Tag Archives: Norma Dumont

UFC 279: Diaz vs Ferguson – Early prelims predictions

The weirdest UFC pay-per-view event got even weirder on the day of weigh-ins, as the top three fights of the card all got switched.

Initially supposed to be Khamzat Chimaev and Nate Diaz in the main event, “Borz” missed weight by over 7lbs which sparked mega changes.

It will now be Nate Diaz fighting Tony Ferguson in the main event, a five-round welterweight bout, while Chimaev will now fight Kevin Holland at a 180lbs catchweight.

Ferguson’s original opponent Li Jingliang will now fight Daniel Rodriguez at a catchweight, who was originally supposed to fight Kevin Holland. Crazy.

Last time out at UFC Paris we went 10/12 with four perfect picks for the night to move to 715/1106 (64.65%) with 302 perfect picks (42.24%). You can see our full pick history here.

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


Darian Weeks (5-2) vs Yohan Lainesse (8-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two guys yet to taste victory in the UFC open up the card. Darian Weeks has lost his last two, dropping decisions to Bryan Barbarena (UFC Vegas 44) and Ian Garry (UFC 273) while Lainesse was KO’d by Gabriel Green back in April in his debut.

Weeks is an all-rounder but doesn’t have any standout attributes really with decent wrestling and okay striking, but no real submission threat and little KO power. Lainesse is of a similar ilk in style, but he has got far more power in his hands as his six career KO wins show. Weeks’ wrestling wasn’t enough to contain Barbarena and on the feet against Garry he struggled. Lainesse should dominate the first round, but his cardio may then drop off a cliff.

If it does then Weeks will be confident of being able to take over down the stretch and earn a win. If he’s fixed that, Lainesse should cruise to a victory landing the more eye-catching shots and mixing in takedowns too. Ultimately if the cardio does fade, I expect it will be late enough that he’s already done enough to win on the scorecards.
PICK – Yohan Lainesse via Decision

Melissa Martinez (7-0) vs Elise Reed (5-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun strawweight scrap up next. Martinez makes her UFC debut as an undefeated fighter with five knockouts from seven career wins, while Reed is 1-2 in the UFC with a win over Cory McKenna sandwiched between losses against Sijara Eubanks and most recently Sam Hughes. This will be Martinez’ first MMA fight since December 2019.

Martinez is a pure striker and has been training that skill over recent years as she went full-time kickboxer, but her grappling was already pretty weak before that break. Reed is a striker with poor wrestling, who also sees herself as a bit of a kickboxer. If she tries to make it a striking battle though, she could be in trouble.

Reed isn’t a good enough wrestler to be able to take it to the ground at will and throw Martinez off her game, and the power difference is in the Mexican’s favour. If her cardio holds up and her grappling hasn’t got any worse, then she should be able to claim the victory.
PICK – Melissa Martinez via Decision



Chad Anheliger (12-5) vs Alatengheili (15-8-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Bantamweight banger up next. Anheliger was 2-5 at one point in his career but comes into this on a seven-fight win streak with a KO win over Jesse Strader in his UFC debut last time out. Heili is 1-1-1 in his last three, losing to Casey Kenny, drawing with Gustavo Lopez and then finally earning a KO win over Kevin Croom in just 47 seconds.

Anhelinger is a powerful striker whose defensive wrestling has been a disaster since arriving in the UFC, while Heili is a strong wrestler who also has great knockout power and this fight seems like one that is heavily in his favour.

He’s powerful and fast, plus his wrestling is more than good enough to dictate where this fight ends up. He should dominate the position and absolutely control this fight for the full 15 minutes, and could even earn finish from top position in the latter rounds.
PICK – Alatengheili via Decision

Norma Dumont (7-2) vs Danyelle Wolf (1-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An interesting featherweight scrap here. Dumont is arguably the only natural 145-pounder in the UFC right now, but she was beaten by Macy Chiasson last time out at UFC 274 to see a three-fight win streak snapped. Wolf is 1-0 professionally after being an excellent amateur boxer, earning her spot on the roster with a controversial win on the Contender Series.

