Tag Archives: Mike Perry

UFC Vegas 23: Vettori vs Holland – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Impa Kasanganay def Sasha Palatnikov via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (0:26)

Great start to the fight for Kasanganay as he comes forward to close the distance early and lands a nice right hand. Palatnikov throws a kick which Kasanganay catches and then he lands another big right hand before getting a body lock and taking Palatnikov down to the ground. Kasanganay using heavy top pressure but not landing much damage and Palatnikov is able to get back to his feet. Kasanganay goes for another takedown but Palatnikov defends it well and they clinch against the cage now. Palatnikov starts teeing off against the cage but Kasanganay does well to avoid any strikes and clinch up again. Nice left hand lands from Palatnikov at the end of the round but should be 10-9 Kasanganay.

Kasanganay comes out quickly in the second round and lands a big right hand that drops Palatnikov! He forces the takedown with pure power and scrambles to take his neck. He locks in a rear-naked choke and squeezes, forcing Palatnikov to tap out! Big win for Kasanganay!

Da-Un Jung def William Knight via Unanimous Decision (30-26 x2, 30-27)

Reserved start from both fighters as Knight comes out throwing low calf kicks to prevent Jung from letting his jab fly. Knight goes in for a takedown and lifts Jung but he defends it well, switches the position and is able to get a throw perfectly to end up in top position. Knight is landing some nice right hands from the bottom as he holds Jung in place, but Jung fires back with a couple of right hands of his own to shut that down. Jung passes into half guard and tries to move into side control but Knight sweeps him really well and explodes back onto his feet. Knight clinches up once again and Jung is able to get the same trip once more to get back in top position. Some decent ground and pound from Jung as Knight looks quite tired now but he’s able to explode to his feet again as the round ends. 10-9 Jung.

Knight comes out throwing lots of low kicks once again, but Jung is backing him up to the cage and looking to hunt him down. Both guys land a nice right hand each before Knight shoots in for a takedown. Jung defends it, clinches up and then lands the same outside trip once again to take top position and starts landing ground and pound against the cage. Knight tries to get to his feet but Jung stays heavy and drags him down to the mat once more, then takes his back and sinks in both hooks. Jung starts raining down punches and Knight is trying to explode out again rather than use technique. Knight is just surviving right now and Jung continues to smash him up from his back on top. Lots of damage but Knight survives the round. Could easily be a 10-8 round. 20-17 Jung.

Jung comes forward early in the final round and Knight has abandoned the leg kicks and is throwing bombs. Jung lands a nice uppercut, then switches levels and gets a big takedown! Knight explodes to his feet again but Jung is able to drag and throw Knight back to the mat with relative ease. Jung floats through the positions and ends up in side control, landing knees to the body and just completely dominating all the exchanges in this fight. Jung stays busy from top position on the ground landing damage for the rest of the fight for a very comfortable win. 30-26 Jung.

Luis Saldana def Jordan Griffin via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Really good start to the fight for Saldana as he comes out with his hands low and is throwing quick kicks to the legs and body. Saldana throws a night three punch combo that clips Griffin, who shoots in for a takedown and gets it but Saldana gets back up very quickly. More leg kicks from Saldana take Griffin off his feet but he keeps coming forward and lands two big punches as he rushes forward and goes in for a takedown again. Saldana defends well against the cage and they break, but Griffin stays in his face and keeps throwing big punches. He keeps pouring punches and then eventually gets the takedown, but Saldana is able to roll through and escape before Griffin gets a headlock and looks for some sort of bulldog choke. Saldana is able to escape and Griffin charges once again and just misses with a big head-kick before the round ends. Very close, but I go 10-9 Griffin.

Slower start to the round from both guys as Saldana comes out again looking for low kicks and front kicks to the body, but Griffin pressures him again. Saldana slips as he throws a kick and Griffin jumps on top. Saldana looks for an armbar and then switches to a heel hook to create space which gets both guys back up. Saldana jumps on the neck of Griffin looking for a guillotine, but Griffin is calm and escapes before getting the fight back down. He starts looking for a bulldog choke again but Saldana escapes it only for Griffin to continue with his pressure and get back into a dominant position. Griffin starts floating and then takes the back and sinks in a rear naked choke deep but he runs out of time so we’re going to the final round. 20-18 Griffin.

Saldana comes out in the final round and knows he needs a finish. He’s trying to stay out of wrestling range, using punches rather than kicks to avoid being taken down but he looks exhausted. Griffin isn’t exactly fresh himself but he’s coming forward still but doing enough to stay out of range. Saldana looks to kick off the cage with a superman punch but just misses with that and the follow up hook, before Griffin shoots in for a tired takedown against the cage. Saldana defends it well and switches the position around but Griffin gets his arm under the chin and looks for a rear-naked choke! Saldana stays calm and escapes and ends up on top with 90 seconds to go. Saldana is able to take the back of Griffin for a split second, but Griffin then switches around and finishes the round on top looking for a submission. Probably a Saldana round but should be a win for Griffin. 29-28.

Jack Shore def Hunter Azure via Split Decision (30-27 x2, 28-29)

Composed start to the bout from both men as they feel each other out with jabs and low kicks before they both clinch up against the cage. Shore looking like the stronger fighter as they battle for position and he gets a body lock in nicely and picks Azure up and sweeps the legs for a takedown. Azure gets back up quickly but Shore keeps the hands locked and continues to drag Azure around. Shore tries to take the back but Azure drops to his knees and counters by turning into Shore’s guard. Shore kicks off the hips to get back to his feet quickly before Azure can do any damage and they clinch against the cage again before separating. Both men throw a simultaneous kick that makes for a big thud before a nice high kick lands from Shore. Azure looks for a takedown against the cage but Shore defends and the round ends. 10-9 Shore.

Fast start from Azure in the second round as he goes straight in for a clinch against the cage and lands some nice knees to the body and thighs. Shore is patient and eventually gets back up and catches a kick from Azure and lands a right hand that drops Azure. Azure gets back up quickly though and Shore looks for a clinch against the takedown before going for a takedown of his own. He shoots in and Azure looks for a guillotine which forces Shore to abandon and go to his back to escape, but Azure ends up on top in half guard. Shore uses his long legs and hips really well to get back up to the feet and the clinch continues against the cage once again. Accidental low blow from Azure causes a short pause in the action but they clinch again when they resume. Azure lands a nice right hand when they separate and then lands a good right hook but Shore starts landing some strikes of his own too. Azure lands a big right hand clean but Shore responds with an uppercut as the round ends. Very close round, probably in Azure’s favour. 19-19.

Azure goes straight in for a takedown at the start of the third but Shore stuffs it well and starts working off his jab from the outside. Azure changes levels to avoid a right hand and goes for a single leg, but Shore defends it brilliantly once again against the cage. Stiff low kick from Shore and then a nice left hook lands that stings Azure, who shoots for a takedown quickly after but is denied. Shore stuffs another attempt and then takes Azure down himself, landing some short punches against the cage and leaning all his weight on Azure to drag him back down. He looks to take Azure’s back and then moves into mount, switching between both positions. Azure is able to get back to his feet but Shore keeps hold of him and is able to take him down once again as we enter the final 90 seconds. Azure scrambles and rolls through to escape Shore’s grip and ends up on top and looks to land ground and pound but Shore defends brilliantly and then escapes a rear naked choke attempt to see out the round. Should be a win for Shore, 29-28.

PRELIMS

Jarjis Danho def Yorgan De Castro via Knockout, Round 1 (3:02)

Slow start to the fight for both guys as they throw some leg kicks and circle each other. Danho throwing more and more leg kicks but not much action in the first two minutes. Danho looks to clinch up but De Castro throws him off and lands a big left hand that wobbles Danho! He comes forward with more punches but Danho avoids and goes for a takedown. The two separate and De Castro continues to come forward, then both men throw big right hands and Danho lands on the side of the head and puts De Castro’s lights out!! He lands one more on the ground but it’s all over! What a knockout!

John Makdessi def Ignacio Bahamondes via Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)

Bahamondes using his length well very early on, with long jabs and front kicks. Bahamondes doing really well to mix up his attacks, landing leg kicks, jabs, straight rights, body shots and kicks while changing up his stance constantly. Makdessi just can’t get a read right now as Bahamondes keeps moving. Makdessi lands a big right hand that makes Bahamondes do the chicken dance and he pushes on for the finish, but Bahamondes clinches up to try and recover. Bahamondes now is trying to stay away and land from range but Makdessi continues to pour on the pressure. Bahamondes goes for a takedown against the cage but Makdessi defends it well. Bahamondes lands a couple of elbows on the break and they exchange strikes again as the round ends. That’s a really close round could go either way. I go Makdessi for the damage.

