Tag Archives: Saidyokub Kakhramonov

UFC Vegas 66: Cannonier vs Strickland – Prelims predictions

The final UFC card of 2022 is upon us after a crazy year, with middleweight contenders battling it out in the main event.

Jared Cannonier returns to the octagon after a failed title attempt to take on Sean Strickland, whose last fight saw him beaten by the current champion in the division.

It’s a stacked 14-fight card including people like Drew Dober, Manel Kape, Bryan Battle, Said Nurmagomedov and more.

Last weekend at UFC 282 we went 6/11 with one perfect pick (we don’t count draws) to move to 795/1238 (64.22%) with 326 perfect picks (41.01%). You can see our full pick history here.

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


Said Nurmagomedov (16-2) vs Saidyokub Kakhramonov (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolute banger at bantamweight up next. Nurmagomedov has won his last three in a row, KO’ing Mark Striegl (UFC Fight Island 6), submitting Cody Stamann (UFC 270) and then earning a decision over Douglas Silva de Andrade most recently. Kakhramonov is on a four-fight win streak including a submission win over Trevin Jones and a decision win over Ronnie Lawrence in his first two UFC bouts.

Nurmagomedov is a good grappler, but despite his surname it’s his striking that is his standout attributes, with really good kicks in his arsenal. Kakhramonov is more like you’d expect Nurmagomedov to be, with excellent and relentless grappling with a fantastic gas tank to go with it and some okay striking at best. But his gas tank is a big problem for Nurmagomedov who can start a bit slowly sometimes.

With that said, Nurmagomedov is very good at what Kakhramonov is best at. The same cannot be said the other way around. Nurmagomedov will look to stand and land from distance and if he gets taken down he will make Kakhramonov work hard and it’ll be 50-50, so that leads me to a pick for Nurmagomedov in a really fun bout.
PICK – Said Nurmagomedov via Decision

Julian Marquez (9-3) vs Deron Winn (7-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A weird middleweight bout next. Marquez earned submission wins over Maki Pitolo (UFC 258) and Sam Alvey (UFC Vegas 23) before a knockout loss to Gregory Rodrigues most recently. Winn on the other hand 1-3 in his last four, getting KO’d by Phil Hawes in his most recent bout.

Marquez is a powerful striker with good elbows and a heavy right hand, but it’s his gas tank that stands out most. He really struggles with defensive wrestling too, which is a big problem against a wrestler of Winn’s calibre. Winn is small but he should be able to get on the inside here and get his takedowns off, but his biggest issue is his cardio which falls off a cliff at some point in the second round regularly.

Winn should win the first round because of his wrestling, but Marquez’s pressure and power is a big problem. As the fight goes on Winn will start to waiver and Marquez will get stronger, meaning the takedowns get easier to defend and the strikes become easier to land. This could be billed as a bit of a “comeback” win, but I do think Marquez has the power and cardio to get it done late on.
PICK – Julian Marquez via Knockout, Round 3



Jake Matthews (18-5) vs Matthew Semelsberger (10-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Welterweight banger up next. Matthews has won four of his last five fights, with his only defeat coming to Sean Brady back at UFC 259. Most recently he claimed a win over Andre Fialho via knockout. Semelsberger is coming off a short-notice loss to Alex Morono at UFC 277, which snapped a two-fight win streak.

Matthews has developed himself into a really well-rounded MMA fighter, with excellent striking and power to go with really good wrestling and some fine submission skills too. Semelsberger on the other hand is a straight up powerhouse, with a huge right hand that puts people’s heads into orbit. Defensively he has struggled with wrestlers in the past and his striking defence isn’t the best either, as shown against Morono.

Semelsberger will always have a punchers chance in a fight, but in this match it seems tough that he has anything more than that. Matthews is the better striker with good power and volume, and his wrestling is a get out of jail free card if he needs it too. Both guys are durable so a finish is unlikely, but Matthews should pull away by mixing all his skills together and claim a big win to show he’s a serious contender in the division.
PICK – Jake Matthews via Decision

Cheyanne Vlismas (7-2) vs Cory McKenna (7-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

The only women on the card take up the featured prelim spot for this card. Vlismas (formerly known as Buys) has won her last two in the UFC, KO’ing Gloria De Paula before earning a decision win over Mallory Martin most recently (UFC Vegas 44). McKenna has won five of her last six, with a defeat to Elise Reed at UFC London prior to her most recent win against Miranda Granger via submission.

Vlismas is a very good striker on the feet with good defensive takedown skills and plenty of output and volume, but she has often gone against an ideal game plan and found herself in trouble. McKenna is a strong wrestler who uses her striking to open up opportunities to shoot, but she struggled for control against Elise Reed which is a bad sign here. Vlismas is very good at moving away from shots and controlling distance, which would allow her to land clean a lot because of her five-inch reach advantage in this fight.

