Tag Archives: Sara McMann

UFC Vegas 60: Sandhagen vs Yadong – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas after the wild ride that was UFC 279 for a huge bantamweight main event.

Former title challenger Cory Sandhagen headlines the card against hot prospect Song Yadong, in his first main event and a real step up in competition.

A stacked 14-fight card will see several fights with some good debutants and some impressive prospects a chance to make themselves a name in the UFC.

Last time out at UFC 279 we went 8/13 with three perfect picks for the night to move to 723/1119 (64.61%) with 305 perfect picks (42.19%). You can see our full picks history here.

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


Denise Gomes (6-1) vs Loma Lookboonmee (6-3) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun strawweight scrap up next. Gomes is making her UFC debut on short notice after a successful venture onto the Contender Series last month. Lookboonmee on the other hand is looking to get back on the winning trail after she saw a two-fight win streak snapped by Lupita Godinez back in November last year.

Gomes is a powerful 115-pounder with great aggression and an impressive gas tank, earning four of her career wins via knockout. She marches forward with great pressure and in a war, she almost exclusively manages to land the more eye-catching strikes. Lookboonmee on the other hand a technical striker with excellent wrestling and top game, which allows her to control fights at her own pace.

This one comes down to whether or not Lookboonmee can execute her wrestling when being forced backwards from the pressure of a wrecking ball. If she can’t, then Gomes will look to do as much damage as possible in that short window. If she can then she will dominate this fight on the mat with control and ground and pound. With her experience and the short-notice nature of the fight, I think Lookboonmee gets it done.
PICK – Loma Lookboonmee via Decision

Trevin Giles (14-4) vs Louis Cosce (7-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A big welterweight bout comes next between two hard hitters. Giles was on a three-fight win streak before he ran into Dricus Du Plessis and got KO’d at UFC 264, before losing again last time out when Michael Morales knocked him out at UFC 270. Cosce on the other hand has been out nearly two years after getting knocked out in his last fight by Sasha Palatnikov at UFC 255.

Giles was a top prospect before heading off to the police academy. He had phenomenal boxing technique with great combinations and skills on the ground earning him 11 stoppages in his 14 wins, split 6/5 in favour of KO’s. Since returning though he’s lost a lot of that, while his urgency has decreased and his chin has left him. Cosce however is a powerhouse with great striking in his hands and an explosive nature to his style.

His big problem is his cardio though. Cosce really struggles outside of the first six or seven minutes and that’s one area where Giles hasn’t struggled. Despite that, Cosce is aware of it and tends to blitz his opponents early. With Giles being a slow starter, that’s a recipe for “The Monster” to step forward and clip him for an early finish.
PICK – Louis Cosce via Knockout, Round 1



Aspen Ladd (9-3) vs Sara McMann (13-6) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A strange bantamweight scrap comes up next. Ladd has lost three of her last four after getting smoked by Germaine De Randamie, and then dropping decisions to Norma Dumont and Raquel Pennington after a KO win over Yana Kunitskaya. McMann on the other hand bounced back from a submission defeat to Julianna Pena at UFC 257 with a decision win over Karol Rosa last time out.

Ladd is a terrific wrestler with a fearsome top game and nasty ground and pound. She has struggled making weight in recent fights though, and has been blown away physically in her last two fights. McMann is also a good wrestler, who tends to push opponents against the cage and just grind her on the mat to do more damage than her opponent and get wins. Whoever gets the takedown wins this fight, it’s pretty simple.

Ladd has failed to battle back from adversity and her takedown defence is pretty poor, which will give McMann loads of confidence when engaging in wrestling exchanges and scrambles. But if Ladd ends up on top for any reason, she should be able to smash her way past McMann. It won’t be the most entertaining fight of the night, that’s for sure, but with a 14-year age swing in her favour too I think Ladd can get it done.
PICK – Aspen Ladd via Decision

Damon Jackson (21-4-1) vs Pat Sabatini (17-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A super fun featherweight fight and contender for fight of the night here. Jackson is on a three-fight win streak after beating Charles Rosa, Kamuela Kirk and Dan Argueta. Sabatini is on a six-fight win streak himself, with UFC wins over Tristan Connelly (UFC 261), Jamall Emmers, Tucker Lutz and most recently TJ Laramie.

