Tag Archives: Josh Emmett

UFC 269: Oliveira vs Poirier – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Gillian Robertson def Priscilla Cachoeira via Submission (Rear naked choke), Round 1 (4:59)

Fast paced start to this fight as Robertson looks to take the centre and attempts a couple of takedowns early. Cachoeira defends them well and is starting to land some decent strikes on the feet, landing good jabs and starting to do damage. Robertson suddenly changes levels in the centre though and scores a nice takedown before looking to secure a kimura lock. She transitions into side control and then full mount and starts raining down huge elbows! Cachoeira is in danger and Robertson switches to the back and gets a choke in under the neck. Cachoeira tries to defend it by sticking her thumb in Robertson’s eye but she refuses to let it go and then gets the tap with one second left! What a performance!

Tony Kelley def Randy Costa via Knockout, Round 2 (2:15)

Very fast start from Kelley who steps forward immediately and starts chasing Costa across the cage looking to land big shots. Costa trying to weather the storm and countering with his jab, but Kelley continuing to come forward aggressively. Clinch against the cage and Kelley is trying to wear on Costa early, landing some nice knees but Costa seemingly the stronger fighter physically. Kelley switching stances as he throws his combinations and Costa is struggling to make reads, before they clinch up against the cage once again and tangle until the end of the round. 10-9 Kelley.

Another fast start from Kelley as he comes forward quickly again and starts the clinch battles again once again. Costa looks a little fatigued but he’s defending himself well and and staying in it. Costa starting to land his jabs well but Kelley closing the distance and making this fight ugly. Costa lands a nice kick and follows it up with a short right hand that hurts Kelley, but he clinches up quickly and starts defending. Kelley gets him in a Thai clinch and lands some big knees to the body and Costa drops to his knees! Kelley battering the body and thrashing elbows onto Costa who’s just trying to defend himself now. Kelley going for the finish and the referee steps in! What a performance from Kelley.

Ryan Hall def Darrick Minner via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-27)

Tactical start to the fight from both guys here as Minner lands a couple of leg kicks and misses wildly with some big strikes. Hall very patient and lands a nice body kick and then Hall shoots for the legs. Lots of transitions and rolling for submissions but Minner defending against the kneebars and heel hook attempts well. Minner gets back to the feet and lands a big right hand that cracks Hall who starts to retreat. Hall starts to go for a takedown again and ends up in top position landing some decent ground and pound to end the round. 10-9 either way, but I lean to Hall just.

Hall coming out more aggressive now as he starts swinging kicks, before Minner lands a nice right hand and gets a takedown as Hall goes for a leg. Minner in Hall’s full guard and looking for ground and pound, but Hall is looking to throw up an armbar or triangle submission. Minner stands up and slams Hall down to escape it and goes back for ground and pound. Hall throws up another triangle and it’s tight and he starts throwing big elbows from his back but Minner surviving. Hall looks to advance to a straight armbar but Minner denies it and then he rolls to an omoplata attempt and ends the round with ground and pound. 20-18 Hall.

Final round and Hall rolls under a punch and secures a triangle attempt immediately from his back. Minner defends it well but Hall then switches and is able to get on top. He advances to full mount and is in complete control here, looking for an arm triangle.

Erin Blanchfield def Miranda Maverick via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Good start to the bout for Maverick as she steps forward aggressively and throws a few strong strikes. Maverick looks to step in with a right hand but Blanchfield ducks under and immediately has a body lock from the back. She maintains the lock and continuously forces Maverick to the ground with excellent wrestling. She moves to full guard and maintains position again, dragging Maverick to the mat every time she tries to get back to the feet. 10-9 Blanchfield.

Maverick starts up well with a little blitz but immediately Blanchfield is able to hip throw her and end up on top. Blanchfield quickly transitions to a crucifix position and starts blasting elbows down on Maverick, but she manages to just about escape as Blanchfield switches to an armbar attempt. Maverick just about defends but Blanchfield then goes for a kimura, but Maverick defends it well. Blanchfield switches to another armbar attempt but Maverick defends it by scissoring the head of her and the buzzer goes. 20-18.

Final round and Maverick is trying to go for a finish because she knows she needs it, but Blanchfield is landing well too. Clinch up against the cage and then Blanchfield catches a leg and moves straight into a takedown. She moves into top control and looks to dominate again and starts landing some big shots from mount. She controls the rest of the round from the top and claims a dominant decision win.

