Tag Archives: Ovince Saint Preux

UFC 274: Oliveira vs Gaethje – Main card 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 then moving on to the rest of the prelims here, we finish up with our main card picks now.


Donald Cerrone (36-16) vs Joe Lauzon (28-16) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A retirement (?) fight opens up the main card between two legends of the UFC. Cerrone is winless in his last six fights with five losses and a draw (overturned to a no contest), with a first-round knockout defeat to Alex Morono at UFC Vegas 26 most recently. Lauzon on the other hand has lost three of his last four, with a win over Jonathan Pearce most recently via knockout way back in 2019.

Both of these fighters are super well-rounded with crisp striking and a solid ground game too. Cerrone looks to use his kickboxing skills while on the mat his jiu-jitsu is always capable of helping him out of a hole, while Lauzon is a brawler who comes forward and looks to land big strikes or force mistakes to latch on to submissions.

This is interesting because stylistically they match up great but their approach is very different. Cerrone is a notoriously slow starter while Lauzon tends to explode early and blitz his opponents, which could help him earn a quick win here. But skill for skill, I do think Cerrone has him here. He’s been more active in the cage and he is the bigger man naturally so I think he claims a decision win in an all-out war.
PICK – Donald Cerrone via Decision

Mauricio Rua (27-12-1) vs Ovince Saint Preux (25-16) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A light heavyweight fight that really has no business being on the main card between a legend and a legend killer. ‘Shogun’ got well beaten in his last fight back at UFC 255 when he tapped out to strikes against Paul Craig, while OSP has suffered back-to-back knockout defeats against Jamahal Hill at UFC Vegas 16 and then Tanner Boser and UFC Vegas 30.

These two fought way back in 2014 with OSP earning a knockout win in just 34 seconds. ‘Shogun’ is a talented striker with powerful punches, excellent kicks and decent grappling skills when the fight hits the ground. OSP is a rangy striker with a beautiful left hook counter, while his ground game has seen him pick up an excellent eight wins via submission including his patented ‘Saint Preux choke’.

If the weight cut goes well, Saint Preux wins this fight. It’s really that simple. He has the range and style to keep Shogun away in a striking battle, has the power to knock him out and if he gets the fight down to the ground he has the qualities to control him and even get a submission. This should be a pretty straightforward fight for OSP to claim a win.
PICK – Ovince Saint Preux via Decision

Michael Chandler (22-7) vs Tony Ferguson (26-6) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Absolute banger in the lightweight division between two of the top seven ranked fighters, both coming in on losing streaks. Chandler made his debut with a first-round KO against Dan Hooker at UFC 257, before suffering a KO loss to Charles Oliveira for the title at UFC 262 and then a fight of the night loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 268 in November. Ferguson saw a 12-fight win streak snapped by Gaethje back at UFC 249 in a one-sided five-rounder, before getting dominated by Oliveira at UFC 256 and then Beneil Dariush at UFC 262.

Chandler is a gladiator who walks his opponents down and swings huge hooks to the head, setting them up with jabs to the body and threatening with his excellent wrestling skills. Ferguson is a wild fighter, with incredible cardio ability, amazing jiu-jitsu skills and great power to go with an iron chin. But he has looked a shadow of himself in recent fights and his decline looks set to continue here. Against both Oliveira and Dariush they were able to nullify him entirely with wrestling and keep him on his back, something Chandler is more than capable of doing.

Ferguson will want the fight standing and will want to encourage a war with Chandler, who has proven to be chinny in the past and reckless when he gets carried away. But the blueprint to beat Ferguson is there and his tank seems to be emptying after being unbelievable in his prime. Chandler clips Ferguson in a big exchange, takes him down and dominates for 15 minutes for a huge win.
PICK – Michael Chandler via Decision



Rose Namajunas (12-4) vs Carla Esparza (19-6) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Huge title fight between the two women who competed against each other in the first ever strawweight title fight in UFC history. Namajunas won the belt with a first-round KO win over Weili Zhang at UFC 261, before winning a close fight in a rematch at UFC 268. Esparza has won five in a row coming into this bout with decisions over Virna Jandiroba, Alexa Grasso, Michelle Waterson, Marina Rodriguez (UFC Fight Island 3) and Yan Xiaonan most recently via knockout.

‘Thug Rose’ is a very well rounded fighter. She has got amazing striking, with great speed and power in her kicks and punches while her footwork and range management is near perfect. She’s also very good on the ground, with five submission wins across her career. Esparza is a terrific wrestler, who looks to use those skills to get the fight to the ground and work her own terrific submission game, as she did against Namajunas in their first fight where she won via rear-naked choke.

