Tag Archives: Ricky Turcios

UFC Vegas 65: Lewis vs Spivac – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas after a stunning pay-per-view card last weekend for two heavyweight scrappers as Derrick Lewis takes on Serghei Spivac in the main event.

The number seven and number 12 ranked big men in the UFC go head-to-head in this headline clash, with both guys knowing a win puts them on track to get into title contention during 2023.

It’s a fun card with a few debuts and some sleeper fights, so be sure not to miss it.

Last weekend at UFC 281 we went 10/14 with one perfect pick to move to 776/1202 (64.56%) with 320 perfect picks (41.24%). You can see our full picks history here.

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


Natalia Silva (13-5-1) vs Tereza Bleda (6-0) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Women’s flyweights open up the card here in an interesting bout. Silva made a winning debut in the UFC in her last bout, claiming a unanimous decision win over Jasmine Jasudavicius back in June, while Bleda makes her debut in the organisation after winning a contract on the Contender Series in September.

Silva is a rapid striker, with decent power and snap to her kicks and punches in bunches, and excellent volume to boot. Bleda is a suffocating grappler who is able to chain takedowns together and control opponents, and at only 20 years old the world is truly her oyster. This is a tough bout for her though, because all her weaknesses seem to lie where Silva’s strengths are.

Bleda is quite flat-footed on the feet and she tends to be quite open to kicks, which is Silva’s wheelhouse. With her last fight being against a more experienced version of Bleda (albeit a talent with a lower ceiling), she should be able to land flurries from range and push the pace enough to claim a decision win.
PICK – Natalia Silva via Decision

Brady Hiestand (6-2) vs Fernie Garcia (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Bantamweights up next in fun fight. Hiestand’s UFC debut ended in defeat when he dropped a split decision to TUF champion Ricky Turcios back in August 2021, while Garcia earned a UFC contract with a KO win on the Contender Series before losing his debut in a decision loss to Journey Newson at UFC 274.

Hiestand is a decent striker with good power, but it’s his wrestling and takedown game that have stood him out throughout his career thus far. Garcia is a power puncher with good combinations on the feet, but he has struggled with pressure coming back his way and with keeping his fights standing against better opposition. That all adds up to a tough night at the office.

“Bam Bam” must ensure that he doesn’t have the same cardio issues in this fight as he has done in the past, but with Garcia lacking genuine one-punch KO power he should be able to close the distance quickly and secure takedowns for top control and a relatively comfortable win.
PICK – Brady Hiestand via Decision



Vanessa Demopolous (8-4) vs Maria Oliveira (13-5) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Strawweights up next in another interesting bout. Demopolous has won her last two in the UFC, submitting Silvana Gomez Juarez at UFC 270 before earning a decision win over Jinh Yu Frey most recently. Oliveira has gone 1-1 in the UFC to date, losing her debut via decision against Tabatha Ricci before earning a win last time out against Gloria De Paula via split decision.

Demopolous is at her best when he’s grappling with an opponent, but getting it to the ground has been an issue in the past with bang average wrestling and even worse striking, which can be described as basic at best. Oliveira is a powerhouse who looks to push forward and cause chaos to then catch her opponent out, earning seven KO career wins so far. But she has a reckless abandon for defence, especially to takedowns, and eventually she’s going to end up on her back here.

With that said, Demopolous has to stay out of danger while the fight is on the feet or she could get clipped big. “Lil Monster” should have enough about her with her height and reach advantage and a gas tank that has never let her down to be able to get Oliveira on her back, and then it’s just a matter of time.
PICK – Vanessa Demopolous via Submission, Round 2

Ricky Turcios (12-3) vs Kevin Natividad (9-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

TUF champion back in the octagon in this one. Turcios won the show with a split decision win over Brady Hiestand, but then lost his last bout via decision against Aiemann Zahabi back in July. Natividad on the other hand is 0-2 in the UFC so far, getting KO’d in his debut by Miles Johns at UFC Vegas 12 before getting KO’d by Batgerel Danaa at UFC 261 most recently in the first round. This is first fight in 18 months.

Turcios is a fighter whose greatest attribute is his heart, with a love for chaos and a phenomenal gas tank to go with a remarkable ability to scramble to his feet whenever he needs to. Natividad has made his name as a power puncher who doesn’t like to take a step back, with five KO’s in his career so far. There is a clear blueprint to beating Turcios, as shown in his last fight, but Natividad is just not that guy.

“Quicksand” is going to do what he always does, come forward looking for that one big strike and mix his wrestling in to open up the striking. Turcios will love that as he will look to pick Natividad off from range with kicks and flurries, and avoiding being controlled on the mat. it will be chaotic and wild, but expect Turcios’ volume to be enough to get the job done.
PICK – Ricky Turcios via Decision

UFC Vegas 58: Dos Anjos vs Fiziev – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex arena for another UFC Vegas card, headlined this time by huge lightweight contenders as Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Rafael Fiziev in the main event.

The number seven ranked 155-pounder takes on the number 11 ranked 155-pounder, but they’re backed up by a solid card this weekend including one UFC debutant and a list of experienced talent too.

