We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.
Guido Cannetti (9-7) vs Randy Costa (6-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
An interesting 135-pound scrap to open the card with a top prospect involved. Cannetti earned a KO win last time out when he finished Kris Moutinho to snap a three-fight losing streak in the cage, while Costa has lost each of his last two against Adrian Yanez and Tony Kelley (UFC 269) via knockout.
Cannetti is a well-rounded striker with decent takedown defence in his pocket, while Costa on the other hand is a fantastic power puncher and boxer who has had trouble with his cardio in the past. After going toe-to-toe with Yanez and struggling to maintain the pace, he went the compete other way against Kelley and suffered. If he finds the balance here, he should win.
He’s more powerful, quicker, strong, more durable, bigger and has a big point to prove at just 28-years-old. If he loses this fight he probably gets cut, so with all those advantages and the added kick that he must win, expect him to claim a knockout win early on. PICK – Randy Costa via Knockout, Round 1
Julija Stoliarenko (10-7-2) vs Chelsea Chandler (4-1) – (Catchweight/140lbs)
A fun catchweight bout between two women at different stages of their career. Stoliarenko snapped a three-fight losing streak last time out when she submitted Jessica-Rose Clarke inside 42 seconds with an armbar at UFC 276. Chandler makes her UFC debut on a four-fight win streak including one knockout and one submission.
Stoliarenko is a very good submission artist with a nasty armbar that has earned her all of her nine submission wins in her career, with pretty poor defensive striking and wrestling defence. Chandler on the other hand is an exciting prospect out of the Nick Diaz Army with genuine knockout power and some solid wrestling as well as her decent jiu-jitsu skills from Cesar Gracie.
There is no doubt that Stoliarenko will go for the armbar again, and it’s whether or not Chandler is able to avoid it. On the feet she is by far the more skilled fighter and has the power to get a finish, and with her better wrestling she should feel comfortable in top position too. If she can stay calm and composed, the win is there for her to claim and I think she’ll be able to do it. PICK – Chelsea Chandler via Knockout, Round 2
Maxim Grishin (32-9-2) vs Philipe Lins (15-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
Interesting fight up next in this one. Grishin claimed a win last time out with a decision over William Knight at UFC 271, while Lins returned from a two-year layoff to beat Marcin Prachnio back in April.
Both of these fighters are strikers with decent power, output and good footwork too but cardio has been a big problem for Lins in the past. Lins dropped down from heavyweight and it’s hard to see if this is his best division, but he has got a speed advantage in this match-up, although his shaky chin certainly leaves Grishin a big window to climb through and claim a win.
Lins is more of a killer when it comes to finding a finish, but Grishin is more technical and durable having only ever been finished by Magomed Ankalaev since 2016. Grishin’s leg kicks will be a good way of keeping the distance and I think he lands the more eye-catching shot in a rather dull affair to claim the win. PICK – Maxim Grishin via Decision
Fast paced start to this fight as Robertson looks to take the centre and attempts a couple of takedowns early. Cachoeira defends them well and is starting to land some decent strikes on the feet, landing good jabs and starting to do damage. Robertson suddenly changes levels in the centre though and scores a nice takedown before looking to secure a kimura lock. She transitions into side control and then full mount and starts raining down huge elbows! Cachoeira is in danger and Robertson switches to the back and gets a choke in under the neck. Cachoeira tries to defend it by sticking her thumb in Robertson’s eye but she refuses to let it go and then gets the tap with one second left! What a performance!
Tony Kelley def Randy Costa via Knockout, Round 2 (2:15)
Very fast start from Kelley who steps forward immediately and starts chasing Costa across the cage looking to land big shots. Costa trying to weather the storm and countering with his jab, but Kelley continuing to come forward aggressively. Clinch against the cage and Kelley is trying to wear on Costa early, landing some nice knees but Costa seemingly the stronger fighter physically. Kelley switching stances as he throws his combinations and Costa is struggling to make reads, before they clinch up against the cage once again and tangle until the end of the round. 10-9 Kelley.
