Tag Archives: Journey Newson

UFC Vegas 66: Cannonier vs Strickland – Early prelims predictions

The final UFC card of 2022 is upon us after a crazy year, with middleweight contenders battling it out in the main event.

Jared Cannonier returns to the octagon after a failed title attempt to take on Sean Strickland, whose last fight saw him beaten by the current champion in the division.

It’s a stacked 14-fight card including people like Drew Dober, Manel Kape, Bryan Battle, Said Nurmagomedov and more.

Last weekend at UFC 282 we went 6/11 with one perfect pick (we don’t count draws) to move to 795/1238 (64.22%) with 326 perfect picks (41.01%). You can see our full pick history here.

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


Sergey Morozov (18-5) vs Journey Newson (10-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun scrap to open the card in the bantamweight division. Morozov is 2-2 in his last four, losing to Usman Nurmagomedov (UFC Fight Island 8) and Douglas Silva De Andrade (UFC 271) while beating Khalid Taha and Raulian Paiva most recently. Newson on the other hand was KO’d by Randy Costa at UFC Vegas 11, before taking over a year off and returning with a win over Fernando Garcia most recently.

Morozov is a solid all-rounder, with excellent striking technique and solid wrestling to go with his excellent top game with vicious ground and pound skills. Newson is on his way to becoming an all-rounder, but he’s not quite there yet although his Brazilian jiu-jitsu is very useful for him. With that said though, Morozov just seems to be better everywhere this fight goes.

He’s the better, more powerful and more aggressive striker, and his top game is far better than Newson’s bottom game is when it comes to ground-and-pound vs jiu-jitsu. I don’t see a finish because Newson is no pushover, but Morozov has the skills to win the close exchanges and take over more as the fight goes on to claim a decision on the cards.
PICK – Sergey Morozov via Decision

David Dvorak (20-4) vs Manel Kape (17-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Banger at flyweight next. Dvorak saw his 16-fight win streak snapped last time out when Matheus Nicolau earned a decision over him in his last bout. Kape alternatively has won his last two in a row, KO’ing both Ode Osbourne (UFC 265) and Zhalgas Zhumagulov (UFC Vegas 44).

Dvorak is a brilliant boxer with good footwork and a lovely jab, while his defensive grappling is also excellent to keep fights standing. His biggest weakness is that he can be a slow starter. Kape on the other hand is an explosive striker with great counter-striking and good defensive wrestling too. His biggest weakness is that he tends to wait a lot to counter attack, and that lack of volume cost him in his opening two UFC fights.

That slow start for Dvorak could be a huge issue, because Kape likes to come out of the blocks quickly with his big strikes looking for a finish and he has excellent knockout power. Dvorak can get hit and hurt, but if he gets past that stage then it will be an excellent striking match. I’ll lean with Kape because it’s highly unlikely he loses the first round if he fights properly, and that’s an obvious advantage.
PICK – Manel Kape via Decision



Bryan Battle (8-1) vs Rinat Fakhretdinov (19-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A very interesting welterweight bout up next. Battle is on a seven-fight win streak including winning the latest series of TUF, beating Gilbert Urbina in the finale, then beating Tresean Gore and KO’ing Takashi Sato most recently via head-kick. Fakhretdinov steps in on just two-weeks’ notice on an 18-fight win streak, who won his UFC debut last time out back in June.

Battle is a really good fighter with a bit of everything in his wheelhouse, with some solid wrestling and great submission skills as well as explosive striking when he needs it and unlimited cardio. “Gladiator” is likely to try and wrestle his way to victory here, but he has got crazy power too and often relies heavily on landing one big shot.