Last time out at UFC 276 e went 8/11 (we don’t count no contests) with two perfect picks, moving us to 649/1009 (64.32%) with 279 perfect picks (42.99%). You can check out our total picks history here.

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


Cody Brundage (7-2) vs Tresean Gore (3-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A big middleweight banger up next. Brundage is 1-1 in his UFC career, dropping a decision to Nick Maximov in his debut at UFC 266 before claiming a first-round submission win against Dalcha Lungiambula last time out. Gore on the other hand was forced out of the TUF 29 finale with injury but had his debut against Bryan Battle eventually, dropping a decision for his first career loss.

Brundage is a solid wrestler with a super tight guillotine that he is never afraid to pull for if he feels it’s possible. He’s got okay striking too, but his bread and butter is definitely the grappling. Gore on the other hand is a powerful and aggressive striker with decent wrestling too, but it’s his power that is a real game-changer.

Gore has a habit of waiting for the perfect strike and thus his volume is low at times, but if he can pick it up in this fight then he can cause Brundage trouble. However Brundage will look to be pressuring Gore and threatening with takedowns constantly, and we saw in his debut that Gore is not at his best if he’s not the one coming forward. It’ll be close and tough, but Brundage has the skillset to make it ugly and after wearing down Gore he could secure a submission late on in the fight.
PICK – Cody Brundage via Submission, Round 3

Antonina Shevchenko (9-4) vs Cortney Casey (10-9) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

First women’s fight of the card has the champ’s sister involved. Shevchenko has lost three of her last four including each of her last two, getting submitted by Andrea Lee at UFC 262 before getting KO’d by Casey O’Neill most recently. Casey on the other hand lost two in a row before getting back in the win column with a decision win over Liana Jojua at UFC Vegas 42 most recently.

Shevchenko is a budget version of her sister, with a solid all-round game but one that isn’t impenetrable by any stretch of the imagination. Casey however is a fighter whose best attribute is her heart and desire. Her striking is okay and her takedown defence is shocking, but her volume and durability keep her in fights she has no right to be in. That trend continues here.

“La Pantera” is by far the better technical striker on the feet, and if she can’t get the finish and Casey keeps coming forward, then she has the ability to get the takedown and control the fight on the ground too. It would be a huge shock if this went any other way, so back Shevchenko for a dominant win.
PICK – Antonina Shevchenko via Decision



Aiemann Zahabi (8-2) vs Ricky Turcios (12-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A really fun bantamweight fight closes out the prelims section of the card here. Zahabi struggled in his opening UFC bouts, going 1-2 before then earning a huge KO win over Drako Rodriguez most recently. Turcios was a fan favourite on TUF 29 and claimed the trophy with an entertaining win over Brady Hiestand via split decision in the finale.

Zahabi is a great grappler with solid submission skills, but his poor wrestling game makes it tough to get fights down and his striking isn’t the best despite his KO win last time out. Turcios is a true mixed martial artist, with a wild offense on the feet with his strikes as well as solid wrestling and some great grappling skills too. He’s not the best defensive wrestler but his scrambling is great and his bottomless gas tank means it’s unlikely he stays on the bottom for too long anyway.

With that said, Zahabi faces a tough night at the office. With just three minutes of cage time in the last three years, he needs to have used the time outside the cage to make grand improvements. If he hasn’t, Turcios should win this one comfortably. His volume will see him march Zahabi down, use his unorthodox techniques on the feet and his scrambling skills to keep the fight where he wants it and claim victory on the cards.
PICK – Ricky Turcios via Decision

UFC Vegas 35: Barboza vs Chikadze – Main card predictions

The UFC featherweight division headlines a banger of a card in the APEX as Edson Barboza takes on Giga Chikadze in the main event, while The Ultimate Fighter finals take place too.

Chikadze takes on the former lightweight contender in his first main event, but before that the finale of both the bantamweight and middleweight division from the Ultimate Fighter Returns finale will take place as Ricky Turcios takes on Brady Hiestand, followed by Bryan Battle taking on late replacement Gilbert Urbina.

Kevin Lee also makes his return to the octagon against Daniel Rodriguez at welterweight in his first fight since he was submitted by Charles Oliveira back in March 2020.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 34 we went a disappointing 6/12 with two perfect picks for the night to move to 389/612 (63.56%) with 171 perfect picks (43.96%). We’ll look to improve that here, and after starting with the early prelims and the rest of the prelims we’ll pick the main card now.


Makhmud Muradov (25-6) vs Gerald Meerschaert (32-14) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very fun middleweight fight to open the main card as Muradov and Meerschaert meet in a classic striker vs grappler bout. Muradov has won 14-in-a-row including three-in-a-row in the UFC with his most recent fight against Andrew Sanchez ending with a flying-knee KO at UFC 257. Meerschaert bounced back from two losses in a row against Ian Heinisch and Khamzat Chimaev at UFC Vegas 11 before a submission win over Bartosz Fabinski.

