Tag Archives: Randy Brown

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 39: Dern vs Rodriguez – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex once again this weekend for a strawweight main event that could decide the next title contender for the division.

Mackenzie Dern looks to continue her win streak when she goes up against Marina Rodriguez in the main event, with both women aware that a win could pit them against the winner of Rose Namajunas vs Weili Zhang 2 at UFC 268 next month.

Elsewhere on the card is a fun welterweight clash between Randy Brown and Jared Gooden, while there is also an exciting flyweight fight between Tim Elliott and Matheus Nicolau as well as the return of heavyweight Alexandr Romanov.

Last week at UFC Vegas 38, we went 7/11 on picks with just one perfect pick to move us up to 428/670 (63.88%) with 184 perfect picks (42.99%).

We’ll look to improve on that here on this ten-fight card and after starting with the prelims picks, we move on to the main card picks now.


Phil Hawes (11-2) vs Deron Winn (7-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very fun middleweight fight opens up the main card in the middleweight division. Hawes is on a seven-fight win streak, beating Kyle Daukaus last time out at UFC Vegas 26 via decision while Winn is coming off the back of a win over Antonio Arroyo at UFC Vegas 17 following back-to-back losses.

Hawes is a power puncher with legitimate one-punch KO power, while Winn is a wrestler before everything with some okay boxing too. Winn is only 5ft 6′ so he tends to struggle when it comes to engaging in his strengths, and with Hawes having such a big advantage in the striking and the range this is a weird match-up.

Most likely, Hawes keeps his distance and just picks Winn apart from range before landing one of his really big punches and securing a stoppage win.
PICK – Phil Hawes via Knockout, Round 2

Sabina Mazo (9-2) vs Mariya Agapova (9-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very fun women’s flyweight bout between two up and coming prospects in the division. Mazo lost her last fight to Alexis Davis last time out at UFC Vegas 20, while Agapova was beaten by Shana Dobson last time out at UFC Vegas 7 over a year ago.

Both of these women are excellent kickboxers who look at their best from range, but seem to struggle whenever their opponent looks to close the distance and starts grinding in style with dirty boxing and grappling. Luckily for them both, neither will do that here. Agapova has had trouble with her cardio in the past and Mazo is the bigger woman naturally, having previously fought at bantamweight.

This is a close fight but I think Mazo’s size, reach and cardio will edge her over the line to earn a decision win.
PICK – Sabina Mazo via Decision

Tim Elliott (18-11-1) vs Matheus Nicolau (16-3-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

My pick for the fight of the night in the flyweight division next. Elliott has won each of his last two, with decisions over Ryan Benoit and most recently Jordan Espinosa at UFC 259. Nicolau won his second UFC debut against former RIZIN champion Manel Kape in a controversial split-decision at UFC Vegas 21.

Elliott is a great wrestler who gets his takedowns using his cardio as a weapon and making every fight a straight up war. Nicolau on the other hand is a power puncher with some decent wrestling defence too and some good kicks in his arsenal. Elliott is a veteran who has never even been dropped in the UFC but it’s his relentless pace that often breaks opponents.

Nicolau’s best chance of a win is a big knockout and with Elliott’s durability it seems unlikely. Elliott will keep the pace high, perform his wrestling duties well and be able to just overwhelm Nicolau for a decision win.
PICK – Tim Elliott via Decision

Randy Brown (13-4) vs Jared Gooden (18-6) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A banger at welterweight in the co-main event between ‘Rudeboy’ and ‘Nite Train’. Brown bounced back from defeat against Vicente Luque with a one-arm rear-naked choke win over ‘Cowboy’ Alex Oliveira last time out at UFC 261, while Gooden starched Niklas Stolze last time out at UFC Vegas 33 to bounce back from two consecutive losses.

Brown is a great striker with terrific length and some very good submission skills, with his 11 stoppage wins split 6-5 in KO’s and taps. Gooden on the other hand is an explosive puncher with some good wrestling skills, but it’s still hard to know where he stands at the UFC level. He got dominated in his first two fights, but then earned a win with a flash knockout early so it’s hard to see if he made many improvements.

That said, he has the power advantage in this fight if he and Brown were to go strike for strike. I don’t think Brown will do that though and he’ll look to mix in his grappling and use his length well to earn himself a close decision win.
PICK – Randy Brown via Decision

Mackenzie Dern (11-1) vs Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

The main event is a super fun strawweight battle between grappler and striker as they look to make themselves title contenders with a win. Dern has won each of her last four, with three by submission including her most recent against Nina Nunes at UFC Vegas 23, while Rodriguez made it two in a row with wins over Amanda Ribas at UFC 257 and Michelle Waterson at UFC Vegas 26.

