Tag Archives: Johnny Walker

UFC 279: Diaz vs Ferguson – Main card predictions

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UFC Vegas 48: Walker vs Hill – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas this week for a card that has been littered with changes on short notice.

Originally scheduled to be headlined by Rafael Dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev, that fight was forced to be moved to UFC 272 due to visa issues and will now be headlined by Johnny Walker and Jamahal Hill.

It’s not the greatest of cards, with the only ranked fighters scheduled to compete in the main event but there are some decent fights expected to take place.

Last week at UFC 271 we had a great night, correctly predicting 11/14 fights with seven perfect picks which takes our picks totals to 539/840 (64.17%) with 231 perfect picks (42.86%).

Lets see if we can improve that here and after starting with the early prelims and rounding up our prelims picks here, we move to the main card now.


Joaquin Buckley (13-4) vs Abdul Razak Alhassan (11-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An absolute slugfest coming up in the middleweight division here. Buckley bounced back from a head-kick KO defeat to Alessio Di Chirico at UFC Fight Island 7 by KO’ing Antonio Arroyo back in September. Alhassan on the other hand snapped a three-fight losing streak in his last fight, by KO’ing Alessio Di Chirico via head-kick in just 17 seconds. MMA, eh?

Both of these fighters are powerhouses with tremendous knockout power in their hands and legs and put their opponents’ lights out. Buckley is a good wrestler, but he never uses it, instead opting to box with good head movement and keeping a good pace throughout. Alhassan is a patient striker with real one-shot power, but he tends to struggle outside of the first round and his cardio isn’t good at all. That spells problems to me.

While this fight is anyone’s to win in the first round, the longer it goes the more it suits Buckley. He has the cardio advantage and he’s shown that his power can carry through the full 15 minutes, so I expect him to drag it out a little and then secure a big knockout later in the fight.
PICK – Joaquin Buckley via Knockout, Round 2

Jim Miller (33-16) vs Nikolas Motta (12-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Legend vs prospect in this lightweight division fight. Jim Miller will extend his record as the man with the most fights in the UFC, coming in on a 2-2 run in his last four with a knockout win over Erick Gonzalez most recently. Motta on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak and makes his UFC debut in this fight following a win on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Miller is one of the best submission artists the UFC has ever seen, with great wrestling and incredible jiu-jitsu which has earned him 18 submission wins in his career. Motta on the other hand has got incredible hand speed with his boxing-heavy approach with a sprawl-and-brawl strategy usually in place for most of his fights. Miller will look to test that in order to try and land and big strike or wrap up a position on the ground, but if he can’t get it done early he could be in trouble.

Motta will likely play it relatively cautiously early on in order to allow Miller to potentially blow himself out, and then use his speed and superior striking to pile up damage in the later rounds. It could end up being a “comeback” win, but I expect Motta to never really be in too much danger and come away with a decision win.
PICK – Nikolas Motta via Decision

Parker Porter (12-6) vs Alan Baudot (8-2) – Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweights will be in Las Vegas for this fight card folks. Porter is on a two-fight win streak with decisions over Josh Parisian and Chase Sherman in his most recent outings, while Baudot was KO’d by Tom Aspinall in his debut at UFC Fight Island 5 before a defeat to Rodrigo Nascimento was overturned to a no contest.

Porter is a deceptively technical striker with good movement and speed, despite being 6 foot 7 and 260lbs. Baudot hasn’t shown much at all in the UFC so far, but he has got some decent power in his striking if I had to find something. This fight is likely to stay on the feet for the entirety of the bout, with Porter to use his jab and leg kicks to chip away at his defences.

Ultimately, this fight won’t be fun and I doubt there will be a finish because neither man is particularly known for being a power puncher. Porter has the cardio to go 15 minutes and I expect he will just piece him up throughout and earn a win.
PICK – Parker Porter via Decision



Kyle Daukaus (10-2) vs Jamie Pickett (13-6) – (Catchweight/195lbs)

A very intriguing short-notice catchweight fight between these two middleweight fighters. Daukaus lost two of his first three UFC bouts before a clash of heads before he tapped out Kevin Holland saw his last fight end in a no contest at UFC Vegas 38. Pickett steps in on short-notice on a two-fight win streak, with a decision against Joseph Holmes at UFC Vegas 46 last month.

Daukaus is a wrestler who looks to use his looping strikes to set up takedowns and then control his opponents on the ground for victories. Pickett on the other hand is a solid kickboxer with good Muay Thai skills and excellent power in his striking. That said, Pickett has found himself wrestling a lot since joining the UFC and if he does that here then he is likely to struggle to claim a victory.

Pickett is the more technical striker of the two, but Daukaus is the more powerful of the two and is certainly the one who can dictate where this fight takes place. Add in a five-year age gap too, I expect Daukaus to be able to get this fight to the ground and eventually take the back to secure a rear-naked choke with his relentlessness.
PICK – Kyle Daukaus via Submission, Round 2

Johnny Walker (18-6) vs Jamahal Hill (9-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A banger at light heavyweight in the main event, where someone is likely to go to sleep. Walker was beaten in his last fight by Thiago Santos in a very cagey fight back at UFC Vegas 38, making it three defeats in his last four. Hill on thje other hand bounced back from the first defeat of his career to Paul Craig at UFC 263 by knocking out Jimmy Crute in just 38 seconds last time out at UFC Vegas 44 in December.

Both of these fighters are hugely explosive knockout artists with legitimate one-punch power in their hands. Walker is incredibly unorthodox with the way he strikes, and he uses his kicks well from the outside. Hill however is a decent wrestler with lightning fast strikes with either hand and legitimate one-punch power. This is a fight that is similar to the Santos and Walker bout, but Hill is far more unlikely to be hesitant when it comes to pull the trigger.

