Tag Archives: Karl Roberson

UFC Vegas 58: Dos Anjos vs Fiziev – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex arena for another UFC Vegas card, headlined this time by huge lightweight contenders as Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Rafael Fiziev in the main event.

The number seven ranked 155-pounder takes on the number 11 ranked 155-pounder, but they’re backed up by a solid card this weekend including one UFC debutant and a list of experienced talent too.

Last time out at UFC 276 e went 8/11 (we don’t count no contests) with two perfect picks, moving us to 649/1009 (64.32%) with 279 perfect picks (42.99%). You can check out our total picks history here.

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


Ronnie Lawrence (8-1) vs Saidyokub Kakhramonov (9-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A banger at bantamweight to start the card here. Lawrence is on a five-fight win streak including a KO win in his UFC debut against Vince Cachero before earning a decision over Leomana Martinez at UFC 271 last time out. Kakhramonov on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak, including a submission win in his debut last time out over Trevin Giles.

Lawrence and Kakhramonov are both grapplers by trade, with great wrestling and some good submission skills in their arsenal too. However both are capable of keeping up a high pace and can land a good volume of strikes too, which is what this fight may turn into. There, Lawrence has a slight advantage and it could prove pivotal in this match up.

Kakhramonov showed a vulnerability when forced against the cage in his last bout and while he arguably has the power advantage, Lawrence seems like the most durable of the two too. Expect both men to keep it standing until an opportunity presents itself for a takedown, but Lawrence should be able to use his volume and pressure to force his opponent backwards and mix in takedown threats to earn the decision win.
PICK – Ronnie Lawrence via Decision

Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-3) vs Karl Roberson (9-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An interesting light heavyweight bout up next. Nzechukwu started his UFC career 4-1, but has lost each of his last two fights after getting KO’d by Da Un Jung at UFC Vegas 42 before dropping a split decision to Nicolae Negumereanu at UFC 272 most recently. Roberson has lost his last three in a row, getting finished by all of Marvin Vettori (UFC Vegas 2), Brendan Allen (UFC 261) and Khalil Rountree.

Nzechukwu is a volume heavy striker who tends to walk forward head first and pressure opponents until they crumble, while Roberson is a solid all-rounder who can’t game plan to save his life. He grapples with grapplers, tries to jiu-jitsu with jiu-jitsu players and doesn’t use his striking game nearly enough. That’s a big problem against Nzechukwu, who will be the much bigger man coming into this fight.

Roberson’s volume isn’t great and if he chooses to just stand with his back against the cage and exchange strikes he’ll likely get stopped. Nzechukwu must let his hands go more often and continue to come forward, and he should be able to land enough to secure a close decision win.
PICK – Kennedy Nzechukwu via Decision



David Onama (9-1) vs Garrett Armfield (8-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A super short notice bout makes it to the card at the last minute. Onama suffered defeat in his UFC debut on short notice to Mason Jones, but bounced back with a big win over Gabriel Benitez when he KO’d him in the first round. Armfield on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak and makes his UFC debut in this bout, with seven finishes in his eight career wins.

Armfield is a well-rounded fighter with great hand speed and power, to go with some excellent wrestling abilities and a great fight IQ. Onama alternatively is a brilliant kickboxer with excellent power and speed, with explosiveness for days and a decent ground game too. These two guys have fought before, with Onama earning a victory via unanimous decision during their amateur days.

Onama has the striking advantage by a distance, but in the grappling he’s at a big disadvantage. His defensive wrestling and grappling isn’t great and Armfield has the ability to step in and wrestle for 15 minutes. The issue is he’s coming in on three days’ notice against a guy who has beaten him before. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him claim a decision win, but it’s a huge ask and I expect Onama to work the body and use his length to claim another win.
PICK – David Onama via Decision

UFC Vegas 50: Santos vs Ankalaev – Main card predictions

After a banger of a pay-per-view card last weekend the UFC returns to their APEX in Las Vegas for a big light heavyweight headline fight card as Thiago Santos takes on Magomed Ankalaev in the main event.