Dern is one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners on the roster, with seven submission wins in her career but she has shown a marked improvement in her striking in recent fights too. Rodriguez on the other hand is a boxer first with some decent kicking too, with six knockout wins in her career. It’s a classic striker vs grappler bout and my mind tends to almost always go with the grappler, because they can dictate where the fight goes.

Rodriguez will look to keep the distance and use her slight reach advantage to land strikes, but Dern will be aggressive and likely pull guard because her takedowns are pretty rubbish. If she does, she’ll lock up a submission in no time but if Rodriguez keeps it standing she’ll win easily. That said, I don’t see Rodriguez keeping it standing for five rounds, so I’m backing Dern to earn yet another submission win.
PICK – Mackenzie Dern via Submission, Round 2

UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2 – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Ariane Carnelossi def Liang Na via Knockout, Round 2 (1:28)

Super fast start to this fight as the two women meet in the middle and Na lands a big right hand that drops Carnelossi to one knee immediately! Na pushes for a finish with a clinch and knee, then Na drops for a takedown. They scramble and Na ends up on top landing some nice ground and pound, but Carnelossi is defending quite well considering. Carnelossi gets back to her feet and lands some nice right hands, but Na gets another takedown and ends up on top again. Carnelossi threatens with an armbar from her back but Na defends it and ends up on bottom, but then she throws up an armbar of her own! Carnelossi defends it and ends on top landing big ground and pound strikes. Carnelossi takes the back of Na but is able to avoid. Carnelossi transitions to a mounted triangle during a scramble and lands some big shots on the ground as the round closes out! What a round! 10-9 Carnelossi.

Fast start to the second round again as Na lands a nice head kick and goes for a flurry of punches before a judo throw takes the fight to the ground again. Carnelossi is able to take the back of Na after escaping a headlock and starts raining down ground and pound once again. The referee tells Na to defend herself, she doesn’t and he stops the fight! Hugely impressive win for Carnelossi.

Jeffrey Molina def Aoriqileng via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 29-27)

A strong start to the round from Aoriqileng steps forward and starts walking Molina down early, backing him against the cage and cutting off the angles. Molina moving well and trying to counter Aoriqileng but the Chinese fighter staying long and landing well. Nice flurry in the clinch as Aoriqileng looks to take the fight down but Molina is scrambling well and fighting it off. A bit of a stalemate between both men as they trade clinch knees. Both men just miss with the right hand as they separate but the round ends without too much more action. 10-9 Aoriqileng.

Molina trying to keep off the cage at the start of this round but Aoriqileng’s pressure paying off right now as he uses his length well. Molina landing his left jab well as he circles but Aoriqileng is throwing his counter right hand well and it’s landing hard and flush too. Both men throwing bombs in the middle of the octagon now and Molina lands a nice one-two that sits Aoriqileng down! Aoriqileng returns fire and as Molina throws a high kick it gets caught and then he gets dropped with a right hand too! Molina starts to circle and move backwards again and as Aoriqileng throws a lazy kick right at the end of the round, Molina lands a perfect right hand that drops him! Molina goes for the finish but the buzzer goes. 19-19!

Aoriqileng is coming forward in this final round and “fighting angry” according to the commentary team but he’s landing some nice right hands with the extra pressure. Molina moving well though and landing his jab well and great counter shots. Aoriqileng shoots for a takedown but Molina stuffs it really well and keeps the fight standing. Molina starting to throw some great combinations and is throwing in body shots too. Big left hand from Molina forces Aoriqileng to cover up and Molina is starting to pick him apart now. Big elbow as Aoriqileng is starting to slow down and eat these big shots. Big body shot followed up with a clean one-two and Molina is picking him apart as we enter the final minute. Aoriqileng throwing back but just eating so many shots and taking so much damage. Molina bites down and looks for a finish with 10 seconds to go but gets rocked! Aoriqileng goes for a finish but the round ends. 29-28 Molina.

Kazula Vargas def Rongzhu via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 29-28 x2)

A much more composed start to this fight from both fighters as Vargas looks to get some offence off early with feints and some low kicks. Vargas is landing really well, striking first and hard as Rongzhu seems to have a case of the nerves. A couple more low kicks lands and sends Rongzhu to the mat. Both guys land nice right hands simultaneously but as Vargas lands first Rongzhu is missing with the majority of his counters as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Vargas.

Second round sees Rongzhu come out fast and take the centre and a quick takedown attempt but Vargas defends well. A second attempt sees Vargas synch in a guillotine and it’s tiiiight! Rongzhu fighting the legs(?) of the closed guard from Vargas as he squeezes the choke, but Rongzhu refusing to tap and staying calm. Vargas blowing his load squeezing and eventually Rongzhu escapes and starts landing some ground and pound and riding Vargas. He tries to take his back but Vargas is able to escape it and ends up on top again with top control. Rongzhu eventually gets back to his feet and shoots for another takedown as the round ends, close round. 20-18 Vargas for me though.

