Tag Archives: Michael Chiesa

UFC Vegas 43: Vieira vs Tate – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas for a women’s bantamweight main event bout between Ketlen Vieira and former champion Miesha Tate.

Tate will be looking to keep the UFC’s dreams of a potential rematch with Amanda Nunes alive with a win in the main event, while Vieira is hopeful of killing off her comeback plans.

In the co-main event, Michael Chiesa will be looking to fight off gatekeeper claims in the welterweight division when he takes on the undefeated prospect Sean Brady.

Last week at UFC Vegas 42 we had a poor showing with our picks, earning jut 5/11 correct with three perfect picks to move to 476/741 (64.24%) with 200 perfect picks (42.02%) since June 2020.

We’ll look to improve on that this week with this 12 fight card and after starting with the early prelims and picking the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card now.


Davey Grant (13-5) vs Adrian Yanez (14-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Absolute banger to open the main card in my pick for fight of the night. Grant earned a KO win over Jonathan Martinez at UFC Vegas 21, before defeat to Marlon Vera at UFC Vegas 29 most recently. Yanez, dubbed ‘baby Masvidal’, is undefeated in the UFC and earned stunning KO victories against Victor Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 12, Gustavo Lopez at UFC Vegas 22 and then Randy Costa at UFC Vegas 32.

Grant is a solid wrestler who has recently developed his hands to be able to knock people out cold with his looping hooks. Yanez on the other hand is a super tidy boxer, with great power and footwork and the ability to mix up body and head attacks brilliantly. This is a fight that seems highly unlikely to go the distance, because both guys don’t know how to step backwards. Grant has fallen in love with his hands recently and if he wants to trade strike-for-strike with Yanez, he’s probably going to sleep.

If Grant opts to use his wrestling more though, he could use his experience to be able to grind out a win and slow Yanez’s output down entirely. With that said though, Yanez has shown decent takedown defence in the past and because of how much Grant loads up with his strikes I can see Yanez countering with a nice combination and scoring a huge knockout win.
PICK – Adrian Yanez via Knockout, Round 2

Joanne Wood (15-6) vs Taila Santos (18-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Formerly Joanne Calderwood, Wood debuts her new surname after marriage to return to the octagon against a super hot prospect. Wood is 4-4 in her last eight, with a win over Jessica Eye at UFC 257 being followed up by a loss to Lauren Murphy at UFC 263 last time out. Santos on the other hand has lost just once, on her UFC debut, and has won each of her last three fights against Molly McCann at UFC Fight Island 1, Gillian Robertson at UFC Vegas 17 and then against Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 266.

Wood has got some solid kickboxing skills, good wrestling and a decent submission threat on the ground too despite just one tap-out win in her career. Santos has shown throughout her career that she is also supremely well-rounded, with some great takedowns and jiu-jitsu skills as well as crisp kickboxing on the feet. This is a very tough fight to call, because it’s experience against the uprising talent.

Santos has proven to be too physically strong for all her opponents so far and has got the power to make fighters try to take her down, where she has been able to control everyone else too. Wood has got lots of experience and good footwork too, but ultimately Santos will likely just be hungrier and more active to earn a close decision win.
PICK – Taila Santos via Decision

Rani Yahya (27-10-1) vs Kyung Ho Kang (17-8) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A submission battle beckons in this one in the bantamweight division. Yahya is 1-1-1 in his last three, suffering defeat to Ricky Simon and drawing with Enrique Barzola before finally returning to the win column against Ray Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 21. Kang on the other hand has won each of his last three fights, but steps into the cage for the first time since December 2019 after injury.

Yahya is a jiu-jitsu black belt with all 21 of his stoppage victories coming via submission throughout his career, while Kang is an excellent wrestler who also looks to secure submissions rather than just simply control his opponents. Both these guys will be desperate for the fight to hit the ground as soon as possible, and that only fits to suit Yahya’s style as much as possible.

If he gets taken down he is very good at getting back to his feet quickly, and if he ends up on top then the likelihood of Kang getting back to his feet are slim unless the round ends or the referee is waving the fight off. Ultimately, this is the perfect stylistic match-up for an ageing bantamweight and I think Yahya will likely be able to transition on the ground to get Kang’s neck and secure another stoppage win.
PICK – Rani Yahya via Submission, Round 2



Michael Chiesa (18-5) vs Sean Brady (14-0) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

An absolute banger at welterweight between two ranked fighters. Chiesa was on the brink of a title shot with four wins in a row against Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, Rafael Dos Anjos and Neil Magny at UFC Fight Island 8, before defeat last time out to Vicente Luque at UFC 265 pushed him down to number six in the rankings. Brady on the other hand is undefeated in his career and 4-0 in the UFC with decision wins over Court McGee and Ismail Naurdiev before submissions against Christian Aguilera at UFC Vegas 8 and Jake Matthews at UFC 259.

Chiesa is a brilliant wrestler with unbelievable grappling and jiu-jitsu skills, with his back control being among the best in the entire company. Brady is also a stud wrestler, with good stand-up skills and decent boxing while on the mat he is more than capable of locking up a couple of submissions too. This is a stylistic clash, because it’s two primary grapplers but both are also capable of holding their own in the opposite world.

Whoever is on top in the grappling exchanges will be the dominant one and on the feet they’re both pretty even. Ultimately though I think this level is a bit too big of a jump for Brady and I think Chiesa should be able edge it on the feet and eventually control on the ground to secure a decision victory and hand Brady his first defeat.
PICK – Michael Chiesa via Decision

Ketlen Vieira (11-2) vs Miesha Tate (19-7) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Main event time in the women’s bantamweight division to round off what looks to be a very fun card. Vieira is 1-2 in her last three, with a win over Sijara Eubanks at UFC 253 sandwiched between defeats to Irene Aldana at UFC 245 and Yana Kunitskaya at UFC Vegas 19. Tate returned from a near four-year retirement to score a third-round TKO win over Marion Reneau at UFC Vegas 31 in the summer.

Vieira is a decent wrestler with some excellent jiu-jitsu, with a brilliant heavy position from the top where she can flatten her opponents out and just dominate. Tate on the other hand is also an excellent wrestler, using a powerful double-leg takedown and some good jiu-jitsu from the mat to secure seven submission wins in her career.

This is a fight that doesn’t really have any place being a main event, but it is. Vieira has struggled with weight issues in the past, missing weight in her defeat to Kunitskaya and does not having any previous five-round experience. With Tate likely to push the pace and gain top position at some point, it’s hard to see how she may lose this fight because stylistically that goes against everything Vieira stands for. It won’t be the most exciting main event, but Tate should be able to control with her wrestling and cardio to earn a decision win.
PICK – Miesha Tate via Decision

UFC Vegas 43: Michael Chiesa defending against gatekeeper status

The UFC’s welterweight division has been open to some criticism and praise in 2021.

Reigning and defending champion Kamaru Usman has seen his stock rise with three brilliant wins over Gilbert Burns, Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington, while everyone else just seems to be a level below him right now.

But below him, there are a few fighters who know that because of the state of the division they’re potentially just a couple of wins away from a title opportunity.



One fighter who has been closer than most to a title shot in recent times is Michael Chiesa, who entered 2021 riding a four-fight win streak thanks to a dominant win over Neil Magny at UFC Fight Island 8 in January.

Usman reportedly wanted the UFC to offer him a title shot after his win over Masvidal, but they instead insisted on making the rematch with Covington.

In that time period, Chiesa was matched up with Vicente Luque in a great fight that ended with the grappling expert getting caught in a d’arce choke by the Brazilian powerhouse and being forced to tap out in the first round.