Muradov is a sensational striker with great boxing skills and excellent footwork for a big man, while Meerschaert is a submission expert with 24 wins via tap out in his career. While he’s a great grappler though, he’s not a good wrestler and that is what Muradov is best at – denying takedowns and beating people up on the feet. Muradov has a tremendous speed advantage in this one and with his crisp striking it seems most likely that he can secure a win.

Overall, Muradov should have way too much for Meerschaert here. 17 wins via knockout tells me he has a killer instinct too and I think he’ll hit Meerschaert clean enough to get that big KO once again.
PICK – Makhmud Muradov via Knockout, Round 2

Andre Petroski (5-1) vs Micheal Gillmore (6-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Two TUF contestants from this season go head-to-head on the finale in this one at middleweight. Petroski is 5-1 with a defeat in his most recent professional fight via knockout, while Gillmore is on a three-fight win streak in his professional career before losing in the first round of the TUF house to finalist Gilbert Urbina.

Petroski is a powerhouse wrestler with powerful striking too and a good submission game. Gillmore on the other hand is a former karate champion with great striking and okay wrestling to try and keep fights standing. The issue for him is that his wrestling isn’t even close to that of Petroski’s and his showing in the TUF house won’t do much to convince anyone of anything different.

He walked backwards with little aggression and that allowed Urbina to score an early takedown so if Petroski gets that chance then this fight won’t last long at all.
PICK – Andre Petroski via Submission, Round 1

Kevin Lee (18-6) vs Daniel Rodriguez (15-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

‘The Motown Phenom’ is back in the octagon as he takes on the highly impressive ‘D-Rod’ in the welterweight division. Lee has struggled in the octagon recently, with just one win in his last four and no fights since March 2020 while Rodriguez has impressively won his last two-in-a-row against Mike Perry at UFC Vegas 23 and Preston Parsons.

Lee is a tremendous wrestler with great pedigree, but has spent most of his career in the lightweight division making him a bit of an inbetweener for division. Rodriguez on the other hand is a natural welterweight with tremendous boxing and a big size advantage for the fight. Rodriguez will use his jab plenty, but Lee will be happy to strike with him as he tries to open up the opportunities for takedowns.

The fight comes down to whether or not Lee can get a takedown and I’m not sure he can. Rodriguez absolutely has the striking advantage and power edge, and I think the size he has will be enough to stop Lee getting significant takedowns enough to score a close decision win.
PICK – Daniel Rodriguez via Decision

Ricky Turcios (10-2) vs Brady Hiestand (5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The first final from this year’s TUF series is the bantamweights. Turcios won two wars on the series this year but his most recent professional fights have been mixed, going 2-2 in his last four. Hiestand on the other hand had a close fight in the first round before securing an early TKO in his semi-final, while he is 1-1 professionally in his last two fights.

Turcios is a freestyle fighter who has good strikes with lots of volume and awkward movements, while he also has really good jiu-jitsu too. Hiestand is a solid wrestler with good top control and decent striking, but he has a lot less experience in this fight. Turcios knows how to work a crowd and judges and his volume is great, always moving forward with an iron chin.

Overall, I think once again we’ll see Turcios bring an entertaining fight but come out with a big win to be crowned the winner of this series and earn the contract.
PICK – Ricky Turcios via Decision

Bryan Battle (5-1) vs Gilbert Urbina (6-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

The middleweight finale for TUF has a short-notice replacement involved after Tresean Gore pulled out with injury. Bryan Battle makes his UFC debut after two big wins as an underdog during the competition, while Urbina is brought back in to the finale after being KO’d by Gore in the semi-final in the house.

Battle is a mixed-style fighter with lots of heart and excellent cardio, with solid striking and excellent scrambles on the ground. Urbina on the other hand is a good striker with good volume but with some great wrestling to back him up too. The issue for Urbina is that he’s a welterweight naturally and against a natural middleweight he could struggle to get that wrestling going.

Battle is a great scrambler if he does get taken down and he has the volume and size advantage so should be more than able to secure an impressive win and earn himself a UFC contract.
PICK – Bryan Battle via Decision

Edson Barboza (22-9) vs Giga Chikadze (13-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

The featherweight main event is upon us and it’s a striker’s paradise for MMA fans. Barboza has won his last two-fights in a row since moving down to 145lbs including a stunning knockout over Shane Burgos at UFC 262, while Chikadze has won his last eight-in-a-row including the last two by first round knockout against Jamey Simmons at UFC Vegas 13 and Cub Swanson at UFC Vegas 25.

Barboza is a stunning striker, with incredible kicks but also brilliant power in his hands with fun body shots and ripping crosses to the chin, while Chikadze is a super accurate kickboxer with a trademark body/head kick and crisp hands. The problem for Chikadze in this banger of a fight is that Barboza throws more volume and also has some pretty good grappling too.

Overall, it comes down to who can hit their opponent the most and harder and I think that Barboza has that advantage in this fight. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chikadze won, but Barboza is so polished at the highest level that I can’t go against him here.
PICK – Edson Barboza via Decision