Tag Archives: Maria Oliveira

UFC Vegas 65: Lewis vs Spivac – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas after a stunning pay-per-view card last weekend for two heavyweight scrappers as Derrick Lewis takes on Serghei Spivac in the main event.

The number seven and number 12 ranked big men in the UFC go head-to-head in this headline clash, with both guys knowing a win puts them on track to get into title contention during 2023.

It’s a fun card with a few debuts and some sleeper fights, so be sure not to miss it.

Last weekend at UFC 281 we went 10/14 with one perfect pick to move to 776/1202 (64.56%) with 320 perfect picks (41.24%). You can see our full picks history here.

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


Natalia Silva (13-5-1) vs Tereza Bleda (6-0) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Women’s flyweights open up the card here in an interesting bout. Silva made a winning debut in the UFC in her last bout, claiming a unanimous decision win over Jasmine Jasudavicius back in June, while Bleda makes her debut in the organisation after winning a contract on the Contender Series in September.

Silva is a rapid striker, with decent power and snap to her kicks and punches in bunches, and excellent volume to boot. Bleda is a suffocating grappler who is able to chain takedowns together and control opponents, and at only 20 years old the world is truly her oyster. This is a tough bout for her though, because all her weaknesses seem to lie where Silva’s strengths are.

Bleda is quite flat-footed on the feet and she tends to be quite open to kicks, which is Silva’s wheelhouse. With her last fight being against a more experienced version of Bleda (albeit a talent with a lower ceiling), she should be able to land flurries from range and push the pace enough to claim a decision win.
PICK – Natalia Silva via Decision

Brady Hiestand (6-2) vs Fernie Garcia (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Bantamweights up next in fun fight. Hiestand’s UFC debut ended in defeat when he dropped a split decision to TUF champion Ricky Turcios back in August 2021, while Garcia earned a UFC contract with a KO win on the Contender Series before losing his debut in a decision loss to Journey Newson at UFC 274.

Hiestand is a decent striker with good power, but it’s his wrestling and takedown game that have stood him out throughout his career thus far. Garcia is a power puncher with good combinations on the feet, but he has struggled with pressure coming back his way and with keeping his fights standing against better opposition. That all adds up to a tough night at the office.

“Bam Bam” must ensure that he doesn’t have the same cardio issues in this fight as he has done in the past, but with Garcia lacking genuine one-punch KO power he should be able to close the distance quickly and secure takedowns for top control and a relatively comfortable win.
PICK – Brady Hiestand via Decision



Vanessa Demopolous (8-4) vs Maria Oliveira (13-5) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Strawweights up next in another interesting bout. Demopolous has won her last two in the UFC, submitting Silvana Gomez Juarez at UFC 270 before earning a decision win over Jinh Yu Frey most recently. Oliveira has gone 1-1 in the UFC to date, losing her debut via decision against Tabatha Ricci before earning a win last time out against Gloria De Paula via split decision.

Demopolous is at her best when he’s grappling with an opponent, but getting it to the ground has been an issue in the past with bang average wrestling and even worse striking, which can be described as basic at best. Oliveira is a powerhouse who looks to push forward and cause chaos to then catch her opponent out, earning seven KO career wins so far. But she has a reckless abandon for defence, especially to takedowns, and eventually she’s going to end up on her back here.

With that said, Demopolous has to stay out of danger while the fight is on the feet or she could get clipped big. “Lil Monster” should have enough about her with her height and reach advantage and a gas tank that has never let her down to be able to get Oliveira on her back, and then it’s just a matter of time.
PICK – Vanessa Demopolous via Submission, Round 2

Ricky Turcios (12-3) vs Kevin Natividad (9-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

TUF champion back in the octagon in this one. Turcios won the show with a split decision win over Brady Hiestand, but then lost his last bout via decision against Aiemann Zahabi back in July. Natividad on the other hand is 0-2 in the UFC so far, getting KO’d in his debut by Miles Johns at UFC Vegas 12 before getting KO’d by Batgerel Danaa at UFC 261 most recently in the first round. This is first fight in 18 months.

Turcios is a fighter whose greatest attribute is his heart, with a love for chaos and a phenomenal gas tank to go with a remarkable ability to scramble to his feet whenever he needs to. Natividad has made his name as a power puncher who doesn’t like to take a step back, with five KO’s in his career so far. There is a clear blueprint to beating Turcios, as shown in his last fight, but Natividad is just not that guy.

