knight off a little bit now. Left hand landing well for Menifield again and Knight doesn’t really have an answer for it. Knight explodes with the right hand with 15 seconds to go and starts going wild again but doesn’t land flush and the round ends. Definitely a Menifield round. 19-19.

Both guys look more hesitant in this round as they clinch up and Menifield pushes Knight to the cage. Menifield holding Knight against the cage and not much happening as we hit the halfway point of the round. 90 seconds left and it’s just more of the same position for this round. Separation as we get into the final minute and Knight goes for a flying knee. Some wild head kicks miss and Menifield stays on the outside for the rest of the round to likely earn a victory.

PRELIMS

Cheyanne Vlismas def Mallory Martin via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Fast start to the fight from both women as Martin takes the centre and they start throwing hands. Some beautiful combos from Vlismas land but Martin is trading back and landing some shots of her own. Vlismas defending against Martin’s strikes well and landing some excellent counter strikes from the outside. Martin in the centre and start to fake some strikes but Vlismas reading well and countering. Martin lands a beautiful short left hook and Vlismas clinches up to throw some short uppercuts and dirty boxing before stepping out of the way again. Lovely right hand lands again as the rounds closes out. 10-9 Vlismas.

Fast start again from Vlismas as she steps forward with fast combinations again and excellent lateral movement. Martin standing in the centre again but she’s being more hesitant to throw now. Nice right hand, left high kick combo from Vlismas lands sbut Martin continues to come forward and then lands a nice body shot. Vlismas lands a beautiful counter right hand. Martin clinches and starts looking to wrestle a bit, but Vlismas defends it well and keeps it standing for now. Nice knees from both ladies landing but Martin is getting the better of the exchanges. They separate and both land a right hand simultaneously before going back to the pattern of the fight. 20-18 Vlismas.

Martin moves for a takedown early on in the final round but Vlismas defends it brilliantly against the cage again before separating. Beautiful one two lands from Vlismas and Martin goes for another takedown but Vlismas defends it well again. Martin lands some knees in the clinch but Vlismas is able to separate and comes forward with some more clean strikes of her own. Big right hand lands from Vlismas in the exchange and Martin steps back slightly before changing levels and going for a takedown again, but Vlismas keeps her balance and keeps it standing again. Both women landing their jabs together but then Vlismas lands a couple of extra shots that she adds to the end of it. Vlismas’ striking has just been a level ahead and she ends the fight stepping forward with big combinations! Great fight! 30-27 Vlismas for me.

Bryan Barbarena def Darian Weeks via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Weeks coming out of the gate confidently throwing lots of kicks but nothing really landing. Barbarena launches forward and Weeks changes levels with a body lock and then secures a takedown, but Barbarena gets back to his feet quickly. Weeks looking very comfortable and throwing plenty of strikes, but Barbarena lands a big inside low kick and gets a big reaction. He throws a few more quickly after and Weeks is limping now, but fighting through it. Change of levels from Weeks as he gets it against the cage, but Barbarena reverses the position and starts chopping at the leg again. Weeks having problems with his leg but still stepping forward. Barbarena staying patient and lands a nice left hand before another heavy low kick to end the round. 10-9 Barbarena.

Weeks comes out early and secures a takedown immediately but Barbarena defends well from his back before eventually getting back to his feet. Weeks continuing to be aggressive but Barbarena using his experience well to stem the tide. Weeks throwing some wild hooks and Barbarena throwing some tired ones of his own and both are landing, but nothing doing too much damage yet it seems. Barbarena lands another hard low kick and starts to go to the body as the round ends. That’s anybody’s round but I lean towards Barbarena again. 20-18.

Barbarena turning the pace up in the final round, coming forward and throwing combinations but Weeks gets another body lock and pushes him against the cage. Nice knee from Barbarena and they trade big hooks before going back into the clinch. Barbarena throws a high kick and slips but he gets back up quickly. Weeks is tired now and Barbarena is coming forward, landing some big hooks to the body and then a left hand to the chin. Weeks lands a couple of hooks of his own but Barbarena eating them and coming forward again with the body shots. Hard low kicks again from Barbarena but Weeks is digging in and landing some big hooks of his own. A few hard strikes land well but Barbarena takes them and fires back with his own. He’s really taken over in this round and is continuing to pour the pressure on in the final minute. Weeks changes levels under a hook and secures a big takedown in the final seconds but Barbarena jumps up and lands a big strike that wobbles Weeks! He moves forward with big swinging strikes that miss as the buzzer goes! Great fight. 30-27 for me but could be 29-28 too with round two being close.



Manel Kape def Zhalgas Zhumagulov via Knockout, Round 1 (4:02)

Super fast start to this one as Kape opens with a flying knee attempt before both men trade combinations. Zhumagulov throwing hard leg kicks and hard right overhands and connecting with some, but Kape moving well and landing a few counters of his own. Zhumagulov lands a big right that sends Kape stumbling backwards, but he responds with a nice right hand too. Zhumagulov coming forward hard and fast and pushing the pace but Kape is moving well and countering effectively too. Kape lands a nice body shot and a knee and he starts picking his shots. Hard one-two lands and drops Zhumagulov! Kape steps forward and looking for the finish but staying calm, then lands a huge string of punches that puts Zhumagulov down covering up and the referee steps in! What a knockout! What a performance!

Dusko Todorovic def Maki Pitolo via Knockout, Round 1 (4:34)

Lively start from both guys looking to step in and land first with their jabs and some low kicks. Pitolo lands a low kick and then a big right hand lands flush. Another low kick gets a reaction from Todorovic but he changes levels and shoots in for a takedown. Pitolo latches on to the neck and goes for a guillotine but Todorovic stays calm, rides it out and eventually secures top position as he starts to look for ground and pound. Todorovic dominating on the ground and trying to move to a crucifix position while landing big strikes and then he moves into full mount. Todorovic flattens Pitolo out and starts raining down heavy ground and pound until the referee waves it off! Hugely impressive win.

MAIN CARD

Alex Morono def Micky Gall via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Slow start from both guys as Morono takes the centre and tries to feel his way into range before firing a strong right hand to the chin of Gall. Hard low kick from Gall lands but both fighters being very patient and not throwing much early on. Morono lands a nice right hand and then eats a body kick, before firing in another nice one-two that lands on Gall. Lots of feinting and patience and then Morono lands a jab that sits Gall down! Morono goes for the finish but Gall manages to tie him up on the ground by going for a leg lock and recovers enough to get back to his feet at the end of the round. 10-9 Morono.

Gall comes out for the second round with a jab to the body before a nice right hand lands. Morono comes back with a powerful hook himself and then he steps in with a left hook that lands well too. Gall charges forward and lands two big hooks and Morono just misses with a check-left hook counter. Gall continues to come forward with hooks and a jab and he’s fighting very well from range right now. Lovely right hook counter from Morono just clips Gall before he misses with another in the next attack. Gall trying to use his size to be first, but Morono using his technique to match him or even beat him to it. Gall changes levels and shoots for a takedown but Morono sprawls to deny it and ends the round landing a hard left hook. 20-18 Morono.

Big overhand right lands from Morono on Gall, who fires back with a body kick that just misses. Another nice right hand from Morono connects but Gall replies again with a nice double jab followed by a low kick. Morono staying out of range but stepping in quickly when he wants to throw his strikes. Gall misses with a big right hand as we enter the final two minutes. Hard right hand from Morono before both guys trade wild swings in the final minute. Spinning back fist from Morono lands and Gall starting to come forward with his hands down. Both guys swing wildly as the buzzer goes, should be comfortable for Morono.

Chris Curtis def Brendan Allen via Knockout, Round 2 (1:58)

Fast start from Allen as he comes out with a few strong strikes that just miss before a big takedown attempt sees him pick Curtis up and slam him down, before taking the back. Curtis defends well and they separate quickly though. Curtis lands a nice four-punch combo to the head of Allen but he eats it and comes back with a nice knee. Allen goes for a head kick before Curtis returns with some big strikes again. Hard body kick from Allen before they trade low kicks together. Lead elbow from Allen lands before Curtis lands a nice right hook counter and then goes to the body himself. Head kick from Curtis just misses but he follows it up with a nice one-two. Allen goes for a takedown and then transitions for a leg lock but Curtis defends it well and ends up on top to end the round. Close round, 10-9 Allen for me but only just.