The 205-pound division is wide open at the top end and a big win for either man could see them enter title contention in the very near future.

We’ll also see Marlon Moraes take on Song Yadong in a bantamweight co-main event, while the likes of Drew Dober, Terrance McKinney, Miranda Maverick and Alex Pereira competing too in a sneakily stacked card.

Last time out at UFC 272 we went 9/13 with four perfect picks to move to 557/865 (64.39%) with 238 perfect picks (42.73%) with our picks.

We’ll look to improve on that going forward and after starting with the early prelims on this 14-fight card here and then rounding off our prelims picks here, we move to our main card picks now.


Alex Pereira (4-1) vs Bruno Silva (22-6) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Someone is going to sleep in this middleweight bout to open the main card. Alex Pereira made his UFC debut at UFC 269 and scored a huge flying knee knockout, while Bruno Silva is on a seven-fight win streak with KO’s in all of them including Wellington Turman at UFC Vegas 29, Andrew Sanchez at UFC Vegas 40 and Jordan Wright at UFC 269 too.

Pereira is a world class kickboxer who owns two victories over middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in his career, who has shifted to MMA to force another fight with him. His takedown defence has shown improvements, but is still a glaring weakness right now. Silva on the other hand is a brawler with dynamite in his hands, but he also has a solid ground game and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.

Someone is going to sleep. It’s that simple. Pereira is super technical and very proficient with his striking, only needing to land clean once to put your lights out, while Silva looks to make the fight wild before landing a clean strike and putting your lights out too. The grappling gives Silva a huge chance though, although I don’t expect he’ll show it much. He will look to take his head off and Pereira can kick from range and pick him off to earn a huge knockout scalp on his resume.
PICK – Alex Pereira via Knockout, Round 1

Drew Dober (23-11) vs Terrance McKinney (12-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A super short-notice bout in the lightweight division up next. Drew Dober has lost his last two fights against elite competition, getting submitted by Islam Makhachev at UFC 259 before dropping a decision to Brad Riddell at UFC 263. McKinney has made a big splash since his UFC debut, where he score a 7-second KO against Matt Frevola at UFC 263 and then earned a big win over Fares Ziam at UFC Vegas 49 just a few weeks ago. He steps in on eight days’ notice.

Dober is a hugely talented wrestler, whose entire game is based around shooting and then controlling opponents on the ground before raining down ground and pound or submissions. McKinney is a strong wrestler himself but he has serious knockout power too and is riding a huge wave of momentum right now. That said, it’s a big step up in competition for ‘T Wrecks’.

Dober’s chin has survived damage in the past, but he has been submitted in the past four times. McKinney showed in his last bout that he has submission skills and solid wrestling, which makes this fight very close on paper too. It’s hard to get a proper read on McKinney right now though, because he’s had less than half a round in the cage to date. I won’t be shocked if McKinney wins, but it will be mightily impressive. I expect Dober to wrestle defensively and use his striking on the feet to earn a good win, especially with the short-notice aspect being in his favour.
PICK – Drew Dober via Decision

Khalil Rountree Jr (10-5) vs Karl Roberson (9-4) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A fascinating bout at 205-pounds in this one between UFC stalwarts. Rountree Jr snapped a two-fight losing streak with a TKO win via leg kick against Modestas Bukauskas at UFC Vegas 36, while Roberson looks to snap his own losing streak after submission losses to Marvin Vettori at UFC Vegas 2 and Brendan Allen at UFC 261.

Rountree is a Muay-Thai fighter with incredible leg kicks and explosive power in his hands, with a largely improved and evolved game over the years. Roberson is a kickboxer outside of the cage, but for some reason when the door gets locked he starts looking to grapple a lot. This won’t be a grapple heavy affair though, with both guys looking to strike from range and use counters.