Both of these fighters are absolute geniuses in the grappling department, with fantastic wrestling and nasty submission skills earning them a combined 25 wins via tap out in their careers. Jackson is the bigger guy physically, but who the better wrestler is is definitely up in the air and we’ll find out during this fight.

Usually when two fighters who wrestle come up against each other it turns into a striking battle, but it would be a real shock if that happens here. Both will look to shoot and gain top control, with both fighters capable of finding the finish with their ability from that position. With that said, it’s a straight up hunch. Judging both on them on their UFC performances, I think Sabatini has the edge in that department and because of that he should be able to earn the nod on the scorecards in an entertaining fight.
PICK – Pat Sabatini via Decision

UFC Columbus: Blaydes vs Daukaus – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the USA and a full crowd for a fight night event this weekend as Curtis Blaydes fights Chris Daukaus in Columbus.

After an amazing trip to London, we have another heavyweight main event this time with two fighters battling to stay in top five conversations and enter their name into the round-robin that’s buzzing in Francis Ngannou’s absence.

We’ll also see a huge flyweight eliminator between Askar Askarov and Kai Kara-France to see who could be the next title contender in the division.

Last time out at UFC London we had a great night, going 10/12 with our picks with three perfect picks to move up to 578/891 (64.87%) with 244 perfect picks (42.21%).

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


Aliaskhab Khizriev (13-0) vs Denis Tiuliulin (10-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Two big debutants go head to head in the middleweight division up next. Khizriev is an undefeated 13-0 fighter, with victories split fairly evenly at 5-4-4 between knockouts, submissions and decisions. Tiuliulin has won four of his last five fights, including a first-round TKO last time out over a year ago.

This will be Khizriev’s second fight in just four years due to fights falling out and the COVID pandemic, but his talent is undeniable. He is a solid striker on the feet with good boxing skills, but he also has tremendous submission skills and is a brilliant wrestler. Tiuliulin is an explosive striker with very little ground game and after taking this fight on just three weeks’ notice, he better hope that Khizriev is rusty.

I just don’t see that he will be though, despite his lack of action recently. Khizriev will drag him to the mat very early on and while Tiuliulin flops around on the mat like a fish out of water, Khizriev will be deciding whether he looks for a choke or to just land violent elbows from the top. My guess is he wraps up a neck and gets the tap early on for a comfortable win.
PICK – Aliaskhab Khizriev via Submission, Round 1

Chris Gutierrez (17-3-2) vs Batgerel Danaa (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Exciting bantamweights go toe-to-toe up next in this one. Gutierrez is undefeated in his last six fights, with a draw against Cody Durden stopping it being flawless. He’s earned decisions against Andre Ewell (UFC 258) and Felipe Colares (UFC Vegas 39) in his last two fights. Danaa has won his last three in a row, earning first-round KO’s against Guido Cannetti (UFC 248), Kevin Natividad (UFC 261) and Brandon Davis (UFC Vegas 40).

Gutierrez and Danaa are both strong strikers with good power, volume and accuracy and both will be coming up for the toughest test of their careers so far against each other. Gutierrez is a sharp boxer with good technique, while Danaa is just pure power who tries to back his opponents up to the cage and tee off until the get chopped down. Gutierrez mixes in kicks a little bit more to his attacks, especially chopping at the lead leg and that could be the difference here.

Danaa will come forward without a doubt but Gutierrez will look to chop away at the leg and body from range with his legs and then punish him on the feet with crisp technique if he gets past that barrier of defence. Danaa has good wrestling, but he tends to ignore it, and that should allow Gutierrez to do enough damage to accumulate for a nice finish midway through.
PICK – Chris Gutierrez via Knockout, Round 2



Sara McMann (12-6) vs Karol Rosa (15-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An intriguing bantamweight bout between two talented women up next. McMann has lost three of her last four, with the most recent coming against Julianna Pena at UFC 257, while Rosa is on a six-fight win streak and a decision over Bethe Correia at UFC Vegas 38 in her most recent bout.

McMann is a 41-year-old freestyle wrestler who is way past her prime years right now and doesn’t really have any place being on the roster right now. Rosa on the other hand has gone from strength to strength in her UFC appearances, with her straight striking doing damage and some decent grappling in her own right. McMann’s game plan is obvious and the same in every fight. She will wrestle and look for top position then try to hold them down and advance for head-and-arm chokes. Rosa has an over 90% takedown defence though, and is capable of holding her own on the ground if she needs to also.