It halted his momentum and with that defeat he dropped to number six in the rankings. But instead of getting paired up with someone in the top five or even in the top ten, Chiesa will now take on number 12 ranked Sean Brady at UFC Vegas 43.

Brady is a perfect 14-0 in his professional MMA career, with four wins in the UFC. But all of his victories to date have come against unranked opponents, so this is a huge step-up in competition.

For Chiesa, there is more than just getting back on the horse to fight for. A loss to a young stud like Brady isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world, because he’s clearly supremely talented. But it would almost certainly put an end to his title hopes any time in the near future.

A loss would also likely put Chiesa into that dreaded gatekeeper position. He’d drop out of the top ten and as a veteran with big-fight experience, he would become the scalp that upcoming fighters are looking for to get their big break.

Michael Chiesa prepares to fight Rafael Dos Anjos in their welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at PNC Arena on January 25, 2020 in...

It’s a hard position to fight back from, constantly fighting people lower than your rank and it would take three or four consecutive wins to get back into a position of power.

A win however keeps him in position to push for a title shot in 2022 and keep fighting the top guys in the near future while he’s in his prime. It’s a must-win fight for Chiesa, but for all the wrong reasons.

UFC 265: Lewis vs Gane – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Johnny Munoz def Jamey Simmons via Submission (Rear naked choke), Round 2 (2:35)

Cagey start from both men to start out, with neither man looking to grapple early on. Simmons swings a big overhand right that Munoz ducks and goes for a takedown but Simmons avoids easily. Munoz flicking out the jab to keep the distance while Simmons has him against the cage and looks for some more power strikes. Munoz pushing forward with the jab and gets clipped by a left hand by Simmons that causes him to lose balance, but he’s not hurt and gets back to his feet immediately. Short blitz from Munoz and he just misses with a head kick as we enter the final minute of the fight. Simmons lands a nice one-two and then Munoz ducks under and lands a big takedown late in the round. Simmons battles well off his back and the round ends. Super close, I’d go 10-9 Munoz for the takedown but could really go either way.

More of the same to start the second round as Simmons comes out looking to blitz through some jabs, before Munoz ducks under and times a takedown perfectly. Munoz starts working for position and as soon as Simmons goes to his knees Munoz takes his back and puts the hooks in. He starts landing some ground and pound and looks for the rear-naked choke but Simmons fights the hands and breaks the grip. He goes back to his knees but Munoz drags him back down, locks in the choke and gets the tap! Big win for Munoz!

Melissa Gatto def Victoria Leonardo via Doctor’s Stoppage (Broken Arm), Round 2 (5:00)

Good start to the bout from Gatto as she lands a quick one two and then secures a body lock against the cage. She controls the clinch and then with an inside trip gets the takedown nice and easily before starting to search for submissions. She goes for the neck, then moves to a kimura attempt and then ends up on Leonardo’s back looking for chokes and armbars. Leonardo defending well though and eventually is able to roll through and get on top to land a bit of ground and pound herself. Gatto throws up a high guard and is being very active but Leonardo is defending well, following the hips and eventually allows the fight to get back up. Both women clinch and go for an inside trip but both fail at it and the round ends. 10-9 Gatto, but Leonardo can take some encouragement from the ground exchanges.

Second round and Gatto looks a lot fresher than Leonardo, landing a nice jab and forcing Leonardo backwards. Leonardo lands two nice left hands but Gatto is still there and pushing the pace with her range, landing a one-two. Then another one-two and Leonardo looks rocked there, but she comes forward again with a low kick. Gatto continuing to push the pace and lands a nice kick. Leonardo looks tired and Gatto putting the pressure on with strikes, forces Leonardo to shoot but it’s well defended. Leonardo goes for another takedown but is denied again and is stepping backwards a lot, clearly exhausted. 20-18 Gatto for me but could be 19-19.

Between rounds Leonardo says her right arm “isn’t working”. Doctor comes in, takes a look and says that it’s broken. Leonardo says she can fight through it but the referee waves the fight off. Gatto gets the win.

Miles Johns def Anderson Dos Santos via Knockout, Round 3 (1:16)

Tactical start to the fight from both men as they look to control the range, but it’s Johns who is landing the better shots early. Santos looking for clinches but Johns lands two big left hands and then two leg kicks, the last of which drops Dos Santos. Johns landing his jab with ease, but Dos Santos fires back with a right hand. Johns landing jabs at will and another leg kick is causing big problems for Dos Santos. Straight right hand just misses from Johns and Dos Santos forces his way forward but he’s in a lot of trouble with his leg. Johns lands a couple more strikes and Dos Santos is visibly limping. 10-9 Johns, Dos Santos needs to find a solution.

Johns opens up the second round by staying just out of range and using his big right hands to use the injured leg against Dos Santos. Some huge right hands land from Johns but Dos Santos is still standing and lands a nice knee himself. Johns lands a nice body shot and follows with a hook but Dos Santos shoots for a takedown. Johns denies it and lands a huge leg kick again that drops Dos Santos. Dos Santos coming forward but his leg is jacked and Johns is being patient, to the point where Dos Santos puts his hand behind his back. Johns lands a big one two and stays out of the way of any counters but Dos Santos takes it and the round ends. 20-18 Johns.

Final round starts and it’s more of the same from both men, as Johns lands a big right hand followed by a nice combination. Wild exchange from both guys as Dos Santos keeps coming forward. Johns digs a left body shot and lands a huge right hook and puts Dos Santos out cold!! What a knockout!! Wow!!

Manel Kape def Ode Osbourne via Knockout, Round 1 (4:44)

Osbourne takes the centre early on as both men are bouncing and feeling each other out. Kape lands a nice one-two and then a jab to the body, while Osbourne is looking to counter with his big left hand. Kape throws a kick but Osbourne catches it and as Kape falls Osbourne lands a big left hand. Kape and Osbourne both looking to counter each other, and Osbourne lands two excellent left hands clean on the chin. Kape responds with a left straight of his own and steps away. Kape stepping backwards switches stances and lands a huge flying knee bang on the chin that puts Osbourne down! He follows it up with some ground and pound and the referee steps in to end it! What a knockout! Wow!

PRELIMS

Jessica Penne def Karolina Kowalkiewicz via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (4:32)

Interesting start to the fight as Penne lands some quick strikes to rattle KK early. Penne throws a kick that KK catches and Penne falls backwards, which allows KK to throw some big leg kicks while she’s down. She chooses to engage on the ground and Penne is able to sweep her and take top position. She lands some decent strikes from the top and KK fights well from the bottom and attacks a kneebar, but Penne scrambles well and eventually rolls through into an armbar. KK is looking to extend the arm and is attacking the body to free up KK’s grip but she’s battling hard. Penne finally manages to extend the arm and gets the tap! Impressive performance from the veteran!

Alonzo Menifield def Ed Herman via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Menifield comes out fast with some heavy right hands but Herman just about avoids them, before Menifield lands some nice leg kicks. Herman lands a jab, but Menifield responds with one of this own before an overhand just misses again. Herman jab again but Menifield just misses with the counter right and Herman lands a check-left hook that rattles Menifield and cuts the eye. Menifield starting to throw the jab more but Herman throwing with him, so Menifield throws a hard low kick again. Menifield lands two more big leg kicks and gets some big reactions from Herman because of it. 10-9 Menifield.

