Tag Archives: John Castaneda

UFC Vegas 61: Dern vs Xiaonan – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 61 this weekend with a strawweight contender main event headlining.

Brazilian bombshell Mackenzie Dern looks to bounce back from defeat when she takes on Yan Xiaonan in a five-round bout at the top of the card, with some decent support acts too.

The likes of Randy Brown, Randy Costa, Sodiq Yusuff and Raoni Barcelos are all on the card too, so it should be a sneakily good card.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 60 we went 8/13 with three perfect picks to move to 731/1132 (64.58%) with 308 perfect picks (42.13%). You can see our full picks history here.

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


Mike Davis (9-2) vs Viacheslav Borschchev (6-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Lightweight scrap up next. Davis is on a two-fight win streak currently in the UFC, defeating Thomas Gifford by KO back in 2019 before returning with a decision win over hot prospect Mason Jones at UFC Fight Island 8. Borschchev suffered the first defeat of his UFC career last time out, dropping a decision to Mark Diakiese in March.

Davis is a phenomenal striker with fantastic technique and tremendous power in his hands, while he also has some great wrestling in his back pocket too. “Slava” on the other hand is a renowned kickboxer who transitioned to MMA in 2019 and has been working on his grappling and wrestling. In a straight up striking bout, which this is likely to be, he is at home though and that’s a big advantage.

Diakiese was able to beat “Slava” by wrestling him constantly and controlling him on the mat. Davis could look to match that, but it’s not his natural game and that will exhaust him. In a striking bout, it’s hard to look past “Slava”. He’s the more powerful and more technical guy, but Davis is a brute of an athlete. It will be a great fight, but expect the fact he can mix his wrestling in with his striking to claim him a close win on the night.
PICK – Mike Davis via Decision

John Castaneda (19-5) vs Daniel Santos (10-2) – (Catchweight/140lbs)

Arguably one of the best fights of the night up next. Castaneda has won each of his last two bouts, KO’ing Eddie Wineland at UFC Vegas 19 before submitting Miles Johns most recently. Santos on the other hand suffered defeat in his UFC debut, as Julio Arce edged a decision at UFC 273.

Castaneda is a fine boxer with a good jab and decent power in his hands too, while Santos is a grappler with excellent jiu-jitsu who looked totally lost on the feet in his last fight. If Santos wants to win this, he needs to get his wrestling going early and get himself into a dominant position on the ground.

The problem with that is that Castaneda is as good a wrestler as he is, and he has a big advantage on the feet. He’s more powerful with his kickboxing and has a speed advantage too, so expect Castaneda to be able to claim a win in an entertaining bout.
PICK: John Castaneda via Decision

Sodiq Yusuff (12-2) vs Don Shainis (12-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An intriguing featherweight scrap in this one. Yusuff bounced back from defeat to Arnold Allen at UFC Vegas 23 when he claimed a decision over Alex Caceres earlier this year in his last fight. Shainis is making his UFC debut on a five-fight win streak, having won each of his last three via a first-round knockout.

Yusuff is a power puncher who has incredible striking skills, earning six wins via knockout throughout his career but he’s also got an excellent double-leg takedown in his arsenal too. Shainis on the other hand is a solid boxer with great knockout power too, earning eight wins via KO. Shainis is a talented fighter who earned his shot, but this is a huge step up.

There’s just two weeks’ notice for the newcomer in this fight and he’s going up against a ranked opponent. He will look to come forward and land big to end the fight early, but Yusuff is known to be patient with his striking and technically excellent. Expect him to wait out the initial blitz before blasting Dainis to sleep in the latter half of the fight.
PICK – Sodiq Yusuff via Knockout, Round 2



Raoni Barcelos (16-3) vs Trevin Jones (13-8) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A really exciting bantamweight fight up next. Barcelos was one of the most underrated 135-pounders in the division but he has lost each of his last two fights dropping decisions to Timur Valiev and then Victor Henry most recently at UFC 270. Jones has also lost his last two, getting submitted by Saidyokub Kakhramonov before a decision loss to Javid Basharat last time out.