This fight is eight years later though and Namajunas is so much better than she was back then. She has completely evolved as a fighter to go up several levels and while Esparza is still great, it feels like Namajunas has to make a mistake to lose this fight. Add to that her record in rematches (4-0), I can’t look past Namajunas landing a hard kick at some point and getting another finish in a title fight to retain the belt.
PICK – Rose Namajunas via Knockout, Round 3

Charles Oliveira (32-8) vs Justin Gaethje (22-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The best fight of the night on a wild card headlines the event for the lightweight championship. Oliveira is on a ten-fight win streak, with a submission win over Dustin Poirier most recently at UFC 269 in December. Gaethje bounced back from defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 with a huge win over Michael Chandler in his most recent fight.

Oliveira is one of the most complete fighters in the UFC. He has terrific Muay Thai striking skills with vicious knees and elbows, as well as crisp boxing and a snappy front kick to the body to go with the best submission skills in UFC history and amazing cardio. Gaethje is, like Chandler, a gladiator who just walks his opponents down and looks to take their head off with crazy power punches. He also has chopping low kicks, great wrestling defensively and an insane will to just never quit as well as amazing cardio of his own. This is, quite simply, going to be amazing.

In a straight up fire fight on the feet, Gaethje has the edge. He’s the more powerful fighter and he has got excellent head movement to go with it. But the grappling of Oliveira is an incredible game changer in this fight. The ease with which Khabib was able to get Gaethje down and advance positions to get a submission was scary, so Oliveira will feel and know he can do the same if he gets the chance to grapple. There is always a chance that Gaethje lands a nasty uppercut or a violent hook that turns the lights out, but with how good Oliveira has looked recently I expect him to be able to work his grappling patiently and eventually take the neck of Gaethje to leave him sleeping just like Khabib did before him.
PICK – Charles Oliveira via Submission, Round 3

UFC Vegas 30: Gane vs Volkov – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex this weekend with some giant European heavyweights headlining the card as Ciryl Gane takes on Alexander Volkov with a potential title shot looming for the winner.

A make-believe European title will be on the line as the two top five heavyweights clash, coming into the fight off the back of win streaks over top contenders too.

Elsewhere on the card in the co-main event, Ovince Saint-Preux moves up to heavyweight to take on short-notice opponent Tanner Boser while Raoni Barcelos gets back in the octagon to take on Timur Valiev in an absolute banger at bantamweight.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 29, we went 8/12 on the night with four perfect picks to go up to 346/542 (63.84%) with 155 perfect picks (44.8%).

We’ll look to improve on that here with this 13-fight card and after starting off with the early prelims here, and predicting the rest of the prelims here, here are our main card picks.


Renato Moicano (14-4-1) vs Jai Herbert (10-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very intriguing lightweight fight to open the main card as Renato Moicano takes on the UK’s Jai Herbert. Moicano has lost three of his last four fights, including most recently getting knocked out by Rafael Fiziev at UFC 256. Herbert on the other hand got knocked out in his UFC debut by Francisco Trinaldo at UFC Fight Island 3 to snap a six-fight win streak.

Moicano is a super technical striker with some brilliant jiu-jitsu skills, while Herbert is a fine striker of his own accord but seems to have left his chin behind at Cage Warriors after his last outing. Herbert has good power on his feet too but Moicano’s grappling is so far and away from Herbert’s that it makes it incredibly lopsided.

Moicano can work his way in to grappling range with his striking and can end up getting the fight down and working for a submission. Herbert is technical enough to avoid the submissions on the ground, but Moicano should control on the ground for a wide decision win.
PICK – Renato Moicano via Decision

Tim Means (31-12-1) vs Nicolas Dalby (19-3-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two welterweights coming into this one on win streaks as Tim Means takes on Nicolas Dalby at 170lbs. Means has won two-in-a-row, with decision wins over Laureano Starapoli at UFC Vegas 6 and Mike Perry at UFC 255. Dalby had a no-contest against Jesse Ronson at UFC Fight Island 3 where he lost by submission on the night, before he bounced back with a win over Daniel Rodriguez.

Means is a fantastic boxer on the feet but he also has some good wrestling skills, while Dalby is a solid wrestler with some okay boxing skills too. Means doesn’t have top level power but he has enough to put a hurting on someone who doesn’t excel at striking, just like Dalby. Dalby is durable though but even his most recent performances haven’t been too convincing.

Means should pick Dalby apart using his jab and power strikes following them up but I don’t expect he’ll get the knockout.
PICK – Tim Means via Decision

Andre Fili (21-8) vs Daniel Pineda (27-14) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun featherweight banger between Andre ‘Touchy’ Fili as he takes on Daniel Pineda with both guys coming off a loss. Fili was well beaten by Bryce Mitchell at UFC Vegas 12 back in October last year, while Pineda followed up a win over Herbert Burns at UFC 253 by getting knocked out cold by Cub Swanson at UFC 256.