But with Battle’s style of moving constantly and being strong everywhere, it’s hard to see how he loses this one. There is always the chance that Fakhretdinov wrestles his way to a win, but he really lacks urgency to be busy and against Battle that is a recipe for disaster.
PICK – Bryan Battle via Decision

Rafa Garcia (14-3) vs Maheshate (9-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Lightweight banger up next between two prospects in the weight class. Garcia saw his two-fight win streak snapped last time out when he lost to Drakkar Klose at UFC 277, while Maheshate is on a seven-fight win streak with a first-round KO in his UFC debut against Steve Garcia most recently at UFC 275.

Garcia is a very good wrestler, who has got five round experience and fantastic cardio to be able to wrestle all night long. Maheshate is a striker, with a piston-like right hand that has the power and ability to put people out if he lands clean. Garcia is a very aggressive fighter which can leave opportunities for Maheshate to land counters, but this is a big step up in competition.

“Gifted” is likely to make this an ugly fight, because if it’s clean and technical then he is in Maheshate’s world. Garcia is likely to push him against the cage, constantly work for takedowns and use lots of dirty boxing and clinches. He’ durable and has great cardio to be relentless for 15 minutes, and I expect Garcia to put an end to the hype relatively comfortably in a fun fight.
PICK – Rafa Garcia via Decision

UFC 274: Oliveira vs Gaethje – Early prelims predictions

The UFC heads to Arizona for a huge pay-per-view card this weekend headlined by two massive title fights in the lightweight and strawweight divisions.

The main event will see Charles Oliveira defend his 155-pound title for the second time against Justin Gaethje, who looks to earn the belt at the second time of asking.

In the co-main event we’ll see Rose Namajunas defend her 115-pound title for the second time of her second stint as champion when she takes on Carla Esparza, reigniting a rivalry years in the making from the inaugural title fight in the division.

We’ll also see Michael Chandler fight against Tony Ferguson in a huge lightweight fight, as well as ‘Shogun’ Rua, Donald Cerrone, Randy Brown, Khaos Williams, Danny Roberts and more.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 53 we had a poor night with our picks, going 5/11 with four perfect picks. That moves us up to 613/951 (64.46%) with 259 perfect picks (42.25%).

We’ll look to improve on that here with this massive 15-fight card, starting with the early prelims.


Journey Newson (9-3) vs Fernie Garcia (10-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun bantamweight fight opens up the card between two interesting fighters. Newson is on a three fight winless streak, after dropping losses to Ricardo Ramos and Randy Costa (UFC Vegas 11) most recently. He did KO Domingo Pilarte in between those, but it was overturned to a no contest for a failed drug test. Garcia on the other hand makes his UFC debut after a successful appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Newson is a steady boxer with a decent wrestling game, but it’s hard to get a read on someone who has fought for less than 90 seconds in the last three years and is coming off a near two-year layoff. Garcia on the other hand is a volume striker with good speed and good wrestling defence to keep the fight in his wheelhouse. Neither guy has got great power, with just four KO’s across their combined 19 wins so it’s all about winning the 50/50 battles.

Newson will likely look to strike early on but when he realises that he’s not got the speed to match Garcia in the exchanges he’ll look to tie him up against the cage and wear on him. Garcia must be able to escape and get back to his boxing, which I think he will, to be able to claim a decision win.
PICK – Fernie Garcia via Decision

Ariane Carnelossi (14-2) vs Lupita Godinez (7-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

An interesting strawweight bout up next between two women coming off wins. Carnelossi has won her last two by finish, knocking out Na Liang at UFC 261 before submitting Istela Nunes in her most recent outing. Godinez had three fights in six weeks at the back end of 2021, going 2-1 in that run with a defeat to Luana Carolina sandwiched between wins over Silvana Gomez Juarez and Loma Lookboonmee all by decision.

Carnelossi is a powerful striker with a good jab, good low kicks and a decent wrestling game when on the attack. Godinez on the other hand is a sharp boxer too, but she has excellent wrestling both offensively and defensively and that would surely give her the edge here. On the feet Carnelossi’s power is a game changer. She swings big hooks and has the ability to turn the lights out as her nine career KO’s show. but if she ends up on her back she is in trouble.