Barcelos is one of the most complete fighters in the division with excellent Muay-Thai, super chain wrestling, and a legit Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt but at 35 years old age may be catching up with him. Jones on the other hand is a ridiculously powerful individual who uses his reflexes to fight on the counter. Against Barcelos though, that may leave him too much catching up to do.

Jones doesn’t have a lot of output but when he lands he makes it count. A big issue he’ll have though is that Barcelos can take this to the ground pretty seamlessly and Jones’ defence is unlikely to be able to hold up against that. It will be entertaining, but I expect Barcelos to mix his kickboxing and takedowns to take the win.
PICK – Raoni Barcelos via Decision

Randy Brown (15-4) vs Francisco Trinaldo (28-8) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

“Rude boy” makes his return in the co-main event here. Brown is on a three-fight win streak after submitting “Cowboy” Alex Oliveira with a one-arm rear-naked choke at UFC 261, before earning decisions over Jared Gooden and Khaos Williams most recently at UFC 274. Trinaldo alternatively has won his last two, with decisions over Dwight Grant and Danny Roberts. A loss to Muslim Salikhov at UFC Vegas 28 has stopped him being on a six-fight win streak.

Brown is an incredibly well-rounded fighter with all the tools to really be something special in the UFC. He has got legitimate knockout power in his hands as well as real submission skills on the mat too, as well as an incredible frame for the weight class. Trinaldo alternatively has got great durability, but his striking skillset is incredibly basic. Power jab, big overhand left. But his ability to grind means guys just can’t get him out of there.

But Brown has got great footwork, incredible power and his ability to mix it up means he’s a threat everywhere and for the full 15 minutes. Trinaldo should be able to hang early on, but at 44 years old he is likely to slow down and with the way Brown hits people don’t be shocked to see this one end inside the distance.
PICK – Randy Brown via Knockout, Round 3

Mackenzie Dern (12-2) vs Yan Xiaonan (13-3) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Main event time and a fight to see who moves towards title contention for 2023. Dern bounced back from defeat to Marina Rodriguez by winning against Tecia Torres via split decision last time out at UFC 273. Xiaonan on the other hand has lost her last two in a row, getting KO’d by Carla Esparza and then going the distance with Rodriguez too at UFC 272 last time out.

Dern is a world class jiu-jitsu fighter with the best submission game in women’s MMA. Her biggest issue is that she struggles to get the fight to the ground as her wrestling is poor, but her striking on the feet has improved in recent years and her durability is good. Yan is a pure striker with excellent technique and good power too, although each of her UFC wins has gone the distance. This is a straight up clash of styles, and it’s all about who can get the fight where they want it.

Xiaonan will want the fight standing and she is talented enough to dominate in that area. Dern will want it on the ground and if she gets it there, Xiaonan will really struggle to survive if she finds herself for extended periods of time. Over the course of 25 minutes it’s hard to imagine that Dern won’t be able to get into a dominant position at least once. For that reason I have to pick her, but don’t be surprised to see Xiaonan control distance and keep the fight standing throughout for a decision win.
PICK – Mackenzie Dern via Submission, Round 2

UFC Vegas 47: Hermansson vs Strickland – Prelims predictions

After a short two week break following on from the return of fights in 2022, the UFC is back with a middleweight main event at UFC Vegas 47 this weekend.

In the headline fight Jack Hermansson looks to make it back-to-back wins when he takes on Sean Strickland at 185-pounds, where we could either see a new contender in the division or find out that neither are championship calibre.

Last time out at UFC 270 we had a bad night, going 5/11 with one perfect pick to move to 519/813 (63.84%) with 218 perfect picks (42%).

We’ll look to improve that record here and after starting with the early prelims of this 13-fight card, we move on to the rest of the prelims here.