Another fast start from Kelley as he comes forward quickly again and starts the clinch battles again once again. Costa looks a little fatigued but he’s defending himself well and and staying in it. Costa starting to land his jabs well but Kelley closing the distance and making this fight ugly. Costa lands a nice kick and follows it up with a short right hand that hurts Kelley, but he clinches up quickly and starts defending. Kelley gets him in a Thai clinch and lands some big knees to the body and Costa drops to his knees! Kelley battering the body and thrashing elbows onto Costa who’s just trying to defend himself now. Kelley going for the finish and the referee steps in! What a performance from Kelley.
Ryan Hall def Darrick Minner via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-27)
Tactical start to the fight from both guys here as Minner lands a couple of leg kicks and misses wildly with some big strikes. Hall very patient and lands a nice body kick and then Hall shoots for the legs. Lots of transitions and rolling for submissions but Minner defending against the kneebars and heel hook attempts well. Minner gets back to the feet and lands a big right hand that cracks Hall who starts to retreat. Hall starts to go for a takedown again and ends up in top position landing some decent ground and pound to end the round. 10-9 either way, but I lean to Hall just.
Hall coming out more aggressive now as he starts swinging kicks, before Minner lands a nice right hand and gets a takedown as Hall goes for a leg. Minner in Hall’s full guard and looking for ground and pound, but Hall is looking to throw up an armbar or triangle submission. Minner stands up and slams Hall down to escape it and goes back for ground and pound. Hall throws up another triangle and it’s tight and he starts throwing big elbows from his back but Minner surviving. Hall looks to advance to a straight armbar but Minner denies it and then he rolls to an omoplata attempt and ends the round with ground and pound. 20-18 Hall.
Final round and Hall rolls under a punch and secures a triangle attempt immediately from his back. Minner defends it well but Hall then switches and is able to get on top. He advances to full mount and is in complete control here, looking for an arm triangle.
Erin Blanchfield def Miranda Maverick via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)
Good start to the bout for Maverick as she steps forward aggressively and throws a few strong strikes. Maverick looks to step in with a right hand but Blanchfield ducks under and immediately has a body lock from the back. She maintains the lock and continuously forces Maverick to the ground with excellent wrestling. She moves to full guard and maintains position again, dragging Maverick to the mat every time she tries to get back to the feet. 10-9 Blanchfield.
Maverick starts up well with a little blitz but immediately Blanchfield is able to hip throw her and end up on top. Blanchfield quickly transitions to a crucifix position and starts blasting elbows down on Maverick, but she manages to just about escape as Blanchfield switches to an armbar attempt. Maverick just about defends but Blanchfield then goes for a kimura, but Maverick defends it well. Blanchfield switches to another armbar attempt but Maverick defends it by scissoring the head of her and the buzzer goes. 20-18.
Final round and Maverick is trying to go for a finish because she knows she needs it, but Blanchfield is landing well too. Clinch up against the cage and then Blanchfield catches a leg and moves straight into a takedown. She moves into top control and looks to dominate again and starts landing some big shots from mount. She controls the rest of the round from the top and claims a dominant decision win.
Andre Muniz def Eryk Anders via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (3:13)
Good start to the fight for Anders as he takes the centre and starts to throw powerful strikes early. Muniz does well and throws a nice calf kick before throwing a short left hook. Anders goes for a right hand again and Muniz ducks under and changes levels with a big takedown. Muniz looks to pass from side control straight into mount but Anders defends it well. Anders gets to his feet but Muniz has a body lock and drags him back down after a bit of back and forth and takes the back. He threatens with a choke and then switches to an armbar attempt and forces the tap from Anders. What a performance.
Bruno Silva def Jordan Wright via Knockout, Round 1 (1:28)
Crazy start to this fight as Wright charges forward and looks to engage quickly with hard strikes. Wright continues to come forward and attack and he hurts Silva! They clinch up and Wright lands some big knees but Silva lands some big strikes too. They separate and Silva lands two huge blows and Wright is wobbled! Silva goes for the finish and drops him! Some huge shots and the referee steps in! What a KO by Silva!
Tai Tuivasa def Augusto Sakai via Knockout, Round 2 (0:26)
Slow and steady start so far with Tuivasa in the centre stalking Sakai, who’s throwing leg kicks and circling on the outside. Tuivasa goes for a nice combination and Sakai retreats, before they clinch up and Sakai lands a nice knee to the body. More knees to the body from Sakai as he holds Tuivasa close to him, before they separate and Tuivasa just misses with a big uppercut. Sakai landing heavy knees and hurting Tuivasa, but he then retaliates with a big right hand and forces Sakai to cover up before they clinch again to end the round. 10-9 Sakai, but Tuivasa looking dangerous too.
