Tag Archives: Raquel Pennington

UFC Vegas 67: Strickland vs Imavov – Main card predictions

The UFC returns after a month-long absence for it’s first card of 2023, and there has already been drama.

Originally slated to be a middleweight main event between Nassourdine Imavov and Kelvin Gastelum, before Gastelum fell out with a mouth injury during fight week.

He’s now replaced by Sean Strickland, who steps in after his main event defeat to Jared Cannonier in the final card of 2022.

During that even we went 9/13 with five perfect picks to end the year at #UFCVegas66, moving us to 804/1251 (64.27%) with 331 perfect picks (41.17%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims of the night, and then moving on to the prelims section, we move on to our main card picks now.

Umar Nurmagomedov (15-0) vs Raoni Barcelos (17-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A shout for fight of the card in this one to open up the main card. Nurmagomedov is undefeated and claimed a dominant win over Nate Maness in his most recent outing, while Barcelos bounced back from a two-fight losing streak to beat Trevin Jones in his latest fight.

Nurmagomedov by name, but not in style. Umar is a fantastic striker in the bantamweight division, using his kicks well, but still having that legendary grappling in his back pocket when he needs it. Barcelos is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division who has found his age to be the biggest problem in his career. If Nurmagomedov wants to win this fight, he will absolutely need to use his grappling.

Barcelos has got fantastic jiu-jitsu skills to go along with his violent Muay-Thai, but on his back is where he’s at his least effective. Umar has got good striking to compete, but once he gets top position he can control the fight and work to a decision win in a close and entertaining bout.
PICK – Umar Nurmagomedov via Decision

Ketlen Vieira (13-2) vs Raquel Pennington (14-9) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An interesting bantamweight scrap up next between two women looking to get into title contention. Vieira is on a two-fight winning streak having beaten former champions Miesha Tate and Holly Holm in her most recent bouts, while Pennington has won her last four, beating Marion Reneau, Pannie Kianzad, Macy Chiasson and Aspen Ladd.

Vieira is a well-rounded fighter with good knockout power and nasty submission skills on the mat too. She’s very aggressive and forward thinking, and will have a size advantage in this bout. Pennington on the other hand is very well rounded too, but she doesn’t have the greatest of finishing instincts and tends to be quite a reactive fighter. That leans the fight into Vieira’s favour undoubtedly.

Pennington will almost certainly look to hold a lot and land the odd strikes to score with the judges, while being defensively solid to give herself a chance. Vieira will press forward and look to mix up her attacks, but if she can score takedowns early then this is her fight to lose. I expect she will be able to do that, and get to a relatively comfortable decision win.
PICK – Ketlen Vieira via Decision

Punahele Soriano (9-2) vs Roman Kopylov (9-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Bangers at middleweight go head-to-head up next. Soriano bounced back from consecutive defeats to Brendan Allen and Nick Maximov to earn a knockout win over Dalcha Lungiambula last time out, while Kopylov did the same after defeats to Karl Roberson and Albert Duraev with a KO win against Alessio Di Chirico in his last outing at UFC Paris.

Both of these guys see themselves as knockout artists in the short and simple summary, but they have more skills to their name than just that. Soriano is an All-American wrestler in the past too, while Kopylov is a decent grappler himself, especially defensively. There’s no doubt both men are at their best when striking though, with a combined 14 knockout wins in their career.

Both guys are at a similar level, and both fighters are at a similar stage of their career too. Kopylov is the better boxer with decent combinations, and Soriano has got the better cardio and ability to carry his power later in the fight. It will be entertaining for sure, but I think Kopylov should be able to do a bit more with his combinations to secure a decision,
PICK – Roman Kopylov via Decision

Dan Ige (15-6) vs Damon Jackson (22-4-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A really fun and close match up in the featherweight division is the co-main event here. Ige has lost his last three via decision to Korean Zombie, Josh Emmett and Movsar Evloev, while Jackson is on a four-fight win streak beating Charles Rosa, Kamuela Kirk, Dan Argueta and Pat Sabatini in just 79 seconds.