Hard low kick early from Allen drops Curtis to one knee before another hard low kick lands. Both guys trade in the pocket and Allen just misses with a knee. Allen lands a hard body kick but Curtis replies with a nice one-two down the pipe. Both guys trade big right hooks and Allen is wobbled!! Curtis going for the finish and lands a strong knee and Allen goes down again and the referee waves it off! Amazing! What a KO!

Clay Guida def Leonardo Santos via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (1:21)

Slow start to this one as Santos looks to keep his distance and use his powerful strikes from range. Santos lands a powerful body kick and Guida drops in pain! Santos goes for the kill with huge ground and pound strikes to the head and body but Guida is surviving currently. Santos blasting him with big strikes and the referee is looking closely but Guida is holding a leg and surviving! Guida gets up and manages to create separation and Santos is exhausted! Guida goes on the offensive for the final minute with his crazy pressure and wrestling! What a round! 10-9 Santos.

Guida comes out super aggressive and lands a big left hook then goes for a takedown again. He gets the fight down to the ground quickly and starts blasting knees to the body of Santos who is completely out of it through exhaustion. Guida goes for the neck, takes the back and sinks in a rear-naked choke and forces Santos to tap! Incredible! What a comeback.

Jamahal Hill def Jimmy Crute via Knockout, Round 1 (0:48)

Crute comes out hard with some heavy leg kicks and high kicks but Hill stepping out and avoiding too much damage. Hill fires a hard right hand down the pipe and drops Crute who immediately shoots for a takedown out of instinct. Hill gets some separation and counters with another solid right hook to the chin that puts Crute down and out! One more strike on the ground before the referee gets there and that’s that! Unbelievable from Jamahal Hill! Wow!

Rafael Fiziev def Brad Riddell via Knockout, Round 3 (2:20)

Tactical start to this one from both guys as they throw out some feelers for each other. Fiziev looks to land one of his trademark head kicks but just misses, before both guys trade hooks. Big exchange of counter strikes from Fiziev in particular as he rips the body with his lead leg. Riddell just misses with a right hand and then slips a kick from Fiziev. Riddell goes for a jab to the body and overhand right but just misses as Fiziev takes the centre and pushes him back against the cage with pressure. Both guys land a big right hook each before Fiziev fires a hard low kick at the end of it. Hard body kicks again from Fiziev before Riddell ends the round with a beautiful combination that sees two strikes land on the chin. Good round, 10-9 Fiziev.

Hard low kick from Riddell opens the round up. Riddell throwing his jab out before committing to combinations, but Fiziev lands a nice right hand counter too. Fiziev lands a jab followed with a step-in elbow that cuts Riddell badly over the eye. Nice left hand from Riddell lands though and then Fiziev lands with a short left hook. Both guys fire the same combination that ends with a left hook at the same time and both land too. Lovely right hook lands from Fiziev and then he goes for a knee but Riddell ties him up in a clinch before they separate. Back to the body kick from Fiziev and that’s the round. 20-18 Fiziev for me but could be 19-19.

Fiziev goes for a low leg kick but Riddell catches it and shoots for a takedown and briefly gets it, but Fiziev pops up to his feet quickly. They clash together again and Fiziev lands a hard right hand in the exchange, but Riddell’s right hand landed too. Big left hook from Riddell lands after a body shot as he starts to get more aggressive in this final round. Riddell changes levels and attempts a takedown but Fiziev denies it, before a big clash of strikes yet again from both guys. Riddell circles away on the outside and Fiziev throws a spinning wheel kick and catches Riddell clean in the face!! Riddell is out on his feet and Herb Dean steps in quickly before any more damage can be done!! WOW! What a KO! Amazing!

Jose Aldo def Rob Font via Unanimous Decision (50-45 x2, 49-46)

Fast start to this fight as Font comes forward and starts to use his jab immediately, following up with one-twos. Aldo lands a body kick before Font charges forward and gets a surprising takedown. Font forcing Aldo to be very defensive in the early going, landing his jab clean and following it with a right hand too. Font just misses with an uppercut but lands a glancing elbow as Aldo looks to step away. Aldo ducks under a straight right and counters with a pull right hand, but Font is putting it on him so far. Big body shot from Aldo lands and both guys trade leg kicks. Font lands his jab again and a nice right hand before Aldo rolls and blocks the follow up strike attempts. Aldo lands a one two straight down the pipe and Font goes down! Aldo goes for the finish but after a couple of shots on the ground the buzzer goes to end the round. Whew. 10-9 Font.

Font coming forward once again behind his jab with a relentless pace trying to offset Aldo’s rhythm. Nice right hand from Font lands but Aldo seems calm. Aldo lands a huge one-two again and the right hand is flush and sends Font backwards reeling, but Aldo goes for a big knee that misses and Font is able to recover. Aldo just misses with a big left uppercut and then blocks a right hook from Font. Right hand lands from Font and gets Aldo’s attention, so he fires back with another hard right hand himself. Font trying to land but he seems to be lacking in power, so Aldo returns with a big right hand again. Font goes for a takedown but Aldo denies it easily, but then eats a right hand. Huge body shot from Aldo. Round ends, what a fight. 19-19.

Aldo has returned to his old ways and lands three very hard low kicks early on that are affecting Font immediately. Nice one-two from Font and then he goes for a takedown that Aldo manages to defend and reverse to end up on top himself. Aldo into side control and lands a nice short elbow before going back into full guard. Font looking to be active from his back but Aldo doing well to control him and minimise the threat. Font gets back to his feet and looks for some combos but Aldo pushes him off. Aldo’s right eye has closed up now but he lands a hard body shot before Font comes over the top with a right hand that just misses. Hard low kick again from Aldo and it drops Font! Another hard one but Font is coming forward again and landing his jab well. Another low kick from Aldo to end the round, but he looks like he’s tiring. 29-28 Aldo.

Font comes aggressively but Aldo rolls with it and lands a huge right hand once again that drops Font! Font is wobbling badly and Aldo going for the finish but Font is scrambling and Aldo eventually settles in side control. Font trying to find a way back to his feet, but Aldo controlling him well and looking to pass. Aldo eventually passes into mount but Font quickly gets full guard back. Aldo looking to get some ground and pound off but Font is defending it well and landing some short elbows of his own off his back. Aldo continuing to control the position on the ground though as the round ends and he’ll take the round. 39-37 Aldo.

Fast start from Font as he comes out swinging hard in combinations to the body and to the head. Aldo looks hesitant and tired now but Font is coming forward much fresher. Font clinches up and Aldo is tying him up against the cage, then Font lands a big elbow. Aldo coming forward and lands a big right hand again before Font clinches again against the cage. Font throwing some strikes but Aldo fairly comfortable with where the fight is currently. Font creates space and lands a big uppercut but Aldo responds with a hard right hand and wobbles Font again! Aldo lands two more and Font goes down but Font ties up Aldo on the mat to try and recover. Aldo gets to his back and gets two hooks in and is seemingly looking for a choke, but he’s not rushing. Aldo locks in a body triangle and is looking for a rear-naked choke with 30 seconds left but Font fights out of it and survives the round to make the buzzer. What a fight. 49-46 Aldo for me.

UFC Vegas 44: Font vs Aldo – Main card predictions

After a two-week break from action, the UFC returns with a very fun 15-fight card at the Apex in Las Vegas for UFC Vegas 44, headlined by two top five bantamweights.

Rob Font will look to break through the glass ceiling and become a genuine title contender when he steps into the octagon against former featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo, who knows a win could set up a dream bout next for himself.

We also get to finally see the exciting bout between Brad Riddell and Rafael Fiziev, while Jimmy Crute and Brendan Allen also return to action on the main card.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 43 we went 6/11 on the night with two perfect picks to move to 482/752 (64.1%) with 202 perfect picks (41.91%).

We’ll look to improve on that this time around and after starting with the early prelims here then moving on to the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card now.


