Tag Archives: Sean Strickland

UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the T-Mobile Arena for UFC 276 for a double-header title fight event in what looks like one of the best cards of the year.

In the main event middleweight champion Israel Adesanya defends his title against ‘Tha Killa Gorilla’ Jared Cannonier, while Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway go head-to-head for a third time for the featherweight title in the co-main event.

We’ll also see the likes of Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira face off, while all of Robbie Lawler, Sean O’Malley, Maycee Barber, Brad Riddell, Jalin Turner and Dricus Du Plessis will all fight too.

We’ve had a few weeks off for picks due to a holiday, but our last time out at UFC 275 saw us go 7/11 with five perfect picks, moving us to 635/987 (64.33%) with 273 perfect picks (42.99%). You can view our full picks record here.

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


Pedro Munhoz (19-7) vs Sean O’Malley (15-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Absolute banger to open up the main card in the bantamweight division. Veteran Munhoz has lost four of his last five fights, including close bouts against Jose Aldo (UFC 265) and Dominick Cruz (UFC 269) in his last two. O’Malley on the other hand is continuing his rise as one of the most popular athletes in the sport, with three KO’s in his last three fights including a stunning finish over Raulian Paiva last time out.

Munhoz has got a nasty low kick and great wrestling, while also having some decent power in his hands when it comes to striking. His iron chin means he has never been KO’d before, but he’s not as mobile as he once was and his lack of speed sees him struggle against the elite. O’Malley alternatively is one of the fastest fighters in the entire UFC, with unbelievable striking skills and stunning power to go with his movement. He’s also an excellent grappler and will have a huge size advantage in this bout.

If Munhoz lands hard low kicks and hurts the legs of O’Malley to the point where he effects his movement then he has a chance. But O’Malley is likely to stand just far enough away that he can smash Munhoz with his combinations without getting caught himself. His experience should see him make this fight difficult for O’Malley, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see the ‘Suga Show’ make a statement here.
PICK – Sean O’Malley via Knockout, Round 2

Robbie Lawler (29-15) vs Bryan Barbarena (17-8) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A banger at welterweight between two iron fisted scrappers. Lawler snapped a four-fight losing streak when he earned a TKO win over Nick Diaz at UFC 266 in his most recent bout, while Barbarena has earned back-to-back decision wins against Darian Weeks and Matt Brown in his most recent fights.

Lawler is an all-rounder, with heavy-handed strikes, excellent wrestling and the heart of a lion in the cage. Barbarena is a similar type of fighter, who is more than willing to bite down on his mouth-piece and swing away to earn a big win. If they’re both at their best then it’s not even close and Lawler wins, but where they are right now in their careers this is a close fight.

Barbarena’s career takedown defence isn’t great and Lawler will likely look to use that to open up his striking more than to actually wrestle. Barbarena will be ready to crack with him though and it could be a wild fight. Barbarena’s volume could be key, but I lean towards Lawler doing enough to earn a judge’s decision.
PICK – Robbie Lawler via Decision

Sean Strickland (25-3) vs Alex Pereira (5-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very interesting middleweight fight in what could potentially be a number one contender fight for the belt. Strickland has won six fights in a row and been running riot in the 185lbs division, defeating Uriah Hall and Jack Hermansson in his two most recent bouts. Pereira on the other hand is 2-0 in the UFC after switching over from kickboxing to MMA, knocking out Andreas Michailidis before taking Bruno Silva to a decision.

Strickland is a brilliant boxer who has got a terrific jab and unrelenting cardio, while his offensive wrestling is also excellent. He is capable of taking fights to the ground and inflicting plenty of damage from top position, with very heavy hips keeping his opponent down. Pereira is a former world champion kickboxer and is the only man whose striking can compare to the champion’s. He’s also shown great ability to defend takedowns up to this point and his chin has held up too.

This looks like a step too far, too soon for Pereira to me. The UFC are clearly trying to build towards a rematch between Adesanya and Pereira, but Strickland is simply not a walkover. “Tarzan” is a maniac and he will do everything he can to stop this fight with damage. Pereira will have his moments, undoubtedly, but I expect Strickland to take him down and dominate him on the mat to potentially even get a finish and claim next for the title shot.
PICK – Sean Strickland via Knockout, Round 2



Alexander Volkanovski (24-1) vs Max Holloway (23-6) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

It’s not often we get a trilogy of fights that are all title fights, especially when the first two fights were won by the same guy – but that’s what this is. Volkanovski is on a 21-fight win streak including two wins over Holloway (UFC 245 & UFC 251), before big wins against Brian Ortega (UFC 266) and Korean Zombie most recently. Holloway has won his last two though, with incredible performances against Calvin Kattar (UFC Fight Island 7) and Yair Rodriguez (UFC Vegas 42).

Volkanovski is a complete all-rounder, with terrific wrestling to go with his sharp striking and cardio for days. Holloway is the opposite, with unbelievable striking and some of the best boxing in the company with some solid wrestling and cardio for days. This fight is razor close and could legitimately go either way. Volkanovski clearly won the first fight between the two, but many people – myself included – though Holloway won the second.