Ige is a striker with decent one-punch knockout power and some solid defensive wrestling too, but he’s on a slide right now. Jackson on the other hand has really developed in the last two years, with fantastic grappling skills and much improved striking earning him a KO last time out. Many people will be thinking Ige is a level up on previous competition, but this is closer than you’d think on paper.

Jackson’s chin is very good for the most part, but it gets tested way too much to take too many shots from Ige. Ige is a very good defensive wrestler and Jackson will have to work really hard to be successful. If he can do that then it’s his fight to lose on the mat, but Ige’s defeats have come against top guys and I do think he should be able to hold off the wrestling threat and land enough on the feet to get back on track.
PICK – Dan Ige via Decision

Sean Strickland (25-5) vs Nassourdine Imavov (12-3) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Two ranked middleweight fighters compete in a short-notice light heavyweight main event here. Strickland has lost his last two, getting KO’d by the new champion Alex Pereira before dropping a split decision to Jared Cannonier most recently last month, while Imavov has won his last three with knockouts over Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan before a decision against Joaquin Buckley.

Strickland is a well-rounded fighter but constantly allows his ego to dictate his game plan. He’s a solid wrestler who never wrestles, instead marching forward with his jab and weaponizing his cardio. Imavov is a very well-rounded fighter with spectacular striking to go with decent wrestling and grappling skills too. Imavov is a really top prospect in this division, and a win here could set him up for a title push in 2023.

Strickland will definitely step forwards and try to assert himself, but Imavov is a very good counter striker and we’ve seen that Strickland definitely trusts his chin rather than using his defence. That is a risky strategy, but with his volume and experience in a five-round fight he could start to pull away in the latter rounds. With that said, Imavov’s movement and speed, plus the fact he’s been in camp for this date, have me leaning towards him in a razor close fight.
PICK – Nassourdine Imavov via Decision

UFC 273: Volkanovski vs Korean Zombie – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns after a two-week break with a huge pay-per-view card headlined by two massive title fights.

Alexander Volkanovski makes the third defence of his featherweight title when he takes on Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung, in the main event.

In the co-main event we get the long awaited rematch at the top of the bantamweight division as Aljamain Sterling makes his first defence of the belt against Petr Yan, a little over a year after he won it via disqualification.

We’ll also see an incredible welterweight fight between Gilbert Burns and the freight-train that is Khamzat Chimaev before that, to see just how real the hype is.

Last time at UFC Columbus we went 7/12 with four perfect picks, which moves us to 585/903 (64.78%) with 248 perfect picks (42.39%).

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims picks, we move on to the rest of the prelims here.

Mickey Gall (7-4) vs Mike Malott (7-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A fun welterweight bout up next as Mickey Gall looks to earn a much needed win for his record. Gall has gone 3-3 in his last six after initially starting off 3-0 in the UFC, with a defeat to Alex Morono last time out at UFC Vegas 44. Malott on the other hand makes his UFC debut after a 39 second victory on Dana White’s Contender Series last time out to earn his contract.

Gall is a brilliant jiu-jitsu practitioner who has been working on his striking in recent years to try and round out his game. Malott alternatively is a powerful striker with quick hands, who has won all of his fights in under two minutes. He’s also an adept grappler himself, but the lack of in-cage experience makes it hard to pick this fight.

Based on what we’ve seen, Malott has got a great chance of getting a big name on his record. But what happens if Gall manages to survive the initial two minute burst? Does Malott have the cardio to go 15 minutes if he needs to? Nobody knows but we can only go on what we’ve already seen from these guys, so I think Gall will survive the initial burst and be able to go for the full fight and edge out a close decision.
PICK – Mickey Gall via Decision

Aspen Ladd (9-2) vs Raquel Pennington (13-9) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very interesting bantamweight bout between two of the bigger names in the division. Ladd missed weight last time she was due to fight at bantamweight, but then moved up to featherweight on short notice and was beaten by Norma Dumont. Pennington on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak, with victories against Marion Reneau, Pannie Kianzad and most recently Macy Chiasson.