Alex Morono (20-7) vs Micky Gall (7-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A very interesting welterweight fight between two guys still looking to make a big impression in the UFC. Morono is on a two-fight win streak after KO’ing Donald Cerrone at UFC Vegas 26 before a decision win over David Zawada in September. Gall on the other hand has alternated wins and losses since 2016, going 4-3 with a first-round submission win over Jordan Williams in his most recent outing.

Morono is a powerful striker with looping hooks and good timing with his counter strikes, while Gall is a supreme jiu-jitsu grappler with decent wrestling in his back pocket too. Gall has however shown more of a willingness to strike in recent fights, and that is a recipe for trouble in the one. Morono has the power to stop him, but if Gall chooses to wrestle and use his jiu-jitsu then he will likely have much more success.

Morono isn’t hard to take down but he is hard to keep down, so that will be an interesting battle. Ultimately however, Morono’s ability to get back to his feet and keep pushing will likely wear Gall down over the 15 minutes and be able to earn a decision win.
PICK – Alex Morono via Decision

Brendan Allen (17-4) vs Chris Curtis (27-8) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An absolute banger at middleweight as Brendan Allen takes on the short-notice replacement Chris Curtis in this one. Allen is on a two-fight win streak after submitting Karl Roberson at UFC 261 before a decision win over Punahele Soriano last time out. Curtis on the other hand made his debut at UFC 268 against Phil Hawes and after overcoming a tough first-round, he landed a nasty right hand a KO’d him for a huge upset win.

Allen is a primary grappler with terrific wrestling, while he has also improved his striking in recent fights to be able to mix it up well. Curtis on the other hand is a very well-rounded fighter with tremendous power in his hands to go with his high level wrestling. He was a UFC calibre fighter way before his debut, and he proved it on the night. In this one though, it could be a rough night. Allen is relentless with his pressure and his takedowns, then once he gets it down he possesses a very real submission threat.

Curtis has the ability to knock anyone in the division out, without a doubt, but Allen just seems to be a bit too much of a level up on this occasion. Curtis is a natural welterweight too and Allen is as big a middleweight as there is. He’s going to pressure him, use his size and eventually grind his way to a relatively comfortable decision win.
PICK – Brendan Allen via Decision

Clay Guida (36-18) vs Leonardo Santos (18-5-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The grizzly veterans go head-to-head in the lightweight division here. Guida is 1-3 in his last four, with a split decision defeat to Mark O Madsen last time out. Santos on the other hand saw a 13-fight unbeaten run snapped last time out when Grant Dawson knocked him out in the final second of their bout at UFC Vegas 22.

Guida is a grinder, who steps forward with reckless abandon and then shoots for a double leg takedown to try and earn top control. Santos uses his jiu-jitsu and Muay-Thai skills generally to damage his opponents, but at 41-years-old now he is certainly slowing down. He seems to fatigue earlier and earlier in bouts, but he is still super dangerous in the first round.

With that said, Guida’s chin hasn’t started letting him down yet and with his amazing cardio and volume-heavy style the likelihood is that he grinds his way to another career win.
PICK – Clay Guida via Decision



Jimmy Crute (12-2) vs Jamahal Hill (8-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A very fun light heavyweight bout in this one as two prospects look to bounce back from unfortunate defeats last time out. Crute was beaten by Anthony Smith at UFC 261 when a leg kick caused his leg to completely give way, forcing the doctor to stop the fight after the first round. For Hill, he took on Paul Craig at UFC 263 and saw his arm disturbingly dislocated and then was elbowed into oblivion for defeat.

Beyond those defeats though, both of these guys are excellent prospects. Crute is a decent striker with a good job and winging hooks, but it’s his amazing wrestling and ground game that separates him from the pack. Hill on the other hand is a power striker with unbelievable knockout power and good speed on the feet. He probably has a slight edge in a striking battle, but Crute has a huge edge when it comes to the ground game.

Crute will likely stand on the feet for just long enough to time a takedown and secure top control, where he will work his way to the back via ground and pound and then secure a rear-naked choke at some point in the middle round.
PICK – Jimmy Crute via Submission, Round 2

Brad Riddell (10-1) vs Rafael Fiziev (10-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

This one is a genuine contender for fight of the night. Riddell is on a seven-fight win streak with four coming in the UFC, including a decision over Drew Dober at UFC 263. Fiziev is on a four-fight win streak, with a decision over Bobby Green at UFC 265 in his last outing.

Both guys are amazing strikers, with brilliant kickboxing technique and knockout power as well as some decent wrestling defence on both sides too. Both have kick heavy attacks, with Fiziev’s body kick a trademark weapon of his while Riddell is arguably more comfortable with his hands in the striking department.

Both will throw leg kicks but Fiziev’s preference to fight at range is likely to be a difference maker here. He’s had some cardio issues in the past which Riddell could look to target in the latter rounds, but I do think that Fiziev’s kicking game and edge in power will see him claim a hugely entertaining victory.
PICK – Rafael Fiziev via Decision

Rob Font (19-4) vs Jose Aldo (30-7) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A truly brilliant main event to headline this card between two top five bantamweights. Font is on a four-fight win streak, after stopping Marlon Moraes at UFC Vegas 17 and dominating Cody Garbrandt most recently. Aldo on the other hand has picked up consecutive wins for the first time since February 2019 when he earned decisions over Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz most recently at UFC 265.

Both of these guys could easily have turned professional when it comes to their boxing skills, with brilliant jabbing skills and excellent combinations. They both also have solid leg kicks, while Aldo is also a jiu-jitsu black belt although he very rarely uses it at all. Font has a slight reach advantage in this one which will undoubtedly play a part in the striking battle that will ensue.

Font’s combinations are truly great and if he can work the body of Aldo then it could pay dividends in the latter rounds, with the Brazilian fading in his most recent fights. However Aldo has got his own combinations, throws super-hard leg kicks and his own body work is great too. The grappling is something we could end up seeing out of Aldo which would lean it towards him, but it’s the low kicks and combinations to the head that have me edging the victory in Aldo’s favour.
PICK – Jose Aldo via Decision

UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2 – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Ariane Carnelossi def Liang Na via Knockout, Round 2 (1:28)

Super fast start to this fight as the two women meet in the middle and Na lands a big right hand that drops Carnelossi to one knee immediately! Na pushes for a finish with a clinch and knee, then Na drops for a takedown. They scramble and Na ends up on top landing some nice ground and pound, but Carnelossi is defending quite well considering. Carnelossi gets back to her feet and lands some nice right hands, but Na gets another takedown and ends up on top again. Carnelossi threatens with an armbar from her back but Na defends it and ends up on bottom, but then she throws up an armbar of her own! Carnelossi defends it and ends on top landing big ground and pound strikes. Carnelossi takes the back of Na but is able to avoid. Carnelossi transitions to a mounted triangle during a scramble and lands some big shots on the ground as the round closes out! What a round! 10-9 Carnelossi.

Fast start to the second round again as Na lands a nice head kick and goes for a flurry of punches before a judo throw takes the fight to the ground again. Carnelossi is able to take the back of Na after escaping a headlock and starts raining down ground and pound once again. The referee tells Na to defend herself, she doesn’t and he stops the fight! Hugely impressive win for Carnelossi.

Jeffrey Molina def Aoriqileng via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 29-27)

A strong start to the round from Aoriqileng steps forward and starts walking Molina down early, backing him against the cage and cutting off the angles. Molina moving well and trying to counter Aoriqileng but the Chinese fighter staying long and landing well. Nice flurry in the clinch as Aoriqileng looks to take the fight down but Molina is scrambling well and fighting it off. A bit of a stalemate between both men as they trade clinch knees. Both men just miss with the right hand as they separate but the round ends without too much more action. 10-9 Aoriqileng.

Molina trying to keep off the cage at the start of this round but Aoriqileng’s pressure paying off right now as he uses his length well. Molina landing his left jab well as he circles but Aoriqileng is throwing his counter right hand well and it’s landing hard and flush too. Both men throwing bombs in the middle of the octagon now and Molina lands a nice one-two that sits Aoriqileng down! Aoriqileng returns fire and as Molina throws a high kick it gets caught and then he gets dropped with a right hand too! Molina starts to circle and move backwards again and as Aoriqileng throws a lazy kick right at the end of the round, Molina lands a perfect right hand that drops him! Molina goes for the finish but the buzzer goes. 19-19!