Second round and Tuivasa lands a huge left hook early and Sakai is rocked! Tuivasa steps forward and goes for the kill, landing huge hooks as Sakai tries to cover up. Another huge strike and Sakai is out coldddd! What a KO!
Dominick Cruz def Pedro Munhoz via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)
Good start to this fight as both guys look to take the centre and trade leg kicks and movement. Munhoz throwing hard low kicks but Cruz making him miss big. Munhoz throwing bombs but only just missing and Cruz is doing well to land blitzes and flurries of strikes. Cruz goes for a big right hand and Munhoz lands first with a big left hand that drops him! Munhoz lands a huge left hook and goes for the finish but Cruz grabs a leg and somehow survives. He gets up and continues the pattern of the earlier fight. 10-9 Munhoz.
Second round and Munhoz coming forward again and looking for his big bombs. Cruz using his excellent footwork well again though and is using his speed brilliantly. Cruz throwing great combinations on the feet and Munhoz is eating shots, but there isn’t enough power in them to hurt him. Cruz throws a hard low kick that hurts Munhoz and continues to throw his strikes brilliantly. 19-19.
Final round and Cruz has definitely taken over now with his speed and footwork. Cruz has made his reads now and is landing his combinations well, but Munhoz is throwing powerful strikes back and just barely missing. Cruz lands a big one-two clean down the pipe and Munhoz is starting to back up a little. Munhoz lands some nice jabs but Cruz is too slick and is moving so well, throwing leg kicks and left hands. Cruz lands a big combo in the centre as the round comes to an end and that should be the comeback victory for him. 29-28 Cruz.
Josh Emmett def Dan Ige via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)
Nothing happens between these two in the opening minute and them Emmett explodes with a massive overhand right that drops Ige! Emmett goes down for a finish but Ige recovers quickly and starts to wrestle. Both guys scramble well and end up back to their feet where they separate. Ige taking the centre now and using his jab well and sees out the round relatively comfortably. 10-9 Emmett most likely for the knockdown, but could go either way in honesty.
Emmett comes out with a big right hand early once again but Ige takes it and continues to come forward. Good exchanges on the feet and Ige landing his jab well with movement and power. Emmett looking for one big shot but he keeps missing it. Ige replies with a big strikes and wobbles Emmett with a big left hook. He stays patient and Emmett eventually recovers. Ige staying so calm though and using that jab well again, circling on the outside and threatening then ending the round with a big right straight. 19-19, Ige round.
Final round and Ige takes the centre once again, looking to use that jab and counter with his left hook. Emmett still looking for the power right hand but Ige seems to have him scouted now. Emmett steps forward and throws a straight right down the middle and wobbles Ige but he recovers very quickly and circles out. Ige lands his jab over and over, but Emmett is being more aggressive and coming forward. Both guys are missing with big shots as we enter the final minute. Emmett ducks under a big head kick but then eats a big uppercut. Both guys throw a final flurry, but that’s a super tough fight to call. Great fight.
Sean O’Malley def Raulian Paiva via Knockout, Round 1 (4:42)
Composed start to this fight from both guys as Paiva looks for an early takedown attempt but O’Malley sidesteps him into the cage. Body kick grazes the cup of Paiva and causes a short pause in the action. Paiva throws a hard low kick that gets a reaction, before O’Malley steps in with a hard straight left hand. Paiva trying to apply pressure but O’Malley moving well and avoids a leg kick then lands two left jabs and a big right hand behind it. O’Malley steps well to his right and lands a huge right hand that wobbles Paiva! He stays composed and lands a beautiful combination that hurts him badly! Huge body shot and hook combo drops Paiva and the referee steps in, huge win for O’Malley! Amazing!