Hill will walk forward and cut the cage off to Walker, which narrows down his opportunities to be wild with his attacks and opens up Hill’s window to land a big strike. It may take a round to warm-up, but I don’t think we’ll need the extra ten minutes this bout has been given a Hill earns a big knockout win.
PICK – Jamahal Hill via Knockout, Round 2

UFC Vegas 38 Fallout: Winner of the main event? The rest of the division

UFC Vegas 38 produced an action-packed card with seven finishes (including a no contest) from 12 bouts but the main event that was supposed to produce fireworks barely produced sparks.

Thiago Santos fought against Johnny Walker in the highly anticipated main event in the light heavyweight division, with both guys having produced 30 knockout wins between them without mentioning the fact they’ve each been knocked out three times too.

The expectation was that both would step forward and throw explosive attacks that would eventually land clean and put one of them on the mat, but what we saw was 25 minutes of largely timid and tactical strategy from both guys as they looked to simply out-point each other.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a tentative approach when the person across the octagon is trying to take your head off and is very capable of doing so with one punch or kick.

Santos earned the win by landing the heavier shots of the fight throughout, but at no point were either fighter hurt or in any sort of real danger.

The win will keep him in the top five in the rankings but the real winners of this fight are the guys already ahead of him in the rankings.

Jan Blachowicz will defend his title against Glover Teixeira at the end of the month, with Jiri Prochazka the seemingly obvious next contender after his violent knockout wins over Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 251 and Dominick Reyes at UFC Vegas 25 in his two UFC outings.

Below him are two rivals who know each other well in Aleksandar Rakic and Anthony Smith, who fought to a three-round main event decision back in August 2020. Rakic got the win that time and has since beaten Santos too, but the manner of the wins hasn’t been particularly entertaining and has arguably harmed his stock.

Smith is now on a three-fight win streak since his own skid, with wins over Devin Clark, Jimmy Crute at UFC 261 and Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 37. A rematch between Smith and Rakic now seems the most likely after their interactions on social media seemed to make clear they both were up for it.

So with Santos’ win, he doesn’t really meddle with any of those plans. Had he gone out there and taken Walker’s head off as he has done in the past with so many, including the champion Blachowicz once upon a time, then there would be more people calling for him to be involved in the title picture.

But with a lacklustre display, nobody is purring for him to be put into the mix. A win is a win, but in MMA it’s about how you win and Santos did himself no favours in reality with yet another timid performance, despite the change of result for the first time in four fights.

UFC Vegas 38: Santos vs Walker – LIVE Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Alejandro Perez def Jonny Eduardo via Submission (Armbar), Round 2 (4:

Interesting start to the bout as Perez comes out with a weird, bouncing stance and Eduardo lights him up with three heavy low kicks early on. Perez stops the bouncing and lands a few jabs but Eduardo responding with leg kicks again but not much volume from either guy so far. Eduardo lands a nice combination to the body and then head, but Perez responds with a heavy left hook that immediately gets the attention of Eduardo. Almost a pedestrian pace to the fight currently, with Eduardo landing another very heavy leg kick. Perez fires a right straight that grazes the chin, but Eduardo controlling the range and pace and despite the lack of action he’s ahead in the round for me. Eduardo lands a nice right hook to the chin as we enter the final 30 seconds of the round and that’s that. 10-9 Eduardo.

Eduardo opens up the round with two more very heavy leg kicks inside the first ten seconds. Perez goes for a blitz but misses and then eats a spinning heel kick to the body. Perez goes to charge with a blitz again but Eduardo does well to avoid for the most part, clinch and secure a takedown and top position. Perez ties Eduardo up well initially before bouncing back to his feet quickly. Perez lands two big right hands and steps up the aggression to land a few more strikes himself. Eduardo throws a big left hand that lands too, before Perez shoots in for a takedown and ends up on top himself. Two big strikes from the top by Perez and as Eduardo looks to get up Perez grabs for his neck but Eduardo rolls to his back. Perez scrambles for the back and ends up in side control. He has a side headlock and takes Eduardo’s arm, slides it between his legs and secures an armbar! Eduardo can’t deal with the pressure and taps!! Big win for Perez!

Stephanie Egger def Shanna Young via Knockout, Round 2 (2:22)

Egger comes out and takes the centre early on, throwing some nice straight right hands to keep the range and pose a threat. Young goes with a blitz and puts a blind kick behind it which Egger catches, and she tries for a trip but Young defends it well. Egger lands a nice one-two but it seems to wake Young up a bit and she starts applying more forward pressure. Few strikes land and then Young goes to clinch but Egger throws her down immediately and is almost in full mount. Young defends it with a leg lock attempt and after defending it well Egger is able to stack her and start landing some big ground and pound strikes from standing and side control. Egger landing big elbows from the top but Young survives the round. 10-9 Egger.

Another good start to the round for Egger as she takes the centre and throws some big right hands again. Young starts to come forward and lands a few good strikes in a blitz but Egger grabs hold of her and immediately hip tosses Young to the ground. Big elbows and ground and pound from Egger and Young is hurt. Egger stands and the referee stops the fight!? Bit of a weird stoppage there. Great performance from Egger though.

Douglas Silva de Andrade def Gaetano Pirrello via Knockout, Round 1 (2:04)

Pirrello hanging on the outside and throws a couple of hard leg kicks early on with Andrade taking the centre and just feinting a lot. Andrade steps forward and lands a big right hand and follows it up with a couple more shots before they clinch up and separate. Andrade lands a left hand and then a jab to the body, while Pirrello looks for his range. Pirrello goes for a head kick but Andrade counters with a check left hook and puts Pirrello OUT!!! A few hammer fists before the referee gets there but what a KO that is!