Herman comes forward very aggressive out of the gate in this round looking to land his left hand, but Menifield moving well and then lands a big right hand of his own. Herman lands a jab but then eats a hard low kick and a jab himself. Menifield loses balance and falls but explodes back up to his feet and then starts throwing bombs of his right hand. Herman is hurt but still standing and Menfield stops pushing for the finish to save himself. Herman lands a big uppercut himself but Menifield eats it. A few hard leg kicks again from Menifield and some good footwork to avoid Herman who’s hunting him right now. Another hard leg kick and Herman is limping badly and forced to switch stances. Lots of jostling in the final seconds but then Herman goes for a push kick and Menifield moves away and then smashes a hard low kick again that drops Herman on the buzzer. 20-18 Menifield.

Menifield comes out hard in the final round and Herman pulls guard immediately but eats some heavy ground and pound shots. Menifield moves to side control, lands some strikes then gets up and tells Herman to get back up too. Menifield staying very patient and lands a nice left hand against the cage, but Herman is just looking to survive right now by circling and avoiding damage. Big head kick from Menifield lands but not much action in this round so far. Big right hand from Menifield lands clean but Herman is still standing somehow. Big one-two from Menifield as he stays on the outside. Big right hand misses and Herman lands a left but Menifield lands a jab and moves away to end the fight. 30-27 Menifield.

Vince Morales def Drako Rodriguez via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Cagey start to this fight from both men, with Morales stepping forward but not throwing much and Rodriguez just flicking out the stiff jab well. Morales throws a decent right overhand to counter Rodriguez’s jab, but the jab lands cleaner and is doing a fair bit of damage to the nose. Morales keeping Rodriguez pinned to the cage but he’s moving well and then Rodriguez lands a nice right hand to create himself some space. Right overhand and uppercut just misses from Morales before he ducks under a Rodriguez shot and secures a body lock to try and get the takedown. Rodriguez does well to get to the cage though and then separates to stay on the feet. Short exchange and Rodriguez lands a flush right hand on the buzzer. 10-9 Rodriguez for me.

Second round starts very well for Morales as he catches a low kick from Rodriguez and throws a straight right hand down the pipe that drops him! He goes to ground but Rodriguez defends and he then steps up and allows Rodriguez back to his feet. Rodriguez lands a short left hook back on the feet and then he goes for a takedown of his own, but Morales defends mostly until Rodriguez switches to a single but then he scrambles back up to his feet. Rodriguez then sweeps him back down but Morales gets back up quickly again before being dumped down and getting back up. Morales starting to land his right hands but Rodriguez responds with a low leg kick and a right hand. Short one-two lands from Rodriguez before a left hook lands again, but Morales is still in there and doing well. 20-18 Rodriguez for me.

Cagey start to the third round once again as Morales starts to come forward a bit more aggressively, but Rodriguez landing his straight right hand well. Both men throwing at a similar volume and Rodriguez goes for a takedown but it’s denied. Morales starts chasing but Rodriguez avoiding a lot of damage with good footwork. Morales goes for the takedown but Rodriguez defends it brilliantly against the cage and then misses with a head kick. Final minute of the fight now and Morales is pushing forward throwing heavy left hands, but they’re largely missing. Rodriguez lands a big counter right hand and then Morales lands a big left as the fight comes to an end. Morales round, but 29-28 Rodriguez for me. Could go either way though.

Rafael Fiziev def Bobby Green via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Cagey start from both men as Fiziev looks to land some kicks early but Green is out of the way relatively easily. Nice right hand from Green lands as Fiziev looks to throw another body kick and two hooks. Left hand from Green misses then Fiziev charges forward with a nice combination that ends with a kick, but he mostly misses. Green is landing some slick shots but Fiziev is dangerous and busy with his kicks and then just misses with an elbow. Right hand and body kick lands from Green but Fiziev responds with a nice elbow before both men make each other miss just on the buzzer. Really tough round to score, 10-9 Green probably but really could be either way.

Second round and Fiziev lands a hard low kick and a big right hook but Green eats it. Green clinches up but eats an elbow before responding with a nice right of his own, before Fiziev steps forward with two hooks. Green catches a kick and tries to force Fiziev down but he stays standing so well and steps forward again with hooks and kicks. Green is slipping strikes perfectly but he’s eating leg and body kicks more frequently now. Both men land big body kicks but Fiziev then lands a big strike that rocks Green. Fiziev throws knees and hooks but Green eats it and pushes him away, then clinches after avoiding a head kick. Fiziev’s kicks starting to take effect but Green is still there and throwing hands back well. Both guys trade leg kicks then Fiziev lands a big elbow and cuts Green. Both guys throwing hooks and jabs and really going to war. What a round. 19-19 for me.

Fire start to the final round once again as Fiziev steps forward again and lands a big right hand that rocks Green. Green stands firm and both men start throwing down in the centre of the octagon. Fiziev throws some hard leg kicks but Green throwing one-twos down the middle again. Fiziev and Green going to war with hard hooks and feints. Green lands some big hooks and two one-twos of his own down the middle. Fiziev throwing body and leg kicks but Green is still pushing forward with big punches of his own. Green looks fresher and is landing the jabs and then catches Fiziev’s body kick attempt to land a knee to the body of his own. Huge short elbow from Fiziev and then Green lands some huge bombs with the right hand as the fight ends! What a crazy fight. 29-28 Green for me, but it’s all on that first round.

MAIN CARD

Song Yadong def Casey Kenney via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Fast start to the fight as Yadong steps forward and throws fast combinations early, while Kenney looks to close the distance and pressure Yadong. Body kick from Kenney lands but Yadong catches it. Kenney taunts Yadong by laughing at him so Yadong throws a solid body kick and Kenney responds with a hard low leg kick. Yadong throwing good combinations and kicks, not allowing Kenney to settle and back him against the fence. Yadong goes for a kick but slips and Kenney jumps on him immediately, but Yadong works his way back up to the feet quickly and escapes. Both guys just miss with big hooks as the round ends. 10-9 Yadong.

Second starts off exactly the same as Yadong steps forward but Kenney looking to apply pressure. Nice body shots from Yadong and then Kenney replies with a nice left hook onto the chin. Kenney forcing Yadong backwards and throwing low kicks, but Yadong replies with his own low kicks too. Yadong circling away but Kenney is pushing and Yadong is slowing down. Not a single takedown attempt yet from Kenney is surprising. Nice left hand from Kenney but then Yadong replies with a nice right. Two left hands land from Kenney and Yadong clinches against the cage, before Kenney switches and goes for the takedown himself to end the round. Closer round, 19-19.

Final round and Yadong is landing his strikes better, with Kenney slowing down a little and being less bouncy and mobile. Yadong with three hard body kicks but Kenney continues to come forward and looking to land jabs. Kenney throws a head kick and the knee connects with the head but Yadong eats it and comes forward. Good body shots from Yadong and Kenney shoots for a takedown, but Yadong sprawls and denies him. Yadong lands a jab and two body kicks but Kenney throws a nice right hook. Final minute and Kenney goes for the takedown again but Yadong sprawls once more. Kenney ducks under a strike and secures a takedown with seconds left and lands some big elbows from the top to end the round. I think that’s 29-28 Yadong but that’s a really close fight again.

Tecia Torres def Angela Hill via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Good start to the fight from Torres as she gets herself into range and lands some nice strikes and flurries. Hill looks to clinch up and then catches a kick to put Torres on the ground then looks to hold her down, but Torres does really well to get up and out of it. Hard leg kick from Torres on Hill, who comes forward with a one-two and a head kick attempt but they all miss. Torres shoots for a takedown but Hill gets immediately back up. Torres lands a body kick then just misses with a spinning back fist. Torres ducks under a strike and goes for a takedown but bails and lands some big strikes, but Hill replies with three of her own. Big kicks from Torres to end the round as Hill tries for a takedown. 10-9 Torres.