Andre Muniz def Eryk Anders via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (3:13)

Good start to the fight for Anders as he takes the centre and starts to throw powerful strikes early. Muniz does well and throws a nice calf kick before throwing a short left hook. Anders goes for a right hand again and Muniz ducks under and changes levels with a big takedown. Muniz looks to pass from side control straight into mount but Anders defends it well. Anders gets to his feet but Muniz has a body lock and drags him back down after a bit of back and forth and takes the back. He threatens with a choke and then switches to an armbar attempt and forces the tap from Anders. What a performance.

PRELIMS

Bruno Silva def Jordan Wright via Knockout, Round 1 (1:28)

Crazy start to this fight as Wright charges forward and looks to engage quickly with hard strikes. Wright continues to come forward and attack and he hurts Silva! They clinch up and Wright lands some big knees but Silva lands some big strikes too. They separate and Silva lands two huge blows and Wright is wobbled! Silva goes for the finish and drops him! Some huge shots and the referee steps in! What a KO by Silva!

Tai Tuivasa def Augusto Sakai via Knockout, Round 2 (0:26)

Slow and steady start so far with Tuivasa in the centre stalking Sakai, who’s throwing leg kicks and circling on the outside. Tuivasa goes for a nice combination and Sakai retreats, before they clinch up and Sakai lands a nice knee to the body. More knees to the body from Sakai as he holds Tuivasa close to him, before they separate and Tuivasa just misses with a big uppercut. Sakai landing heavy knees and hurting Tuivasa, but he then retaliates with a big right hand and forces Sakai to cover up before they clinch again to end the round. 10-9 Sakai, but Tuivasa looking dangerous too.

Second round and Tuivasa lands a huge left hook early and Sakai is rocked! Tuivasa steps forward and goes for the kill, landing huge hooks as Sakai tries to cover up. Another huge strike and Sakai is out coldddd! What a KO!

Dominick Cruz def Pedro Munhoz via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Good start to this fight as both guys look to take the centre and trade leg kicks and movement. Munhoz throwing hard low kicks but Cruz making him miss big. Munhoz throwing bombs but only just missing and Cruz is doing well to land blitzes and flurries of strikes. Cruz goes for a big right hand and Munhoz lands first with a big left hand that drops him! Munhoz lands a huge left hook and goes for the finish but Cruz grabs a leg and somehow survives. He gets up and continues the pattern of the earlier fight. 10-9 Munhoz.

Second round and Munhoz coming forward again and looking for his big bombs. Cruz using his excellent footwork well again though and is using his speed brilliantly. Cruz throwing great combinations on the feet and Munhoz is eating shots, but there isn’t enough power in them to hurt him. Cruz throws a hard low kick that hurts Munhoz and continues to throw his strikes brilliantly. 19-19.

Final round and Cruz has definitely taken over now with his speed and footwork. Cruz has made his reads now and is landing his combinations well, but Munhoz is throwing powerful strikes back and just barely missing. Cruz lands a big one-two clean down the pipe and Munhoz is starting to back up a little. Munhoz lands some nice jabs but Cruz is too slick and is moving so well, throwing leg kicks and left hands. Cruz lands a big combo in the centre as the round comes to an end and that should be the comeback victory for him. 29-28 Cruz.

Josh Emmett def Dan Ige via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Nothing happens between these two in the opening minute and them Emmett explodes with a massive overhand right that drops Ige! Emmett goes down for a finish but Ige recovers quickly and starts to wrestle. Both guys scramble well and end up back to their feet where they separate. Ige taking the centre now and using his jab well and sees out the round relatively comfortably. 10-9 Emmett most likely for the knockdown, but could go either way in honesty.

Emmett comes out with a big right hand early once again but Ige takes it and continues to come forward. Good exchanges on the feet and Ige landing his jab well with movement and power. Emmett looking for one big shot but he keeps missing it. Ige replies with a big strikes and wobbles Emmett with a big left hook. He stays patient and Emmett eventually recovers. Ige staying so calm though and using that jab well again, circling on the outside and threatening then ending the round with a big right straight. 19-19, Ige round.

Final round and Ige takes the centre once again, looking to use that jab and counter with his left hook. Emmett still looking for the power right hand but Ige seems to have him scouted now. Emmett steps forward and throws a straight right down the middle and wobbles Ige but he recovers very quickly and circles out. Ige lands his jab over and over, but Emmett is being more aggressive and coming forward. Both guys are missing with big shots as we enter the final minute. Emmett ducks under a big head kick but then eats a big uppercut. Both guys throw a final flurry, but that’s a super tough fight to call. Great fight.