Ladd is an aggressive wrestler who has a very active top game, with the ability to finish bouts from that position as the six KO wins in her career show, while Pennington is an absolute grinder who has solid boxing and good clinch work. Ladd’s recent performances have been underwhelming and the weight is a big issue here. She was incredibly hesitant against Dumont and Pennington looks back to her best currently.

If Pennington is able to put the pressure on and make Ladd go backwards then she has a great chance of victory here. If Ladd makes weight easily though she has the wrestling credentials to make this a long night for Pennington. But the weight is a big problem and Pennington is quick enough and active enough to be able to earn a big win here.
PICK – Raquel Pennington via Decision

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-3) vs Marcin Tybura (22-7) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweights assemble! ‘Big Boi’ has alternated wins and losses in his last six, falling to defeats against Francis Ngannou, Ciryl Gane (UFC Vegas 20) and Curtis Blaydes in his most recent fight at UFC 266. Tybura on the other hand was on a five-fight win streak before running into Alexander Volkov most recently at UFC 267 where he dropped a decision.

Rozenstruik is a former world champion kickboxer who has got incredible one-punch knockout power and solid kicks, while Tybura is a good pressure fighters with decent boxing and a solid array of leg kicks to dip into. This will almost certainly be a striking battle and that means that Rozenstruik will have the advantage. That is, unless Tybura goes into his wrestling well and looks to just drown Rozenstruik with pressure.

There is a big opportunity for Tybura to get takedowns and work his top pressure for 15 minutes to get another big scalp on his resume, but Rozenstruik’s power makes that dangerous. Especially considering Tybura has been KO’d several times in the past. His durability has improved over recent fights, but Rozenstruik is the best striker he’s come up against in a while and the Suriname native should claim a big KO win here.
PICK – Jairzinho Rozenstruik via Knockout, Round 2

Ian Garry (8-0) vs Darian Weeks (5-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two super hot prospects get the featured prelim headline spot in this one. Garry made his UFC debut at UFC 268 and claimed a Conor McGregor-esque knockout in the first round over Jordan Williams, while Weeks suffered defeat to Bryan Barberena in his debut at UFC Vegas 44 on short notice.

Garry is a brilliant striker, with great kicks and really quick counters that have got genuine knockout power. Weeks is a good wrestler, but he really struggled against Barberena to hold him down and get any sort of control so he doesn’t stand much hope of doing that here against Garry. There’s a huge gap in skill on the feet, and Garry is also decent on the ground himself with good defence and good front chokes.

This fight, on paper, looks like a setup fight for Garry’s star to continue to rise. He had more issues against Williams than initially expected, but that was likely debut nerves. Here he has the edge pretty much everywhere, so expect a violent TKO win for the Irishman.
PICK – Ian Garry via Knockout, Round 1

UFC Vegas 45: Lewis vs Daukaus – Early prelims predictions

The final UFC event of 2021 is upon us and will be headlined by heavyweight bangers in Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

The two are at different ends of their career realistically and are fighting to carry the torch of the division into 2022.

In the co-main we’ll see welterweight contender Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson enter the last chance saloon for title contention when he takes on Belal Muhammad, who is looking to break into the top five of the rankings for the first time.

Last time out at UFC 269 we went 9/14 on the night in a fantastic card to move to 500/779 (64.18%) with 211 perfect picks (42.2%).

We’ll look to end the year on a high here, starting with the early prelims on this 14-fight card.

Jordan Leavitt (8-1) vs Matt Sayles (8-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very fun lightweight fight opens the card here. Leavitt started his UFC run excellently with slam KO just 22 seconds into his fight against Matt Wiman at UFC Vegas 16, before he dropped a decision to Claudio Puelles at UFC Vegas 28 in his last fight. Sayles hasn’t fought since 2019, where he was beaten by Bryce Mitchell via twister submission.