Hill pushing the pressure in the second round as Torres uses her side kicks to push her away and keep the range between them. Hill lands two nice strikes as Torres looks for a kick, but then she lands a big check-right hook and pivots away. Big side kick to the body again from Torres and then two big hooks. She goes for the kick again but Hill catches it and pulls her in for a body lock and takedown attempt, before landing some knees against the cage and a right hand on the break. Head kick from Torres and Hill grabs for the clinch. Hill throws knees but Torres avoids most of them and lands some huge hooks of her own in the clinch before they break. Wild exchange from both ladies and Hill gets the better of it with a big left hand. Big flurry ends with Torres on her back and Hill moves into mount immediately but the round ends. 20-18 Torres for me.

Final round and Hill is coming forward aggressively again and looks to clinch and trip her. Torres too quick though and is moving well, landing nice right hands well. Hill putting the pressure on and sprawls to deny a Torres takedown then lands a nice right hand. Torres goes for a kick that Hill catches again and lands a big right hand down the middle, but Torres keeps throwing strikes in return. Nice right hand from Hill and then a knee in the clinch but Torres breaks away. Big lunging right hand from Torres lands again before Hill goes in for a takedown but gets denied. Torres changes levels and gets a takedown with 20 seconds to go and lands some good ground strikes before the buzzer goes. 30-27 Torres for me, competitive but pretty straight forward.

Vicente Luque def Michael Chiesa via Submission (D’Arce Choke), Round 1 (3:25)

Very cagey start to the round with Chiesa circling on the outside and Luque holding the centre. Hard low kick lands from Luque and Chiesa fires off a big one-two that cuts Luque’s eye immediately. Luque comes forward hard and Chiesa ducks under and gets the takedown. Immediately he slides the knee over and takes the back to start searching for a rear naked choke. He has a crank in tight but Luque fights the hands and Chiesa switches to an armbar but loses it. As they go to get up to the feet Luque sinks in a d’arce choke and it’s tight! Chiesa tries to fight it but Luque tightens it and Chiesa taps! Wow!

Jose Aldo def Pedro Munhoz via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Good start to the fight from Munhoz as he takes the centre and throws a couple of hard leg kicks. Head kick attempt misses from Munhoz and then Aldo makes him miss with the hands too. Nice one-two from Aldo and then a straight right lands nicely too. Nasty left hook to the body from Aldo and a jab, but Munhoz still has the centre and is throwing bombs with his right hand. Nice right hand from Munhoz and he’s swinging for the stands, but Aldo counters with a body shot and uppercut. 10-9 Aldo.

Munhoz coming very aggressive again with some leg kicks but Aldo is checking them and then throws one of his own. Munhoz stepping in with more leg kicks and a looping right hand but Aldo hangs in there and fires back with a big right hand before a combination to the body. Aldo’s jab is landing well and defensively he looks sound as usual, with Munhoz struggling to land anything of note so far. Aldo checks a leg kick then goes back for the body combination, but Munhoz’s leg kicks are still there and he’s still in Aldo’s face. Aldo fakes the right knee and lands a big right straight as the round ends. Another close round, but I think that’s 20-18 Aldo.

Final round and Munhoz comes out with a big blitz early on. Aldo returns fire with a beautiful combo of his own before Munhoz clinches up. Aldo working the jab again as Munhoz goes for a spinning capoeira kick and misses. Triple jab from Aldo lands and he follows it with a big combination to the chin. Hard low kick from Aldo but Munhoz responds with a hard right hand and Ado retreats a little. Big leg kick from Aldo drops Munhoz and he follows it up with two hard right hands that cut Munhoz over the eye. Aldo lands a three-punch combo and follows it with a leg kick that gets a big reaction from Munhoz again. Final 30 seconds and Munhoz goes for a big spinning wheel kick before Aldo hits him with another big combo and leg kick to see the fight out. Should be a big win for Aldo. 30-27.

Ciryl Gane def Derrick Lewis via Knockout, Round 3 (4:11)

Lewis opens the fight with a high kick and slips and then Gane slides a right hand in on his way back up. Gane bouncing, with some light leg kicks and pokes to the knee as Lewis starts to step forward. Lewis changes levels to load up his right hand but Gane scoots out of the way and evades before he even throws. Leg kicks from Gane once again and then Lewis throws a right hand to the body. Lewis goes for an inside leg kick but catches the cup flush and causes a pause in the action. Lewis steps forward again and Gane immediately ducks under and clinches up before they break. Lewis swings a big right hand again but Gane literally runs away from it before resetting. Big right hand from Gane before a hard low kick and then a stiff jab to the face as the round ends. 10-9 Gane.

Second round and Gane once again comes out with his jab landing flush. Lewis lands a hard leg kick and then tries a flying switch kick but Gane is too quick and is gone before he gets there. Gane with some more short kicks to the leg before Lewis explodes and tries to rush Gane, only for Gane to throw him off to the side. Flying knee attempt from Gane sees them end up in a clinch and Gane throwing big knees to the thighs and overpowering Lewis against the cage. Gane lets a big elbow and right hand fly but both just miss as the round ends. 20-18 Gane.

Some heavy leg kicks land from Gane to open the round before a right hand over the top just clips Lewis. Another hard leg kick, then another and then another as Lewis struggles to get any sort of offense going. High kick from Lewis is blocked and then Lewis goes to clinch up, but once again Gane just stuffs his attemts. Knee to the body in the clinch and then a big leg kick again and Lewis is hurt bad! Gane goes in for the finish and lands some huge strikes to the head and Lewis is covering up. Lewis throws a few haymakers but misses wildly and then Gane throws a big knee and more strikes that drop Lewis. He gets on top and lands some bombs and the referee steps in! It’s allll over! Ciryl Gane with a huge knockout win. What a performance.

UFC 265: Lewis vs Gane – Main card predictions

The UFC heavyweight division moves a step closer to naming a solidified number one contender as Derrick Lewis takes on Ciryl Gane for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 265.

After a deal with Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones couldnโ€™t be found, the UFC moved to keep the division moving and will see the number two and three ranked heavyweights battle it out in the main event with the winner essentially guaranteeing themselves the next shot at the belt.

In the co-main event Jose Aldo continues his push for bantamweight greatness when he takes on Pedro Munhoz, while the welterweight division looks to create a new contender too as Michael Chiesa takes on Vicente Luque.

We skipped last weekโ€™s Hall vs Strickland card, which means we remain on 374/387 correct picks (63.71%) with 165 perfect picks (44.12%).

Weโ€™ll look to improve on that now with this 13-fight card and after starting with the early prelims here and the rest of the prelims here, these are the picks for the main card.


Song Yadong (16-5-1) vs Casey Kenney (16-3-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolute banger in the bantamweight division as two highly-rated 135lbers look to get themselves back into the win column. Yadong was beaten by Kyler Phillips back at UFC 259 last time out, while Kenney suffered defeat to former champion Dominick Cruz on the same night.

Yadong is traditionally a kung-fu fighter but he has got good boxing and also some decent defensive wrestling chops. He’ll need all of that when he takes on Kenney, who is a top level wrestler but also has got some good power in his striking and kicks. Yadong’s cardio is his biggest advantage in this bout, with Kenney fairly often fading away in the third round.

