The most anticipated women’s MMA rematch of all time as Julianna Pena defends her bantamweight title for the first time against Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 in the main event.
Pena completed one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport last time out, and now she looks to prove it wasn’t a fluke by beating her again.
In the co-main event we also have an interim flyweight title fight as former champion Brandon Moreno takes on Kai Kara-France in a rematch of their own, with the winner setting themselves up to take on injured champion Deiveson Figueiredo once he’s healthy.
Last time out at UFC London we had great fun live at the event, and we had a decent night with our picks too. We went 9/14 with five perfect picks to move to 673/1046 (64.34%) with 289 perfect picks (42.94%). You can check out our full picks history here.
We’ll look to improve on that record here, starting with the early prelims.
Orion Cosce (7-1) vs Blood Diamond (3-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
Fun welterweight scrap to open up the card in this one. Cosce came into the UFC as an undefeated fighter after a win on Dana White’s Contender Series, but was KO’d by Phil Hawes in his debut in July 2021. Blood Diamond came into the UFC highly rated for his kickboxing career, but his debut didn’t go to plan when he got choked out by Jeremiah Wells at UFC 271.
Cosce is a solid striker who has great wrestling to back him up with relentless pressure and good cardio, although his submission skills aren’t the greatest. Diamond on the other hand is as pure a kickboxer as they come, with brilliant kicking technique and great power. But as a result of that, his ground game needs a lot of work and leaves him open to issues. Cosce will have watched Wells’ performance and know he can do the same thing.
Diamond’s kicking game will likely be neutralised by the takedown threat, and while he does have the advantage in the striking game by a distance Cosce will close the distance and shoot. If he gets him down then Diamond will struggle to get back to the feet, and expect Cosce to work for a choke or just bulldoze him into oblivion from top position until the referee steps in. PICK – Orion Cosce via Knockout, Round 2
Nicolae Negumereanu (12-1) vs Ihor Potieria (19-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
A banger at light heavyweight next between two guys on great runs. Negumereanu has won his last three in a row, KO’ing Ike Villanueva in the middle of two split decision wins over Aleksa Camur and Kennedy Nzechukwu. Potieria is on a 15-fight win streak stretching back to 2017 and gets his UFC shot after a win on Dana White’s Contender Series via a first-round knockout.
Negumereanu is a bit of a loose cannon, with big haymakers for strikes and decent wrestling and grappling too. Potieria is a complete wrecking machine who marches forward and looks to blast his opponents out of the cage, but he also has six submission wins in his career to show he’s skilled on the ground too. This is an interesting fight to try and predict.
On paper you’d go for the debutant. His record is excellent, he’s got power and grappling and he’s bigger. But his level of competition hasn’t been that great. Negumereanu on the other hand could easily have lost the two fights he won by decision in his last three. But stylistically this could suit Negumereanu. The wild exchanges will allow Negumereanu to step in for takedowns and even if he can’t get them, he can control Potieria against the cage. A KO could obviously occur at any moment, but I think Negumereanu’s experience and patience pays off here. PICK – Nicolae Negumereanu via Decision
Joselyne Edwards (11-4) vs Ji Yeon Kim (9-5-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
Fun women’s bantamweight scrap up next. Edwards snapped a two-fight losing streak last time out when she earned a decision win over Ramona Pasqual at UFC 275. Kim on the other hand is on a three-fight losing streak and has lost four of her last five, dropping decisions to Alexa Grasso, Molly McCann and Priscila Cachoeira.
Both of these women are volume strikers who can also hold their own on the ground if necessary, and usually make fights much harder than they actually need to. Kim has got a little bit more power in her hands and has held her own against top strikers before, but Edwards has got better movement and better technique.
It’s a case of who catches the judges’ eye more with strikes and with this fight being at bantamweight the bigger Edwards is likely to do that more regularly. Edwards will walk forward constantly, kick well and land good combinations to get the nod on the scorecards and likely end Kim’s UFC career for the time being. PICK – Joselyne Edwards via Decision
Michael Morales (13-0) vs Adam Fugitt (8-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
Very one-sided scrap ends this portion of the card in what looks like a set up fight for the UFC. Morales is an undefeated 13-0 and KO’d Trevin Giles in his UFC debut at UFC 270 last time out, while Fugitt is on a four-fight win streak with all finishes and makes his UFC debut in this bout.
Morales is a super talented wrestler with incredible striking and power in his hands, earning 10 knockout wins in his career. Fugitt is a great wrestler whose biggest strength is his top control and ground and pound, but he’s not as good a wrestler as Morales and that means he needs to win this fight on the feet. The chances of that are about as high as Julianna Pena beating Amanda Nunes in the first fight between the two.
