Tag Archives: Khalid Taha

UFC Paris: Gane vs Tuivasa – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns from a two week break to make history with the companies first ever card from Paris, France.

The historic card is headlined by hometown heavyweight favourite Ciryl Gane, as he takes on fan favourite and knockout artist Tai Tuivasa in the main event.

The co-main will also see two world class middleweight contenders go head-to-head too as Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori clash in a potential title eliminator.

Last time out at UFC 278 we saw an amazing card, where we landed 7/12 correct picks with three perfect picks to move to 705/1094 (64.51%) with 298 perfect picks (42.26%). You can see our full picks history here.

We’ll try to improve on that here with this solid card, starting with the early prelims here.

Stephanie Egger (7-3) vs Ailin Perez (7-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Women’s featherweights will make history with the first UFC fight in Paris ever. Egger fought less than a month ago and was submitted by Mayra Bueno Silva via armbar in that bout, while Perez makes her promotional debut on the back of consecutive stoppage wins at Samurai Fight House this year.

Egger is a judoka specialist with solid submission skills and some decent striking on the feet too, while Perez is a Muay-Thai striker who excels in the clinch. The big issue for her is that by getting to the clinch she’s putting herself in danger and she doesn’t have particularly good striking or jiu-jitsu to put Egger off from throwing her to the mat.

After getting relatively embarrassed by Bueno Silva last time out, she’ll have a point to prove and with a size advantage I expect her to push forward and get a dominant win early doors.
PICK – Stephanie Egger via Submission, Round 1

Khalid Taha (13-4) vs Christian Quinonez (16-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun bantamweight scrap up next. Taha is without a win since 2019, with a no contest against Bruno Silva before back-to-back defeats to Raoni Barcelos (UFC Vegas 13) and Sergey Morozov most recently. Quinonez makes his UFC debut on a four-fight win streak, having earned his spot on the roster with a win on the Contender Series back in October 2021. He steps in on nine days’ notice.

Taha is a powerful striker with some excellent leg kicks and good cardio, while his grappling skills tend to keep him safe if he ends up on the mat. Quinonez on the other hand is a long striker who uses his good jab and powerful leg kicks of his own to piece up his opponents. This is going to be a really close bout.

Both guys will try to counter the big strikes of the other, but because Taha tends to rely on heavy shots the speed of Quinonez with his jab could prevent that. Both guys will smash the leg kicks in and that could be detrimental too at any moment, but with just nine days’ notice it’s tough to pick Quinonez. On a full camp I think he could get it done, but on this occasion “The Warrior” should claim the win.
PICK – Khalid Taha via Decision

Benoit Saint-Denis (9-1) vs Gabriel Miranda (16-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very fun lightweight scrap with a hometown hero on the card. Benoit Saint-Denis came into the UFC unbeaten but got dominated on his debut against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (UFC 267) before dropping down to lightweight and earning a submission win over Niklas Stolze last time out. Miranda on the other hand makes his UFC debut off the back of three straight submission wins.

Saint-Denis is a very strong wrestler with good power to keep his opposition on the mat, as well as powerful strikes with lots of venom before moving to get takedowns. Miranda on the other hand is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu master who is incredibly slippery on the mat, and he looks to brawl whenever the fight is standing. Realistically however, this should be a pretty one-sided scrap for up to 15 minutes.

“God of War” is by far the better wrestler offensively and is definitely a more comfortable striker on the feet, while his own jiu-jitsu skills mean he should feel comfortable enough on the mat if he chooses to take it there. Miranda will look for sweeps and kill-shot submissions off his back, but aside from landing one of those it’s highly unlikely he does anything to stop Saint-Denis working on the mat and claiming another win.
PICK – Benoit Saint-Denis via Decision

UFC Vegas 31: Makhachev vs Moises – Prelims predictions

The lightweight division takes centre stage once again for the UFC this weekend as the highly rated Islam Makhachev headlines his first card against Tiago Moises at UFC Vegas 31.

Makhachev is hotly anticipated to make a run for the lightweight title in the future but takes on arguably his biggest test so far in this main event clash, replacing Max Holloway vs Yair Rodriguez which fell apart due to an injury for ‘Blessed’.

Last week at UFC 264 we had an excellent run, going 11/12 with three perfect picks to move to 363/566 (64.13%) with 163 perfect picks (44.9%) overall.

Lets see if we can improve on that run here with this 11 fight card, starting with the early prelims and prelims here.

Alan Baudot (8-2) vs Rodrigo Nascimento (8-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A heavyweight banger to open the card as Baudot looks for his first UFC win against Nascimento. Baudot lost his debut, getting KO’d by Tom Aspinall at UFC Fight Island 5 while Nascimento won his debut but was knocked out by Chris Daukaus on the same card in 45 seconds.

