Tag Archives: Molly McCann

UFC 281: Adesanya vs Pereira – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the mecca of combat sports for UFC 281 when Israel Adesanya will defend his middleweight crown against long-time rival Alex Pereira at Madison Square Garden.

The two kickboxing rivals will go toe-to-toe in the octagon to see who is MMA’s best middleweight in the headline fight of the card, but is supported by one of the most stacked cards of the year.

In the co-main event we have the strawweight title on the line as Carla Esparza makes her first defence against former champion Weili Zhang, while Dustin Poirier will meet Michael Chandler in a lightweight war and Frankie Edgar has his retirement bout among other things.

Last week at UFC Vegas 64 we had a rough time with our picks going 6/11 with zero perfect picks, moving us to 766/1188 (64.48%) with 319 perfect picks (41.64%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims, we move on to the rest of the prelim section of the card.


Andre Petroski (8-2) vs Wellington Turman (18-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Exciting middleweight scrap up next. Petroski is 3-0 in the UFC after competing on TUF, KO’ing Michael Gillmore before submission wins over Yaozong Hu (UFC 267) and Nick Maximov most recently back in May. Turman is on a two-fight win streak, defeating Sam Alvey and then submitting Misha Cirkunov most recently in February.

Petroski has proven to be an excellent wrestler in this division with some solid submission skills, but he’s also a more technical striker than many though and has good power too. Turman is a bit of a reckless striker with some nasty low kicks, that play perfectly into his world class Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills. The problem he has here is that he’s outmatched pretty much everywhere.

Turman’s best hope of winning is landing a big counter punch that Petroski doesn’t see coming during an exchange or tapping him from his back, and both are very unlikely. Petroski should be able to dominate this fight wherever it goes, and he should be able to claim another finish to keep his run going.
PICK – Andre Petroski via Knockout, Round 2

Erin Blanchfield (9-1) vs Molly McCann (13-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Women’s flyweight bout up next between two ladies on a great run. Blanchfield is undefeated in the UFC with dominant wins over Sarah Alpar, Miranda Maverick (UFC 269) and most recently JJ Aldrich, while McCann has won her last three in a row, including her last two against Luana Carolina and Hannah Goldy via spinning elbow knockout.

Blanchfield is arguably the best wrestler in the division, maybe outside of Valentina Shevchenko and Taila Santos, and that is where this fight will end up if she has her way. She is decent on the feet too, but wrestling will always be her bread and butter. McCann on the other hand is a straight up brawler, with a good boxing background and incredible aggression and durability, but she’s very small for the division. This is a lopsided match up.

McCann has tried to step up her level of competition before and fallen flat on her face, and it’s likely to happen again here. Blanchfield has a six-inch reach advantage which should see her comfortable on the feet, but if it ever gets hairy she’ll get a takedown relatively easily and maul “Meatball” on the mat for a dominant decision win.
PICK – Erin Blanchfield via Decision



Dominick Reyes (12-3) vs Ryan Spann (20-7) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

The return of “The Devastator” up next. Reyes arguably beat Jon Jones in their title fight back at UFC 247 but ultimately lost on the cards and was since KO’d by Jan Blachowicz (UFC 257) and Jiri Prochazka (UFC Vegas 25) in subsequent bouts. Spann got dominated by Anthony Smith in his first main event back in September 2021, but bounced back with a submission win of his own over Ion Cutelaba most recently back in May.

Reyes is a boxing specialist with a piston-like left hand and nasty body kicks to go with amazing durability and decent wrestling chops too. Spann is a decent wrestler himself but he has tremendous submission skills, earning 12 of his 17 finish wins via tap out. His striking however is bang average and with a lack of head movement to go with Reyes’ excellent takedown defence, this is his fight to lose.

Spann isn’t the most durable guy and he has a tendency to panic when faced with adversity. Reyes has the ability to put the pressure on early and has great accuracy with his left-hand that can put people out. He was able to keep up with Prochazka until his brains got scrambled, so if he can do that here he should be the one on the end of a big knockout win.
PICK – Dominick Reyes via Knockout, Round 2

Brad Riddell (10-3) vs Renato Moicano (16-5-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Lightweight banger in the featured prelims slot up next. Riddell was on a great run before getting stopped by Rafael Fiziev at UFC Vegas 44, and was since submitted by Jalin Turner at UFC 276 in just 45 seconds. Moicano stopped Alexander Hernandez at UFC 271 with a rear-naked choke but stepped in on super short notice at UFC 272 to face Rafael Dos Anjos and got dominated for 25 minutes in his last bout.

Riddell is a stunning kickboxer, with unbelievable technique and decent power to go with a relentless volume, but his durability has taken a downward turn in recent bouts. Moicano is a superbly well-rounded fighter too with great striking and world class jiu-jitsu skills, with wrestling skills that help him implement that submission game. This is a mixed bag and could go one of two ways.

Moicano has the ability to get this fight to the ground quickly and work his submission game, which is relentless and almost certainly too much for Riddell to handle. But if he is able to survive the early round, his pressure and power is likely to overwhelm Moicano and he should be the one getting his hand raised. It’s a tough one to call, but momentum is on the Brazilian’s side and he’s also able to hold his own on the feet, so I think Moicano gets it done early by taking the back and getting a choke.
PICK – Renato Moicano via Submission, Round 1

UFC London: Blaydes vs Aspinall – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to London’s O2 Arena for the second time this year for a stacked card, headlined by a heavyweight duel between top five big-men Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall.

We’ll also see the likes of Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann, Mason Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, Paul Craig and Muhammad Mokaev competing in an event sure to provide plenty of fireworks.

Last week at UFC Long Island we went 8/12 with three perfect picks, moving us up to 685/1032 (64.34%) with 284 perfect picks (42.77%). You can check out our full history of picks here.

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


Paul Craig (16-4-1) vs Volkan Oezdemir (17-6) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Big time scrap between supreme grappler and powerhouse striker opens up this main card. Craig has won his last four in a row and is unbeaten in six, with all five wins coming via finish. Oezdemir has lost his last two in a row, getting slept by Jiri Prochazka at UFC 251 before dropping a decision to Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 267 most recently.

Craig is an absolute beast when it comes to the jiu-jitsu game, with an incredible aggressive guard and unorthdox submission skills. Oezdemir is a poor grappler, but he earned his “No Time” nickname from putting people’s lights out quickly and with one punch. This honestly depends on how generous the referee is feeling, because Craig often likes to take a bunch of strikes on the ground before wrapping in a submission when his opponent gets excited.

Oezdemir is powerful enough to put him out early though, and his takedown defence is solid enough to keep this standing. But Craig tends to be incredibly aggressive with his grappling and if he gets into a position of strength on the ground then Oezdemir will be in trouble. It’ll be very exciting, but I expect Craig to have the fans behind him and grab another amazing submission win.
PICK – Paul Craig via Submission, Round 1

Molly McCann (12-4) vs Hannah Goldy (6-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The owner of the knockout of the year so far is Molly McCann and that’s undisputed. McCann earned a stunning spinning back elbow to beat Luana Carolina last time out to make it back-to-back wins, while Goldy got her first UFC win with a first round armbar over Emily Whitmire last time out.

McCann is a boxer who was once a national champion and had the shortest reach in the entire UFC, meaning she had to learn to use her grappling and wrestling skills to close the distance. That was until Goldy signed, and she now is the owner of the shortest reach in the UFC. Goldy is a decent striker too but prefers to grind her opponents against the cage and try to be physical. She’s in trouble here though.