Vargas being very patient in this final round as he looks a bit more fatigued and almost expects to be winning the fight currently. Rongzhu flicking out his jab and looking to land a straight right hand, but Vargas keeps coming forward. Rongzhu lands a huge right hand on the chin but Vargas eats it and lands a jab, before Rongzhu lands a big right again on Vargas’ entry that drops him to one knee. Vargas landing his jab well now as Rongzhu starts to walk him down in the final 90 seconds. Vargas keeps circling away and Rongzhu almost chasing him now. Rongzhu shoots for a takedown and after a scramble ends up on top with 10 seconds to go, landing ground and pound. Close round again, 29-28 Vargas in the end for me.

Batgerel Danaa def Kevin Natividad via Knockout, Round 1 (0:50)

Natividad starts quickly, rushing in with a couple of heavy right hands. Danaa throws a front kick that just misses and a right hand that lands on the temple. Natividad charges forward and Danaa steps forward, slips the punch, switches stances and lands a stunning left hook that puts Natividad down! Danaa lands some heavy ground and pound and the referee steps in to end the fight! What a knockout!

PRELIMS

Patrick Sabatini def Tristan Connelly via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Lots of pressure from Connelly early on as he forces Sabatini backwards and looks to flick out his jab and land a right hand down the pipe. Sabatini moving well and quickly changes direction to land a right hand that drops Connelly! Sabatini moves into top position quickly and starts working to pass guard, landing some short shots and forcing Connelly to defend from the bottom. Sabatini moves into an arm triangle position and Connelly gives up his back immediately, which allows Sabatini to lock in a body triangle and look to work for a rear naked choke. Sabatini starts landing some punches to try and open up the neck for the choke but Connelly is defending the hands really well and manages to see out the round. 10-9 Sabatini.

Connelly comes out in the same way as the first, with lots of pressure to back Sabatini against the cage moving backwards. Sabatini nice and calm though and eventually changes levels and lands a power double leg takedown to end up in top position early on. Sabatini avoids the upkicks of Connelly and moves into side control before looking to step into mount, but ends up in half guard. Sabatini floats through and ends up taking the back and is looking for a submission but Connelly escapes and continues to get dominated. Sabatini takes the back and locks in a body triangle again, then moves for an arm triangle and then takes the back again. Connelly is defending the submissions well but Sabatini is in complete control and sees out the round in control again. 20-18 Sabatini.

Sabatini and Connelly both spend the entire first half of the final round competing in the clinch, exchanging knees and positions against the cage but next to no strikes thrown between them. Connelly throws a solid right hand that lands on the chin, and Sabatini immediately shoots for the takedown but Connelly stuffs it well. Connelly walking Sabatini down as we enter the final minute and lands a nice overhand right, but Sabatini clinches up again to slow the fight down. Connelly gets a nice trip and ends up on top with 30 seconds to go, but Sabatini defends well and grabs a leg to stifle any attacks and the round ends. 29-28 Sabatini but it was a much more lopsided fight than that will suggest.

Brendan Allen def Karl Roberson via Submission (Straight Ankle Lock), Round 1 (4:55)

Fast start to the fight as both men open up with a head kick attempt, throwing heavy shots behind them too. Roberson throwing his left hand well and lands his jab nicely too, before a big right hand cracks Allen. Allen steps forward with a left straight and the two clinch up, which allows Allen to get the takedown against the cage. He’s able to step over into mount while Roberson is upright against the cage, but he keeps his chin tucked and is able to fight off the guillotine attempt. Allen overpowers him and is able to move him across the octagon and starts controlling on top again. Roberson looks to attack a leg to escape, but that allows Allen to grab a leg too. Allen then torques on an ankle lock and leans back and Roberson taps! Beautiful submission win from Allen!

Dwight Grant def Stefan Sekulic via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

A conservative start from both fighters as Sekulic takes the centre and pumps out a jab along with some feints, while Grant is looking to get his range with feelers and feints of his own. Sekulic is trying not to rush in and get Grant on the end of his punches but Grant doing well to avoid for the most part. Head kick from Sekulic but Grant returns fire with a heavy low kick. Sekulic coming forward again and leaps in with a flying knee that just grazes Grant. Sekulic shoots in for a takedown in the final 30 seconds and gets it to probably snatch the round. 10-9 Sekulic.

A slow start once again to the second round as they continue to try and establish range and set traps for each other, but not much action in the opening minute or so. Sekulic shoots for a takedown but Grant stuffs it well, then throws a big right hand that wobbles Sekulic! He goes in to land a few more shots but Sekulic threatens with a knee up the middle and then a spinning wheel kick that both just miss and they both reset. Wild left hook from Grant just misses the chin of Sekulic as both guys trade low calf kicks before Sekulic shoots in deep for a takedown again and gets it. Sekulic starts trying to advance but Grant pops up to his feet with 45 seconds left in the round. Sekulic shoots in again and they clinch against the cage to end the round. 20-18 Sekulic.