Leavitt is a solid wrestler with great slams and very crisp submission skills on the mat, while Sayles is a power striker with limited grappling skills. This is a tough return to action for Sayles, who is coming into a fight where his weaknesses are likely to get violently exposed.

Sayles is a natural featherweight making just his second professional appearances as a lightweight, while Leavitt is big for the division. That size will pay dividends when Leavitt goes in search of his takedown, gets it, keeps him down and eventually works his way to the back for a choke victory early on.
PICK – Jordan Leavitt via Submission, Round 1

Don’Tale Mayes (8-4) vs Josh Parisian (14-4) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweights up next as they look to steal the shine early doors. Don’Tale Mayes suffered a heel hook defeat to Ciryl Gane in his UFC debut before getting submitted by Rodrigo Nascimento in May 2020. He finally earned a win when he gained a decision against Roque Martinez most recently at UFC Vegas 14. Parisian on the other hand bounced back from defeat to Parker Porter with a decision win against Martinez himself at UFC Vegas 29.

Both fighters are primary strikers with limited grappling techniques, which means this is likely to become a straight up kickboxing match. Mayes isn’t a great kicker, but he has a size advantage that means his strikes are likely to have a bit more of an effect. Parisian often struggles to maintain distance and finds himself with his back against the fence, which could give Mayes the chance to tee off.

Parisian is the more powerful fighter though who has more experience and he uses leg kicks well to try and keep opponents off him. He’s the busier fighter in the in between moments of the fight and in a fight that I expect to go the difference, that’s usually the difference.
PICK – Josh Parisian via Decision

Raquel Pennington (12-9) vs Macy Chiasson (8-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A banger between two ranked bantamweights fighting at featherweight on short-notice. Pennington is on a two-fight win streak after earning decision wins against Marion Reneau and Pannie Kianzad. Chiasson on the other hand is also on a two-fight win streak having defeated Shana Young and Reneau via decision also at UFC Vegas 21.

Pennington is a wrestle-boxer with good combinations who is very good at getting on the inside to help with her small size and stature to affect distance. Chiasson on the other hand is a very tidy kickboxer with good clinchwork and decent KO power too.

This is a 50/50 fight because if Pennington can make it ugly, she has the advantage. She’s extremely well rounded and confident, but the fact this is happening at 145lbs plays into the bigger fighter’s hands. Chiasson will use range, land the bigger shots and make a bigger impression on the judges for a decision win.
PICK – Macy Chiasson via Decision

Charles Jourdain (11-4-1) vs Andre Ewell (17-8) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A brilliant featherweight encounter up next. Jourdain is 1-1-1 in his last three, with a draw against Josh Culibao followed up by a KO win over Marcelo Rojo at UFC Vegas 21 and then a defeat to Julian Erosa via submission at UFC Vegas 36. Ewell on the other hand has lost each of his last two fights via decision to Chris Gutierrez at UFC 258 and then Julio Arce by knockout at UFC Vegas 32.

Jourdain is a powerful striker with some good wrestling skills too and excellent kicks, while Ewell is a primary boxer who is starting to learn to check kicks. For a fighter with such a huge reach, Ewell doesn’t use it nearly enough or nearly well enough. Against someone like Jourdain who is a great kicker, a natural 145er and a power puncher himself with a great gas tank, this is an uphill battle for Ewell.

Ultimately, this is Jourdain’s fight to lose. He has the edge in power, size and grappling if he chooses to use it and while Ewell is the better boxer it’s easily countered with kicks and wrestling so he should claim a decent win here.
PICK – Charles Jourdain via Decision

UFC Vegas 37: Smith vs Spann – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to our screens this weekend after a two week break with a huge 15-fight card, headlined by light heavyweights Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith and Ryan Spann.

The 205lbs division is top heavy right now, with lots of guys vying for title contention and that includes former challenger Smith. A win for Spann however in his first ever main event would be a huge deal for him and mean he has no easy fights in his future.