Alexis Davis (20-11) vs Julija Stoliarenko (9-6-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An interesting women’s bantamweight fight to open up the prelims. Davis is 1-4 in her last five, with all her defeats coming against top level competition. Her most recent win came two fights ago when she beat Sabina Mazo at UFC Vegas 20, before she lost last time out to Pannie Kianzad at UFC 263. Stoliarenko has lost each of her last two fights to Yana Kunitskaya at UFC Vegas 6 and then got stopped by Julia Avila at UFC Vegas 30.

Davis is a strong striker with good boxing and excellent Muay-Thai, while her grappling game isn’t horrendous either. Stoliarenko on the other hand is a recently graduated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, who has eight of her nine wins via armbar. She tends to get the fight down and try to explode into submissions, but on the feet she is very poor and tends to leave her chin high and loads everything up.

This isn’t the best fight on the card at all and realistically it’s Davis’ fight to lose. She has the edge on the feet and while Stoliarenko is the better grappler, I think Davis has enough about her to hold her own down there and do enough damage on the feet to earn a decision win.
PICK – Alexis Davis via Decision

Chidi Njokuani (20-7) vs Marc-Andre Barriault (13-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A middleweight fight that could see the crowning of a new fan favourite here. Njokuani earned a win on the Contender Series last time out to earn a UFC contract and move to a two-fight win streak, while Barriault recovered from defeat in each of his first three UFC bouts to be on a two-fight win streak now and have momentum on his side.

Njokuani is a very technical striker, with solid front kicks and really nice counter punching on his side while Barriault is a good fighter who tends to rely on his one-punch power and then clinches his way to victories. He has nine knockout wins in his career. This fight goes one of two ways; Njokuani gets a highlight reel KO against the one-paced Barriault, or Barriault wears on him enough to slow the pace right down and get a unanimous decision win.

Looking at the tape and the styles, I think the former is the more likely. Njokuani’s kicks and counters should be enough to stop Barriault’s forward pressure right in it’s tracks and eventually land a big combination to secure a knockout win.
PICK – Chidi Njokuani via Knockout, Round 2



Hakeem Dawodu (12-2-1) vs Mike Trizano (10-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

One of the best fights on the card here as two featherweights go head-to-head. Dawodu has had an impressive run in the UFC to date with five wins in between losses in his first and most recent fights in the organisation. Movsar Evloev earned a decision win at UFC 263 in his last fight. Trizano on the other hand returned from two years out of the cage to earn a decision win over Ludovit Klein in his most recent fight at UFC Vegas 26 last time out.

Dawodu is a very talented Muay-Thai fighter who uses his knees brilliantly and his excellent striking technique to the best of his abilities at all time. He’s also got solid power, enough to earn seven KO wins in his career. Trizano on the other hand is a pressure fighter who looks to walk his opponents down and use his speed to land first, while mixing in decent wrestling too. He will need that wrestling to earn a win here, because he’s totally outgunned on the feet.

Unfortunately for Trizano, I don’t think his wrestling is at the level needed to control Dawodu for long enough to take rounds and the fight. On the feet Dawodu should have the edge and if he can keep the fight standing for the majority, he should claim the wide decision win with his combinations and power.
PICK – Hakeem Dawodu via Decision

Miles Johns (12-1) vs John Castaneda (18-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A banger at 135-pounds is the featured prelim bout on this card. Johns has won each of his last two fights via knockout, defeating Kevin Natividad at UFC Vegas 12 and then Anderson Dos Santos at UFC 265. Castaneda on the other hand bounced back from being well beaten by Nathaniel Wood at UFC Fight Island 3 with a knockout victory over Eddie Wineland at UFC Vegas 19.

Johns has got an excellent jab and some good boxing, while his wrestling is of a strong enough level that he can fall back on it whenever he needs to. Castaneda is a pressure fighter who has good knockout power but his wrestling skills aren’t the best, although he does have great speed in his striking. Johns has a habit of self-sabotaging and just sitting on a lead in a fight, but he can’t do that here because Castaneda won’t stop.