Since then though Volkanovski has got better and better while Holloway showed against Rodriguez that he’s not the untouchable guy he once was. The aura has gone, and while he’s still one of the best ever, that matters. Volkanovski has the blueprint to win and while I would love Holloway to get his belt back as one of my personal favs, I think history repeats itself in a more concrete fashion this time around and Volkanovski retains.
PICK – Alexander Volkanovski via Decision

Israel Adesanya (22-1) vs Jared Cannonier (15-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

The middleweight championship is on the line here and Adesanya is the man with everything to lose. The champion has won his last two against Marvin Vettori (UFC 263) and Robert Whittaker (UFC 271), and remains undefeated in the division with his only loss coming up a weight class. Cannonier has won his last two in a row too, earning a decision against Kelvin Gastelum before knocking out Derek Brunson.

‘The Last Stylebender’ is regarded as the best pure striker in the UFC today, with sharp counters and scintillating speed while his takedown defence has held up against everyone at 185-pounds. Cannonier is a power-puncher with some decent wrestling in his back pocket, but this seems like quite a lopsided match up.

Adesanya is too quick, too sharp and too well-rounded for Cannonier. He knows that the only way that Cannonier can really win this is by landing a big shot clean, and he is the absolute best when it comes to evading that and making his opponents look like amateurs. Cannonier must stay patient or he’ll get countered into an oblivion, but if he isn’t active enough the Adesanya will pick him off from range. Neither fighter has an issue with cardio, so expect it to go to the latter rounds before Adesanya catches a desperate Cannonier with a counter or a head-kick for a big KO win.
PICK – Israel Adesanya via Knockout, Round 4

UFC Vegas 47: New contender or two wannabes at middleweight?

The UFC returns from a two week break this weekend with a middleweight main event that many fans and casuals are sleeping on.

We’ll see two top-ten ranked 185-pounders go head to head at UFC Vegas 47 when Jack Hermansson returns to the octagon to take on the man steamrolling through the division currently in Sean Strickland.

But while these two aren’t exactly household names in the division, they are two incredibly skilled individuals who should bring the best and worst out of each other on the night.



For Hermansson, he’s looking to get back into title contention.

There have been several occasions where he seemed on the brink and then fell flat. His defeat to Jared Cannonier saw a four-fight win streak snapped and since then he’s alternated.

He beat Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Fight Island 2 with a heel hook in 88 seconds, before suffering a dominant decision loss to Marvin Vettori at UFC Vegas 16 despite the Italian coming in on short notice.

He bounced back in his most recent bout against Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC Vegas 27 with a decision win, and now goes in against a hungry striker once again.

Jack Hermansson of Norway walks out prior to his middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 22, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Strickland is on a five-fight win streak currently, with four of those coming since a two-year injury layoff.

He has dismantled Jack Marshman at UFC Vegas 12, before KO’ing up and coming talent Brendan Allen in a short-notice catchweight fight at UFC Vegas 14 just two weeks later.

He followed that up with dominant decision wins against Krzysztof Jotko at UFC Vegas 25 and then Uriah Hall in his first main event.

He’s showed little weakness in his game, with a solid wrestling background to go with his sturdy boxing and great cardio. His unstableness has seen some fans turn against him, and rightly so in all honesty, but his abilities are undeniable.

So this fight has a veteran looking to finally break through his glass ceiling, and a fighter on a hot run of momentum looking to smash through that ceiling at the first attempt.

If Hermansson can win, then it will show he is still good enough to hang at the highest level. His submission skills are elite, his striking is decent but it’s his intelligence that often gets to people the most and he is able to pick opponents apart.

‘Tarzan’ on the other hand just looks to break his opponent. Whether that be physically, mentally or both, he will come forward talking to his opponents and blasting them with countless strikes.

A win for him is huge as it cements him as the new contender in the weight class, with back-to-back main events in the bank and a fight with a top five guy up next. A loss though, shows him up to be just another pretender.

Luke Rockhold withdraws from UFC 268 bout; Sean Strickland responds

UFC 268 has taken a hit after Luke Rockhold withdrew from his middleweight return bout againt Sean Strickland through injury.

The former 185lbs champion has been out of action since a knockout defeat to Jan Blachowicz back in 2019 after he moved up to light heavyweight.

He was however due to return back down to middleweight for a bout against number 7 ranked Strickland in New York at UFC 268 next month.



However after back and forth exchanges on social media between the two fighters, the fight will be shelved for now after Rockhold revealed he herniated a disc in training and will be unable to fight.

In a statement posted to his official Instagram account, the Team AKA affiliate said;

“There’s no easy way to really say it but the fight is off in New York.

“I ended up herniating a disc in my back, L4, L5, and the docs say it’s nothing I can play with. I need to do some treatment with some recovery time.

“Some things just aren’t meant to be. New York, motherfucking New York. Sorry to the friends and the family and the peeps and all the people but we’ll be back. Till next time.”

Rockhold won the championship against Chris Weidman back in 2015 but has since gone 1-3 in his professional career, losing the belt to Michael Bisping in his next bout.

Strickland has been on a tear since returning from a big injury himself and is currently on a five-fight win streak, with four victories since October 2020.

The 30-year-old responded to the news on his own Instagram comments section, claiming he never expected the fight to happen and revealing a sparring tale from between the two in the past.

He was never going to make the fight lmao.. no one is surprised.

I sparred him once and almost put him out.. didn’t even spar the second round, just walked out of the gym lmao.. I knew this wasn’t happening.”

The UFC are now searching for a new opponent for Strickland, although it’s not guaranteed that they will find one with much of the top end of the division already booked up or having recently fought.