Rosa is a heavy favourite in this fight for a reason and I’d be absolutely stunned if she lost this. Her striking volume is excellent, she mixes in kicks, knees and punches really well, is more active and just overall better. Expect Rosa to run her over over 15 minutes.
PICK – Karol Rosa via Decision

Neil Magny (25-9) vs Max Griffin (18-8) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Big welterweight bout is the featured prelim fight of the night. Magny bounced back from a suffocating defeat to Michael Chiesa at UFC Fight Island 8 by earning a dominant win against Geoff Neal at UFC Vegas 26, while Griffin is on a three-fight win streak including a decision win over Carlos Condit most recently at UFC 264.

Magny is a great wrestler, who uses his length and range to keep fighters against the cage and then tries to take them down and control them on the ground. He’s got a good point style for his striking too, but he’s not really elite in any field. Griffin on the other hand is a decent boxer with good power in his hands, but he’s also a primary wrestler and I don’t see him as being better at that than Magny. Griffin is very explosive with his striking, but this seems like a tough bout for him.

Magny is good at fighting on the back foot and throwing lots of volume, but that leaves the door open for Griffin to land power shots. His best bet will be to break up the rhythm with clinches and takedown attempts, while landing good strikes from range to claim a relatively comfortable decision win.
PICK – Neil Magny via Decision

UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Amir Albazi def Zhalgas Zhumagulov via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Good start to the bout from Zhumagulov as he lands two really nice combos on the feet. Albazi starting to work some leg kicks but Zhumagulov throwing a heavy overhand right that is just missing the target. Albazi starting to pressure against the cage and throws a big knee that Zhumagulov just steps out of the way of. Albazi shoots for a double leg and gets it, but Zhumagulov uses the cage to get back up quickly and they break apart. Both men exchange leg kicks in the centre, before Albazi lands a big right hand. Spinning back fist in response from Zhumagulov is followed by a left hook. Big double leg takedown from Zhumagulov takes Albazi down in the final seconds and ends the round on top. 10-9 Zhalgas.

Albazi comes out very aggressive in the second round and lands three big leg kicks early that get a reaction from Zhumagulov. Looks for a big knee against the cage but misses again and Zhumagulov lands a nice left hand. Albazi jabbing really well and pressuring against the cage, as Zhumagulov is loading a big right hand but can’t land it. Lots of movement and small touches from each man but Albazi controlling the pace of this round well. Zhumagulov shoots for a takedown with 20 seconds left but Albazi denies it and ends the round in a dominant position. 19-19.

Albazi controlling the distance in the final round here, landing jabs and maintaining his range. He shoots for the takedown and is denied but after a scramble he clinches up and gets Zhumagulov down and is in his full guard. Nice ground and pound and control from Albazi from the top position as he passes into side control and then takes the back. Albazi sinks the hooks in and threatens a rear naked choke but Zhumagulov fighting the hands well. Zhumagulov tries to turn into his guard but Albazi defends the position perfectly and continues the threaten the submission as we enter the final minute. Zhumagulov bursts out and gets back to his feet and starts firing punches and kicks. Albazi counters with a right hand and just using his footwork really well to avoid any damage and the round ends. Should be a win for Albazi. 29-28.

Movsar Evloev def Nik Lentz via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Interesting start to this fight, as Lentz throws a leg kick and shovel uppercut to start the fight before moving for a takedown against the cage. Evloev defends well and falls on top, but Lentz looks to lock in a guillotine choke! It gets tighter and tighter and Evloev has to roll through to escape, before rolling through once again to end up back on top. Lentz continue to threaten with the guillotine but Evloev defends well again and ends the round on top firing in some excellent ground and pound. 10-9 Evloev.

Lentz looking to stand in this round and landing well but Evloev trying to up the pace and coming forward with some more awkward striking. Trip attempt from Lentz against the cage and once again he goes for the guillotine and forces Evloev to roll away once again. Lentz seems to be landing the better strikes on the feet but Evloev is doing more damage to the blind eye. Nice uppercut from Evloev lands and Lentz charges forward looking for a trip but misses it. Evloev lands some shots to the eye and it’s causing Lentz some problems, so he goes for a front headlock looking for a guillotine again! Evloev escapes again though and smothers Lentz with a few strikes as they stand up. Round ends against the cage, 20-18 Evloev for me.