Johns has a good enough jab to control the fight and is the better wrestler of the two to get takedowns. Castaneda throws a lot of leg kicks which could make a big difference but if Johns catches one and sees the round out on top he’ll take the win. It’ll go the distance and it’s not a lock of a pick, but I think Johns takes the win.
PICK – Miles Johns via Decision

UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs Lewis – Results (Highlights)

*Drakkar Klose vs Luis Pena was cancelled a few hours before the event after one of Klose’s cornermen tested positive for COVID-19.*

*Rafael Alves vs Pat Sabatini was cancelled after the weigh-ins, after Alves weighed in a 157.5lbs for their featherweight (146lbs limit) fight.*


EARLY PRELIMS

Serghei Spivac def Jared Vanderra via Knockout, Round 2 (4:32)

Good start to the fight for Spivac as he responds to being back up against the cage with some nice overhand rights, before catching a leg kick and charging forward to get a takedown. Vanderra is able to get back to his feet and clinch before Spivac sweeps him and ends up on top in half guard. Spivac looks to advance into side control but Vanderra does well to get him back into half guard, while Spivac looks to touch him with ground and pound. Lots of top control from Spivac but not much damage from him as Vanderra seems content to see out the round from the bottom – and that’s what he does. 10-9 Spivac.

Another quick start for Spivacas he ducks a head kick attempt from Vanderra and gets the fight back to the ground early to dominate from the top once again. Spivac content to stay in half guard and rain down short elbows and short punches, while Vanderra isn’t active enough at all to try and get out of the position. Vanderra is busted up bad with Spivac blasting him. The referee taking a close look as Spivac moves into full mount and continues to blast him with strikes, with Vanderra barely defending himself and the referee finally calls it off. Impressive from Spivac.

Aiemann Zahabi def Drako Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 1 (3:05)

Interesting start to this one as Rodriguez takes the centre of the cage but both men seem to be waiting for the other to throw. Rodriguez throws a nice uppercut down the middle and Zahabi fires back with some strikes of his own, before a short clinch. Nice calf kick from Rodriguez and he seems to be loosening up a little now. Both men go for a right hand and Zahabi starches him! Rodriguez goes down and Zahabi lands one more shot before the referee steps in and ends it. Wow what a punch!

Chas Skelly vs Jamall Emmers – CANCELLED

Unbelievable. Skelly makes the walk to the octagon and before Emmers comes out, the broadcast team tells us that he is suffering from back spasms backstage and can’t make the walk. The fight is cancelled. Crazy scenes.

PRELIMS

Casey O’Neill def Shana Dobson via Knockout, Round 2 (3:41)

Very fast start to this fight as O’Neill comes out quickly, they both exchange strikes and O’Neill goes for the takedown with a single leg. Dobson defends it well and O’Neill lets go, before another exchange and finally getting the takedown she craved. Dobson rolls through and ends up on top but O’Neill scrambles and they get back up. Dobson throwing some powerful strikes but O’Neill isn’t fazed at all and after a clinch she dumps Dobson back to the ground and goes into side control. O’Neill landing some nice elbows from the top but Dobson defending well and forces a scramble, which O’Neill wins by coming out on top before getting another takedown. Lots of ground and pound but Dobson doing well to not take too much damage, as the round comes to an end with O’Neill trying to lock in a heel hook. 10-9 O’Neill.

Fast start to the second round again, with Dobson throwing a nice body kick but O’Neill catches it and takes the fight to the ground. She tries to take the back of Dobson but it’s defended well despite two hooks being in. O’Neill gets into full mount and starts raining down crazy levels of ground and pound and Dobson tries to escape by kicking off the cage, but O’Neill maintains the position and keeps landing damage. Dobson tries to escape by O’Neill just stays tight to her and continues to stay in dominant positions landing elbows and punches and forces the referee to step in and end it. What a performance from the debutant!