“Meatball” isn’t the biggest puncher in the world, but she’s incredibly aggressive and her pressure is relentless throughout 15 minutes. Her ability to get back to her feet will suit her here and using her reach and boxing skills she should be able to control this fight for the most part to earn yet another win, although a finish is pretty unlikely on this occasion.
PICK – Molly McCann via Decision

Nikita Krylov (27-9) vs Alexander Gustafsson (18-7) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A big time light heavyweight scrap between two highly experienced fighters. Krylov has lost three of his last four fights but all against elite competition, with Glover Teixeira, Magomed Ankalaev and Paul Craig all beating him soundly. He did claim a win over Johnny Walker in the middle of that run though. Gustafsson was once considered one of the best 205 pounders to never win gold when he retired, but since coming back he’s not had fun. He’s lost his comeback fight at heavyweight when Fabricio Werdum submitted him at UFC Fight Island 3.

Krylov is a brilliantly powerful puncher, but he’s also a solid grappler with good wrestling and top control. Gustafsson on the other hand is more of a boxer with great combinations and hand speed, although he’s shown his wrestling capabilities too – becoming the first man to ever take down Jon Jones. That said though, he’s five years out since his last win in the octagon.

Granted two years of that he was out of competition, but he’s 0-3 in his last 3 and he’s been beaten handily in all of those fights. In his prime I would expect Gustafsson to be able to string everything together and probably even claim a knockout. But this version of Gustafsson is slower and less durable and Krylov has been in there for a while against the very best, so I expect him to land another big win for his record.
PICK – Nikita Krylov via Decision



Paddy Pimblett (18-3) vs Jordan Leavitt (10-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The people’s main event in the lightweight division as “The Baddy” makes his return the O2. Pimblett has gone 2-0 in the UFC so far, knocking out Luigi Vendramini before submitting Kazulu Vargas last time out. Leavitt is 3-1 in the UFC, winning two in a row with a submission over Matt Sayles and then a decision against Trey Ogden.

Pimblett is a fine striker with good power and speed, but it’s his grappling and jiu-jitsu skills that really set him apart for many fans. Leavitt is a terrific grappler too, with excellent wrestling and strength and great idea for positioning for safety. Against someone like Pimblett, that will come in really handy as he is constantly looking to get the finish at the earliest possible opportunity.

With that said, Leavitt has a good chance of getting control early on when Pimblett is still going through the motions with the crowd and he’ll probably win the first round. But with a few tweaks, Pimblett should be able to land powerful strikes that could drop Leavitt and then sink in a choke to claim a third win and send the crowd wild.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Submission, Round 2

Jack Hermansson (22-7) vs Chris Curtis (29-8) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A short notice co-main event in this one, as Chris Curtis steps in for the injured Darren Till. Hermansson suffered defeats to Marvin Vettori and Sean Strickland in two of his last three fights, with a win over Edmen Shahbazyan coming in the middle of that. Curtis meanwhile has gone 3-0 in the UFC, KO’ing Phil Hawes at UFC 268 before KO’ing Brendan Allen (UFC Vegas 44) and then earning a decision over Rodolfo Vieira most recently.

Hermansson is a decent striker but his best fighting comes in the grappling on the mat, with great submissions and vicious ground and pound coming at the end of good wrestling takedowns. Curtis is a top level boxer with excellent low kicks, stunning power and really good takedown defence too. This is a real fairytale for Curtis, who has done nothing but impress in the UFC since his debut. This is a really, really tough fight to call.

Curtis is good enough to keep the fight standing and he’s got better striking without a doubt, but Hermansson is someone who uses his physicality well on his opponents as fights go on. With that said though, Curtis beat a better grappler about a month ago with his takedown defence and counter-striking so it’s hard to see how he doesn’t do it again.
PICK – Chris Curtis via Decision

Curtis Blaydes (16-3) vs Tom Aspinall (12-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Huge main event with potential title implications on the line in the heavyweight division headlines this card. Blaydes bounced back from a nasty KO loss to Derrick Lewis (UFC Vegas 19) by dominating Jairzinho Rozenstruik and then sleeping Chris Daukaus most recently. Aspinall is 5-0 in the UFC and absolutely dominated Alexander Volkov last time out via a straight arm lock in the first round at UFC London in March.

Blaydes is the best wrestler the heavyweight division has ever seen. He has a huge overhand right and a decent left jab, but everything is set up to change levels and take his opponent down to dominate from top position and land vicious ground and pound. Aspinall is one of the most well-rounded heavyweights we’ve seen, with incredible boxing and hand speed to go with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt too. He really is the total package. That makes this fight super hard to call.

Nobody has been able to stop Blaydes taking them down so far, and I don’t expect Aspinall to stuff a bunch of takedowns in this one either. But on his back he’s dangerous and on the feet he has an absolutely huge advantage with his boxing skills. Blaydes often doesn’t let his opponents up once he gets them down though, but we have seen him fade in five-round fights before when he’s forced to chain takedowns together through the fight. Aspinall has never been dragged into deep waters so we don’t know how he’ll cope, but we do know Blaydes has the capability of being put to sleep when entering for takedowns and Aspinall has the power and speed to counter quickly. Its hard, and I may be a bit bias, but I think Aspinall can get it done.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 4

UFC London: Volkov vs Aspinall – Main card predictions

After a three year absence the UFC returns to London and the O2 Arena for a huge UFC London fight card, headlined by heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall.

A stacked card will see the two heavyweights competing to get title contention with a win, while we’ll also see the likes of Arnold Allen take on Dan Hooker, Paddy Pimblett makes his UK return while Jack Shore, Nathaniel Wood and Muhammad Mokaev also compete too.

In case you’re unaware, we’ve done a list of five things you must not miss from this card too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 50 we went 11/14 with three perfect picks to move to 568/879 (64.62%) with 241 perfect picks (42.43%). You can see our full record here.

We’ll look to improve that record here and after starting with the early prelims, and rounding off our prelims picks here, we move on to our main card picks now.


Jai Herbert (11-3) vs Ilia Topuria (11-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A banger of a fight to open the main card in the 155-pound division. Herbert earned his first win in the octagon with a first-round KO against Khama Worthy at UFC Vegas 41, while Topuria is an undefeated prospect with his last win coming via brutal KO against Ryan Hall at UFC 264. This is Topuria’s debut at lightweight.

Herbert is a boxer with good power in his hands, but his defensive grappling isn’t great and that’s a big problem in this fight. Topuria is a super talented grappler with great cardio and also some solid boxing skills with knockout power. Topuria’s only disadvantage in this fight could end up being size, because he’s not the biggest in this weight class.

Topuria will trade on the feet until an opportunity for a takedown presents itself and he will take it immediately. Topuria will land nasty elbows on the mat, pass guard and eventually work to the back before snatching up the neck for an impressive win in quick fashion.
PICK – Ilia Topuria via Submission, Round 1

Molly McCann (11-4) vs Luana Carolina (8-2) – (Flyweight/135lbs)

‘Meatball’ is back and she’s back in London for this women’s flyweight bout on the main card. McCann suffered back-to-back defeats to Taila Santos and Lara Procopio before getting back in the win column against Ji Yeon Kim at UFC Vegas 36 most recently. Carolina has won her last two via decision, beating Poliana Botelho at UFC Vegas 25 and Lupita Godinez at UFC Vegas 40.