Both these guys are really well rounded, but have their main strengths at opposite ends. Fili’s solid grappling is usually his starting spot for game plans, with good volume to his striking and a good ability to mix it up. Pineda is a boxing heavy guy who has some decent grappling skills to fall back on if needed, as seen with his stunning 18 submission wins. It’s a really, really interesting fight that will likely be in the conversation for fight of the night.

With that said Fili is the master of the decision and I think he’s capable of riding out the storm and using his good striking to earn a win.
PICK – Andre Fili via Decision

Raoni Barcelos (16-1) vs Timur Valiev (17-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

My pick for fight of the night, an absolute bantamweight banger in this one. Barcelos returned from a near two-year absence with a fight of the night win over Khalid Taha to extend his win streak up to nine in a row. Valiev on the other hand is officially on an eight-fight unbeaten run although he was knocked out by Trevyn Jones at UFC Vegas 7 in his debut only for it to be overturned. He returned with a great win over Martin Day at UFC Vegas 18 though.

Barcelos is a stunning fighter, with brilliant striking, jiu-jitsu, scrambles and footwork. Valiev is a black-belt in jiu-jitsu too with good kicks but he’s a striker first and foremost and both these guys will come forward and trade. Unfortunately for Valiev, that fight against Jones did happen and you can’t overlook it.

Both guys are fantastic prospects, but Barcelos has the knockout power and durability to stop this one early if it does become a war.
PICK – Raoni Barcelos via Knockout, Round 2

Tanner Boser (19-8-1) vs Ovince Saint-Preux (25-15) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A strange co-main event as Tanner Boser steps in on short-notice to take on Ovince Saint-Preux, moving up to heavyweight for this one. Boser has lost each of his last two, dropping decisions to Andrei Arlovski at UFC Vegas 13 and Ilir latifi last month at UFC Vegas 28. ‘OSP’ on the other hand was knocked out in his last one at light heavyweight against Jamahal Hill at UFC Vegas 16.

Boser is a boxer with a decent kicking game in his arsenal, while OSP is a laboured striker with terrific grappling skills including his own patented choke. OSP has fought at heavyweight before but made his name at 205lbs and Boser is not a small heavyweight fighter. Considering OSP has been KO’d at the smaller weight class before, that doesn’t pose too well against heavyweights.

OSP is likely to try and use his grappling skills in this one but Boser’s takedown defence is good and his striking is better than OSP’s, so I think he’ll take the win after 15 minutes.
PICK – Tanner Boser via Decision

Ciryl Gane (8-0) vs Alexander Volkov (33-8) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A really intriguing fight in the main event as Ciryl Gane puts his undefeated record on the line to take on Alexander Volkov with a future title shot surely on the line. Gane has beaten Junior Dos Santos at UFC 256 and then Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC Vegas 20 in a dominant performance, while Volkov bounced back from defeat to Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 3 with knockout wins over Walt Harris at UFC 254 and Alistair Overeem at UFC Vegas 18.

Gane is a Muay-Thai fighter with some good grappling skills in his weaponary too, while Volkov is a rangy boxer standing at 6ft 7′ tall. Volkov’s performance against Overeem was arguably his best, as he used his jab brilliantly and stuffed some takedown attempts to keep the fight standing while against Blaydes he really struggled to do that. Blaydes is a far better grappler than Gane though, who is very patient and accurate with his striking.

Volkov’s got real knockout power in his hands and uses his body kicks well, while Gane’s stoppages come more from volume than just putting people away. It’s a really intriguing fight but having never seen Gane lose, it’s hard to know how he reacts to adversity. Volkov will land strikes and he has lots of experience, so I think Volkov is able to get the job done at this stage of their careers.
PICK – Alexander Volkov via Knockout, Round 4

UFC Vegas 16 Fallout: Vettori Moves Into Top Five, Hill Arrives

The UFC has welcomed a new contender in the middleweight division after Marvin Vettori toppled Jack Hermansson in one of the best middleweight bouts of the year at UFC Vegas 16.

The Italian stepped in on short-notice to fight ‘Joker’ after both Darren Till and Kevin Holland were forced to withdraw from the bout through injury and COVID-19, and was super impressive as he stood his ground and came away with a comfortable decision victory.

In the opening round he consistently found a home for his straight left hand and when he closed the distance he was even able to score a knockdown, then control Hermansson on the ground and stay out of danger for the most part.

That opened up a pattern in the fight and while he lost the third round for sure when he began to tire, he seemed to find a second wind in the fourth and fifth and was able to continue at a pace that meant he could get the win.

His striking was enough to break the orbital bone of Hermansson, as confirmed by the Norwegian himself after the game, and Vettori will now move up into the top five in the rankings following a fourth-straight win.

After the fight he called for a bout with Paulo Costa, who is currently ranked number two behind Robert Whittaker. Costa’s last fight saw him completely dominated by champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 in September, although he has called for an immediate rematch with claims he was injured prior to the bout.