Dumont is a very powerful striker with good boxing combinations, but she also has decent Brazilian jiu-jitsu and good wrestling skill too. Wolf is a top boxer with a very good jab and a nice right cross, but her grappling game was non-existent in her only pro fight and her improvements are likely to be limited by the fact she’s 38-years-old.

It would be a real surprise if Dumont doesn’t completely dominate Wolfe in this fight. She’s capable of holding her own in the striking realm but if it starts to get a bit sticky she can switch to a grappling game plan and will have her way with Wolf. It’s a baptism of fire for her, and Dumont should get back in the win column with relative ease.
PICK – Norma Dumont via Submission, Round 1

UFC 274: Oliveira vs Gaethje – Prelims predictions

The UFC heads to Arizona for a huge pay-per-view card this weekend headlined by two massive title fights in the lightweight and strawweight divisions.

The main event will see Charles Oliveira defend his 155-pound title for the second time against Justin Gaethje, who looks to earn the belt at the second time of asking.

In the co-main event we’ll see Rose Namajunas defend her 115-pound title for the second time of her second stint as champion when she takes on Carla Esparza, reigniting a rivalry years in the making from the inaugural title fight in the division.

We’ll also see Michael Chandler fight against Tony Ferguson in a huge lightweight fight, as well as ‘Shogun’ Rua, Donald Cerrone, Randy Brown, Khaos Williams, Danny Roberts and more.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 53 we had a poor night with our picks, going 5/11 with four perfect picks. That moves us up to 613/951 (64.46%) with 259 perfect picks (42.25%).

We’ll look to improve on that here with this massive 15-fight card, and after starting with the early prelims we move on to the rest of the prelims now.


Blagov Ivanov (18-4) vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima (19-8-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A heavyweight banger up next in the prelims between two vets. Ivanov has lost his last two fights via split decision to Derrick Lewis and Augusto Sakai, and this will be his first fight since May 2020. Lima on the other hand is on a two-fight win streak after claiming a decision win over Maurice Greene at UFC Vegas 26 before knocking out Ben Rothwell in just 32 seconds at UFC Vegas 42.

Ivanov is a grinding wrestler who has done excellently against power punchers in the past, despite results going against him in his last two fights. His chin is solid and he will look to take this fight down, but he must avoid an early blitz from Lima. Lima will step forward and wing absolute bombs on the feet trying to take his opponent’s head off, with low kicks to set them up and some decent defensive wrestling too.

This fight goes one of two ways. Either Lima gets an early KO win via his blitzes in the opening round, or Ivanov survives that and wrestles his way to a dominant win on the ground with control and relentless takedowns. I favour the Russian, despite his long layoff, because of the level of competition and power punchers he’s faced off with in the past.
PICK – Blagoy Ivanov via Decision

Brandon Royval (13-6) vs Matt Schnell (15-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

One of the potential fights of the night in the flyweight division between two absolute killers. Royval snapped a two-fight losing streak last time out by earning a split decision win over Rogerio Bontorin at UFC Vegas 46, while Schnell saw a defeat to Bontorin at UFC 262 in his last bout overturned to a no contest.

Royval is a great all-round fighter with explosive power on the feet and excellent skill off his back and scrambles to get the fight back to the feet, but he has struggled against overpowering wrestlers in the past. Schnell on the other hand is also a well-rounded fighter who prefers the game on the ground to work for submissions, with his chin historically rather shaky in the past.

Royval will undoubtedly have the edge on the feet with his kill-or-be-killed style. He will pressure forward and has the edge on the striking, while he won’t fear the fight potentially hitting the ground. It’s a really tough fight to call, but I do slightly edge towards Royval. Both fighters are well matched everywhere, but the weight cut has affected Schnell negatively in the past and I just expect Royval to overwhelm him for a finish midway through.
PICK – Brandon Royval via Knockout, Round 2

Macy Chiasson (8-2) vs Norma Dumont (7-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A woman’s featherweight fight with no title implications is rare, but we’ve got one here. Chiasson suffered a submission defeat against Raquel Pennington in her last bout after two wins in a row before that, while Dumont is on a three-fight win streak with decisions against Ashlee Evans-Smith, Felicia Spencer and most recently Aspen Ladd.