Fugitt has defensive lapses on the feet and has a tendency to shoot in with his chin high, which will leave a clean target for Morales to cave in. He’s got great speed and counters, and won’t be afraid of the takedowns because he’s comfortable there too. Expect a quick, statement finish from the undefeated prospect. PICK – Michael Morales via Knockout, Round 1
A super highly anticipated grudge match main event at UFC 272 is finally upon us as Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal will clash in the welterweight division.
‘Chaos’ and ‘Gamebred’ will finally settle their very personal differences in the octagon after their friendship went sour several years ago, but while fans are hoping for a scrap it could actually be a bit of a mistmatch.
We’ll also see a five-round co-main event that was put together on short-notice as Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Renato Moicano at a 160-pound catchweight.
The last time we made picks was at UFC Vegas 48: Walker vs Hill a couple of weeks ago and we did pretty well, going 9/12 with three perfect picks to move to 548/852 (64.32%) with 234 perfect picks (42.7%).
Check out our full record for our predictions to date here.
Maryna Moroz (10-3) vs Mariya Agapova (10-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A very fun bout in the women’s flyweight division opens up the prelims of this card. Moroz hasn’t fought for almost two years, but won her last two fights while Agapova earned a rear-naked choke win over Sabina Mazo at UFC Vegas 39 in her last time out.
Moroz is a primary boxer, who has got credentials as a national boxing champion and boxing coach in her homeland. Agapova on the other hand is also a strong striker, but she has really developed her grappling game in recent years to really round out her game. Her cardio has been a problem in the past, because he style is do-or-die and she tries to fly through her opponents as quickly as possible.
She does have a pretty big advantage when it comes to the grappling game, and she’s also arguably more powerful on the feet, but Moroz is the more skilled fighter when it comes to the striking department. But with two years out, plus the grappling advantage for Agapova, I expect the younger fighter to be able to claim a win and maybe even a finish via ground-and-pound. PICK – Mariya Agapova via Knockout, Round 2
Nicolae Negumereanu (11-1) vs Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
An intriguing light heavyweight fight up next between two guys currently in purgatory between the rankings and the rubbish. Negumereanu has won his last two, earning a split decision over Aleksa Camur at UFC Vegas 29 before a KO against Isaac Villanueva at UFC Vegas 41, while Nzechukwu was KO’d violently by Da Un Jung at UFC Vegas 42 last time out. He steps in on one months notice for this bout.
Negumereanu is a good wrestler, who looks to press forward for takedowns and then try and earn points on the ground with control and ground and pound. Nzechukwu is a good defensive wrestler with some solid cardio and boxing when attacking, plus a good chin. If his chin has recovered from his KO loss last time out, then he should win this fight relatively comfortably.
Despite his slower starts, his volume is usually enough to keep fighters away and he is also a much bigger fighter in the cage. He has a big height and reach advantage, as well as power and striking. If Negumereanu is able to get the fight down he’ll have a good chance, but I think Nzechukwu should claim the win here from distance. PICK – Kennedy Nzechukwu via Decision
Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2) vs Yan Xiaonan (13-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
A potential title eliminator in the women’s strawweight division here. Marina Rodriguez is on a brilliant three-fight win streak, with a KO over Amanda Ribas at UFC 257 before main event decision wins against Michelle Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 26 and Mackenzie Dern at UFC Vegas 39. Xiaonan on the other hand saw a six-fight win streak in the UFC snapped by Carla Esparza last time out at UFC Vegas 27 when she got KO’d.
Rodriguez is a sensational boxer with excellent takedown defence, solid cardio and really good power in her hands too. Xiaonan on the other hand is also a very positive striker with good power speed. It’s highly unlikely that either of these fighters will be going for takedowns here, so keep your eyes peeled on this one.
Xiaonan is basically coming up against a bigger version of herself, who also has good skills in the clinch and that’s why I’ve got Rodriguez to win this. She’s just as quick but also more powerful, has more variety from range and has a size advantage. I expect it to be relatively close, but Rodriguez will land the more noticeable shots and claim the decision win. PICK – Marina Rodriguez via Decision
Jalin Turner (11-5) vs Jamie Mullarkey (14-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
A super fun lightweight fight in the featured prelim bout of the night. Turner is on a three-fight finishing streak with a knockout over Josh Culibao before submission wins against Brok Weaver and then Uros Medic at UFC 266 most recently. Mullarkey on the other hand is on a two-fight KO streak himself, beating Khama Worthy at UFC 260 and then stopped Devonte Smith at UFC Vegas 38 most recently.