McKenna is capable of getting her to the ground, and once there she has a big advantage. She’s stronger physically and has good technique, but she may eat a host of shots trying to get in there. If Vlismas fights to her strengths by keeping distance on the outside and limiting her kicks, then she should be able to come away with a win.
PICK – Cheyanne Vlismas via Decision

UFC Vegas 58: Dos Anjos vs Fiziev – Early 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, starting with the early prelims.


Ronnie Lawrence (8-1) vs Saidyokub Kakhramonov (9-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A banger at bantamweight to start the card here. Lawrence is on a five-fight win streak including a KO win in his UFC debut against Vince Cachero before earning a decision over Leomana Martinez at UFC 271 last time out. Kakhramonov on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak, including a submission win in his debut last time out over Trevin Giles.

Lawrence and Kakhramonov are both grapplers by trade, with great wrestling and some good submission skills in their arsenal too. However both are capable of keeping up a high pace and can land a good volume of strikes too, which is what this fight may turn into. There, Lawrence has a slight advantage and it could prove pivotal in this match up.

Kakhramonov showed a vulnerability when forced against the cage in his last bout and while he arguably has the power advantage, Lawrence seems like the most durable of the two too. Expect both men to keep it standing until an opportunity presents itself for a takedown, but Lawrence should be able to use his volume and pressure to force his opponent backwards and mix in takedown threats to earn the decision win.
PICK – Ronnie Lawrence via Decision

Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-3) vs Karl Roberson (9-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An interesting light heavyweight bout up next. Nzechukwu started his UFC career 4-1, but has lost each of his last two fights after getting KO’d by Da Un Jung at UFC Vegas 42 before dropping a split decision to Nicolae Negumereanu at UFC 272 most recently. Roberson has lost his last three in a row, getting finished by all of Marvin Vettori (UFC Vegas 2), Brendan Allen (UFC 261) and Khalil Rountree.

Nzechukwu is a volume heavy striker who tends to walk forward head first and pressure opponents until they crumble, while Roberson is a solid all-rounder who can’t game plan to save his life. He grapples with grapplers, tries to jiu-jitsu with jiu-jitsu players and doesn’t use his striking game nearly enough. That’s a big problem against Nzechukwu, who will be the much bigger man coming into this fight.

Roberson’s volume isn’t great and if he chooses to just stand with his back against the cage and exchange strikes he’ll likely get stopped. Nzechukwu must let his hands go more often and continue to come forward, and he should be able to land enough to secure a close decision win.
PICK – Kennedy Nzechukwu via Decision



David Onama (9-1) vs Garrett Armfield (8-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A super short notice bout makes it to the card at the last minute. Onama suffered defeat in his UFC debut on short notice to Mason Jones, but bounced back with a big win over Gabriel Benitez when he KO’d him in the first round. Armfield on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak and makes his UFC debut in this bout, with seven finishes in his eight career wins.

Armfield is a well-rounded fighter with great hand speed and power, to go with some excellent wrestling abilities and a great fight IQ. Onama alternatively is a brilliant kickboxer with excellent power and speed, with explosiveness for days and a decent ground game too. These two guys have fought before, with Onama earning a victory via unanimous decision during their amateur days.

Onama has the striking advantage by a distance, but in the grappling he’s at a big disadvantage. His defensive wrestling and grappling isn’t great and Armfield has the ability to step in and wrestle for 15 minutes. The issue is he’s coming in on three days’ notice against a guy who has beaten him before. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him claim a decision win, but it’s a huge ask and I expect Onama to work the body and use his length to claim another win.
PICK – David Onama via Decision

UFC Vegas 46: Kattar vs Chikadze – Prelims predictions

The UFC makes it’s return for 2022 with the first banger of a main event at UFC Vegas 46 live from the UFC Apex as Calvin Kattar takes on Giga Chikadze in the featherweight division.

Kattar returns after taking 2021 off following his defeat to Max Holloway in the opening event of the year, and will look to kick off this year in a way he couldn’t last year.

For Chikadze, it’s his second main event and he knows he has the opportunity to enter title contention this year with a victory over a top five opponent.

We ended 2021 with a decent 8/13 return with three perfect picks at UFC Vegas 45 to move to 508/792 (64.14%) with 214 perfect picks (42.13%).

We’ll look to improve that here, starting with the prelims of this 10-fight card.


Silvana Gomez Juarez (10-3) vs Vanessa Demopoulos (6-4) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
FIGHT MOVED TO UFC 270 DUE TO COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

An interesting women’s fight to kick off the year in the strawweight division. Juarez got smoked in her UFC debut against Lupita Godinez, getting submitted via armbar in round one at UFC Vegas 39. Demopoulos also suffered defeat in her UFC defeat, losing a unanimous decision to JJ Aldrich at UFC Vegas 35.