PRELIMS

Jamie Mullarkey def Devonte Smith via Knockout, Round 2 (2:51)

Nice even start to the fight for both guys as they trade feints and short jabs, with Mullarkey mixing in a low kick. Smith lands a clean one-two down the pipe and follows up with a couple of attempts but Mullarkey smiles at him. Mullarkey throws another hard leg kick but Smith fires back with two nice left hooks and then a huge right hand again that rocks him! He goes for a combination and jus misses with a big knee up the middle too. Nice jab from Smith and a big one-two behind it again before a big knee lands from Smith and rocks Mullarkey! Smith lands a head kick partially but Mullarkey is still in front of him and throwing those low kicks, then just misses with a big one-two. Smith’s speed a clear advantage as he lands a few more strikes but Mullarkey smothers him and gets a takedown late on in the round, lands some ground and pound before the buzzer goes. 10-9 Smith.

Strong start to the round again from Mullarkey as he steps forward early and takes the centre. Heavy low kick from Mullarkey again and it gets a big reaction from Smith who looks hurt from it. Mullarkey throws another as Smith gets on his bike and starts moving away. Mullarkey pushing the pace like a mad man and clinches up with some big knees to the body. Mullarkey keeps throwing knees and then rips two big hooks to the body that makes Smith cover up. An uppercut and hook to the head then back to the body and Smith drops! Mullarkey hits some strikes on the ground and the referee stops it! Huge win for Mullarkey! Impressive performance!

Karol Rosa def Bethe Correia via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Rosa makes a dominant start to this bout as she takes the centre, slips a jab and lands a right hand. Rosa gets a Thai clinch early and lands some big knees to the body and Correia responds with a hook that misses. Rosa staying patient in the centre before coming for more knees again. Nice one-two lands clean from Rosa before a nice body kick and another one-two. Rosa being so patient and sliding out of the way of all Correia’s attacks, then jumps in with a flying knee straight to the face that Correia just eats. Rosa pops out her jab twice and starts cutting the cage off, but Correia lands a nice right hand. Rosa shoots for a takedown against the cage but Correia defends it well and sees out the round. 10-9 Rosa.

Correia takes the centre early this time around but Rosa throwing her jab well once again and landing with ease. Nice left jab a few more times and then Correia tries to charge her and eats a massive knee to the nose! Rosa lands a nice one-two again and Correia goes back to the outside and circles, but Rosa staying patient and firing in right hands behind her jab. Rosa staying out of range until she’s ready to engage. Big knee to the body from Rosa again and she’s upping the pace now, landing some combinations to the head too and forcing Correia backwards. Correia clinches up against the cage but eats a big knee to the body and an elbow to the face twice for good measure. Rosa just misses with another big elbow as the separate, but she lands a nice right hook when they engage again. Rosa lands another flying knee and big elbow but Correia manages to survive the round. 20-18 Rosa.

Rosa coming out nice and aggressive in the final round looking for a finish, with knees to the body again and solid right hooks behind it. Correia is still there though and trading with her as she lands a nice right hand of her own. Rosa fires back with a jab followed with a low kick and yet another running knee into the body with a right hook behind it. Rosa staying patient again with her jab, low kicks and right hand at the end of combinations. Both women trade low kicks and Correia lands a right hand, but Rosa goes back to the step-in knee before they clinch against the cage with a minute to go. They separate again and Rosa lands another one of her knees to the body before they clinch up again. Correia goes for a takedown but Rosa reverses it and ends the round with ground and pound strikes. 30-27, dominant win.

Casey O’Neill def Antonina Shevchenko via Knockout, Round 2 (4:47)

Very fast and aggressive start to the fight from O’Neill who puts the pressure on immediately. O’Neill lands a nice right hand but Shevchenko replies well with a one-two after a warning about out-stretched fingers from the referee. O’Neill changes levels and looks for the takedown but Shevchenko ends up on top and gets her in a crucifix position landing big ground and pound strikes. O’Neill escapes but Shevchenko is landing nice strikes on the feet whenever she counters. O’Neill changes levels again and finally takes Shevchenko down and is in a dominant position in half guard. O’Neill landing some nice ground strikes but Shevchenko gets it back to full-guard before eventually getting back to her feet with 30 seconds left in the round. O’Neill catches a kick and gets Shevchenko back on the ground to end the round on top. Tough to call, but I’d probably lean 10-9 to O’Neill.

Even start to this round as O’Neill gets the pressure going again and Shevchenko looks to counter strike from range. Clinch against the cage and Shevchenko lands some nice knees again before they separate, then O’Neill lands a left hand and then changes levels and secures a takedown. Shevchenko rolls onto her knees but O’Neill lands some nice strikes and then rolls onto her back and drags her back down with the hooks in. O’Neill looks to pass into full mount and does, then lands a big elbow as she starts to control. Big elbows from top position from O’Neill and Shevchenko gives up her back again. O’Neill goes for a choke but can’t quite get it then continues to land some big elbows! Shevchenko is hurt but O’Neill raining down bombs with her elbows and punches and the referee steps in to end it! What a performance from O’Neill!

Jared Gordon def Joe Solecki via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Very quick start for Solecki as he gets an immediate takedown and moves straight to mount on the ground. Gordon defends well and escapes the position but Solecki landing some good strikes on the ground and controlling the position well. Gordon wall-walks into space but Solecki follows him around and takes the back while landing heavy strikes to the head. Solecki starting to look for the neck but Gordon not panicking. Solecki starting to switch grips for the choke while controlling him completely but Gordon gets back to his feet with 40 seconds to go and is able to get on top himself. Nice elbow from top position by Gordon but that’s the round. Easy 10-9 for Solecki.