Turner is a rangy power puncher with some improved wrestling in recent fights, while Mullarkey looks to bully his way into range and then fire off his cement blocks called hands to KO his opponents. Combined, these two fighters have managed 18 career wins via knockout, so expect someone to go to sleep in this one.
Turner has a big size advantage with this one and arguably hits harder than anyone else Mullarkey has faced off against. If Mullarkey looks to come forward as recklessly as he has in the past, then his chin will be tested like never before. He doesn’t have the wrestling to lean on either because of Turner’s improvements and because of the range advantage, I expect him to land heavy sooner and claim a big knockout win. PICK – Jalin Turner via Knockout, Round 1
Nicolae Negumereanu (10-1) vs Ike Villanueva (18-12) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
A 205lbs stepping stone bout between a prospect and a veteran. Negumereanu returned from over two years out to earn a split decision win over Aleksa Camur at UFC Vegas 29, while Villanueva has lost three of his last four with a KO defeat to Marcin Prachnio last time out at UFC Vegas 30.
Villanueva is a decent boxer with good power, preferring a hook to a straight and looking to take someone’s head off. Negumereanu on the other hand is a powerful striker himself with good wrestling to dictate where the fight goes. He’s incredibly aggressive and physical, with a pretty decent gas tank too.
For Negumereanu the game plan should be simple; do what you do well, and you’ll win. If he uses his wrestling, his aggressive and avoids the big punches that Villanueva can threaten with, then this should be a relatively comfortable win for ‘Nick’. PICK – Nicolae Negumereanu via Knockout, Round 2
Francisco Trinaldo (26-8) vs Dwight Grant (11-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
An interesting welterweight bout set up here between the 43-year-old Trinaldo and the man with the biggest back in MMA. Trinaldo was defeated by Muslim Salikhov at UFC Vegas 28 last time out, while Grant earned a split decision win at UFC 261 against Stefan Sekulic.
Trinaldo is a powerful striker with one of the best left hands in the division, with good boxing skills. Grant is a good mover with explosive power too, using his jab and length. He tends to throw his strikes just one at a time though and the lack of volume can often be an issue.
Grant doesn’t really set his knockout shots up well, but when he lands he hurts his opponents. Trinaldo tends to plant his feet and throw bombs too, so it comes down to durability. At 43-years-old, I think Trinaldo’s chin will likely give out first and Grant can grab a win. PICK – Dwight Grant via Knockout, Round 2
Alex Caceres (18-12) vs Seungwoo Choi (10-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
A very fun featherweight clash between ‘Bruce Leeroy’ and ‘Sting. Caceres has won his last four-in-a-row with a big decision win over Kevin Croom last time out at UFC Vegas 20, while Choi has won his last three with a KO against Julian Erosa at UFC Vegas 29 in his last outing.
Caceres is a really well-rounded fighter, with good striking and a great pace to go with some good grappling too. Choi will be opposite him with a pure boxing stance with great power in his hands and improved takedown defence over recent performances.
For Choi, he needs to avoid takedown attempts and use his physicality to slow Caceres down. He has solid knockout power, works the body well and is constantly improving. For Caceres he must use his speed to get in and out, but I see Choi doing enough to secure a big career win. PICK – Seung Woo Choi via Decision
Jessica-Rose Clarke (10-6) vs Joselyne Edwards (10-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A decent bantamweight bout that seems way too high up on the card for me. Clarke returned from two straight defeats to earn a KO win over Sarah Alpar at UFC Vegas 11, while Edwards won her UFC debut against Yanan Wu at UFC Fight Island 7 before a defeat to Karol Rosa a month later at UFC Vegas 18.
Clarke is a proper grinder. stepping forward with good takedowns and willing to take strikes to close the distance. Edwards on the other hand is a brilliant kickboxer with decent takedown defence but with a definite preference to keep the bout standing. For Clarke, she needs the bout on the ground and her pressure will likely get it there.
Edwards will need to show an improved takedown defence to keep it standing, where she has a clear edge and the ability and power to potentially score a finish. You’ll know after the first takedown attempt who wins this fight, but I think Clarke will just be able to scrape a victory. PICK – Jessica-Rose Clarke via Decision
Grant Dawson (17-1) vs Ricky Glenn (22-6-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
A very fun co-main event in the lightweight division as the mightily impressive Dawson takes on Glenn. ‘KGD’ is on an eight-fight win streak with a KO victory against Leonardo Santos at UFC Vegas 22 last time out, while Glenn secured a first-round KO win over Joaquim Silva at UFC Vegas 29 in his last fight to get back to winning ways.
Dawson is a pressure fighter with some decent striking defence and a brilliant grappling background that has helped him secure 11 submission wins in his career. Glenn on the other side of the cage is a technical striker with good combinations and power, with a comfortable enough level on the ground where he’s not completely outmatched.