Baudot is a heavy handed striker but quite slow on his feet, loading his strikes up but when landing taking someone’s head off. Nascimento is a supreme jiu-jitsu player with seven submissions from eight career wins, with superb top pressure and good sweeps from his back too. It’s a weird match up between them, but realistically Nascimento is likely to secure a takedown early and dominate to an early submission win if he can afford getting his head taken off first.

PICK – Rodrigo Nascimento via Submission, Round 1

Francisco Figueiredo (12-3-1) vs Malcolm Gordon (12-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The brother of the former champion in Figueiredo takes on Malcolm ‘X’ Gordon in the flyweight division. Figueiredo won his debut with the company with a win over Jerome Rivera at UFC Fight Island 8, while Gordon went 0-2 in 2020 with first round defeats to Amir Albazi at UFC Fight Island 2 and Su Mudaerji.

Figueiredo fights in a similar way to his brother, just without the x-factor power and submission skills. Gordon on the other hand is a good wrestler with heavy top pressure and tiring his opponent out from above. Figueiredo will almost certainly look to use his defensive wrestling to keep the fight standing and just piece him up on the feet, while Gordon will try hard to take him down and wear him out.

Unfortuately for Gordon, Figueiredo’s got good power in his left hand and good takedown defence so he should be able to secure the win.
PICK – Francisco Figueiredo via Decision

Miles Johns (11-1) vs Anderson Dos Santos (21-8) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun bantamweight bout here as Johns and Dos Santos look to make it two wins in a row against each other. Johns was stopped by Mario Bautista before bouncing back with a stoppage win of his own against Kevin Natividad at UFC Vegas 12. Dos Santos lost his first two UFC fights via decision, but finally got a win when he submitted Martin Day.

Johns has a stiff jab that lands very often and always has his wrestling skills to fall back on whenever necessary. Dos Santos on the other hand has good power in his hands but the techniques are limited to hooks mostly, while his submission game on the ground is great and dangerous.

Johns’ wrestling is good enough to control where the fight goes and has the better striking on the feet, so as long as his cardio holds up this should be a good win for him.
PICK – Miles Johns via Decision

Khalid Taha (13-3) vs Sergey Morozov (16-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolute banger coming up at 135lbs as Taha and Morozov look to bounce back from defeats last time out in the UFC. Taha put on an okay performance against Raoni Barcelos at UFC Vegas 13 but was beaten, while Morozov got beaten up and submitted by Umar Nurmagomedov at UFC Fight Island 8.

Taha is a solid striker with good pressure and volume to his game, while Morozov has excellent grappling skills despite the defeat in his last bout via submission. Both fighters have issues with the other’s strengths and realistically this is a fight that has two outcomes.

Either Taha can avoid the takedowns and batters Morozov on the feet, or Morozov eats a few punches to get the fight to the ground and dominates on the mat. The latter is more likely in my eyes judging by Taha’s previous attempts at defending takedowns, so Morozov gets my pick.
PICK – Sergey Morozov via Decision

Amanda Lemos (9-1-1) vs Montserrat Ruiz (10-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun fight in the women’s strawweight division between Lemos and Ruiz, both coming into the bout on win streaks. Lemos has won her last three, beating Mizuki Inoue at UFC Vegas 18 before KO’ing Livinha Souza at UFC 259. Ruiz on the other hand won her debut against Cheyanne Buys with an impressive performance at UFC Vegas 22.

Lemos is one hell of a striker, with great strikes and knees and also some really good takedown defence too. Ruiz is short and aggressive and in her last bout she showed that from the clinch she’s really dangerous with the head and arm throw to wear her opponents down.

Lemos is so powerful and has really good leg kicks to go with it too, so I’d be surprised if Ruiz can cope with this level of fighter right now.
PICK – Amanda Lemos via Knockout, Round 2

Daniel Rodriguez (14-2) vs Preston Parsons (9-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Featured prelim bout is an interesting welterweight clash between the young Daniel Rodriguez against UFC debutant Parsons. Rodriguez is 2-1 in his most recent fights seeing a decision loss to Nicolas Dalby at UFC 255 sandwiched between wins over Dwight Grant and Mike Perry at UFC Vegas 22. Parsons is on a four-fight win streak coming into this fight and steps in on short notice.

Rodriguez is a sensational boxer, with fantastic jabs and a powerhouse of a left hand. Parsons is a very heavy wrestler who has excellent submission skills and a violent clinch game too. While Rodriguez has never fought a fighter as heavily reliant on wrestling, he was preparing for Abubakar Nurmagomedov. Rodriguez is by far the best fighter Parsons has ever fought and on short notice it’s surely a hurdle too much to overcome.
PICK – Daniel Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 2