Gordon lands two nice strikes early but Solecki changes levels immediately and goes for a takedown once again. Gordon defending it against the cage but Solecki pushing for the takedown again. Gordon lands a nice knee and elbow while defending but Solecki not going anywhere. Gordon throws some elbows before Solecki finally gets the trip and ends up on top. Gordon gets the reversal though and ends up on top himself halfway through and lands some short elbows. Solecki tries to sweetp to get back on top but Gordon defends it well and is landing a few shots on the ground and wearing on him. Gordon prioritising position over damage in that round but he takes it. 19-19.

Composed start to the final round from both guys as they stay standing to begin with. Gordon more comfortable and landing his jab well, but Solecki exploding well and lands a body kick. Nice one-two by Solecki followed by a jab but Gordon starting to force him backwards. Solecki changes levels and comes over the top with a right hand that just misses, before Gordon shoots in for a takedown but Solecki defends it. Both men land a jab before Gordon gets a takedown against the cage, but he allows Solecki up immediately. Clinch in the centre sees Gordon use his strength and lands a couple of knees. Big right hand lands from Solecki and the round ends. I think that’s a 29-28 Gordon but third round is tough to score.

MAIN CARD

Alexander Hernandez def Mike Breeden via Knockout, Round 1 (1:20)

Very quick start to the fight from Breeden as he steps forward with some hooks and a heavy low kick early on. Hernandez right there with him and returns fire then shoots for a takedown, but Breeden denies him. Hernandez backs up then shoots in again but again he’s denied. Hernandez puts the pressure on him and lands a big one two that hurts Breeden. Hernandez lets the combinations fly and Breeden is covering up. Hernandez blasts his mouthpiece out with a big right hand and keeps going. Breeden fires a left hand but misses and Hernandez smashes a right hand just behind the ear and puts Breeden out cold!!! What a knockout!

Krzysztof Jotko def Misha Cirkunov via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Cirkunov takes the centre early on and steps forward to force Jotko against the cage, before shooting in for a takedown early. Jotko defends it well and gets back to the feet, before another attempt from Cirkunov sees a trip get him down but bounce straight back up. Jotko defending the clinch against the cage before separating and taking the centre. Both guys trade leg kicks and then Cirkunov steps in with a jab, before Jotko lights him up with a nice combination. Cirkunov still keeping the centre but Jotko is moving well and landing his counters well. Cirkunov fakes with a takedown attempt and Jotko clinches with him immediately which allows Cirkunov to get hold of him against the cage until the end of the round. Tough to score, but I lean 10-9 Cirkunov.

Even start once again in this second round as they continue with Cirkunov in the centre and Jotko bouncing around on the outside. Cirkunov goes for a clinch and throws a knee to the body but it’s a bit low and there’s a pause in the action. Nice combination lands from Jotko that ends with a left uppercut, then Cirkunov responds with a low kick. Cirkunov keeps going for clinches and takedowns but Jotko is very easily defending and separating. Hard low kick from Cirkunov to counter a right hand from Jotko. Another clinch and denial before Jotko throws a big knee and that’s the end of the round. Tough to score again, but I’d go 19-19.

Better start to the round for Cirkunov as he finally gets a takedown after changing levels and securing a single leg. Immediate bearhug position on the back and he’s dragging Jotko around and landing big knees to the thighs and back. Jotko explodes up and gets to the feet and tries to land a big elbow, but Cirkunov ducks under it and scores another big takedown. Jotko gets back up quickly though and goes for a takedown of his own before looking to explode with strikes against the cage. Jotko explodes with a knee but accidentally gets a finger in Cirkunov’s eye and the referee pauses the fight. Jotko fired up and as they restart he fires in some hard one-twos that narrowly miss. Nice jab from Jotko with 40 seconds to go and he goes for a takedown but Cirkunov denies it easily. Both guys clinch and Jotko gets a takedown with ten seconds to go to end the fight. Tough call, could go either way, but I’d give it 29-28 Cirkunov.

Niko Price def Alex Oliveira via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Action packed start to this one as both guys look to take the centre and start trading heavy blows straight away. Nice exchange of strikes and Oliveira goes for a knee which Price catches and charges him up against the cage. Oliveira manages to reverse it and push Price down to the mat but Price holds on to the neck and rolls through to end up on top. Price looking to create space for ground and pound but Oliveira defending well. Price trying to move to side control but Oliveira defending well. Hard body shots from Price and then some elbows from the top to see out the round. 10-9 Price.

Good start to the round again from both guys with lots of feinting and some leg kicks just to touch each other. Oliveira lands a nice left hand before both men narrowly miss with big hooks. Price misses a head kick but lands a right hand hammer fist instead. Oliveira lands a right hand after catching a kick and Price falls backwards, so Oliveira looks to jump on top. Lots of scrambling for position but Oliveira manages to retain top position throughout. Some nice ground and pound and transitions from Oliveira but Price defending relatively well from the bottom and the round ends. 19-19 even.

Final round and both guys are going for it early. Hard low kicks from Oliveira and then a big right hand lands but Price not moving away at all and continues to threaten. Big body shot from Oliveira then a right hand. Price goes for the right hook but Oliveira responds with one of his own. Price lands two big shots and a right hook wobbles Oliveira, but he side steps and avoids. Both guys throwing big strikes and just missing, before Price throws a big right hand that stumbles Oliveira. Price going for a takedown against the cage but Oliveira defends it and they separate. Side kick from Oliveira to the body but Price continues to walk forward and Oliveira is exhausted. Price goes for a big superman punch but Oliveira ducks it and clinches him, looking to drag Price down to the mat. Price manages to throw Oliveira down and ends up on top and he’s hammering ground and pound to end the round. That should win it for Price. 29-28.