McCann is a pressure fighter who looks to use low kicks and boxing to force her opponent backwards and make them crumble. Carolina is a lengthy boxer herself, but she struggles to make the most of her reach advantage. Her takedown defence is good, but when it comes to mixing it all up she tends to be troubled and that’s what McCann is best at.

The Brit will be relentless with her forward pressure, will land strikes and will almost certainly mix it up with takedowns against teh cage and she’s good enough to hold Carolina down and control her for long periods of time. If Carolina is able to make reads and defend it though, her reach and speed should see her pick McCann apart. For my money, ‘Meatball’ comes forward enough to slip the reach disadvantage, get takedowns and win rounds.
PICK – Molly McCann via Decision

Gunnar Nelson (17-5-1) vs Takashi Sato (16-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A strange welterweight bout up next on the main card between two guys returning from lengthy lay offs. Nelson is on a two-fight losing streak after defeats to Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns back in 2019, while Sato lost via submission to Miguel Baeza back in November 2020 at UFC Vegas 15.

Nelson is a brilliant submission fighter with a karate stance where he looks to counter strike to land on his opponents clean. Sato on the other hand is a solid striker with an excellent jab and good combinations, and is confident in the grappling but mostly struggles against elites in that field. Nelson is elite in that field, but he’s been away for so long it’s hard to get a proper read on him.

Sato is coming in on very short notice in this bout, which goes against him, and if Nelson is at least not completely rusty and done then he should be able to get a pretty convincing win here.
PICK – Gunnar Nelson via Decision



Paddy Pimblett (17-3) vs Kazula Vargas (12-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The most popular fighter on the card by a distance makes a return to the UK fight scene to take on Rodrigo Vargas. Pimblett earned a massive comeback knockout win at UFC Vegas 36 against Luigi Vendramini, while Vargas snapped a two-fight losing streak against Rongzhu at UFC 261 last time out.

Pimblett is a solid all-rounder, with excellent submissions skills and much improved striking in recent years with great knockout power. Vargas on the other hand is a decent boxer with plenty of experience but while he has a bigger frame and could overpower Pimblett, the trouble is he’s outmatched in skill.

‘The Baddy’ is a great kicker from range and has got the ability to take this fight wherever he feels he has the most advantage. He has promised a first-round finish, so who am I to go against that. Pimblett lands a hard right hand to drop Vargas and then jumps on the neck for a quick finish.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Submission, Round 1

Arnold Allen (17-1) vs Dan Hooker (21-11) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A truly brilliant fight in the featherweight division in the co-main event as both guys look to become a serious contender at 145-pounds. Allen is on a ten-fight win streak, including a big decision of Sodiq Yusuff last time out at UFC Vegas 23. Hooker on the other hand has lost three of his last four to Dustin Poirier (UFC Vegas 4), Michael Chandler (UFC 257) and Islam Makhachev (UFC 267) most recently with a win against Nasrat Haqparast just before that at UFC 266. He returns to featherweight for the first time since 2016.

Allen is a tremendous wrestler and solid defensive fighter on the feet who knows exactly what he’s good at and goes straight to it. Hooker on the other hand is a striker who doesn’t want to be on the ground, but is capable of holding his own down there and battling to get it back into a striking battle. Allen will not allow that.

‘Almighty’ is strong in the grappling, good enough to hold his own in the striking, has constant volume, is younger, fresher and won’t be struggling with the weight cut. This is his chance to make a real impact on the division and I think he does just that.
PICK – Arnold Allen via Decision

Alexander Volkov (34-9) vs Tom Aspinall (11-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweight main event in what should be an absolute banger. Volkov has won three of his last four, with defeat to Ciryl Gane at UFC Vegas 30 splitting up wins over Walt Harris, Alistair Overeem (UFC Vegas 18) and Marcin Tybura (UFC 267) most recently. Aspinall is an undefeated 4-0 in the UFC with stoppage wins over Jake Collier (UFC Fight Island 3), Alan Baudot (UFC Fight Island 5), Andrei Arlovski (UFC Vegas 19) and Sergei Spivak (UFC Vegas 36).

Volkov and Aspinall are both tremendous boxers, with brilliant jabs and combinations as well as legitimate knockout power. The difference between the two fighters is that Aspinall is a true grappler also, with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and some solid wrestling too. Aspinall has a speed advantage and with a five-year age gap, his cardio has looked good so far. He has never fought in front of a live UFC crowd though and has never had a five-round fight in his career.

This fight will stay on the feet for the early exchanges as Aspinall looks to test the chin and make reads. His jab is more than good enough to land despite the size advantage but it’s the submission and grappling threat that will open up a big opportunity for him to land a combination. That could be enough to put Volkov out, but if not he’ll take the neck and secure a submission as a result to claim the biggest win of his career.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 3

UFC Vegas 36: Brunson vs Till – Prelims predictions

The UFC middleweight division is back in the spotlight in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night, on a card that was supposed to take place in London initially.

The main event will see Derek Brunson take on the UK’s own Darren Till with the winner making a case to become the next fighter to challenge for a title shot after Robert Whittaker’s upcoming rematch with Israel Adesanya.

In the co-main event is the UK’s best chance at heavyweight gold as Tom Aspinall takes on short-notice opponent Sergei Spivac, while Paddy Pimblett makes his UFC debut in the main card opener when he takes on Luigi Vendramini.

Last week at UFC Vegas 35, we went 7/12 with three perfect picks on the night to move up to 396/624 (63.46%) with 174 perfect picks (43.94%). We’ll try to improve on that here, starting with the prelims.


Jonathan Martinez (13-4) vs Marcelo Rojo (16-8) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolute banger to start the night in the bantamweight division. Martinez’s record in the UFC currently stands at 4-3, with a KO defeat to Davey Grant last time out at UFC Vegas 21 while Rojo lost an incredibly exciting debut against Charles Jourdain in his last fight on the same card.

Martinez is a very technical boxer with genuine knockout power and some crisp striking combinations and he’s also nice and comfortable on the ground. Rojo is aggressive too and has some great strikes of his own but he’s not quite as tidy technically. Martinez for me is the more powerful and we’ve seen him take the action to strong fighters in the past and if he’s likely to continue that way then he’s got the edge here.

Rojo is more than capable of stepping forward with pressure and landing heavy blows of his own, but with the more comfortable striking and good footwork I think Martinez will be able to get a stoppage in a brilliant fight.
PICK – Jonathan Martinez via Knockout, Round 2

Dalcha Lungiambula (11-2) vs Marc-Andre Barriault (12-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very exciting middleweight fight up next. Lungiambula earned a decision win last time out against Markus Perez at UFC Fight Island 8 in January, while Barriault earned his first UFC win against Abu Azaitar at UFC 260.

Lungiambula is a grappler who uses big bursts of energy to land some strikes and then go in for the takedown, while Barriault is a considerably better striker than him with constantly improving scrambles off his back. Lungiambula is shorter with a longer reach, but his cardio issues make him struggle as the fight goes on. His striking is pretty poor and while Barriault isn’t stunning in any department, his cardio keeps him going later and gives him a chance here.