Aoriqileng is coming forward in this final round and “fighting angry” according to the commentary team but he’s landing some nice right hands with the extra pressure. Molina moving well though and landing his jab well and great counter shots. Aoriqileng shoots for a takedown but Molina stuffs it really well and keeps the fight standing. Molina starting to throw some great combinations and is throwing in body shots too. Big left hand from Molina forces Aoriqileng to cover up and Molina is starting to pick him apart now. Big elbow as Aoriqileng is starting to slow down and eat these big shots. Big body shot followed up with a clean one-two and Molina is picking him apart as we enter the final minute. Aoriqileng throwing back but just eating so many shots and taking so much damage. Molina bites down and looks for a finish with 10 seconds to go but gets rocked! Aoriqileng goes for a finish but the round ends. 29-28 Molina.

Kazula Vargas def Rongzhu via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 29-28 x2)

A much more composed start to this fight from both fighters as Vargas looks to get some offence off early with feints and some low kicks. Vargas is landing really well, striking first and hard as Rongzhu seems to have a case of the nerves. A couple more low kicks lands and sends Rongzhu to the mat. Both guys land nice right hands simultaneously but as Vargas lands first Rongzhu is missing with the majority of his counters as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Vargas.

Second round sees Rongzhu come out fast and take the centre and a quick takedown attempt but Vargas defends well. A second attempt sees Vargas synch in a guillotine and it’s tiiiight! Rongzhu fighting the legs(?) of the closed guard from Vargas as he squeezes the choke, but Rongzhu refusing to tap and staying calm. Vargas blowing his load squeezing and eventually Rongzhu escapes and starts landing some ground and pound and riding Vargas. He tries to take his back but Vargas is able to escape it and ends up on top again with top control. Rongzhu eventually gets back to his feet and shoots for another takedown as the round ends, close round. 20-18 Vargas for me though.

Vargas being very patient in this final round as he looks a bit more fatigued and almost expects to be winning the fight currently. Rongzhu flicking out his jab and looking to land a straight right hand, but Vargas keeps coming forward. Rongzhu lands a huge right hand on the chin but Vargas eats it and lands a jab, before Rongzhu lands a big right again on Vargas’ entry that drops him to one knee. Vargas landing his jab well now as Rongzhu starts to walk him down in the final 90 seconds. Vargas keeps circling away and Rongzhu almost chasing him now. Rongzhu shoots for a takedown and after a scramble ends up on top with 10 seconds to go, landing ground and pound. Close round again, 29-28 Vargas in the end for me.

Batgerel Danaa def Kevin Natividad via Knockout, Round 1 (0:50)

Natividad starts quickly, rushing in with a couple of heavy right hands. Danaa throws a front kick that just misses and a right hand that lands on the temple. Natividad charges forward and Danaa steps forward, slips the punch, switches stances and lands a stunning left hook that puts Natividad down! Danaa lands some heavy ground and pound and the referee steps in to end the fight! What a knockout!

PRELIMS

Patrick Sabatini def Tristan Connelly via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Lots of pressure from Connelly early on as he forces Sabatini backwards and looks to flick out his jab and land a right hand down the pipe. Sabatini moving well and quickly changes direction to land a right hand that drops Connelly! Sabatini moves into top position quickly and starts working to pass guard, landing some short shots and forcing Connelly to defend from the bottom. Sabatini moves into an arm triangle position and Connelly gives up his back immediately, which allows Sabatini to lock in a body triangle and look to work for a rear naked choke. Sabatini starts landing some punches to try and open up the neck for the choke but Connelly is defending the hands really well and manages to see out the round. 10-9 Sabatini.

Connelly comes out in the same way as the first, with lots of pressure to back Sabatini against the cage moving backwards. Sabatini nice and calm though and eventually changes levels and lands a power double leg takedown to end up in top position early on. Sabatini avoids the upkicks of Connelly and moves into side control before looking to step into mount, but ends up in half guard. Sabatini floats through and ends up taking the back and is looking for a submission but Connelly escapes and continues to get dominated. Sabatini takes the back and locks in a body triangle again, then moves for an arm triangle and then takes the back again. Connelly is defending the submissions well but Sabatini is in complete control and sees out the round in control again. 20-18 Sabatini.

Sabatini and Connelly both spend the entire first half of the final round competing in the clinch, exchanging knees and positions against the cage but next to no strikes thrown between them. Connelly throws a solid right hand that lands on the chin, and Sabatini immediately shoots for the takedown but Connelly stuffs it well. Connelly walking Sabatini down as we enter the final minute and lands a nice overhand right, but Sabatini clinches up again to slow the fight down. Connelly gets a nice trip and ends up on top with 30 seconds to go, but Sabatini defends well and grabs a leg to stifle any attacks and the round ends. 29-28 Sabatini but it was a much more lopsided fight than that will suggest.

Brendan Allen def Karl Roberson via Submission (Straight Ankle Lock), Round 1 (4:55)

Fast start to the fight as both men open up with a head kick attempt, throwing heavy shots behind them too. Roberson throwing his left hand well and lands his jab nicely too, before a big right hand cracks Allen. Allen steps forward with a left straight and the two clinch up, which allows Allen to get the takedown against the cage. He’s able to step over into mount while Roberson is upright against the cage, but he keeps his chin tucked and is able to fight off the guillotine attempt. Allen overpowers him and is able to move him across the octagon and starts controlling on top again. Roberson looks to attack a leg to escape, but that allows Allen to grab a leg too. Allen then torques on an ankle lock and leans back and Roberson taps! Beautiful submission win from Allen!

Dwight Grant def Stefan Sekulic via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

A conservative start from both fighters as Sekulic takes the centre and pumps out a jab along with some feints, while Grant is looking to get his range with feelers and feints of his own. Sekulic is trying not to rush in and get Grant on the end of his punches but Grant doing well to avoid for the most part. Head kick from Sekulic but Grant returns fire with a heavy low kick. Sekulic coming forward again and leaps in with a flying knee that just grazes Grant. Sekulic shoots in for a takedown in the final 30 seconds and gets it to probably snatch the round. 10-9 Sekulic.

A slow start once again to the second round as they continue to try and establish range and set traps for each other, but not much action in the opening minute or so. Sekulic shoots for a takedown but Grant stuffs it well, then throws a big right hand that wobbles Sekulic! He goes in to land a few more shots but Sekulic threatens with a knee up the middle and then a spinning wheel kick that both just miss and they both reset. Wild left hook from Grant just misses the chin of Sekulic as both guys trade low calf kicks before Sekulic shoots in deep for a takedown again and gets it. Sekulic starts trying to advance but Grant pops up to his feet with 45 seconds left in the round. Sekulic shoots in again and they clinch against the cage to end the round. 20-18 Sekulic.

Grant comes out with a bit more urgency in this round, and gets an early takedown of his own to end up on top. Sekulic looks for a shoulder lock off his back but Grant defends it, lands some big ground and pound strikes then gets up to bring the fight back up to the feet. Sekulic doing really well to stay at distance and gets a takedown of his own, but Grant gets back up quickly. Sekulic is landing nice straight shots with good movement and he lands a big shot that drops Grant! He moves in for a finish and sinks in a deeeeep guillotine attempt and just as Grant is going out the buzzer goes to end the round! 30-27 Sekulic, great performance from him.

Randy Brown def Alex Oliveira via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1 (2:50)

A very intense start from both fighters as Brown comes out hard looking to do damage. Cowboy responds with lateral movement and some nice leg kicks that are causing problems early for Brown. Cowboy throws three, four more kicks and Brown drops down to one knee. Brown comes forward again and clips him with a left before he lands a BOMB of a right hand to drop Oliveira! Brown goes for the kill with ground and pound but Cowboy starts to grab him and eventually survives. Brown gets to mount and then takes the back of Cowboy who’s fighting the hands, but then Brown gets one arm under the chin. Oliveira fights the other hand to stop a grip but Brown presses his hand against the shoulder of Cowboy and eventually brings Cowboy down to force the tap with a one-handed rear-naked choke! Wow! What a performance!