“Quicksand” is going to do what he always does, come forward looking for that one big strike and mix his wrestling in to open up the striking. Turcios will love that as he will look to pick Natividad off from range with kicks and flurries, and avoiding being controlled on the mat. it will be chaotic and wild, but expect Turcios’ volume to be enough to get the job done.
PICK – Ricky Turcios via Decision

UFC Vegas 41: Costa vs Vettori – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex once again for UFC Vegas 41 this weekend as Paulo Costa takes on Marvin Vettori in the middleweight division.

The Brazilian is looking to earn some respect back following his excuses and defeat to Israel Adesanya, while Vettori is looking to finally get that marquee name on his resume following his most recent defeat to… Israel Adesanya.

It’s not the most stacked card this week in name value, but there are some very fun fights on the card that we’ll look to predict.

Last week at UFC Vegas 40 we struggled at went 5/10 with zero perfect picks, moving us to 439/689 (63.72%) with 187 perfect picks (42.6%) since June 2020.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims picks, we complete our prelim picks here.


Jamie Pickett (11-6) vs Laureano Staropoli (9-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very fun middleweight scrap continues the prelims of the card here. Jamie Pickett has lost his last two, dropping a decision to Tafon Nchukwi at UFC Vegas 17 before getting stopped by Jordan Wright at UFC 262. Staropoli has lost his last three via decision, with the most recent coming against Roman Dolidze at UFC Vegas 28.

Pickett is powerful puncher with some decent kicks, but he struggles to use his length to its maximum potential. Staropoli is a brawler who likes to march his opponents down and use his strong boxing and decent power on the inside to overpower opponents. The issue for the Argentine however is that he’s a natural welterweight and was way undersized at middleweight last time out.

His last five fights have gone the distance, but stylistically he is a nightmare for Pickett. ‘The Night Wolf’ likes to take his time to pick his shots and fight on the front foot, but Staropoli will come forward and force him onto the back foot with his pressure. For that, I think Staropoli can outwork him and earn a late finish.
PICK – Laureano Staropoli via Knockout, Round 3

Tabatha Ricci (5-1) vs Maria Oliveira (12-4) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

An interesting fight in the strawweight division between two women looking for their first UFC wins. Ricci fought Manon Fiorot in her UFC debut on super short notice and got KO’d at UFC Vegas 28, while Oliveira makes her organisation debut on a two-fight win streak.

Ricci is a jiu-jitsu black belt with really good submission and grappling skills, but obviously we haven’t seen it at the elite level. Oliveira on the other hand is an okay striker on the feet but is very lengthy, with a non-existent ground game.

It’s a much nicer match-up for Ricci in this one than her debut and while Oliveira is talented, her record is as padded as they come. She doesn’t really have the greatest of KO power and Ricci should be confident enough to come forward and tie her up to get her to the mat. Once it gets there, it’s all about survival for Oliveira and I don’t think she lasts too long.
PICK – Tabatha Ricci via Submission, Round 1



Mason Jones (10-1) vs David Onama (8-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A really exciting fight between two prospects at 155lbs on short notice in this one. Mason Jones bounced back from his first defeat against Mike Davis at UFC Fight Island 8 with a great performance against Alan Patrick, where an accidental eye-poke made it a no contest. Onama on the other hand is an unbeaten fighter with all eight wins coming via finish and steps in on less than a week’s notice.

Jones is a phenomenal athlete, who likes to stand and strike with his opponent but also with great grappling to fall back on too while Onana is an absolute powerhouse of a man with power and good fighting instincts on the ground too. Despite his short career, he looks ready for this step up and with more time and a better match up he’d have a great chance of making an impression.

Unfortunately for him, his debut comes against someone who is relentless and more experienced. Jones will look to overwhelm Onama and with his experience, wrestling and power of his own he should prove too much for the debutant as the fight goes on.
PICK – Mason Jones via Decision

Junyong Park (13-4) vs Gregory Rodrigues (10-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Another fun middleweight scrap is the featured prelim bout on the card. Park is on a three-fight win streak with a dominant grappling and ground and pound display against Tafon Nchukwi last time out at UFC Vegas 26. Rodrigues on the other hand has also won his last three, with a decision win over Dusko Todorovic in his debut at UFC Vegas 28 most recently.

Park is a well-rounded fighter, with tight striking and some solid wrestling to go with his violent ground and pound. Rodrigues is a supremely powerful fighter with brilliant wrestling and jiu-jitsu too, boasting four submissions and four knockouts in is career.

Rodrigues has the power to finish, but Park is very good at defending himself and pushing forward. Unfortunately, he hates being on his back and being out-matched in the wrestling department doesn’t bode too well for him. Both guys have the power to land and hurt the other, but I think Rodrigues’ control from the top will earn him a decision win.
PICK – Gregory Rodrigues via Decision