Chiasson is a solid fighter with good knockout power in her striking, good wrestling offensively but she does struggle defensively against grapplers. Dumont on the other hand is a superb grappler with great submissions, while her Muay Thai and boxing are enough to cause plenty of problems for anyone in the division. If she watched the tape on the Pennington vs Chiasson fight, Dumont will know she can essentially mirror that performance for a win.

Dumont has got a size advantage naturally in terms of this being her natural weight class, but she also has the boxing skills to work behind her jab and hurt Chiasson with her poor striking defence. Chiasson has the tools to win this fight, but she’s historically always struggled to reach her potential in fights and with Dumont on a wave of momentum and flying I expect a dominant decision win.
PICK – Norma Dumont via Decision



Francisco Trinaldo (27-8) vs Danny Roberts (18-5) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A fun one at welterweight between a veteran and a fan favourite. Trinaldo earned a split decision win over Dwight Grant last time out to make it four wins in five for the 43-year-old. Roberts on the other hand returned from a two-year layoff to earn a split decision win over Ramazan Emeev in his last bout back in October.

Trinaldo is a low-output striker who has good power and tends to grind out his opponents with grappling and wrestling skills. Roberts on the other hand is a good striker with dynamic and explosive power, but his grappling is essentially non-existent and that doesn’t help him against the experience of Trinaldo.

The Brazilian has all the tools to win this fight. He has got great strength and he has an ability to slow fights down to his own pace. Roberts has the speed and power edge, just, but that grappling availability makes me lean away from him. It’ll be close though.
PICK – Francisco Trinaldo via Decision

Randy Brown (14-4) vs Khaos Williams (13-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Absolute banger at welterweight in the featured prelim bout of the night. Brown has won his last two fights, submitting Oliveira with a one-armed rear-naked choke back at UFC 261 before a decision win over Jared Gooden last time out. Williams is on a two-fight win streak himself, earning a decision over Matthew Semelsberger at UFC Vegas 29 before knocking out Miguel Baeza in a banger at UFC Vegas 42.

Brown is a terrific striker who uses his length brilliantly and has nasty power, while his grappling is of a very good level too when he is able to take an opponents back especially. Williams is a very technical striker on the feet who has got one-punch KO power to put anyone in the division to sleep. This fight is incredibly close and both fighters are often underestimated, but there is an edge for Brown in this bout.

‘Rude Boy’ can use his length well and while he probably can’t match Williams for power, he can match his output and he uses his length and range really well. Williams has got power that lasts the full 15 minutes and his output stays high throughout. Both guys will want this fight standing more than on the ground which means Williams will have a chance for as long as the clock is ticking, but I do lean towards Brown using that range and output to earn a close decision win.
PICK – Randy Brown via Decision

UFC Vegas 40: Ladd vs Dumont – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas once again for yet another fight night card, this time headlined by female featherweight Norma Dumont and short-notice replacement Aspen Ladd.

Ladd was pulled from UFC Vegas 38 just two weeks ago after missing the bantamweight limit by one pound, scrapping her fight with Macy Chiasson. But after Holly Holm pulled out of this card with an injury, the UFC called her in up a weight class to fill in for this main event.

Elsewhere on the card the legendary Jim Miller makes a return while two Contender Series alum in Jordan Wright and Julian Marquez meet in a fun middleweight scrap.

Last week at UFC Vegas 39, we went 6/9 with three perfect picks on a rather forgettable card to move us up to 434/679 (63.92%) with 187 perfect picks (43.09%) since June 2020.

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


Julian Marquez (9-2) vs Jordan Wright (12-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Potential fight of the night in this one in the middleweight division between two guys with a 100% finish rate in their careers. Marquez earned a submission win over Maki Pitolo at UFC 258 before another submission win over Sam Alvey at UFC Vegas 23. Wright on the other hand bounced back from defeat to Joaquin Buckley at UFC 255 to earn a brilliant first-round win over Jamie Pickett most recently at UFC 262.

