Tag Archives: Natan Levy

UFC Orlando: Thompson vs Holland – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns after a two week break for one of the most stacked Fight Night cards of the year when Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson takes on Kevin Holland in the main event.

A huge welterweight bout should see a new contender emerge for 2023 at the top of the division, with both guys looking to break into the top five soon.

This card also has the likes of former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, Tracy Cortez, Michael Johnson, Clay Guida, Niko Price and the super exciting Tai Tuivasa.

Last time at UFC Vegas 65 we went 8/11 with four perfect picks to move to 784/1213 (64.63%) with 324 perfect picks (41.33%). You can see our full pick history here.

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


Yazmin Jauregui (9-0) vs Istela Nunes (6-3) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A strawweight banger opens up the card in this one. Jauregui is an undefeated fighter, who won her UFC debut last time out back in August with a decision win over Iasmin Lucindo, while Nunes has lost three of her last four including her two UFC outings against Ariane Carnelossi and Sam Hughes.

Jauregui is a powerful striker with good wrestling in her back pocket and a fantastic set of lungs to make her a threat throughout 15 minutes. Nunes on the other hand is also a powerful striker, with great counters and skill but she has a habit of leaving herself open for counters and running out of steam as the fight goes on. That’s a problem against someone as dangerous and well-rounded as Jauregui.

Expect the Mexican to stand and trade early to see how she feels in the fight, but quickly switch to her wrestling if she gets caught. As the fight goes on she’ll be able to land more and take over in more dominant fashion, and I expect she’ll be the one to claim the decision win.
PICK – Yazmin Jauregui via Decision

Marcelo Rojo (16-9) vs Francis Marshall (6-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very exciting featherweight clash up next. Rojo has lost his two UFC outings after being stopped by Charles Jourdain at UFC Vegas 21 before suffering a submission loss to Kyler Phillips at UFC 271, but has proven to be exciting and capable of performing at this level thus far. Marshall makes his UFC debut having earned a contract on the Contender Series back in August.

Rojo is a very exciting striker with great power and tremendous cardio, allowing him to push forward and use his length well against all opposition. Marshall on the other hand is a wrestler with an excellent ground game, looking for submissions once he gets the fight to the mat. He’s also beginning to develop a decent stand up game too as he continues to improve. Rojo is a big threat, but his weakness is Marshall’s strength.

Marshall will wrestle, there’s no doubt and that will almost certainly stop Rojo kicking away at his leg as he likes to do. That could force Rojo backwards which makes the takedown easier, but if Rojo is brave and throws those kicks hard and effectively, it will open up more strikes on the feet to the head. Marshall is super talented but this isn’t an easy debut, and I get the feeling Rojo finally gets his UFC win with a big knockout after landing a sharp one-two down the middle.
PICK – Marcelo Rojo via Knockout, Round 2



Natan Levy (7-1) vs Genaro Valdez (10-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Fun lightweight scrap between two relative UFC newcomers next. Levy is 1-1 in the octagon after losing to Rafa Garcia in his debut via decision, but claimed a win over Mike Breeden most recently back in April. Valdez earned a UFC contract on the Contender Series in October 2021, but lost his UFC debut in January when he got stopped by Matt Frevola at UFC 270.

Levy is a fantastic wrestler with a nasty leg kicking game to boot, and a great gas tank that allows him to drag opponents into the deep waters if necessary. Valdez alternatively is a straight up brawler, who comes into bouts looking to kill or be killed and that doesn’t bode well for him here.

Expect Levy to stay at range and use those leg kicks, before shooting for the takedowns and dominating on the mat with control and damage. He may even be successful in finding a finish after lots of wearing on Valdez, but it would come later in the fight if at all in my opinion.
PICK – Natan Levy via Decision

Tracy Cortez (10-1) vs Amanda Ribas (11-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An interesting flyweight scrap next. Cortez is on a ten-fight win streak, including a 4-0 run in the UFC with decision wins over Vanessa Melo, Stephanie Egger, Justine Kish and most recently Melissa Gatto. Ribas is 2-2 in her last four, alternating wins and losses against Paige VanZant (UFC 251), Marina Rodriguez (UFC 257), Virna Jandiroba (UFC 267) and Katlyn Chookagian most recently.