UFC 268 will take place on November 6th from Madison Square Garden and will be headlined by two title fight rematches.

Kamaru Usman will defend his welterweight title against long-time rival Colby Covington while Rose Namajunas makes the first defence of her second strawweight reign when she takes on Weili Zhang again in the co-main event.

UFC Vegas 25: Reyes vs Prochazka – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Felipe Colares def Luke Sanders via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Colares opens up with a big body kick that Sanders half catches and slams home a nice flurry of strikes to counter it. Colares continues to throw those huge kicks but Sanders avoiding damage for the most part and then charges in with a flurry and lands a big left hand that drops Colares! Sanders goes for the finish and lands some huge elbows in the clinch and a big knee that puts Colares down again! Big ground and pound from Sanders but Colares still moving and trying to survive. They eventually get back to the feet and Sanders steps back to separate, then starts throwing that heavy left hand once again. Sanders is landing clean right straights with left uppercuts and Colares is hurt, but he’s surviving again. Sanders now slowing down a bit and Colares coming forward and throws a big right hand that wobbles Sanders! Both men exchange body kicks as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Sanders.

Great start to the round as Sanders comes forward with big left hands once again and lands them well. Both men much slower in this round but Sanders still landing with good power, then he changes levels and gets himself a takedown. Colares defends well on the ground and eventually they get back to the feet. Sanders much, much slower now and Colares starting to pressure more and lands a nice body kick again. Colares is able to get Sanders against the cage and locks his hands and picks Sanders up. He walks him across the cage and slams him down, then takes his back and flattens him out. Colares starts pounding away looking for a finish and the referee is looking at stopping it, but Sanders just about survives as the round ends. 19-19.

Final round and both guys are exhausted already, but Sanders is keeping some distance and landing his heavy hands well. Colares coming forward working the body well with kicks, but Sanders is controlling the pace and landing more cleanly. Colares throws another kick but Sanders catches it and tries to take him down with a trip, but Colares gets back up quickly. Both men are basically out on their feet and Colares gets a judo throw to end up on top of Sanders with 30 seconds left. He looks for ground and pound but Sanders gets back up and they see the round out. Great fight, 29-28 Sanders for me.

Andreas Michailidis def KB Bhullar via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Tentative start from both fighters as Bhullar flicks out a few kicks while circling on the outside, as Michailidis looks to step forward and get inside. Nice little flurry of punches lands from Michailidis but Bhullar moving away and avoiding getting hit flush with the strikes before the clinch up against the cage to a stalemate. Bhullar starting to throw those kicks again to the head and body, then Michailidis throws a wild head kick that lands and follows up with another flurry of hooks. Michailidis changes levels and gets the takedown and starts controlling on the ground in the final minute, taking the back and floating threatening with a choke but Bhullar sees out the round. 10-9 Michailidis.

Good start again from Michailidis as he comes forward and throws those flurries once again, then Bhullar lands an accidental low blow to pause the action. Fight resumes and Michailidis comes forward again, with Bhullar trying to use his kicks to keep range but not really doing any sort of damage or making Michailidis think about coming forward. Huge one two lands from Michailidis but Bhullar eats it, but he’s not throwing with any sort of intent at all. Little low kicks from Bhullar and then he misses with a big spin kick as Michailidis continues to march him down. Big swing and a miss once against from Michailidis as the round ends. 20-18.

Slow start to the final round as Michailidis is recharging for a flurry, while Bhullar is just prodding small kicks with zero intent or aggression. Michailidis starting to try and egg Bhullar on with taunts but not much really landing from either fighter. A few more flurrys from Michailidis that don’t really land too clean while Bhullar is throwing nothing back to make him think about it. Another low blow from Bhullar causes a pause in the fight as we enter the final minute but it’s Michailidis who is showing more intent to get a finish. 30-27 Michailidis in a less than memorable fight.

PRELIMS

Loma Lookboonmee def Sam Hughes via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Good start to the fight for Lookboonmee as she lands a few kicks from range and a couple of nice right hands. Hughes looks to close the distance to look for a takedown but Lookboonmee defends it well and unleashes some huge knees in the clinch before tripping her and dumping her to the mat. Lookboonmee works top position well and lands some big elbows on the ground before getting back up and allowing Hughes back to her feet. Hughes goes for the takedown again but Lookboonmee defends it really well again and is able to reverse the position and take her down again, landing some more elbows on the ground before letting Hughes up again. Hughes lands a nice low kick and follows it up with a good right hand as Lookboonmee looks to counter but just misses. Hughes closes the distance and goes for a takedown again but Lookboonmee defends well against the cage and sees the round out in top position as she falls onto Hughes.. 10-9 Lookboonmee.

Hughes comes out aggressive in the second round and goes straight for a takedown, but Lookboonmee defends well and goes for a couple of trips of her own. Hughes relentless though and finally gets her down as Lookboonmee looks to defend with a guillotine. Hughes defends and gets a body lock to try and drain her against the cage, but Lookboonmee finally gets back up, breaks the lock and separates. Hughes lands a couple of nice right hands clean but Lookboonmee comes forward with kicks again. They clinch up again and battle for position with Lookboonmee landing some big knees to the body while angling away from Hughes. Hughes goes for a single leg takedown but Lookboonmee defends it really well and then lands a big knee again. Hughes switching from single leg to double leg constantly but Lookboonmee defending brilliantly and keeps the fight standing, then ends the round on top as they clinch at the end and she falls on Hughes once again. 20-18 for me.