Marquez is a very good all-round fighter but he doesn’t seem to excel in any particular path. He’s got good power, very good cardio, decent grappling skills and an ability to go with the flow in each bout. Wright on the other hand is a terrific striker, with explosive power and solid kicks in his arsenal.

This fight will either be incredible explosive with a big finish, or both fighters will be wary of their opponent’s power and scoot around the outside like Thiago Santos vs Johnny Walker did. Either way, I think Marquez has the edge and Wright has been finished before so I lean with ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis’.
PICK – Julian Marquez via Knockout, Round 2

Manon Fiorot (7-1) vs Mayra Bueno Silva (7-1-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very fun flyweight bout up next on the main card as the highly rated Manon Fiorot returns to take on Mayra Bueno Silva. Fiorot is udnefeated in the UFC and on a seven-fight win streak with KO’s over Victoria Leonardo at UFC Fight Island 8 and Tabatha Ricci at UFC Vegas 28. Silva is 1-1-1 in her last three, with a submission win over Mara Romero Borella before a draw last time out against Montana De La Rosa at UFC Vegas 20.

Fiorot is a brilliant kickboxer with supreme technical quality and plenty of power in her striking, while Silva is an excellent grappler with five submission wins in her career so far. Fiorot’s ground game is relatively untested in the UFC up to this point and Silva is sure to change that statement. The issue she has however is that her takedown game is non-existent. If Silva gets the fight to the ground, she has a huge edge but she’s never had a successful takedown in her UFC career.

If she can overpower Fiorot down to the ground though, she has a real chance to secure the upset. With that said though, Fiorot has a massive edge on the feet and has the technical ability to pick her apart with combinations at range and finish the fight with elbows and knees if she gets into clinches.
PICK – Manon Fiorot via Knockout, Round 3

Jim Miller (32-16) vs Erick Gonzalez (14-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

An interesting lightweight out between the grappling expert Miller as he takes on short-notice debutant Gonzalez at 155lbs. Miller has lost three of his last four, dropping decisions to Vinc Pichel at UFC 252 and Joe Solecki at UFC Vegas 23 most recently. Gonzalez is on a two-fight win streak and steps in on two-weeks notice.

Miller is a submission wizard, with 18 wins via tap-out throughout his career but he also has some decent striking to mix in with it too. Gonzalez on the other hand is a striking heavy fighter, with good technical boxing ability and some decent kicks to go with his combinations too. It’s a real clash of styles fight in this one and is also a big void in experience too.

On the ground Miller has the advantage, but Gonzalez is very good at pushing forward with blitzes and his takedown defence is decent. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either guy get their hand raised at the end of this one, but the experience and grappling of Miller should see him earn a submission win.
PICK – Jim Miller via Submission, Round 3



Andrei Arlovski (31-20) vs Carlos Felipe (11-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A heavyweight bout between the past and potential future of the division. Arlovski is a former world champion who was submitted by Tom Aspinall at UFC Vegas 19, before bouncing back with a decision win over Chase Sherman at UFC Vegas 24. Felipe is on a three-fight win streak in the UFC, defeating all of Yorgan De Castro, Justin Tafa and Jake Collier by decision at UFC 263 most recently.

Arlovski is a well-rounded striker, with good boxing and some decent wrestling in his back pocket too to try and keep fights standing. Felipe on the other hand is a cardio heavy fighter who uses volume and low kicks to secure wins. Neither of these fighters are the most powerful of strikers, but at heavyweight everyone hits hard. This will likely be stand-up affair and Felipe is deceptively quick with his hands so could catch him with a big strike.

Despite that possibility though, this fight is almost sure to go the distance. Neither guy really goes for the finish too much and Arlovski isn’t fighting like a 42-year-old. But his level has dropped from where he once was and Felipe is always improving, so I think he claims the win.
PICK – Carlos Felipe via Decision

Aspen Ladd (9-1) vs Norma Dumont (6-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very weird fight in the main event at featherweight here that was put together on short-notice. Aspen Ladd is moving up to featherweight after missing weight at bantamweight just two weeks ago to step in for the injury Holly Holm to face Dumont. Ladd hasn’t fought since 2019 after tearing her MCL and ACL. Dumont on the other hand has two wins in a row with decisions over Ashlee Evans-Smith and Felicia Spencer.