MAIN CARD

Sean O’Malley def Raulian Paiva via Knockout, Round 1 (4:42)

Composed start to this fight from both guys as Paiva looks for an early takedown attempt but O’Malley sidesteps him into the cage. Body kick grazes the cup of Paiva and causes a short pause in the action. Paiva throws a hard low kick that gets a reaction, before O’Malley steps in with a hard straight left hand. Paiva trying to apply pressure but O’Malley moving well and avoids a leg kick then lands two left jabs and a big right hand behind it. O’Malley steps well to his right and lands a huge right hand that wobbles Paiva! He stays composed and lands a beautiful combination that hurts him badly! Huge body shot and hook combo drops Paiva and the referee steps in, huge win for O’Malley! Amazing!

Kai Kara-France def Cody Garbrandt via Knockout, Round 1 (3:21)

Lots of range finding in the opening minute of this fight as Garbrandt finds himself with his back against the cage circling, throwing some loose kicks. Kara-France just misses with a big overhand right and then just avoids a big right-hook from Garbrandt. Kara-France lands a big right hand that flattens Garbrandt! A big follow up shot drops him again but Garbrandt retreats and eggs him on, but he’s clearly hurt! Kara-France staying patient and then he lands a stunning combination that ends with a massive uppercut and Garbrandt is out! Kara-France lands a couple of strikes before Herb Dean steps in, but that’s that! What a KO!

Geoff Neal def Santiago Ponzinibbio via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

Steady start to the fight for Neal with plenty of bouncing on his toes and throwing his jab and some leg kicks, forcing Ponzinibbio backwards. Both guys trade leg kicks and are starting to try and hold their ground in the centre. Neal lands a nice high kick and the referee warns both fighters about having their fingers out. A few short strikes each but not much damage so far. Neal using his jab well and both guys exchange before an accidental low kick from Neal causes a pause. They get back to it and Ponzinibbio lands a huge one-two right on the buzzer to end the round. 10-9 Neal for me.

More active start to the round as Ponzinibbio comes forward with a hard low kick and some straight right hands. Big one-two from Ponzinibbio down the middle to counter Neal’s leg kick and then a short right hand from Neal lands too. Ponzinibbio changes levels and blasts a takedown before Neal sweeps him to get back to his feet nearly immediately. Hard left hand lands from Neal, but Ponzinibbio lands a nice left jab-right hand. Neal lands a hard right hand but then eats a big leg kick in return, before a one-two of his own down the middle into the final minute of the round. Neal lands a big shot and Ponzinibbio claims it was a finger but the referee says no. They stare at each other and then trade a couple of strikes before the round ends. 19-19.

Final round and Ponzinibbio lands a right hand before Neal lands a left. More exchanges in the centre and Neal lands a hard right hook that wobbles Ponzinibbio but he recovers quickly and lands a hard low kick. Neal starting to come forward and throws his left hand before a left high kick that just misses. Right hand gets a reaction from Ponzinibbio again, but then he lands a hard low kick to get Neal to back up. Hard left hand from Neal lands but Ponzinibbio replies with a solid right hook himself. Hard low kick and Neal steps backwards, but then he counters another attempt with a right hand. Neal coming on strong with jabs but Ponzinibbio continues to come forward too. Neal lands a big three-punch combo with the left hand and Ponzinibbio is wobbled! Final 30 seconds and Ponzinibbio just misses with a right hand to end the fight. Good fight. 29-28 Neal for me.

Julianna Pena def Amanda Nunes via Submission (Rear-naked choke), Round 2 (3:26)

Nunes opens up with a hard low kick that drops Pena immediately. Nunes lets her up and kicks the leg again, before Pena tries to throw a small flurry. Nunes throws a right hand that drops Pena and then she eventually drops on top of her looking to control on the ground. Nunes looks to transition to the back for a rear-naked choke but Pena just about defends it, before Nunes gets back to top position. Pena threatens with a kimura from the bottom but Nunes stays patient, defends it and sees the round out on top. 10-9 champ.

Nunes takes the centre and she starts looking for huge strikes early doors but Pena isn’t going anywhere. Pena is landing her jab at will and Nunes is getting hurt! Nunes trying to slug it out but she’s slow and looks exhausted already. Pena keeps coming and is smashing Nunes up! Big strikes from Pena and Nunes is rocked! Pena goes for a takedown and immediately goes to the back and locks up a choke! NUNES TAPS! NUNES TAPS! AND NEWWWW!!!