Bahamondes seems to have recovered now as he comes out popping his jab once again and circling on the outside. Makdessi taking the centre and looking to catch Bahamondes on his way in, but it’s not working too well for him just yet. Three jabs in a row land for Makdessi who returns with a big left hand of his own. Bahamondes lands a big straight left then misses with a few kicks before shooting in for a takedown, but Makdessi defends it with ease. Bahamondes starts throwing some knees against the cage before they separate and go back to trading straight punches. Both guys trading jabs and straights and landing, then Bahamondes lands a huge spinning heel kick to the head but Makdessi eats it. Makdessi responds with two body shots and a short left hook to the chin then lands a clean one two. Another super close round, I’ve got it even.

Third round following the pattern of the previous two, with Bahamondes landing from range but Makdessi standing firm in the middle and popping him back too. Bahamondes lands some nice jabs but Makdessi keeps landing the straight right and left jab in response. Bahamondes looks for a big knee that just misses and then he shoots in for a takedown to mix it up. Makdessi stuffs it and lands a nice right hand, before Bahamondes starts pouring on pressure and lands a big one-two. Bahamondes lands another nice left hand that sends Makdessi backwards but they continue to stand in a phonebox and trade for the remainder of the round in what was a brilliant fight. Another very close round, I don’t know how to call it. 29-28 either way, I lean to Bahamondes.

Mateusz Gamrot def Scott Holtzman via Knockout, Round 2 (1:22)

Good start to the round from both guys, with Gamrot looking to land from range to set up his takedowns while Holtzman is looking to counter with heavy punches. Gamrot steps in for a takedown and grabs the leg and tries to go for a heel hook but Holtzman defends it well. Gamrot lands a nice left but Holtzman responds with a huge left hand on his way in! Gamrot responds with a couple of left hands again and then goes for single leg again and transitions to a double leg to get the takedown against the cage. Gamrot allows him back up and throws a huge elbow to the ear that wobbles Holtzman towards the end of the round. 10-9 Gamrot.

Holtzman comes out very aggressive and starts walking Gamrot down, but he’s loading up his attacks with big uppercuts and overhands. Gamrot moving side to side to stay out of the way and he throws a big one two down the middle which folds Holtzman! He jumps on and lands a couple more shots before the referee gets in and waves it off. Huge win for Gamrot!

Joe Solecki def Jim Miller via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Very positive start from Solecki as he looks to be first in the striking exchanges between the two, but Miller just misses with his big left hand. Nice calf kick lands from Miller but Solecki is coming forward and landing nice short flurries of punches. Big right hand lands and forces Miller to think twice but then the veteran lands a nice body kick. Solecki shoots in for a takedown but Miller stuffs it and ends up on top, so Solecki goes into full guard and starts defending. Miller is landing some nice short elbows from the top position and stacking Solecki up to prevent him from being able to get back to his feet easily. Miller misses with an elbow as the rounds ends, probably a Miller round because of the top control. 10-9 Miller.

Solecki comes out aggressive in the second round and lands a nice right hand before shooting in for the takedown. Miller looks to defend it but Solecki takes the legs from under him and moves into full guard. Now it’s Solecki looking to stack Miller against the cage and throw some ground and pound, but Miller is staying busy from his back too. A few body shots from Solecki as he looks to wear Miller down heading into the final 90 seconds of the round. Not much action in this round but Solecki controlled it and takes the round. 19-19 going into the final round.

Both men see the route to victory as being on top and so immediately they both move into a clinch position. Solecki the physically stronger guy right now and gets a body lock, which Miller tries to roll through from but Solecki holds on and ends up on top once again. Solecki throwing short shots on the ground from half guard but Miller is trying to get back to his feet now rather than accepting the position. Solecki doing really well to control the position now and just doing enough damage to stop the fight from being stood back up. Solecki maintains the position for the rest of the round to secure what should be a straight forward decision win.

MAIN CARD

Daniel Rodriguez def Mike Perry via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Tense start to this one with both men respecting the power of their opponent early on. Perry throws a few le kicks and Rodriguez is throwing his jab well and has already busted up the nose. Rodriguez throws a big one-two down the middle that staggers Perry but he continues to come forward to look for a finish. Rodriguez is landing big one-twos at will and Perry is getting pieced up, so he changes levels and powers through with a takedown. He lifts Rodriguez up and slams him down but Rodriguez holding on for a guillotine which Perry does well to defend against and avoid. Perry stays in top position and works for some ground and pound to see the round out. Perry still in it, but that’s a Rodriguez round for me. 10-9.

Second round and Rodriguez is doing really well on the feet, with his jab landing at will and the left hand following up behind it cleanly too. Perry is throwing some nice leg kicks and is just struggling to be first with the punches because of the range difference. Perry gets a body lock and looks for a takedown which he gets, then tries to transition onto Rodriguez’s back, but Rodriguez does well to stay strong and get back up pretty quickly. Rodriguez continues to land the jab and left straight at will, but Perry is still standing in front of him and throwing shots of his own. Big right hook, left hand from Rodriguez lands clean. Perry comes forward looking for a takedown with 20 seconds to go but Rodriguez defends it well to claim the round again. 20-18 Rodriguez.

Final round and the pattern continues, as Rodriguez lines up the jab and takes the centre of the cage. Perry is struggling to land anything of note because he keeps getting pummelled every time he tries to go first. Perry shoots for a takedown but Rodriguez denies it again and shrugs him off in the clinch. Rodriguez throws three huge left hands in an exchange but Perry is still taking the punishment and trying to come forward. Perry’s face is so busted up right now and at this point it’s just about not getting finished as Rodriguez shoots in for a takedown but Perry stuffs it to see the round out with a big exchange. 30-27 Rodriguez, excellent performance.

Mackenzie Dern def Nina Nunes via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (4:48)

Fast start to the fight from Dern as she charges forward throwing big punches with a couple landing but Nunes responds with a couple of her own. Dern charges forward again and lands a nice left hand, but Nunes throws a good right hand to counter it too. Dern shoots in for a takedown against the cage and lifts the leg high then sweeps the standing leg and dumps her down. She immediately works to advance the position and threatens with a leg attack to pass into half guard. From half guard she quickly moves into mount and starts raining down elbows from the top. She transitions into an armbar position and despite Nunes’ best attempts to defend it, Dern extends the arm and gets the tap out.

Julian Marquez def Sam Alvey via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (2:07)

Pretty tame opening to the round as Marquez takes the centre early and looks to figure out his range by flicking out his lead hand. Neither men throw anything really for the first two minutes barring a couple of missed hooks. Alvey is loading up big with his left hand and it’s allowing Marquez to avoid it well. Marquez lands a big right hook clean and Alvey is hurt. Marquez goes in again and lands two more that drops Alvey but he falls into Marquez and quickly recovers. Two more big right hands land from Marquez but Alvey just about stays standing and now throws a huge left of his own. Alvey is all the way back against the cage and just trying to hit Marquez on his way in but he’s missing wildly. 10-9 Marquez at the end of the round.

More of the same in the second round as Marquez backs Alvey up and lands a nice body shot, but Alvey explodes forward and lands a nice right hand of his own. Marquez throws an overhand right that lands clean on Alvey’s chin but he’s still there throwing his own heat. Marquez lands a huge right hand that drops Alvey and he goes all in for the finish with big strikes. Alvey looks to defend with a takedown but he’s eating big shots. Marquez abandons the strikes and goes for a rear-naked choke and puts Alvey to sleep for the win. Great performance.

Arnold Allen def Sodiq Yusuff via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Good start for Allen as Yusuff comes forward and throws a body kick which he catches and immediately gets a takedown. Yusuff does well to defend well against the cage and hooks up a guillotine choke that forces Allen to roll to his back and abandon the takedown attempt. Yusuff comes forward and is chopping away at the leg of Allen, but both men are throwing heat. Allen lands a big left hand but Yusuff keeps coming and clinches up. Allen lands a big left hand that drops Yusuff and he moves in to take top position but Yusuff does well to recover and avoid further damage. Allen goes for a takedown against the cage but it’s defended well and the round comes to an end with a nice exchange in the centre. 10-9 Allen.

Yusuff continues to push the pace and pressuring forward, but Allen is threatening with the big left hand once again. Yusuff lands some nice chopping leg kicks again and Yusuff is starting to land with his jab. He’s starting to touch Allen more and more, then Allen throws a huge head-kick that rocks him! Allen slips as it lands but he jumps back up and goes to land some ground and pound, but Yusuff recovers well once again and they get back to competing in the middle. Clinch against the cage and Allen is physically stronger and able to dictate the position more, and he sees out the round in control. 20-18 Allen.