Julian Erosa def Nate Landwehr via Knockout, Round 1 (0:56)

HOLY!! What a fight!!! Both men come out all guns blazing, Erosa sends Landwehr flying backwards with a right hand, Landewehr drops Erosa with strikes in the clinch, Erosa rattles the brain of Landwehr with some uppercuts in the clinch and then knocks him out with a flying knee! Landwehr protests to the referee but I think it was the right call. What a knockout for Julian Erosa! Wow!

John Castaneda def Eddie Wineland via Knockout, Round 1 (4:44

Tactical start to the fight early on as Wineland takes the centre of the cage and looks to pressure forward, with Castaneda circling on the outside. Wineland with lots of head movement and feints, with his rapid right hand landing hard a couple of times. Leg kick from Castaneda as he continues to circle, before an exchange of strikes sees Wineland get caught with a counter left hand. Lead right hand lands from Castaneda and wobbles Wineland and Castaneda charges for the finish. He lands four or five shots clean that drop Wineland and pours on the pressure with ground and pound to force the referee to stop the fight. Huge knockout for Castaneda!

Jared Gordon def Danny Chavez via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Cagey start to this bout as both men look to feel each other out with feints and movements. Gordon backs Chavez up against the cage but misses with some big strikes before they exchange calf kicks. Big one-two from Chavez backs Gordon up momentarily before he comes forward again with some leg kicks. Chavez throws a kick that hits Gordon right on the cup and there’s a brief pause in the action. Fight restarts and Gordon lands two nice leg kicks that Chavez tries to check, before he throws a beautiful spinning wheel kick that Gordon just avoids. Gordon backs Chavez up against the cage again and the two play with throwing heavy strikes but they’re both tentative about it and keep missing. Heavy leg kick from Chavez and Gordon goes for a takedown but it’s stuffed quite easily. Good round, very close. 10-9 Gordon for me but could go either way really.

Quicker start to this round from Chavez, as he comes out quickly for a takedown and gets it only for Gordon to pop back up to his feet quickly. Chavez trying to take the centre now but his leg is definitely hurting him and Gordon shoots for a takedown and gets it. He takes him against the cage and starts applying good top pressure from the guard position. Chavez tries to get back up to his feet but Gordon defends the position really well and is able to stay on top. More ground and pound as he goes body-head and Gordon is completely dominating on the ground right now. Chavez kicks Gordon away and tries to get back up but Gordon is able to recover and push him back down before he gets back up. Gordon passes guard with seconds remaining and takes the second round clearly. 20-18 Gordon.

A more tentative final round as Chavez takes the centre and starts walking Gordon down now. Some good shots from Chavez land but his leg is definitely compromised, and Gordon goes for a takedown which is denied. Chavez lands a couple more right hands and Gordon lands a few more of his own before shooting for the single leg and getting the takedown. Chavez looks exhausted on the bottom as Gordon keeps busy from top position and looks to pass guard while throwing lots of ground and pound. Chavez gets back to the feet and goes for a flying knee but once again Gordon gets hold of him and clinches to force the grappling exchange to see out the round. 30-27 Gordon.

MAIN CARD

Tom Aspinall def Andrei Arlovski via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (1:09)

Very positive start to the fight for you Brit as Aspinall takes the centre and is using excellent footwork to step in and out of range. A few leg kicks from both and some nice blitzes but Aspinall staying very calm. Aspinall slips a shot and lands a big right hand that rocks Arlovski! He throws a barrage of strikes with tremendous hand speed and Arlovski looks hurt, then he keeps going to the body to try and get Arlovski to stop covering up before the veteran clinches up with him. Arlovski slowing this fight all the way down with a clinch as we enter the final 30 seconds and the clinch is broken. Both guys connect with a big right hand simultaneously just as the round ends. 10-9 Aspinall, good round.

Arlovski opens the round with a nice leg kick before landing a beautiful right hand that pushes Aspinall back. A bit more feinting and moving from Aspinall before he shoots in for a big power double leg takedown and gets it. He immediately wraps his arm around the neck of Arlovski and sinks in a rear naked choke which Arlovski taps too! Beautifully done! We have a new contender at heavyweight!