On the feet Barriault has a clear edge and while Lungiambula will likely score a takedown or two, Barriault is able to get back to his feet and with the cardio issues visible for all to see he could secure a sneaky decision win.
PICK – Marc-Andre Barriault via Decision

Julian Erosa (23-10) vs Charles Jourdain (11-3-1) – (Catchweight/150lbs)

Yet another banger of a fight at the halfway point of the prelims in a short-notice catchweight bout. Erosa had won three in a row before his most recent fight, which saw him knocked out by Seung Woo Choi at UFC Vegas 29. Charles Jourdain is 1-1-1 in his last three, with a win over Marcelo Rojo last time out at UFC Vegas 21.

Erosa is a slick striker who is always looking for an exciting war with his opponent, marching forward to slug it out with whoever is standing across the cage from him. Jourdain is a fantastic boxer himself with a great jab and plenty of punching power in his bank and good durability. Erosa has a wrestling edge over Jourdain, but ‘Air’ has a fantastic gas tank and great scrambles so even that is a tough run to victory.

Overall, Erosa will land powerful strikes but leave himself open to eating some of his own from the more powerful fighter and Jourdain should be able to score the victory in a fun fight.
PICK – Charles Jourdain via Knockout, Round 2

Jack Shore (14-0) vs Liudvik Sholinian (9-2-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The undefeated against the unknown in this one. Jack Shore is 14-0 including 3-0 in the UFC, with a split decision win over Hunter Azure last time out at UFC Vegas 23, while Sholinian makes his promotional debut on a four-fight win streak.

Shore is a slick submission grappler with eight wins via tap-out in his career, but he’s also shown improved striking in recent performances too. Sholinian was part of the most recent TUF season on Team Ortega and takes the fight on short notice. He is a brilliant wrestler with some decent submission skills of his own but some brilliant top control to round off his skills.

The Welshman is the overwhelming favourite but this fight is a bit closer than that. Shore has the edge on the feet, has more experience on the big stage and is a good wrestler in his own right. If Sholinian gets top position, Shore is good enough to submit him from his back but the likelihood is he controls the fight and earns a finish as the fight goes on either late in the second or in the third.
PICK – Jack Shore via Submission, Round 2

Molly McCann (10-4) vs Ji Yeon Kim (9-3-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Featured prelim bout is a women’s flyweight clash coming off defeats. McCann has lost her last two, getting dominated by Taila Santos and most recently Lara Procopio at UFC Vegas 18 while Kim was beaten by Alexa Grasso at UFC Vegas 8 last year in her last fight.

McCann is a straight up brawler who walks forward with pressure and looks to outland her opponent as much as possible using her kicks and cardio as a weapon. Kim is a technical striker with a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, using her counter-attacking skills as much as she can. It’s almost to her detriment in that sense, because she never kicks due to how good her boxing is and she is often left waiting for a long time.

McCann is well out-matched in terms of height and reach but she’s a much improved wrestler and has the edge there over Kim. Kim doesn’t really use her reach as much as she should and her defence isn’t the best which means she will leave herself open and that tells me McCann has a path to victory, which I think she’ll take – just.
PICK – Molly McCann via Decision

UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs Volkov – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Ode Osbourne def Jerome Rivera via Knockout, Round 1 (0:26)

Both fighters come out and meet in the centre and Rivera throws a high left kick. Osbourne rolls the kick, catching the kick on his shoulder and lands a huge left hand straight down the pipe! Rivera is down, Osbourne lands a couple of strikes on the ground but it’s over inside 30 seconds! Wow!

Timur Valiev def Martin Day via Unanimous Decision (30-25 x2, 30-26)

Good start to the round for Valiev as he comes out and attacks the legs early with a series of kicks. Day counters another leg kick with a short combo in the pocket but Valiev steps out of the way and then goes for a single leg takedown. He takes the back against the cage and has a body lock before dragging Day down to the mat, only for Day to get back up quickly. Valiev finally gets the fight down and stops the scramble attempt to end up in top position. Some nice short elbows from Valiev but Day is defending well as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Valiev.

Valiev opens the second round with some more leg kicks, before a nice one-two and a takedown have the fight on the ground in the centre of the octagon. Valiev passes into side control and Day tries to get back to his feet but it’s prevented well with some solid ground and pound. Valiev completely dominant right now with constant pressure on the ground, staying busy and landing shots to the body and head of Day. Complete domination for the entire second round, could be a 10-8 round. 20-17 Valiev.

Final round and Day starts throwing some kicks and a few strikes, knowing he needs a finish in this round. It doesn’t last long though as Valiev gets another takedown early in the round and controls the positions once again. More ground and pound strikes on the ground as Day tries to get back up, but Valiev is a nuisance and keeps a body lock and just drags him up and down as much as possible. Valiev switches between half-guard, mount and side control for the rest of the round for a dominant decision victory. 30-26 Valiev.

Seungwoo Choi def Youssef Zalal via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Tactical start to this fight from both guys as Choi takes the centre, but Zalal is happy to circle on the outside and jab while avoiding heavier shots. Choi throws a few big head kicks but Zalal slips them relatively easily. Zalal shoots for the takedown and gets in on the hips but Choi steps over the trip attempt and they end up tied up against the cage. Zalal continues to look for the takedown against the cage but they’re at a stalemate and the referee separates them. Another clinch against the cage as the round comes to an end and Choi gets a takedown right on the horn. 10-9 Zalal for me but could go either way.

Second round starts with an exchange of kicks before another clinch against the cage, as Zalal looks for the takedown again. He gets a single leg but Choi defends really well against the cage until the referee separates them again. Body kick and one-two from Choi lands clean as he starts to come forward more. He pushes forward with another combo before the clinch again against the cage, before Choi gets Zalal down to the mat before letting him straight back up. A few more exchanges before the end of the round, this one more clear cut in Choi’s favour. 19-19 or 20-18.

Choi starts the final round strong, as he looks to have Zalal beat in all areas right now. They clinch against the cage again and Zalal finally gets the fight to the ground and goes straight for a guillotine. It looks tight as he rolls through but Choi eventually turns into it and ends up on top in guard. Choi eventually works his way back up to the feet but Zalal goes for a single leg takedown again and gets Choi down against the cage. Every time Zalal gets him down in this round he pops straight back up, refusing to accept bottom position as we enter the final 40 seconds. Round comes to an end with a clinch against the cage and it will likely be a Choi decision win. 29-28 Choi.

Lara Procopio def Molly McCann via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Fast start to this fight as McCann comes out throwing leg kicks and punch combinations early, while Procopio looks to walk her to the cage and go for a takedown. After a battle against the cage, Procopio gets a beautiful trip and ends up in top position halfway through the round. Procopio dominating on the ground and has McCann’s neck tight to control posture, but McCann fights out of that position, although she eventually pushes into full mount. McCann gives up the back and Procopio looks for an armbar before transitioning to the back and looking for a choke but the horn goes. Dominant from Procopio, 10-9.

McCann comes out aggressively again and looks to keep Procopio with her back against the cage, but a clinch and takedown attempt ends with McCann on her back. Procopio looks to transition into different positions but McCann throws up an armbar! Procopio looks to stack her to escape but McCann rolls through and locks it in tight! She has a full extension but Procopio refuses to tap and eventually is able to escape the position! Eventually the women get back to their feet against the cage and then Procopio lands another takedown inside the final minute as both women trade shots before the horn. 19-19.