That favours Rountree though, because he is a fighter with much better output and volume as well as his leg kicking game being much more advanced. Both guys have the power to put the other out, but the likelihood is this will be quite a cagey affair and Rountree will be able to use his slight speed advantage to catch the judge’s eyes.
PICK – Khalil Rountree Jr via Decision



Sodiq Yusuff (11-2) vs Alex Caceres (19-12) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Two very talented featherweights go head-to-head in this one. Yusuff saw a six-fight win streak snapped by Arnold Allen last time out at UFC Vegas 23, while Caceres is currently on a five-fight win streak with a submission against Seung Woo Choi at UFC Vegas 41 in his most recent outing.

Yusuff is a powerhouse of a striker who fights with great patience and composure, while Caceres is very unorthodox and has an ability to take the fight anywhere with good grappling skills and a karate style of striking. Yusuff is physically the bigger and stronger fighter, which means he will be full of confidence when it comes to the striking game as well as defending any takedowns.

Caceres is on a great run, but this is a bad match up for him. Caceres likes to use volume to get his range, but Yusuff will happily eat a pitter-patter strike to land a bomb and that’s what I expect he will do. He will press forward and force Caceres backwards, before landing some heavy strikes and either forcing a stoppage or earning a wide decision win.
PICK – Sodiq Yusuff via Decision

Marlon Moraes (23-9-1) vs Song Yadong (18-5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The best division in the UFC serves up yet another beautiful fight for the fans here. Moraes is on a rough run right now, with three losses in a row to Cory Sandhagen at UFC Fight Island 5, Rob Font at UFC Vegas 17 and Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 266. A controversial win over Jose Aldo is the only thing stopping him from a five-fight losing streak. Yadong on the other hand is one of the best young fighters in the company and is on a two-fight win streak after a decision against Casey Kenny at UFC 265 before a KO against Julio Arce at UFC Vegas 42.

Moraes is a world class striker, with incredible power in his high kicks and lightning fast striking in his hands. He has got huge problems with his cardio however and recently his chin has really let him down, with repetitive stoppages. Yadong is a terrific boxer with great speed and some good wrestling skills too, which he may need to use in order to gain a victory here. This has got fight of the night potential all over it.

If Yadong wants to secure the win, he needs to mix it up and drag the fight into the latter rounds. Moraes is a better striker and is incredibly well-rounded, but his cardio always drains away in every fight if he doesn’t get the finish early. Yadong is powerful enough to clip that chin of Moraes once again, especially if he’s tired, and earn himself a huge win that potentially ends Moraes’ run with the UFC.
PICK – Song Yadong via Knockout, Round 2

Thiago Santos (22-9) vs Magomed Ankalaev (16-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A huge light heavyweight main event headlines this card with potential title implications. Santos has bounced back from three consecutive defeats to earn a decision win over Johnny Walker most recently at UFC Vegas 38, while Ankalaev is on a seven-fight win streak with his only defeat coming in the final second of his three-round fight with Paul Craig, where he was submitted. His most recent win came against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 267 via decision.

Santos is an excellent Muay-Thai fighter with ridiculous power in his punches, and a genuine ability to break your face. Ankalaev on the other hand is a very talented striker who also has grappling in his back pocket, but has patience and power in his strikes. Santos had both his knees ripped to shreds against Jon Jones and since coming back he’s been much more patient and less mobile, which doesn’t help him in this fight. He hasn’t lost his power, but he’s not as willing to stand and trade which may have been the key to winning this fight.

In a straight technique-for-technique clash with Ankalaev, he will lose. Ankalaev has speed, spinning attacks, a good variety to his strikes and enough power to put people out. Santos has a good chin but his lack of volume in recent fights worries me and that can allow Ankalaev to step in and pick him apart, while also not testing his cardio so he can waltz to a dominant decision win.
PICK – Magomed Ankalaev via Decision

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

EARLY PRELIMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRELIMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAIN CARD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2 – Prelims predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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


Patrick Sabatini (13-3) vs Tristan Connelly (14-6) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A UFC debut for the submission specialist Patrick Sabatini as he takes on former lightweight Tristan Connelly in the featherweight division. Sabatini has won five of his last six, evenly split 2-2-2 with KO’s, submissions and decisions. Connelly won his last bout at WELTERWEIGHT against Michel Pereira way back in 2019 in his UFC debut.