Good start from Allen as he looks to back Yusuff up to the cage with his physicality and shoot for takedowns, but Yusuff refusing to accept it and defending really well. He switches the position on the cage and lands some nice knees to the body of Allen before they separate and go back into the centre. Lots of short exchanges and clinch work against the cage for the rest of the round as Yusuff arguably takes the round but it won’t be enough for a win. 29-28 Allen for me, very competitive fight.

Marvin Vettori def Kevin Holland via Unanimous Decision (50-44 x3)

Holland makes a fast start throwing some leg kicks and big right hands but early on he lands a low blow to cause a pause in the action. Vettori comes in tight for the clinch after the action resumes, but Holland is striking from range and lands a heavy right hand. Vettori finally gets a body lock and clinch against the cage to start wearing on Holland, but he defends the attempted trip well which forces Vettori to change to a double leg. Holland defends it well again and Vettori separates, but he’s right in Holland’s face and applying lots of pressure. Vettori is able to drag Holland down to the ground, but Holland starts throwing up-kicks to try and create space to get up to his feet. Vettori is able to get full guard and starts applying lots of pressure and looking to land ground and pound. Holland is able to roll through and gets back to the feet, but then eats a big left hand. Good first round from both, very close to score. 10-9 Vettori for me but could go either way.

Holland comes out fast once again and lands some sharp punches and straight kicks but Vettori is trying to close the distance earlier this time. Holland lands a big one-two but Vettori eats it, slips a shot and then shoots in for another takedown against the cage. He gets him down quickly this time and avoids the guillotine attempt to go into full guard and land big ground and pound strikes. Vettori starts stacking Holland against the cage and raining down strikes, completely dominant. Holland tries to kick out of it but Vettori controls the position well and gets right back to work with the ground and pound from the top position. More strikes from Vettori opens up a cut on Holland’s face and he tries to scramble out but Vettori just controls his position even once Holland gets back to his feet to end the round. 20-17.

Holland’s left eye is closing up but he’s battling on and Vettori comes out like a freight train and looks to go straight for the takedown again. He gets it quickly and then moves into mount almost immediately. He looks to set up an arm triangle submission and locks it in tight, but Holland doesn’t tap and is able to escape from the bottom to get back up to his feet. Vettori goes straight back for the takedown again but Holland does well to avoid it. Holland lands a couple of nice strikes standing but then once again Vettori changes levels, clinches against the cage and controls the position. Holland lands a couple of huge strikes that seem to wobble Vettori a little but the buzzer goes. 30-26 Vettori.

Big early left hand lands at the start of the fourth for Vettori, but Holland responds with a couple of big hooks of his own. Vettori shoots in for a takedown and gets it down pretty easily once again and goes straight into full guard to land some ground and pound. Vettori looks to stack Holland who rolls through to avoid it and gets back to full guard. Holland is able to get back to the feet after a short scramble but very quickly Vettori is able to drag him back down and goes straight into mount. He looks for the arm triangle submission again, but Holland stays calm and takes it back to half guard. Vettori lands some heavy strikes and then goes back into full guard before passing into half guard again. Vettori tries to stack him and Holland starts throwing up-kicks again but Vettori is just too strong and sees out the round on top. 40-35 Vettori.

Holland still looks fresh and lands a bomb of a right hand that gets Vettori’s attention, so the Italian changes levels and gets the takedown immediately and goes into full guard. Holland kicks off the cage and finds a way to get back to the feet but once again Vettori just locks his hands, finds an angle and drags him back down to the mat. Vettori steps over into half guard and starts throwing some more ground and pound with Holland fighting off his back. Vettori steps over into mount once again looking to set up the arm triangle choke, but Holland explodes back up to his feet. Vettori holds the body lock once again though and drags the fight to the mat again with 40 seconds to go and he sees the round out in control. 50-44 Vettori, pure domination.

UFC Vegas 23: Vettori vs Holland – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex after a short break for a short-notice middleweight main event bout that looks to clear up the top of the division.

Marvin Vettori was scheduled to fight Darren Till, but a training injury for the Brit means Kevin Holland has stepped in just three weeks after his last fight to take another chance at the main event. A win for Vettori will go a long way to him proving he deserves a title shot and rematch against Israel Adesanya, but Holland has his own point to prove after his defeat to Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.

Elsewhere on the card, Nina Nunes (formerly known as Ansaroff) makes her return to the octagon after giving birth last year when she takes on another new mother in Mackenzie Dern in a fight high up on the strawweight rankings too.

Last time out at UFC 260, we went 8/10 on the night to improve our record to 270/426 (63.38%) with 121 perfect picks (44.81%).

With a belting 14 fights on the card, we’ve split it up into three sections and having already predicted the early prelims here and the rest of the prelims here, we now move onto the main card.


Mike Perry (14-7) vs Daniel Rodriguez (13-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The ever colourful Mike Perry makes his return to the octagon after losing three of his last four, when he takes on Daniel ‘D-Rod’ Rodriguez in the welterweight division.

Perry bounced back from a two-fight losing streak with a dominant win over Mickey Gall at UFC Vegas 4 before getting outstruck by Tim Means at UFC 255, while Rodriguez had won nine in a row including a stunning knockout over Dwight Grant at UFC Vegas 7 before dropping a decision to Nicolas Dalby at UFC 255 also.

‘Platinum’ is a striker with powerful punches and a pretty decent wrestling game, but despite being naturally talented when it comes to fighting he just doesn’t care. He’s had issues with alcohol and dieting in the past and now he comes up against a man who hits harder and is taking this game very seriously.

Rodriguez has crazily heavy hands but Perry has an iron chin and both guys have got some deficiencies in their cardio but it’s hard to pick Perry when you don’t know which version will turn up. He hasn’t knocked anyone out since 2017 and I think Rodriguez does enough to get a decision win.
PICK – Daniel Rodriguez via Decision

Nina Nunes (10-6) vs Mackenzie Dern (10-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A battle of the mothers in the strawweight division as Nina Nunes (formerly Ansaroff) returns from child birth to take on Mackenzie Dern.

Nunes has won four in a row in the build up to her last fight before getting outworked by Tatiana Suarez back in June 2019, while Dern has won three in a row by submitting Hannah Cifers and then Randa Markos at UFC Vegas 11 before beating Virna Jandiroba in a decision at UFC 256.

Nunes has tremendous wrestling and cardio and throws some really good combinations with her hands, while Dern is a jiu-jitsu master who has started working on her kickboxing game. The striking still needs work and she will need to get the fight to the ground to stand a chance of winning and I back Nunes to be able to keep the fight standing for the longest period because Dern’s takedown attempts are awful. If the fight goes down it’s Dern’s to lose.
PICK – Mackenzie Dern via Submission, Round 2

Sam Alvey (33-14-1) vs Julian Marquez (8-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

‘Smilin’ Sam Alvey returns to the middleweight division to take on the man who gave Miley Cyrus a shoutout last time out Julian Marquez. Alvey is winless in his last five, losing four in a row before a draw with Da Un Jung at UFC 254, while Marquez returned after nearly three years out with a memorable submission win over Maki Pitolo at UFC 258 earlier this year.

Alvey has good takedown defence and a good right hook counter, but other than that he tends to just wait for a chance to land it and is hilariously bad to watch in the cage. Marquez on the other hand loves absolute chaos and throws big punches in bunch with wild aggression, who has pretty decent submissions too.

The likelihood is that Alvey will land his big right hand at some point, but with 20lbs of less power behind it against a young fighter with a sturdy chin, I don’t think it gets the job done. That means Marquez can go crazy as he loves to and I think he’s able to get a stoppage win.
PICK – Julian Marquez via Knockout, Round 1

Arnold Allen (16-1) vs Sodiq Yusuff (11-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An absolute banger of a featherweight bout between England’s Arnold Allen and another hot prospect in Sodiq Yusuff. Allen has won nine in a row including wins over Gilbertz Melendez and Nick Lentz most recently while Yusuff is on a six-fight win streak himself. Both make their first appearances since January 2020.

Yusuff is a tremendously powerful striker, who has great calf kicks and a very solid overhand right while Allen is a really good, well-rounded fighter who has split his knockout and submission wins at 5/4. Allen is a really good pressure fighter and opts for volume over power, using those combinations to close distance and get takedowns.

Yusuff is one of the most powerful fighters in the division and he does a good job of landing accurate strikes, so if he can take Allen’s takedowns away from him he has a great chance of landing those heavy strikes and moving into the rankings with a big win.
PICK – Sodiq Yusuff via Knockout, Round 2

Marvin Vettori (16-4-1) vs Kevin Holland (21-6) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

The main event is between one very underrated middleweight contender in Marvin Vettori against the ‘big mouth’ of Kevin Holland, who steps in just 21 days after his last fight. Vettori stepped in on late notice against Jack Hermansson at UFC Vegas 16 to outwork him for a decision win, while Holland went 5-0 in 2020 before being dominated by Derek Brunson just three weeks ago at UFC Vegas 22.