Charles Oliveira def Dustin Poirier via Submission (Rear-naked choke), Round 3 (1:02)

Fast paced start to the fight as Oliveira looks to take the centre and land body shots and his jab, but Poirier lands a right hand that knocks Oliveira off balance. Oliveira lands a big strike of his own and backs Poirier up and then he clinches looking for knees. Poirier getting kicked in the body and firing back with big combinations and drops Oliveira again. He lands a huge shot on the ground but Oliveira ties him up and then Poirier stands them up again immediately. Body work from Oliveira again is affecting Poirier and the rounds ends. Wow. 10-9 Poirier.

Huge start to the second round again as the frantic pace starts again and Oliveira immediately goes in for a takedown against the cage. He drags Poirier to the ground but as he tries to escape Oliveira takes the back. Poirier tries to escape but Oliveira holds his arm in place and illegally holds the glove before rolling into full guard. He lands some huge, thudding elbows as Poirier looks to defend off his back. Oliveira absolutely dominant with pressure and elbows but Poirier survives. 19-19.

Oliveira comes out fast once again and shoots in for a takedown and immediately transitions to a body lock from behind. He drags Poirier down and then jumps on to his back, sinking in hooks and looking for a standing rear-naked choke. Poirier defending the hands but Oliveira continues to switch the grips, sinks in the choke and forces the tap! Amazing!! What a fight!

UFC 269: Oliveira vs Poirier – Prelims predictions

The final pay-per-view card of 2021 is finally upon us and it is absolutely stacked, with the lightweight championship bout between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier headlining the card.

‘Du Bronx’ is looking to legitimise his title reign when he takes on ‘Diamond’, who knows it is now or never to become undisputed champion during his career.

The co-main event features women’s G.O.A.T Amanda Nunes as she looks to silence all doubters when she takes on Julianna Pena in a bantamweight title fight.

Also on the main card will see the flyweight debut of Cody Garbrandt, who is looking to prove it’s the perfect weight class for him while Sean O’Malley hopes to kickstart a huge 2022 for himself when he takes on Raulian Paiva.

Last time at UFC Vegas 44 we had a pretty good night with our picks, as we went 9/13 with five perfect picks to move to 491/765 (64.18%) with 207 perfect picks (42.16%).

We’ll look to improve on that here on this massive 15-fight card and after starting with the early prelims we move on to the rest of the prelims here.


Andre Muniz (21-4) vs Eryk Anders (14-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A banger at middleweight in this one as the jiu-jitsu master takes on the powerhouse. Muniz is on a seven-fight win streak, culminating with a nasty submission win over Jacare Souza at UFC 262 where he broke the legendary Brazilian’s arm. Anders earned a victory in his last outing with a decision over Darren Stewart at UFC 263, which saw him then leave the UFC.

Muniz is one of the most dangerous jiu-jitsu artists in the game and he will look to get this fight down to the mat to use it. He’s a half-decent striker too, which helps him set those takedowns up. Anders on the other hand is a good Muay-Thai fighter with good clinch work and power on the feet, while he also has a big edge in speed. Unfortunately for Anders, there is such a huge gap on the ground that it’s hard to see how he wins this.

Anders has good takedown defence, but it only takes one to give Muniz a huge window to victory. Anders’ cardio isn’t amazing and ultimately, Muniz should be able to drag him down and take the back before securing the submission once again.
PICK – Andre Muniz via Submission, Round 2

Jordan Wright (12-1) vs Bruno Silva (21-6) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A kill or be killed bout at 185-pounds between two relative prospects. Wright has never seen the judge’s scorecards and after suffering the first defeat of his career to Joaquin Buckley at UFC 255, he bounced back against Jamie Pickett at UFC 262 with a first-round KO. Silva on the other hand is on a six-fight win streak with six finishes, including a big KO over Andrew Sanchez at UFC Vegas 40.

Wright is a talented kickboxer with excellent technique and good power too, while Silva is just a terrifying bulldozer of a striker who puts people out cold with 18 KO’s in 21 career wins. Wright has a decent wrestling background, but almost never uses it in the cage and getting into 50/50 exchanges with Silva is a recipe to go to sleep early.