Sabatini is a brilliant chain wrestler and has a deep submission bag, with seven rear-naked choke wins from nine tap-out wins. Connelly is a wrestler too, who looks to get top position and land some nice ground and pound to grind out wins. A big issue for Connelly is that not only is he coming off a neck injury, but he’s 35 and cutting to 145lbs for the first time in six years.

Sabatini has him beat where he’s strongest and is as good where they’re both weaker so I expect the younger man to get him down, eventually take his back and earn another rear-naked choke submission win.
PICK -Pat Sabatini via Submission, Round 1

Karl Roberson (9-3) vs Brendan Allen (15-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An intriguing clash of styles in the middleweight division as both men look to bounce back from defeats last time out. Roberson was smashed by Marvin Vettori in a grudge match between the two at UFC Vegas 2, while Allen got knocked out by Sean Strickland in a catchweight fight at UFC Vegas 14.

Roberson is a striker by nature with good kickboxing skills, while Allen is a ground specialist who has a nasty submission game to go with his heavy hands. Roberson is a rangy fighter who isn’t afraid to throw kicks and if he does that here, Allen will be grinning from ear-to-ear as he’ll catch it and chuck him to the mat. Roberson does have decent offensive wrestling, but his defence is poor and Allen is more than capable of holding his own on the feet until an opportunity arises to take him down himself.

Because of those reasons, it’s hard to see this fight going any other way than Allen securing a dominant submission win.
PICK – Brendan Allen via Submission, Round 1

Dwight Grant (10-3) vs Stefan Sekulic (12-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A fun welterweight fight here between ‘The Body Snatcher’ and a returning Sekulic. Grant is 2-2 in the UFC, getting knocked out in his last bout against Daniel Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 7 while Sekulic lost his UFC debut to Ramazan Emeev in 2018 and then tested positive for steroids and was banned for two years.

Grant has incredible power in his hands and has scary knockout power, but he rarely throws strikes other than one at a time. That’s a big problem because it allows opponents to get their own attacks together and cause his issues. Not to mention the fact that Grant seemed to blow his load in last fight against Rodriguez, which is a concern. Sekulic is a good wrestler on his own accord and is very good at grinding away from top position on opponents.

Grant has cracking hands and has shown in the past that he’s able to get up off his back if he does get taken down, so as long as he doesn’t sit on his hands he should get the win here.
PICK – Dwight Grant via Knockout, Round 2

Alex Oliveira (22-9-1) vs Randy Brown (12-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The veteran ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira finally takes on Randy Brown in the welterweight division in the featured prelim bout of the card. Oliveira has lost three of his last five, beating Peter Sobotta at UFC Fight Island 3 before being submitted by Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 254 after missing weight. Brown’s most recent defeats have come against the excellent Belal Muhammad, Niko Price and then most recently by knockout to Vicente Luque at UFC Vegas 5.

Oliveira is a super well-rounded fighter who is entering the twilight of his career now. He has great boxing and good power, but is also excellent on the ground and has good evasive footwork. Brown is a potential contender at 170lbs, with great power in his strikes and really good wrestling too. He is powerful and has great cardio too, but has shown skills off his back with a submission of Warlley Alves and with where they both are currently it’s hard to see him not taking over the longer this fight goes.

Brown has the striking edge on the feet, the clear advantage in the cardio department and is competent enough in the grappling to hold his own, so I think he dominates to a decision win.
PICK – Randy Brown via Decision

UFC Vegas 17: Thompson vs Neal – Prelims Predictions

The final UFC card of the year looks to end 2020 with a bang with a welterweight main event that could decide on a new contender for the belt.

Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson and Geoff Neal step into the headline slot following the collapse of the fight between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev. Neal is looking to extend his win streak against the highest level of competition he has faced, knowing a win puts him into the top five conversation.