With Adesanya likely to move up to light heavyweight for a super-fight against Jan Blachowicz, the middleweight division is at a bit of a stand-still. Robert Whittaker has earned himself the next title shot after wins over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier, while Costa and Vettori will likely make up the top five now.

In the co-main event Jamahal Hill announced his arrival in the UFC with a huge win over Ovince Saint-Preux, where he out-struck the veteran for a very impressive second round knockout win.

Hill stayed at range and used his hands in combinations, stunning the 40-fight veteran on several occasions. He was physically strong in clinch positions and has previously spoken about his ground game being good, although we’re yet to see it ourselves.

He will now likely break into the Top 15, replacing ‘OSP’ and will look to the next challenge. Potential opponents could include Jimmy Crute, who broke into the rankings himself with his most recent win. Both fighters are undefeated so the UFC could look to keep them apart for a bit longer but Hill has well and truly arrived in the division now.

UFC Vegas 16: Hermansson vs Vettori – Results (Highlights)

Originally scheduled for 11 fights on the night there are only eight fights taking place on this card now after the following fights fell through on fight night:

– Taila Santos vs Montana De La Rosa
(positive COVID-19 test, Santos re-booked vs Gillian Robertson for Dec 19th)
– Roman Evloev vs Nate Landwehr
(positive COVID-19 test)
– Jimmy Flick vs Cody Durden
(undisclosed injury, fight re-booked for December 19th)


PRELIMS

Jake Collier def Gian Villante via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Good start to the fight for both guys as Collier comes out with jabs and leg kicks, while Villante looks to counter it with big right hands. Villante coming forward and is cracking Collier, busting his nose open in the process. Collier lands a big knee and a big left hand to the body that lands clean. Collier lands a big left hand that rocks Villante and he goes for the kill but he doesn’t quite land with any of his follow up punches. Both guys exchange big punches as the buzzer goes, great round. 10-9 Collier for me.

A slower round this time as Collier comes out leading with the jab and Villante looks for an answer to counter it. Collier looks for a left hook but Villante avoids it and then throws an uppercut-hook combo that lands flush to the chin. Both fighters landing big hooks but neither seemingly with the power to put the other away as we enter the final minute of the round. Collier visibly starting to tire as the round comes to a close. 19-19.

Final round and Collier looking to be very active with push kicks and jabs early on while Villante continues to look for the one big shot. Collier landing a big left hook pretty much at will and looks light on his feet, landing nice body kicks and keeping Villante away. Round comes to an end with Collier pushing the pace and it should be enough for the win. 29-28 Collier.

Ilia Topuria def Damon Jackson via Knockout, Round 1 (2:38)

Very fast, active start to the fight from Topuria as he comes out landing big hooks to the body and beautiful jabs. Jackson swinging back for his own attack but Topuria quite clearly the more comfortable of the two on the feet. Big body shots again from Topuria as Jackson looks to clinch against the cage, but they break quickly. Topuria comes forward again and lands a big uppercut followed by a vicious body shot tha hurts Jackson! Topuria lands a big one two that drops Jackson and then one more violent strike as he’s down and the referee steps in to end it! Masterful performance from the Georgian, who moves to 10-0.

Louis Smolka def Jose Quinonez via Knockout, Round 2 (2:15)

Positive start to the round for Quinonez as he lands a nice low kick and follows it up with a heavy takedown early on. Smolka gets back to his feet quickly and lands a nice kick to the body but Quinonez seems much quicker and more accurate so far. Quinonez landing lots of short shots and adding low kicks on to the end of his combos but Smolka’s right hand is finding a home too. Smolka eats a knee which opens up a cut but he gets the takedown and searches for a submission but Quinonez gets up to end the round. 10-9 Quinonez.

Another quick start to the round for Quinonez as he comes out landing jabs well before landing a takedown inside the opening minute. Smolka gets up very quickly once again though and they continue to throw big shots at each other. Smolka lands a big judo throw and ends up in full mount immediately landing big ground and pound! Quinonez looks to escape but Smolka just floats, gets back into full mount and starts throwing bombs. Quinonez gives up his back and Smolka flattens him out and continues the big ground and pound until the referee steps in. Huge win for Smolka.

MAIN CARD

Jordan Leavitt def Matt Wiman via Knockout, Round 1 (0:22)

The two meet in the centre, Leavitt shoots in for a double leg and lifts Wiman. He walks him over to his corner and slams him to the mat and Wiman is out COLD! What a win!

Roman Dolidze def John Allan via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

A very intriguing start to this fight as Dolidze lands an early takedown and has to avoid some armbar attempts from Allan before talking to his corner, almost taunting him, before attempting a heel hook submission. Allan manages to escape and they get back to their feet, with Dolidze landing some straight lefts. Allan lands some body kicks and his jab is much quicker than Dolidze’s but not much damage being done. A clash of heads sees Allan go down and Dolidze goes for a leg lock submission again instead of ground and pound as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Dolidze.