Ladd is a great wrestler with some excellent control and ground and pound in her arsenal, while Dumont is a very good striker with good speed and power. Ladd is very good at getting the fight down to the ground from the inside and then she just has this ability to hold her opponent in place to unleash some nasty ground strikes, leading to six KO career wins so far.

Dumont’s takedown defence isn’t amazing but on the feet she has the speed to keep range. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the power to put Ladd off coming forward to close the distance and get the takedowns needed. Once there, it’s just about how long Dumont can survive. Sucks to be her, but I don’t think it’ll be that long.
PICK – Aspen Ladd via Knockout, Round 3

UFC setting a bad example with Aspen Ladd main event spot

Weight cutting has long been a topic of discussion in the MMA world, with many disputing just how necessary it is for fighters.

Often you’ll see fighters cutting 20+lbs of weight during fight week in order to make their weight class before pouring the weight back on before they get in the cage, just so that they can have as much of an advantage as possible on fight night.

In recent years, we’ve started to see a change in mentality from fighters though as the sport evolves and fighters become more and more skilled.



Fighters like Michael Chiesa, Henry Cejudo, Dustin Poirier and Israel Adesanya have opted to move up in weight and found great success at their more “natural” weight class, as opposed to killing themselves for a slight edge.

With the women’s weight classes being so light however, the 10lbs space between the divisions tends to leave a few of them in the in-betweener stage.

Take for example Aspen Ladd, the women’s bantamweight contender who has suffered defeat just once in her professional career. Ladd has however struggled with the 135lbs weight limit throughout her UFC tenure.

Her debut was scrapped when she fell ill on the day of the fight owing to a rough weight cut. She then missed weight by 1.8lbs two fights later and the fight was scrapped when Leslie Smith refused to fight at a catchweight.

She then just about made weight against Germaine De Randamie, despite shaking and wincing in pain on the scale. She was cleared by the Nevada State Athletic Commission but following her 16-second knockout defeat, she was suspended after it was found that she had gained 18% of her weight back between weigh-ins and fight night.

Most recently though, her fight against Macy Chiasson at UFC Vegas 38 was scrapped when Ladd once again was visibly shaky and in pain on the scale as she missed weight by 1lbs. The fight was cancelled when the doctors failed to clear her.

Yet just two weeks later, the 26-year-old finds herself named as the A-side in a main event bout against Norma Dumont at UFC Vegas 40 in the featherweight division.

Now, granted that the bout is up a weight class, but how is it that Ladd is being rewarded with an immediate new date and main event slot so soon after missing weight yet again?

Chiasson will have to wait for a new opponent, have a new fight camp in preparation and continue working her way up the ladder, while her opponent who broke the rules gets an upwards push.

Considering that UFC president Dana White has regularly slated fighters for not making weight as unprofessional, his decision to move Ladd into this spot is odd.

Should she win, the UFC will likely pretend it never even happened and she’ll be pushed as a potential contender to Amanda Nunes’ second belt.

Maybe it’s the timing that makes the entire thing seem off, but the UFC have rewarded someone who couldn’t do their job properly and tried to shortcut their way to success.

Aspen Ladd poses after failing to make weight during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on October 01, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

She’ll now get her show money that she missed out on previously because she gets a new fight so quickly, a potential win bonus and performance bonus if it goes well and a brand new opportunity to start fresh.

It’s a bad example that the UFC have set and if it continues to happen in the future, don’t be surprised to see even more fighters missing weight because of a lack of consequences.

UFC Vegas 27: Font vs Garbrandt – Main card predictions

Bantamweights lead the way at UFC Vegas 27 this weekend when Rob Font and Cody Garbrandt go toe to toe in the main event.