Phil Hawes def Nassourdine Imavov via Majority Decision (28-28, 29-28 x2)

Quick start from Hawes as he comes out and lands lots of calf kicks early on to chop away at Imavov. Big combination of strikes land too but Imavov covers up well, before Hawes kicks at the leg again and drops Imavov. Hawes misses a looping right hook and Imavov clinches up with him, which allows Hawes to go for a takedown but it’s good defending from Imavov to keep it standing. Imavov throws and lands a big elbow but Hawes responds with an immediate takedown and then slams him down too to end up in side control. A couple of nice shots on the ground from Hawes land as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Hawes.

Couple of kicks each start the round before Hawes ducks a straight right from Imavov and goes for the takedown against the cage once again. The clinch battle continues before Imavov is able to separate after a few minutes against the cage. Imavov lands a straight right and then another that wobbles Hawes! He comes forward with a big right hand again but Hawes ducks it and blasts a takedown against the cage. Hawes is able to get the back and drag him down to the mat back into side control and starts throwing ground and pound strikes once again. Imavov doing a good job of defending from the bottom but Hawes ends the round on top. 20-18 but Imavov is still in this.

Imavov comes out quickly and heavy, but Hawes ducks immediately and gets a takedown once again. Imavov is able to get back to the feet but Hawes continues to hold him against the cage and throws knees before they break. Imavov tries to walk forward and throws an uppercut but Hawes avoids it and clinches up against the cage once again. Imavov frames off and lands two big elbows and then breaks away and lands some big right hooks that have Hawes wobbling! Hawes steps away and Imavov goes for a Thai clinch, which allows Hawes to clinch up against the cage again. Imavov breaks away and lands more shots but Hawes clinches up again and survives to the buzzer. 29-28 Hawes in the end for me. Great fight.

Chris Daukaus def Aleksei Oleinik via Knockout, Round 1 (1:55)

Very quick start to the fight as Daukaus comes out and throws a big right hand but Oleinik grabs hold of him and clinches up. He starts looking for a key lock but Daukaus does well and then he tries to pull guard for that famed Ezekiel choke but Daukaus stays standing. Huge shots land from Daukaus and they rock Oleinik, who comes forward again and throws a big overhand right that misses. Daukaus stays patient, fires of some big shots that are all landing flush including knees to the head and the referee steps in and waves it off! Hugely impressive win for Chris Daukaus!

Darrick Minner def Charles Rosa via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)

Minner comes out with a fast pace to start the fight, closing the distance quickly and clinching up. Rosa goes for a guillotine immediately but Minner pops out and the two separate. Minner pushes forward and throws some heavy shots but only a couple land and Rosa eats them well. Minner gets the fight down to the ground with a nice takedown and then starts riding the positions. Both men transition really well throughout the round and Minner takes the top position for the most part to take the round. 10-9 Minner.

Second round and Minner lands a beautiful leg kick and follows it up with a big right hand that drops Rosa! Minner pounces for a finish and takes the back looking for a choke. Rosa defends it well and Minner continues to land some ground and pound while fishing for the submission but Rosa continues to defend it well. Minner controls the position and Rosa explodes back up to his feet, but Minner takes the back, and drags him back down and ends up in full mount. Minner threatening with a head and arm choke and it looks tight but Rosa transitions to an armbar attempt to escape! Minner lets it go and sees the round out on top. Potentially a 10-8 round. 20-17 Minner.

Minner opens the final round with a big right hook that wobbles Rosa and he ends up taking the top position once again after dragging him to the ground. Rosa threatens with a kimura but it’s perfectly defended by Minner who gets back into top position and stacks Rosa against the cage looking for ground and pound. Rosa looking to attack an armbar and transitions to an omoplata but he’s cut open bad and Minner is able to defend it very well. Minner goes into north south position and controls the neck and Rosa looks to cage walk to roll out but Minner stops him again and just takes the back. Minner stretches Rosa out as we enter the final 30 seconds. Rosa starts throwing elbows and punches from the bottom but Minner eats the shots and rides it out until the buzzer. Big win for Darrick Minner.

