Tag Archives: Nate Maness

UFC Vegas 64: Rodriguez vs Lemos – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex once again this weekend for a big women’s flyweight main event between Marina Rodriguez and Amanda Lemos.

The two ranked contenders will be looking to earn victory in the five-round headliner with an eye on a future title shot in 2023.

There are other big names on the card including Neil Magny, Daniel Rodriguez and Miranda Maverick.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 63 it wasn’t the best card, but we went 7/11 with two perfect picks to move to 760/1177 (64.57%) with 319 perfect picks (41.97%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims, then moving on to the rest of the prelim section of the card, here are our main card picks.

Grant Dawson (18-1-1) vs Mark O Madsen (12-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Very interesting lightweight scrap up first on the main card. Dawson is unbeaten in his last ten with a record of 9-0-1, earning a submission win over Jared Gordon last time out following a majority draw with Ricky Glenn in his prior bout. Madsen is an undefeated MMA fighter, having transitioned from Olympic wrestling in a dominant fashion with victories over Clay Guida and Vinc Pichel as his last two opponents.

Dawson is a super talented wrestler with world class jiu-jitsu skills and great power in his hands, making him a real threat for any opponent. Madsen is an Olympic wrestler as already mentioned, and he has shown his qualities in that field throughout his short MMA career to date. He’s got decent kickboxing to go with it, but the wrestling is his bread and butter. This is a very interesting match-up between two guys looking to earn a ranking next to their name.

Madsen has the edge in Olympic wrestling, but that’s very different to MMA wrestling and you could argue that Dawson has the edge there. Mix in his advantages in the striking and submission game, he could claim a win here but the short-notice nature of this bout makes it a hard call that could go either way.
PICK – Grant Dawson via Decision

Tagir Ulanbekov (13-2) vs Nate Maness (14-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Super fun flyweight scrap up next. Ulanbekov was on a five-fight win streak before he ran into Tim Elliott last time out, dropping a decision at UFC 272. Maness on the other hand was on a four fight win streak before he ran into Umar Nurmagomedov in his last outing back in June.

Ulanbekov is your typical Dagestani fighter, with incredible chain wrestling and sambo skills to go with a unique striking style that is deceptively effective. Maness is a well-rounded fighter too, showing great ability to take the fight to his opponent wherever it goes and a great durability and toughness too. But just like his bout against Nurmagomedov, this seems like a nasty match-up for him in his new weight division.

Hitting the weight won’t be easy, and if he does make it then expect Ulanbekov to use his pressure an kicks to the body before making him wrestle for 15 minutes in what could be a really long night for Maness.
PICK – Tagir Ulanbekov via Decision

Chase Sherman (16-10) vs Josh Parisian (15-5) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweights collide next. Sherman has lost four of his last five fights, but claimed a knockout win over Jared Vanderaa in his last outing back in July. Parisian alternatively is 2-2 in his last four, alternating wins and losses with defeats to Parker Porter and Don’Tale Mayes and victories over Roque Martinez and Alan Baudot most recently.

Both of these guys are your typical heavyweight scrappers, with a decent low kick and incredibly powerful overhands and hooks with little else to their game. Parisian has more wrestling in his arsenal too, but he does struggle to get fights to the ground. When he does though, he’s quite dominant in top position.

Sherman has got a decent takedown defence and is the better striker by a decent margin. Both fighters are susceptible to being stopped, but in this one it seems far more likely that Sherman lands big than Parisian does. It won’t be fun while it lasts, but hopefully it won’t last too long anyway.
PICK – Chase Sherman via Knockout, Round 1



Neil Magny (26-10) vs Daniel Rodriguez (17-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Big time scrap between two ranked welterweights up next. Magny saw a two-fight winning streak after victories over Geoff Neal and Max Griffin snapped by the imperious Shavkat Rakhmonov last time out. Rodriguez made it four wins in a row with a controversial decision win over Li Jingliang at UFC 279 last time out, after the crazy situation that saw three bouts put together on 24 hours notice.

Magny is a solid wrestler. He uses his excellent length and footwork to get his opponents moving and then uses his great wrestling to gain control and tends to ride fights out in that manner. Rodriguez on the other hand is a terrific boxer with some of the best combinations in the division, and his defensive wrestling is pretty good too. His last showing against Jingliang was cause for concern though, because he looked way off it only two months ago.