This is a great match up and stylistically Dawson has a big edge. His pressure and pace is relentless and when he gets a fight to the ground his striking and submissions are really good, while his cardio has held up a lot recently since his move to 155lbs. Glenn has stopping power, but the longer it goes the more I lean to Dawson. PICK – Grant Dawson via Submission, Round 3
Paulo Costa (13-1) vs Marvin Vettori (17-5-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
A BANGER of a main event, which has been switched to a light heavyweight fight at 205lbs after Costa admitted he couldn’t make weight during fight week. Costa was unbeaten before he clashed with Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 and got KO’d and has had plenty of professionalism problems since. Vettori was on a five-fight win streak with wins over Jack Hermansson at UFC Vegas 16 and Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 23, before a defeat to Adesanya himself at UFC 263.
Costa is an absolute powerhouse, with bricks for hands and a stellar physique as well as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Vettori on the other hand is a fighter who steps forward, closes the distance with dirty boxing before taking his opponents down and dominating with ground and pound. Costa will come forward and look to take Vettori’s head off with each and every strike, with a violent body kick in his arsenal.
Vettori though has the advantage with taking the fight to the ground and the weight issues that Costa has been having this week can’t be a good thing. Vettori’s chin has held up throughout his career, with zero defeats by finish and while Costa has other-worldly power that becomes useless if he’s on his back. I expect Vettori to press forward, clinch against the cage and work for takedowns to control on the ground for a decision win in an entertaining fight. PICK – Marvin Vettori via Decision
Fast start to the fight from Procopio as she comes forward with some nice strikes before clinching up and using he strength and knees. O’Neill fires back with some fine combinations of her own, kneeing back in the clinch too and using her jab well. Procopio fires off some hard leg kicks and big right hands before clinching up again and pushing O’Neill against the cage. Lovely takedown from Procopio sees her on top with 90 seconds left but O’Neill is able to bounce back up very quickly and they start trading strikes again. Procopio using her strength to her advantage and pushing O’Neill against the cage again and the round ends with a scramble. 10-9 Procopio.
Another fast start to the second round but this time from O’Neill, as she marches forward with some good strikes and a knee before Procopio catches it and takes her down. Procopio tries to control position but O’Neill fires off some big elbows from the bottom which forces her to move and allows O’Neill to kick her off and get back up. O’Neill has picked up the pace well and Procopio struggling to cope. O’Neill takes Procopio down and lands some big elbows on the ground from side control, before grinding her elbow across the face of Procopio. Procopio tries to set up a submission from the bottom before a scramble sets up a heel hook attempt, but O’Neill stays heavy on top to defend and sees out the round with ground and pound. 19-19.
O’Neill comes out quickly again and lands some decent strikes before tripping Procopio and immediately transitioning to a crucifix position. O’Neill landing lots of ground and pound strikes but not much damage being done, although Procopio struggling to escape. She finally gets her arm free and O’Neill switches to take her back, then goes full mount and then takes her back again looking for a rear-naked choke. Procopio stands with O’Neill on her back but she locks up the choke and squeezes until Procopio drops unconscious! What a win for O’Neill!
Rick Glenn def Joaquim Silva via Knockout, Round 1 (0:37)
RICKY GLENN!! FIRST LEFT HAND OF THE FIGHT LANDS AND DROPS SILVA! He follows it up with some ground and pound and then drops Silva again and the referee ends it! What a knockout!
Interesting start in this one as Martinez steps forward straight into the pocket to close the distance and starts roughing Parisian up with some clinches and dirty boxing. Some big punches from Martinez against the cage and he lands a huge slicing elbow that cuts Parisian. Parisian fires back with a knee and then two big hooks, but Martinez closes the distance again and just misses with a one-two. Martinez landing some heavy punches, with three nice uppercuts in a clinch and Parisian is struggling.Parisian trying to fight behind a jab but Martinez slips it and counters with a huge overhand right that wobbles Parisian! They clinch up again and Martinez doing plenty of damage as the round ends. 10-9 Martinez.
Parisian takes a dominant position early in the second round, getting hold of Martinez and pushing him against the cage but Martinez is landing lots of strikes to the head to try and get him off. Parisian being very heavy and leaning on Martinez, throwing some nice knees to the body and then a big elbow to the head. More short strikes but Parisian lands an inadvertant knee to the groin to cause a pause in the action. Martinez takes the centre and puts Parisian against the cage now but he gets away and then lands a flush right hand to the chin. Another clinch and Parisian lands three big elbows in a row before they clinch again. Martinez tries to sink in a guillotine but Parisian rolls through and avoids as the round ends. 19-19, big final round incoming.