A more tactical second round as the pace naturally slows a little and Dolidze is able to land an excellent takedown into a dominant top position. Lots of ground and pound from Dolidze as Allan is looking for sweeps to reverse the position from half guard, but he’s not allowing it and is controlling on the ground well. Dolidze goes for another leg lock submission with 20 seconds to go in the round and doesn’t get it, but a dominant round for the Georgian. 20-18.

Dolidze playing it safe in the final round as he is moving his feet well and landing his jab well. Allan is stepping forward looking to land big shots because he knows he needs the finish. Dolidze shoots for a tired takedown which is easily defended and Allan lands a big punch that wobbles him! Allan trips him and ends up on top, but Dolidze defends excellently and gets back to his feet straight into a double leg takedown of his own. He sees out the rest of the round landing ground and pound from top position for a dominant decision win. 30-27.

Gabriel Benitez def Justin Jaynes via Knockout, Round 1 (4:06)

Aggressive start to the fight from Benitez as he comes out with heavy kicks and some big punches. Jaynes looks to counter it by closing the distance and throwing big shots to the head. He lands a left hand that causes Benitez’s eye to begin swelling almost instantly. Jaynes steps forward again and Benitez lands a big uppercut that forces Jaynes to take a step back. More solid leg kicks from Benitez and then he fires a HUGE knee that drops Jaynes! Some quick ground and pound and the referee steps in to wave it off! Hugely impressive win from Benitez!

Jamahal Hill def Ovince Saint-Preux via Knockout, Round 2 (3:37)

A measured start to this fight from both fighters as OSP maintains his usual calmness as Hill looks to attack the body. OSP throwing lots of side kicks and push kicks but Hill throws a beautiful right hand right to the chin. OSP switches to southpaw and starts landing some nice calf kicks as Hill tries to get back into power striking range. Wild exchange at the end of the round, pretty even fight but I give the round to Hill. 10-9.

Hill looks much more lively and aggressive in this second round as he starts landing big shots early in the round. OSP doing well whenever he’s in a southpaw stance but in his orthodox stance he’s getting lit up. Hill lands a big right hand against the cage and forces OSP to clinch up because he’s hurt. Hill gets separation and goes on the offence again, landing big combinations to the head. OSP is out on his feet and Hill keeps pouring it on until the referee pulls him off! Huge win for Hill!

Marvin Vettori def Jack Hermansson via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x2, 49-45)

Vettori comes straight out and takes the centre of the octagon, throwing big left hands straight down the middle. Hermansson lands a nice leg kick as there two stand and trade. Vettori throws a straight left once again and drops Hermansson! He drops down for the ground and pound attack but Hermansson covers up and manages to defend himself by getting himself into half guard. Vettori stacks Hermansson against the cage and looks for ground and pound again, trying to open up an opportunity for a submission but it’s not quite working out for him as the round ends. 10-9 Vettori.

Hermansson comes out very aggressive in the second round with some wild swings before shooting for a takedown. Great defence from Vettori stuffs it several times before he is able to reverse the attempt and ends up on top himself. Vettori looking to just control Hermansson so far as both fighters fight to a stalemate on the ground, so they get back to their feet. Hermansson looks to take the fight down again and lands a big knee to the body as they round comes to an end. 19-19.

Hermansson growing into this fight now as Vettori looks like he’s starting to slow down. ‘Joker’ throwing lots of takedown attempts but isn’t being successful with them as Vettori defends expertly. High kick attempt from Hermansson looks like it’s blocked but Vettori keeps touching his arm, potentially hurt? Hermansson comes forward and lands a nice right hand but Vettori fires back with a left of his own and then a body kick. Nice jabs from Hermansson land as the round comes to an end. Hermansson round. Could be 29-28 either way.

Vettori seemingly has a second wind as he comes out for the fourth round and starts popping shots off with real venom. Hermansson ducks a left and counters with a nice right hook as the pace has considerably slowed since the first round. Both guys fighting in a phone box now, standing toe to toe and just exchanging shots. Another two straight lefts from Vettori land clean as we enter the final 90 seconds of the round. Hermansson comes forward and lands a beautiful combination that forces Vettori to step back but then he replies with a combo of his own. Another straight left lands from Vettori on the buzzer. What a fight this is. 38-38 going into the final round for me.

Vettori comes out in the fifth essentially looking like he wants a finish, landing big combinations but Hermansson refusing to give in. He responds with some combos of his own. Vettori landing his left hand at will but Hermansson staying in range and hitting uppercuts too. Big three punch combo ends with a right hook from Hermansson but Vettori eats it and comes forward with an uppercut of his own. Final minute and Vettori grabs a clinch and pushes the fight against the cage to try and grind out the end of the fight. Hermansson rolls through for a leg lock with 10 seconds to go but Vettori gets out as the buzzer goes. What a fight. 48-47 Vettori for me.