Vettori has good power in his hands but his best work comes when he gets hold of you, takes you down and lands ground and pound from top position. Holland has got genuine one-punch knockout power on the feet, or his back if you ask Jacare Souza, but he struggles against wrestlers who know how to control him from the top.

Vettori is one of those fighters, who has a good chin but is just efficient in all his movements. If Holland comes in with the same antics he did against Brunson where he plays up to the camera then he will get punished, but if he comes in focused and with a solid game plan he could land big punches on Vettori’s way in to put him out.

That seems highly unlikely to me though, because Vettori just doesn’t waste any chances and knows exactly how to get the job done. Vettori gets takedowns, beats Holland up for 25 minutes and then calls out Israel Adesanya for a rematch.
PICK – Marvin Vettori via Decision

UFC 255: Figueiredo vs Perez – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Sasha Palatnikov def Louis Cosce via Knockout, Round 3 (2:47)

What a round! Cosce comes out super aggressive but Palatnikov does well to use his kicks and attempt to slow him down. Palatnikov shoots for a takedown and Cosce defends well with a guillotine attack. Both men get to their feet and start swinging haymakers and Cosce catches a body kick attempt and starts throwing big punches. Palatnikov attempts a forward roll to escape but Cosce holds on and starts throwing haymakers again and he’s hurt him! Big punches go close to ending the fight but Palatnikov recovers and starts hurting Cosce back! Wild exchanges have both men hurt but Cosce is now exhausted! Spinning back first by Palatnikov lands flush as the round ends. 10-9 Palatnikov for me but could be either way.

Second round is much more composed by both fighters as Cosce is still trying to recover from an energy sapping opening round. Palatnikov throwing lots of combinations and landing big strikes, trying to put Cosce out but he’s showing real heart and determination to stick it out. A low blow from Cosce puts a pause in the action and allows Cosce a chance to recover but Palatnikov’s striking is giving him a big edge here. 20-18 Palatnikov.

Final round and Palatnikov comes out more calm and considered this time around, trying to stay away from the inevitable onslaught. Nice body kicks and a snapping jab while he continues to dominate the clinch with knees to the body. Another low blow from Cosce causes a pause in the action once again. Palatnikov comes out after the restart with a quick pace against the tired Cosce with more body attacks. A lazy takedown attempt from Cosce is defended well and then Palatnikov gets up to his feet and starts landing bombs on a downed Cosce! Cosce moving his head but not defending well and the referee steps in and ends it! What a win for Palatnikov!

Kyle Daukaus def Dustin Stoltzfus via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Very tactical start to the fight between both guys with Daukaus looking to use his big frame to use his range well. A big left hand lands by Daukaus and the two end up clinching against the cage trying to apply their grappling game. Daukaus eventually gets a takedown after lots of 50/50 positions and a scramble sees them in an interesting position with their legs tangled on the ground at the end of the round. 10-9 Daukaus but interesting nonetheless.

Second round is much more of the same, with Daukaus dominating the striking exchanges but Stoltzfus holding his own in the grappling realm of the fight. An accidental low blow from Daukaus causes a brief pause in the fight. Daukaus using his jab and a big left hand well as the action resumes but they tie each other up against the cage and battle it out there for the remainder of the round. 20-18 Daukaus.

Final round and the pattern continues at the start of it as Daukaus goes for the big left hand before a clinch ensues against the cage. Daukaus stuffs the takedown attempt from Stoltzfus and lands some big shots while he’s down! He throws a few bombs and then stands up to force Stoltzfus back to his feet. More big shots with the left hand and he continues to deny the takedown attempts to completely dominate the round. He threatens with a guillotine and ends up trying to lock up a d’arce choke with 30 seconds to go but Stoltzfus survives until the bell. Impressive performance.

Alan Jouban def Jared Gooden via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Very fun opening round between these two as Gooden looks to take Jouban’s head off with big hooks and Jouban responds with heavy left body kicks and some nice right check-hooks of his own. Jouban showing great head movement and footwork, mostly avoiding the big shots of Gooden. Gooden lands a big right hand and follows with an accidental headbutt that the referee misses and has caused Jouban’s eye to swell up. 10-9 Jouban.

Jouban comes out in the second round continuing to be aggressive and goes for the body kicks early but Gooden is throwing less haymakers and more pop shots. A nice right hand lands and wobbles Jouban but he stays calm and composed. Jouban starts to make a comeback with some big punches of his own and wobbles Gooden with a big right hook! Jouban goes for the kill but Gooden survives well as we head into the final round. 20-18 Jouban.

Final round and Gooden knows he is down on the scorecards, so he comes out very aggressively. He takes the centre of the cage and starts head hunting, landing left hooks on the closed eye of Jouban. Jouban still throwing big body kicks and doing well to avoid too much damage but Gooden continues to come forward. A big exchange of punches leads to Gooden shooting for a takedown and Jouban sinks in a guillotine as he hits the mat. 30 seconds to go and he hold the position but isn’t squeezing yet and then with 15 seconds to go, ramps up the pressure. A big squeeze almost puts Gooden out cold but the buzzer goes to save him a stoppage and it’ll go to the cards.

PRELIMS

Nicolas Dalby def Daniel Rodriguez via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

A very intriguing opening round between these two fighters as Dalby takes a traditional wide-base stance and bounces around a lot early on. Rodriguez is looking to move in and land big punches but Dalby is switching stances and using his front leg well to keep distance. Dalby throws a big one-two that lands flush on Rodriguez and wobbles him but ‘D-Rod’ recovers very quickly. Head kick by Dalby lands too and he is doing really well to stay out of range. Rodriguez lands a nice left hand and starts chasing for the punches and ends the round well. 10-9 Dalby.

Much more aggressive start to the round for Rodriguez as he comes out, takes the centre and forces Dalby against the cage. Some nice jabs and straight lefts before a takedown attempt is defended well by Dalby. Dalby then shoots for a takedown of his own but Rodriguez defends well this time. Dalby misses with a few head kick attempts but starts landing some nice inside leg kicks. Another takedown attempt from Dalby forces Rodriguez against the cage but he defends well and the buzzer ends the round. 19-19 but very close round.

Slower final round as both guys come out clearly quite tired. Rodriguez is throwing single punches and leg kicks while Dalby is continuing with the game plan to dart in and out using kicks and jabs. There’s not much action other than that, but it’s Dalby who has the upper hand and probably wins the round. 29-28 overall to Dalby for me but it could go either way.

Antonina Shevchenko def Ariane Lipski via Knockout, Round 2 (4:33)

Both ladies come out and swing big punches early before clinching up. Lipski looks to block a throw attempt from Shevchenko and they end up against the cage once again. Both women throwing knees and elbows before Shevchenko lands a nice takedown against the fence. Lipski tries to sweep to take the back but Shevchenko does well to control the position and land some nice shots before the round ends. 10-9 Shevchenko.

Second round and Lipski looks to stand and strike and lands a big right hook to the eye that troubles Shevchenko immediately. Shevchenko forces a clinch and a trip and immediately ends up in top position where she remains for the remainder of the round. She lands ground and pound and passes guard with complete ease constantly. Lipski in real trouble as Shevchenko moves into full mount and starts absolutely smashing ground and pound strikes until the referee stops. What a performance.

Joaquin Buckley def Jordan Wright via Knockout, Round 2 (0:18)

Buckley rushes across the octagon early and engages in a clinch as Wright does well to hold his own. Some big looping strikes land from Buckley but Wright is doing well to move his head off the centre line for the most part. Some nice kicks land and he’s popping his jab well. Buckley explodes with a big hook and lands! He drops Wright and Wright is in big trouble! Some big ground and pound shots but the bell saves him! Very, very lucky to see a second round. 10-9 Buckley.

Second round starts and Wright still looks rocked. Buckley lands two big left hands down the middle and then a big hook that knocks Wright out cold! What a performance and another highlight reel knockout.

Brandon Moreno def Brandon Royval via Knockout, Round 1 (4:59)

What a round! Both guys come flying out of the traps with fast exchanges and strong strikes. Royval goes for a spinning elbow attack but Moreno avoids it and takes the back of Royval. He gets the fight down to the ground and looks to sink in a rear-naked choke but it turns into a nasty neck crank. It’s in tight but Royval refuses to tap and breaks the grip before escaping into full guard. A big scramble on the ground leads to a yell of pain from Royval and Moreno gets heavy on top and starts blasting him with ground and pound which forces the referee to stop the fight with a second to go in the round.