Magny has the skillset to stifle Rodriguez no doubt, but he’s also struggled against the better opposition in the division. Rodriguez believes he’s up there and his striking should cause Magny big problems if he’s performing the way we know he can. It’s a tough call, but I think D-Rod’s jab and defensive wrestling should be enough to claim victory, but don’t be surprised if Magny outwrestles him for 15 minutes either.
PICK – Daniel Rodriguez via Decision

Marina Rodriguez (16-1-2) vs Amanda Lemos (12-2-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Women’s strawweight main event up next between two specialist strikers. Rodriguez has won each of her last four in a row with the most recent being a split decision over Yan Xiaonan at UFC 272. Lemos alternatively has won six of her last seven, with a loss to Jessica Andrade the only flaw in the run. She bounced back from that with a submission win over Michelle Waterson most recently.

Rodriguez is a fantastic boxer with terrific combinations and a really nice, long jab. Lemos is far more of a power puncher than Rodriguez, but her technical skills are still there although not quite as refined as Rodriguez’s. Rodriguez’s abilities to work from distance could really work in her favour here, and that’s why she’s my pick.

She’s already proven that going the full 25 minutes is something she can do, and she keeps her gas tank in check and holds her power throughout. Lemos isn’t a grappler despite the submission last time out, and that’s Rodriguez’s biggest weakness. With the match-up as it is, I expect Rodriguez to strike her way to a decision and claim an impressive win and potentially seal the next title shot in the division.
PICK – Marina Rodriguez via Decision

UFC Vegas 37: Smith vs Spann – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to our screens this weekend after a two week break with a huge 15-fight card, headlined by light heavyweights Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith and Ryan Spann.

The 205lbs division is top heavy right now, with lots of guys vying for title contention and that includes former challenger Smith. A win for Spann however in his first ever main event would be a huge deal for him and mean he has no easy fights in his future.

Elsewhere on the card there is a hotly anticipated match-up between Ariane Lipski and debutant Mandy Bohm in the women’s flyweight division, while the likes of Joaquin Buckley, Nate Maness, Raquel Pennington, Impa Kasanganay and Arman Tsarukyan all fight too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 36, we had a decent run going 6/9 with three perfect picks. That moved us to 402/633 (63.51%) with 177 perfect picks (44.03%) since we began.

A huge card, we’ve split our picks up into three this week so we’ll start with the opening four early prelim bouts.


Joaquin Buckley (12-4) vs Antonio Arroyo (9-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very interesting middleweight bout to open the main card as Buckley and Arroyo look to get back into the win column in this one. Buckley had the world at his feet after his mind-blowing KO over Impa Kasanganay and then Jordan Wright at UFC 255, but he got starched with a head kick by Alessio Di Chirico at UFC Fight Island 7. Arroyo came into the UFC very highly-rated, but suffered back-to-back defeats to Andre Muniz and Deron Winn most recently at UFC Vegas 17.

Buckley is a pressure fighter with lots of power in both his hands and feet, but he’s only 5ft 10′ and in the middleweight division that’s not the biggest. Arroyo on the other hand is a good striker who has seriously struggled with wrestling since coming to the UFC. Buckley moves a lot and has a considerable athletic advantage, but Arroyo is better when he’s allowed to stand and Buckley can prove to be pretty predictable sometimes with his timing.

With that said, Arroyo hasn’t shown me anything that gets me excited about his future yet. We saw Buckley come back from getting KO’d by Kevin Holland in the past and I think he’ll come back in this one with a bang once again.
PICK – Joaquin Buckley via Knockout, Round 2

Nate Maness (13-1) vs Tony Gravely (21-6) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A banger at 135lbs in this one between two highly-rated potential future contenders. Maness has won both his UFC bouts so far, cruising past Jonny Munhoz Jr before a submission win over Luke Sanders at UFC Vegas 15, while Gravely has also won his last two with a split decision over Geraldo De Freitas before a KO over Anthony Birchak at UFC Vegas 24.

Maness is a good all-rounder, with good striking and good wrestling to be able to compete everywhere the fight could possibly go. Gravely on the other hand is a spectacular wrestler with good power in his hands and a nasty finishing instinct if he gets an opponent hurt, shown in his 12 stoppage wins. Gravely is arguably better at everything in this fight, but has had issues in the past with cardio and that’s where he could find himself in trouble.

If he goes too hard, too early then Maness could stay in there and cause him big issues in the later rounds. If he starts too slowly then the same could happen also. If he however paces himself properly, boxes his way to the inside and secures some top control then it’ll be a long night for Maness.
PICK – Tony Gravely via Decision

Arman Tsarukyan (16-2) vs Christos Giagos (19-8) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

An absolutely brilliant bit of match-making in this one as one highly rated prospect takes on an up and coming veteran at lightweight. Tsarukyan has won three-in-a-row with his most recent win coming against Matt Frevola at UFC 257, and his only defeat since 2015 coming against Islam Makhachev. Giagos has won his last two fights, including a submission win over Sean Soriano at UFC 262 last time out.