MAIN CARD

Anthony Smith def Jimmy Crute via Knockout (Doctor Stoppage), Round 1 (5:00)

Slow start to this one as it takes around a minute for both guys to start engaging, with Crute opting for low kicks and Smith landing nice jabs. Crute’s leg kicks are having an early effect on the movement of Smith so far, but the jab is landing clean and often and has stunned Crute! Smith lands a big, clean right hand and works Crute out. Smith returns a huge leg kick of his own that lands just behind the knee and Crute’s leg gives way completely. Crute shoots for a takedown and ends the round on top but he’s in trouble.

Between rounds the doctor examines Crute and waves the fight off as he can barely walk without it giving way. Crazy ending!

Uriah Hall def Chris Weidman via Knockout (Broken Leg), Round 1 (0:17)

Chris Weidman threw a leg kick and his leg has snapped in half! Oh my God! The literal first kick of the entire fight. Oh my goodness that is horrific. Get well soon Weidman.

******TRIGGER WARNING*****

Valentina Shevchenko def Jessica Andrade via Knockout, Round 2 (3:19)

Very composed start from both ladies, as Shevchenko flicks a jab and then lands a nice one-two down the middle. Andrade misses with a couple of leg kicks and then Shevchenko closes the distance quickly and gets a takedown! Shevchenko dominating the position as Andrade gets back up and then dragged back down again. Shevchenko just misses with a head kick as they break, but then they clinch up again and Shevchenko trips her. She works for position and ends up on Andrade’s back and sinks an arm under the chin but the angle doesn’t allow the squeeze for a choke. She lets Andrade back up, holds her in place and then drags her down one more time to end the round in top position. 10-9, could argue a 10-8 maybe.

Both women come into the middle to start the round and after a short flurry between them both, Shevchenko overpowers Andrade and slams her to the mat once again. Andrade gets back up and pushes her against the cage but Shevchenko is overpowering Andrade and not allowing her to lift her for a takedown. Shevchenko then once again rag dolls Andrade and trips her down to the mat. Shevchenko quickly moves from side control and into a crucifix position and starts hammering away on Andrade’s face. Andrade trying to defend but Shevchenko turns the punches into elbows and the referee mercifully stops the fight. What a performance!

Rose Namajunas def Weili Zhang via Knockout, Round 1 (1:18)

Nice start from both women as Rose bounces around on the outside while Zhang throws some low kicks. Rose lands a jab and steps out to avoid a big right hand from Zhang. Namajunas fakes a low kick and goes to the chin and Zhang is OUT!! Rose lands three follow up shots and the referee steps in to wave it off! It’s over! AND NEWWWW!

Kamaru Usman def Jorge Masvidal via Knockout, Round 2 (1:02)

Tense start to the title fight as Usman takes the centre of the cage and looks to land his excellent jab, while Masvidal is throwing some leg kicks. Usman lands a big overhand right flush on the chin but Masvidal shouts in his face after eating it. A few tighter exchanges and Masvidal goes for a flying knee, but Usman catches it and dumps him on his back. Masvidal fights get his full guard and starts throwing elbows from the bottom, but Usman stays strong on top and prevents him from getting back up to his feet too quickly but he eventually does. Usman lands a right hand and then a jab but Masvidal responds with a flurry of strikes and a big knee as the round ends. Close round, but 10-9 Usman for me.

Both men standing in the centre, not looking to give up an inch as Masvidal throws a few leg kicks to keep distance. Usman drops his level and throws a huge right straight that knocks Masvidal out cold!!!! Usman follows up with heavy ground and pound and the referee steps in! AND STILLLL!! What a knockout!

UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2 – Main card predictions

The UFC is back in front of a packed, sold-out arena for UFC 261 as Kamaru Usman defends his welterweight title against Jorge Masvidal for a second time in Jacksonville, Florida.

The two fought at UFC 251 on Fight Island last year with Usman earning a unanimous decision win, but this time with a full camp ‘Gamebred’ looks to fulfil his destiny rather than confirm his journeyman status as he goes for gold.

In the co-main events, Weili Zhang defends her strawweight title for the second time as she takes on former champion Rose Namajunas where a win would make her the most dominant 115lbs champion ever.

Valentina Shevchenko also takes on the biggest threat to her flyweight crown yet as Jessica Andrade looks to become the champion in just her second fight in the division.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 24 we managed to go 5/10 on the night with two perfect picks to move to 284/449 (63.25%) with 127 perfect picks (44.72%) in history.

With 13 fights on this card we’ll split the predictions into three parts and having already predicted the early prelims and the rest of the prelims here, lets move on to the main card.


Anthony Smith (34-16) vs Jimmy Crute (12-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A true veteran vs prospect bout as former title challenger Anthony Smith takes on the highly rated Jimmy Crute. Smith bounced back from consecutive defeats to Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic at UFC Vegas 8 with a triangle-choke submission win over Devin Clark at UFC Vegas 15. Crute on the other hand bounced back from his only career defeat to Misha Cirkunov with stoppage wins over Michal Oleksiejczuk and Modestas Bukauskas at UFC Fight Island 6.

Smith is a former golden gloves champion boxer while also possession a Gracie black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Crute is a powerful striker with a very wrestling heavy approach, with aggression and power in everything he does. Smith’s takedown defence is not the greatest at just 51% in his UFC career and if he’s on his back he does sometimes just shell up. Crute is so aggressive he could leave himself open for submissions against a guy who is very good at applying them and finishing but he will surely be aware of that.

Crute will go for takedowns and likely get them, but if the fight does stay on the feet Smith absolutely has the advantage on the feet. Despite that, I can’t look past Crute getting the biggest win of his career.
PICK – Jimmy Crute via Decision

Uriah Hall (17-9) vs Chris Weidman (15-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A rematch 11 years in the making in the middleweight division as ‘Prime Time’ takes on the former world champion. Hall has won his last three bouts in a row defeating Bevon Lewis and Antonio Carlos Jr before knocking out Anderson Silva at UFC Vegas 12 in the main event. Weidman had lost five of six via knockout prior to his last fight against Omari Akhmedov, which he won via decision at UFC Vegas 6.

Hall is a fearsome striker with incredible techniques and power, but volume is something he has always struggled with throughout his UFC career. Weidman is a power wrestler who has good submissions, but generally he looks to get takedowns and grind his opponent out from top position. Hall isn’t the best when it comes to takedown defence which helps Weidman hugely, but ‘The All-American’ has been knocked senseless so many times recently and Hall is a great counter-striker which just adds up to violence.

Weidman could easily grind out a great win with top control but Hall could just as easily put his lights out with a single shot and looking at their recent history I’m choosing Hall with something spectacular.
PICK – Uriah Hall via Knockout, Round 3

Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) vs Jessica Andrade (21-8) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The greatest women’s flyweight of all-time takes on the biggest threat to her crown so far as she takes on a former strawweight champion in one of three title fights on this card. Shevchenko has won her last six in a row with three of those coming by finish, although her last bout against Jennifer Maia ended in a judge’s scorecard win. Andrade lost her title to Weili Zhang then lost a rematch to Rose Namajunas at UFC 251 before moving up to 125lbs, defeating Kaitlyn Chookagian via body shots at UFC Fight Island 6.

Shevchenko is arguably the most well rounded women’s fighter around along with Amanda Nunes, with phenomenal striking, clinch work and solid grappling. Andrade however is a powerful wrestler who has incredible power in her punches too. The issues Andrade will have is closing the distance, because Shevchenko is an excellent counter striker and has brilliant footwork to be able to evade it. Andrade is good enough to be able to get in close and land big strikes and threaten takedowns, but from what we’ve seen of both I don’t know if that will be enough to dethrone the flyweight queen.