After the fight it’s spotted that Royval’s shoulder dislocated during the scramble, hence the lack of defence from the ground and pound.

MAIN CARD

Paul Craig def Mauricio Rua via Knockout, Round 2 (3:36)

Fast pace start to the fight as Shogun comes out with big shots and Craig looks to manage distance with a Muay-Thai stance and throws some nice kicks. Craig shoots for a takedown and gets it fairly easily to get the fight to the ground and proceeds to control with his excellent grappling. Shogun eventually reverses the position and ends up on top and the round ends with Craig looking to reverse. 10-9 Craig.

Second round and Craig is coming with a very wrestle-heavy approach. Shogun landing a few shots but Craig ducks and takes the fight down to the ground once again. Craig gets in double hooks as he takes the back and looks for submissions. Shogun defends the submission well but gets flattened out and Craig starts smashing him with big punches that forces the legend to tap to strikes. Great performance.

Katlyn Chookagian def Cynthia Calvillo via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A very tactical start to this round as Chookagian looks to stay at range and use her jab and kicking game. Calvillo catches a kick and gets a takedown early but Chookagian gets right up to her feet. The rest of the round is a jab and kick test and while there isn’t much action everything happens in Chookagian’s comfort zone. 10-9 Chookagian.

Second round is more of the same as Chookagian is using her length well to just pop jabs off at Calvillo’s face. Calvillo lands a nice left hook twice that lands clean but she has a cut on her nose and some swelling under her eye from the jab. Excellent footwork from Chookagian who is just moving in and out of range at will and picking her shots. 20-18 Chookagian.

Final round and it’s more of the same from both fighters for the final five minutes. Chookagian continuing to just pick her off at will with superior striking and kickboxing skills. Calvillo goes for a clinch but Chookagian pushes her away with ease, showing a clear physical advantage. Not much action throughout the bout but should be a comfortable decision win for Chookagian.

Tim Means def Mike Perry via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

A very intriguing opening round as Mike Perry shows off his grappling skills early on. Means lands a few nice jabs and Perry opts to shoot for the takedown against the cage. A nice body lock gets the fight down and Perry passes his guard and then eventually takes his back. Perry nice and calm on Means’ back and looks to sink in a rear-naked choke but Means fights it well and ends up on top before getting back to the feet. Means spends the rest of the round landing his jab at will but it’s a Perry round. 10-9.

Second round is more tactical from Means, who is using his jab well and much more aware of the takedown threat now. He’s starting to work the body more too but Perry is landing his right hook well too. Perry lands a huge right hand that wobbles Means but he looks to go for the takedown instead of more strikes and allows Means to recover. Big lead elbow by Means cracks Perry in the nose and they exchange more punches and elbows as the round comes to an end. 19-19, great fight.

Final round and Perry comes out looking to use his physical advantage to get another takedown. Means defends well against the cage and breaks away to land some nice punches. Calm approach from both suddenly disappears as the two start exchanging haymakers in the centre of the cage, both landing big hooks and crosses flush to the chin. Means shoots for a takedown to move the fight against the cage and break it up a bit. Final minute and Perry lands a big right hand before Means responds with an elbow. Both men end the round with another crazy exchange in the pocket. What a great fight!

Valentina Shevchenko def Jennifer Maia via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x3)

Interesting start to the round as both women exchange short flurries of strikes before Shevchenko gets hold of Maia and throws her to the mat, ending up in full guard. Maia ties up the guard as Shevchenko stays patient and lands some short shots and some elbows in ground and pound. Pretty chill round, 10-9 Shevchenko.

A very, very interesting second round as Maia controls the round. Another clinch but this time it’s Maia who controls the position against the cage and eventually she gets the takedown. She controls the position entirely for the round and gets in some offence too to take the second round for herself. 19-19.

Third round and Shevchenko opens up with two big left hands that land flush on Maia’s chin. Maia fires back with a right hand of her own and clinches against the cage. Shevchenko breaks away and then lands two more big shots that wobble Maia! They clinch up again and Shevchenko lands a heavy takedown and ends up in side control. Maia gets back up to her feet before one more takedown by Shevchenko as the round ends with ‘Bullet’ in top position. 29-28 Shevchenko.

Into the championship rounds and Shevchenko lands some big left hands once again. She throws a right hook, wraps in a body lock and takes the fight down to the ground again. She spends the entire round in top position landing strikes from the top, mainly to the body to take this round too. 39-37 Shevchenko.

Final round and Maia charges across the cage looking for a clinch early on to try and get a takedown. Shevchenko defends excellently and then lands a flurry of strikes that bust up the nose of the challenger. Maia tries again for a clinch but Shevchenko is defending perfectly now and landing big, heavy shots on the break. Into the final minute now and Maia lands a front kick to the face but Shevchenko eats it. Spinning back fist misses as the Maia goes for a final takedown attempt but the buzzer goes. 49-46 Shevchenko for me, pretty straight forward win.

Deiveson Figueiredo def Alex Perez via Submission, Round 1 (1:57)

A fast start to the fight as both men meet in the middle and throw big body kicks but miss. Perez moves in quickly and throws some nice shots but they all miss, then Figueiredo lands a body kick. Two big kicks from Perez and then he shoots for a single leg takedown, but Figueiredo keeps it standing. Perez tries to get the back but Figueiredo spirals around the leg and looks for a knee bar which leads to a scramble. Figueiredo turns on the ground mid-scramble and sinks in a deep guillotine and secures the tap! Wow! Figueiredo is the real deal.

UFC 255: Figueiredo vs Perez – Main Card Predictions

The flyweights take over the UFC Apex on Saturday night as both Deiveson Figueiredo and Valentina Shevchenko defend their 125lbs titles at UFC 255.

Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Alex Perez looks to become the first contestant from the show to wear UFC gold, but Figueiredo will be looking to begin his reign of terror on the division. Shevchenko on the other hand is looking for a fourth consecutive title defence when she takes on Jennifer Maia in the co-main event, with her legacy as the greatest female 125lber ever on the line too.

A twelve fight card looks full of fun fights and prospects too, with seven prelims fights preceding a stacked main card.

Last week was a poor outing for our predictions, as we got just 5/9 correct picks with four perfect picks. It takes our overall pick numbers to 168/252 (66.67%) with 78 perfect picks (46%) since starting up our predictions back in June 2020.

Lets see if we can improve those numbers with this big card. I’ve already predicted the prelims here, so we move on with the main card now.

MAIN CARD

Mauricio Rua (27-11-1) vs Paul Craig (13-4-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

The rematch nobody wanted or needed to see, but it’s happening. These two met back in November 2019 and fought to a draw. Since then Craig has submitted Gadzhimurad Antigulov on Fight Island in July, while ‘Shogun’ got a win over Antonio Nogueira on the same card. Craig will almost certainly look to get this fight to the ground, with 12 submissions wins from 13 career victories. ‘Shogun’ Rua is a black belt in jiu-jitsu but he isn’t active off his back and prefers to just crack jaws if he can help it. It’s a tough one to call considering how the first fight went but I think Craig can get it done this time. He dominated the first round in that fight and if he can do it again this time, I think he gets the finish.
PICK – Paul Craig via Submission, Round 1

Katlyn Chookagian (14-4) vs Cynthia Calvillo (9-1-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A good fight between two top contenders in the women’s flyweight division. Chookagian fought for the title and was beaten to a pulp before bouncing back with a win over her sister, Antonina Shevchenko. Last month though, she was beaten thanks to a nasty body shot by Jessica Andrade as she looked to climb back up the rankings. Calvillo made her debut in the division back in June with a big win over then ranked #1 Jessica Eye. Chookagian is a kickboxer by trade, who can clinch if she needs to as she showed against Andrade. She’s going to need her grappling skills in this one as Calvillo will look to get the fight to the ground and dominate with her excellent top game and chokes. Chookagian will look to use her kicks to stop Calvillo getting into range but she is capable of boxing her way into that range to get the clinch and takedown. It will be close with not many highlights but I think Calvillo takes the decision.
PICK – Cynthia Calvillo via Decision

Mike Perry (14-6) vs Tim Means (30-12-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

This was supposed to be a wild battle between Mike Perry and Robbie Lawler, but when ‘Ruthless’ dropped out it fell to the veteran Tim Means to step up to the plate. Perry won his last bout with a dominant decision over Mickey Gall in June while Means got a decision win over Laureano Staropoli in August. Perry is essentially a street fighter, with looping hooks and big kicks his main fortรฉ. Means is primarily a Muay-Thai fighter who throws nice combinations, including elbows and knees. His issue is that he is very open to having his lights turned out with one punch, and Perry has the power to do that. He’s also got a fantastic chin, but has a four inch reach disadvantage. I think it goes the distance and it could honestly go either way, but I’m going with my gut with Means.
PICK – Tim Means via Decision

Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) vs Jennifer Maia (18-6-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

This is the lock of the night. Shevchenko is the greatest female flyweight fighter of all time and has a complete skillset when it comes to mixed martial arts. Her expert kickboxing technique keeps her at range from her opponents, while her wrestling skills mean she can mix it up whenever she needs too. Maia is a jiu-jitsu fiend, who got a big win in her last outing against Joanne Calderwood back in August to get this bout with a first round submission win. For her to get a win here, she needs a takedown into a dominant position then enough time to sink something in. The chances of that are incredibly slim though and I think Shevchenko beats her up on the feet for a couple of rounds before landing one of her trademark head kicks to end it early.
PICK – Valentina Shevchenko via Knockout, Round 3

Deiveson Figueiredo (19-1) vs Alex Perez (24-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The most powerful striker in the division’s history, Figueiredo will be throwing bombs early in this one. Alex Perez is a very impressive grappler with fantastic cardio and submission skills, winning his last three in row including his last bout against Jussier Formiga in June. His only loss in the UFC came against Joseph Benavidez, when he was KO’d back in November 2018. His style is eerily similar to that of Benavidez, which doesn’t bode well against Figueiredo. Figueiredo destroyed Benavidez in both of his last bouts. ‘God of War’ is a vicious striker who is also very good on the ground himself. The power is scary enough but Perez’s way out is blocked by the fact he’s matched on the ground too. Perez’s best chance of a win is if Figueiredo makes a mistake which I don’t see happening. Figueiredo lands a huge hook or two and ends this one early and violently.
PICK – Deiveson Figueiredo via Knockout, Round 1

UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs Hooker – Results (Highlights)

PRELIMS

Youssef Zelal def Jordan Griffin via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

First round begins with Griffin coming out aggressively looking for hard strikes quickly. A few connect but Zelal uses good footwork to move away mostly. Griffin shoots for the takedown and gets it but Zelal gets to his feet quickly. Griffin continues to push forward as Zelal returns fire in a fairly even round. 10-9 Griffin.

‘The Moroccan Devil’ comes out quicker in this rounds and lands some hard strikes as Griffin looks like he’s tiring already. Zelal throwing knees whenever Griffin shoots for takedowns and is landing nice combos against the cage. Good exchanges that Zelal is getting the better of and he’s taking this round back. 19-19.

Third round now and Griffin is visibly tiring. He shoots for the takedown early and gets it but once again Zelal gets up very quickly. Some more combos land from Zelal and a big knee. Griffin constantly shooting for takedowns but Zelal getting back up every time. Zelal is completely out-striking Griffin in this fight but Griffin is pushing forward for takedowns. Will be tough for the judges to score.

Kay Hansen def Jinh Hu Frey via Submission (Round 3, 2:26)

Fight starts with both ladies feeling each other out, Hansen goes in for a takedown but Frey stuffs it and lands a big left hand that stuns her. Hansen does well to recover and they continue to feel each other out. Hansen more wary to engage now but lands a couple of decent shots. Frey looks like she’s relying on a big left-hand but can’t quite land it flush. A slow first round ends, likely a 10-9 for Frey.

Round 2 starts slowly again as Frey tries to land some leg kicks. Hansen presses her against the cage and gets a clinch before changing levels and shooting for the takedown. A beautiful trip gets the fight to the ground and Hansen is in top position. Some nice ground and pound from half guard as Hansen is controlling the round now and she keeps threatening to take the neck. She passes to side control and lands some heavy shots to the head and body but Frey doing well to not panic. Frey rolls out as the round comes to an end but Hansen scrambles and gets her back on the ground to end the round. 19-19.

Frey looking hesitant to strike at the start of the third, as Hansen walks forward and lands some nice left hands. Hansen shoots for the takedown and scrambles beautifully to get the fight down and takes the arm. She rolls over for an armbar, extends it and gets the tap-out. Great performance from the 20 year old.

Tanner Boser def Phillipe Lins via TKO (Round 1, 2:41)

Round 1 starts cagily as expected, with Lins trying to take the centre of the Octagon. A few flashes of wild punches but nothing lands too heavily. Boser looks the quicker of the two when they exchange but nothing clean yet. Boser throws a big overhand right hand that lands on the temple of Lins who’s rocked. A flurry of punches drops Lins who’s out cold and Boser lands a few more for good measure before the referee can stop it. Huge knockout win.

Khama Worthy def Luis Pena via Submission (Round 3, 2:52)

Lively start to this one with both fighters fainting and throwing nice strikes early to feel the other out. Worthy clearly the more powerful puncher already, with a lot more snap on his punches but Pena keeping his distance well and landing a few of his own too. Pena shoots for a takedown but Worthy defends it well and the fight goes back to the feet. Not a lot of significant action but this could explode into life at any second. 10-9 Khama.

Pena comes out more aggressively in the first round and lands a kick then goes for a quick takedown. He secures the takedown and jumps over to side control immediately. Pena almost immediately passes to full mount and locks in an arm triangle choke but Khama powers out. Pena lands some strikes from mount and forces Worthy to turn over and takes the back and locks in a body triangle. Pena attacking the neck now and looking for the rear naked choke but Worthy fighting to survive. Khama overpowers Pena and reverses the position and now sits in Pena’s guard but tries to land some ground and pound. Pena switches to an omoplata attempt but Worthy explodes to his feet, but Pena takes him straight back down. Pena secures the back again and goes for the rear naked choke again but the clock runs out on him. 19-19 but that could go down as a potential 10-8 round.

‘Violent Bob Ross’ opens the round with a crane kick and shoots for takedown but Khama sprawls and denies it before landing a lovely straight left-hand. Pena shoots for the takedown again but once again ‘Deathstar’ denies him. Pena starting to land some nice strikes, using his reach well. He pushes his opponent against the cage and shoots, but Worthy defends well. Worthy grabs the neck on his way down and sinks in a guillotine deep! Pena can’t escape and is forced to tap out. What an upset!

MAIN CARD

Julian Erosa def Sean Woodson via Submission (Round 3, 2:44)

Woodson comes out and immediately throws a quick one-two but Erosa evades with good head movement. ‘Sniper’ looks very loose right now and Erosa looking hesitant. Woodson using his long range well and lands a nice straight left hand straight to the chin. Lots of feints from Woodson but not a lot of significant action from either fighter yet. Erosa throwing lots of leg kicks but they’re not really having any effect on Woodson. Erosa starting to close the distance well and gets Woodson against the cage. Some nice knees and punches in the clinch and the round ends in a stalemate. 10-9 Woodson.

Erosa starts the second round with a clinch against the cage and break away with a big elbow. Woodson is looking like he’s tiring now as Erosa presses forward and is pushing him against the cage. Woodson starting to weather the storm now and landing strikes but not much venom behind them. He fakes the right hand and lands a nice knee then follows it up with a straight right hand. Erosa lands a nasty body shot against the cage and continues to press Woodson. Both fighters land big shots and Erosa is starting to get much more aggressive now. ‘Juicy J’ walking forward now and Woodson lands a beautiful jab. Erosa continues to push forward and the buzzer goes on a close round. 19-19.

Round 3 starts with both fighters more aggressive than previously. Leg kicks from Erosa then a big punch from Woodson drops Juicy J. Sniper drops into his guard and lands a few ground and pound strikes but then lets his opponent up. Erosa pushes forward again and shoots for the takedown but Woodson stuffs it well against the cage. Erosa shoots again and gets the takedown then throws him to the mat. He quickly takes the position and locks in a D’Arce choke while standing, drags Woodson to the ground and forces the tap. Huge upset win!

Takashi Sato def Jason Witt via TKO (Round 1, 0:48)

Witt comes out for a fast start to take the centre of the Octagon but Sato looks calm. Sato throws a jab and then follows it up with a big right straight to the chin that drops Witt. Witt tries to recover with a takedown but Sato sprawls and lands some huge punches to the face and the referee calls it in under a minute. Big knockout win for Sato!

Brendan Allen def Kyle Daukaus via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-27)

Daukaus opens the round with a heavy leg kick and and nice left hand. Allen stuffs the takedown and in the clinch lands a huge knee that drops Daukaus! Allen in mount landing heavy ground and pound and looking for a choke but Daukaus is fighting the hands well. Allen takes the back and gets the hooks in, landing more strikes while trying to slide the arm under the chin. Daukaus explodes out of the hooks and gets back to his feet then takes Allen’s back! Daukaus doing brilliantly to control the position and goes for a rear-naked choke of his own but Allen gets his back to the mat and turns over, reversing the position into Daukaus’ guard. A nasty elbow opens up a nasty cut above the eye of Daukaus as the round ends. 10-9 Allen.