Tentative start to the final round as Hughes looks to keep it standing early on, landing some nice early strikes that are making Lookboonmee a bit uncomfortable. She goes for a Thai clinch but Hughes defends it well and pushes her against the cage looking for a takedown once again. Lookboonmee defends it well once again with more knees and then they separate, as both women exchange a big right hand each. The women clinch up again against the cage and exchange knees before the separate and Hughes lands a big right hand. Lookboonmee fires back with some push kicks to the body as we enter the final minute of the fight. Hughes clinches up again and the fight comes to an end with the two women against the cage. 29-28 Lookboonmee for me.

Luana Carolina def Poliana Botelho via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Interesting start to the fight as Botelho comes out a bit more aggressive, throwing some nice body kicks and leg kicks while also leading with her jab. Carolina struggling to get anything going just yet, trying to reply to kicks and a jab of her own but looking very nervous and backing up. Botelho steps forward with a four-hit combo that doesn’t land clean but then she clinches up and gets a takedown into Carolina’s guard. Botelho using great shoulder pressure to control Carolina’s posture on the ground and working to pass into mount which she does after a few big strikes to the head. 30 seconds left in the round and she looks to transition to an armbar but Carolina survives and the round ends. 10-9, could even argue a 10-8 for Botelho.

Better start to this round from Carolina as she comes out more aggressive and goes straight for a clinch after a head kick attempt. She uses strength to hold Botelho in position and starts throwing some nice knees to the body that sees Botelho looking a bit uncomfortable. Botelho looks to switch position and goes for a trip but Carolina defends it excellently and ends up in a dominant position of her own on the ground. She goes for a submission but Botelho gets back to the feet well and the rest of the round plays out against the cage in a clinch position with both women exchanging knees to the body. 19-19.

Slower third round as both women look to exchange body shots and kicks but Carolina being a bit more aggressive so far. Nice flurry from Botelho but Carolina replies with a kick and Botelho goes for a takedown. A scramble on the ground sees Carolina end up on top in the closed guard of Botelho and after a bit of a stalemate she works her way to Botelho’s back. Carolina starts working for a rear-naked choke but Botelho defending well against the cage and both women trade shots on the ground as the round comes to an end. Carolina’s round, 29-28 Carolina for me but could be a draw if the first round was a 10-8.

TJ Brown def Kai Kamaka III via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 27-30)

Fun start early on as Brown comes forward and lands good jobs and front kicks before Kamaka responds with a flush right hand to the chin. Brown keeps coming though, moving a lot and looking to mix it up but Kamaka is investing in his calf kicks well. Both men throw body kicks at the same time before Brown lands a good one-two in response that sends Kamaka backwards. Kamaka lands a punch as Brown goes for a kick and knocks him off balance, but Brown very active off his back to not allow any sort of advantage to be gained before he works back up to his feet quickly. Kamaka fires off another nice low kick but Brown is still coming forward and after a few more exchanges the round ends. Could go either way but I edge 10-9 to Brown.

Much faster start to this round as Kamaka lands a nice shot that sends Brown backwards early. Brown just flowing with the strikes but Kamaka landing some nice combinations and throws a huge head kick that lands flush! Brown keeps coming forward and lands a big right hand that rocks Kamaka! He starts looking for the finish but Kamaka is still there and then Kamaka lands a huge strike that drops Brown! Kamaka goes for the ground and pound finish but Brown surviving and then he gets a kimura synched up! Kamaka survives it but they get back to the feet and the round ends with Brown on top after a successful shot. 19-19 for me, great fight.

Final round and both men come out with a sense of urgency. Brown shoots in for a takedown early but Kamaka stuffs it and manages to reverse it to get into top position. Kamaka trying to push Brown against the cage to control the position but Brown fighting to get back up to the feet and eventually does. Nice combinations from Brown land and Kamaka blocks a body kick before he pushes him down to the mat once again and looks to move into full mount, but Brown denies it. Brown eventually gets back to the feet again and throws a big right hand that drops Kamaka. He goes for an ankle lock finish but gives up position, then goes for a kimura again but the round ends. 29-28 Kamaka, great fight.

Luana Pinheiro def Randa Markos via Disqualification (Illegal kick), Round 1 (4:16)

Brilliant start to this fight from Pinheiro as Markos rushes forward with a flurry of strikes but gets caught with a huge right hook counter. Markos goes to clinch but Pinheiro dumps her on her head with a beautiful judo throw and then starts raining down some heavy ground and pound. She manages to judo throw Markos several times and strike hard and Markos looks rattled. Accidental eye poke causes a stop in the fight as Markos needs to recover and blinks out the issue. Fight resumes and Markos comes out with heavy and hard but Pinheiro countering brilliantly again and then throws Markos down on her head yet again. They separate before another clinch and Pinheiro goes for another judo throw and ends up on top again! Markos tries to kick Pinheiro off and upkicks her in the face while she’s down. Pinheiro flops to the floor and is struggling and the doctor waves this one off. Disqualification incoming.