Kai Kara-France def Cody Garbrandt via Knockout, Round 1 (3:21)
Lots of range finding in the opening minute of this fight as Garbrandt finds himself with his back against the cage circling, throwing some loose kicks. Kara-France just misses with a big overhand right and then just avoids a big right-hook from Garbrandt. Kara-France lands a big right hand that flattens Garbrandt! A big follow up shot drops him again but Garbrandt retreats and eggs him on, but he’s clearly hurt! Kara-France staying patient and then he lands a stunning combination that ends with a massive uppercut and Garbrandt is out! Kara-France lands a couple of strikes before Herb Dean steps in, but that’s that! What a KO!
Geoff Neal def Santiago Ponzinibbio via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Steady start to the fight for Neal with plenty of bouncing on his toes and throwing his jab and some leg kicks, forcing Ponzinibbio backwards. Both guys trade leg kicks and are starting to try and hold their ground in the centre. Neal lands a nice high kick and the referee warns both fighters about having their fingers out. A few short strikes each but not much damage so far. Neal using his jab well and both guys exchange before an accidental low kick from Neal causes a pause. They get back to it and Ponzinibbio lands a huge one-two right on the buzzer to end the round. 10-9 Neal for me.
More active start to the round as Ponzinibbio comes forward with a hard low kick and some straight right hands. Big one-two from Ponzinibbio down the middle to counter Neal’s leg kick and then a short right hand from Neal lands too. Ponzinibbio changes levels and blasts a takedown before Neal sweeps him to get back to his feet nearly immediately. Hard left hand lands from Neal, but Ponzinibbio lands a nice left jab-right hand. Neal lands a hard right hand but then eats a big leg kick in return, before a one-two of his own down the middle into the final minute of the round. Neal lands a big shot and Ponzinibbio claims it was a finger but the referee says no. They stare at each other and then trade a couple of strikes before the round ends. 19-19.
Final round and Ponzinibbio lands a right hand before Neal lands a left. More exchanges in the centre and Neal lands a hard right hook that wobbles Ponzinibbio but he recovers quickly and lands a hard low kick. Neal starting to come forward and throws his left hand before a left high kick that just misses. Right hand gets a reaction from Ponzinibbio again, but then he lands a hard low kick to get Neal to back up. Hard left hand from Neal lands but Ponzinibbio replies with a solid right hook himself. Hard low kick and Neal steps backwards, but then he counters another attempt with a right hand. Neal coming on strong with jabs but Ponzinibbio continues to come forward too. Neal lands a big three-punch combo with the left hand and Ponzinibbio is wobbled! Final 30 seconds and Ponzinibbio just misses with a right hand to end the fight. Good fight. 29-28 Neal for me.
Nunes opens up with a hard low kick that drops Pena immediately. Nunes lets her up and kicks the leg again, before Pena tries to throw a small flurry. Nunes throws a right hand that drops Pena and then she eventually drops on top of her looking to control on the ground. Nunes looks to transition to the back for a rear-naked choke but Pena just about defends it, before Nunes gets back to top position. Pena threatens with a kimura from the bottom but Nunes stays patient, defends it and sees the round out on top. 10-9 champ.
Nunes takes the centre and she starts looking for huge strikes early doors but Pena isn’t going anywhere. Pena is landing her jab at will and Nunes is getting hurt! Nunes trying to slug it out but she’s slow and looks exhausted already. Pena keeps coming and is smashing Nunes up! Big strikes from Pena and Nunes is rocked! Pena goes for a takedown and immediately goes to the back and locks up a choke! NUNES TAPS! NUNES TAPS! AND NEWWWW!!!
Charles Oliveira def Dustin Poirier via Submission (Rear-naked choke), Round 3 (1:02)
Fast paced start to the fight as Oliveira looks to take the centre and land body shots and his jab, but Poirier lands a right hand that knocks Oliveira off balance. Oliveira lands a big strike of his own and backs Poirier up and then he clinches looking for knees. Poirier getting kicked in the body and firing back with big combinations and drops Oliveira again. He lands a huge shot on the ground but Oliveira ties him up and then Poirier stands them up again immediately. Body work from Oliveira again is affecting Poirier and the rounds ends. Wow. 10-9 Poirier.
Huge start to the second round again as the frantic pace starts again and Oliveira immediately goes in for a takedown against the cage. He drags Poirier to the ground but as he tries to escape Oliveira takes the back. Poirier tries to escape but Oliveira holds his arm in place and illegally holds the glove before rolling into full guard. He lands some huge, thudding elbows as Poirier looks to defend off his back. Oliveira absolutely dominant with pressure and elbows but Poirier survives. 19-19.