Elsewhere on the card Jose Aldo looks for his first win at bantamweight against Marlon Vera in the co-main, on a card that has an insane 14 fights on the night.

Last week at UFC 256, we had a poor showing as we scored just 4/10 on the night on a night of incredible fights. That moved us to 185/292 (63.36%) with 80 perfect picks (43.24%) since starting predictions back in June.

With so many fights the predictions will be split into three parts this week, starting with the early prelims here and now with the rest of the prelim card.

PRELIMS

Gillian Robertson (9-4) vs Taila Santos (16-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Gillian Robertson was supposed to face off against Andrea Lee at this event while Taila Santos was supposed to fight against Montana De La Rosa at UFC Vegas 16, only for both to fall out and the women agree to face each other instead. Robertson has won her last two, submitting Courtney Casey in June before outclassing Poliana Botelho back in October. Taila Santos destroyed Molly McCann in July after losing her UFC debut to Mara Romero Borella. Santos is a very good striker who has a jiu-jitsu black belt, although we’ve not really seen her go to ground so far in her UFC career. If Robertson can get a takedown and dominate from the top, she will be confident of coming away with a comfortable win. If Santos is able to deny the takedowns though, she has a massive edge on the feet and will pick Robertson off. It’s all about the takedown and I think Santos will be able to deny the attacks of the 25-year-old and get the win.
PICK – Taila Santos via Decision

Deron Winn (6-2) vs Antonio Arroyo (9-3) – (Catchweight/195lbs)

A return to the octagon for Deron Winn following consecutive defeats, sees him come in against short-notice step in Antonio Arroyo in a catchweight bout. Arroyo won twice on Dana White’s Contender Series before getting a contract, only to be beaten in his debut by Andre Muniz in November 2019. Winn is a wrestler by trade and has come under the wing of former double-champ Daniel Cormier but has struggled to make his wrestling impactful so far in the UFC. Arroyo is a fine striker, who is often brought into camps for the opponents of Thiago Santos due to their style similarities. He has a nine-inch height advantage and a three-and-a-half inch reach advantage but his takedown defence isn’t the greatest. Physically, Winn is stronger but Arroyo is a good scrambler off his back and carries decent power. Winn will eventually be able to get a takedown and control the fight on the ground, but Arroyo definitely has a path to victory here. It will be a close bout that really depends on if Winn can close the distance and get his takedown. I believe he will, so I’ll take him for a career-saving win.
PICK – Deron Winn via Decision

Karl Roberson (9-3) vs Dalcha Lungiambula (10-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A return to the octagon for Karl Roberson following his submission loss in a grudge match against Marvin Vettori back in June, as he takes on Lungiambula who moves down to middleweight after his defeat to Magomed Ankalaev in November 2019. Roberson is a fantastic kickboxer who is also a pretty decent wrestler too, and has fought some top class fighters already. Lungiambula was trying to fight at a more natural weight class at 205lbs but was often undersized and struggled against top wrestlers because of it. This move down is good for him, but Roberson is just a level above him. He outclasses him on the feet by keeping the range and should be able to take him down too if he wants, so should get back into the win column.
PICK – Karl Roberson via Decision

Sijara Eubanks (6-5) vs Pannie Kianzad (14-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A dominant performance against Julia Avila saw Sijara Eubanks make a quick turnaround to fight Ketlen Vieira at UFC 253 just two weeks later. She got beaten in that one, and now looks to close out the year trying to keep her winning record. She comes up against Pannie Kianzad, who has won her last two fights against Jessica-Rose Clark and Bethe Correia on Fight Island in July. Eubanks is a solid wrestler and does her best work in top control but Kianzad has an excellent takedown defence rate. She’s lengthy and a good striker from range and so long as her takedown defence holds up, Kianzad should make it three in a row in a closely contested affair.
PICK – Pannie Kianzad via Decision