Elsewhere on the card there is a hotly anticipated match-up between Ariane Lipski and debutant Mandy Bohm in the women’s flyweight division, while the likes of Joaquin Buckley, Nate Maness, Raquel Pennington, Impa Kasanganay and Arman Tsarukyan all fight too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 36, we had a decent run going 6/9 with three perfect picks. That moved us to 402/633 (63.51%) with 177 perfect picks (44.03%) since we began.

A huge card, we’ve split our picks up into three this week so we’ll start with the opening four early prelim bouts.

Montel Jackson (10-2) vs JP Buys (9-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very interesting fight as the highly-rated Montel Jackson takes on JP Buys, who moves up from flyweight after defeat in his debut with the UFC. Jackson has got a 4-2 record in the UFC including a big KO win over Jesse Strader last time out at UFC Vegas 22. Buys was highly rated outside the UFC and joined in March on the same card and got starched by Bruno Silva.

Jackson is a super powerful striker with brilliant submission skills on the mat too. He’s got a vicious right hand and has six knockdowns in the bantamweight division to show just how powerful he is. Buys had excellent wrestling outside the UFC and was tipped for big things, while his kickboxing is pretty decent too.

This is a weird match-up because Jackson is more powerful, a better submission threat and a far bigger man naturally. Buys needs to show some real improvements and get a bit of luck to be successful here and I just don’t see it, because Jackson is very good.
PICK – Montel Jackson via Knockout, Round 2

Nikolas Motta (12-3) vs Cameron VanCamp (15-5-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A double UFC debut in this one in what should be an exciting fight in the lightweight division. ‘Iron’ Motta steps in for his first official UFC fight after a win on the Contender Series at the back end of 2020 and on a three-fight win streak. VanCamp is a short-notice replacement for the veteran Jim Miller and makes his debut on a four-fight win streak.

Motta is a Muay-Thai striker with great knees, kicks and a powerful right hand. VanCamp is more of a grappler, with nine submission wins from 13 career stoppage victories but he does like to stand and strike a fair bit. VanCamp likes to switch stances in order to get a better chance on a single leg takedown, but Motta is so incredibly powerful and is happy to throw good combinations and take chances.

Motta’s takedown defence isn’t rubbish and VanCamp’s takedown offence isn’t quite sensational. But with Jim Miller the original opponent, I’m confident in saying he’s not more dangerous on the mat and that will help Motta. Motta will be able to stay away from VanCamp’s takedown and he will land heavy shots in order to get himself a big KO win.
PICK – Nikolas Motta via Knockout, Round 1

Rong Zhu (17-4) vs Brandon Jenkins (15-7) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A super-short notice bout at 155lbs as Rongzhu takes on the incoming Brandon Jenkins from the PFL on less than a week’s notice, after Dakota Bush withdrew. Rongzhu went on a ten-fight win streak before joining the UFC, winning his promotion’s lightweight title but he was beaten in his debut by ‘Kazula’ Vargas at UFC 261. Jenkins won his most recent fight last month against Jason Kilburn via flying knee.

Rongzhu is a very powerful striker with an impressive 11 knockouts inside 15 stoppage wins. He’s so aggressive and his experience for a 21-year-old is incredibly impressive. Jenkins also has some powerful striking, with ten knockouts from 15 career wins while he has decent wrestling in his back pocket also and some decent Muay-Thai.

If this fight was set up in advance, it would be sensational. But because it’s on short-notice, it’s hard to go against someone like Rongzhu. He’s got stoppage power, great cardio and submission skills too. This could potentially be a fight of the night, but I’m backing Rongzhu to get a spectacular KO.
PICK – Rongzhu via Knockout, Round 2

Pannie Kianzad (16-5) vs Raquel Pennington (11-9) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An interesting bantamweight bout at the top end of the 135lbs women’s division. Kianzad has won four-in-a-row, racking up victories over Jessica Rose-Clark, Bethe Correia, Sijara Eubanks and Alexis Davis most recently at UFC 263. Pennington on the other hand is 2-3 in her last five, but secured a dominant win over Marion Reneau at UFC Vegas 3.