Grant comes out with a bit more urgency in this round, and gets an early takedown of his own to end up on top. Sekulic looks for a shoulder lock off his back but Grant defends it, lands some big ground and pound strikes then gets up to bring the fight back up to the feet. Sekulic doing really well to stay at distance and gets a takedown of his own, but Grant gets back up quickly. Sekulic is landing nice straight shots with good movement and he lands a big shot that drops Grant! He moves in for a finish and sinks in a deeeeep guillotine attempt and just as Grant is going out the buzzer goes to end the round! 30-27 Sekulic, great performance from him.

Randy Brown def Alex Oliveira via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1 (2:50)

A very intense start from both fighters as Brown comes out hard looking to do damage. Cowboy responds with lateral movement and some nice leg kicks that are causing problems early for Brown. Cowboy throws three, four more kicks and Brown drops down to one knee. Brown comes forward again and clips him with a left before he lands a BOMB of a right hand to drop Oliveira! Brown goes for the kill with ground and pound but Cowboy starts to grab him and eventually survives. Brown gets to mount and then takes the back of Cowboy who’s fighting the hands, but then Brown gets one arm under the chin. Oliveira fights the other hand to stop a grip but Brown presses his hand against the shoulder of Cowboy and eventually brings Cowboy down to force the tap with a one-handed rear-naked choke! Wow! What a performance!

MAIN CARD

Anthony Smith def Jimmy Crute via Knockout (Doctor Stoppage), Round 1 (5:00)

Slow start to this one as it takes around a minute for both guys to start engaging, with Crute opting for low kicks and Smith landing nice jabs. Crute’s leg kicks are having an early effect on the movement of Smith so far, but the jab is landing clean and often and has stunned Crute! Smith lands a big, clean right hand and works Crute out. Smith returns a huge leg kick of his own that lands just behind the knee and Crute’s leg gives way completely. Crute shoots for a takedown and ends the round on top but he’s in trouble.

Between rounds the doctor examines Crute and waves the fight off as he can barely walk without it giving way. Crazy ending!

Uriah Hall def Chris Weidman via Knockout (Broken Leg), Round 1 (0:17)

Chris Weidman threw a leg kick and his leg has snapped in half! Oh my God! The literal first kick of the entire fight. Oh my goodness that is horrific. Get well soon Weidman.

******TRIGGER WARNING*****

Valentina Shevchenko def Jessica Andrade via Knockout, Round 2 (3:19)

Very composed start from both ladies, as Shevchenko flicks a jab and then lands a nice one-two down the middle. Andrade misses with a couple of leg kicks and then Shevchenko closes the distance quickly and gets a takedown! Shevchenko dominating the position as Andrade gets back up and then dragged back down again. Shevchenko just misses with a head kick as they break, but then they clinch up again and Shevchenko trips her. She works for position and ends up on Andrade’s back and sinks an arm under the chin but the angle doesn’t allow the squeeze for a choke. She lets Andrade back up, holds her in place and then drags her down one more time to end the round in top position. 10-9, could argue a 10-8 maybe.

Both women come into the middle to start the round and after a short flurry between them both, Shevchenko overpowers Andrade and slams her to the mat once again. Andrade gets back up and pushes her against the cage but Shevchenko is overpowering Andrade and not allowing her to lift her for a takedown. Shevchenko then once again rag dolls Andrade and trips her down to the mat. Shevchenko quickly moves from side control and into a crucifix position and starts hammering away on Andrade’s face. Andrade trying to defend but Shevchenko turns the punches into elbows and the referee mercifully stops the fight. What a performance!

Rose Namajunas def Weili Zhang via Knockout, Round 1 (1:18)

Nice start from both women as Rose bounces around on the outside while Zhang throws some low kicks. Rose lands a jab and steps out to avoid a big right hand from Zhang. Namajunas fakes a low kick and goes to the chin and Zhang is OUT!! Rose lands three follow up shots and the referee steps in to wave it off! It’s over! AND NEWWWW!

Kamaru Usman def Jorge Masvidal via Knockout, Round 2 (1:02)

Tense start to the title fight as Usman takes the centre of the cage and looks to land his excellent jab, while Masvidal is throwing some leg kicks. Usman lands a big overhand right flush on the chin but Masvidal shouts in his face after eating it. A few tighter exchanges and Masvidal goes for a flying knee, but Usman catches it and dumps him on his back. Masvidal fights get his full guard and starts throwing elbows from the bottom, but Usman stays strong on top and prevents him from getting back up to his feet too quickly but he eventually does. Usman lands a right hand and then a jab but Masvidal responds with a flurry of strikes and a big knee as the round ends. Close round, but 10-9 Usman for me.