MAIN CARD

Merab Dvalishvili def Cody Stamann via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Great start to this fight between two predominant wrestlers, with Stamann taking the centre but Merab doing well to move on the outside and lands a beautiful left uppercut. A few more strikes from Merab before he catches a kick and takes the fight to the ground for the first time. Stamann eats a few punches but gets back up, then goes for a few takedowns of his own but they get stuffed. Merab is landing some great right hands, but Stamann sticks a stiff jab that wobbles Merab. Merab goes for a single leg and gets it but Stamann pops right back up every time as the round ends in a stalemate. 10-9 Merab but could argue it went Stamann’s way too.

Fast start for Stamann to round two as he comes out with a deep double leg takedown early and gets it against the cage. Merab relentless from the bottom though with elbows and punches before working his way back up and rushing Stamann to get a takedown of his own. Merab holds him down for a few seconds before they stand back up and Stamann goes back to work with his jab. Merab changes levels and gets another takedown and looks to sink in a guillotine, but Stamann pops his head out and they work back to the feet again. Merab’s pace starting to wear on Stamann a bit as he keeps marching forward, landing combinations and shooting for takedowns as he lifts Stamann this time and slams him down. Stamann trying to keep Merab with his back to the cage but Merab steps forward, clinches and judo throws Stamann to the mat but a scramble sees him end the round under him. 20-18 Merab.

Competitive opening to the final round as Stamann takes the centre again looking to land jabs to set up a haymaker, but Merab staying light on his feet and moving in and out with strikes. Stamann looks for a big right hand that misses wildly and Merab continues to push forward and land little flurries, always touching Stamann. Merab shoots for a single leg but Stamann reverses the attempt and ends up on top with a little more than a minute to go. Merab battles up to his feet and goes for a takedown of his own but Stamann scrambles as they end up in a stalemate on the ground. They get back and swing for the final few seconds but should be a win for Merab, 30-27.

Sean Strickland def Krzysztof Jotko via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Nice left hand from Jotko to open up the fight as Strickland takes the centre and looks incredibly calm as he steps forward. Jotko more lively, bouncing on his toes and throwing a couple of kicks too, then lands another nice left hand. Strickland coming forward again with intent now and lands a stiff jab down the middle, then a right cross that wobbles Jotko. Strickland lands a nice left hand and uppercut and Jotko is hurt, so Strickland goes in for the kill and Jotko shoots for a takedown. Strickland denies it but Jotko moving his head well and recovers without taking more damage. Jotko lands a reverse elbow Yair style right on the chin but Strickland eats it and continues to come forward. Strickland throws a flying knee that just misses but lands a nice right hand before he lands and the round comes to an end. 10-9 Strickland.

Strickland comes out very controlled in the second round and he starts landing the jab well. Jotko still circling on the outside and Strickland is starting to cut him off now as per the advice of his corner, but eats a big left hand as he does so. Strickland with a stiff jab again and then a nice body kick. Jotko goes for a spin kick and misses but it allows Strickland to move and launch a big power strike that whistles past the chin of Jotko. Jotko slowing down now as Strickland marches him down, then eats another stiff jab. Strickland catches a kick and goes for a big right overhand but Jotko avoids it and fires back with one of his own. Strickland’s calf kicks starting to have an effect as the round comes to an end. 20-18 Strickland.

Jotko becoming very predictable looking for the big left hand as Strickland just in cruise control in this fight at the moment. Flying knee attempt from Strickland misses and Jotko goes for a big right hand that doesn’t come anywhere near landing. Stiff straight right hand from Strickland lands but Jotko trying to come forward more now as we hit the halfway point of the round. Strickland takes back control of the centre now, landing a big front kick to the body and then another low kick. Strickland goes for a body kick and then follows up with a big right hand before a flying knee lands too. Bit of a wild exchange as the fight comes to an end, but it’s a comfortable 30-27 for Strickland here.

Ion Cutelaba vs Dustin Jacoby – Split Draw – (29-28, 28-29, 28-28)

Nice start to the fight from Jacoby as he uses his length well to land some nice jabs and two heavy leg kicks too. Cutelaba sticks a jab and misses with a hammer of a right hand, before landing two big right hands and shooting for a takedown. Cutelaba locks his arms around the body and starts dragging Jacoby to the ground over and over again while landing some big ground and pound strikes too. Cutelaba starts landing some huge short ebows to the head and Jacoby is getting pieced up and just about surviving as Cutelaba drags him down again and continues pounding him out. Cutelaba goes for a judo throw but Jacoby grabs the cage to prevent it and the referee warns him but does nothing else as the round ends. 10-8 Cutelaba.

Jacoby opens the round with a body kick attempt and immediately gets taken down by Cutelaba. He lands a nice knee and right hand as they break, but Jacoby comes forward with his jab now. Cutelaba goes for another takedown but Jacoby stuffs it this time and Cutelaba is slowing down already. Another attempt denied by Jacoby as he lands a nice uppercut, but Cutelaba keeps going despite him clearly being tired now. Jacoby doing so well to land at range and Cutelaba isn’t even shooting anymore. Jacoby lands a big right hand and Cutelaba is rocked! Cutelaba shoots but it’s denied and the round ends. 19-18 Cutelaba going into the third.