Godinez is a relentless grappler when she knows she can secure a takedown and from top position she should be able to keep Carnelossi exactly where she wants her. If she avoids the big contact in the early rounds, I expect Godinez to be able to wrestle her way to a relatively one-sided decision win.
PICK – Lupita Godinez via Decision

Kleydson Rodrigues (7-1) vs CJ Vergara (9-3-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Flyweight banger up next between two exciting prospects at 125-pounds. Rodrigues has won his last six in a row, including his last fight on Dana White’s Contender Series where he dominated Santo Curatolo. Vergara on the other hand saw a five-fight win streak snapped when he lost his UFC debut to Ode Osbourne via decision back at UFC 268 in November.

Rodrigues is a striker who likes to use his length well and kicking game to set up range and straight strikes and has got a huge technique advantage in this bout. Vergara is a bit more of a brawler than that, but he has got a great clinch game that looks to wear his opponents down with hard knees and elbows. Unfortunately for Vergara though, he seems to be outmatched on this occasion.

‘K.R.’ has got the power to land well and early, while stylistically he is similar to Osbourne who gave Vergara lots of trouble last time out. Vergara will have to try and close the distance with his boxing and that should open him up to a big counter from Rodrigues, who’ll claim the statement KO win.
PICK – Kleydson Rodrigues via Knockout, Round 2



Tracy Cortez (9-1) vs Melissa Gatto (8-0-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very fun flyweight fight between two prospects in the division up next. Cortez is on a nine-fight win streak and is unbeaten in the UFC, claiming a split decision win over Justine Kish in her most recent outing. Gatto on the other hand has won each of her last three bouts, including finishes in her UFC debut against Victoria Leonardo at UFC 265 and then a KO win over Sijara Eubanks at UFC Vegas 45 last time out.

Cortez is a grinding wrestler who has surely been working on her jiu-jitsu game in recent times since starting a relationship with Brian Ortega. She tends to get takedowns and control opponents on the ground, while her striking is good enough to hold her own in the exchanges. Gatto on the other hand is a solid striker with decent power and kicks, while she showed her ground game is of more than adequate level when she went toe-to-toe with Eubanks.

If Gatto keeps the fight standing then it’s her bout to lose. She has a small reach advantage but also she has got some nasty jiu-jitsu off her back and that could be a problem for Cortez. With that said though, Cortez will do some big wrestling movements and will look to grind her way to a win, but she must stay very aware of the submission threat that is posed against her. Overall, there are more paths to victory for the Brazilian, so I expect her to edge out a tough fight.
PICK – Melissa Gatto via Decision

Andre Fialho (15-4) vs Cameron VanCamp (15-5-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A banger in the welterweight division that was put together on super short notice. Andre Fialho returns to the octagon just three weeks after a huge win over Miguel Baeza last time out, having been beaten in his UFC debut by Michel Pereira at UFC 270 at the start of the year. VanCamp makes his organisation debut on the back of a four-fight win streak with three submissions in a row.

Fialho is a powerhouse who constantly walks forward and throws heavy strikes as he closes the distance, with good defensive wrestling too. VanCamp on the other hand is a solid grappler with excellent submission skills, but his striking leaves plenty to be desired and that puts him in a world of trouble here. He’s a technical boxer with a nasty left hook and so long as the quick turnaround doesn’t negatively impact him this is his fight to lose.

VanCamp needs to get the fight to the ground and control the grappling exchanges to win this fight, but he’ll need to eat a host of strikes to get it there and I don’t see him being able to cope. Fialho lands big and early to hurt VanCamp and earn a nasty KO win.
PICK – Andre Fialho via Knockout, Round 1

UFC Vegas 11: Covington vs Woodley – Early Prelims Predictions

A not-so stacked card last weekend is followed up this weekend by one of the most stacked Fight Night cards in recent memory as Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley finally meet in a grudge match in the main event.