The number three and four ranked 135lbers in the world will battle it out to give UFC president Dana White a headache when it comes to the top of the division right now, as ‘No Love’ looks to prove he really is back while Font looks to prove he’s a real contender among the elite.

Elsewhere on the card Yan Xiaonan takes on Carla Esparza in the co-main event to potentially determine the next contender for Rose Namajunas’ strawweight title, while Jack Hermansson and Edmen Shahbazyan meet in their delayed middleweight scrap too.

Last week at UFC 262 we didn’t have the best of nights prediction wise, going 6/12 with two perfect picks to move up to 314/494 (63.56%) with 136 perfect picks (43.31%).

We’ll look to improve that here with this 13-fight card, and after picking the early prelims here and the rest of the prelims here, we move onto the main card now.


Jack Hermansson (21-6) vs Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A fight that could easily have been a headline bout this time last year opens up the main card as the veteran Jack Hermansson takes on the prospect Shahbazyan in the middleweight division. Hermansson was on a decent run before getting knocked out by Jared Cannonier, before he bounced back with a very quick heel hook win over Kelvin Gastelum then got dominated by Marvin Vettori last time out. Shahbazyan was on an absolute tear himself, before his first main event against Derek Brunson saw him get dominated and finished in the third round.

Hermansson is one of the best grapplers in the division, with a sneaky submission game and fantastic top control once he gets on top, while Shahbazyan is as pure a striker as they come in the division with sensational kickboxing. Hermansson will be happy to stand if he can keep the distance short, but if he gets hold of him will almost certainly look to put him on his back.

While Shahbazyan has got great talent for all to see, his hype has made people forget he’s only 23. He’s in no rush to hit the top of the mountain right now and I think he still has holes in his game that ‘Joker’ can expose and I think he’ll get the win here.
PICK – Jack Hermansson via Knockout, Round 2

David Dvorak (19-3) vs Raulian Paiva (20-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A potential fight of the night at flyweight here as two 125lbers look to break into the top ten of the rankings with a big win. Dvorak has won 15 fights in a row, including wins over Bruno Silva and then Jordan Espinosa in 2020, while Paiva bounced back from consecutive defeats to earn back-to-back wins over Mark De La Rosa and then Zhalgas Zhumagulov at UFC 251.

Dvorak is a special grappler, with good striking to set up his takedowns where he will look to control position and eventually try and get to the back and look for chokes. Paiva on the other hand is a super striker with quick hands and great kicks, who’s ground game is okay but not so much when it’s against someone like Dvorak. ‘The Undertaker’ is relentless with his pressure and can hold his own on the feet too, meaning those kicks Paiva throws leave him susceptible to getting them caught and taken down.

Paiva could win the striking battle on the feet, but Dvorak will win any grappling battles on the mat and that’s where the difference lies. For me, Dvorak gets the fight down and controls position to nullify the threat of Paiva for a wide decision win.
PICK – David Dvorak via Decision

Felicia Spencer (8-2) vs Norma Dumont (5-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

The first ladies on the card get a nice spot on the main card as former title challenger Felicia Spencer looks to get back in the win column against Norma Dumont. Spencer took ‘Cyborg’ to a decision in a losing effort before beating Zarah Fairn dos Santos via KO in the first round to set up a defeat to Amanda Nunes at UFC 250. Dumont got slaughtered in her first UFC performance against Megan Anderson, before earning a win at bantamweight over Ashlee Evans-Smith.

Spencer is a natural 145lbser among the women which is a positive immediately, with great striking and decent grappling to boot. Dumont on the other hand is a grappler with jiu-jitsu skills and a decent bit of striking on the feet, but will have a huge size disadvantage that she’ll need to overcome. Spencer is the far better wrestler and has better striking and this fight just seems like a lay up for the bigger woman in a division that is limited in it’s contenders.