Both men choosing to strike in this round, trading jabs and kicks. Lentz looks very tired but is trying to take the centre, while Evloev is bouncing and moving well still. Evloev lands a nice three-punch combo and that gets Lentz to shoot for a takedown but Evloev defends it really well and gets back to the feet quickly. Evloev catches a kick from Lentz and lands a stiff right hand that wobbles Lentz, who looks exhausted now. Evloev dominating the fight now with sharp striking and short combos, really putting a hurting on Lentz. Round comes to an end with Evloev dominating the exchanges again, a beautiful performance. 30-27.

PRELIMS

Marcin Prachnio def Khalil Rountree Jr via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

A cagey start to this one with lots of feints and fakes from both fighters. Prachnio backs Rountree up against the cage and fires off some kicks, but Rountree comes back with some big punches of his own. Prachnio throwing a nice side kick to maintain distance, but Rountree switches to southpaw and starts throwing big straight left hands to steal the round potentially. 10-9 either way, but Rountree for me.

Rountree comes out hard and fast in the second round and wobbles Prachnio immediately but stays patient and doesn’t go for the kill. Some more left hands land from Rountree but Prachnio is swinging wildly and landing on occasion. Big exchange in the centre and then throws a lazy leg kick that gets countered with a powerful left hand. Rountree is countering Prachnio’s strikes really well and then lands a huge left hand that drops Prachnio! He stays patient and then lands a huge head kick but Prachnio keeps it standing and the round ends. Huge end for Rountree. 20-18 for me but could be even.

Big start to the third round for Rountree again as he lands a couple more of those big left hands to open up. Prachnio being a bit more patient and coming forward with his shots but Rountree looking good. Rountree defends two takedowns well and Prachnio starting to work on the body as Rountree is tiring. Lazy swings from Rountree now but then he lands a beautiful counter uppercut. Both men trading strikes in the centre of the octagon looking for a winning punch but the round comes to an end. Great fight, 29-28 Rountree for me but could well be the other way.

Juliana Pena def Sara McMann via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3 (3:39)

Cagey opening to this fight but both women looking to take this fight on the feet to start with, trading solid shots to the head. McMann fires off with a big right hand, Pena fires back with one of her own. Takedown attempt from McMann and she takes it, quickly progressing to take the back of Pena. She tries to sink the hooks in but doesn’t quite get it and they eventually scramble to a half-guard position with McMann on top. She lands a big elbow from the top and keeps the position for the rest of the round. 10-9 McMann.

Pena comes out with big pressure in the second round and forces McMann to shoot early. Pena looks to lock up a guillotine but McMann defends it really well and passes into guard. Pena being very active off her back, throwing lots of elbows and strikes and looking for submissions. McMann defending the submissions well though and landing some big elbows of her own. She tries to transition to the back but Pena defends well and gets back to the feet against the cage. Clinch position sees both women throw lots of knees to the body, before Pena lands a nice three-punch combo to end the round. 19-19 for me.

Big round for Pena as she comes out heavy with the strikes again before another clinch against the cage. This time Pena goes for a trip and gets it. She starts working the ground and pound from the top with McMann facing down on the ground. Pena takes the back, slaps on a body triangle and immediately goes for a rear naked choke. She sinks it in and McMann taps out. What a performance.

Brad Tavares def Antonio Carlos Junior via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Fast start to the fight for ‘Shoeface’ as the two trade strikes before he shoots for the takedown against the cage. He tries to lift the head above Tavares’ head to send him to the ground but he shows excellent flexibility to deny him. The two then trade big shots in the centre and Shoeface shoots again, powering Tavares across the cage. Tavares manages to keep his balance though and keep the fight standing after a clinch against the cage. A big exchange again sees Shoeface go for the takedown before they clinch against the cage and a big low blow accidentally lands from Shoeface. Fight paused but only a few seconds remain. 10-9 Shoeface.