The card will also see the likes of Donald Cerrone, Khamzat Chimaev, Kevin Holland and Mackenzie Dern on the main card, but the undercard isn’t short of names either. With a HUGE 14 fights scheduled for this weekend ahead of the UFC’s second trip to Fight Island, I will break down each fight and give my predictions.

Last weekend was my worst showing for picks so far, as I ended with just 6/12 and only 1 perfect pick (winner, method, round).

With EIGHT prelim fights scheduled at the time of writing, I’m splitting this card into three rather than the usual two. I’ll break down the four UFC Fight Pass prelims here and give my predictions in the hope of doing far better than I did last weekend.

EARLY PRELIMS

Tyson Nam (19-11-1) vs Jerome Rivera (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

After initially being slated to compete in the feature prelim bout last week, Tyson Nam now steps in on short-notice to take on Jerome Rivera. Nam won his last bout in scintillating fashion with a vicious knockout of Zarrukh Adashev back in June, while Rivera makes his UFC debut following a win on Dana White’s Contender Series last month. Nam is a kickboxer with good clinching skills and ridiculously heavy hands, but he’s struggled to put together consistent performances in the UFC. Rivera is a strong grappler but his defeat in his LFA title fight showed a big hole in his game. He struggles to follow through with his takedowns and leaves his chin in the air, often moving forward in straight lines. With Nam’s excellent takedown defence and counter-striking, this is a recipe for disaster for Rivera and this could be a violent win for Nam yet again.
PICK – Tyson Nam via Knockout, Round 1

Darrick Minner (24-11) vs T.J. Laramie (12-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fight between a submission expert and an all-round mixed martial artist in the featherweight division as Darrick Minner takes on T.J. Laramie. Minner has just one UFC fight to his name, a defeat to Grant Dawson last time out back in February but he has 21 submission victories from 24 career wins. ‘The Truth’ Laramie makes his UFC debut after a win on Dana White’s Contender Series last month where he battered Daniel Swain to a doctor’s stoppage after the first round. Minner’s game relies completely on getting the fight to the ground so he can work his submissions but Laramie has fantastic takedown defence and his striking is clear of Minner’s. While there is always the chance of Minner getting the takedown, Laramie is no slouch on the ground and if he can somehow get into a top position he has the tools to be comfortable there too. Overall, it’s a fight that has too many paths to victory for Laramie for me to not pick him.
PICK – T.J. Laramie via Knockout, Round 3

Andre Ewell (16-6) vs Irwin Rivera (10-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Former CES champion Andre Ewell steps into the cage for his sixth UFC fight against Irwin Rivera who got his first UFC win last month in a split decision over Ali AlQaisi. Ewell is a striker predominantly but is unorthodox. He strikes from range and with great power, which shows with his 7 knockout wins to date. Rivera has a succinct lack of takedown skills and has a height and reach disadvantage in this fight which will leave him open, but he showed great courage and heart in his defeat to Giga Chikadze in May. With Ewell’s lack of consistency in the octagon, that will give Rivera encouragement that he can pull something off but judging solely off their attributes, it should be a relatively comfortable night for Ewell to make it back-to-back wins.
PICK – Andre Ewell via Unanimous Decision

Journey Newson (9-2 1NC) vs Randy Costa (5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A sleeper for fight of the night in this one as Journey Newson and Randy Costa match up in the bantamweight division. Newson lost his octagon debut in a late-notice bout against Ricardo Ramos before he blasted Domingo Pilarte for a first round knockout, although it was later overturned after a positive test for marijuana. Costa lost his debut also, to Brandon Davis after a good start before the more experienced man took over and scored a submission win. All of Costa’s professional wins have come via knockout but Newson has a good chin and good cardio. If he can withstand the initial storm, he could take over the fight and lead into a scrap that could see Costa deteriorate. For me though, I can’t see this fight going the distance and I expect that Costa will be able to get the knockout early with his pressure.
PICK – Randy Costa via Knockout, Round 1