Anthony Pettis (23-10) vs Alex Morono (18-6) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis recently made the move up to welterweight and holds a knockout win over main eventer Wonderboy Thompson. He then lost to Nate Diaz and Diego Ferreira, before getting back in the win column against Donald Cerrone back in May. He fights out his contract against Alex Morono, who beat young prospect Rhys McKee just last month in a great three round performance. Morono is a good wrestler who prefers to brawl on the feet, but Pettis is arguably the better striker of the two with his excellent kickboxing skills. Should Morono choose to purely wrestle with Pettis and use his jiu-jitsu black belt on the ground he’s capable of getting a win, but with the style that both men tend to employ regularly I’d be surprised if Pettis doesn’t make it consecutive wins at 170lbs.
PICK – Anthony Pettis via Knockout, Round 2

UFC Fight Night: Jessica Eye One of Three to Miss Weight, Another Fight Cancelled

UFC Fight Night: Vegas 2 took a bit hit at the weigh-ins today as three fighters missed weight, including one half of the main and co-main events.

Prior to the trouble today, the card began to fall apart last night as Ray Borg pulled out of his fight with Merab Dvalishvili due to a family emergency. Borg later tweeted saying, “Family first. See you soon, son” suggesting that there may be more problems with his son who has suffered form severe health issues in the past 18 months.

Darrick Minner also took to his Facebook account to announced that he won’t be fighting Jordan Griffin at tomorrow’s event either, having fallen sick during his weight cut.

β€œSad to say but tomorrow I won’t be fighting. Long story short, the weight cut was going super smooth, everything on point. Came back to nap before I hit the last 5 lbs. Woke up after a two hour nap, started throwing up and didn’t stop for 6-7 hours. Still throwing up this morning but it has slowed down.

β€œThe UFC performance institute nutrition and staff tried everything to get my stomach under control before they had to make the call to start rehydrating. Shout out to them, they are super knowledgeable and professional.

β€œI want to apologize to my opponent Jordan Griffin and his camp, stepped up to give us a fight. We will get this set up at a later date. Thanks to the UFC for giving me another opportunity, we will get back to work and be ready for the next one. Sorry my body couldn’t make this happen.”

Jessica Eye, scheduled to fight Cynthia Calvillo in the main event, weighed in at 126.25lbs, or 1/4lbs over the 126lbs weight limit for a non-title Flyweight fight. ‘Evil’ Eye was visibly shaken when getting on the scales and after missing told the reporters present, “I’m done guys. I don’t even think I can stand.” Eye also missed weight for her last fight at Flyweight, coming in 5lbs over before her decision win over Viviane Araujo.

She was fined 25% of her purse, which will go straight to her opponent. Calvillo on the other hand made weight, coming in at 126lbs.

In the co-main event, Karl Roberson added to the tension between himself and opponent Marvin Vettori by missing weight for the second consecutive fight. This fight was originally supposed to happen earlier this month, but Roberson missed weight and then was ruled out of the fight by UFC doctors. The two then got into a verbal altercation in the hotel lobby afterwards, adding a bit more vim to a fight between two dark horses in the Middleweight division.

Roberson then weighed in today at 190.5lbs, 4.5lbs over the 186lbs weight limit for a non-title bout. He was fined 30% of his purse by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which will go to his rival. During the face-offs Vettori began blasting him verbally saying that Roberson’s “body was broken already from weight cutting” and that he’s going to hurt him.

A third fighter also missed weight during all the craziness. Zarrukh Adashev, making his UFC debut as a short-notice replacement to fight Tyson Nam, weighed in at 2.5lbs over the limit for their Bantamweight fight. He was fined 20% of his purse.

All the fights will proceed as previously scheduled despite the missed weight.

UFC Fight Night: Eye vs Calvillo – Predictions

The UFC reopens its APEX Centre doors this weekend for yet another card behind closed door, as Jessica Eye faces off with Cynthia Calvillo in the main event.

We go through the card to break down every fight and make our picks.