Good start again from Jacoby in this final round as he opens with a leg kick and then lands a heavy body kick. Cutelaba standing and trading in the centre, nice jabs and uppercuts while Jacoby trying to evade and counter. Nice left hook from Jacoby as Cutelaba threw a jab and then Jacoby lands a huge right hand again. Cutelaba is still there throwing bombs though, but Jacoby staying behind his jab and landing. Cutelaba goes for a huge elbow that just misses and both men land a nice left hook, before a double jab-cross combo from Cutelaba lands on the chin. Jacoby goes for a knee and Cutelaba catches it and goes for the takedown but Jacoby defends well and reverses the position to put Cutelaba against the cage. Final minute and Jacoby goes for a single leg but Cutelaba avoids it then throws a nice right hook as they clinch up again. Jacoby gets a takedown right at the end to finish up on top, this could be a draw. 28-28.

Giga Chikadze def Cub Swanson via Knockout, Round 1 (1:03)

Chikadze opens up early with some kicks to the body and a straight right, while Swanson tries to jump in and close the distance. Chikadze throws his trademark left kick to the body and Swanson is down! Chikadze hits some ground and pound as Swanson curls up and this one is over! First round knockout for Chikadze! Wow!

Jiri Prochazka def Dominick Reyes via Knockout, Round 2 (4:29)

Both men looking to claim the centre of the octagon as this one starts with a heavy low kick from Reyes and a body kick from Prochazka. Prochazka keeping his hands low and bouncing around as usual, with Reyes more traditional with his hands high looking for his straight left hand. Prochazka just misses with a three hit combination and Reyes lands a nice left hand down the middle. Prochazka responds with a big right hand of his own that wobbles Reyes and sends him backwards. Reyes shoots in for a takedown and gets it, but Prochazka is able to just power out and get back to his feet. Prochazka continues to just come forward and Reyes is landing straight punches but he’s just walking through them. Big combination lands from Prochazka and Reyes is hurt! Prochazka going for the kill but Reyes continues to circle and fire back. Prochazka lands a flurry of strikes again but Reyes sees out the round. 10-9 Prochazka.

Second round and Reyes taking a more measured approach, keeping his distance and looking to land counter strikes as Prochazka comes forward. Prochazka applying so much pressure and Reyes is just not wilting, firing back with huge strikes of his own. Prochazka chasing Reyes around the octagon with combinations and kicks to the body and Reyes’ face is absolutely battered and bloody. Reyes lands a nasty left that wobbles Prochazka and forces him to shoot for a takedown. The stand again and trade against the cage. Prochazka goes for an elbow and just misses, then spins and lands a huge spinning elbow that knocks Reyes unconscious! Oh my God! What a knockout!

UFC Vegas 25: Reyes vs Prochazka – Main card predictions

The big boys are back on show in the main event at UFC Vegas 25 as Dominick Reyes takes on Jiri Prochazka in the light heavyweight division.

After back-to-back title fight defeats, Reyes looks to get back to winning ways to show he is still a contender at light-heavyweight. Elsewhere on the card, Cub Swanson makes a return to the octagon too as he takes on Giga Chikadze in the co-main event in what should be an absolute banger in the featherweight division.

Last time out at UFC 261 we had a great night, going 10/13 in our predictions with two perfect picks to move to 294/462 (63.64%) with 129 perfect picks (43.88%). Lets see if we can improve on that with our main card picks, having predicted the prelims already.


Merab Dvalishvili (12-4) vs Cody Stamann (19-3-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A wrestler’s paradise in the bantamweight divsion as Merab looks to make it six wins in a row while Stamann looks to return to the win column. Merab beat Brad Katona and Casey Kenney before Gustavo Lopez at UFC Vegas 2 and John Dodson at UFC 252 in his last four, all via unanimous decision as he secured the record for most takedowns in division history. Stamann beat Brian Kelleher at UFC 250 before getting well beaten by Jimmie Rivera on Fight Island 1 just a month later.

Both guys will without a doubt look for takedowns and top control, but the big difference between the two is that Merab’s gas tank is absolutely ridiculous and he marches his opponents down. Stamann is happy to use strikes to set his takedowns up and it seems unlikely that will work in this fight. Merab is so physically strong and literally doesn’t stop for the entire 15 minutes.

Work as usual for Merab in this one as he overpowers Stamann and gets the fight to the ground and works ground and pound for another decision win.
PICK – Merab Dvalishvili via Decision

Sean Strickland (22-3) vs Krzysztof Jotko (22-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A contender for fight of the night in the middleweight division as these two powerhouses go toe to toe. Strickland came back from a two-year lay-off to beat Jack Marshmann at UFC Vegas 12 before knocking out Brendan Allen just two weeks later at UFC Vegas 14. Jotko has won three in a row too, beating Eryk Anders last time out in May 2020 by unanimous decision.

Both guys are really fun strikers to watch, which should make this a great fight. Strickland is a really good boxer with good knockout power and great combinations, while his volume and gas tank make him a nightmare for everyone in the division. Jotko is a clean, technical striker himself but he doesn’t have that power to go with it although his kicks are better than Strickland’s.

While both guys are strikers, Strickland’s striking style should really suffocate Jotko’s counter heavy style and while I don’t think he gets the finish I do think he gets a comfortable decision.
PICK – Sean Strickland via Decision

Ion Cutelaba (15-6) vs Dustin Jacoby (14-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An absolute barn burner coming up in the light heavyweight division as two very heavy-hitting 205lbers go head-to-head. Cutelaba suffered back-to-back defeats to Magomed Ankalaev, the first rather controversially before a decisive ending to their fight at UFC 254. Jacoby is on a four-fight win streak, including 2-0 in the UFC with a knockout over Justin Ledet at UFC Vegas 12 before a controversial decision win over Maxim Grishin at UFC Vegas 20 in February this year.