Kevin Holland vs Kyle Daukaus – No Contest (Accidental headbutt led to fight ending sequence)

Good start to the round for Daukaus as he comes forward with two hooks and goes straight for a takedown. Holland defends it well against the cage and shows excellent balance to stay on his feet before he looks to break away in a clinch. Daukaus then puts him back in a full nelson and the referee breaks up the position. Daukaus lands a nice one-two, and then as Holland throws a right hand they clash heads and Holland goes out cold! Daukaus goes on to continue to look for a finish and eventually gets a rear-naked choke locked in and Holland is forced to tap out despite fighting hard to stay in the fight.

After the fight, a significant review takes place over the footage and the referee deems the fight a no contest due to an accidental clash of heads leading to the fight-ending sequence.

Thiago Santos def Johnny Walker via Unanimous Decision (48-47 x3)

First strike of the fight comes 30 seconds in as Walker throws a low kick, and the second comes 30 seconds later when Walker blocks a high kick from Santos. Walker takes the centre and is backing Santos up against the cage, but neither man throwing anything as we approach the halfway point of the round. Walker continues with a couple of low kicks and Santos goes to throw a high kick, but lots of feinting from both guys and not much action at all. Teep kick from Walker lands. More jockeying from both guys as the round ends. That’s an impossible round to score because nothing happened. 10-10.

Second round starts quicker as Santos takes the centre and shoots for a takedown with a single leg. Walker defends it well but both guys swing big hooks on their way out of the clinch and Santos lands the left hand grazing him. Santos throws a head kick but Walker blocks it and replies with a low kick. The round has gone timid again and Walker misses with a big overhand right, then lands another low kick. Nice left body kick from Santos lands and then he lands two more too with a left hand behind it. Walker eats them though and comes forward. More touching and feinting as the round ends. Round 2 goes to Santos for me, 20-19.

Lots of feints again in the third round as Walker looks to go back to the teep kicks and leg kicks from the first round. Santos grazes him with a head kick and then misses with a wild left hand. Walker throws more kicks but Santos side steps it and lands a left cross on the chin. Walker still there and doing lots of feinting again but Santos looks comfortable. Big exchange from both guys but they both miss and the fight is starting to open up a little bit now. Santos parries a body kick and lands a strong left hand again but Walker is still standing and moving. Walker throws a leg kick again and Santos replies with a left hook. Big spinning wheel kick misses from Santos but then he throws a head kick that is partially blocked. 30-28 Santos.

Santos comes out aggressive in the fourth and lands a nice body shot. Walker coming forward but not really throwing anything of note. Head kick attempt from Santos misses again, then Walker throws one and just misses. Santos throws a jump knee that misses and then Santos goes for his left hand again. Hard leg kick from Santos but Walker doesn’t look too affected by them. Walker’s kick gets caught but he lands two big right hands of his own before eating one from Santos. Big one-two lands from Santos again but Walker eats it well and threatens with a reverse elbow. Another hard left hand from Santos just misses, before he lands a body kick to end the round. Close round that one, 40-37 Santos for me.

This has not been the type of fight we all expected, but we go into the fifth round anyway. Slow start again with lots of feints and a slow pace. Santos comes forward and lands a left hand to the side of the head but Walker is still looking to chop the legs. Santos lands a HUGE left hand clean but Walker eats it and calls him on for more. Body kick from Santos lands twice before Walker slides forward to close distance. Santos staying out of danger for the most part and both men faking a lot again. Left hand lands from Santos and Walker lands a right hand at the same time. Big head kick from Santos lands but again Walker just eats it. Capoeira kick from Walker misses and that’s the round. 50-36 Santos for me, maybe 49-47 but very weird fight to score.

UFC Vegas 38: Santos vs Walker – Main card predictions

A fun light heavyweight card at the UFC Apex this weekend as former title challenger Thiago Santos takes on hot prospect Johnny Walker in the main event of UFC Vegas 38.

Santos previously fought Jon Jones for the 205lbs title and many thought he won, before ultimately falling to a decision defeat. He blew out both knees in that fight and has since returned to face Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic, where he was dominated and now looks to get back to winning ways. Walker went on a tear before suffering a small skid himself, but after getting back in the win column he is hoping to make a push for the top five.

Elsewhere on the card two hot prospects at women’s bantamweight clash as Aspen Ladd takes on Macy Chiasson, while Antonina Shevchenko takes on the undefeated Casey O’Neill and Kevin Holland takes on Kyle Daukaus in the co-main event.

Last week at UFC 266 we went 10/13 with five perfect picks on the night to move us up to 421/659 (63.88%) with 183 perfect picks (43.47%). We’ll look to improve that here and after starting with the early prelims and the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card.


Alexander Hernandez (12-4) vs Mike Breeden (10-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A short-notice bout at lightweight to open the main card as ‘The Great’ Hernandez takes on Mike Breeden. Hernandez has alternated wins and losses in his last five, with a defeat against Thiago Moises last time out at UFC Vegas 20. Breeden has won his last two outside the UFC, beating Ken Beverley and Nick Compton most recently back in May.

Hernandez is a pressure fighter with good power in his hands, solid kicks and a good, durable chin. Breeden is a good boxer who has great combinations but also with a solid calf kick and someone who is always game to fight. Hernandez is really well-rounded, with his best performances coming when he mixes up clinches and takedowns with his powerful striking.

Breeden is a good fighter in his own merit, but this is a huge step up in competition for him and even moreso on just a week’s notice. He’ll come forward and be game, no doubt, but Hernandez will push the pace and eventually his body work will pay dividends to get him a stoppage win.
PICK – Alexander Hernandez via Knockout, Round 3

Aspen Ladd (9-1) vs Macy Chiasson (8-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An intriguing fight at the top of the womenโ€™s bantamweight division as Aspen Ladd takes on Macy Chiasson. Ladd is a great striker, whoโ€™s only defeat came in just 16 seconds against Germaine De Randamie. She bounced back from that with an impressive KO win over Yana Kunitskaya back in 2019 but hasnโ€™t fought since. Chiasson won TUF 28 and has since gone 4-1 in the UFC proper, with her most recentย win coming against Marion Reneau at UFC Vegas 22.