If Kenney chooses to wrestle almost exclusively then he is more than good enough to wrap up the first two rounds and then look to survive the third when he eventually tires. But against Cruz he opted to battle it out on the feet and Yadong is a better striker who could punish that decision. Really close and interesting fight, but I think Kenney’s wrestling proves the difference.
PICK – Casey Kenney via Decision

Tecia Torres (12-5) vs Angela Hill (13-9) – (Strawweight/125lbs)

A fun fight at strawweight as both women look to extend their win streak as they look to build up the rankings. Torres has won each of her last two after suffering four losses in a row before that, stopping Sam Hughes via corner stoppage last time out at UFC 256. Hill on the other hand was in great form despite not the best results in 2020, and got a big win over Ashley Yoder at UFC Vegas 21.

Torres is scrappy boxer with good striking and some decent wrestling in her arsenal too, while Hill is a well-rounded Muay-Thai fighter who uses her knees and cardio brilliantly. Torres has fought some of the best around and while she’s not as good as she once was she still has a terrific skillset. Hill on the other hand has never really beaten any of the top contenders and wins fights she’s supposed to win.

Torres has a size disadvantage but Hill will look to wrestle and clinch, which can open opportunities up for her to land her offense. The issue both of these women have is that neither have fight-changing power so it really comes down to skill. For me, Torres is the more skilled of the two though and she should claim a win.
PICK – Tecia Torres via Decision

Michael Chiesa (18-4) vs Vicente Luque (20-7-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Arguably the best fight on the card as two top welterweight contenders go head-to-head to earn contender status. Chiesa is on a four-fight win streak, with a dominant win over Neil Magny last time out at UFC Fight Island 8, while Luque is on a three-fight win streak with a submission win over Tyron Woodley at UFC 260.

Chiesa is a magnificent wrestler and grappler, with incredible jiu-jitsu and superhuman strength on the ground, while Luque is a powerhouse with aggressive boxing but also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Chiesa will undoubtedly use his kicks before shooting for takedowns and if he gets control on the mat then he very rarely lets it slip. In Luque though he has someone who can knock him out if he makes a mistake and can also hold his own on the ground.

Luque’s struggled in the past against the best of the best and right now Chiesa is one of the best. His fight IQ is very high, his grappling is good enough to beat anyone in the division and I think he’s content to make it boring and control the distance and ground exchanges to earn a very big win.
PICK – Michael Chiesa via Decision

Jose Aldo (29-7) vs Pedro Munhoz (19-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Yet another bantamweight banger on this card as former featherweight champion Jose Aldo takes on UFC veteran Pedro Munhoz in the co-main event. Aldo snapped a three-fight losing streak with a great win over Marlon Vera at UFC Vegas 17, while Munhoz snapped a two-fight losing streak with a decision win over Jimmie Rivera at UFC Vegas 20.

Aldo is arguably one of the best ever, with brilliant striking and kicking to go with his jiu-jitsu black belt and stunning wrestling defence. Munhoz is a good boxer and kicker himself with decent wrestling too, so this is a well balanced fight. The issue for Munhoz however is that Aldo is still so elite, despite recent results.

I find it hard to look at this match-up and see Aldo coming out second best. Munhoz is good enough to cause Aldo problems but I think the Brazilian earns himself the win by mixing his striking attack up to the body and head.
PICK – Jose Aldo via Decision

Derrick Lewis (25-7) vs Ciryl Gane (9-0) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A huge heavyweight battle for the interim title headlines this card as Derrick Lewis takes on the undefeated Ciryl Gane. Lewis is on a four-fight win streak, with a stunning one-punch finish over Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19. Gane has fought twice since then, beating Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov via unanimous decisions and keeping his 100% record.

Lewis is a big man with decent offensive wrestling but a hammer of a right hand and stunning ground and pound that can literally put any man to sleep. Gane on the other hand is a very technical and polished kickboxer who has rounded his game out with good takedowns and even some submissions. Gane is undoubtedly the better fighter of the two and uses his range well, with kicks and great cardio but sometimes that doesn’t matter because Lewis is always just one punch away from ending the fight.

Unfortunately though, I do think that one punch hail mary won’t be enough this time. Gane is so good at moving in, landing his strike then moving away before he takes any damage. He’s powerful himself and talented enough to earn a big win and set up a huge title fight against former teammate Ngannou later down the line.
PICK – Ciryl Gane via Decision

UFC Fight Island 8 Fallout: Chiesa dominates, calls out Covington

The second of UFC’s triple header to open the year lived up to the hype, with Michael Chiesa taking all the headlines at UFC Fight Island 8.

‘Maverick’ main evented the card in a contender clash with Neil Magny, as both men looked to make it four wins in a row on Fight Island in place of the rescheduled Leon Edwards/Khamzat Chimaev clash.

It was a fight that was razor close on paper with both guys at their best in the top position on the ground, but with Chiesa having the edge in submissions and Magny in striking. What occurred was a lopsided bout, with Chiesa outscrambling Magny at every turn and completely dominating from the top position for a unanimous 49-46 win.

It was a mightily impressive performance from the 33-year-old, who stays undefeated since moving up to welterweight. He now has back-to-back maulings of Rafael Dos Anjos and Magny and after his win on Fight Island he moved to call out number one ranked Colby Covington.

Covington is coming off a dominant win over former champion Tyron Woodley back in September and his only defeat since 2015 came in his title shot against Kamaru Usman. While many are hopeful that Covington will face off with former friend Jorge Masvidal next, there have been problems getting that fight agreed.

Dana White confirmed that the UFC wanted to make it happen, but there has been no movement on that front recently and with Chiesa looking to put a run together for his own title shot, it’s something White could look into.

In his post-fight press conference, he explained his reasons for wanting the fight and revealed he doesn’t believe it’s a fight he’s supposed to win.

He’s the worst match up for me. Stylistically, that guy should beat me on any given Sunday. From a physical stand point, from a mental warfare stand point, there’s not a lot of boxes you can check that favour me in that fight, but how can I say want to be the champion if I don’t want to fight the best guys?

Sometimes the best guys are the ones that are toughest for you stylistically, so I look at the top five and I think that’s the hardest fight for me. We’ll see what happens, and if I come up short I come up short, but if I want to be the best I’ve got to fight the best.

The bout would be great fun, but I can’t help but feel he’s probably looking too high up the ladder right now. Chiesa was ranked at number eight before this win and beat the man ranked below him, so while he should rise he won’t fly up.

A fight against Demian Maia would be fun, but the person he should be looking at is Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.

Thompson just obliterated Geoff Neal in December and moved up into the top five himself. But with Edwards already booked with Chimaev and the UFC’s plan to book Covington and Masvidal together, this could be a great match up of styles to cement either as a top five contender as we move through 2021.

UFC Fight Island 8: Chiesa vs Magny – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Manon Fiorot def Victoria Leonardo via Knockout, Round 2 (4:08)

Fiorot starts the fight with her standard side kick to maintain distance, while Leonardo is trying to throw punches in bunches early. Fiorot lands two more side kicks to the body and then lands a big head kick! Fiorot pushes forward and lands a big one-two that snaps Leonardo’s head back, but she eats it and continues to come forward. Clinch attempt but Fiorot is physically stronger and using knees well. Fiorot explodes with a big one-two again and rocks Leonardo! Fiorot charges forward looking to finish and lands two more shots but Leonardo moves away and avoids the big wheel kick attempt. Clinch against the cage and Fiorot lands a big elbow on the break. Big round for Fiorot. 10-9.