Both men standing in the centre, not looking to give up an inch as Masvidal throws a few leg kicks to keep distance. Usman drops his level and throws a huge right straight that knocks Masvidal out cold!!!! Usman follows up with heavy ground and pound and the referee steps in! AND STILLLL!! What a knockout!

UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2 – Prelims predictions

The UFC is back in front of a packed, sold-out arena for UFC 261 as Kamaru Usman defends his welterweight title against Jorge Masvidal for a second time in Jacksonville, Florida.

The two fought at UFC 251 on Fight Island last year with Usman earning a unanimous decision win, but this time with a full camp ‘Gamebred’ looks to fulfil his destiny rather than confirm his journeyman status as he goes for gold.

In the co-main events, Weili Zhang defends her strawweight title for the second time as she takes on former champion Rose Namajunas where a win would make her the most dominant 115lbs champion ever.

Valentina Shevchenko also takes on the biggest threat to her flyweight crown yet as Jessica Andrade looks to become the champion in just her second fight in the division.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 24 we managed to go 5/10 on the night with two perfect picks to move to 284/449 (63.25%) with 127 perfect picks (44.72%) in history.

With 13 fights on this card we’ll split the predictions into three parts and having already predicted the early prelims, we move on to the rest of the prelims now.


Patrick Sabatini (13-3) vs Tristan Connelly (14-6) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A UFC debut for the submission specialist Patrick Sabatini as he takes on former lightweight Tristan Connelly in the featherweight division. Sabatini has won five of his last six, evenly split 2-2-2 with KO’s, submissions and decisions. Connelly won his last bout at WELTERWEIGHT against Michel Pereira way back in 2019 in his UFC debut.

Sabatini is a brilliant chain wrestler and has a deep submission bag, with seven rear-naked choke wins from nine tap-out wins. Connelly is a wrestler too, who looks to get top position and land some nice ground and pound to grind out wins. A big issue for Connelly is that not only is he coming off a neck injury, but he’s 35 and cutting to 145lbs for the first time in six years.

Sabatini has him beat where he’s strongest and is as good where they’re both weaker so I expect the younger man to get him down, eventually take his back and earn another rear-naked choke submission win.
PICK -Pat Sabatini via Submission, Round 1

Karl Roberson (9-3) vs Brendan Allen (15-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An intriguing clash of styles in the middleweight division as both men look to bounce back from defeats last time out. Roberson was smashed by Marvin Vettori in a grudge match between the two at UFC Vegas 2, while Allen got knocked out by Sean Strickland in a catchweight fight at UFC Vegas 14.

Roberson is a striker by nature with good kickboxing skills, while Allen is a ground specialist who has a nasty submission game to go with his heavy hands. Roberson is a rangy fighter who isn’t afraid to throw kicks and if he does that here, Allen will be grinning from ear-to-ear as he’ll catch it and chuck him to the mat. Roberson does have decent offensive wrestling, but his defence is poor and Allen is more than capable of holding his own on the feet until an opportunity arises to take him down himself.

Because of those reasons, it’s hard to see this fight going any other way than Allen securing a dominant submission win.
PICK – Brendan Allen via Submission, Round 1

Dwight Grant (10-3) vs Stefan Sekulic (12-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A fun welterweight fight here between ‘The Body Snatcher’ and a returning Sekulic. Grant is 2-2 in the UFC, getting knocked out in his last bout against Daniel Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 7 while Sekulic lost his UFC debut to Ramazan Emeev in 2018 and then tested positive for steroids and was banned for two years.

Grant has incredible power in his hands and has scary knockout power, but he rarely throws strikes other than one at a time. That’s a big problem because it allows opponents to get their own attacks together and cause his issues. Not to mention the fact that Grant seemed to blow his load in last fight against Rodriguez, which is a concern. Sekulic is a good wrestler on his own accord and is very good at grinding away from top position on opponents.

Grant has cracking hands and has shown in the past that he’s able to get up off his back if he does get taken down, so as long as he doesn’t sit on his hands he should get the win here.
PICK – Dwight Grant via Knockout, Round 2

Alex Oliveira (22-9-1) vs Randy Brown (12-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The veteran ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira finally takes on Randy Brown in the welterweight division in the featured prelim bout of the card. Oliveira has lost three of his last five, beating Peter Sobotta at UFC Fight Island 3 before being submitted by Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 254 after missing weight. Brown’s most recent defeats have come against the excellent Belal Muhammad, Niko Price and then most recently by knockout to Vicente Luque at UFC Vegas 5.