UFC Vegas 16: Hermansson vs Vettori – Main Card Predictions

A sneaky good card takes centre stage this weekend as the UFC look to end the year strong with a middleweight clash between number four ranked Jack Hermansson against short-term replacement Marvin Vettori.

Ovince Saint-Preux makes his return to the octagon too in his light heavyweight clash against Jamahal Hill in the co-main event in this eleven fight card.

Last weekend was a nightmare card in terms of picks, as we racked up a career-worst 1/10 correct picks for the night. The poor results sees our overall picks drop to 176/274 (64.23%) with 80 perfect picks (45.45%) from those too. We will look to improve that now with a strong showing on this card, starting with the prelims here.

MAIN CARD

Movsar Evloev (13-0) vs Nate Landwehr (14-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A super fun fight to open up the main card as two former M1-Challenge champions face off in the featherweight division. Nate Landwehr is 1-1 in the UFC, being knocked out by Herbert Burns in January before bouncing back with a great decision win over Darren Elkins in May. Evloev is an undefeated all-rounder, who made his name as the bantamweight champion in M1. He currently sits a 3-0 in the UFC with wins over Seung Woo Choi, Enrique Barzola and Mike Grundy on Fight Island. Landwehr is chaos personified, he walks through hell-fire to land his powerful punches until they fall down while Evloev is much more efficient and tends to look for takedowns. Evloev is very mobile and accurate with his striking and against the onrushing Landwehr he’ll likely be able to secure takedowns and dominate from the top for a comfortable decision win.
PICK – Movsar Evloev via Decision

Roman Dolidze (7-0) vs John Allan (13-5 1NC) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Roman Dolidze introduced himself to the UFC fan-base with a big knockout win on his debut against Khadis Ibragimov in the first round back in July. He will take on John Allan, who beat Mike Rodriguez in his UFC debut in July 2019 before that was overturned to a no contest due to a failed drugs test. Dolidze is a fantastic kickboxer and trains with the likes of Tyrone Spong in his camp, while Allan is a solid wrestler who fights with high pressure and looks to turn it into brawls. Dolidze is a great grappler in his own right though and will have the edge in most places in this fight, so his power is something I expect to come into play. A big right hand rocks Allan in the second and he finishes it with a flurry.
PICK – Roman Dolidze via Knockout, Round 2

Taila Santos (16-1) vs Montana De La Rosa (11-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The last time Santos fought in the UFC, I called her the lock of the night to lose to Molly McCann. Instead she absolutely dominated her and waltzed to a unanimous decision win on Fight Island. Montana De La Rosa beat Mara Romero Barella, who beat Taila Santos, but was then comfortably beaten by Viviane Araujo in September. De La Rosa is a wrestler who looks to land takedowns and search for submissions, but Santos has a physicality advantage that could see her overpower her opponent to defend. On the feet, Santos’ Muay-Thai game is exceptional and the gap in quality on the feet could see Santos land some power strikes to put De La Rosa off the takedown attempts. If De La Rosa can’t get the takedown, she is way out of her depth on the feet and Santos should be able to get the decision win.
PICK – Taila Santos via Decision

Ovince Saint-Preux (25-14) vs Jamahal Hill (7-0) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A fight that sees two fighters very similar in style going up against each other at opposite ends of their career. ‘OSP’ is a submission master who won his last fight by knockout, stopping Alonzo Menifield back in September. Hill on the other hand is undefeated and currently at 1-0 (1NC) in the UFC after defeating Darko Stosic in his debut before seeing a first round win against Klidson Abreu overturned to a no contest after testing positive for marijuana. ‘OSP’ has a shocking record against southpaw fighters, which Hill is. He’s not the strongest offensive wrestler but if the fight hits the ground somehow, ‘OSP’ has nine submission wins and even had the Von-Flute choke renamed in his honour because of well he does it. Hill’s ground game isn’t great and while he’s been hard to hold down he hasn’t fought anyone as good as Saint-Preux. This could go one of two ways, either OSP gets it down and taps him out, or Hill keeps it standing and picks him off on the feet. I’m going with OSP to use his experience and get it to where he has the big advantage and to get another submission win.
PICK – Ovince Saint-Preux via Submission, Round 2

Jack Hermansson (21-5) vs Marvin Vettori (15-4-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

‘Joker’ Jack Hermansson is on his third opponent for this fight and he will be looking to continue his push towards the top of the pile in the middleweight division against Marvin Vettori. Hermansson has won five of his last six, including submitting Kelvin Gastelum in the first round on Fight Island in July. Vettori is currently on a three-fight win streak, with his last defeat coming to reigning champion Israel Adesanya back in April 2018 via a split decision. Vettori got a win back in June with an impressive submission win over Karl Roberson and both these fighters will believe they are the better grapplers. In reality, Hermansson is quite comfortably the better grappler. On the feet, the fight is pretty 50/50 because both guys do carry power and bad intention when they throw but ‘Joker’ should be quite comfortable here. He’s had a full camp of training for two guys who are arguably better and while Vettori has also been in camp there’s a reason he’s way down in the rankings in comparison. Overall, Hermansson should have the skills and the experience to see this fight out in a pretty convincing manner.
PICK – Jack Hermansson via Submission, Round 3

UFC Vegas 9: Overeem vs Sakai – Main Card Predictions

An interesting card is set to take place this weekend in the APEX once again in Las Vegas, as heavyweight gatekeeper Alistair Overeem takes on up and coming contender Augusto Sakai in the main event.