Silva is likely to walk forward with pressure and with a huge advantage in power, cardio and experience this seems like a bit of a mismatch. Wright will try and likely land a couple of clean strikes, but eventually he gets clipped and finished off with some follow-ups to hand Silva yet another KO victory.
PICK – Bruno Silva via Knockout, Round 2

Augusto Sakai (15-3-1) vs Tai Tuivasa (13-3) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The only heavyweight fight on the card up next between a ranked opponent and an unranked fan favourite. Sakai has been defeated in each of his last two fights, which were main events, against Alistair Overeem and then Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC Vegas 28. Tuivasa returned from a slump to earn three knockout wins in a row, with the most recent coming against Greg Hardy at UFC 264.

Sakai is a good striker on the feet but he is also a decent wrestler with violent ground and pound attacks in his weaponary. Tuivasa is a straight up brawler with one-punch knockout power, more down the route of your traditional heavyweight fighter.

This won’t be the highest quality fight of the night, but there’s likely to be an early finish. The two will stand at range and trade leg kicks for a while before Tuivasa gets frustrated and looks to blitz him. If he lands a big shot after pushing Sakai against the cage, then this one is over. If Sakai goes against the grain and counters, he has the potential to end it early too. I lean towards Tuivasa simply because I expect him to be the guy on the front foot, meaning he’s more likely to land the big shot first.
PICK – Tai Tuivasa via Knockout, Round 1



Pedro Munhoz (19-6) vs Dominick Cruz (23-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Bantamweight banger up next as 135-pound royalty go head-to-head. Munhoz has lost three of his last four against elite competition, with decision losses to Aljamain Sterling, Frankie Edgar at UFC Vegas 7 and Jose Aldo at UFC 265 surrounding a win over Jimmie Rivera at UFC Vegas 20. Cruz on the other hand seems to have finally overcome his injury issues to secure a victory over Casey Kenney last time out at UFC 259.

Munhoz is one of the strongest leg kickers in the game with good striking power and very sharp grappling skills, while Cruz is a very good wrestler who uses his excellent footwork to dart in-and-out of range and land his strikes. This is a very intriguing match-up because technically Cruz is a superior fighter, but his lack of power means Munhoz is likely to be willing to walk him down and chop his legs with those trademark kicks.

Cruz has the technical advantages and stylistically should win, but Munhoz’s power with the leg kicks could be a huge game-changer. With that said, Cruz was able to keep his footwork going when Kenney attacked the legs and I think he’s fast enough to make Munhoz miss a lot to claim a decision win.
PICK – Dominick Cruz via Decision

Josh Emmett (16-2) vs Dan Ige (15-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A banger at featherweight is the featured prelim bout. Emmett is on a three-fight win streak with his most recent coming in a fight of the year contender against Shane Burgos at UFC Vegas 3, while Ige is 1-2 in his last three with defeats against Calvin Kattar at UFC Fight Island 1 and Korean Zombie at UFC Vegas 29 coming either side of a 22-second KO win over Gavin Tucker at UFC Vegas 21.

Emmett is a solid boxer with big one-punch power that is almost always the main part of his game plan to a fight. Ige is a very well-rounded fighter with solid wrestling and good punching power to go with his boxing skills. It’s that well-roundedness that leads me to think Ige has a big edge here. Emmett’s persistence in landing that big bomb could let him down, as Ige will look to change levels and secure top position.

With that said, Ige has struggled to land takedowns against top level opposition in the past so Emmett will find comfort in his takedown defence. Emmett is coming off a long lay-off though and unless he is at 100% then Ige is good enough to box-wrestle his way to a judge’s decision.
PICK – Dan Ige via Decision

Tap Ins & Tap Outs 2020 MMA Awards – Fight of the Year

The UFC have finally completed their set of fights for the year of 2020 and what a crazy year it was.

456 fights total in a year that saw a global pandemic bring a close to all live sports for almost two months at least before Dana White and co. became the leaders of getting the show back on the road.

Among those 456 fights we saw some incredible fights, some incredible knockouts and some incredible submission wins across the weight divisions. But which ones were the best?

We’re going to rank our personal top five of the year, before handing out the award for each of the following categories:


FIGHT OF THE YEAR

5. Petr Yan vs Jose Aldo (UFC 251, July 2020)

After COVID-19 put a stop to sport all over the world, the UFC made the remarkable decision to make ‘Fight Island’ become a reality. It was headlined by three title fights, including Yan vs Aldo for the vacant bantamweight title of the world.

In a bout described by commentator Jon Anik as ‘taking place on a napkin’, the two stood literally toe-to-toe and exchanged strikes for the best part of four rounds. Going to back and forth, Aldo landed his trademark leg kicks throughout causing damage while Yan proved to be the superior boxer.