Better start to the round for Tavares here as he lands some nice strikes before Shoeface changes levels and gets the takedown successfully this time. Shoeface tries to hold him down but Tavares pops back up to his feet again and manages to escape once again. Tavares landing his jab nicely which forces Shoeface to shoot for another takedown but he fails it again. Tavares lands a big one-two against the cage that drops Shoeface! He tries to go for the takedown to recover but Tavares defends it again and looks to land a big knee that misses and hits the cup to cause a pause and allow Shoeface to recover. Round ends with a big body kick from Tavares. 19-19.

Tavares popping his jab out nicely in the final round, keeping Shoeface at a distance. Shoeface shoots for another takedown but once again it’s defended perfectly against the cage and comes out firing big leg kicks. Tavares is slipping the punches of Shoeface now and landing big strikes of his own and defending takedowns too for the rest of the round to claim what should be a decision win for the Hawaiian. 29-28.

Arman Tsarukyan def Matt Frevola via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Fast paced start to this one as Frevola steps out with a wild right hook that misses and Tsarukyan shoots straight in for a takedown and gets it. Frevola scoots back to the cage and gets back to his feet before being lifted and slammed back down. Frevola gets back to his feet quickly again but Tsarukyan continues to stay in the pocket and changes levels for more takedowns. Frevola continues to reverse positions and get back to his feet quickly though and is throwing with great power on the feet to end the round. 10-9 Tsarukyan but could go either way.

Fast start to the second round here too as Tsarukyan comes out and moves straight for a takedown and gets it. He finally manages to hold Frevola down and starts landing some nice ground and pound strikes from the top. Frevola tries to escape but Tsarukyan drags him back down to the ground and starts to dominate. He keeps him down and lands more big strikes and passes position to take the round. 20-18 Tsarukyan.

Final round and Tsarukyan is maintaining a good pace and gets another takedown early. Frevola gets back to the feet quicker this time and the two engage in a bit more of a striking battle. Some great jabs land before more takedowns from Tsarukyan as he starts to hold position and dominate from the top. Fantastic performance and it should be enough to get him the decision. 30-27.

MAIN CARD

Marina Rodriguez def Amanda Ribas via Knockout, Round 2 (0:54)

Good start to the fight for Ribas as she takes the centre of the cage, applies pressure and throws a few flurries of punches. Rodriguez looks to come in with a punch and Ribas slips it and gets a takedown early on. She keeps top position and starts landing some nice ground and pound strikes as Rodriguez looks to defend from her back. Ribas continues to control from the top landing strikes and sees out the round. 10-9 Ribas.

Rodriguez comes out in the second round and lands a huge right hand early that drops Ribas! She lands some huge shots and the referee steps in then steps back out.. Ribas gets back up with Rodriguez celebrating but the fight isn’t over. Rodriguez comes back, lands a huge elbow and two massive right hands before the referee waves it off! What a knockout!

Makhmud Muradov def Andrew Sanchez via Knockout, Round 3 (2:59)

Tense start to this fight with both men bouncing in and out of distance looking to get a reaction from each other. Sanchez shoots in for a takedown but Muradov sprawls and defends it perfectly, as he gets back up quickly and throws some heavy calf kicks. Muradov lands a nice right hand on the chin, but Sanchez eats it well. More calf kicks from Muradov before a nice one-two to the body. Another leg kick but Sanchez throws a nice right hand to counter and lands it well. Muradov goes for a flying knee but Sanchez lands a nice strike. Muradov goes for a takedown with seconds remaining but Sanchez denies it. 10-9 Muradov.

An interesting second round as Muradov continues to look for leg kicks, while Sanchez is closing the distance well and landing a straight right hand. Lots of bouncing and feinting again from both men as Sanchez goes for a takedown against the cage but Muradov defends it well. Muradov lands a nice right hand but Sanchez continues to walk forward and strike. Big left hook from Muradov lands with a straight right behind it. Big flying crane kick from Muradov and a huge right hand behind it opens a big cut on the nose of Sanchez as the round ends. Close round, but that final exchange edges it to Muradov. 20-18.

Slower start to the third round as Muradov looks to take the centre and control the pace. Some nice body shots land before a big right overhand right connects, but Sanchez is still in there firing back. Muradov has abandoned the leg kicks now it seems and is looking for a big knockout. Sanchez lands two big shots, but Muradov returns fire with a big overhand right that makes Sanchez do the chicken dance. Flying knee behind it before some bombs and the referee waves it off. Huge win!