Spencer should be able to have her way entirely in this one for a dominant decision win.
PICK – Felicia Spencer via Decision

Justin Tafa (4-2) vs Jared Vanderaa (11-5) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The big men get a run-out in this one as ‘Bad Man’ Justin Tafa takes on Jared Vanderaa in the heavyweight division. Tafa is 1-2 in the UFC, losing his debut to Yorgan De Castro before knocking out Juan Adams and then losing to Carlos Felipe at UFC Fight Island 7 in January. Vanderaa on the other hand also lost his UFC debut, getting KO’d by Sergey Spivak at UFC Vegas 19.

Tafa is a brawler, with tremendous power in his hands but an interesting chin and not the best boxing skills as he showed against Felipe. Vanderaa is a striker/wrestler type, who will look to step forward to close the distance with his hands and then get hold of you to put you on the ground. He has a big height and reach advantage meaning Tafa will have to take risks to step inside.

Despite that, I don’t think Vanderaa will be able to get a finish. If Tafa lands a heavy shot or two early on it could cause big problems, but Vanderra should be able to use his size and experience to see out a pretty comfortable win.
PICK – Jared Vanderra via Decision

Yan Xiaonan (13-1 1NC) vs Carla Esparza (18-6) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A huge fight at the top of the strawweight division between a touted future champion against the inaugral champ of the weight class. Xiaonan is on a six-fight win streak and undefeated in her last 12 fights, with an impressive win over Claudia Gadelha back at UFC Vegas 13, while Esparza has won four-in-a-row including a split decision over Marina Rodriguez at UFC Fight Island 3 last summer.

Xiaonan is a great striker, with terrific speed and solid kicks to go with some brilliant takedown defence. That will be put to the test though against Esparza, who’s biggest strength is her wrestling skills. She can get you to the ground and control the top position, with decent strikes and submission skills. Xiaonan’s path to victory is clearly on the feet, with decent power although all her UFC fights thus far have gone the distance.

Ultimately it comes down to whether or not Esparza can put Xiaonan on her back and keep her there, but I’d be very shocked if that’s the case. Expect Xiaonan to piece her up on the feet and deny the takedown attempts to cruise to a huge win on the judge’s scorecards.
PICK – Yan Xiaonan via Decision

Rob Font (18-4) vs Cody Garbrandt (12-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolute banger of a main event that will almost certainly be the fight of the night as Rob Font and Cody Garbrandt do battle at 135lbs. Font is coming off the back of a three-fight win streak, with a stunning first-round knockout over Marlon Moraes last time out at UFC Vegas 17, while Garbrandt snapped a three-fight knockout loss streak with a stunning knockout win over Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250.

Both Font and Garbrandt are boxing heavy fighters, with terrific hand speed and legitimate one-punch power. Font is the technically cleaner fighter of the two, working behind his jab with great footwork and combinations, while Gabrandt is quicker and more powerful but a bit looser with his technique. Font’s biggest win came in his last fight and while impressive on paper, Moraes has proved to be rather chinny in recent fights and that’s definitely something to consider. Garbrandt’s three losses were all by knockout because he refused to fight smart but we’ve seen his brilliance in the past and he looked much better against Assuncao too.

It’s a super even fight, between two guys who will feel they can beat the other at what they do best. For Font, he’s never been knocked out in the past but also never had to go five rounds. Despite that, I think Garbrandt’s past of being knocked out viciously could play against him in this one. Font hits hard and clean and with his speed to counter, I think he gets the biggest win of his career.
PICK – Rob Font via Knockout, Round 3

UFC Vegas 23: Vettori vs Holland – Prelims predictions

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

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

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

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

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


Yorgan De Castro (6-2) vs Jarjis Danho (6-1-1 1NC) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The big boys are in action on this card as Yorgan De Castro looks to snap a two-fight losing streak against Jarjis Danho, who makes his first appearance in a cage fight in almost five years.

Castro dropped consecutive decision defeats to Greg Hardy and Carlos Felipe, while Danho lost and drew his last two fights but hasn’t fought since September 2016 for no reason in particular. Both guys are heavy punchers who have a sledgehammer of a right hand and are completely one dimensional when it comes to a game plan.