The fight did enter a fifth round, but Yan dropped Aldo with a huge one-two and then absolutely battered him on the ground for almost three minutes. The referee earned criticism for not stopping the fight earlier but when he eventually did, Petr Yan was crowned the new king of the 135lbs division.

4. Shane Burgos vs Josh Emmett (UFC Vegas 3, June 2020)

The only three round fight on this list, it was just too good to leave out.

These two hard-hitting featherweights went hell for leather for the full 15 minutes, but more impressive was Josh Emmett tearing his ACL in the opening 15 seconds of the fight. That didn’t stop him giving it his all and landing his big overhand right throughout the fight, while Burgos continued to just march forward and eat the shots while returning with his own.

Emmett dropped Burgos in the second round with a left straight and with Burgos still grinning on the ground couldn’t get the finish, before a tight left-hook in the third round brought the same result and reaction. That second knockdown was enough to earn Emmett a 10-8 in one judge’s eyes, earning him a 29-28 and 29-27 unanimous decision win.

3. Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno (UFC 256, December 2020)

After both competing just three-weeks prior at UFC 255, the UFC moved quickly to pit champion Figueiredo and contender Moreno against one another after the previous main events had fallen through. What followed was arguably the greatest flyweight fight in history.

Both men came forward throwing bombs throughout the fight, while also staying competitive on the ground and in scrambles. It was a completely even fight, with both men completely in the running throughout, to the point where nobody could be sure of the result once the 25 minutes on the clock expired. In the end a point deduction for Figueiredo for a violent low blow proved vital, as the scorecards read 48-47 (Figueiredo), 47-47 and 47-47 for a majority draw. That means we get to run it back in 2021!

2. Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker (UFC Vegas 4, June 2020)

As Dustin Poirier made his first walk to the octagon since being submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov the previous year, Dan Hooker wanted to make a name for himself.

The Australian had beaten Paul Felder in February in an absolute war and had made it clear that he felt he could beat the ‘Diamond’ to get his own title shot. What followed was a stunning stand-up scrap in which both men showed unbelievable boxing technique and a true warrior spirit to stay standing throughout.

Hooker used his length and excellent hooks well, while Poirier used his sharp jab and fantastic head movement to get in and out as both guys landed power shots at will throughout an incredible 25 minutes.

In the end, Poirier got the nod 48-47, 48-46, 48-7 in a unanimous decision victory that has set up a rematch with Conor McGregor for January.

1. Weili Zhang vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC 248, March 2020)

Without a doubt, the greatest women’s MMA fight of all-time. Therefore it absolutely has to be number one on this list for the best fight of 2020.

In her first title defence as the strawweight champion, Zhang took on the record holder for title fights in that division in Jedrzejczyk (hereby referred to as JJ). What ensued was an instant classic in what would be the final UFC pay-per-view in front of fans.

JJ used her world class kickboxing technique to bounce in and out of range, landing huge hook combos that would end with a leg kick more often than not. In return, Zhang threw absolute bombs and used her kicks well too. It was clear from the opening exchanges that Zhang was the more powerful woman, but JJ had a speed advantage and was keen to use it.

A huge right hand in the third round from Zhang landed flush on the forehead of JJ, causing her head to swell to the point where she was almost unrecognisable after the fight. The crowd gave the women a standing ovation as the bout entered it’s final 10 seconds, showing their appreciation.

The fight could legitimately have ended up with any scorecard and I don’t think anyone would have minded, but the champ retained her title with a 48-47, 47-48, 48-47 split decision. What a fight.

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Volkov – Predictions

The UFC returns this Saturday night with yet another solid card in the APEX Centre in Las Vegas as Curtis Blaydes takes on Alexander Volkov in the main event.

After we went 6/10 for picks last week (3 of them completely correct), I’ll try again this week to pick out the winners of each fight and how I expect the fight to go down.

PRELIMS

Austin Hubbard (11-4) vs Max Rohskopf (5-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

‘Thud’ Hubbard will step into the Octagon for the fourth time this weekend with a 1-2 record currently, with both defeats coming to strong wrestlers. Rohskopf will make his UFC debut on just six-days notice, with a 5-0 record all coming by way of submission. A state wrestler, Rohskopf has all the ingredients to make this a winning start to his UFC career but Hubbard will be sure to make this his toughest test yet. PICK – Max Rohskopf via Unanimous Decision

Roxanne Modafferi (24-16) vs Lauren Murphy (12-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