Final round and Martinez trying to push the pace again, landing a nice four punch flurry while forcing Parisian backwards. Parisian lands a nice left hook but Martinez fires back with a right overhand that connects and Parisian is wobbled! He lands three more strikes but Parisian ties him up and pushes him against the cage. Martinez forces himself off the cage and lands some more strikes but Parisian using his size to try and wear Martinez down again. Parisian looking for a takedown but Martinez denying it well against the cage and forces the break. Martinez comes forward again but Parisian throws a lazy kick to the groin and causes a break with a minute to go. Another clinch once we restart sees both guys throwing short strikes as the round ends. Close third round but I think Martinez should get the nod.
Khaos Williams def Matthew Semelsberger via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Very fast start to the fight as Williams explodes with a big punch that cracks Semelsberger right on the nose and wobbles him! Lots of blood coming from the nose as he looks to tie Williams up and recover. They eventually separate and both trade big right hooks, with Semelsberger landing nicely himself. Williams goes for a big combo after catching a kick but Semelsberger steps to the side then lands a big right hand himself to counter. Williams firing first but Semelsberger countering well, good round. 10-9 Khaos.
Early exchange from both guys as they trade powerful hooks but both miss narrowly. Semelsberger lands a flush one-two that stuns Williams but he’s okay. He comes forward again and lands a nice right hook of his own that sends Semelsberger backwards but Semelsberger now is starting to back Williams up more. Williams lands some nice leg kicks and then lands a nice counter right hook of his own as Semelsberger tries to shoot in first himself. Nice one-two again from Semelsberger and his own leg kicks are having an effect on Williams. Good charge across the cage with some wild hooks from Williams to end the round. 19-19 for me but could easily be 20-18 too.
Khaos takes the centre early on in this one and lands a few tight hooks, but Semelsberger is coming forward to try and be first now. Another leg kick gets a reaction, but Williams returns with two of his own. Beautiful combination lands from Williams that ends with a heavy left hook cutting Semelsberger over the eye, but he’s walking gingerly on his front leg now from the leg kicks. Semelsberger not throwing enough volume in this round as Williams lands two more big hooks, but Semelsberger counters with a right hook that just misses. Big right hand from Semelsberger then Williams responds with one of his own before they clinch and end the round. 29-28 Williams for me.
Virna Jandiroba def Kanako Murata via Doctor Stoppage (Arm Injury), Round 2 (5:00)
Fast start to the round from Jandiroba as she comes forward with some decent striking and catches Murata with some big one-twos. Jandiroba lands three big right hands and Murata is wobbled but she evades well and steps back. Murata closes the distance and clinches up and then Jandiroba looks to pull guard from against the cage. Murata slams her down and lands some heavy ground and pound strikes, but Jandiroba eats it and then throws up an armbar! It looks tight but Murata doesn’t tap and is able to step over and eventually get out of it, ending the round on top trying to land ground and pound. 10-9 Jandiroba.
Another good start to the round from Jandiroba as she starts throwing her big right hand early on once again. Murata is eating strikes and her left arm is clearly injured from the armbar in the first round, with Jandiroba landing a huge head kick. She follows it up with some big right hands too and Murata is defenceless at this point but still looking to fight back. 20-18.
The doctor looks at the arm between rounds and tells the referee immediately to wave it off, this one is over. Big win for Virna Jandiroba!
Nicolae Negumereanu def Aleksa Camur via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
Good start early on for Camu as he lands a nice jab and is showing feints that Negumereanu is struggling to read. Two more jabs and a power right hand land too and Camur is doing well, then slips a left hand. Negumereanu finally lands a big left hand and Camur is staggered immediately, then starts turning up the pressure and lands big shots. Camur slowing down and getting hit a lot more and Negumereanu is growing into the fight. 10-9 Nicolae.
Second round and Negumereanu does really well with forward pressure and lands another nice left hand early. They clinch up against the cage and Negumereanu has the controlling position, but Camur defending himself well to keep the fight standing. Both fighters start trading hooks in the centre that land, then Negumereanu lands a big left hook before the round ends. 20-18 Nicolae but it’s close and Camur is still in it.
Final round and Negumereanu comes forward with good pressure and heavy strike attempts early on. Camur countering well but Negumereanu keeps coming forward and is really turning the pressure up. Nice jabs and Camur lands some shots of his own but Negumereanu’s chin is unreal right now. Camur goes for a takedown but it’s denied easily and then Negumereanu lands a big elbow and two left hands. Negumereanu puts Camur against the cage and holds him with strikes but gets an incredibly stern warning for holding the fence, when really he should have a point deducted at this point (he’s been warned countless times already). Final 30 seconds and they strike it out to the buzzer. Great fight but should be 30-27 Nicolae.