Second round begins with Daukaus’ cut still bleeding heavily as Allen gets a takedown. He’s landing more big elbows in the full guard and Daukaus’ looking for something to transition into, but Allen dominating the position currently. Allen goes for a guillotine but Daukaus rolls through and ends up on top in Allen’s guard. Daukaus lands some ground and pound of his own but Allen reverses the position again and lands another huge, nasty elbow from the top. 20-18 Allen.

Both men come out and continue where they’ve left off with a high pace. Daukaus secures top position and lands a nice elbow that starts to close the eye of Allen. Daukaus transitions to the back and locks in a body triangle as he attacks the neck for a rear naked choke. Allen defending very well but Daukaus controlling well. Allen explodes out of the position and reverses the roles and lands a big shot as the round comes to a close. Daukaus’ round but I think Allen takes the decision. 29-28.

Maurice Greene def Gian Villante via Submission (Arm Triangle) – (Round 3, 3:44)

Greene opens the round with several kicks to the body of Villante, keeping his distance and using his reach well early on. Villante circling but not really throwing anything at all, while Greene throws out a few jabs and more kicks. Greene throws a body kick but hits the cup of Villante and the fight is paused. The fight resumes with Villante much more aggressive now, throwing leg kicks and right hands but nothing landing really. Greene throws a head-kick and Villante partially blocks it but still takes some damage. A fairly insignificant round comes to an end, 10-9 Greene but mainly for activity.

More leg kicks from Villante in the second round as both fighters seem content to work at a relatively slow pace. Greene using his reach very well to land but not causing any real damage. Greene lands a nice combo but Villante seems unfazed by it. More leg kicks and Greene is visibly hurting from them, wincing every time one lands. A head kick lands from Villante but Greene eats it and lands a nice jab down the pipe. Greene goes for a one-two but Villante slips it and lands a big left hook of his own. Round ends with nothing significant landing for either fighter. 20-18 Greene, his reach is winning him this fight.

Round 3 Villante throws more leg kicks but Greene tries to check them. Villante lands a nice right hand and Greene feels it but evades any further damage. Greene lands a kick to the thigh and tries to push Villante away but pokes him in the eye and the fight is paused. Fight resumes and Villante lands a big left hand that drops Greene immediately! Villante jumps on Greene and lands huge elbows in full mount but Greene is surviving somehow. Villante lands more big punches but Greene survives and Villante is on top in half-guard. More ground and pound from Gian but he looks like he may have punched himself out. Greene is holding onto Villante from the bottom and out of nowhere Villante taps out! Replays show it was just a squeeze on the neck from the bottom position? It’s been called as an arm triangle though. Crazy ending.

Mike Perry def Mickey Gall via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Perry comes out swinging in the first round, walking Gall down and swinging for the fences. Subtle stance switches but Gall is circling and avoiding the strikes. Big body kick by Gall leads to a clinch but nothing comes of it. Gall lands a nice punch and has opened up a cut over the eye of Perry. Perry lands a big shot as he walks Gall down and he avoids the exchange by circling away. Leg kick by Perry but Gall replies instantly with a straight right hand. Gall using his reach advantage well and making Perry miss. He catches a kick and rushes a takedown attempt, takes the back and slams Gall down. Gall defends it well and Perry transitions to half-guard and finishes the round on top landing some ground and pound strikes. 10-9 Perry.

Second round starts with Gall using his rangy limbs well to land some nice hooks. Gall shoots for the takedown but Perry uses strength to avoid ending up on his back and Gall ends up falling backwards holding a guillotine. Perry defending it well and sits up to land some big ground and pound strikes from top position. Gall goes for a kimura which forces Perry to transition and Gall ands up in control on the feet in the clinch. Gall drops levels for another takedown but Perry defending very well against the cage and threatening a kimura of his own. Perry breaks away from the grappling and the two begin striking again in the centre but no significant punches landing.’Platinum’ still walking Gall down and lands a huge right hand that drops him! Big ground and pound from Perry and he lands two huge elbows on top position as the buzzer goes to end the round. 20-18 Perry.

Perry walking Gall down in this third round and Gall knows he needs a finish. Perry landing big punches to the body and the chin and Gall’s hands lowering as he tires. ‘Platinum’ dominating the final round, stuffing Gall’s takedown and landing a big head-kick. Perry clinches against the cage and Gall tries to roll through but Perry stays on top in half-guard. Perry starts more ground and pound, landing stiff short elbows. ‘Platinum’ advances to a crucifix position and lands more shots but Perry too strong for him and is dominating the grappling exchanges too. Good top pressure and big elbows in the ground and pound as he looks for the finish into the final 30 seconds of the fight. Gall rolls out and throws up a triangle choke with seconds remaining but Perry rolls over and the buzzer goes. Should be a comfortable decision win for Platinum. 30-26 Perry for me.

Dustin Poirier def Dan Hooker via Unanimous Decision (48-47 x2, 48-46)

Both fighters step into the middle of the Octagon and start to feel each other out. Neither one wants to concede the centre so Hooker starts to circle the outside and throw low calf kicks. He’s using his reach well to land jabs and kicks but Poirier is trying to close the range. Poirier lands a nice body kick and a big right hand that rocks Hooker and forces the clinch. Strikes in the clinch from both and Poirier using his superior boxing to stick and move and land the sharper strikes. Both fighters doing damage when they get where they want to be. 10-9 Poirier for me but it could go either way.

Hooker comes out in the second round continuing to throw those kicks to the calf. ‘Diamond’ lands a nice double jab and follows it with a big left hand that rocks Hooker again. Both men start exchanging and Poirier connects with some huge shots but Hooker eats them. A big elbow from Poirier connects again but then Hooker lands a big right hook too. Poirier connecting a lot more now and they’re hurting Hooker but he’s still standing there and firing back. Poirier shoots for a takedown against the cage but Hangman defends it well. Poirier steps in for a combo but Hooker throws up a knee that just misses but then he lands a hook on the break. Hooker throws a one-two that lands clean. Hooker lands a five-punch combo that rocks Poirier but he shoots for the takedown to survive. Hooker stays up and lands a huge combo on the cage and Poirier is hurt but the buzzer goes and maybe saves the referee from needing to make a decision. 19-19. What a round.

Third round starts at a slower pace with both guys still feeling the effects of the last round. Poirier lands a nice right hand but Hooker continues to come forward. Both men take big shots from the other and Hooker shoots for the takedown this time. Poirier takes his neck on the way down and sinks in a tight guillotine. This one looks like it could be over but Hooker pops his head out and survives. Ground and pound in Poirier’s guard as ‘Diamond’ looks for submissions but nothing sticks. Both men get back to their feet and Poirier lands two huge shots but he’s still standing. A few more strikes each and the buzzer goes. 29-28 Hooker thanks to the takedown.

Round four starts with some nice jabs from Poirier and a body kick attempt is caught by Hooker as he forces the fight to the ground. Poirier attempts to jump straight back up but Hooker chases and tries to take his back, good defence from Poirier though. Dustin gets his own takedown and controls the top position, landing heavy blows in the ground and pound. Poirier tries to take the back for a rear-naked choke but slips off the back of Hooker and transitions to an armbar. Poirier extends the arm but Hooker turns the arm to release the pressure and it turns into an omoplata. Poirier hammer-fists Hooker but the New Zealander fights out. 38-38 going into the final round.

Fifth and final round and both men are exhausted. Poirier landing the heavy strikes so far but Hooker still eating them and continuing to walk forward. Hangman shoots for a takedown but it’s stuffed by Poirier and then he lands a big right hand too. Hooker shoots for another takedown and gets it but ‘Diamond’ manages to get back to his feet quickly again and they exchange strikes. Another takedown attempt from Hooker and Poirier defends it well again to stay on the feet. Final minute of the fight and Poirier lands a beautiful uppercut in the clinch. A huge left hand looks like its hurt Hooker but he shoots for a takedown. It’s stuffed by Poirier who goes for a choke then decides to just ground and pound for the final 10 seconds. What a fight. I think Poirier has taken the win. 48-47 Dustin for me.

UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs Hooker – Predictions

The UFC is back once again, with a huge lightweight contender fight main-eventing UFC Fight Night: Vegas 4 this weekend.

Dustin Poirier returns to the Octagon for the first time since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov back in September in a Lightweight title fight, and will take on ‘The Sandman’ Dan Hooker in what could be a contender for Fight of the Year.

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Volkov last week saw us land 6/12 in the picks, with 4 of those 6 absolutely correct (winner, method, round). That leaves our current record at 12/22 with 7 absolutely correct. Lets see if I can do better this week in another strong card.