‘The Happy Warrior’ Modafferi shocked the MMA world in her last outing, completely outclassing rising prospect Maycee Barber. She used her dirty boxing incredibly well before securing positions on the ground and laying vicious ground and pound. She’s arguably got the best top-game in the division behind Valentina Shevchenko, but her inconsistency will forever hold her back. Murphy is currently on a two-fight win streak, and will be looking to win 3 in a row for the first time since 2013. She’s got an impressive 8 KO wins from 12 fights so clearly carries power in her hands. It will be a close fight between the two and no result would particularly surprise me, but I think ‘Lucky’ has the advantage on the feet and a slight advantage in the clinch, so she should take a decision win. PICK – Lauren Murphy via Unanimous Decision

Frank Camacho (22-8) vs Justin Jaynes (15-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Another short-notice match up on the card as Jaynes steps in on two-days notice for this fight. Jaynes is making his UFC debut on the back of four straight first-round wins including three stoppages. Camacho was supposed to fight Matt Frevola, but he was pulled out of the fight when his cornerman was diagnosed with coronavirus. Camacho is a man who is straight offence mentally. A solid striker, he has 17 career wins by KO but has lost three of his last four outings. He needs a win to get back-on-track and while this may be a more competitive fight with a full-on camp, Jaynes’ short-notice call-up could be decisive as the fight enters later rounds. PICK – Frank Camacho by TKO, Round 3

Cortney Casey (9-7) vs Gillian Robertson (7-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

After a first round submission win last month, ‘Cast Iron’ Casey is back in the Octagon. She caught Mara Borello in a beautiful armbar on the Harris vs Overeem card and has stepped in on short-notice to fight Robertson. ‘The Savage’ lost her last fight to Maycee Barber, but prior to that had won 5 of her last 6 (4-1 in the UFC). Her excellent grappling skills have seen her win 5 of her 7 wins come by submission and hasn’t gone to the judges since her defeat to Cynthia Calvillo back in 2016. While Casey is coming in on short-notice, she will be in fighting shape. That said, Robertson’s ability on the ground will surely be too much for her. Takedown defence has always been a chink in her armour and despite the defeat in her last outing, she should be confident enough to end this early. PICK – Gillian Robertson via Submission, Round 1

Marc-Andre Barriault (11-4) vs Oskar Piechota (11-3-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

As the big boys step into the Octagon in this encounter, Barriault is looking to end a three-fight skid in the UFC. He’s lost all his fights in the organisation so far and he’s coming up another fighter who has lost their last three. While Barriault is a stand-up fighter, with 8 of his 11 wins coming via KO, ‘Imadlo’ is a more well-rounded fighter who is happy to take it to the ground as his 5 submission wins show. He’s got elite jiu-jitsu skills and ‘Power Bar’ has struggled with staying up standing in the UFC. This could end in a quick submission win for the Pole and could signal the end of Barriault’s UFC career. PICK – Oskar Piechota via Submission, Round 1

Tecia Torres (10-5) vs Brianna Van Buren (9-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

UFC Fight Night: Torres v Rodriguez : News Photo

One of the bigger names in the division, Torres is on one of the most un-worrying losing streaks in the companies history. She’s lost her last four fights, but all to current/future champions and then to one of the biggest prospects in the company. Decision defeats to Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jessica Andrade and Weili Zhang were followed by a decision loss to Marina Rodriguez in August and she hasn’t fought since. Van Buren on the other hand is in the midst of a 6 fight win streak, including finishes in 3 of her last 6. She won her debut in the UFC with a hard fought decision over Livinha Souza, showing a great skillset that includes striking, takedowns and constant pressure. This fight could really go either way, but I’m going to go with the experience of Torres to find a way to get back in the win column. PICK – Tecia Torres via Unanimous Decision

Clay Guida (35-19) vs Bobby Green (24-10-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A fight between two Octagon veterans entering the twilight of their career, Guida enters the cage having lost 4 of his last 7. His last outing was a submission defeat to Jim Miller, in a fight that lasted less than a minute. Green comes in having won just 1 of his last 7 fights, losing his last two in a row. Despite the results, the fights were incredibly close and you could argue he won both too. ‘King’ has seen as 8 of his last 10 fights go the distance. This match-up is an odd one but Green certainly has the advantage. He’s the better boxer and has good ground defence, while Guida’s greatest strength is his submission game. His work ethic is unrivalled and despite Green’s advantages he often looks lethargic in his performance. If the fight becomes a stalemate which is tough to score, I expect Guida will take the decision based on that. PICK – Clay Guida via Split Decision

MAIN CARD

Jim Miller (31-14) vs Roosevelt Roberts (10-1) – (Catchweight/160lbs)