Better second round start from Leonardo, as she avoids the big strikes early but she’s throwing her own strikes from way too far out. Fiorot lands a nice body kick before Leonardo shoots for a takedown, but good defence from Fiorot to keep it standing. A few more clashes between the two before Fiorot gets Leonardo against the cage and gets a takedown of her own. She lands a couple of strikes on the ground before getting back up and making the referee stand them up. Fiorot lands a big head kick and Leonardo is hurt! She turns up the pressure and lands big punches as Leonardo covers up and the referee steps in and stops it! Hugely impressive performance.

Umar Nurmagomedov def Sergey Morozov via Submission (Rear naked choke), Round 2 (3:39)

A cagey start to this fight as Nurmagomedov comes out bouncing and throwing kicks, while Morozov looks to land a big overhand right. Bit of a stalemate on the feet so Umar shoots for a takedown and gets him down to the ground. He looks to take the back and stabs his hooks in, but Morozov scrambles and keeps rolling around before eventually breaking free. Back on the feet again and Umar lands a nice question mark kick before ducking an overhand right and getting another takedown. He takes Morozov’s back quickly but the buzzer goes to end the round. 10-9 Nurmagomedov.

Second round starts and Umar lands a huge head kick immediately that wobbles Morozov! Umar goes for the finish against the cage with big shots, but Morozov comes away and eventually shakes the cobwebs away. Another head kick attempt is blocked but then a big body kick lands from Umar. Umar throws a jab and shoots straight behind it with a perfect takedown, before transitioning to the back again. He finally is able to hold the position at the second time of asking and eventually lands a few shots before sinking in a lovely rear naked choke and putting Morozov to sleep! What a performance.

Mike Davis def Mason Jones via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Great start to the fight for both men as Davis shows his kicking game, while Jones is looking to land combos early. Davis lands a big body shot and a strong leg kick, while Jones continues to come forward. Blind kick from Jones and Davis makes him pay with a takedown. A couple of strikes on the ground before Jones gets back to the feet. Jones starts landing some nice punches to the body and head, which makes Davis look twice and shoot for another takedown to slow it down. Jones gets back up again quickly and lands a nice left hand but Davis retaliates with a strike of his own. Jones turning the pace up on Davis with combos and knees but then Davis takes him down again. Jones gets back up and eats a huge flying knee right on the buzzer! 10-9 Jones but very close round.

Davis lands a big leg kick early in the second round that drops Jones, but again he gets back up to his feet quickly. Nice combinations from Jones are landing as Davis drops his hands but then Davis returns fire with a big straight right hand. Both men throw elbows that just miss, before a big calf kick again from Jones. Jones’ pace is excellent and Davis’ cardio is starting to let him down here. Big body shot from Jones again but Davis is significantly tiring now. Final minute and Jones throws a big leg kick again as Davis looks to avoid. Big right hand from Davis lands and knocks the mouth piece out of Jones’ mouth, then lands another big one two and a head kick but Jones catches it and ends the round on top. 20-18 Jones.

Final round and still a strong pace to this fight. Davis lands a big right hand but Jones eats it again and continues to come forward. Davis landing shots at a cleaner rate right now but Jones continues to come forward and attack the body and legs. Jones shoots in for a takedown against the cage but defended well by Davis and then he lands a big right hand on the break. Big knee from Davis lands again as we enter the final minute, but Jones is still coming forward with power and aggression. Takedown attempt from Davis but Jones defends well as the two exchange shots against the cage for the buzzer. What a fight. 29-28 Jones but could well be the other way around too.

PRELIMS

Francisco Figueiredo def Jerome Rivera via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Very interesting start to this fight as both men stand at range and exchange body kicks and leg kicks before clinching up against the cage. Nice exchange in the centre before a sweep and takedown from Figueiredo sees him end up on top. Some nice ground and pound from the top by Figueiredo before he gets back to his feet and lets Rivera back up. A few exchanges but nothing big and the round ends with a takedown attempt from Rivera being stuffed. 10-9 Figueiredo.

Second round starts with a takedown from Figueiredo again as he ends up on top, but Rivera is very active from his back throwing elbows, short strikes and trying to use his length to create distance. Figueiredo doing really well to stay square on the hips though and is keeping position to great effect. Rivera using his long legs really well to stop Figueiredo passing guard and not taking too much damage before getting back up to his feet. Figueiredo too strong in a clinch and breaks away before landing a really nice pull left straight counter. Round ends with another clinch, but Figueiredo looks good right now. 20-18.

Final round and once again Figueiredo is getting on the inside and able to secure a takedown, although Rivera gets back to his feet well this time. Good combination of strikes from Rivera land at a distance but then he steps in again and Figueiredo is able to clinch up against the cage. Rivera switches the position and looks for a takedown but Figueiredo defends it really well before they eventually break away. Rivera starting to up the pace and throw more strikes and he’s starting to land. Big takedown from Rivera at the end of the round but Figueiredo gets back up quickly and gets a takedown of his own on the buzzer to seal what should be a win.

Dalcha Lungiambula def Markus Perez via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Fast paced start to this fight as Perez looks to work the body of Lungiambula, who explodes with a combination that forces Perez all the way across the cage. Dalcha shoots for a takedown and lifts Perez into the air before slamming him down and ending in half guard. Perez threatens with a guillotine but Lungiambula stays patient, get out of it and look to land big shots. Perez threatens with submissions off his back and eventually gets back to his feet for the end of the round. 10-9 Dalcha but tough to score.

Perez looking to land body shots early in the second, but Dalcha lands a big body shot and charges to get the fight to the ground again. He ends up behind Perez, landing nice ground and pound strikes but Perez takes a kimura grip to threaten. The fight goes back down and Perez is so close to locking up the kimura but Dalcha uses brute strength to defend and end up back on top in a controlling position. Nice ground and pound strikes from Lungiambula have opened up a huge cut on Perez’s head and that’s his round. 20-18 Dalcha.

Fast start to round three as Perez comes out with kicks while Dalcha looks to counter by just taking his head off with wild hooks. Perez engages in a clinch against the cage but Dalcha is too strong and controls the position, before the two break. Dalcha throws a nice combination that just misses but Perez lands a straight left clean on the chin that staggers Dalcha. Perez keeps trying to get the fight down against the cage but Dalcha is too strong and is able to stay standing into the final minute. Both men throw knees against the cage and an accidental low blow causes a pause with 15 seconds to go and Perez lands a big spin kick with seconds to go but it’s not going to be enough. 29-28 Dalcha for me.

Su Mudaerji def Zarrukh Adashev via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Fun start to this one as Adashev looks to start fast with big looping strikes, but Su using his range well to stay away. Nice leg kicks land from Su and quickly force Adashev to switch stance. Nice head kick from Su lands but is partially blocked from Adashev, who returns first with a big one-two that misses. Jab from Su lands but Adashev lands a bit left hook counter, although he barely flinches at it. 10-9 Su but Adashev is active.

Adashev comes out quick again in the second round and lands a nice double-jab right hand clean. Su continues to use the inside leg kick and his range well, with a double jab of his own too. Spin kick attempt from Su misses and Adashev takes the back, landing some big shots to the face before they break. Su lands a big leg kick and just avoids the left hook coming back at him before a straight right while taking the centre of the octagon. Adashev lands a right hand that wobbles Su but he recovers quickly and shakes his head to say it didn’t hurt. Adashev charges forward and Su steps back and lands a big check hook that drops him! He follows it with a jab that drops him again but Adashev avoids any more significant damage before the end of the round. 20-18 Su.