Oliveira comes out fast once again and shoots in for a takedown and immediately transitions to a body lock from behind. He drags Poirier down and then jumps on to his back, sinking in hooks and looking for a standing rear-naked choke. Poirier defending the hands but Oliveira continues to switch the grips, sinks in the choke and forces the tap! Amazing!! What a fight!
Last time at UFC Vegas 44 we had a pretty good night with our picks, as we went 9/13 with five perfect picks to move to 491/765 (64.18%) with 207 perfect picks (42.16%).
We’ll look to improve on that here on this massive 15-fight card, starting with the early prelims.
Gillian Robertson (9-6) vs Priscilla Cachoeira (10-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A women’s flyweight bout opens up the card live from the T-Mobile Arena. Robertson has lost her last two-in-a-row against Taila Santos at UFC Vegas 17 and Miranda Maverick at UFC 260, while Cachoeira has won her last two via knockout against Shana Dobson and then Gina Mazany at UFC 262.
Robertson is a skilled grappler who is very keen on securing takedowns and then working her submission game, scoring six submission wins in her career. Cachoeira on the other hand is a strong striker with good power and solid stand-up skills, but she has had troubles with the grappling game in the past.
Cachoeira has the ability to end this fight on the feet, but if it goes to the ground then it’s all Robertson. Robertson has better cardio than Mazany, who dominated Cachoeira in their bout before her cardio ran out. Robertson shouldn’t have any such issues and if she can secure the takedown early with her wrestling, then she has the skills on the ground to tie up and early submission win. PICK – Gillian Robertson via Submission, Round 1
Randy Costa (6-2) vs Tony Kelley (7-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
An absolute banger at 135-pounds up next. Costa has been impressive in victory and defeat so far in the UFC, but was stopped in his last fight by Adrian Yanez at UFC Vegas 32. Kelley on the other hand is 1-1 in the UFC so far, with a win over Ali AlQaisi at UFC Fight Island 5 last year coming via decision last time out.
Costa is a brilliant young boxer, with excellent combinations and head movement to go with his power and kicking game too. Kelley is a well-rounded fighter who can mix up takedowns with some striking on the feet. Costa’s biggest issue in this fight is his cardio, because he seems to fade in the second round every time. He throws with great power but it goes against his gas tank, but if he slows it down his technical deficiencies come to the surface.
Kelley is going to have issues here. He is skilled enough to cause problems, but his big flaws play straight into Costa’s strengths and that likely leads to a short night. He throws lots of naked kicks while in range of his opponent and he doesn’t defend his body relatively well, so expect Costa to drop him early with a counter and finish it with follow up shots. PICK – Randy Costa via Knockout, Round 1
Ryan Hall (8-2) vs Darrick Minner (26-12) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
A grappler’s paradise in this one between two of the best jiu-jitsu artists in the game. Ryan Hall saw his winning streak snapped at UFC 264 when he got KO’d by Ilia Topuria, while Minner got KO’d by Darren Elkins at UFC Vegas 32 in his last outing too.
Both of these guys are jiu-jitsu masters. Hall is one of the most feared submission artists in the world, with his leg lock attacks absolutely brutal and dangerous. Minner is just as feared in the grappling world in MMA, with his 22 submission wins in his career. Defensively though, Minner has been submitted eight times himself and that shows that he isn’t the best when he’s not on offense.
Hall is the greatest jiu-jitsu player in MMA since the Gracie’s probably and with both of these guys guaranteed to try and take it to the ground, it’s just an open goal to Hall eventually claiming a submission win yet again. PICK – Ryan Hall via Submission, Round 1
Alex Perez (24-6) vs Matt Schnell (15-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A super fun flyweight bout up next. Perez makes his return to the cage after his title fight submission loss to Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 255, while Schnell looks to return to winning ways after a decision loss to Rogerio Bontorin at UFC 262 earlier this year.