Oliveira is a super well-rounded fighter who is entering the twilight of his career now. He has great boxing and good power, but is also excellent on the ground and has good evasive footwork. Brown is a potential contender at 170lbs, with great power in his strikes and really good wrestling too. He is powerful and has great cardio too, but has shown skills off his back with a submission of Warlley Alves and with where they both are currently it’s hard to see him not taking over the longer this fight goes.

Brown has the striking edge on the feet, the clear advantage in the cardio department and is competent enough in the grappling to hold his own, so I think he dominates to a decision win.
PICK – Randy Brown via Decision

UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Shahbazyan – Results (Highlights)

PRELIMS

Chris Gutierrez vs Cody Durden – Unanimous Draw (28-28 x3)

A potential 10-8 round to the underdog to start the card. Durden threw a leg kick first and then got the takedown early, transitioning to take his back and getting his hooks in deep. Durden threatens with a rear-naked choke, neck crank and strikes while Gutierrez almost looking like he’s just waiting for the referee to stand it up for him.

Second round much more aggressive from Gutierrez. He lands his own leg-kicks and starts stuffing takedown attempts before an attempted knee to the face misses and the foot comes up and catches Durden in the groin. A long break in the fight before they start again and Gutierrez starting to take over with his striking. He’s found his flow much more in this round and Durden is visibly tiring now. Another takedown attempt sees a tussle and Gutierrez ends up on his back but he throws up a great armbar attempt that’s tight. Durden stacks him to see the round out but Gutierrez is back in it.

Gutierrez much more patient in the third while Durden is visibly tired and throwing lazy strikes. Durden attempts a lazy takedown but Gutierrez stuffs easily and is landing his jab and some leg kicks with absolute ease. Gutierrez chipping away at the armor of Durden who is essentially running on empty. Another takedown attempt and Durden gets a single leg but Gutierrez drops him with a hook and then lands a few shots on the ground before the claxon goes. I think this is going to end up as a draw.

Jammall Emmers def Vincent Cachero via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A very fun first round. Both men flowing well and landing shots at full extension but Emmers is using his reach much better. Lots of kicks to the body to Cachero, who took this fight on one day’s notice, and it’s taking its toll. Emmers using an old skool Thai clinch with nasty knees to the body. A fantastic first round for Emmers. 10-9.

The size difference in this second round is evident. Emmers is landing heavy punches and elbows right now but Cachero is eating them and trying to return fire himself. Emmers lands a four punch combo then switches to a takedown where he lands some nice ground and pound but Cachero jumps back up. Emmers is tiring now so shoots for a takedown once again to rest and see out the rest of the round. 20-18 Emmers.

Really good fight management from Emmers in the final round. He’s tired but the bigger man, so uses his superior wrestling to secure a takedown and control from top position. Emmers goes for a kimura attempt but Cachero scrambles away and manages to get back up to his feet. Emmers goes for another takedown almost immediately but Cachero stuffs it well and keeps the bout standing. Cachero throws a big right hand but Emmers ducks under and gets the takedown beautifully and transitions to take his back. He’s attempting for a rear naked choke with 10 seconds to go but the klaxon goes and it should be a comfortable win for Emmers.

Nathan Maness def Johnny Munhoz Jr via Unanimous Decision (29-27 x3)

Two debutants and it’s a great first round for the unbeaten Munhoz Jr. Two groin strikes cause stoppages in the fight but he eventually gets it to the ground and threatens with submissions. He eventually flattens Maness out and lands some big ground and pound strikes but the klaxon goes to prevent the referee from needing to make an immediate decision. 10-9 Munhoz Jr.

Second round and Maness comes out much more aggressive. He lands a big right hand that forces Munhoz to shoot for the takedown again but Maness stuffs it and keeps the fight standing. A big elbow against the cage has cut Munhoz above the eye and he’s shooting for the takedown more and more. Final 30 seconds and Munhoz shoots for a single leg, lifts Maness and slams him down to the mat to complete but before anything happens on the ground the klaxon goes. 19-19 for me.

Third round starts and Munhoz goes straight for a body kick but it’s low again! 3rd time in the fight and this time the referee deducts a point for it. Munhoz needs the finish for a win now and goes on the offensive looking for a takedown. The referee breaks them up for a lack of action but they get straight back into it in the same position. Lots of clinch work against the fence from both guys until Maness gets a trip with less than a minute to go. A scramble on the floor and Munhoz attempts for a calf slicer but he just doesn’t have enough time.

Jonathan Martinez def Frankie Saenz via Knockout, Round 3 (0:57)

A fast start from Saenz soon sees Martinez start to take over with his striking and dominate. He got a very early takedown but Martinez got straight back up and started throwing lots of knees and kicks to deter Saenz from even attempting them anymore. Lots of body shots and his left hand is finding a home towards the end of the round but the klaxon goes. 10-9 Martinez.