Final round and Procopio is breathing heavy, but she still engages with the clinch situation against the cage looking for a takedown. She gets the fight down to the ground in scrappy fashion and then quickly transitions looking for a heel hook. McCann rolls through twice and escapes, but Procopio immediately gets back on her and brings McCann back down to the ground a further three times just using her size advantage. 30 seconds to go and Procopio takes the back of McCann and starts throwing punches to see the round out and take a decision win. 29-28 Procopio.

PRELIMS

Karol Rosa def Joselyne Edwards via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

An immediate shot and takedown from Rosa gets the fight down to the ground and the Brazilian into a strong position. She sits in half guard comfortably, throwing some nice ground and pound and just completely controlling the fight. Rosa moves into full mount and starts teeing off before Edwards throws her legs up and rolls through to get back to the feet. Both women exchange shots on the feet with Rosa beating up the legs as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Rosa.

Rosa comes out aggressively again with some heavy leg kicks, and Edwards buckles under the power of the kicks too. Rosa steps in and clinches before the separate and Rosa throws more kicks. Edwards charges forwards with a combination of hooks that land clean but she eats them well and comes forward with some shots of her own. Edwards comes forward again with a rush but Rosa gets hold of her and the fight goes back to the ground with Rosa on top. Rosa’s mouth is bleeding heavily but she’s staying on top and landing ground and pound well as the round ends. 20-18 Rosa.

Final round and after one exchange on the feet Rosa goes straight for the takedown and secures it. After some ground and pound and some grappling on the ground Rosa gets back to the feet herself and lets Edwards up, before they clinch up against the cage again. Edwards battling to stay on her feet as Rosa looks to wear on her with her physical advantage. Rosa drags Edwards down to the ground with under 90 seconds remaining and controls the position for the remainder of the round before ending with a big flurry of punches to take a decision win. 30-27 Rosa.

Devonte Smith def Justin Jaynes via Knockout (Doctor Stoppage), Round 2 (3:38)

Cagey start to the fight as both men look to feel each other out before committing to any big shots early on. Smith lands some nice jabs that rock Jaynes a little, but Jaynes is throwing tight left hook counters that are just missing too. Smith’s jab is working well to keep Jayne’s away from him but then Jaynes lands a nice right hand that wobbles Smith. Jaynes is covering up from the jab and then Smith lands a nice left followed by a kick that Jaynes catches. Smith lands some big shots while his leg is still in the air and Jaynes is rocked! Smith throws some knees and a right hand but Jaynes weathers the storm and the round ends. 10-9 Smith.

Jaynes comes out in the second round and goes straight for a takedown and they clinch up against the cage. Jaynes goes to sweep him but Smith explodes and reverses the position to end up on top in side control. He throws some nice knees to the body and some short punches to cause Jaynes some problems. Smith passes into full mount with ease and starts raining down punches before taking the back and looks for the rear naked choke but Jaynes reverses and escapes. Smith explodes back to his feet quickly and tells the referee he wants it back on the feet. Referee pauses the fight with Jaynes’ eye swelled shut and the doctor waves it off. TKO win for Smith!

MAIN CARD

Danilo Marques def Mike Rodriguez via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (4:51)

Immediate takedown from Marques as he shoots in for a single leg and uses lots of movement before eventually tripping him down. Rodriguez fighting hard to get back to his feet against the cage, but Marques keeping his hands locked up and eventually gets him back down once again. Marques working hard to keep Rodriguez down and he’s tying up the legs to do so. Rodriguez gets back to the feet but once again Marques drags him back down. Rodriguez gets back to the feet with 15 seconds to go and throws a few knees and body shots but he looks exhausted. 10-9 Marques.

Second round starts with the two exchanging feints on the feet, with Rodriguez landing a nice low kick. Marques fakes a couple of takedown attempts before landing an overhand right and then finally getting the big takedown. Marques passes into full mount against the cage and he starts raining down big ground and pound punches. Both men look exhausted as Rodriguez gets back to a knee, but Marques keeps landing big punches and then takes the back with both hooks in. He rolls to the back and sinks in a rear naked choke and puts Rodriguez to sleep. Wonderful performance from Marques.

Beneil Dariush def Diego Ferreira via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

A crazy pace to start this fight as Dariush comes out firing with strikes before shooting for a takedown. Ferreira defends it by pulling guard with an omoplata before exploding out back to his feet, but Dariush looks for a takedown again against the cage. When he can’t get it he separates and the two start trading bombs! Both men land huge shots on each other but Dariush keeps coming forward. Big knee to the body and Ferreira goes down! Dariush looks for ground and pound but Ferreira ties him up on the ground and is able to ride it out. Final 30 seconds and they get back to the feet, and Ferreira lands a big right hand clean. Dariush returns with a right of his own before a front kick to the face from Ferreira lands flush. What a round! 10-9 Dariush.

Second round starts as the first ended with both men throwing big strikes once again. Dariush looking a bit more tired than Ferreira, so he shoots for a takedown and then gets a trip against the cage and lands on top. Ferreira gets back up but Dariush puts him straight back down and starts to control on top. Ferreira defending but the pressure of Dariush is causing him a big problem and Dariush ends the round controlling position from the top. 20-18.

An insane pace continues into the third round as Ferreira starts to use his footwork more to avoid a brawl and keep out of the way of the takedown attempts. Dariush lands a couple of punches himself and misses a takedown before a kick lands on the cup of Ferreira and causes a short pause. Halfway through the round and we haven’t hit the ground yet but Dariush lands a beautiful one-two to the chin. Ferreira catches a kick and looks to put Dariush on the ground but a great scramble means they both get back to the feet and start swinging for the fences. Dariush shoots for a takedown with a minute remaining and gets it, and takes the back with a body lock as he sinks the hooks in but Ferreira shakes him off and the two scramble to the horn. Great fight, 30-27 Dariush for me though.

Alexandre Pantoja def Manel Kape via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Fun start to the fight as Pantoja looks to get right in Kape’s face early but ‘Starboy’ showing his amazing speed and slipping all attacks with his hands low. Kape making Pantoja miss a lot but barely throwing any strikes of his own as we move through the round, while Pantoja is trying to make reads and can’t. Kape’s jab is landing nicely when he throws it but just not enough volume. Pantoja lands a nice body kick and then Kape goes for a cartwheel kick that misses and Pantoja ends up on top. A couple of big strikes land while Kape is on the ground but he gets back up and ends the round with a takedown attempt of his own. 10-9 Pantoja.

Pantoja comes forward in the second round and throwing lots of kicks, and while Kape isn’t getting hurt or the sheer activity is giving Pantoja the rounds. Kape lands a nice one-two but Pantoja returns with some body kicks. Right hand lands from Pantoja but Kape returns fire with a nice one-two of his own. Kape trying to up the pace a little but still not throwing enough to trouble his opponent as we enter the final minute. Kape throws a head kick, follows it up with a left hand and then a takedown, but Pantoja rolls through and gets back to the feet quickly. Better round for Kape and it’s hard to score so could go either way. 19-19 for me.

Slower start to the round by both men in this one as Kape continues to feint and bounce, while Pantoja is almost waiting so he can counter. Nice left hook from Kape lands but Pantoja returns fire with a body kick. Leg kick from Pantoja misses and Kape lands a nice left hand in return before Pantoja lands a head kick. Kape not showing much urgency as we enter the final 90 seconds. Kape lands a left hand that troubles Pantoja and he follows it up with a nice combo. Kape shoots for a takedown and gets it but Pantoja rolls out again and the fight comes to an end. 29-28 either way for me.