Yana Kunitskaya def Ketlen Vieira via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Vieira opens the fight up with a couple of right hands before going straight in for a takedown. After some battling against the cage she gets Kunitskaya down, but the Russian battles her way back up and they re-engage in the clinch. Lots of knees to the body from Kunitskaya in the clinch which Vieira is not enjoying at all. Vieira goes for a throw, Kunitskaya throws a knee which lands but Vieira follows through with a takedown and gets it. Vieira steps over into mount pretty quickly but Kunitskaya does well to get back to half guard before Vieira steps into mount again and starts looking for submissions. Kunitskaya battles for half guard again and Vieira spends the last 90 seconds trying to get back into mount while they exchange ground and pound strikes. 10-9 Vieira.

Kunitskaya comes out fast in the second round and applies pressure from the off with strikes before clinching up against the cage. More of those uncomfortable knees to the body and as Vieira tries to get a takedown, Kunitskaya reverses it and gets herself on top as they fall to the ground. Vieira looking for submissions from the bottom while Kunitskaya defends well and throws lots of good ground and pound. Vieira transitions for an armbar but loses it and then goes for a knee bar which is close, but Kunitskaya kicks off and gets back to her feet. Vieira tries to drag the fight to the ground again but Kunitskaya defends it well and starts throwing those knees again. Vieira goes for a kimura but Kunitskaya defends it well and starts throwing big knees to the body on the ground followed by solid elbows too to end the round. 19-19.

Calf kicks for Kunitskaya to start the third round before Vieira changes levels and gets the takedown within the first minute. Vieira ends up in half guard on top and throws some nice ground and pound and is trying to pass into guard but Kunitskaya is defending well and the cage isn’t helping her either. She goes chest to chest and finally passes into mount and starts looking for a head and arm choke. Kunitskaya trying to escape but Vieira’s level is so high and she takes the back now. Kunitskaya starts fighting the hands and legs to break the locks but Vieira is still controlling the position well as she searches for an opening for a rear-naked choke. Kunitskaya throwing punches from the top with Vieira on her back and she reverses the position with 10 seconds and starts raining down huge ground and pound to end the round. Should be a Vieira round though which would give her the fight. 29-28 Vieira.

Derrick Lewis def Curtis Blaydes via Knockout, Round 2 (1:26)

A very static start to this fight as Lewis stands pretty much still in the centre and invites Blaydes to come towards him. Blaydes moves in to close the distance and Lewis cracks him with a big right hand that sends Blaydes retreating. He comes back in and lands a nice jab, but Lewis loops a big right hand again and misses. High kick attempt from Lewis misses and Blaydes is staying very patient, and then lands a big right hand. He slips Lewis’ counter and lands two more right hands that rock Lewis a little, then follows that up with some leg kicks. Blaydes is controlling the striking with his speed and movement and is throwing lots of leg kicks to destabilise Lewis. Lovely jab from Blaydes followed by another leg kick and Lewis is hurting on that leg. 10-9 Blaydes.

Second round and Blaydes comes out quickly with some nice right hands once again. He shoots for the takedown and Lewis denies it brilliantly. They meet in the middle again and Blaydes shoots for another takedown and Lewis throws an uppercut and Blaydes is out cold!! Lewis lands two more huge shots while Blaydes is unconscious and the referee ends it! Holy wow! What a knockout!

UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs Lewis – Prelims predictions

It’s take two in the heavyweight division for this weekend’s main event as Curtis Blaydes takes on Derrick Lewis in their rearranged fight from November 2020.

The two were scheduled to meet at UFC Vegas 15 before a positive COVID-19 test ruled Blaydes out just hours before the weigh-ins. They’ll meet now, knowing that the path to the heavyweight title shot they both feel they deserve is now clearer than it was back then.