Matt Brown def Dhiego Lima via Knockout, Round 2 (3:02)
Slow start to this fight from both guys, with Brown taking the centre of the cage and faking for his shots while Lima throws some heavy calf kicks as usual. Nice body kick from Brown before a jab to the body as Lima throws another big calf kick. Lima slips Brown’s jab and hits two hard leg kicks before looking for a takedown, but Brown stuffs it. More hard leg kicks from Lima and while Brown looks for the jab neither guy really taking control. 10-9 Lima but this one is up in the air in reality.
Another close start to the round as Lima comes out early with leg kicks, while Brown moving gingerly already. Lima throws two leg kicks in a row and gets a reaction from Brown, but then he goes for a takedown and Brown stuffs it well. Lima using his strength advantage to get a clinch situation against the cage but Brown is stuffing them well. Lima goes for a right hand but Brown slips it and lands his own right hand straight down the middle and Lima faceplants!!! Oh my what a knockout!!! Matt Brown!!
Bruno Silva def Wellington Turman via Knockout, Round 1 (4:45)
Fast start from Turman who steps forward and goes straight for a takedown against the cage. After some back and forth, Turman is able to lift him and slam him down to the mat but Silva reverses the position and looks to control Turman against the cage. Turman uses a kimura grip to escape and he reverses and goes back to takedowns against the cage. Turman takes the back of Silva who’s standing and is looking for a rear-naked choke. Silva is able to shake him off and ends up in Turman’s guard, firing off big ground and pound strikes from top position. Silva lands a right hand then a left to the temple and Turman is out cold! Silva lands one more as the referee waves it off!! Huge win for Bruno Silva!
Seeungwoo Choi def Julian Erosa via Knockout, Round 1 (1:37)
Powerful start to the fight from Choi as he lands his big right hand on three separate occasions, but Erosa stays standing. Erosa fires back with a left hook but Choi lands another big strike and Erosa looks taken aback by his power. Choi slips, throws a right hand that just misses but follows with a big left hook that drops Erosa!! Choi jumps on with ground and pound and the referee waves it off! Huge win for Choi! Wow!
Marlon Vera def Davey Grant via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-26)
Nice start from both guys with lots of feelers and leg kicks getting thrown in the octagon early. Grant throwing plenty of volume, with high kicks, wheel kicks and some overhand rights but Vera blocking almost everything and taking the centre. Big leg kick misses from Vera and then Grant lands a nice left hook. Grant throws a body kick but Vera catches it and puts him on his back, but Grant makes his way back up to the feet but has a cut on his forehead. Nice leg kick from Grant again but Vera responds with one of his own. Nice right hand from Vera but then he follows that with some heavy leg kicks again and Grant is switching stance. Good round, could be 10-9 either way.
Vera takes the centre in the second round and starts throwing teep kicks to the body as well as leg kicks. Vera upping the pace a little and lands a nice left hook but Grant comes back with some hooks of his own. Thai clinch from Vera and he throws four big elbow to the face that open up a big cut on Grant’s head. Head kick from Grant before another elbow from Vera and a knee to the body. Clinch and Grant manages to throw Vera onto his back and ends up in top position. Vera looks for a triangle then tries to escape but Grant keeps him down and takes side control. Nice elbows from Grant but Vera rolls out of a guillotine attempt to end up on top and start raining down ground and pound to end the round. Another close one, I think that could be Vera’s though. 19-19.
Great start to the third round from Vera again as he presses forward, gets a takedown and locks up the back. He goes for a rear-naked choke but Grant escapes, then Vera moves into full mount with an arm-triangle. Again he escapes and they end up back on the feet, when Grant lands a huge left hook that staggers Vera! Vera blocks the next one and lands a lovely straight elbow to the head and starts attacking the body of Grant and he’s hurt. Vera trips him and gets on top again and lands another big elbow that hurts Grant, then a big body shot as Grant tries to get back to his feet. One minute to go and Grant looks for a kimura but Vera defending it very well and is able to escape it and get into full mount. Grant surviving and gives up his back but Vera sinks in a rear-naked choke! Grant refuses to tap and sees out the fight! What a fight, should be a Vera win.