Neither man has ever been finished before but combined they have got ten wins by stoppage, with nine knockouts and a single submission in Danho’s favour. Both guys are going to trade swinging their right hand and whoever’s chin holds up the most will get the win but this will not be the most exciting fight the longer it goes.
PICK – Yorgan De Castro via Knockout, Round 1

John Makdessi (17-7) vs Ignacio Bahamondes (11-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Striking technique meets striking power in this lightweight bout as John Makdessi takes on debutant Ignacio Bahamondes. Makdessi lost his last bout to Francisco Trinaldo and then tore his ACL, making this his first fight in just over a year while Bahamondes has won his last two fights coming into this debut.

Makdessi is as pure a striker as they come in the UFC, landing ZERO takedowns in his 17 previous UFC fights while Bahamondes is a powerful striker who stands at 6ft 3 and has a tremendous reach advantage. He has a few defensive lapses still, which Makdessi can absolutely take advantage of, but with a 12 year age gap and a 7.5 inch reach advantage it’s hard to see this going the Canadian’s way.

Bahamondes has the power advantage with hands and even legs, so I think Bahamondes can use the reach and power to get a win in a fun back-and-forth fight.
PICK – Ignacio Bahamondes via Knockout, Round 2

Norma Dumont (5-1) vs Erin Blanchfield (6-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An exciting debut for Erin Blanchfield as one of the biggest prospects in women’s MMA enters the UFC to take on Norma Dumont in the bantamweight division.

Dumont has gone 1-1 in her two-fight UFC career so far, losing at featherweight to Megan Anderson before winning a decision against Ashlee Evans-Smith at UFC Vegas 15 and will fight Blanchfield in a short-notice fight. Blanchfield is a natural flyweight fighting up a division in her debut due to the short notice.

Dumont will have a considerable size advantage, but Blanchfield is a really exciting jiu-jitsu practitioner. Her ground game is stunning and her striking is only improving as her last knockout win via head-kick showed, but Dumont is a good wrestler on her own accord. While Blanchfield is brilliant, it’s hard to overlook the size disparity especially considering ‘Cold Blooded’ uses her physicality so well at flyweight. It will be a tough debut for her, I think Dumont gets the win.
PICK – Norma Dumont via Decision

Scott Holtzman (14-4) vs Mateusz Gamrot (17-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very fun lightweight bout between ‘Hot Sauce’ Holtzman and ‘Gamer’ Gamrot. Holtzman has had a fun run in the UFC but lost his last bout, getting knocked out by a Beneil Dariush spinning back-fist at UFC Vegas 6. Gamrot on the other hand suffered the first defeat of his career at UFC Fight Island 6 when he dropped a decision to Guram Kutateladze.

Gamrot is a very wrestling heavy fighter, whose bread and butter is to close distance and get the takedown to dominate from top position. Holtzman is more of a striker with good boxing skills and while his takedown defence is horrible, I can’t see him being able to hold off Gamrot’s attacks for long periods.

Holtzman has had wars in the past so his cardio isn’t really in question here, but those wars came against sub-par opposition which just adds to the concerns around the 37-year-old. Gamrot gets him down and grinds him out for a wide decision win.
PICK – Mateusz Gamrot via Decision

Jim Miller (32-15) vs Joe Solecki (10-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The featured prelim bout plays host to some history this weekend as Jim Miller becomes the fighter with the most octagon appearances when he takes on Joe Solecki in the lightweight division.

Miller got a submission win over Roosevelt Roberts back at UFC Vegas 3 before losing a decision to Vinc Pichel at UFC 252, while Solecki is on a five fight win streak including a beautiful first-round submission win over Austin Hubbard at UFC Vegas 7. Both these guys are absolutely insane submission artists with 25 submission wins between them throughout their careers.

Miller is now 37 and his explosiveness has depleted, which gives Solecki a big advantage if they get to the ground. The issue for both is that usually when two grapplers meet the fight will stay on the feet, where Miller probably has a slight edge. But with his cardio problems, the longer the fight goes the more it swings in the younger man’s favour and while Miller is probably good enough to avoid getting tapped out, Solecki is likely to dominate the majority of the bout for a decision win.
PICK – Joe Solecki via Decision

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