PRELIMS

Anthony Ivy (8-2) vs Christian Aguilera (13-6) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Riding in off a five-fight win streak, Anthony Ivy takes on Christian Aguilera as both men make their UFC debuts. Aguilera has won his last two fights and looked dominant in the process with a strong stand-up game. Ivy has won accrued all 8 of his wins via stoppage (5 KO’s and 3 submissions) but has shown holes in his game on the floor. A match-up between two good strikers both looking to make a name for themselves should mean fireworks and I’d be surprised to see this one go the distance. PICK – Anthony Ivy via KO/TKO

Tyson Nam (18-11-1) vs Zarukh Adashev (3-1)- (Flyweight/125lbs)

Adashev steps into this fight as a late replacement for Octagon veteran Ryan Benoit to make his UFC debut. ‘The Lion’ has won his last three in a row, two via KO, after losing his first professional bout back in 2015. He also competes in kickboxing, which shows you where his strengths lay. Tyson Nam will have other ideas however. The 36 year old is coming off back-to-back defeats and needs a win to cement his spot in the company and will believe this is a perfect good match-up for him. While Adashev won’t look to take this fight to the ground, he probably has the striking advantage due to his Glory days. At the lower weight-class it’s rare to see knockout victories but the short-notice will likely make a big difference in this one, so I expect Nam to be able to pip his opponent. PICK – Tyson Nam via Unanimous Decision

Julia Avila (7-1) vs Gina Mazany (6-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Julia Avila comes into this one on a wave of momentum having won her last three fights in a row. Her only professional defeat came when suffered a nasty compound fracture of her finger and the fight was stopped. Gina Mazany on the other hand has lost two of her last three fights, being knocked out by Ultimate Fighter winner Macy Chiasson along the way. ‘Danger’ is stepping into this fight on just one week’s notice and it’s not a great match-up for her. Mazany needs to be able to ground Avila and gain top position to really cause any trouble here for ‘Raging Panda’ and with Avila’s good takedown defence and crisp striking, this could end with a nasty KO. I’ll back the decision myself but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t make it to the judges. PICK – Julia Avila via Unanimous Decision

Charles Rosa (12-4) vs Kevin Aguilar (17-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

UFC Fight Night: Aguilar v Tukhugov : News Photo
Kevin Aguilar has lost his last two fights
Photo Credit: Getty Images

‘Boston Strong’ Charles Rosa steps into the Octagon for the eighth time in career and second time in three months this weekend to fight Kevin Aguilar. Rosa was beaten by ‘Thug Nasty’ Bryce Mitchell at UFC 249, where the submission game of the younger fighter proved too much for him in a decision loss. Aguilar last fought in February, suffering a second successive defeat after getting KO’d by Zubaira Tukhugov in the first round. While Rosa will have a significant advantage on the ground, every fight starts on the feet and Aguilar will be confident he can keep the fight there. His chin seems to have left him in more recent times which is a concern but Rosa doesn’t possess the greatest stand-up skills, so I expect ‘The Angel of Death’ to be able to get back in the win column. PICK – Kevin Aguilar via Unanimous Decision

MAIN CARD

Jordan Espinosa (14-7 1N.C) vs Mark De La Rosa (11-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Jordan Espinosa makes the move up to Bantamweight for this fight where he meets a desperate Mark De La Rosa. Espinosa has lost his last two, both by first round submission, while De La Rosa has lost his last three fights. Both fighters will be keen to end their skids. Together they combine for 13 career wins and a 5 career losses by submission. On the feet, De La Rosa is a better combination puncher while Espinosa carries more power. If the fight ends up on the ground it’s likely to be because Espinosa has scored a knockdown, but ‘Bumblebee’ is savvy enough to potentially get hold of a neck in a scramble. The likelihood however, is that Espinosa out-punches De La Rosa en route to a decision win. PICK – Jordan Espinosa via Unanimous Decision