Tsarukyan has a brilliant freestyle wrestling background as well as tremendous cardio and a good kickboxing arsenal to go with it. Giagos on the other hand is a tidy kickboxer himself who is also at his best when he’s coming forward and securing takedowns on his opponent. Giagos has had issues with his cardio in the past and Tsarukyan showed some terrific takedown defence against Makhachev, which spells bad things for Giagos.

Unfortunately for Giagos, Tsarukyan seems to have the advantage in the wrestling world and on the feet they’re pretty evenly matched. Both prefer the grappling world, which makes me lean towards the Russian in a decision victory.
PICK – Arman Tsarukyan via Decision

Ariane Lipski (13-7) vs Mandy Bohm (7-0) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very fun fight in the women’s flyweight division between two big strikers at 125lbs. Lipski is 2-2 in her most recent fights, losing her last two-in-a-row to Antonina Shevchenko and then Montana De La Rosa via knockout at UFC Vegas 28. Bohm on the other hand is a very highly rated undefeated fighter coming over from Bellator, winning her most recent fight via decision just under a year ago.

Lipski’s nickname is ‘Queen of Violence’ for a reason. She is a nasty striker who loves to use knees and elbows and has some good striking and clinch control. Bohm on the other hand has a beautiful jab and will look to drag her opponent down to the ground, take their back and synch up some submissions. Lipski’s defeats all generally have come against top level fighters but she does struggle on the ground and that could be a problem here.

Lipski will without a doubt look to maintain distance, use her kicks and stay away from the mat. But where she loves to clinch up for knees and elbow strikes, she puts herself into danger. With that said, Bohm hasn’t fought anyone at Lipski’s level or with her experience yet. It’s due to be a fascinating fight that could go either way but when it’s grappler vs striker, I tend to lean towards the grappler.
PICK – Mandy Bohm via Decision

Ion Cutelaba (15-6-1) vs Devin Clark (12-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A very intriguing light heavyweight scrap between two ranked fighters among the big men in the company. Cutelaba is winless in his last three fights, getting knocked out twice by Magomed Ankalaev before a split draw against Dustin Jacoby at UFC Vegas 25. Clark was beaten in the main event at UFC Vegas 15 by Anthony Smith last time out but won his last two before that.

Cutelaba is a fighter who straight up likes to brawl. He’s a power puncher who throws with reckless abandon and solid technique with some good accuracy and a good chin of his own. Clark on the other hand is a fighter who puts W’s above entertainment with his style, generally trying to wrestle his opponent to the ground and keep them there. Clark is a great wrestler but he’s not among the top fighters in the division, and while Cutelaba isn’t either I think he’s still a level above Clark.

The power in the hands means he will land and likely hurt Clark but it’s whether or not Cutelaba can either prevent the takedowns or stop Clark from holding him down. He has a wrestling background and has shown an ability to be able to do that in the past, so I believe Cutelaba can land and keep it standing enough for a win.
PICK – Ion Cutelaba via Decision

Anthony Smith (35-16) vs Ryan Spann (19-6) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A big light heavyweight main event sees former title challenger ‘Lionheart’ Smith take on first-time main eventer Ryan Spann. Smith bounced back from a dominant defeat against Aleksandar Rakic to cruise past Devin Clark and then Jimmy Crute in his last bout at UFC 261. Spann on the other hand has won nine of his last ten fights, losing to Johnny Walker before bouncing back with a win via violent knockout against Misha Cirkunov at UFC Vegas 21.

Smith is a former golden gloves boxing champion with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to go with over 50 professional fights worth of experience. Spann is a powerful striker in his own right, but he doesn’t really throw combinations and his gas tank is absolutely a worry in a five-round fight. Smith has a solid chin and is incredibly well-rounded and ultimately here, Spann’s tool box just isn’t that deep.

‘Lionheart’ has multiple paths to victory in this fight and while he may look to be wary early on because of Spann’s power, he will take over and show that there are levels to this mixed martial arts game to secure a third straight victory.
PICK – Anthony Smith via Knockout, Round 3

UFC Vegas 15: Blaydes vs Lewis – Prelims Predictions

The heavyweight scene steps to the front of the queue for attention as Curtis Blaydes gets the fight he called for against Derrick Lewis.

The main event is a chance for both men to push towards the front of the queue for a title shot, with both fighters on impressive win streaks.

In the co-main, Anthony Smith looks to get back to winning ways when he takes on Devin Clark in the light-heavyweight division on a relatively below par card.