‘Bullet’ will evade the big slam takedowns, work behind her strikes and eventually land a big counter strike as Andrade starts to fade in the championship rounds.
PICK – Valentina Shevchenko via Knockout, Round 4

Weili Zhang (21-1) vs Rose Namajunas (10-4) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

My pick for fight of the night is the strawweight title fight between China’s Weili Zhang and ‘Thug Rose’ Namajunas. Zhang has won 21 fights in a row, including a knockout win over Jessica Andrade to win the title before one of the greatest fights of all-time against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her first defence. Namajunas beat Jedrzejczyk twice before getting slammed on her head to lose the belt to Andrade, although she got her win back at UFC 251 with a split decision win.

Both these women are incredibly well rounded, with 15 submission wins between them but they also both have great striking too. Zhang is by far the more powerful of the two, while Namajunas is the more technical and arguably has a speed advantage between the two also. Namajunas is physically the bigger girl with a height and reach advantage, but Zhang is so much more physically imposing and powerful. I expect the volume of Zhang will be able to eventually start to wear on Namajunas and the power could close the show early.

Namajunas will need to mix it up brilliantly to come out on top here and I think Zhang is just too good for her right now.
PICK – Weili Zhang via Knockout, Round 4

Kamaru Usman (18-1) vs Jorge Masvidal (35-14) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The biggest rematch on the card as the welterweight champion Kamaru Usman makes his second title defence of the year against ‘Gamebred’ Jorge Masvidal. Usman beat Masvidal at UFC 251 last summer and followed that up with a knockout win over former teammate Gilbert Burns at UFC 258. Masvidal hasn’t fought since his defeat to Usman last time out.

Usman is an incredible wrestler but has shown in his more recent fights that he is a more than capable striker too. He has one of the best jabs in the company and has shown a durability in his game now that champions almost always have. Masvidal is a brawler with brilliant kickboxing skills and power in his hands, but he is also an excellent grappler in his own right. The issue is, Usman is just better. Masvidal landed some good shots in the first fight and Usman just walked through them and got takedowns relatively easily so it’s hard to see anything but that happening once again.

‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ is promising a finish but Masvidal has only been finished three times in 49 fights prior to this, so I expect the same result as the first fight but in an even more dominant fashion this time around.
PICK – Kamaru Usman via Decision

UFC Vegas 16 Fallout: Vettori Moves Into Top Five, Hill Arrives

The UFC has welcomed a new contender in the middleweight division after Marvin Vettori toppled Jack Hermansson in one of the best middleweight bouts of the year at UFC Vegas 16.

The Italian stepped in on short-notice to fight ‘Joker’ after both Darren Till and Kevin Holland were forced to withdraw from the bout through injury and COVID-19, and was super impressive as he stood his ground and came away with a comfortable decision victory.

In the opening round he consistently found a home for his straight left hand and when he closed the distance he was even able to score a knockdown, then control Hermansson on the ground and stay out of danger for the most part.

That opened up a pattern in the fight and while he lost the third round for sure when he began to tire, he seemed to find a second wind in the fourth and fifth and was able to continue at a pace that meant he could get the win.

His striking was enough to break the orbital bone of Hermansson, as confirmed by the Norwegian himself after the game, and Vettori will now move up into the top five in the rankings following a fourth-straight win.

After the fight he called for a bout with Paulo Costa, who is currently ranked number two behind Robert Whittaker. Costa’s last fight saw him completely dominated by champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 in September, although he has called for an immediate rematch with claims he was injured prior to the bout.

With Adesanya likely to move up to light heavyweight for a super-fight against Jan Blachowicz, the middleweight division is at a bit of a stand-still. Robert Whittaker has earned himself the next title shot after wins over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier, while Costa and Vettori will likely make up the top five now.

In the co-main event Jamahal Hill announced his arrival in the UFC with a huge win over Ovince Saint-Preux, where he out-struck the veteran for a very impressive second round knockout win.

Hill stayed at range and used his hands in combinations, stunning the 40-fight veteran on several occasions. He was physically strong in clinch positions and has previously spoken about his ground game being good, although we’re yet to see it ourselves.

He will now likely break into the Top 15, replacing ‘OSP’ and will look to the next challenge. Potential opponents could include Jimmy Crute, who broke into the rankings himself with his most recent win. Both fighters are undefeated so the UFC could look to keep them apart for a bit longer but Hill has well and truly arrived in the division now.

2021 Will Be the Year of New Male Superstars For the UFC

After years of the same names at the top of the world in the mixed martial arts, 2021 is set to spark the start of a new era.

2020 will end with all the same champions as it started with except for three. Deiveson Figueiredo, Petr Yan and Jan Blachowicz are now the reigning champions of the flyweight, bantamweight and light heavyweight divisions but even they only got into that spot because Henry Cejudo and Jon Jones vacated the belts.

As the crazy chapter of this year ends though, the UFC has set itself up nicely for a huge year in 2021.

In every division in the men’s realm, there is at least one hot up and comer on their way up towards a title charge looking for a new spell of domination.

Brandon Moreno has the chance to enter the year as a champion by de-throning Figueiredo at UFC 256 on a three-week turnaround, while at bantamweight Aljamain Sterling has a chance to push his popularity through the roof with a win over Petr Yan.

135lbs may be the deepest division there is though with the likes of Marlon Vera, Nathaniel Wood, Sean O’Malley, Cory Sandhagen, Song Yadong, Casey Kenney and more making there way up the rankings. A run of wins for any of them would see them push into that top five and title contention which is only a positive.

UFC 252: O'Malley v Vera : News Photo

Featherweight is in a similar spot. Brian Ortega is set to be next up to challenge Alex Volkanovski but the competition after that fight is exciting too. Zabit Magomedsharipov, Yair Rodriguez, Calvin Kattar, Bryce Mitchell and Shane Burgos are all ranked and could all boost their title aspirations with some wins in 2021, which would almost certainly create a new star at the top of one of the most stacked divisions around.

Lightweight is likely to see the end of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s reign, whether or not he decides to go for 30-0. If he does and is successful, the next champ will be an instant superstar anyway. The most star-studded division the UFC has is also home to some top prospects. The likes of Islam Makhachev, Beneil Dariush, Diego Ferreira, Gregor Gillespie and Drew Dober could be put on a hot streak to gold with a string of victories.

Welterweight has superstars already but in terms of prospects they’re probably closer to title contention than other divisions. The likes of Geoff Neal, Leon Edwards, Khamzat Chimaev, Vicente Luque and Michael Chiesa are all likely to etch towards title contention with a win or two and all will be fairly new names to the casual fan looking at the top of the division.

UFC Fight Night: Smith v Rakic : News Photo

Middleweight has the likes of Marvin Vettori, Edmen Shahbazyan, Omari Akhmedov, Darren Till and even Paulo Costa all under the age of 30 already in the rankings and some big name wins for them will see them in the conversation to challenge Israel Adesanya for his belt.

Light heavyweight and heavyweight are likely the divisions with the least amount of prospects coming through currently who look ready for title contention. The likes of Aleksandar Rakic and Jiri Prochazka could potentially be in the picture before the end of the year with a win or two but beyond that you’re looking at guys who’d need a big step up. Nikita Krylov, Johnny Walker, Jimmy Crute and Misha Cirkunov could be in the upper echelons of the division with a good run.

With heavyweight severely lacking in prospects, Cyril Gane is likely the only one that will get anywhere near the top end of the rankings but the potential of Francis Ngannou holding the belt is something the UFC would love. His presence in Africa along with the fact that his style will have casual fans buzzing with the violence is the stuff superstars are made of.

It’s a chance for the UFC to put on some incredible fights that fans would love to see and build new, genuine superstars quickly and legitimately.

2021 is the start of a post-COVID era for the fight game and they need someone to take it by the scruff of the neck to march into the future.

UFC Fight Island 6: Ortega vs Korean Zombie – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Said Nurmagomedov def Mark Striegl via Knockout, Round 1 (0:51)

Well that was quick! Nurmagomedov and Striegl exchange leg kicks and then as Striegl moves in for a takedown, Nurmagomedov lands a huge right hook. He follows it up with violent and accurate ground and pound and this one is over! Wow!

Maxim Grishin def Gadzhimurad Antigulov via Knockout, Round 2 (4:58)

A slow round to start off the fight as both men take a while to put the feelers out. They exchange jabs and then Antigulov shoots in for a takedown attempt but Grishin stuffs it well. A few more shots from each as the round runs through but overall a quiet round. 10-9 Antigulov.