Juarez is a crisp, fast and powerful striker on the feet, with some decent grappling skills that are usually enough for her to at least try and keep a fight standing. Demopoulos on the other hand is a terrific grappler, but outside of that she tends to struggle big time in her opponents wheelhouse because her wrestling is pretty average at best. If she can’t get the fight down, she leaves herself open to problems which explains her pretty poor record.

As mentioned already, Juarez has the ability to generally keep the fight standing against non-wrestlers and if she can do that here she should be able to strike her way to a comfortable decision win. If Demopoulos is able to get her down though, this could end quickly. Unfortunately, I see Juarez standing firm and earning the victory.
PICK – Silvana Gomez Juarez via Decision

Charles Rosa (14-6) vs TJ Brown (15-8) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A fight put together on short notice after a drop-out on fight week, Charles Rosa steps in by chance to take a fight now at lightweight. Rosa has alternated wins and losses since 2014, claiming a defeat to Damon Jackson at UFC Vegas 39 most recently. Brown on the other hand earned a split decision win over Kai Kamaka at UFC Vegas 25 in his last bout to snap a two-fight losing streak.

Both of these fighters are primary grapplers and have amassed 17 submission victories combined in their careers. Rosa is a karate striker, but his black belt in jiu-jitsu is where he looks to take fights towards at all times. Brown on the other hand is a very fast striker who also likes to use his blitzes to try and score takedowns and secure submissions. For the most part, Brown has the advantage in the striking department and with his own decent ground game he will likely be quite comfortable here.

Brown will look to keep this fight standing for as long as possible and use his speed to close distance and land big strikes. If Rosa gets the fight down he’ll have the advantage but Brown is no slouch himself in the grappling so I expect ‘Downtown’ to be able to navigate his way to a victory.
PICK – TJ Brown via Decision



Brian Kelleher (23-12) vs Kevin Croom (21-13)- (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fight that was made on Wednesday night as Kevin Croom steps in on mega-short notice to fight Brian Kelleher, who moves up to featherweight for this one. Kelleher bounced back from defeat to Ricky Simon at UFC 258 to earn a decision win over Domingo Pilarte most recently at UFC Vegas 34, while Croom was beaten by Alex Caceres last time out at UFC Vegas 20.

Kelleher is a relentless pressure fighter with some good power in his strikes and a good wrestling base to fight from. Croom on the other hand is a well-rounded fighter who also has a good wrestling base with some decent power in his strikes. Kelleher is going to be at a big size disadvantage in this one, moving up a division and being shorter with less reach too. But against Pilarte that was the same (without the weight) and he dominated that fight from start to finish.

Looking at their skillset, Croom and Kelleher are very similar but Croom definitely looks to wrestle a lot more and keep volume high. That plays well into the favour of Kelleher, who is styled towards that type of fight. He has been in camp so the pace shouldn’t be an issue, and he has the power to land a counter and end this early.
PICK – Brian Kelleher via Knockout, Round 3

Court McGee (21-10) vs Ramiz Brahimaj (9-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A banger at welterweight between two exciting fighters at 170-pounds. McGee is a grizzly veteran who snapped a three-fight win streak last time out with a decision win over Claudio Silva at UFC Vegas 27, while Brahimaj claimed a first-round submission win over Sasha Palatnikov at UFC Vegas 34.

‘The Crusher’ is a relentless pressure fighter with a bottomless gas tank and excellent wrestling skills, while Brahimaj is a super talented grappler with all nine victories in his career coming via submission and eight of those coming in the first round. McGee’s best chance of victory comes if he is able to wear Brahimaj out over the course of the fight, which is possible if he can continuously stuff takedown attempts.

McGee has never been submitted in his career, so it would be some achievement if Brahimaj was able to do that. Ultimately though I do expect the younger fighter to be able to use his wrestling to neutralize the cardio and grapple his way to a victory, but probably by decision.
PICK – Ramiz Brahimaj via Decision

Jamie Pickett (12-6) vs Joseph Holmes (7-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A short-notice bout is the featured prelim bout for this card in the middleweight division. Pickett bounced back from a first-round KO defeat to Jordan Wright at UFC 262 by earning a decision win over Laureano Staropoli at UFC Vegas 41, while Holmes steps in on less than one week’s notice for his UFC debut on a seven-fight win streak.

Pickett and Holmes are both rangy strikers, with a long reach for the division among both of their weaponries. The issue Pickett has despite the fact it’s a short-notice fight, is that Holmes uses his range in a far better way and is far more consistent. He’s faster, seems to have more power and is a much better grappler too.

Neither fighter is particularly keen on throwing tonnes of volume, so I wouldn’t expect a barn burner by any stretch of the imagination. But ultimately, Holmes is a better version of Pickett and considering they’re matching up against each other, I expect Holmes to claim a career-best win.
PICK – Joseph Holmes via Decision