Clay Guida def Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A super fun start to this fight as Johnson and Guida meet in the middle of the cage and start trading bombs! Johnson lands a few nice shots before Guida responds with a right hand that lands on the eye and causes Johnson big problems. Guida keeps marching forward and lands more shots with the right hand before he shoots for the takedown and eventually gets him down. Johnson manages to get back to the feet and they clinch against the cage and exchange knees. Guida’s right hook is causing Johnson problems but he’s firing back with nice hooks of his own. Fun round, 10-9 Guida.

Second round continues at a frantic pace as Guida goes straight for a takedown this time against the cage. Johnson battles really well to stay up on his feet before breaking away and landing a nice knee, but Guida is relentless with his pressure and is forcing Johnson to grind. Several attempts are denied by Johnson between now and the end of the round as Johnson looks very tired when the horn goes. 20-18 Guida.

Third round and Guida comes firing out once again with crazy pressure. Johnson circles and looks to land a jab but Guida is throwing hooks and uppercuts, then lands a big knee before shooting for a takedown. They clinch up against the cage before Guida gets him down before taking his back. He locks up a body triangle and rolls him over, then looks to sink in a rear naked choke. Johnson fights the hands and breaks the grip on the hands but can’t break the body triangle and the horn sounds for the end of the fight. Clay Guida should take the win here, 30-27.

Cory Sandhagen def Frankie Edgar via Knockout, Round 1 (0:28)

Edgar comes out into the centre with Sandhagen and throws a leg kick as ‘Sandman’ circles on the outside. Edgar steps in with a looping left and SANDHAGEN WITH A FLYING KNEE!!!! EDGAR IS OUT COLD!!! OH MY GOD!!

Alexander Volkov def Alistair Overeem via Knockout, Round 2 (2:06)

Odd start to the round as Volkov throws a leg kick and Overeem seems to freeze and shell up against the cage, allowing Volkov to land some shots. Volkov continues to step forward with leg kicks and Overeem looks tense, but he explodes with two heavy left hands that land clean. Both men trade shots at the same time but as Volkov lands Overeem loses his balance and falls. Volkov jumps on him to land ground and pound but Overeem gets back to his feet quickly and they break. Volkov walking Overeem down against the cage and unloads a big combo as he covers up before the round comes to an end. 10-9 Volkov.

Volkov starts landing some nice jabs and Overeem is struggling to cope with the length and power. Volkov’s strikes landing through the guard of Overeem and he is busting him up bad. Overeem looks for a takedown but Volkov stops it easily and starts landing more shots. Overeem is badly hurt but he’s trying to fight back. Volkov lands a big left hand and Overeem falls to his knees and the referee waves it off to prevent further damage. What a performance from Volkov!

UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs Volkov – Early Prelims Predictions

The UFC returns to the APEX in Las Vegas for the first time in 2021 after a successful trip to Fight Island kicked the year off.

Alistair Overeem looks to continue his final run en route to UFC gold when he takes on Alexander Volkov in the heavyweight division in the main event, with both men knowing they need a win to enter the top five conversations.

In the co-main, Cory Sandhagen takes on the legendary Frankie Edgar in the bantamweight division with both guys believing a win could set them up with a title shot against the winner of UFC 259’s title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.

In a 13 fight card, we’ve split it up into three to break down and predict; starting with the early prelims here.

Last time out we went 4/10 at UFC 257 with three perfect picks for a bad night, to take us to 216/337 (64.09%) with 96 (44.44%) perfect picks. We look to improve that record with this card.


Ode Osbourne (8-3) vs Jerome Rivera (10-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An interesting fight to open the card as Ode Osbourne returns after over a year away to take on Jerome Rivera, less than two weeks from a defeat on Fight Island. Osbourne was submitted by Brian Kelleher at UFC 246 in January 2020, while Rivera was beaten by Francisco Figueiredo in a unanimous decision.

Osbourne was supposed to fight Denys Bondar at flyweight, but due to the short notice this fight will take place at featherweight. Osbourne is a great striker with lots of power, but is also capable of holding his own on the ground. Rivera is the opposite, always looking to get the fight down to the mat but throws good volume on the feet. If Rivera can’t get the fight down to the ground, Osbourne’s power should come up trumps and he could get the knockout win.
PICK – Ode Osbourne via Knockout, Round 2

Timur Valiev (16-2) vs Martin Day (8-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

After being stopped in his UFC debut but seeing it overturned to a no contest, Valiev steps into the octagon to take on Martin Day on a three fight losing streak.

Day lost twice in 2020, being stopped by both Davey Grant at UFC 251 and then by Anderson dos Santos in November by submission. Valiev has the advantage anywhere this fight goes in reality, with really sharp boxing skills and far superior wrestling skills. Day throws good knees that could catch Valiev if he looks for takedowns but overall I think the Russian gets him down and dominates for a wide decision win.
PICK – Timur Valiev via Decision

Seungwoo Choi (8-3) vs Youssef Zalal (10-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An interesting fight in the featherweight division between these two prospects. Choi is coming off an impressive decision win against Suman Mokhtarian way back in December 2019, while Zalal went 3-1 in the UFC in 2020 beating Austin Lingo in February, Jordan Griffin in June and Peter Barrett in August before losing to Ilia Topuria in October.

Choi is a good striker with a really nice straight right hand and good takedown defence, while Zalal is an okay striker with excellent takedowns. His footwork is good enough to avoid the power shots of Choi and with his takedown chops, he should be able to get top position relatively easily and work his way to a decision win.
PICK – Youssef Zalal via Decision

Molly McCann (10-3) vs Lara Procopio (6-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

This should be a good scrap between England’s ‘Meatball’ Molly and Brazil’s Lara Procopio in the flyweight division. McCann lost her last fight against Taila Santos on Fight Island in July, while Procopio lost her last fight to Karol Rosa in August 2019.

McCann is a brawler who has worked on her wrestling game a lot in the last two years, with takedowns playing a big part in her three-fight win streak prior to her most recent loss. Procopio is a very good all rounder, who stood toe to toe with Rosa in her defeat and has shown a great ground game in the past too. She has the big advantage on the ground and McCann’s improvements aren’t quite enough to keep up with it, while on the feet they’re pretty even. Procopio will be able to stand with McCann without fear of getting knocked out and with her takedown advantage she should get the win in a close fight.
PICK – Lara Procopio via Decision

UFC Fight Island: Kattar vs Ige – Results (Highlights)

PRELIMS

Jack Shore def Aaron Phillips via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) (Round 2, 2:29)

A very, very typical opening round in a Jack Shore fight. The Welshman used his jab well to close the distance then locked his hands and secured takedown after takedown. Big head strikes against the cage and an attempt to get a rear-naked choke were close but Phillips defended well. 10-9 Shore.

Second round starts and Phillips goes for a superman punch, which is well read by Shore and he drops the level to secure an immediate takedown. Ground and pound strikes are causing Phillips big problems and he turns over, Shore takes the back. He applies pressure and sinks in a rear-naked choke to secure the submission win. Hugely impressive win from Shore.

Liana Jojua def Diana Belbita via Submission (Armbar) (Round 1, 2:43)

Fight starts and Belbita immediately goes for the takedown. She secures it but immediately Jojua secures full guard and goes for the armbar. She gets it in tight but Belbita refuses to tap, Jojua then readjusts and tightens it again and eventually gets the tap as she goes belly down. Impressive first round win.