Last week at UFC 258 we went 6/10 with our predictions, with three perfect picks to take us up to 230/359 (64.07%) with 104 (45.22%) perfect picks since we started out back in June 2020.

We have a monster 15 fight card this weekend, so the predictions will be split into three parts rather than the usual two. We’ve already predicted the first five fights of the night, so will get on with the rest of the prelims here.


PRELIMS

Nate Landwehr (14-3) vs Julian Erosa (24-9) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Currently 1-1 in his third stint in the UFC, Landwehr takes on the impressive Julian Erosa in a potential fight of the night on this card. Landwehr’s current stint started with a defeat to Herbert Burns, before an impressive win last time out against Darren Elkins via decision. Erosa is in his second stint with the company after losing three in a row first time out, before a win against AJ Bryant in CageSport before a return win against Sean Woodson last June.

Landwehr is a pressure fighter and will throw a lot of volume, but is also very capable in the ground game. Erosa is a talented grappler who has got good power in his hands too, with 11 submission wins and ten knockouts in his career to date. Despite his huge size advantage, Erosa tends to prefer just going to war and that should favour Landwehr who has great technique and is more durable.

‘The Train’ has the better techniques on the feet and mixes his attacks up more, and thus I think he’ll be able to get the nod in a great fight that goes the distance.
PICK – Nate Landwehr via Decision

Eddie Wineland (24-14-1) vs John Castaneda (17-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The man probably known to most UFC fans as the guy who got starched by Sean O’Malley takes on the guy known to most UFC fans as the man who got dominated by Nathaniel Wood in this one. Eddie Wineland is a vet in the UFC having made his debut in 2011, but his record of 6-8 is less than flattering, while Castaneda got beaten on his company debut.

Wineland has a super right hook, great pressure and good takedown defence too which has seen him finish all his wins in the last decade bar one via stoppage. Castaneda is a good kickboxer too, with a bit of a speed advantage over Wineland. Castaneda doesn’t have as much power though and while ‘Sexi Mexi’ loves to throw a calf kick or ten, Wineland’s added experience should see him able to land the more notable strikes in the fight and take the win.
PICK – Eddie Wineland via Decision

Drakkar Klose (11-2-1) vs Luis Pena (8-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A return to the octagon for Drakkar Klose after being knocked out in a crazy fight against Beneil Dariush in March 2020, as he takes on ‘Violent Bob Ross’ Luis Pena in the lightweight division. Pena was submitted in his last bout against Khama Worthy in June, meaning he has now lost two of his last three.

Pena is a fantastic grappler, with really good submission skills and has a huge size advantage in this fight. On the feet he’s not the most polished though and he’s struggled to use his length in the past. Klose is a power puncher who has great boxing, but he has struggled in the past against long fighters. Pena has the attributes to cause Klose a lot of problems, but he doesn’t use those attributes usually. Stepping in on just two-weeks notice for this fight, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to use them here.

If Pena can get into clinch situations against the cage and take the back he will have success, but the likelihood is that Klose kicks his lead leg hard to beat him up and lands big powerful strikes every time he gets within distance of Pena to take a win.
PICK – Drakkar Klose via Decision

Jared Gordon (16-4) vs Danny Chavez (11-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun fight in the featherweight division as ‘Flash’ Gordon looks to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since 2017 when he takes on Danny Chavez. Gordon bounced back from a defeat to Charles Oliveira by beating Chris Fishgold back in July, while Chavez won his debut with the company against an overweight TJ Brown at UFC 252 in August.

Chavez is a fantastic striker who throws calf kicks for days, while Gordon is a wrestler who looks to wear his opponent down from top position. The problem for Gordon in this fight, is that Chavez has really good takedown defence and the leg kicks will really effect his ability to get in close and shoot for takedowns. If Gordon can get the fight down, he’ll have the advantage over Chavez and ‘The Colombian Warrior’ has shown some cardio issues in the past later in the fight.
PICK – Jared Gordon via Decision