EARLY PRELIMS

Jordan Griffin (18-7) vs Youssef Zalal (8-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Jordan ‘The Native Psycho’ Griffin was supposed to be fighting two weeks ago against Derrick Minner, but was pulled from the card when his opponent had issues with a weight cut. He returns to the Octagon though following his first win in the promotion last time out to take on submission lover Youssef Zalal. ‘The Moroccan Devil’ is a solid fighter who won his UFC debut as an underdog, fighting strategically against Austin Lingo to take the first decision win of his career. While Griffin loves to brawl and hits very hard, he’s at his best when wrestling – something Zalal has really struggled with in the past. Both are technically sound on the ground so I don’t expect either fighter to get a submission despite their 14 combined wins via tap-out. Griffin is likely to outland and outwrestle Zalal in this one for a decision win. PICK: Jordan Griffin via Unanimous Decision

Jinh Yu Frey (9-4) vs Kay Hansen (6-3) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

It’s old school vs new school in this bout as 35 year old striker Jinh Yu Frey takes on 20 year old jiu-jitsu expert Kay Hansen. Frey will come into the bout having won 3 of her last 4 fights via decision, while Hansen has also won 3 out of her last 4 fights, with two submission wins. The 10th Planet jiu-jitsu fighter’s only loss was a narrow split decision and is one of only three times she’s ever gone the distance. Frey however, has only ever not gone the distance in five professional bouts. Hansen is likely to press forward quickly and try to get this fight to the ground as quickly as possible, knowing she is at a severe disadvantage on the feet. Frey doesn’t have enough power to deter Hansen from coming forward and has had significant trouble in the past against ground experts. I think Hansen gets her first UFC win in this with a well worked ground game plan and lots of threats of submission. PICK: Kay Hansen via Round 2 Submission

Takashi Sato (15-3) vs Jason Witt (17-5) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A short notice bout put together, as Jason Witt steps in on short-notice to fight Takashi Sato at Welterweight. Sato is a striker, who won his UFC debut with a beautiful knockout of Ben Saunders in the second round – before succumbing to the skill of Belal Muhammad and tapping out in his most recent bout. Witt steps in on just 72 hours notice to make his UFC debut following 9 wins from his last 10 fights, including his current four-fight win streak. Sato is a striker predominantly and has 10 wins by knockout, while Witt has 7 submission victories in his career. Witt may struggle with the pace of the fight with such short notice and Sato hits hard. If Witt can keep him down then he could do what Muhammad did to Sato, but I think Sato is a level above his opponent and will get the KO victory. PICK: Takashi Sato via Round 1 Knockout

UFC Fight Night: Wiman v Pena : News Photo
‘Violent Bob Ross’ is back in action at UFC Vegas 4

Luis Pena (8-2) vs Khama Worthy (15-6) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

‘Violent Bob Ross’ is back in the Octagon and violence is on the cards. Following 3 wins in his last 4 fights, he’s been matched up with Khama Worthy who steps in on a six-fight win streak including four finishes. ‘The Deathstar’ is all brute force and power and he will look to exert some of that on his opponent early on. Pena though, is a lanky figure who is technically superior to his opponent. While not a renowned knockout artist, Pena is very durable so as long as he avoids Worthy’s power shot early on, I expect Pena to shoot for a takedown early and dominate from the top position. He could get a submission here, he’s previously won 4 fights that way, or just battle his way through to a comfortable decision win. PICK: Luis Pena via Round 2 Submission

MAIN CARD

Sean Woodson (7-0) vs Julian Erosa (22-8) – (Catchweight/150lbs)

Woodson makes his second Octagon appearance to take on short-notice opponent Julian Erosa. Woodson won his UFC debut, beating Kyle Bochniak via UD back in October, while Erosa makes his return to the organisation. He was cut last year following 3 straight defeats but has been brought back to help fill a hole. ‘The Sniper’ is undefeated and a solid all-round fighter. Erosa is his first test of a higher level though and the catchweight will likely help him in that sense. He’s not really been tested on the ground, something Erosa is certainly capable of doing. ‘Juicy J’ has 9 submission wins on his record, but Woodson’s team have plenty of experience dealing with him from when he fought Grant Dawson. I think Woodson will be able to nullify any takedown attempts and outland Erosa on the feet to score a decision victory. PICK: Sean Woodson via Unanimous Decision

Phillipe Lins (14-4) vs Tanner Boser (17-6-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

In one of the least entertaining fights the UFC could have put together, Lins looks to avenge his UFC debut defeat to Andrei Arlovski last month. He’ll fight ‘The Bulldozer’ who is 1-1 in the UFC, and was serially outstruck by up-and-comer Ciryl Gane in his last bout. Both fighters rely on their stand-up game but work at a particularly slow pace. While Lins is a great finisher once he hurts his opponent, Boser isn’t aggressive in the slightest and will be very patient waiting for openings. There isn’t likely to be many highlights from this fight and I expect the power Lins has to be enough to sway the judges when they score this. PICK: Phillipe Lins via Unanimous Decision

Kyle Daukaus (9-0) vs Brendan Allen (14-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Two up-and-comers go against each other in a dark horse for Fight of the Night. Daukaus is 9-0 with 8 submission victories on his record, while Allen also has 8 submissions on his record but from 14 victories. Daukaus is a D’Arce choke master, with 5 wins with that move. A good striker on the feet, he often throws big combos that end with the left hand and a takedown attempt. Very aggressive with submissions, he looks for the neck at all times and is very quick to synch in a choke. Allen is a better striker than Daukaus and had been preparing for Ian Heinisch, who pulled out this week with injury. Allen knows what he’s doing on the ground and his defence is good, so I think his striking lands him the advantage before a submission win following a knockdown. PICK: Brendan Allen via Submission Round 2

Gian Villante (17-11) vs Maurice Greene (8-4) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Having lost 4 of his last 6 fights, Gian Villante take the step up to Heavyweight to take on TUF contender Maurice Greene. Greene has lost his last two fights, but they came against top prospect Sergei Pavlovich and contender Alexei Oleinik. Villante hasn’t impressed me at all whenever I’ve watched him. 4 of his last 5 fights were a split decision, whether wins or losses, which tells me he doesn’t really do enough to win fights. Greene has plenty of power and will have a big reach and height advantage. Villante has already been KO’d five times in his career and I expect Greene to welcome him to the Heavyweight divsion with a sixth. PICK: Maurice Greene via Knockout Round 1

UFC Fight Night Poirier v Hooker: Weigh-Ins : News Photo
‘Platinum’ Mike Perry will be cornered by his girlfriend in his fight with Mickey Gall

Mike Perry (13-6) vs Mickey Gall (6-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

In the co-main event, ‘Platinum’ looks to make a winning return to the Octagon after five defeats in his last seven bouts, including the last two. After a big decision win over Paul Felder, Perry lost to Donald Cerrone via armbar before bouncing back against Alex Oliveira. He then lost his last two, one a decision to Vicente Luque before he got his lights turned out via a Geoff Neal head kick. Mickey Gall made his name by submitting CM Punk and Sage Northcutt in back-to-back bouts before being beaten by Randy Brown. He got another win against George Sullivan before he had his head taken off by Diego Sanchez. His last fight was a decision win however and he will look to build on that.

Perry has often been labelled as more mouth than action, but he’s a very talented martial artist. A great striker on the feet who carries legitimate power in his hands, he will look to outland Gall. While Gall isn’t a sitting duck on the feet, this is your classic striker vs grappler battle. Gall is great once he’s on the ground but he’s not the best at taking it there, while Perry has a great takedown defence. Perry needs to end this skid he’s on and a big KO win in this one will do it for him. PICK: Mike Perry via Knockout Round 1

Dustin Poirier (25-6) vs Dan Hooker (20-8) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The big fight of the night and potential fight of the year candidate. Dustin Poirier makes his return following his title fight loss in September, while Hooker looks to extend his win streak to to four.

Poirier is an excellent boxer with an incredible left-hand, with the conditioning and skill to make his claim to be one of the best in the world completely legit. Hooker is a former featherweight who moved up and has been near perfect since, with 7 wins from 8. His only defeat came to Edson Barboza, another who has the skillset to be named amongst the best in the world.

Both men will look to stand and exchange and I think Hooker will start fast and try to attack the legs of Poirier much like Justin Gaethje did. ‘Diamond’ is a solid grappler too, which will be an advantage to him in this fight unlike the Gaethje fight so if that’s the case he could shoot for the takedown. ‘Hangman’ is a long competitor and has a 3 inch reach advantage on his opponent which he will need if he wants success. I see this fight being all about who can land the cleaner, crisper shots and that goes to Poirier. He’s a more technical boxer and I expect to see a knockout victory in the later rounds after an accumulation of shots forces a referee stoppage. PICK: Dustin Poirier via Knockout Round 4