Cortez is a strong wrestler with dominant positional gains and some okay striking to open up those opportunities and a decent submission game from the mat. Ribas on the other hand likes to strike on the feet with her clinch game being strong, but her defence is poor. Her jiu-jitsu on the mat is excellent though, as her four submission wins show. This is all about who can take control of the octagon and force the other fighter backwards.

That leans me towards Cortez, because she’s the better wrestler by far and the one with the better gas tank. Ribas may think she can catch an armbar from the bottom and instead of working to get up stay there, but Cortez is very good defensively and with a mix of decent strikes, lots of takedowns and decent damage on the mat, she should do enough to get the decision win.
PICK – Tracy Cortez via Decision

UFC Vegas 53: Font vs Vera – Early prelims predictions

An absolute banger of a main event headlines the UFC Vegas 53 card live from the UFC Apex centre in Las Vegas this weekend.

Two top ten bantamweights go head-to-head as Rob Font takes on Marlon Vera in a five-round clash, while Andrei Arlovski takes on Jake Collier in a heavyweight co-main event too.

At UFC Vegas 52 last weekend we had a hot and cold night with our picks as we went 7/11 with zero perfect picks (for the first time since UFC Vegas 40) to move us up to 608/940 (64.68%) with 255 perfect picks (41.94%).

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


Tatsuro Taira (10-0) vs Carlos Candelario (8-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A fun fight between two debutants in the UFC opens up the card for us in this one. Taira is a perfect 10-0 at just 22-years-old, while Candelario was 8-0 before a defeat on Dana White’s Contender Series that the boss disagreed with and signed him because of anyway.

Taira is an excellent grappler with some solid grappling skills and excellent top pressure, where he works for submissions regularly. Candelario is an experienced fighter himself with some decent ground game too, although he looks more for ground and pound rather than submissions. On the feet Candelario is also a more active striker than Taira and technically is good enough to cause problems.

With that said though, Taira is so quick to latch on to any sort of mistake and if he gets an advantageous position on the mat he rarely lets it slip. Candelario tends to leave limbs hanging and uses his knees to get back to his feet which could allow Taira to take his back and sink in a nasty choke for a big win.
PICK – Tatsuro Taira via Submission, Round 2

Gina Mazany (7-5) vs Shanna Young (8-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Two women’s flyweight veterans go toe-to-toe in this one. Mazany is on a 3-5 fun, with a knockout defeat to Priscilla Cachoeira back at UFC 262 her last outing. Young on the other hand has lost her only two UFC bouts, dropping a decision to Macy Chiasson back in 2020 before getting KO’d by Stephanie Eggar at UFC Vegas 13 in her most recent bout.

Mazany is a striker who likes to use the clinch game to take her opponents down to the mat so she can change their face with vicious ground and pound, but has had issues in the past with her cardio skills. Young alternatively is also a striker, but she lacks power in her attacks and has little-to-no takedown defence. Her fight IQ is questionable too, considering she waltzed into clinches against talented judoka Eggar last time out.

This is Mazany’s fight to lose stylistically. She has the power advantage, is the better grappler and has got a good size advantage. She is however moving down to flyweight for the fight and that’s a problem considering her cardio problems. Young needs to avoid being taken down at all costs because she can hold her own on the feet, but I expect Mazany to get this down quickly and call it a night with a statement.
PICK – Gina Mazany via Knockout, Round 2



Natan Levy (6-1) vs Mike Breeden (10-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Two men looking for their first ever UFC win after defeats in their debuts last year. Levy was beaten up by Rafa Garcia en route to a unanimous decision loss at UFC Vegas 43, while Breeden got KO’d viciously by Alexander Hernandez in the first round at UFC Vegas 38.

Levy is a stand-up fighter who tends to use kicking range as his preferred distance, and has some good wrestling to lean on also. Breeden is more of a boxer who likes to pressure forward and get into the pocket before firing off powerful shots, which have earned him eight knockout wins so far in his career. With that said, Levy will be confident of being able to replicate Breeden’s defeat to Anthony Romero.

Using a karate stance he should be able to keep out of that pocket and with Breeden very heavy on his lead leg, he will allow Levy the opportunity to kick the crap out of it like Romero did on the Contender Series. If Breeden gets past that distance he certainly has the power advantage, but Levy is a dangerous counter striker and his takedown offense is a good way to mix it up and claim a decision win.
PICK – Natan Levy via Decision

UFC Vegas 43: Vieira vs Tate – Prelims predictions

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

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

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

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

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


Terrance McKinney (11-3) vs Fares Ziam (12-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very fun lightweight fight here. McKinney made his UFC debut at UFC 263 on very short notice and secured the quickest KO in lightweight history, putting Matt Frevola’s lights out in just seven seconds. Ziam on the other hand has earned back-to-back wins in the UFC, beating Jamie Mullarkey via decision at UFC Fight Island 6 before a majority decision over Luigi Vendramini at UFC 263.