Cutelaba has never had a boring fight in his life, as he walks forward with heavy hands looking to take someone’s head off but he also has good grappling skills too. Jacoby is a skilled kickboxer with good power and a much more measured approach but his grappling game isn’t the best.

Cutelaba will use his physicality and overwhelm Jacoby early on and he hits hard enough to potentially get a finish in the first five too.
PICK – Ion Cutelaba via Knockout, Round 1

Giga Chikadze (12-2) vs Cub Swanson (27-11) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A really, really good fight in the featherweight division as Giga Chikadze gets his shot at a ranked opponent when he takes on Cub Swanson in the co-main event. Chikadze has won seven-in-a-row building up to this fight, including a decision win over Omar Morales and a knockout win over short-notice fighter Jamey Simmons at UFC Vegas 13. Swanson has won his last two, defeating Kron Gracie by decision before knocking out Daniel Pineda at UFC 256 in a highly impressive performance.

Chikadze is a brilliant kickboxer with brilliant kicks and cross punches, but his volume is always a bit on the low side for what it should be for a man of his talent. Swanson is a talented striker with great boxing skills, but he’s also an elite Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Chikadze will likely take note from the Pineda fight and fire a lot of leg kicks Swanson’s way, while also using his great speed to get in and out. That said, Swanson will never let him rest. He will push the pace, come forward and look to eventually get the fight down to the ground if he can.

Swanson is a really good fighter and has surprised me in the past, but I think Chikadze should be able to use his kicks well and stay at range enough to outland him and get the decision win in a really entertaining fight.
PICK – Giga Chikadze via Decision

Dominick Reyes (12-2) vs Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A huge scrap at the top of the card as Dominick Reyes returns to the octagon to take on Jiri Prochazka in the light heavyweight division. Reyes was unbeaten before losing controversially to Jon Jones in February 2020, before being knocked out by Jan Blachowicz at UFC 253 in a fight for the vacant title. Prochazka on the other hand is a hugely underrated fighter coming into this fight on an 11-fight win streak with ten of those by knockout, including his UFC debut against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 251.

Reyes is a specimen of an athlete who has tremendous boxing skills and a lethal left hand, while he also has some good leg kicks and a nice body kick too. Prochazka is a wildly unorthodox striker who often walks his opponent down his hands down, but 24 knockouts in 27 career victories tells you just how hard he hits. Reyes’s skillset is fairly limited and Blachowicz showed in his last fight just how to shut him down completely.

Prochazka is just ridiculously powerful and his head movement is great. His aggression could land him in trouble if Reyes lands that straight left, but Prochazka will almost certainly be prepared for it and after being knocked out violently last time out I think Reyes goes to sleep again.
PICK – Jiri Prochazka via Knockout, Round 3

UFC Vegas 14: Felder vs Dos Anjos – Results (Highlights)

*Julian Marquez vs Saparbek Safarov, Eryk Anders vs Antonio Arroyo and Louis Smolka vs Jose Quinonez were all cancelled due to weight management issues for one fighter prior to the event starting.

The card will proceed with nine fights.*

PRELIMS

Don’Tale Mayes def Roque Martinez via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Cagey start to this one from both fighters as Mayes keeps his range well and lands some heavy leg kicks. Martinez trying to find a way to get on the inside but Mayes using his jab well to keep him at bay. Martinez throws a head kick but Mayes meets him with a left hook to counter it. Martinez goes for a roundhouse kick that misses and then Mayes moves in for a clinch and trip which puts Martinez on his back. Some ground and pound for Mayes ends the round. 10-9 Mayes.

Second round and Martinez comes out more aggressively trying to box with Mayes and the referee stops the fight momentarily to give Mayes a final warning about extending his fingers straight out. Mayes lands a big knee as Martinez looks to make his way on the inside again. Martinez is really struggling to mount any offense because of the range, with Mayes picking him off with jabs and straight punches. Martinez goes for a takedown but Mayes defends well and lands a big knee on the break. The two exchange combos as the round ends. 20-18 Mayes.

Mayes comes out in the final round bouncing, looking to maintain that distance that has served him so well so far. Martinez coming forward, knowing he needs a finish. Mayes goes for a clinch against the cage but Martinez gets hold of the neck and tries to sink in a guillotine. It’s under the chin but Mayes says he’s okay so Martinez lets go and Mayes gets straight back up to his feet. Martinez pushes forward with uppercuts and hooks and Mayes is wobbling but then he goes for a clinch and loses all his momentum. Mayes breaks away and lands a spinning elbow as we enter the final 30 seconds. Flying knee lands flush by Mayes but Martinez eats it and the round ends. 29-28 Mayes for me but could be 30-27.

Alex Morono def Rhys McKee via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

McKee comes out very aggressive to start with, walking forward and landing some nice shots but Morono shows him immediately that he needs to be respected with a big punch. Morono is planting his feet and swinging big hooks but McKee is firing back and using his footwork well. Nice jabs but more hooks land from Morono, with McKee being too keen and loading up too much. 10-9 Morono but McKee is in this fight.