Jared Gordon def Chris Fishgold via Unanimous Decision (30-26 x3)

Fishgold starting this fight very aggressively with a lot of spectacular attacks. He eventually gets a single leg and pushes through but Gordon threatens with an arm-in guillotine. He uses it to try and get back to his feet but Fishgold pushes through again and lands some nice strikes before they return to the feet. Fishgold lands a big uppercut that puts Gordon on his knees and then goes for a big guillotine, but eventually pops his head out and gains side control. He moves into full guard and lands some nice hammerfists before the round ends. 10-9 Fishgold.

Second round starts with an immediate takedown by Gordon. Once again Fishgold threatens with a guillotine but Gordon avoids it immediately and threatens with a kimura of his own from side control. Plenty of ground and pound from full guard for Gordon and Fishgold isn’t showing any signs of trying to get to his feet. 19-19 but that could have arguably been a 10-8 round for ‘Flash’.

Final round and Gordon goes for the takedown immediately again. Fishgold defends it well though and keeps the fight standing and is now pressing forward with one-twos. Fishgold now shoots for a single leg but Gordon sprawls and ends up in side control landing big strikes to the head. Gordon is in his element here and dominating again landing strikes. Referee is threatening to stop the fight but Gordon switches positions. More strikes but Fishgold won’t quit, but he’s out of gas and can barely move away. Fight comes to an end. Big win for ‘Flash’ Gordon. 29-27 Gordon for me.

Modestas Bukauskas def Andreas Michailidis via Knockout (Round 1, 5:00)

A fantastic striking contest in the first round between these two big boys. Bukauskas circling well and throwing leg kicks, while Michailidis is throwing nice right hands. Big overhand right from Michailidis lands but Bukauskas eats it. He lands a big left hand of his own but Michailidis eats that too. More striking exchanges with Michailidis edging them and he shoots for the takedown against the cage with 5 seconds to go. Bukauskas stuffs it and lands some big elbows to the head as the buzzer goes. Micahilidis doesn’t get back to his feet and as the referee asks him if he’s good, he falls backwards out of cage still wobbly. Immediately the referee waves the fight off. Big win for Bukauskas.

Lerone Murphy def Ricardo Ramos via Knockout (Round 1,4:18)

Fight starts with some nice leg kicks by Ramos, with Murphy showing his speed on the feet with his hands. Ramos attacks with a spinning elbow and misses but ends up in a clinch against the fence. He get Murphy down and tries to take his back, but ‘The Miracle’ defends well and scrambles back to the feet. Ramos goes for a capoeira kick but Murphy ducks and gets his own takedown. He lands four huge elbows and Ramos is hurt. Murphy being very patient and lands more big shots. Ramos is badly hurt now and Murphy pours on the damage and the referee waves it off. What a win for Murphy! Superb performance.

Khamzat Chimaev def John Phillips via Submission (D’Arce Choke) (Round 2, 1:12)

Well….. Chimaev fakes a head kick and shoots in for a takedown inside the first 5 seconds. Phillips ends up on his back and that’s where he stays for the remainder of the round. Severe ground and pound busts the Welsh fighter wide open but Chimaev is relentless and keeps landing strikes will keeping his opponent grounded. The round ends with a strike count of 72-1 in favour of the Swede. 10-8 minimum.

Second round starts and Chimaev once again immediately gets the takedown. Phillips rushes to the cage to attempt to get to his feet but Chimaev is in complete control landing more blows to the face. A quick transition and Chimaev has applied a D’Arce choke out of nowhere and forces Phillips to tap. One of the best debuts I’ve ever seen in the UFC. Wow.

MAIN CARD

Mounir Lazzez def Abdul Razak Alhassan via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

What a first round! Alhassan comes out super aggressive and lands some big shots to the head. Lazzez covers up and eats some big shots but then starts to move away and lands some nice leg kicks. He’s throwing some beautiful knees to the body and checking all of Alhassan’s kicks. Alhassan may have gassed himself out and Lazzez is coming forward now. Lazzez lands a big takedown to end the round but that’s an Alhassan round, just. 10-9.

Second round starts and it’s more of the same. Alhassan landing a lot of leg kicks and working behind a jab. Nice right hand from Lazzez forces Alhassan to back pedal towards the cage and he starts ripping off shots to the head looking for a finish. Alhassan maybe playing possum though and starts swinging for the fences himself! Lazzez lands a beautiful takedown and some nice strikes before Alhassan gets back to his feet but he’s visibly tired. Another takedown against the cage from Lazzez and the round ends as they get back to the feet. 19-19, Lazzez will win this if he doesn’t get KO’d.

Third round is a bit more timid to begin with, probably with both men for fatigued. A lovely takedown attempt from Alhassan gets the fight down to the ground but Lazzez remains against the cage and gets himself back up to the feet quickly. Lazzez reverses the position and gets a takedown of his own now, with Alhassan threatening with a guillotine but Lazzez not really in any danger. Lazzez moves into side control and lands three huge elbows as Alhassan tries to explode back to his feet. Lazzez controls the position very well though and ends the fight exchanging in the pocket. 29-28 Lezzaz for me.

Taila Santos def Molly McCann via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

McCann sprints across the Octagon to start the fight and lands a few nice right hooks but Santos is throwing powerful, crisp shots. ‘Meatball’ continues to push the pace and lands more shots but they’re not really causing Santos too many problems. Santos gets herself a few takedowns to take the round. 10-9 Santos.

A dominant round for Santos again now. She secures another few takedowns and progresses into mount with big elbows and punches. Santos is just much stronger than McCann physically and it’s causing her a lot of issues. Santos comes close with a d’arce choke attempt but Molly escapes well and ends the ground underneath Santos being punched. 20-18 Santos.

Third round is just more of the same. Santos too big, too strong and too good for Molly McCann tonight. A dominant third and final round will see Taila Santos get a comfortable decision win here. 30-26 Santos for me.

Jimmie Rivera def Cody Stamann via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

A competitive first round sees both men exchanging punches and takedowns as they feel each other out. Stamann unbalances Rivera when he catches a kick and lands a nice right hand before Rivera responds with the exact same sequence of events. Stamann goes for a takedown and manages to control the back of Rivera for the remainder of the round, although no real damage is inflicted. 10-9 Stamann.

Stamann goes for a takedown immediately at the start of the second and goes to take the back again. Rivera immediately pops up and eventually reverses the position before breaking away looking to engage in more of a striking battle. He lands a nice left hand followed by a big inside-leg kick that echoes through the arena. They end the round exchanging in the pocket with Rivera getting the better of it. 19-19.

Final round and Rivera comes out with two big head kick attempts but misses both. Stamann goes for the takedown but it’s defended brilliantly by Rivera who gets it against the cage and reverses the position. Rivera again engages in striking and gets the better of Stamann who pushes for a takedown but once again is denied by Rivera’s balance. Rivera threatens with a guillotine but nothing comes of it. Final minute is mainly Rivera throwing combos and the round ends with a beautiful left hook. 29-28 Rivera for me.

Tim Elliott def Ryan Benoit via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

A strong opening round from Benoit as he coped really well with Elliott’s unorthodox movements. Elliott throwing lots of feints and Benoit trying to make lots of reads and then lands a huge jab followed with a big kick. Benoit’s jab has been really effective throughout and he has stuffed all of Elliott’s takedown attempts. 10-9 Benoit.