Head kick lands for Su to open the final round but Adashev seems to have shaken off the cobwebs. Adashev eating leg kicks and can’t get into the rang of Su now, who seems to have figured out the way to victory now. Su keeping his hands low and throws a big wheel kick but hits fresh air. Nice one-two from Adashev but Su maintains the centre and throws a nice side kick to the body. Final 90 seconds of the fight and Su continues to stay out of range while just picking jabs and landing nice kicks. Adashev pushing forward into the final minute but Su avoidig all strikes with great footwork to take a decision win.

Ricky Simon def Gaetano Pirrello via Submission (Arm triangle choke), Round 2 (4:00)

Good start to the fight by Simon, who feints changing levels and lands nice strikes before eventually shooting for the takedown and getting the fight to the ground. Pirrello scrambles back to his feet but Simon keeps a body lock and engages in the clinch against the cage. Change of levels and Simon lifts Pirrello before slamming him down to the mat. Pirrello tries to get back up but Simon consistently dragging him back down and taking the back. Pirrello escapes but again Simon drops levels for another takedown. Dominant opening round. 10-9.

Second round and Pirrello tries to strike from distance, but Simon changes levels and shoots. Pirrello throws a huge knee that lands flush but Simon eats it and eventually finishes the takedown. More top control from Simon, with every time Pirrello gets up to his feet Simon just puts him back on his back. It’s a vintage Simon performance as he gets another takedown against the cage and lands straight into mount. Simon immediately sinks up an arm-triangle choke and gets the tap-out win. Beautiful performance.

MAIN CARD

Omari Akhmedov def Tom Breese via Submission (Arm triangle choke), Round 2 (1:41)

Fast start to this one with Akhmedov throwing bombs early with Breese looking to counter, before Akhmedov shoots in with a takedown early. Breese catches him in a guillotine on the way down though and it looks tight, but the Russian gets his head out and starts landing good shots from top position. Huge bombs from Akhmedov from the guard have Breese in big trouble as he attempts an armbar to escape, but he’s just eating shots from Akhmedov. Breese manages to scramble back to his feet with a heel hook attempt and then takes Akhmedov’s back and almost gets the choke, but Akhmedov defends well before the buzzer goes. 10-9 Akhmedov.

Second round and Akhmedov goes straight for the takedown again, but Breese is able to tilt him and ends up on the bottom but with a calf slicer submission. Akhmedov remains calm and eventually gets out, putting himself into mount. He immediately attacks for an arm triangle submission and after a bit of a wait, Breese has no choice but to tap out. Excellent performance from Akhmedov.

Lerone Murphy def Douglas Silva de Andrade via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Good start to this one for Murphy as he takes the centre of the cage and uses his range to land nice calf kicks. He’s throwing in straight lines and connecting out of range, attacking the body well. Andrade trying to fire back with leg kicks of his own but Murphy checks it and fires back with a big right hand of his own. Two more right hands land for Murphy but Andrade fires back with a nice body kick. Andrade comes forward with a combo that ends in a high kick, but Murphy blocks it all and moves away. Andrade looks for a takedown but Murphy defends well and responds with a knee before a leg kick as the round ends. 10-9 Murphy.

Murphy opens the round throwing a leg kick and Andrade is hurt bad. Murphy throws a head kick but Andrade catches it and forces him down to the ground and quickly transitions to the back, but Murphy scrambles up to his feet very quickly. Another big leg kick from Murphy and the two end up clinching against the cage. Andrade gets it down and ends up in mount but again Murphy escapes and lands a nasty body shot on Andrade. Andrade comes forward and lands a big body shot of his own, while Murphy continues to attack the leg and throw long one-twos. Murphy catches a kick and lands a big right hand flush on the chin but Andrade eats it. Another huge leg kick and Andrade is in trouble as the round ends. 20-18 Murphy.

Murphy nice and aggressive in this final round, attacking the leg again. Andrade knows he needs the knockout and comes forward with a big right-left hook combo that lands hard and wobbles Murphy! Spinning back kick to the body but Murphy clinches up, before a low blow causes a pause in the action. Andrade lands two big hooks again and Murphy looks hurt, but he’s using footwork well to move away. Big right straight lands for Murphy and Andrade comes forward again, but Murphy changes levels and looks for a takedown as we enter the final minute. Murphy gets it down and scrambles to end up on top and looks to just control for the final 30 seconds for a big decision win. 29-28.

Matt Schnell def Tyson Nam via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Cagey start from both fighters in this one as Schnell looks to stand with Nam, who is throwing low kicks with his right hand behind it as usual. Good head movement from Schnell to avoid any damage early on, as both guys doing a lot of feinting but nothing heavy landing. Nam lands a big counter right hand out of nowhere but Schnell eats it and continues to stand and trade in the centre as the round ends. 10-9 Schnell.

Much better second round from Nam so far as he starts landing his left jab a bit more, but Schnell is firing back with good boxing. Nam’s face is bloody and red from the strikes he’s taking, but Schnell’s power isn’t causing him too much of a problem. Nam coming forward and lands a big left hook but Schnell is still there and doing well with his left jab too. Schnell goes for a kick but Nam counters with a right overhand. Nam throws a big windmill right that Schnell side-steps that sums up the fight so far as the round ends. 20-18 Schnell.

Nam looking more aggressive in the final round, knowing he needs a finish to win this fight. Schnell continuing with his volume, winning him the fight right now with the jab and short combinations. Nam forcing the fight right now with his big punches, but Schnell is either avoiding them or eating the shots. He’s landing first almost every time too, making Nam’s striking game look basic. Nam more active in this round and landing more but Schnell should take the decision win.

Viviane Araujo def Roxanne Modafferi via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Great start to the fight for Araujo as she uses her range excellently and picks Modafferi off with her jab. Nice one-two down the pipe lands and immediately causes swelling under the eye of Modafferi. Modafferi continues to come forward but hasn’t looked for a level change once and is getting picked off. She charges forward and Araujo steps back and lands a big right hand that drops her. Big right hook again wobbles Modafferi but she keeps coming forward before finally clinching and pushing her to the cage looking for a takedown, but Araujo reverses the position, takes her back and sinks in a rear-naked choke but the buzzer saves her. 10-9 Araujo.

More great striking from Araujo once again, picking Modafferi off at will with her jab and right straight. Modafferi shoots in for a takedown attempt but again Araujo defends it easily and transitions to the back before breaking to start striking again. Big right hand from Araujo lands but then Modafferi lands a right hand of her own that wobbles Araujo! She charges forward but Araujo recovers quickly and avoids. Araujo ducks a strike and shoots for a takedown to end the round on top, landing elbows and cuts Modafferi open. 20-18 Araujo.

Final round and Araujo starts flowing with her striking, with big combinations landing clean. Modafferi trying to come forward for a takedown but Araujo reverses the position and ends up in side control. Modafferi gets back to her feet and lands some big puches while Araujo moves backwards to avoid, but Araujo fires back with shots of her own. Araujo breaks away and shoots for a takedown to see out the remainder of the round in top control. 30-27 Araujo, pretty easy night’s work.

Ike Villanueva def Vinicius Moreira via Knockout, Round 2 (0:39)

Villanueva comes out throwing flurries to the head, but Moreira covers upwell with a high guard and throws back with a leg kick. Villanueva goes to the head a few more times but once his shots get blocked again, he starts attacking the body well. Villanueva goes for another flurry against the high guard and lands a couple of flush right hands around the guard. Another body shot from Villanueva before Moreira throws a big superman punch that lands. Body kick from Moreira gets caught and a straight right follows behind it for Villanueva as the round ends. 10-9 Ike.

Second round is more of the same early on, with Moreira covering up to not get hit. He swings a punch of his own and Villanueva counters with a huge right hook that lands on the chin and puts him out cold. One punch KO!! Goodnight!