Ladd is a brilliant wrestler who has some violent ground and pound and vicious striking on the feet to go with it, while Chiasson is a super well-rounded fighter herself too with an even split of finishes via knockout and submission. Ladd is returning from a torn ACL/MCL injury but while Chiasson has got some good names on her resumรฉ sheโ€™s not fought anyone of the calibre of Ladd before.

Ladd is powerful, quick, a great striker and has the advantage with the wrestling too which means she can dictate where this fight goes. Because of that, sheโ€™ll only need one takedown per round to control and land some vicious shots and therefore I think sheโ€™ll get the win.
PICK โ€“ Aspen Ladd via Decision

Misha Cirkunov (15-6) vs Krzysztof Jotko (22-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A fun middleweight clash between two Europeans in this one. Cirkunov has lost four of his last six bouts, getting KO’d by Ryan Spann in just 71 seconds last time out at UFC Vegas 21. Jotko on the other hand had won three-in-a-row before coming up against Sean Strickland at UFC Vegas 25 and getting dominated on the feet.

Cirkunov is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who is the most grapple heavy fighter on this card. He is a brilliant submission artist, with eight of his 15 wins coming via tap out. Jotko on the other hand is a great kickboxer with a terrific amount of power in his strikes, although his ground game is next to non-existent.

It’s a true grappler vs striker bout and I’d be surprised to see it come out of the first round in all honesty. If Cirkunov gets a takedown, he gets a submission win. If Jotko keeps it standing, he blasts the chin and gets a KO. As it goes, I think Cirkunov does get the takedown and locks up a head-and-arm choke for the win.
PICK – Misha Cirkunov via Submission, Round 1

Alex Oliveira (22-10-1) vs Niko Price (14-5) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Potentially the fight of the night in the welterweight division here. ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira is a veteran of the sport who doesn’t know how to have a boring fight, having lost five of his last seven including his last two against Shavkat Rakhmonov and Randy Brown at UFC 261 most recently. Niko Price is in the same boat in terms of entertainment value, and has also lost two of his last three (the third a draw overturned to a NC) against Vicente Luque and Michel Pereira at UFC 264.

Oliveira is a good boxer with solid wrestling and nasty body kicks, but he’s seen his durability wane in recent years and that will harm him. Price is a powerful puncher who pushes a relentless pace and just straight up loves a war in the cage, willing to give it his all no matter where it goes.

On the feet Price has him outpowered and on the ground Oliveira has the edge, but realistically they’re going to brawl at some point and Price is far more durable which means he’s likely to slam him with a big right hand that puts him into orbit and close the night early.
PICK – Niko Price via Knockout, Round 2

Kevin Holland (21-7) vs Kyle Daukaus (10-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very intriguing fight in the middleweight co-main event here. Holland was the 2020 Fighter of the Year racking up five wins in a row, but 2021 hasn’t been kind to him as he’s been dominated by both Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori most recently at UFC Vegas 23. Daukaus hasn’t had a great UFC run so far, especially in comparison to his brother Chris, with a decision win against Dustin Stoltzfus sandwiched between defeats to Brendan Allen and Phil Hawes most recently at UFC Vegas 26.

Holland is a very powerful striker with great kickboxing and Muay Thai, but he’s also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt on the mat. Daukaus is a grappling heavy fighter who is very heavy handed himself, but he looks to rain those punches down from top control. Daukaus is a good grappler but being unranked, this is a huge step up in competition for him. If he gets a takedown and gets on top then he’ll have success, but on the feet Holland has a huge edge.

Ultimately it’s a stylistically fun match up, but the level between the two fighters should see Holland able to keep the fight standing and slam punches down the pipe to earn himself a way back into the win column.
PICK – Kevin Holland via Knockout, Round 3

Thiago Santos (21-9) vs Johnny Walker (18-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An absolutely wild fight in the 205lbs division makes the main event here. Santos is on a three-fight losing skid after earning his way to a title shot, losing to Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic most recently at UFC 259. Walker on the other hand halted a two-fight losing streak by bouncing back with a brilliant knockout win over Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 11.

Santos is one of the most terrifying strikers in MMA, with ridiculous power in his hands and really powerful calf kicks and body kicks too. Walker is one of the most erratic fighters on the roster, with scary one-punch knockout power too and some really good clinch techniques too. Santos ripped his knees to shreds against Jones which has seen him stop kicking since his return, with limited movement.

That doesn’t bode well for Santos realistically because of how explosive Walker can be, but I think Santos is slightly more durable and has the faster hands which means he could land first and end the fight early. It could very realistically go the other way, but I lean towards Santos.
PICK – Thiago Santos via Knockout, Round 1

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 Vegas 11: Covington vs Woodley – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Tyson Nam def Jerome Rivera via Knockout, Round 2 (0:34)

A competitive opening round of the night between these two flyweights. Rivera staying at distance for the most part of the round, using heavy inside leg kicks and push kicks to maintain the range while Nam is looking for a big right hand. Nam forcing Rivera against the cage to land a big overhand right but Rivera doing well with his footwork to avoid it for the most part. A solid round that Rivera edges. 10-9 Rivera.

Second round starts and Rivera goes for another leg kick but Nam counters with a huge overhand right that drops Rivera! Some ground and pound is enough and the referee ends it. Big win for Nam!

Andre Ewell def Irwin Rivera via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Really competitive opening round again. Ewell opened up well landing some nice strikes and using his range really well. Rivera adjusts well to the range and starts countering the straight left with a big knee and lands one flush. Rivera shoots in for a takedown and Ewell stuffs it, then searches to take the back. He eventually gets it but Rivera reverses into his guard as the buzzer goes. 10-9 Ewell.