McKinney is a super powerful striker on the feet, with some great boxing skills and a nasty low kick to go with it. He’s also got very good wrestling and some decent submission skills, earning six tap-out victories. Ziam on the other hand is a technical striker who fights at a slow pace and looks to counter-strike on the outside. That slow pace however could be a big problem for him in this fight, with McKinney a very fast starter.

‘T-Rex’ will likely come out hard and fast and look to put Ziam against the fence and land big strikes before moving on to his wrestling and trying to drag the fight to the ground where he has the edge. Ziam has every chance of countering those blitzes with powerful shots of his own, but I think McKinney’s ability to wrestle and grapple earns him a victory here.
PICK – Terrence McKinney via Decision

Loma Lookboonmee (6-2) vs Lupita Godinez (6-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Another fun strawweight bout on this card as Lupita Godinez steps in for her third outing in a little over a month. A win over Silvana Gomez Juarez at UFC Vegas 26 was followed up the following week with a defeat up a weight class against Luana Carolina. Lookboonmee is on a two-fight win streak, beating Jinh Yu Frey and then beating Sam Hughes at UFC Vegas 25 most recently.

Lookboonmee is a brilliant kickboxer with great Muay-Thai skills and some much improved wrestling too, as shown in her last fight. Godinez is a decent wrestler herself with some okay striking on the feet, but ultimately it’s her wrestling that has got her this far. Unfortunately for her, Lookboonmee is very good when it comes to takedown defence and on the feet there is a very wide gap between the two.

Godinez has very good pressure early on and Lookboonmee is small even for this division, but her wrestling has improved to the point where there isn’t much of a difference between them. That means the fight will be tight and because of the edge on the feet, I think Lookboonmee can earn the victory.
PICK – Loma Lookboonmee via Decision



Rafa Garcia (12-2) vs Natan Levy (6-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very fun lightweight fight in this one between two fighters looking for their first UFC wins. Garcia is 0-2 in the organisation with decision losses to Nasrat Haqparast at UFC Vegas 21 and then Chris Gruetzemacher at UFC Vegas 33. Levy is making his UFC debut as an undefeated fighter, winning a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series a year ago with a submission win.

Garcia is a solid wrestler with some excellent submission skills, earning seven of his 11 career wins via tap-out. Levy will stand opposite him also a decent wrestler with good submission skills once he’s on top, earning three of his six wins via tap-out. On the feet, Garcia has a big advantage in this fight though and that is what is leaning me towards this pick. Levy is a natural featherweight with a slight reach and heigh advantage, but he has really struggled with pressure in the past.

Garcia has previously gone five rounds in the past with a high pace and his ability to mix up the striking and wrestling should see him earn a victory against the smaller man. With that said though, Garcia’s cardio crumbled last time out and Levy is talented enough on the mat to secure a submission, but I think Garcia should be able to correct those issues and earn a win.
PICK – Rafa Garcia via Decision

Pat Sabatini (15-3) vs Tucker Lutz (12-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A featherweight banger is the featured prelim bout on this card. Sabatini is on a four-fight win streak with wins over Tristan Connelly at UFC 261 and a submission win over Jamall Emmers at UFC Vegas 35. Lutz meanwhile is undefeated since losing his pro debut, earning a decision win over Kevin Aguilar in his UFC debut at UFC 262.

Sabatini is a ground specialist, with amazing submission skills earning him 10 of 15 wins coming via tap-out. He’s a decent wrestler too to get the fight to the ground while he’s not scared to trade strikes on the feet to open up his chances. Lutz however is a very well-rounded fighter, with good striking on the feet and some efficient wrestling skills to be able to dictate where he wants the fight to take place.

Lutz’s performance against Aguilar was excellent and while he seemed to get tired in the third round, Sabatini has also struggled with his cardio in the past. Lutz is comfortably the better fighter on the feet and with his good wrestling, he should be able to keep the fight standing and avoid Sabatini’s brilliant submission grappling to earn a comfortable decision win.
PICK – Tucker Lutz via Decision