Serghei Spivac def Aleksei Oleinik via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)
Encouraging start from Spivac as he is able to escape from an immediate clinch attempt from Oleinik before landing a really nice left hook. Spivac keeping his distance and lands a nice right hand again on his break, but Oleinik fires off a hard leg kick. Oleinik goes for a single leg takedown but Spivac defends it well and currently looks too strong for Oleinik. Nice overhand right lands from Oleinik but Spivac counters with a big uppercut too. Spivac right hook misses by inches and Oleinik goes to clinch again, but Spivac clinches and finally manages to get his back and drags him down to the ground. Less than a minute to go and Oleinik is looking for a head and arm choke but then he moves into full mount and goes for a scarf hold but the buzzer goes. 10-9 Oleinik.
Second round starts and Oleinik is walking Spivac down, but the pace is slow and the power is waivering on his punches. Spivac keeps moving and then Oleinik clinches and pulls guard, which allows Spivac to throw a few strikes on the ground. Oleinik looking to sweep from the bottom but Spivac starts throwing elbows. Oleinik starts looking for submission but Spivac is controlling the position with power and landing some nice elbows and ground strikes. Spivac goes for an anaconda choke but Oleinik escapes and rolls into full mount. He switches to the scarf hold again but once more, the buzzer goes. 19-19.
Oleinik is absolutely exhausted going into the final round and Spivac opens up with a big right hook that opens a cut on Oleinik’s head. He goes for a takedown again but Spivac denies it and then lands some big shots while Oleinik is on his knees, forcing him to get up quickly. Oleinik still walking forward and throwing his big overhand right before he goes for another takedown against the cage. Spivac ends up on top and starts throwing some short elbows. Less than a minute to go and Oleinik starts throwing strikes off his back but Spivac fires back from a more dominant position and sees the round out that way. 29-28 Spivac for me.
Korean Zombie def Dan Ige via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x2, 48-47)
Nice, competitive start as Jung takes the centre and throws a nice leg kick early, then follows up with a left straight. Ige throws a few leg kicks of his own then smashes a big body shot in range and then steps out. Ige goes for another big looping hook but Jung times it and shoots under it for a takedown. Zombie on top but Ige explodes out from under him and they both get back to the feet. Zombie lands a big right hand and smells blood but Ige retreats and seems okay now. Zombie lands some nice jabs and sees out the round. Close, but 10-9 Zombie.
Both guys trade leg kicks early in the second round, with Zombie using his reach to land first as it stands. Zombie landing jabs nicely and disguising the calf kicks well too, but Ige still trying to come forward too. Nice right hand from Zombie lands and Ige shoots for a takedown, but his defence is too good and he denies it. Heavy leg kick again from Zombie but Ige shows no reaction. Ige goes for another takedown but Zombie defends it and in a scramble ends up on Ige’s back looking for a rear-naked choke but the buzzer goes. 20-18 Zombie.
Ige comes out aggressive in the third but Zombie immediately flicks out the jab and ends up in top position after getting a takedown. Ige throwing big elbows from the bottom but the Zombie lands a big slicing elbow of his own. Zombie stacks him and lands a nice shot then takes the back of Ige and goes for a rear-naked choke but Ige fighting the hands and just about surviving. Zombie has a body triangle locked up and he’s throwing some good strikes but Ige looking to tie him up and prevent the submission. Zombie goes for a crank with ten seconds to go but no chance of getting it and the buzzer goes. 30-27 Zombie, dominant so far.
Tight fourth round now as Zombie is pumping out the jab and Ige is being far more aggressive. Zombie trying to counter strike while Ige looks for an opening and he lands a big right hand. He moves for a double jab then clinches up but Zombie just moves him away and resets. Big right hand from Ige again but Zombie eats it and lands a nice counter left-hook. Ige having a much better round this time but then throws a body kick and Zombie catches it, throws a straight right hand and then gets taken down with a minute left in the round. Zombie stacks Ige and lands a bit of ground and pound before the round ends. 39-37 Zombie.
Ige knows he needs a finish and comes forward aggressively early on, but Zombie looks very composed and calm just staying behind his jab. Ige throws a nice shot to the body and follows it with a left hook and it hits hard. Zombie didn’t like it so Ige does it twice more, then stuffs a Zombie takedown! Zombie lands a nice right hand counter but Ige goes to the body again. Another takedown attempt that Ige denies but Zombie lets the jab go again. Both guys trade body shots then Zombie lands a knee that hurts Ige and he’s able to drag him down and take his back with a body triangle again. Zombie just riding out the clock as Ige tries to escape but Zombie just too strong on the ground and sees out the clock for a big win. 49-46 Zombie.
The UFC returns to the APEX this weekend for a featherweight banger of a main event as ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chang Sung Jung takes on Dan Ige.
Both men have earned a reputation as one of the better guys at 145lbs but having previously lost to the best of the best, they want to prove they’re not nearly men by getting a win in this main event.