Kianzad is a solid kickboxer with really sharp hands and good takedown defence, while Pennington will be looking to secure a clinch against the cage, slow the momentum and volume down before looking to make the fight very boring and just control positions rather than too much damage.

Kianzad will need to use her volume and power in this fight and Pennington will be keen to ensure that doesn’t happen. It’ll be a fight that won’t have many moments to look back on but in all honesty I think Kianzad has the ability to use her footwork and land enough to scrape a close decision.
PICK – Pannie Kianzad via Decision

Mike Rodriguez (11-6) vs Tafon Nchukwi (5-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Featured prelim bout between two interestingly rated light heavyweights. Rodriguez is 1-3 and 1 no contest in his last five fights, losing his last two to Ed Herman and Danilo Marques at UFC Vegas 18 via submission. Nchukwi started well in the UFC, beating Jamie Pickett at UFC Vegas 17 before moving down to middleweight and getting absolutely dominated by Jun Yong Park at UFC Vegas 26.

Rodriguez is a good boxer with solid cardio and good power, but his striking is in keeping with his ‘Slow’ moniker. Nchukwi is an incredibly powerful kickboxer, but he has shown tremendous cardio issues whenever asked to grapple and seemingly just gets completely lost on the mat. That doesn’t really help Rodriguez in this one, who’s ideal path is in the striking realm where he is realistically outmatched here.

Nchukwi has scary one-punch power and is patient despite his lack of experience. Nchukwi will stay patient from range and land short strikes, before exploding at some point in the first round and turning Rodriguez’s lights out and likely ending his UFC tenure.
PICK – Tafon Nchukwi via Knockout, Round 1

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Volkov – Predictions

The UFC returns this Saturday night with yet another solid card in the APEX Centre in Las Vegas as Curtis Blaydes takes on Alexander Volkov in the main event.

After we went 6/10 for picks last week (3 of them completely correct), I’ll try again this week to pick out the winners of each fight and how I expect the fight to go down.


Austin Hubbard (11-4) vs Max Rohskopf (5-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

‘Thud’ Hubbard will step into the Octagon for the fourth time this weekend with a 1-2 record currently, with both defeats coming to strong wrestlers. Rohskopf will make his UFC debut on just six-days notice, with a 5-0 record all coming by way of submission. A state wrestler, Rohskopf has all the ingredients to make this a winning start to his UFC career but Hubbard will be sure to make this his toughest test yet. PICK – Max Rohskopf via Unanimous Decision

Roxanne Modafferi (24-16) vs Lauren Murphy (12-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

‘The Happy Warrior’ Modafferi shocked the MMA world in her last outing, completely outclassing rising prospect Maycee Barber. She used her dirty boxing incredibly well before securing positions on the ground and laying vicious ground and pound. She’s arguably got the best top-game in the division behind Valentina Shevchenko, but her inconsistency will forever hold her back. Murphy is currently on a two-fight win streak, and will be looking to win 3 in a row for the first time since 2013. She’s got an impressive 8 KO wins from 12 fights so clearly carries power in her hands. It will be a close fight between the two and no result would particularly surprise me, but I think ‘Lucky’ has the advantage on the feet and a slight advantage in the clinch, so she should take a decision win. PICK – Lauren Murphy via Unanimous Decision

Frank Camacho (22-8) vs Justin Jaynes (15-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Another short-notice match up on the card as Jaynes steps in on two-days notice for this fight. Jaynes is making his UFC debut on the back of four straight first-round wins including three stoppages. Camacho was supposed to fight Matt Frevola, but he was pulled out of the fight when his cornerman was diagnosed with coronavirus. Camacho is a man who is straight offence mentally. A solid striker, he has 17 career wins by KO but has lost three of his last four outings. He needs a win to get back-on-track and while this may be a more competitive fight with a full-on camp, Jaynes’ short-notice call-up could be decisive as the fight enters later rounds. PICK – Frank Camacho by TKO, Round 3