Another competitive round between these two as the pace slows a little bit and Ewell uses his range and superior striking well. Both men throwing one shot at a time for the most part but then Ewell starts ripping the body well. Rivera tries to counter with the same shots but Ewell uses his length to stay out of the distance and land more to take another round, but he’s tired. 20-18 Ewell.

Third round and Ewell using his range well yet again to stay out of distance and danger from Rivera. Nice jabs and kicks by Ewell keeps him active and lets him recover despite him looking tired but Rivera just not quite pushing the way he probably should be. Rivera lands his first takedown of the night with 10 seconds remaining but it should be a comfortable decision win for Ewell.

Randy Costa def Journey Newson via Knockout, Round 1 (0:41)

WOW! Randy Costa and Journey Newson begin the fight with a feeling out process, which ends with Randy Costa throwing a straight left-hand and following it up with a left high kick that knocks Newson out! A couple of follow up blows but this one is over. WOW!

PRELIMS

Darrick Minner def T.J Laramie via Submission (Guillotine), Round 1 (0:52)

Well that was quick. Minner locks up a clinch and then locks in a quick guillotine and it’s over just like that. Wow.

Jessica-Rose Clark def Sarah Alpar via Knockout, Round 3 (4:21)

Clark opens up the fight with some nice body kicks and strikes from distance, using her legs to keep Alpar’s inevitable takedown attempt away. Alpar throws a one-two and changes levels and shoots for the double leg but Clark defends it very well and after a long battle, it’s Clark who ends up in top position in side control. 10-9 Clark, great confidence boosting first round for her.

Better start to the round for Alpar as she secures two nice takedowns, but Clark gets back to her feet quickly both times. Clark lands a nice knee to the body in the clinch and reverses the position to put Alpar against the cage and then lands a big elbow on the break. Clark enters into a clinch exchange again and is physically just too strong for Alpar. She eventually gets the fight down herself and starts landing heavy ground and pound strikes but the buzzer likely saves Alpar. 20-18 Clark, Alpar needs a finish.

Clark comes out and starts landing big shots once again as Alpar goes for a takedown again. Clark lands big elbows and against the cage as Alpar seemingly sits down in the cage hurt she eats a huge knee to the nose and is hurt. The referee stops the fight believing the knee was illegal and Alpar receives treatment. The referee then discovers the knee was legal, meaning the fight should be stopped after use of instant replay, but he instead restarts the fight! Clark goes on the offence and absolutely batters Alpar for another two minutes before the referee finally ends the fight. Big win.

Mayra Bueno Silva def Mara Romero Borella via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (2:29)

Borella opens up the round by initiating a ground exchange so you know she’s a lunatic. She lands some nice ground and pound strikes but nothing damaging and Silva is looking to set things up the entire time. She throws up an armbar out of nowhere and gets the early tap-out for the win. Baffling decision by Borella.

Damon Jackson def Mirsad Bektic via Submission (Guillotine), Round 3 (1:21)

Bektic comes with an immediate one-two followed by a double leg. Lots of scrambles and positional changes but Bektic ends up on top and lands a big punch to the back of the head. The referee pauses the fight and stands the fighters up as punishment, but Bektic rocks Jackson as the fight resumes and gets the fight back down to the ground quickly. Jackson locks up a really deep kimura but Bektic doesn’t even think about tapping and instead just steps over and lands nice ground and pound strikes to break it. Bektic sees the round out with more ground and pound. 10-9 Bektic.

Fast start to the second round as Bektic opens up again with the takedown but Jackson does well to grab the neck and locks in a really tight guillotine. It’s in deep but Bektic fights it with body shots and eventually pops out and continues to dominate the grappling exchanges on the mat with raw strength. Bektic attempts for a guillotine of his own in the final minute of the round but Jackson reverses and lands some nice elbows on the ground to end the round. 20-18 Bektic.

Third round starts with Bektic engaging in a clinch yet again but this time Jackson ends up on top by grabbing for the guillotine again. He sweeps to end up on top and gets a mounted guillotine in deep. Bektic fights for a while, but Jackson is too good here and gets the tap. Huge win for Jackson!

David Dvorak def Jordan Espinosa via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A methodical opening round from both fighters as both men look to land leg kicks to slow their opponent down. Espinosa trying to move on the outside and Dvorak using good boxing to land some nice left hooks to counter. A few slips from Espinosa throughout but never really hurt, but I give the opening round to Dvorak for landing a bit more flush throughout and pushing the pace a bit more. 10-9 Dvorak.

More feeling out going on in this second round as Dvorak avoids the heavy right hand of Espinosa by continuing to throw leg kicks and left hooks. Espinosa is struggling with the left leg and is forced to switch stance repeatedly as he has to decide between landing the big right hand and eating more kicks to the leg. Dvorak staying aggressive and busy and takes the second round too. 20-18 Dvorak.

Dvorak comes out in the third with leg kicks on the brain yet again as Espinosa looks to counter. A quick clinch sees both men exchange in the pocket but Dvorak is landing heavier with the hands and on the leg kicks too. Dvorak has limited Espinosa’s movement with the kicks and is able to walk forward and close the distance better to land big hooks. Into the final minute and a heavy leg kick lands that wobbles Espinosa but that’s all and it should be a comfortable win for Dvorak. 30-27 Dvorak.

MAIN CARD

Kevin Holland def Darren Stewart via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

A real fun first round in this middleweight fight. Holland and Stewart both come out throwing bombs early but nothing lands clean and they engage in a clinch against the cage. Stewart lands an inadvertant low blow which causes a pause in the action. Stewart eats two heavy shots from Holland but they both continue to feel each other out and exchange heavy blows. 10-9 Holland but it’s a close fight.