Last weekend we had an okay showing, with 7/12 correct picks but only two correct picks for the night. This moved our overall picks up to 175/264 (66.29%) with 80 perfect picks (45.71%) since starting our picks in June.

With eleven fights on the card scheduled, lets see what we can rustle up starting with the prelims here.

PRELIMS

Luke Sanders (13-3) vs Nate Maness (12-1) – (Catchweight/140lbs)

Two bangers meet up in the opening fight of the night as Luke Sanders and Nate Maness look to make it back-to-back wins in the UFC for the first time. Sanders is currently 3-3 in the organisation and won his last fight by KO’ing former champion Renan Barao in February 2019. Maness made his debut last time out, scraping past late notice opponent Johnny Munhoz Jr in August via decision. Sanders is a hard-hitting striker who has glaring deficiencies on the ground. Unfortunately Maness doesn’t have the skills on the mat to harm him in that way and in a stand up battle he is out-gunned. Sanders either hurts him in the pocket with some big shots, or picks him off for a judges decision.
PICK – Luke Sanders via Knockout, Round 2

Su Mudaerji (12-4) vs Malcolm Gordon (12-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A striker’s paradise in this one as Su Mudaerji looks to make it back-to-back wins in the UFC as Malcolm Gordon looks for a maiden victory in the organisation. Gordon was tapped out on Fight Island by his short-notice opponent Amir Albazi which came as a shock since half of his wins in his career have come via submission. While Mudaerji did well to dominate against Andre Soukhamthath, Soukhamthath has a habit of imploding in fights. Mudaerji is a decent striker but has a level of wrestling far inferior to Gordon’s. If the fight goes to the ground then Gordon should be able to get a finish but if it’s on the feet, Mudaerji should be able to outstrike him. It’s a 50/50 fight but I think don’t Mudaerji has shown he can defend takedowns too greatly, so Gordon will take a win.
PICK – Malcolm Gordon via Submisison, Round 2

Kai Kamaka III (8-2) vs Jonathan Pearce (9-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A six-fight win streak is what Kamaka is defending in this fight following a successful UFC debut against Tony Kelley back in August. Pearce was successful on Dana White’s Contender Series before a debut defeat to Joe Lauzon in August 2019 and this is his first fight since that loss. When Pearce fought Lauzon, he was absolutely battered to a first round knockout. He has a pressure game that is hard to implement against someone who is a better striker, which is what Kamaka is. Kamaka is also a better wrestler so he will control where this fight goes. He has had cardio issues in the past though but he should be good enough to secure the first two rounds at least to take a decision win.
PICK – Kai Kamaka III via Decision

Gina Mazany (6-4) vs Rachel Ostovich (4-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A fight between two women who are likely fighting for their future in the organisation. Gina Mazany is a well-rounded fighter with good takedown defence and good striking, while Ostovich is a slick grappler and not much else going for her. Both of these women aren’t really UFC calibre as their records show, with three of Mazany’s four losses in the company coming in under two minutes. This one will likely go the distance either way, but I take Mazany because she’s got more to her game. This won’t be a great fight though.

Martin Day (8-4) vs Anderson Dos Santos (20-8) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Two fighters coming off back-to-back defeats will be keen to get back to winning ways in this bantamweight clash. Day lost to Pingyuan Liu in November 2018 before returning on Fight Island and losing to Davey Grant via knockout, while Dos Santos lost two decisions to Nad Nirimani and Andre Ewell, the last of those coming in July 2019. Day has a big striking advantage in this bout to go with his height and reach edge. He has some weak takedown defence, but Dos Santos showed against Ewell that despite having a wrestling edge he couldn’t get it going and that could be a big issue in this fight too. Day should be able to pick Dos Santos apart at range and so long as he doesn’t give up sloppy takedowns, should be comfortable keeping it on the feet too.
PICK – Martin Day via Decision

Ashlee Evans-Smith (6-4) vs Norma Dumont (4-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The prelims headliner in the women’s bantamweight division comes between two women who each lost their last bout. Evans-Smith was beaten by Andrea Lee almost two years ago in her last fight, where she took a step back and switched gyms to James Krause’s Glory MMA. Dumont made her debut in February this year against Megan Anderson and was knocked out with relative ease in the first round. Much like the earlier women’s fight we spoke of, Evans-Smith probably shouldn’t be in the UFC anymore and Dumont hasn’t shown anything in her one octagon bout to show she does either. The difference there is that she went up a weight-class to fight one of the best in that division. Aside from that, there’s next to no footage of Dumont in the cage so it’s hard to pick her against someone who we’ve seen plenty of. Even though she’s not very good, she has shown enough and fought better quality opponents with success and therefore I have to pick her.
PICK – Ashlee Evans-Smith via Decision