Second round opens with a spinning wheel kick attempt from Antigulov and then a grappling exchange sees Antigulov take his back. After a scramble it’s Grishin who takes the back of Antigulov and he ends up in full mount. Lots of strikes and elbows land and Antigulov looks hurt but he manages to kick off the fence and get back to the feet. Grishin starts landing heavy shots to the head and Antigulov is just covering up and not moving. He’s still standing and throws a wild uppercut that misses before being hit several more times and the referee stops the fight with 2 seconds remaining of the round. Antigulov is FUMING.

PRELIMS

Fares Ziam def Jamie Mullarkey via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Energetic round between the two fighters as both men show sharp striking and grappling skills throughout the round. Mullarkey shoots in for a takedown against the cage but Ziam reverses the position well and lands a couple of nice strikes before they get back to the feet. Ziam is using his long limbs well to stay out of range and land nice elbows and jabs well and he’ll take the first round. 10-9 Ziam.

Second round starts well once again as both men come forward. Ziam using his range well before Mullarkey starts clinching and using his strength. He shoots in for a double leg takedown and gets Ziam down. Some nice strikes land on the ground as he secures top position and looks to advance. Ziam is throwing elbows from the ground and defending well while scrambling out of positions but Mullarkey does enough to control and win the round in my eyes. 19-19.

Final round and it’s Ziam this time who goes in with the takedown attempt but some excellent defending and a scramble sees Mullarkey reverse the position and end up on top himself. Good ground and pound and he’s trying to advance position well but Ziam is defending expertly. Good scrambling from both but Mullarkey is showing his advantage on the mat and holds top position for long enough that he should have the decision wrapped up.

Jun Yong Park def John Phillips via Unanimous Decision (30-25 x3)

A tentative first 30 seconds of both fighters just bouncing in front of each other before Park shoots for a double leg takedown and gets it immediately. He stacks Phillips against the cage and starts working to advance position, with a neck crank and guillotine attempt that keeps Phillips down. He starts floating to take the back and lands lots of ground and pound strikes but nothing crazy solid but he dominates more than enough to take that round 10-8.

Second round goes exactly as the first did with Park landing a takedown early in the round and at the first attempt before going to work with lots and lots of ground and pound while controlling the position on the mat. Another 10-8 round comfortably.

Third round begins once again with Park securing a takedown and holding Phillips on the mat. More ground and pound, more control on the ground and more survival from Phillips because he just can’t do anything other than defend himself and move in bursts before being held down once again. This is a genuinely embarrassing performance from John Phillips. Three 10-8 rounds for Park.

Gillian Robertson def Poliana Botelho via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27 x2)

Aggressive start to the fight for Robertson as she shoots in for a single leg takedown immediately but Botelho does well to stuff it. Botelho frames up well and engages in a clinch against the cage. She looks to break with an elbow but misses. Robertson circling on the outside and eats a couple of leg kicks and has another takedown attempt stuffed by the Brazilian. Eventually she secures a takedown and top position with a scramble and lands some nice knees to the body before the round ends. Close, but I’ve got it 10-9 Robertson.

Second round starts with Botelho coming forward and a nice strike sees Robertson’s mouth-guard fly out of her mouth. She marches forward and throws a kick that Robertson reads and ends up on her back. Robertson then spends the rest of the round in complete control on the ground, floating from position to position and threatening with ground and pound and submissions. Really good round for Robertson. 20-18.

Third round and Robertson is feinting takedowns and landing kicks instead to start with. Botelho comes forward again which allows Robertson the chance to change levels and secure yet another takedown. She gets into three-quarter mount quickly and starts landing lots of short elbows and ground and pound. Botelho is tired and beaten on the ground now and can’t even explode out. She gives up her back with seconds to go and Robertson takes it willingly to land more shots and take a pretty straight forward decision win.

Guram Kutateladze def Mateusz Gamrot via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

A really fun first round in this one as the two debutants look to make an impression. Gamrot got a takedown early on after the initial feeling out process. Kutateladze throws up a rubber guard and threatens with a heel hook which gets the fight back to the feet. Kutateladze starts throwing big body kicks and nice combinations with the hands and keeps the fight standing for the most part to take the opening round. 10-9 Kutateladze.

Second round starts and Kutateladze lands a big right hand that drops Gamrot! The Pole recovers immediately though and looks for a takedown again but Kutateladze defends so well and keeps the fight standing. More body kicks and you can start to see the bruising on the ribs of Gamrot. Gamrot finally lands a takedown and keeps Kutateladze down for a short while and is able to land some ground and pound. That round could go either way.

Final round and Gamrot comes out hard and aggressive. He throws some nice jabs and hooks and attempts several takedowns throughout the round. Kutateladze defends so impressively and is able to land some body kicks back on the feet again but he’s tiring now. Gamrot continues with takedown attempts but he keeps struggling to keep the fight down on the ground for any stretch of time. He ends the round with some ground and pound but I think Kutateladze has done enough in the first two rounds.

MAIN CARD

Jonathan Martinez def Thomas Almeida via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A good competitive round to start the fight as Martinez uses his jab and footwork really well to cut the cage off to Almeida and prevent any danger coming back. Martinez throwing big kicks with the left leg and a nice left hook to take the opening round but Almeida is definitely in the fight and coming forward. 10-9 Martinez.

Second round and Almeida is leading the charge a little bit more in this round. He’s coming forward with longer combinations and is avoiding the jab of Martinez so far but a shot from Martinez has caused a cut under the left eye of Almeida. Almeida trying to vary his attacks with body kicks, head kicks and even a takedown attempt has got Martinez hesitating and Almeida lands a big left hook that drops him! Martinez gets back up quickly though and avoids further damage then lands a nice double jab that stuns Almeida. Really fun round, 19-19 for me.

What a round! Both men come out looking to claim the final round and are throwing really high level boxing combinations and exchanging kicks. Martinez’s jab is causing Almeida trouble but he’s now following it up with a big left hook that is landing and hurting Almeida. Almeida now throws a huge right hook of his own that lands clean but Martinez eats it well and comes back to land his own hook yet again. Another wild exchange to end the round as Martinez defends a takedown and should take the decision win. 29-28 Martinez for me.

James Krause def Claudio Silva via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A fun first round as Claudio Silva looks to take Krause’s head off with every punch and Krause continuously slips the looping hooks and is landing a big right hand to counter it almost at will. He’s using his footwork well to avoid the big attacks and is countering quite easily but Silva is desperate for a takedown. He gets a body lock against the cage but Krause defends very well and manages to break away and stay safe. 10-9 Krause.

Second round is more of the same as Krause stays out of range and continues to counter the looping left hook of Silva with a straight right hand down the middle. Krause varying the attack a bit more now with some body shots and front kicks but overall it’s almost a carbon copy of the first round with Silva getting more and more tired. 20-18 Krause.

Final round and Silva is attacking the knee of Krause with kicks. Krause told his corner between rounds that his knee is injured so maybe there’s an audible there. Krause’s movement is severely limited in this third round, but Silva continues to throw looping punches that miss wildly while Krause continues to try and counter Silva with a straight right or a right hook. Silva finally lands one of those left hooks but Krause eats it well and continues to land with his right hand as the round ends. 30-27 Krause for me.

Jimmy Crute def Modestas Bukauskas via Knockout, Round 1 (2:01)

Crute comes out and takes the centre of the cage immediately, standing his ground and looking to trade early. Bukauskas trying to be mobile and move around a lot to stay out of range and both fighters exchange leg kicks. Crute goes for a takedown and drives to the cage, but Bukauskas defends well. Crute takes the centre again and lands a huge overhand right to counter a body kick attempt from Bukauskas and drops him! He lands a big follow up shot followed by two more to the grounded Bukauskas and the referee stops the fight. Huge knockout win for Jimmy Crute.