Cortney Casey (9-7) vs Gillian Robertson (7-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

After a first round submission win last month, ‘Cast Iron’ Casey is back in the Octagon. She caught Mara Borello in a beautiful armbar on the Harris vs Overeem card and has stepped in on short-notice to fight Robertson. ‘The Savage’ lost her last fight to Maycee Barber, but prior to that had won 5 of her last 6 (4-1 in the UFC). Her excellent grappling skills have seen her win 5 of her 7 wins come by submission and hasn’t gone to the judges since her defeat to Cynthia Calvillo back in 2016. While Casey is coming in on short-notice, she will be in fighting shape. That said, Robertson’s ability on the ground will surely be too much for her. Takedown defence has always been a chink in her armour and despite the defeat in her last outing, she should be confident enough to end this early. PICK – Gillian Robertson via Submission, Round 1

Marc-Andre Barriault (11-4) vs Oskar Piechota (11-3-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

As the big boys step into the Octagon in this encounter, Barriault is looking to end a three-fight skid in the UFC. He’s lost all his fights in the organisation so far and he’s coming up another fighter who has lost their last three. While Barriault is a stand-up fighter, with 8 of his 11 wins coming via KO, ‘Imadlo’ is a more well-rounded fighter who is happy to take it to the ground as his 5 submission wins show. He’s got elite jiu-jitsu skills and ‘Power Bar’ has struggled with staying up standing in the UFC. This could end in a quick submission win for the Pole and could signal the end of Barriault’s UFC career. PICK – Oskar Piechota via Submission, Round 1

Tecia Torres (10-5) vs Brianna Van Buren (9-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

UFC Fight Night: Torres v Rodriguez : News Photo

One of the bigger names in the division, Torres is on one of the most un-worrying losing streaks in the companies history. She’s lost her last four fights, but all to current/future champions and then to one of the biggest prospects in the company. Decision defeats to Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jessica Andrade and Weili Zhang were followed by a decision loss to Marina Rodriguez in August and she hasn’t fought since. Van Buren on the other hand is in the midst of a 6 fight win streak, including finishes in 3 of her last 6. She won her debut in the UFC with a hard fought decision over Livinha Souza, showing a great skillset that includes striking, takedowns and constant pressure. This fight could really go either way, but I’m going to go with the experience of Torres to find a way to get back in the win column. PICK – Tecia Torres via Unanimous Decision

Clay Guida (35-19) vs Bobby Green (24-10-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A fight between two Octagon veterans entering the twilight of their career, Guida enters the cage having lost 4 of his last 7. His last outing was a submission defeat to Jim Miller, in a fight that lasted less than a minute. Green comes in having won just 1 of his last 7 fights, losing his last two in a row. Despite the results, the fights were incredibly close and you could argue he won both too. ‘King’ has seen as 8 of his last 10 fights go the distance. This match-up is an odd one but Green certainly has the advantage. He’s the better boxer and has good ground defence, while Guida’s greatest strength is his submission game. His work ethic is unrivalled and despite Green’s advantages he often looks lethargic in his performance. If the fight becomes a stalemate which is tough to score, I expect Guida will take the decision based on that. PICK – Clay Guida via Split Decision


Jim Miller (31-14) vs Roosevelt Roberts (10-1) – (Catchweight/160lbs)

A wily veteran against one of the contestants from Dana White’s ‘Contender Series’. Miller is a crafty submission expert while Roberts has shown solid skills in all aspects of MMA. ‘A-10’ has 17 submission victories in his career but lost in his last bout to Scott Holtzman via a unanimous decision. Roberts has won his last two fights, including a submission win over Brok Weaver just three weeks ago. ‘The Predator’ is a keen grappler but carries power in his hands which is something that Miller will have to watch out for. While he will arguably have an advantage on the ground, Miller will need to overpower the younger and fitter Roberts to gain the position which I think he’ll struggle to do. PICK – Roosevelt Roberts via Unanimous Decision