Second round and Benoit seems to have made all his reads. He’s picking Elliott apart on the feet and landing excellent jabs, kicks and uppercuts. Benoit shoots for a takedown and Elliott goes for the guillotine but it’s scrambled out of and Elliott ends up in mount. A transition of submissions sees Benoit with a kneebar locked in tiiiight but Elliott just refuses to tap and eventually gets out. They get back to the feet and Benoit continues to piece Elliott up. 20-18 Benoit.

Third round and Elliott comes out super aggressive with some big heavy hands. He’s fiddling with his hand, it seems he may have dislocated a finger but he fights on without throwing his right hand again. Benoit is visibly tiring and Elliott is pouring it on. Lots of jabs and body kicks as Elliott takes over the round. He wins this round but I have the fight going to Benoit. 29-28.

Calvin Kattar def Dan Ige via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x2, 48-47)

Fight starts with both fighters looking to feel each other out by throwing feints and nothing significant power-wise. Lots of jabs and one-twos by Ige as Kattar just waiting for his moment. Kattar throws a beautiful right hand to the body with a left uppercut to follow it up. Lots of body shots now by Kattar and Ige didn’t like the power so shoots for a takedown. Kattar avoids and lands more body shots and uppercuts to end the round. 10-9 Kattar.

Kattar’s boxing is a thing of beauty. Second round is a boxing masterclass with Kattar landing accurately and avoiding any big shots so far himself. Ige rushes forward and lands a lovely left hook right to the nose that draws blood. Kattar’s nose is bothering him and allows Ige to step in with a beautiful body shot. Much better round for Ige as he pushes forward with more shots but then Kattar lands a beautiful right hand that rocks Ige! He follows up with a flying knee but misses and it allows Ige to recover as the round ends. 19-19.

Third round begins with Kattar being slightly more aggressive. Big leg kicks and nasty uppercuts are his weapon of choice but Ige isn’t backing up at all. Beautiful body shot from Kattar lands but Ige fires back with a one-two of his own. Ige is managing the distance really well so far in this fight. Kattar rushes forward and lands some big punches to throw Ige off and follows it with a head kick but Ige deals with it well. Big exchange of punches where both men land, which opens up a cut over the eye of Kattar. 29-28 Kattar.

Fourth round starts relatively slowly but Kattar starts to back Ige back up against the cage. A big right straight lands and makes Ige shoot for a takedown, but Kattar sprawls and ends up on top and lands some big elbows. Ige gets back to his feet quickly though and we’re back to the regular fight pattern. Ige looks to be tiring a bit but lands a nice right hook, and follows it up with a big right elbow. Ige rushes forward with a body shot and Kattar throws a knee up the middle and Ige is clearly tiring now. Ige shoots for the takedown at the end of the round but misses it and Kattar just misses with a big knee in response. 39-37 Kattar.

Dan Ige being more aggressive in the final round, knowing he likely needs a finish to win this fight. Goes for a kick but Kattar side-steps it and lands a big right cross. Ige lands a nice body shot at the same time Kattar throws a nice leg kick too. Kattar goes for another kick and Ige catches it and rushes forward for the takedown, but Kattar adjusts in mid-air and escapes brilliantly. Ige’s eye starting to swell shut as we enter the final 90 seconds, as he continues to land jabs while Ige presses forward. Ige goes for a very late takedown but misses it again. Kattar lands a nice shot that drops Ige at the end of the round and lands some heavy ground and pound strikes looking for a finish as the buzzer goes! Great fight, 49-46 Kattar for me.

UFC Fight Island: Kattar vs Ige – Main Card Predictions

After a super successful UFC 251 card, the UFC makes a quick turn-around for it’s second card on Fight Island this week.

The card has some good fights on the undercard but the main card is where all the action AfterΒ picking 12 out of 13 winners at UFC 251, I take a look at this card to see if I can maintain that success rate. You can see my prelims predictions here.

Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-1) vs Mounir Lazzez (9-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

With 10 wins and 10 knockouts, Alhassan is one of the biggest prospects in the welterweight division. After his first professional defeat to Omari Akhmedov, he bounced back with three big wins including in his last fight where he knocked out Niko Price in just 43 seconds. ‘Sniper’ Lazzez makes his UFC debut with a similarly impressive record, having won 8 of his 9 fights by knockout. Alhassan missed weight for this fight and they’ll now fight at a catchweight. After almost two years away due to legal troubles, ‘Judo Thunder’ will want to come back with a bang and I think we’ll see that here.
PICK – Abdul Razak Alhassan via Knockout, Round 1

Molly McCann (10-2) vs Taila Santos (15-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Meatball Molly comes into this fight on a three fight win-streak, knowing that a win could see her move into the Top 15. Taila Santos came into the UFC off the back of a 15-0 record but then lost her first ever fight in the organisation by split decision. The record is incredibly padded though, having fought several women with losing records or making their pro debuts. McCann is very good at closing range down and throws good volume. She’s arguably the best fighter that Santos has ever fought and when she doesn’t wilt under the power in the first round, she will likely take over.
PICK – Molly McCann via Unanimous Decision

Jimmie Rivera (22-4) vs Cody Stamann (19-2-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Cody Stamann makes a quick turnaround after his win at UFC 250, against Rivera who is looking to get back on the horse having lost three of his last four bouts. These two usually both compete at bantamweight but due to the short notice it’s been bumped up to featherweight by the UFC and should be an exciting fight. Rivera is a super well-rounded fighter, good at everything but not exceptional anywhere while Stamann is very much a wrestler. This is a bout almost guaranteed to go the distance with the two having 27 decision wins between them and I think Rivera should get it done. He’s been unlucky in his recent fights and I think he may just be a level above where Stamann is at currently.
PICK – Jimmie Rivera via Unanimous Decision

Tim Elliott (15-11-1) vs Ryan Benoit (10-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A fight between two fighters coming off losses, with Elliott potentially fighting for his career in the UFC. Elliott has lost four of his last five including his last three in a row, while Benoit has yo-yo’d his last ten fights going 5-5 with no streaks involved. Elliott is very similar to another Octagon veteran in Clay Guida, in the sense that he’s just constantly active. Whether he’s striking, grappling, scrambling or defending he’s constantly busy and Benoit is unlikely to be able to keep up in the cardio department. Benoit has decent power and a big shot is his most likely path to victory, but I think Elliott does enough to earn the nod from the judges.
PICK – Tim Elliott via Unanimous Decision

Calvin Kattar (21-4) vs Dan Ige (14-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A top 10 clash in the 145lbs division headlines the second card on Fight Island for the week. Calvin Kattar comes in with three wins from his last five including a vicious KO of Jeremy Stephens in his last bout. ‘Dynamite’ Dan Ige is on a six-fight win streak including a decision win over former lightweight contender Edson Barboza in his last fight. While Ige was given the nod, it was a controversial decision with many scoring it in favour of the Brazilian. He is a grappler with submissions on his record and he will look to smother Kattar’s strikes and close the distance to clinch and get a takedown. Kattar is a clear level above Ige though in my opinion on the feet but the ground game is untested. If Ige can get the takedown, then he will have the advantage. Ige was dropped three times in his win over Barboza though and Kattar will take confidence in that. In a five round war, I think Kattar will be able to land enough damage on the feet to secure a TKO win.
PICK – Calvin Kattar via Knockout, Round 4