Andre Fili (20-7) vs Charles Jourdain (10-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Andre ‘Touchy’ Fili may be my favourite nickname in all of MMA, so it helps that he’s a pretty good fighter too. Fili has won four of his last six but was defeated in his last outing, coming out on the wrong side of a decision to Sodiq Yusuff. ‘Air’ Jourdain caused a shock back in December when he beat Doo Ho Choi via knockout and will be looking for more of the same come fight night. The Quebec native will stay aggressive at all times, pushing forward and looking to force mistakes from Fili. The American Top Team fighter is very experienced though, having made his Octagon debut in 2013 and I think he will be able to weather the storm. A more accurate striker and a much stronger wrestling game, I expect Fili to pick up a straight-forward decision win. PICK – Andre Fili via Unanimous Decision

Merab Dvalishvili (10-4) vs Gustavo Lopez (11-4)(Catchweight/140lbs)

Originally scheduled to fight Ray Borg, ‘The Machine’ Merab Dvalishvili is now scheduled to fight UFC newcomer Gustavo Lopez on just 3 days notice. Borg pulled out on Thursday night, citing a family emergency, and in stepped Combate Americas Bantamweight Champion Lopez. In his 11 previous wins, Lopez has picked up 10 stoppage victories including 5 KO’s and 5 submissions. A very well rounded fighter, this will be Lopez’s first fight against top level opposition. While he’s no Ray Borg, he will look to finish the fight early and has the power in his hands to do so. Merab however, is not someone you want to fight on short notice. The Georgian is well known for his conditioning and has absolutely no problem with a high pace fight for 3 rounds. I expect this will be the case and The Machine will pick up a comfortable decision victory. PICK – Merab Dvalishvili via Unanimous Decision

Marvin Vettori (14-4-1) vs Karl Roberson* (9-2)(Middleweight/185lbs)
*Roberson weighed in at 190.5lbs, 4.5lbs over the limit

UFC Fight Night: Kopylov v Roberson : News Photo
Roberson won his last fight vs Kopylov via rear-naked choke
Photo Credit: Getty Images

A fight here with two dark horses in the Middleweight division. Two prospects coming in with a solid record and improving in every fight, this one should prove to be a treat. Roberson has won his last two and shown that being an ex-kickboxer isn’t the only thing that his opponents should be worried about, submitting Roman Kopylov late in the third round in his last outing. Much of the same can be said for Vettori too. Since his split-decision defeat to now Middleweight king Israel Adesanya in 2018, the Italian has turned in his two most impressive performances to date with two decision wins.

Vettori has struggled with finishing his opponents in the UFC, with just one fight not going the distance. Roberson has only seen the judges scorecards twice and this could be something to think about. Roberson is by far the more explosive fighter and his striking is better but Vettori is a very strategic fighter and will likely keep his distance in an attempt to control the pace of the fight. While Vettori is the bookies favourite, I’m going with an upset victor for ‘Baby K’ by knockout. PICK – Karl Roberson via Knockout

Jessica Eye* (15-7) vs Cynthia Calvillo (8-1-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
*Eye weighed in at 125.25lbs, 1/4lbs over the limit

An interesting if not spectacular main event on this card, No.1 ranked Jessica Eye takes on Cynthia Calvillo who makes her debut in the division. Eye has turned herself into one of the best in her division, some way behind champion Valentina Shevchenko, since dropping down from Bantamweight when the division was created. ‘Evil’ Eye has won four of her last five, the only defeat in her world title fight with ‘Bullet’ and has been convincing every time. A good boxer, she often uses her striking to close the distance, before letting off more powerful shots and stepping out again. This style shows when you see that 11 of her 15 wins have come via decision.

Calvillo however has more to her game, despite being much earlier in her career. The 32 year old’s only defeat came to Carla Esparza in 2017, although her most recent fight ended in a draw against Marina Rodriguez. Calvillo will be looking to take this fight to the ground, as she knows Eye has the advantage in the striking department. While Eye will likely catch Calvillo as she charges in for the takedown, Eye doesn’t hit hard enough to make her opponent worry about not going through with the attack. If the fight goes as expected, Eye will turn this into a boxing clinic and do all she can to keep it on the feet, or she may be in danger. PICK – Jessica Eye via Unanimous Decision