Warlley Alves def Mounir Lazzez via Knockout, Round 1 (2:35)

Alves comes flying out of the blocks and lands some big shots before clinching up against the cage early. Alves very aggressive throwing short elbows, before a spinning back fist lands clean. They clinch again and Alves throws Lazzez onto the ground with a beautiful judo throw but Lazzez gets back to his feet quickly. Lazzez throws a spinning elbow of his own, before Alves breaks and throws three huge body kicks in a row and drops Lazzez! He gets on top and rains down punches and the referee stops the fight! What a win for Warlley Alves!

Michael Chiesa def Neil Magny via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x3)

Fast start to the round from Magny as he takes the centre and looks to use his range early. A few strike exchanges before a clinch in the centre allows Chiesa to trip Magny in the centre of the cage and work from top position. Chiesa tries to pass half guard and attack a kimura but Magny defends well and the rest of the round passes with Chiesa on top. 10-9 Maverick.

Chiesa starts the second round and immediately goes for the body lock and trip again, but Magny defends well and they clinch against the cage again. After a war of attrition Chiesa eventually drags him down, but Magny is able to get back to his feet quickly. Magny goes for his own takedown but falls backwards and ends up on the bottom once again. Chiesa lands some big elbows on the ground and looks to pass half guard again. More elbows from Chiesa as Magny is trying to prevent the pass, but another dominant round from Chiesa. 20-18.

Faster start in round three for Magny as he comes out with flurries of strikes and looks to get the fight to the ground. He eventually drags Chiesa down and looks to take the back, but Chiesa is able to defend well, stand and they break apart. Chiesa lands a nice left straight and shoots for the takedown again, but Magny defends, reverses and clinches against the cage well. They scramble to the ground and Chiesa ends up in full mount, and sees the round out on top. Tough to score that one. 29-28 Chiesa.

Fourth round and Chiesa comes out with a big strike and then an immediate takedown early on in the centre. Lots of attempts to pass the half guard but Magny defending well and Chiesa maintaining top position. Chiesa looks to move to a kimura, but Magny scrambles and gets an inverted triangle but Chiesa remains patient and eventually gets out of it before riding out the round on top once again. 39-37, maybe 40-36. Easy for Chiesa.

Final round and it’s more of the same. An absolute clinic from Chiesa in the grappling to waltz to a dominant, one sided victory. Very impressive.

UFC Fight Island 8: Chiesa vs Magny – Main Card Predictions

After a banging start to 2021, the UFC moves swiftly onto their second event of the year with a midweek card headlined by welterweights Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny.

Originally supposed to be headlined by Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev, that fight fell apart for a second time when Chimaev withdrew due to complications from COVID-19. The fight has now been rescheduled for March 13, Chiesa and Magny have the chance to take the limelight at 170lbs.

On a 14 fight card, there will be six on the main card which means eight prelim fights to break down and predict.

At UFC Fight Island 7, we managed to correctly predict 6/10 with four perfect picks to take our lifetime totals to 200/313 (63.9%) with 89 perfect picks (44.5%).

We already predicted the prelims here, so lets improve our record with the main card now.

MAIN CARD

Lerone Murphy (9-0-1) vs Douglas Silva de Andrade (26-3 1NC) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

England’s own Lerone Murphy returns to Fight Island to take on UFC veteran Douglas Silva de Andrade in the featherweight division.

Murphy got a very impressive knockout win against Ricardo Ramos last time out, while Andrade’s last fight saw him beat Renan Barao in November 2019. Murphy has power in his hands but is a very good wrestler too, which is the kryptonite to Andrade if there ever was one. He was well beaten on the ground by Petr Yan of all people in his last defeat.

Murphy has the power advantage on the feet and the advantage on the ground if he chooses to take it there, so he should get a pretty comfortable win here.
PICK – Lerone Murphy via Knockout, Round 2

Matt Schnell (14-5) vs Tyson Nam (20-11-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A fun clash in the flyweight division as high level grappler Matt Schnell takes on Tyson Nam.

Schnell was on a four-fight win streak before losing his last fight to Alexandre Pantoja via first round knockout, while Nam was close to being cut before two big knockout wins brought him back from the brink against Zarrukh Adashev in June and Jerome Rivera in September.

Nam is a great counter striker with solid power, while Schnell is a fantastic jiu-jitsu practitioner. His issue though is that he likes to stand and bang sometimes, which is just asking for trouble. If he can stay at range and use his grappling game, plus having a good weigh-in, Schnell should get the win.
PICK – Matt Schnell via Decision

Roxanne Modafferi (25-17) vs Viviane Araujo (9-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Arguably the most un-aesthetically please fighter of all time in Roxanne Modafferi returns to take on Viviane Araujo in the women’s flyweight division.

Modafferi has alternated wins and losses in her last nine fights, going 5-4 including a win last time out against Andrea Lee. Araujo has won six of her last seven fights, losing only to Jessica Eye in December 2019 before beating Montana De La Rosa in September via decision.

‘The Happy Warrior’ loves a dirty boxing fight, punching her way into range before looking to get the fight to the ground with her good top control. Araujo on the other hand is a powerful one punch fighter with good kicks and submission skills. On paper, it should be Araujo all the way but Modafferi has a habit of upsetting the odds. I’m still going to back the favourite, but don’t be shocked if it goes the other way.
PICK – Viviane Araujo via Decision

Ike Villanueva (17-11) vs Vinicius Moreira (9-4) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

This fight really doesn’t have any business taking place in the UFC in 2021, as Ike Villanueva takes on Vinicius Moreira.

Villaneueva is a striker with power in his hands but rubbish on his back. Vinicius Moreira is a “submission specialist” who is pretty rubbish on his feet. Villanueva has lost his last two in a row and Moreira has lost his last three.

If it stays on the feet, Villanueva gets a knockout win. If it goes to the ground, Moreira wins by submission. My guess is Villanueva clips him and keeps his spot on the UFC roster.
PICK – Ike Villanueva via Knockout, Round 1

Warlley Alves (14-4) vs Mounir Lazzez (10-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A fight that probably should never be the co-main event of any UFC card, but a chance nonetheless for the UFC to show off prospect Mounir Lazzez to the world.

Warlley Alves is an all-rounder, with tidy striking and a great jiu-jitsu game who hasn’t fought since a 2019 defeat to Randy Brown. Lazzez won his debut on Fight Island in July with a really impressive decision win over Abdul Razak Alhassan, where he showed tremendous striking but also a really good chin. He’s got a good wrestling game if needs be to and he should be able to get a highlight knockout in this one for me.
PICK – Mounir Lazzez via Knockout, Round 2

Michael Chiesa (17-4) vs Neil Magny (24-8) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A wonderful main event tops off what is a bit of a meh card as welterweight contenders Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny meet.

Chiesa is a grappling wizard with three wins in a row at 170lbs since moving up from lightweight, submitting Carlos Condit before earning decision wins over Diego Sanchez and Rafael Dos Anjos. Magny is a wrestling machine with powerful striking, who has beaten all of Jingliang Li, Anthony Rocco Martin and most recently Robbie Lawler by decision in his last three.

Magny’s cardio is his greatest strength in this fight but he also has the striking advantage in this one too. Chiesa will know that when the fight hits the ground, whether he’s on top or on the bottom he is a threat but he’d rather be on top. His wrestling isn’t good enough to get Magny down though so he’ll need sweeps to get there, but Magny’s top game is very good. It should be a great, evenly contested match up but I think Magny’s cardio pulls him towards a decision win.
PICK – Neil Magny via Decision