Last weekend in the light heavyweight division, I secured 8/10 picks including five perfect predictions (winner, round, method) for a pretty good night overall. This time around I’m expecting it to be a bit of a tougher task, with lots of fighters I’m not the most knowledgeable on and a few pick’em fights in there too.

There is due to be 10 fights on the card this weekend, with five prelim fights and five main card fights scheduled. I’ve already made my prelim predictions, which you can read here and will now break down the main card.

MAIN CARD

Thiago Moises (13-4) vs Jalin Turner (9-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Another classic grappler vs striker match up here as Brazilian jiu-jitsu black-belt Moises and the rangy and aggressive striker Turner. Moises has shown great kickboxing and solid wrestling to compliment his phenomenal grappling but with Turner holding a 7 inch reach advantage and nine stoppages from nine wins he will need to be at his best to close the distance and avoid the knockout. With that said though the gap on the mat is just vast that if this fight hits the mat with Moises still conscious and able to fight, this could be finished pretty quickly.
PICK – Thiago Moises via Submission, Round 1

Michel Pereira (23-11) vs Zelim Imadaev (8-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Pereira recently came to prominence for his acrobatic performances in the octagon, but has lost his last two fights technically including a disqualification against Diego Sanchez. Zelim Imadaev is a 25 year old prospect who also loves to fight in a bit of a wild way, using aggression and relentlessness to overwhelm his opponents. Pereira showed an improvement against Sanchez, seemingly understanding that by doing all the unnecessary flips he burns extra cardio if he doesn’t finish the fight. He’ll still almost certainly throw crazy strikes and he is the much bigger man naturally, so carries more power in his hands and kicks. For that reason and that reason alone, I’m going with Pereira to finish it with strikes but this fight could go in absolutely any direction.
PICK – Michel Pereira via Knockout, Round 2

Sijara Eubanks (6-4) vs Karol Rosa (13-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very interesting women’s bantamweight bout where two very skilled fighters will compete. Eubanks is a great boxer with a black-belt in jiu jitsu and solid wrestling, while Rosa is a high-level Muay-Thai kickboxer who relies on a crazy output to overwhelm her opponents and win by decision. Eubanks’ best performances came in the 125lbs flyweight division and yet she went 3-2 in that division. Rosa is more natural at this weight and with a reach advantage, good kicks plus an output that sees her average almost 10 strikes per minute she should be able to win this fight based off that alone.
PICK – Karol Rosa via Unanimous Decision

Ovince Saint Preux (24-14) vs Alonzo Menifield (9-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
*This fight was supposed to happen on the Munhoz-Edgar card two weeks ago but was cancelled on the night. So I’ve copy & pasted over the breakdown and prediction from then.*

A short notice fight for Menifield after stepping in on one week’s notice for Shamil Gamzatov, he is looking to bounce back from his first professional defeat against Devin Clark back at UFC 250. Ovince Saint Preux was once an opponent for Jon Jones in a title eliminator, but he has now lost four of his last six bouts. Menifield’s last appearance saw him get completely outclassed and when he couldn’t land that big punch, he was beaten. OSP will have a four inch reach advantage, a wrestling advantage and is experienced enough to avoid that big punch. If he can get the fight to the ground, it’s impossible to rule out OSP landing ground and pound before ending the fight with his signature Von-Preux choke.
PICK – Ovince Saint Preux via Submission, Round 2

Alistair Overeem (46-18-0 1NC) vs Augusto Sakai (15-1-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A burly veteran in Overeem against another up and comer in Sakai as the UFC once again give ‘The Demolition Man’ the honour of being the gatekeeper for the top of the division. Overeem is fresh off a win over Walt Harris in May while Sakai beat Blagoy Ivanov just two weeks later via split decision. Overeem is one of the best kickboxers MMA has seen but at 40 years old he’s not a spring chicken. Sakai is a typical big-man, who comes forward with his hands up and throws bombs. He’s on a six fight win streak and is undefeated in the UFC. This is a bout made for Overeem to shut down the hype train. He’s the much more skilled fighter but his chin has been a little bit suspect in his last few fights. He dominated against Jairzinho Rozenstruik for four full rounds and 4:50 of round 5 before a big punch put his lights out and he was knocked down by Walt Harris but survived as his opponent gassed himself out. Sakai has a lot of power in his hands overall he’s not the best mixed martial artist for me and Overeem should be able use his skills to get a late stoppage with it being Sakai’s first time past three rounds.
PICK – Alistair Overeem via Knockout, Round 4

UFC Vegas 7: Munhoz vs Edgar – Main Card Predictions

The UFC returns to it’s Fight Night schedule this weekend following UFC 252 last week at the APEX Centre in Las Vegas.