Joanne Calderwood def Jessica Eye via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Fast start to this fight as Calderwood moves in quickly with clinch and lands some dirty boxing and knees to the body. Eye trying to use her physicality edge by wearing Calderwood up against the cage and firing back with strikes of her own. Calderwood landing some nice knees to the body as Eye looks to find a takedown against the cage. Lots of body work in the clinch from both ladies, with slightly more diverse attacking from Calderwood. Very even round.

Eye is marching forward in this round and landing her right hand well, but Calderwood using her length well from the outside. Nice push kicks and a big right hand lands for Calderwood, but Eye fires back with some uppercuts in the clinch and a nice elbow. Huge knee to the face by Calderwood on the break from a clinch and a huge body kick follows it up. Calderwood striking really well from range, althought Eye gets a takedown late on in the round but should still be a Calderwood round. 20-18 or 19-19.

Eye comes out aggressively in the final round and goes straight with a clinch against the cage as she looks for an opportunity for a takedown. Calderwood defending really well but not much action being seen as they battle to a stalemate against the cage and the referee breaks them apart. Clinch in the centre and Calderwood lands some nice knees again, then stuffs a takedown attempt. Nice right hand from Calderwood lands and then she sprawls quickly to deny Eye’s takedown attempt. Final 30 seconds and they clinch again, with both women throwing big knees and Calderwood lands a strike that cuts Eye wide open above the eye! That should be a Calderwood decision win.

Michael Chandler def Dan Hooker via Knockout, Round 1 (2:30)

Very tense start to the bout as the first 90 seconds are essentially just Hooker circling away from Chandler. A few leg kicks land but Chandler keeps coming forward. Long jab to the body and a huge left hook lands and drops Hooker!! He pounces and smashes him on the ground until the referee steps in and ends the fight! Wow! What a debut!

Dustin Poirier def Conor McGregor via Knockout, Round 2 (2:32)

Fast start from McGregor as he comes out into the centre quickly and throws a straight left. Poirier slips another one and returns with a right hook then gets an outside trip and takes the fight to the ground (!?) McGregor scoots back to the cage and works his way back up to his feet. Clinch against the cage and the two exchange shoulder strikes before breaking. The two break and Conor lands a clean left hand on the chin that wobbles Poirier but he stays standing Both guys land nice shots. Poirier working the leg kicks but McGregor fires back to end the round. 10-9 Conor.

Second round and Poirier continues to fire leg kicks and they seem to be hurting Conor more and more. McGregor is struggling to walk on the leg and Poirier is starting to turn the pressure up. Nice shots land and McGregor is hurt. He’s sitting in the pocket and trading, but Poirier is landing heavy shots. He lands a big combination and sits McGregor down! Follows up with a few more but the referee waves it off! Wow!

UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor – Prelims Predictions

A swift return to action for the UFC as the final instalment of their Fight Island triple header is upon us, with Dustin Poirier taking on Conor McGregor in a lightweight eliminator.

A rematch from six years prior, both men look to put their stamp to a claim to be the next challenger for the 155lbs championship while in the co-main event, two other lightweight contenders scrap to do the same thing. Michael Chandler makes his UFC debut after signing from Bellator to take on Dan Hooker, with both men knowing that a win puts them firmly in the conversation for the next title shot.

A fun 11 fight card is on the horizon here, with plenty of good fights on the undercard to come before the two big bouts of the night.

Last time out at UFC Fight Island 8, we went 12/14 with our picks with four perfect picks to boost us up to 212/327 (64.83%) with 93 perfect picks (43.87%) since starting our picks back in June 2020.

We’ll look to improve that record here, starting with the six prelim bouts.

PRELIMS

Amir Albazi (13-1) vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Both these men had differing debut experiences in the UFC on Fight Island last year and now meet together in the card opener.

Albazi won his debut with a first round submission over Malcolm Gordon, while Zhumagulov was beaten rather controversially in a unanimous decision defeat to Raulian Paiva. Zhumagulov is a tidy striker, throwing lots of one-twos but also with strong wrestling skills. Albazi is also a tidy striker but he has supreme submission skills from his back and even moreso from top position.