Jessica Andrade def Katlyn Chookagian via Knockout, Round 1 (4:55)

Really competitive opening round between these two ladies as Andrade looks to impose her physicality early on and close the distance quickly. Andrade comes across the cage and quickly and engages in a clinch and goes straight to the ground with a slam. Chookagian uses her guard well to defend and gets slammed down again but nothing doing and she ends up getting back to her feet. Chookagian trying to use her range and kicking game to get a rhythm going but Andrade keeps pushing forward and throwing hooks. A clinch takes place again and Chookagian throws an elbow but Andrade throws a nasty body shot that makes her opponent scream in pain and walk away. Andrade hunts her down with a flying kick and then lands another body shot that drops Chookagian again and the referee stops the fight. Huge win in her flyweight debut!

Brian Ortega def Korean Zombie via Unanimous Decision (50-45 x3)

A methodical start to this fight as Ortega and Zombie both showing patience early on. Ortega happy to stand in boxing range and throws a very heavy leg kick that gets the attention of his opponent. Ortega lands a nice hook with Zombie coming forward as he looks to counter all of Ortega’s attacks. Zombie comes forward and throws a body kick but Ortega throws a big hook that drops him! Zombie recovers immediately and gets back to his feet as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Ortega.

Second round and Ortega looks to continue with the patient approach, while Zombie is a bit more aggressive this time around. Ortega throwing a nice jab but Zombie is throwing nice leg kicks that are bruising up the legs of ‘T-City’. Takedown attempt from Ortega but Zombie does well to defend it. Zombie rushes in for a combo but Ortega counters with a spinning elbow right on the chin that drops Zombie! Ortega rushes for a ground and pound finish but Zombie survives the onslaught. Ortega ends the round with a takedown and on top. 20-18 but that was Zombie’s round until the knockdown.

Ortega’s jab is the big difference here in the third round as he keeps the distance and continues to land shots. Zombie is trying to push the pace a bit more but he’s not throwing nearly enough to trouble Ortega at the moment. Another spinning elbow attempt from Ortega just misses but he lands a nice left hook and some more leg kicks to take another round. 30-27 Ortega.

Fourth round and this is an Ortega clinic right now. More aggressive by Zombie as he tries to back Ortega up against the cage but then he doesn’t throw anything and Ortega lets a leg kick fly to create some distance. Ortega goes for a single leg takedown and drives Zombie back against the cage then drops the leg and lands a short right hand to the side of the head that opens up a cut over Zombie’s eye. Ortega continues to pop his jab and throw leg kicks as the round comes to an end once again. Dominant from T-City, 40-36.

Final round and Korean Zombie needs the finish badly. Ortega continues to completely dominate the striking exchanges, using excellent footwork to move in and out of range and just popping off his jab. Ortega chipping away at Zombie as the cut gets worse and blood pours down the face of the Korean Zombie. He cruises into the final minute behind his jab and takes an absolutely perfect victory. 50-45 Ortega.

UFC Fight Island 6: Ortega vs Korean Zombie – Main Card Predictions

The long awaited featherweight clash betweenย Brian Ortega and โ€˜Korean Zombieโ€™ Chan Sung Jungย is finally upon us as the UFC gives us the fourth instalment of the Fight Island series.

The two men will face off in a clash described as a No.1 contender fight by UFC president Dana White, with personal pride as well as a future title shot on the line.

In an 11 fight card that will also see Jessica Andrade move up to strawweight for the first time to take on Katlyn Chookagian, I will break down every fight and give my predictions. I have already predicted the prelims here, and now I’ll take to the main card.

Last week I correctly predicted 8/13 overall with five perfect picks (winner, method, round) although I was wronged by arguably the greatest knockout of all-time for one of them.

MAIN CARD

Thomas Almeida (21-3) vs Jonathan Martinez (12-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

This one could be fun to open up the main card in the bantamweight division. Thomas Almeida was a 20-0 title contender before he got knocked out by Cody Garbrandt back in 2016 while Jonathan Martinez has had an intriguing run in the UFC so far. Almeida hasn’t fought since January 2018 due to an eye injury but prior to that he had lost three of four while Martinez is currently 3-2 in the UFC including his most recent knockout win over Frankie Saenz back in August. Both guys are Muay-Thai fighters with good hand speed, power and size and it’s a really tough fight to pick. At his best, Almeida would have the advantages but after almost three years away from the cage it’s hard to know what he’s bringing to the fight. Martinez is coming off a big win and he hits hard and accurately so with the likelihood of ring rust coming into play, I’m backing Martinez to take a close decision win.
PICK – Jonathan Martinez via Unanimous Decision

Claudio Silva (14-1) vs James Krause (27-8) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Another short notice fight on the card as James Krause saves the day yet again, stepping in with around two weeks notice to take on 38 year old Claudio Silva. Despite his age, he doesn’t have a lot of cage miles on his clock, with Silva fighting just three times since 2014. He’s suffered injuries upon injuries but now looks to win a tenth fight by submission. Silva has zero striking proficiency so Krause should be able to pick him apart there, but Silva has a knack of finding a way to win. Krause is coming off a loss but it’s hard to consider it, since he stepped up to middleweight for the first time ever and lost a split decision on ONE DAYS notice. I think Krause’s striking matched up with his good ground game should see him scrape a close decision.
PICK – James Krause via Unanimous Decision

Jimmy Crute (11-1) vs Modestas Bukauskas (11-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A clash between two future contenders in the light heavyweight division here as Australia’s Jimmy ‘The Brute’ Crute takes on the British-Lithuanian Modestas Bukauskas. Crute will be making his first appearance since February, where he defeated Michael Oleksiujczuk via a kimura in the first round while Bukauskas returns to Fight Island following a successful debut where he knocked out Andreas Michailidis with elbows. Bukauskas is a former British kickboxing champion and showed his striking chops in that debut fight but he also showed that his takedown defence isn’t the greatest. Against a guy stepping up from middleweight, he only just stayed on his feet and Crute is a fierce grappler himself. A natural 205lber, Crute is one of the most well rounded fighters in the division and has the ability to knock people out, out wrestle them and even submit them if necessary. Bukauskas is an impressive prospect for the future but right now he’s not on Crute’s level and the Aussie should be able to get an impressive stoppage win.
PICK – Jimmy Crute via Submission, Round 1

Jessica Andrade (20-8) vs Katlyn Chookagian (14-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very, very good fight on the cards here in the women’s flyweight division as the former strawweight champion moves up to take on a former title challenger in the division. Chookagian is a kickboxer who uses her kicks and range to outpoint her opponents as her 11 decision wins shows on her record. Andrade on the other hand is a brawler who is happy to walk through the fire to get her hands on her opponent and be able to drag her down to the mat to use her wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills. She has lost her last two fights though, being knocked out by Weili Zhang and losing out to Rose Namajunas last time out on the judges scorecards. Chookagian has a huge height and reach advantage in the fight so it will suit her style perfectly, but Andrade is just so powerful and durable and will be able to push a pace that Chookagian has never had to keep up before. Andrade is much more likely to finish this fight than win on points which makes her super dangerous throughout and for that reason I think she’ll be able to get the win via stoppage.
PICK – Jessica Andrade via Submission, Round 2

Brian Ortega (14-1) vs Korean Zombie (16-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Almost guaranteed to be the fight of the night, this grudge match will surely be a lot of fun. Brian Ortega is making his first appearance since December 2018 where he got absolutely battered by Max Holloway while the Korean Zombie looks to make it three wins in a row after he knocked out Frankie Edgar in December last year. ‘T-City’ stands for ‘Triangle City’ and that nickname is well earned, with Ortega’s jiu-jitsu game among the absolute best in all of MMA, while Zombie lives up to his nickname too with a kill or be killed style that has seen him destroy so many opponents in violent fashion. When Ortega tried to stand and bang with Holloway he ended up with a broken orbital bone, nose and hand and Holloway doesn’t hit nearly as hard as Zombie does. Chan Sung Jung is also not a slouch when it comes to grappling. He has submission wins via twister and d’arce chokes while his takedown defence is among the best in the division too. Overall, Ortega needs Zombie to make a mistake for him to win this fight. Zombie is too powerful and too well rounded and I think he may be able to get himself a knockout win if he lands heavy on the chin of ‘T-City’.
PICK – Korean Zombie via Knockout, Round 3