11 fights await us on this card, as Frankie Edgar drops down to Bantamweight finally to take on Pedro Munhoz in the main event. Ovince Saint-Preux returns to light heavyweight in the co-main event for a clash with Contender Series contestant Alonzo Meinfield who steps in on short-notice.

Last week at UFC 242: Miocic vs Cormier, I correctly predicted 7/11 on the night with four of the seven completely perfect picks (winner, method, round). I’ll break down this card and try to do better on this occasion than the last. You can see my picks for the prelims here.

Mariya Agapova (9-1) vs Shana Dobson (3-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

This is a fight that I’m not entirely sure on the reason that it’s happening. Agapova is coming off a three-fight win streak, including a first-round submission win over Hannah Cifers back in June, while Dobson has lost three in a row including being knocked out in just 40 seconds back in February. Agapova is a lethal striker with a good ground game to back her up and while she has inexperience and is still green at just 23 years old, Dobson doesn’t have the wrestling skills to get her down where she’s uncomfortable. Agapova has the pick of how she wants to win this fight and I think she ends it violently with a first-round knockout.
PICK – Mariya Agapova via Knockout, Round 1

Takashi Sato (16-3) vs Daniel Rodriguez (12-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A bout between two powerhouse knockout artists which could end up being the fight of the night, Sato looks to make it back-to-back wins in the UFC while D-Rod looks to extend his win streak to nine in a row. Both fighters carry crazy power in their hands but Rodriguez tends to be a bit more of a counter-puncher than Sato. Sato has good boxing but his KO wins have come against two fighters he was clearly better than and Rodriguez and he are on a similar level. It could be a case of whoever lands the first clean punch wins and with Rodriguez often countering, he’s likely to catch Sato unaware before he gets caught himself.
PICK – Daniel Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 2

Marcin Prachnio (13-4) vs Mike Rodriguez (10-4) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Both these big hitters come in on the back of defeats, with Rodriguez losing to Da Un Jung back in December last year while Prachnio lost to Magomed Ankalaev and Sam Alvey back to back in 2018 and hasn’t fought since. In reality this fight has no business being on the main card here, but it is. Overall its a real pick-em fight, it could go either way and it won’t be of the highest quality at all. Despite having the slightly more impressive CV, two years without competing is a long time and I think that may be the difference here.
PICK – Mike Rodriguez via Unanimous Decision

Ovince Saint Preux (24-14) vs Alonzo Meinfeld (9-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A short notice fight for Meinfeld after stepping in on one week’s notice for Shamil Gamzatov, he is looking to bounce back from his first professional defeat against Devin Clark back at UFC 250. Ovince Saint Preux was once an opponent for Jon Jones in a title eliminator, but he has now lost four of his last six bouts. Meinfeld’s last appearance saw him get completely outclassed and when he couldn’t land that big punch, he was beaten. OSP will have a four inch reach advantage, a wrestling advantage and is experienced enough to avoid that big punch. If he can get the fight to the ground, it’s impossible to rule out OSP landing ground and pound before ending the fight with his signature Von-Preux choke.
PICK – Ovince Saint Preux via Submission, Round 2

Pedro Munhoz (18-4-0 1NC) vs Frankie Edgar (23-8-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A super main event in store as the legendary Frankie Edgar moves down to his natural weight class of 135lbs for the first time, to take on UFC veteran Pedro Munhoz. Munhoz most recently got himself into the contender conversation with a sensational knockout win over Cody Garbrandt, but was then beaten dominantly by Aljamain Sterling in his last outing. Edgar has lost three of his last four including being knocked out decisively by both Brian Ortega and Korean Zombie, while he took a beating in his 145lbs title fight against Max Holloway too. Both fighters have a great wrestling background and are therefore not afraid to let their hands go, knowing that they’re more than comfortable on the ground too. The problem for Edgar here, is that while both men have been around for a long time it’s he who has been in there with far bigger men for most of his career. Having previously stood up with his chin in fights, his last three defeats have been humbling and at 38 years of age it’s unlikely it’s going to get any better now. Munhoz has power in his hands, as he showed against Garbrandt, and is an excellent wrestler capable of securing takedowns against anyone. Overall, I think the miles on the clock will harm Frankie Edgar more than they’ll help him in this fight.
PICK – Pedro Munhoz via Unanimous Decision

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know on Twitter.