Second round is more of the same once again. Saenz can’t initiate a takedown because of Martinez’s offence just constantly having him on the defensive. He’s so calm and cool and just picking his shots. A big head kick lands over the guard and rocks Saenz! Martinez moves in for the kill but Saenz puts his feet on the hips and tries to kick away. Martinez continues to land big shots but lets him back up but as the round ends Martinez lands another big shot that drops Saenz again. Referee moves in to call it but tells Saenz to fight back so he grabs hold of Martinez to see out the final 10 seconds of the round. 20-17 for me, that was a 10-8 round.

Third and final round and we finally see a stoppage on the card. After an accidental low blow break, Martinez continues to land multiple shots as Saenz continues to rush forward looking for a takedown. The next time he rushes in proves fatal though as Martinez moves backwards with him and throws a huge left knee up the middle straight onto the chin of Saenz that drops him! Two or three unanswered shots on the ground and the referee steps in to end it. Huge knockout win.

MAIN CARD

Kevin Holland vs Trevin Giles – CANCELLED

UFC report on-air that Trevin Giles fainted in the hallway just before his walk-out for this fight and the Nevada State Athletic Commission has cancelled the fight.

Bobby Greene def Lando Vanatta via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27 x2)

This one was fun. Both fighters taunting each other and talking to each other in the cage as they exchange big punches in the centre of the Octagon. Both men swing wild right hooks and both land, knocking the other down! No rush following that as they get back to their feet, acknowledge the punch and continue to fight. Another knockdown by Greene slightly later with a short right hand but Vanatta does well to grab a leg and hold on to not get ground and pounded. Solid round but Greene’s boxing gives it to him for me. 10-9.

Second round is less action-packed and better for Vanatta. Still some boxing exchanges but a slower pace and some more clinching. Vanatta landed a takedown at the end of the round which I believe may have stolen the round for him but I’m still going for Green. 20-18.

Third round opens with trash talk and a huge right elbow by Greene that drops Vanatta. He gets on top and lands some huge ground and pound but Vanatta hanging in there. Green goes for the takedown and eventually gets mount to start landing bombs, forcing Vanatta to give up his back. Greene tries to sink in a rear naked choke but he’s so slippery he gets out immediately and eventually return to the feet. Greene managing his cardio well and gets another takedown and lands more elbows on the ground before the klaxon goes. Big win for Greene in my book. 30-27.

Vicente Luque def Randy Brown via Knockout, Round 2 (4:56)

Picture perfect round from Vicente Luque. The Brazilian using calf kicks to displace the excellent jab of Brown, before throwing a big overhand right to mix it up for him. Luque slips a jab from Brown and lets rip with a big right hook that drops him. He goes on top for the ground and pound or submission but Brown defends very well and eventually gets back to his feet. 10-9 Luque.

In the second round, Luque throws his leg-kick a lot more and troubles Brown. ‘Rude Boy’ is even forced to switch stances at one point, which takes his jab away and means Luque can close the distance and land big strikes. Leg kicks so vicious at this point that Brown actually goes down because of them but Luque forces him back to his feet immediately. Body lock against the cage now for Luque and Brown leans down to put his hands on the mat but before they reach, Luque throws a gigantic knee that floors Brown. He follows it up with big ground and pound strikes and the referee waves the fight off.

Jennifer Maia def Joanne Calderwood via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (4:29)

Maia looks very bouncy to start the fight, throwing punches freely while Calderwood being more strategic and methodical. Maia landing a lot though and gets in and out with a beautiful 1-2. Maia throws a kick but Calderwood catches it and secures a takedown. Maia using her superior jiu-jitsu on the ground and is tying up Calderwood’s arms from the bottom, landing elbows and short punches to stop her from posturing up. Maia throws her legs up looking for an armbar and manages to get Calderwood on her back. She adjusts and straightens the arm and Calderwood taps out! What a win for Maia!

Derek Brunson def Edmen Shahbazyan via Knockout, Round 3 (0:26)

A fairly slow start from both men as they try to feel each other out with light shots and feints. Brunson throws a big overhand left and shoots in for the takedown. Shahbazyan fights immediately to get back to his feet but eats a few shots on his way back up. He lands a beautiful right hook of his own as they continue to let the hands go in a what ends up being a very fun opener. 10-9 Shahbazyan.

Brunson using his takedowns and lunging left hooks more in this round and controlling the top position the longer the fight goes on. Shahbazyan lands some nice body kicks but Brunson’s experience is starting to tell and he’s taking over. A nice combo that ends with a takedown and Brunson is on top landing bombs. He gets into full mount and starts raining down punches with Shahbazyan visibly tired and hurt but the klaxon goes as Brunson lands a massive elbow.

Between rounds the referee has the doctor check in on Shahbazyan but they deem he is okay to continue. As soon as the third round begins, Brunson lands a punch and another takedown again. He gets behind Shahbazyan and lands three big punches to the head before the referee steps in and waves it off correctly. Massive win for Derek Brunson!

UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Shahbazyan – Main Card Predictions

After the excitement of Fight Island, the UFC returns to the Las Vegas for their fifth card at the Apex Centre where Derek Brunson headlines against top prospect Edmen Shahbazyan in the middleweight division.

This is a considerably smaller card than the last one we saw, with just 9 fights on this card rather than the 15 we saw last weekend. I broke down and predicted the prelim fights on this card here, and now will do the same for the five main card fights.

Last time out, I got 11/15 correct with 7 of those 11 absolutely perfect (winner, round, method). Lets see if I can do any better this time around.

Kevin Holland (17-5) vs Trevin Giles (12-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An interesting bout between two prospects in the middleweight division here. Kevin Holland is an impressive all-round fighter who’s last win in the Octagon came via a body-shot knockout just 39 seconds into the fight. Giles’ last bout was a win over James Krause, who stepped in at short-notice a weight class up. Giles is predominantly a wrestler but is capable on the feet, while Holland is the opposite. Both guys have a tendency to make some strange decisions in the cage, with Holland often pulling a Jon Jones and fighting his opponent at what they’re best at. If he does choose to wrestle with Giles, he’ll be beaten soundly but should he fight to his own strengths I think he’ll have enough to get a win.
PICK – Kevin Holland via Knockout, Round 2

Lando Vannata (11-4-2) vs Bobby Green (25-10-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Another battle between two very well rounded fighters but this time in the lightweight division. Lando Vannata had a lot of problems with his cardio despite excellent striking at the start of his UFC tenure and it cost him a lot of wins on his record. Green is a veteran who’s experience has helped him in the latest part of his career when coming up against better opposition in the cage. Green is a solid boxer who is more than competent in the grappling exchanges, while Vannata relies more on volume. In the last outing for “Groovy”, he circled and landed leg kicks to maintain his stamina and outpoint Yancy Medeiros. A similar game plan here will not work against Green who is a better boxer and more aggressive. Green should be able to land crisper strikes on the feet and hold his own on the ground for a decision win.
PICK – Bobby Green via Unanimous Decision

Vicente Luque (18-7-1) vs Randy Brown (12-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Fight of the night pick here. Two explosive fighters who carry power and won their last bouts via finish. Luque is a big power puncher with vicious muay-thai and a good choke game, while Randy Brown is a long kickboxer with his own power and clinch abilities. Ultimately, Luque is too powerful for a fighter with Brown’s style. Using his jab and range, he should be able to keep Luque away from him for a short while but ‘The Silent Assassin’ won’t be deterred because of taking some shots and will eventually find his way to the inside. When he does, he’ll be able to counter ‘Rude Boy’ much more efficiently and eventually land that knockout blow.
PICK – Vicente Luque via Knockout, Round 2

Joanne Calderwood (14-4) vs Jennifer Maia (17-6-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A big fight at the top of the women’s flyweight division as Joanne Calderwood puts her likely title fight with Valentina Shevchenko on the line to take this short-notice fight against former Invicta champ Jennifer Maia. Calderwood has won 3 of her last 4 and Maia 2 of her last 3, with both women’s defeats coming to Kaitlyn Chookagian. Maia was originally scheduled to fight Julia Araujo but she pulled out due to coronavirus complications. Calderwood is the type of fighter to just overwhelm you with a mix of techniques. She’s a good striker who isn’t afraid to shoot for takedowns and is comfortable when taken down. Maia’s striking is also her main weapon although she is also great on the floor with 4 KO’s and 4 subs on her professional record. Her last 8 fights have gone the distance though and if that is to happen again, she’ll need to be at her absolute best and hope Calderwood’s near year-long layoff means she’s a step slower. Calderwood should be good enough to control the distance and throw enough for a decision.
PICK – Joanne Calderwood via Unanimous Decision

Derek Brunson (20-7) vs Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A three round main event this one has a different type of feel to it. Shahbazyan has a perfect 11-0 record with 10 first round finishes among them, including against Brad Tavares and Jack Marshman. Brunson is the current gatekeeper of the middleweight division, with his only defeats coming against the very best in the division. Shahbazyan is seen as the next big thing in the division and rightly so with a record like that, but this is the biggest test of his career so far. Brunson is a heavy wrestler but interestingly enough he tends to reach a lot for his takedowns. He suffered against a crisp striker when he fought against Israel Adesanya and was knocked out in the first round because of that reaching and it could be a similar story in this fight if Shahbazyan can remain on his feet. He has crazy power on the feet and if he somehow ended up in an offensive position on the ground he has got submission skills. Brunson will want to get this to the ground early and use his experience to put Shahbazyan in deep waters but if he can’t he will probably get knocked out.
PICK – Edmen Shahbazyan via Knockout, Round 1