Perez is a very well-rounded fighter with good boxing skills and some excellent grappling skills too, while Schnell is equally well-rounded with some decent submission skills and a good high guard when striking, although he doesn’t have show-stopping one-punch power. His wrestling isn’t the best and I think Perez has the edge there, while on the feet he also has a disadvantage int his match up.
Schnell’s best hope in this one is to either clip Perez on the feet in an exchange, or locking up a submission in a scramble. Perez is likely to be able to out-box him in a striking battle and he has the grappling to survive for the most part so I think he grinds him down on the feet with leg kicks and lands the bigger shots in the fight to earn the judge’s decision. PICK – Alex Perez via Decision
Miranda Maverick (11-3) vs Erin Blanchfield (7-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A really, really competitive women’s flyweight bout closes out the early prelims section of the card. Maverick suffered a close defeat to Maycee Barber last time out at UFC Vegas 32 to snap a five-fight win streak, and replaces her in this fight. Blanchfield made it four wins in a row when she earned a decision over Sarah Alpar at UFC Vegas 37.
Maverick is a solid wrestler who looks to take her opponents down and grind them down with ground-and-pound attacks, while her power on the feet is good too. Blanchfield is of a similar ilk, with brilliant wrestling and a very good jiu-jitsu game while her striking game has seen huge improvements in recent years.
This is such a 50/50 fight that it’s really hard to pick. I think Maverick has a slight edge in wrestling, but Blanchfield definitely has the submission edge in grappling exchanges while Maverick probably has a slight edge in striking. Defensively Maverick leaves herself open a lot, but her experience against top level opponents is also a factor. Ultimately, it’ll be razor thin but I think Maverick can use that experience to earn a decision win. PICK – Erin Blanchfield via Decision
Arguably the best fight of the year not on a pay-per-view card headlines UFC Vegas 32 this weekend as Cory Sandhagen puts his number one contender status on the line against the returning former champion TJ Dillashaw.
Elsewhere on the card, two young female prospects go head-to-head when Miranda Maverick and Maycee Barber square off on the main card in the flyweight division. Knockout sensation Adrian Yanez also returns to the octagon to take on Randy Costa too.
Last time out at UFC Vegas 31, we went 7/10 with one perfect pick on the night to move up to 370/576 (64.24%) with 164 perfect picks (44.32%).
We’ll look to improve on that here with this 13-fight card and after starting with the early prelims here, we finish off our prelims picks now.
Micky Gall (6-3) vs Jordan Williams (9-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
An intriguing welterweight fight between CM Punk’s slayer Micky Gall against Jordan Williams looking to earn his first win in the UFC. Gall has yo-yo’d wins in the UFC since 2016 in his last six fights, losing to Mike Perry last time out at UFC Vegas 4. Williams lost his UFC debut to Nassourdine Imavov at middleweight in October last year.
Gall is a wrestler with good jiu-jitsu skills and really poor striking but his submission is capable of earning him a win against anyone on the ground. Williams on the other hand is a complete wild man of a fighter who has a background in his wrestling but great power in his hands, with seven knockouts in his nine professional wins. Williams’ power is scary good and while he gets hit a bit himself, Gall’s striking is nothing for him to worry about.
With Williams’ defensive wrestling chops, his size advantage and the power in his hands, I think he gets a memorable stoppage win on the feet early on. PICK – Jordan Williams via Knockout, Round 1
Nassourdine Imavov (9-3) vs Ian Heinisch (14-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Imavov is a terrific grappler who looks to take his opponents to the ground but is also confident on the feet with his striking. One thing he struggles with though is pressure, and Heinisch loves to grind his wrestling into the ground and really push forward against his opponents. That’s a positive for him and with his good kicks and knees, mixed in with his brilliant cardio he’s got the edge here.
Heinisch is not on the best of a momentum swing but he’s got the tools to edge a decision win here. PICK – Ian Heinisch via Decision
Punahele Soriano (8-0) vs Brendan Allen (16-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Soriano has got great kickboxing but it’s his hands that are the most violent weapon he has. Nobody has ever tried to take him down in the UFC yet but that will change in this fight, with Allen being a great wrestler with an excellent submission game on the ground. Both prospects are really good at implementing their style on a fight and it could go either way.