Lyman Good (21-5) vs Belal Muhammad (16-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Another fight between a true veteran and un upcoming prospect but this time at welterweight. Lyman Good has seen it all in MMA and his record is very good. 11 KO wins from 14 stoppages shows you exactly where his strengths lie. A brutal jab is usually the beginning of the end for his opponents, as he throws plenty of combinations off the back of it. Muhammad though is a powerhouse in his own right. He’s a solid striker but he often leaves it too late to secure a stoppage, as his 11 decision wins show. He’s won 6 of his last 7 fights, with one stoppage, and bases him game massively off of his takedowns and cardio. If he can get Good to the ground, then the fight will stay there until he finishes it or the round ends. If Good can keep it standing, he could out-strike ‘Remember the Name’ for a full 15 minutes. I think Muhammad will be able to secure a takedown or two and do enough to secure the decision win with the judges. PICK – Belal Muhammad via Unanimous Decision

Raquel Pennington (10-8) vs Marion Reneau (9-5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

‘Rocky’ makes a return to the Octagon after a defeat in her last outing against Holly Holm. A solid boxer, Pennington has lost 3 of her last 4 including her world title fight against the GOAT Amanda Nunes. Her toughness and cardio has seen her go to a decision in 12 of her 18 career bouts. Reneau on the other hand is a finishing machine. ‘The Belizean Bruiser’ has finished 8 of her 9 victories, with 5 KO’s and 3 submissions on her record while she’s never been finished in her career either. She has lost her last two bouts though. At 42 years old, Reneau is in the twilight of her career now and Pennington will be looking to get back into the win column. She’s better on the feet and more than capable of avoiding the ground battle against a dangerous jiu-jitsu grappler and she’ll take home the win in a not-so entertaining fight. PICK – Raquel Pennington via Unanimous Decision

Shane Burgos (13-1) vs Josh Emmett (15-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

In one of the best fights on the card, these two ranked featherweights will go head to head in battle for a potential Top 5 opponent in their next fight. Emmett is coming in on the back of two straight wins by knockout, while Burgos has won his last three with two stoppage victories. Burgos is arguably more well-rounded of the two but he doesn’t really possess that one-punch knockout power Emmett does. His footwork and leg-kicking game are solid but with Emmett’s wrestling background he risks being put on his back if one of those get caught. Emmet’s age could also be a factor, although his conditioning is exceptional. A fight that could literally end in the blink of an eye, but I think Burgos will stay patient and avoid the big punch Emmett looks for. A technical win is incoming for Burgos if you ask me. PICK – Shane Burgos via Unanimous Decision

Curtis Blaydes (13-2) vs Alexander Volkov (31-7) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes v Dos Santos : News Photo

The ultimate wrestler vs striker fight in this one, as ‘Razor’ takes on ‘Drago’ in the main event. Blaydes has been on a tear in recent years, losing only to Francis Ngannou twice while dominating everyone else. He holds the record for the most takedowns in heavyweight history, with 10 of his 13 wins coming by knockout.

Volkov is a big, strong striker who has knockout power for days. The Russian has 20 knockout wins on his record and at 6ft 7′ possesses a reach advantage over most of his opponents. He’s won 7 of his last 8 fights, with his only defeat coming in the closing seconds against Derrick Lewis in a fight he dominated for 3 rounds.

Blaydes has plenty of power in the stand-up game so won’t be afraid to exchange with Volkov, but ‘Drago’ will not want to get into a wrestling match with his opponent. If Blaydes can get this to the ground then I expect him to get a finish, like he has done against most of his other opponents. If Volkov can rush him like Ngannou did and catch him early he’ll have a chance. The longer this fight goes, the more chance Blaydes has of getting it to the ground which means he’ll take home the win. PICK – Curtis Blaydes via Technical Knockout, Round 2