It’s a well contested fight with two relatively evenly-matched fighters. On the feet they’re almost identical in technique and execution and on the ground I give the edge to Albazi so I think he’ll be able to take a tight decision win.
PICK – Amir Albazi via Decision

Nik Lentz (30-11-2) vs Movsar Evloev (13-0) – (Catchweight/150lbs)

UFC Veteran Nik Lentz returns to the octagon for the first time in a year to take on an undefeated Russian in Movsar Evloev, who steps in on short notice to take this.

Lentz has lost his last two, being knocked out by Charles Oliveira in 2019 before dropping a decision to Arnold Allen in January 2020. Evloev is undefeated and 3-0 in the UFC, with wins over Seung Woo Choi, Enrique Barzola and Mike Grundy on Fight Island last year. Lentz is a solid grappler who has some striking power, but Evloev is a well-rounded stud who holds the advantage everywhere in this fight.

This should be a pretty one-sided fight, with Evloev just a level above Lentz. His wrestling will see him take the top position at some point and control for 15 minutes for a lopsided win.
PICK – Movsar Evloev via Decision

Khalil Rountree Jr (9-4) vs Marcin Prachnio (13-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A return to the octagon after over a year away for Khalil Rountree as he takes on ‘Polish power V2’ in Marcin Prachnio.

Rountree turned in a fantastic performance to beat Eryk Anders in April 2019, before dropping a first round KO to Ion Cutelaba last time out. Prachnio came into the UFC in great nick, but has been knocked out in the first round of all three of his UFC fights so far including most recently against Mike Rodriguez in August 2020.

Rountree’s trip to Thailand has turned his style on it’s head, and he’s a great power puncher with speed and accuracy. Prachnio comes forward looking for the knockout but it just doesn’t seem to work in the UFC. His karate style likes to see him stay at range but Rountree’s speed and power should be enough to see him get another win.
PICK – Khalil Rountree Jr via Knockout, Round 1

Juliana Pena (10-4) vs Sara McMann (12-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Juliana Pena returns to the octagon having lost two of her last three fights to take on 40-year-old Sara McMann in the women’s bantamweight division.

Pena’s last win came against Nicco Montano in July 2019, but that was sandwiched between losses to Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine De Randamie. McMann has also lost two of her last three, but she returned after almost two years out to get a decision win over Lina Lansberg last time out.

Both these women will look to take the fight to the ground with striking neither of their strong suits, with McMann a strong wrestler while Pena is a black-belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It’s all about who ends up on the top in this one and the wrestling advantage gives McMann the edge in that, so she has the best chance of winning.
PICK – Sara McMann via Decision

Brad Tavares (17-7) vs Antonio Carlos Junior (11-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An interesting middleweight scrap between two prospects at 185lbs. Tavares has lost his last two fights, losing to champion Israel Adesanya back in 2018 before losing to Edmen Shahbazyan in November 2019 via first round knockout. ‘Shoeface’ is in the same boat too, losing his last two to Ian Heinisch and Uriah Hall in September 2019.

Both men have not looked good in their most recent fights but have taken a long time away from the sport recently. Tavares has a good striking background while Shoeface has some of the strangest striking techniques you’ll ever see, but is a very good grappler. He has a huge jiu-jitsu advantage and with the grappling advantage too, I think Tavares taps out for the first time in his career.
PICK – Antonio Carlos Junior via Submission, Round 2

Arman Tsarukyan (15-2) vs Nasrat Haqparast (12-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A sleeper for fight of the night after the top two fights on the card, these two lightweights look to steal the show on a card where their division is in the limelight.

Tsarukyan has won his last two in a row in the UFC, with decision wins over Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Davi Ramos last year on Fight Island, while ‘Baby Gastelum’ Haqparast bounced back from a first round knockout loss to Drew Dober with a decision win over Alex Munoz in August.

Haqparasr is a really good boxer with good footwork and a great jab, but also strong takedown defence too with over 80% success rate in his UFC career. Tsarukyan is another good striker but he has tremendous takedowns and chain wrestling. He’s also a tidy striker on his own, but his game plan is almost always to strike until the opportunity presents itself to get the takedown. It all hangs on whether Haqparast can keep it standing and I’m not so confident he will this time around.
PICK – Arman Tsarukyan via Decision