With that said though, Allen’s capabilities on the ground give him the edge here. There’s every chance he could get clipped and put to sleep while trying to enter for a takedown, but if he gets the fight down the fight is in his world and I think he’ll be able to get the submission win. PICK – Brendan Allen via Submission, Round 2
A not-so stacked card last weekend is followed up this weekend by one of the most stacked Fight Night cards in recent memory as Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley finally meet in a grudge match in the main event.
The card will also see the likes of Donald Cerrone, Khamzat Chimaev, Kevin Holland and Mackenzie Dern on the main card, but the undercard isn’t short of names either. With a HUGE 14 fights scheduled for this weekend ahead of the UFC’s second trip to Fight Island, I will break down each fight and give my predictions.
Last weekend was my worst showing for picks so far, as I ended with just 6/12 and only 1 perfect pick (winner, method, round).
With EIGHT prelim fights scheduled at the time of writing, I’m splitting this card into three rather than the usual two. I’ll break down the four UFC Fight Pass prelims here and give my predictions in the hope of doing far better than I did last weekend.
Tyson Nam (19-11-1) vs Jerome Rivera (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
After initially being slated to compete in the feature prelim bout last week, Tyson Nam now steps in on short-notice to take on Jerome Rivera. Nam won his last bout in scintillating fashion with a vicious knockout of Zarrukh Adashev back in June, while Rivera makes his UFC debut following a win on Dana White’s Contender Series last month. Nam is a kickboxer with good clinching skills and ridiculously heavy hands, but he’s struggled to put together consistent performances in the UFC. Rivera is a strong grappler but his defeat in his LFA title fight showed a big hole in his game. He struggles to follow through with his takedowns and leaves his chin in the air, often moving forward in straight lines. With Nam’s excellent takedown defence and counter-striking, this is a recipe for disaster for Rivera and this could be a violent win for Nam yet again. PICK – Tyson Nam via Knockout, Round 1
Darrick Minner (24-11) vs T.J. Laramie (12-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
A fight between a submission expert and an all-round mixed martial artist in the featherweight division as Darrick Minner takes on T.J. Laramie. Minner has just one UFC fight to his name, a defeat to Grant Dawson last time out back in February but he has 21 submission victories from 24 career wins. ‘The Truth’ Laramie makes his UFC debut after a win on Dana White’s Contender Series last month where he battered Daniel Swain to a doctor’s stoppage after the first round. Minner’s game relies completely on getting the fight to the ground so he can work his submissions but Laramie has fantastic takedown defence and his striking is clear of Minner’s. While there is always the chance of Minner getting the takedown, Laramie is no slouch on the ground and if he can somehow get into a top position he has the tools to be comfortable there too. Overall, it’s a fight that has too many paths to victory for Laramie for me to not pick him. PICK – T.J. Laramie via Knockout, Round 3
Andre Ewell (16-6) vs Irwin Rivera (10-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
Former CES champion Andre Ewell steps into the cage for his sixth UFC fight against Irwin Rivera who got his first UFC win last month in a split decision over Ali AlQaisi. Ewell is a striker predominantly but is unorthodox. He strikes from range and with great power, which shows with his 7 knockout wins to date. Rivera has a succinct lack of takedown skills and has a height and reach disadvantage in this fight which will leave him open, but he showed great courage and heart in his defeat to Giga Chikadze in May. With Ewell’s lack of consistency in the octagon, that will give Rivera encouragement that he can pull something off but judging solely off their attributes, it should be a relatively comfortable night for Ewell to make it back-to-back wins. PICK – Andre Ewell via Unanimous Decision
Journey Newson (9-2 1NC) vs Randy Costa (5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
A sleeper for fight of the night in this one as Journey Newson and Randy Costa match up in the bantamweight division. Newson lost his octagon debut in a late-notice bout against Ricardo Ramos before he blasted Domingo Pilarte for a first round knockout, although it was later overturned after a positive test for marijuana. Costa lost his debut also, to Brandon Davis after a good start before the more experienced man took over and scored a submission win. All of Costa’s professional wins have come via knockout but Newson has a good chin and good cardio. If he can withstand the initial storm, he could take over the fight and lead into a scrap that could see Costa deteriorate. For me though, I can’t see this fight going the distance and I expect that Costa will be able to get the knockout early with his pressure. PICK – Randy Costa via Knockout, Round 1