In this 12 fight card, you also have two heavyweights in the co-main event as Aleksei Oleinik takes on Serghei Spivac while Davey Grant takes a step up in competition to take on Marlon Vera at bantamweight.
Last week at UFC 263 we had an incredible night of picks, going 10/14 with NINE perfect picks to take us up to 338/530 (63.77%) with 151 perfect picks (44.67%). We’ll look to improve that record here, starting with the six prelim bouts.
Casey O’Neill (6-0) vs Lara Procopio (7-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
Both O’Neill and Procopio are very effective strikers with excellent grappling skills and are very evenly matched up. Both women have three finishes each in their career, with three submissions and three KO’s combined. O’Neill is the more aggressive takedown artist and looks to land more damage from the top position, while Procopio is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. She tends to look for control more from the top and is more reserved and slightly more experienced too.
It’s really hard to call in all honesty, because O’Neill is likely to land more damage however I think Procopio will be able to use her BJJ skills to control the grappling scenarios slightly more and just edge a win. PICK – Lara Procopio via Decision
Joaquim Silva (11-3) vs Rick Glenn (21-6-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
A fun lightweight bout between two well thought of 155lbers in this one as Joaquim Silva takes on a returning Ricky Glenn. Silva makes his return to the octagon after just under two years away following a loss to Nasrat Haqparast, while Glenn returns after nearly three years away following major hip surgery where he lost to Kevin Aguilar.
It’s tough to make a prediction on this one considering they’ve been away from the cage for so long, but both guys are absolute warriors who look to slug it out from the opening bell to the end of the fight. Both guys have power with 17 KO wins between them (6-11 split) and plenty of durability too.
Silva has been away for less time and the fact that Glenn had most of his career at featherweight, I think Silva’s size will be enough to earn him victory. PICK – Joaquim Silva via Decision
Josh Parisian (13-4) vs Roque Martinez (15-7-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)
Parisian is a lengthy boxer type, but he has no idea how to use that reach and length to his advantage. Martinez is a brawler who will look to get into the pocket and swing away, with relatively good cardio despite what his physique might tell you. If Martinez keeps the pressure on and walks forward he’ll have a much better chance of getting a victory but Parisian has the attributes to keep him at bay if needs be.
Unfortunately for Martinez, I do think he will use those attributes. Martinez will push the pace and make it ugly which will just suit him better but I think Parisian mixes his attacks up enough to earn a win. PICK – Josh Parisian via Decision
Khaos Williams (11-2) vs Matthew Semelsberger (8-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
Both these guys are absolute power strikers, who look to land strikes down the middle and take their opponent’s head off. Semelsberger throws more combinations and has a good gas tank but he has been knocked out before and if Khaos hits you clean it could well be night night. Semelsberger will look to overwhelm with volume to earn a stoppage but Khaos has a solid chin and I think he’ll be able to withstand it.
With his legit one-punch KO power, it’s hard to go against Williams in this one – but it’s a close fight either way. PICK – Khaos Williams via Knockout, Round 1
Kanako Murata (12-1) vs Virna Jandiroba (16-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
A very exciting strawweight fight as Kanako Murata makes her UFC return against the excellent Virna Jandiroba. Murata has won her last eight in a row with four submissions including her debut win over Randa Markos at UFC Vegas 14, while Jandiroba looks to bounce back from a defeat to Mackenzie Dern at UFC 256.
Murata is a tremendous wrestler and is arguably now the best in the division when it comes to that specific skill, but Jandiroba is a stunning submission artists with all 13 of her stoppages coming via tap out. Murata chases takedowns no matter the opposition and during her Invicta career she took on another submission artist who almost submitted her.
Jandiroba won’t let the opportunity go and with her world class judo she may even get a takedown or three of her own, so I think Jandiroba gets the submission win from her back. PICK – Virna Jandiroba via Submission, Round 2
Aleksa Camur (6-1) vs Nicolae Negumereanu (9-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
An intriguing fight at 205lbs as Camur looks to recover from the first defeat of his career when he takes on Negumereanu who fights for the first time in over two years. Camur beat Justin Ledet in his UFC debut but was beaten by William Knight last time out at UFC 253, while Negumereanu lost his last fight via decision in March 2019.
Camur is a solid striker on the feet, with great power and accuracy but some wild technique in his arsenal while Negumereanu has as padded a record as you’re likely to see. ‘Nicu’ will need to look for takedowns and push the pace to keep Camur away from striking distance, but being capable after so long away isn’t likely.
Unless Negumereanu has improved drastically while he’s been away, I think Camur keeps the distance, avoids the takedowns and gets the win. PICK – Aleksa Camur via Decision