A wily veteran against one of the contestants from Dana White’s ‘Contender Series’. Miller is a crafty submission expert while Roberts has shown solid skills in all aspects of MMA. ‘A-10’ has 17 submission victories in his career but lost in his last bout to Scott Holtzman via a unanimous decision. Roberts has won his last two fights, including a submission win over Brok Weaver just three weeks ago. ‘The Predator’ is a keen grappler but carries power in his hands which is something that Miller will have to watch out for. While he will arguably have an advantage on the ground, Miller will need to overpower the younger and fitter Roberts to gain the position which I think he’ll struggle to do. PICK – Roosevelt Roberts via Unanimous Decision

Lyman Good (21-5) vs Belal Muhammad (16-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Another fight between a true veteran and un upcoming prospect but this time at welterweight. Lyman Good has seen it all in MMA and his record is very good. 11 KO wins from 14 stoppages shows you exactly where his strengths lie. A brutal jab is usually the beginning of the end for his opponents, as he throws plenty of combinations off the back of it. Muhammad though is a powerhouse in his own right. He’s a solid striker but he often leaves it too late to secure a stoppage, as his 11 decision wins show. He’s won 6 of his last 7 fights, with one stoppage, and bases him game massively off of his takedowns and cardio. If he can get Good to the ground, then the fight will stay there until he finishes it or the round ends. If Good can keep it standing, he could out-strike ‘Remember the Name’ for a full 15 minutes. I think Muhammad will be able to secure a takedown or two and do enough to secure the decision win with the judges. PICK – Belal Muhammad via Unanimous Decision

Raquel Pennington (10-8) vs Marion Reneau (9-5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

‘Rocky’ makes a return to the Octagon after a defeat in her last outing against Holly Holm. A solid boxer, Pennington has lost 3 of her last 4 including her world title fight against the GOAT Amanda Nunes. Her toughness and cardio has seen her go to a decision in 12 of her 18 career bouts. Reneau on the other hand is a finishing machine. ‘The Belizean Bruiser’ has finished 8 of her 9 victories, with 5 KO’s and 3 submissions on her record while she’s never been finished in her career either. She has lost her last two bouts though. At 42 years old, Reneau is in the twilight of her career now and Pennington will be looking to get back into the win column. She’s better on the feet and more than capable of avoiding the ground battle against a dangerous jiu-jitsu grappler and she’ll take home the win in a not-so entertaining fight. PICK – Raquel Pennington via Unanimous Decision

Shane Burgos (13-1) vs Josh Emmett (15-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

In one of the best fights on the card, these two ranked featherweights will go head to head in battle for a potential Top 5 opponent in their next fight. Emmett is coming in on the back of two straight wins by knockout, while Burgos has won his last three with two stoppage victories. Burgos is arguably more well-rounded of the two but he doesn’t really possess that one-punch knockout power Emmett does. His footwork and leg-kicking game are solid but with Emmett’s wrestling background he risks being put on his back if one of those get caught. Emmet’s age could also be a factor, although his conditioning is exceptional. A fight that could literally end in the blink of an eye, but I think Burgos will stay patient and avoid the big punch Emmett looks for. A technical win is incoming for Burgos if you ask me. PICK – Shane Burgos via Unanimous Decision

Curtis Blaydes (13-2) vs Alexander Volkov (31-7) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes v Dos Santos : News Photo

The ultimate wrestler vs striker fight in this one, as ‘Razor’ takes on ‘Drago’ in the main event. Blaydes has been on a tear in recent years, losing only to Francis Ngannou twice while dominating everyone else. He holds the record for the most takedowns in heavyweight history, with 10 of his 13 wins coming by knockout.

Volkov is a big, strong striker who has knockout power for days. The Russian has 20 knockout wins on his record and at 6ft 7′ possesses a reach advantage over most of his opponents. He’s won 7 of his last 8 fights, with his only defeat coming in the closing seconds against Derrick Lewis in a fight he dominated for 3 rounds.

Blaydes has plenty of power in the stand-up game so won’t be afraid to exchange with Volkov, but ‘Drago’ will not want to get into a wrestling match with his opponent. If Blaydes can get this to the ground then I expect him to get a finish, like he has done against most of his other opponents. If Volkov can rush him like Ngannou did and catch him early he’ll have a chance. The longer this fight goes, the more chance Blaydes has of getting it to the ground which means he’ll take home the win. PICK – Curtis Blaydes via Technical Knockout, Round 2