Early second round and Stewart rushes in and catches a kick and trips Holland to the ground. He attempts ground and pound but Holland defends well. Stewart gets to his feet with Holland still down and they exchange a few kicks before the referee stands them up. Holland goes for a takedown and Stewart grabs the neck for a guillotine but he can’t quite secure it so gets back to his feet and lands two big punches. Stewart throwing nice teep kicks to the lead leg of Holland before the two exchange in another clinch as the round comes to an end. 20-18 Holland.

Third round and both guys are coming looking for a finish. Stewart goes for another takedown and secures it but Holland gets up quickly before being dumped back down immediately afterwards. Holland goes for a kimura but can’t quite get it and they both get back to their feet. Holland beginning to tire now and shoots for a takedown but Stewart reverses and puts Holland on his back with 90 seconds to go. Big ground and pound for the rest of the round as both men trade verbals in the cage as the buzzer goes. 29-28 Holland for me.

Mackenzie Dern def Randa Markos via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (3:44)

The fight opens with a rush from Dern before she misses a head kick and ends up on her back. Markos engages on the ground and Dern quickly locks in a triangle but Dern is looking for an armbar. Markos is defending well but Dern sweeps into top position and keeps working transitions until she locks an armbar in deep! Markos refuses to tap but Dern adjusts slightly and it’s hard to watch but eventually Markos taps out. A grappling clinic from the Brazilian.

Johnny Walker def Ryan Spann via Knockout, Round 1 (2:43)

Walker comes out and explodes immediately which forces Spann straight into a takedown attempt. He gets Walker against the cage and both men clinch for a short while, throwing short knees to the thigh of one another. Walker separates and Spann lands a huge left hand that drops him! Spann goes for the finish but Walker escapes from full mount and gets back up. Both men land massive punches simultaneously that rock one another, but Spann rushes over looking for a takedown again. Walker starts landing big punches to the side of the head, before a massive elbow knocks Spann unconscious. A few more punches and the referee steps in to finish it. What a comeback win!

Khamzat Chimaev def Gerald Meerschaert via Knockout (0:17)

Chimaev comes out, throws a body kick then throws a straight right hand and knocks Meerschaert out cold. Goodnight.

Donald Cerrone vs Niko Price – Majority Draw (29-27, 28-28 x2)

A frantic pace to the start of this fight as Niko Price puts it on Cowboy early. Big strikes early on using his extra physicality to just walk forward and land heavy blows. Cerrone is stunned but surviving and comes back with some knees to the body. They go to clinch up and Price accidentally pokes Cerrone in the eye which causes a short break. They get back into it and Price lands a big one-two immediately that rocks Cerrone. He clinches up again and lands some nice knees but then Price pokes him in the eye again and the referee takes a point away! Round ends and what would be a Price round is now a tie. 9-9.

Second round is more even as both men look to go for steady combinations instead of those bombs. Price is visibly slower in this round but still has power, while Cerrone is finding a home for his jab. Cerrone getting in and out very well, but once again Price landing with a bit more power and a bit more volume to take the round but it could go either way. 19-18 Price for me.

Third and final round and the fight is up for grabs. Both men continue to walk forward on each other and land strikes but the pace is slowing and less power is in these strikes. ‘Cowboy’ steps forward and lads nice jabs, then lands a big head kick that Price just eats and continues to walk forward. The fight continues to go in the same direction as we enter the final 30 seconds, with Cerrone landing blows to a visibly tired Price. The round ends and I’ve got this as a draw. 28-28.

Colby Covington def Tyron Woodley via Knockout (Injury), Round 5 (1:19)

Woodley rushes out and takes the centre of the octagon as the two fighters exchange leg kicks. Woodley throws some jabs to establish distance then lets his right hand fly and Colby ducks under and blasts a double leg for a successful takedown. Woodley is patient and eventually makes his way back to the feet and separates. Colby has the centre now and throws a solid body kick and then a big right hook that lands clean before engaging in the clinch against the cage. Covington breaks away with a big elbow and an uppercut follows up but just misses. 10-9 Colby.

Woodley comes out with a nice right hand to open the round but once again Colby moves away and looks to engage in a clinch. Colby pushes forward and Woodley backtracks all the way to the cage constantly, as a defence mechanism to defend the inevitable takedown attempts. Flying knee attempt from Colby just misses and then another clinch. Every attack from either fighter leads to a clinch at the end of it, the respect for each other’s skillset is obvious. 20-18 Colby.

Third round opens up and Colby starts with an early eye poke that causes Woodley a lot of trouble. The fight pauses for almost two minutes but they get back into it as Woodley comes out with a nice combo attempt. Colby avoiding that power of Woodley and landing jabs before then engaging with a clinch against the cage. Woodley reverses the position momentarily but Colby then turns it back. Woodley visibly tiring against the cage as Colby lands annoying, point-scoring shots that don’t do much damage but will catch the eye of the judges. 30-27 Colby.

Into the main event rounds and Colby lands a beautiful body kick immediately before engaging in a takedown attempt. Woodley defends with a guillotine attempt but Colby pops out and puts Woodley down. In full guard and Colby is using the cage to try and prevent Woodley moving while landing some nice ground and pound to the body and head. A big elbow from Colby cuts Woodley open just below the eye and he’s landing a lot of volume on the ground, Woodley unable to get up but trying to defend himself. Colby continues with the ground and pound but Woodley survives the round. He needs a finish into the final round. 40-35 Colby.

Final round and Colby comes out with the same mentality to try and get the takedown. He lifts a high crotch against the cage but Woodley holds onto the neck. Suddenly, Woodley starts screaming in pain and the referee waves the fight off. Bizarre ending but the result is the same regardless.