More reserved start to the round from McKee, who seems to be a bit more settled now. He’s flicking out a jab to good effect but not with enough volume just yet, but Morono is doing well to continue to land heavy shots. McKee showing he has a great chin right now but it’s being hit far too much as he’s bleeding from the mouth now. Morono goes for a takedown and gets McKee down, but he gets straight back up and moves forward again. The two are trading shots in the centre of the octagon as McKee looks for a trip with 20 seconds to go but it’s defended well. 19-19 for me.

Solid final round with both guys coming out strong and exchanging in the middle yet again. McKee starting to work the body a little bit, noticing that Morono is tiring. Two big hooks to the body look like they hurt Morono, who goes straight for the takedown but McKee aggressive off his back and eventually gets back to the feet. Clinch against the cage sees McKee’s mouth-piece fall out and the fight is paused for several minutes as it has fallen under the cage and can’t be found. Fight restarts and McKee lands a nice body kick and then goes straight for another takedown to see this round out. He manages to win a scramble and ends up in full mount landing big elbows from ground and pound as the fight comes to an end. Great fight, 29-28 Morono for me.

Tony Gravely def Geraldo De Freitas via Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)

Very quick start to this fight as both men come out throwing big shots early. Gravely shoots for a takedown and gets it, but De Freitas avoids damage on the ground and manages to get back to the feet quickly. Heavy calf kick from De Freitas and a big left hand lands and forces Gravely to get back to the takedown. De Freitas looking for all types of submissions off his back tough and almost locks in an armbar but for Gravely powering out. Some more tangles on the ground and then De Freitas gets back to his feet and goes for a flying knee which Gravely catches and takes De Freitas down again to see the round out. 10-9 Gravely.

De Freitas comes out aggressive once again in this round looking for wild shots and then goes in for a takedown of his own. Gravely spins out and reverses the takedown to end up on top, defending submission threats well and landing some good ground and pound himself. De Freitas fights his way back up to the feet but Gravely holds on to a leg and gets him back down. They break away and start striking but Gravely gets another takedown and then another, ending the round with ground and pound. 20-18 Gravely.

Gravely continues to impress here as he opens the round with an exchange of punches and then yet another takedown. De Freitas clearly more tired now and Gravely is controlling the position at this point, landing some nice ground and pound strikes. De Freitas is throwing some shots from his back and still looking for submissions but eventually works his way back to his feet. Big one two lands through the guard of Gravely and he’s wobbled but he immediately changes levels and goes for a takedown but De Freitas eventually defends. More big one-twos from De Freitas and Gravely is wobbling, shooting for takedowns but De Freitas defends three or four in a row to keep the pressure up. Gravely finally gets a trip to slow him down with 25 seconds to go and ends the round throwing shots of his own. A super fight, 30-27 Gravely for me.

Kanaka Murata def Randa Markos via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Fast start from both women in this fight with Murata getting a takedown inside the first minute. Markos looks to tie her up from her back but Murata is able to pass the guard quickly and starts throwing some strikes. Markos eventually gets back to the feet and both women exchange knees to the body in the clinch. Murata looks for an inside trip which is defended well but she chain wrestles her way to eventually end up on top again. Murata passes the guard again and starts throwing some huge elbows that look like they could stop the fight but time runs out on her. 10-9 Murata.

Murata looks very fresh coming out in this second round, fainting and bouncing but Markos not backing up either. Markos doing well to stay in the centre and circle away from any potential takedown attempts that could come. Markos lands a nice leg kick that causes Murata to lose her balance but she shoots in for a takedown and gets it against the cage. She looks to pass Markos’ guard and lands a few ground and pound strikes before Markos is able to get back to her feet as the round comes to an end. 20-18 Murata.

Patient opening to the third round from both fighters here but then suddenly Murata shoots for a double leg and slam but once Markos defends it she immediately lands a trip instead. Murata looks to lock in a d’arce choke and it’s tight but Markos defends incredibly well and eventually manages to re-guard. Murata lands some big ground and pound shots but again Markos moves and defends well. The rest of the fight plays out on the ground and Murata should win comfortably.

MAIN CARD

Cory McKenna def Kay Hansen via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

A very active start as both fighters enter their range and start firing off combinations on each other. McKenna lands a beautiful one-two down the pipe but Hansen also happy to compete and throws some shots of her own again. Hansen goes for a clinch against the cage but McKenna defends well and lands a stiff right hand that wobbles Hansen. Hansen goes for a clinch against the cage again and this time gets it to the ground and takes the back of McKenna. While there she just gets punched in the face a lot by McKenna instead but the takedown probably secured her the round. 10-9 Hansen.

Second round and both women look confident on the feet once again. Lots of exchanges as both look to be first and they continue to land good damage on each other. Clinch attempt from Hansen is stuffed by McKenna again but eventually she manages to secure the takedown and immediately sinks in a rear naked choke! McKenna fights the hands and escapes and eventually ends up on top herself and sees out the round on top landing ground and pound shots for the final minute. 19-19.

McKenna using her range more in this final round, landing her jab and then following it up with a big one-two to the chin. McKenna throws out a couple of jabs of her own but Hansen ducks under and shoots for a beautiful takedown and ends up in top position. Hansen is looking to advance her position on the ground and land ground and pound but McKenna is staying active off her back and landing elbows of her own. Hansen looks to lock in a head and arm choke from full mount but McKenna reverses the position completely and ends the round landing ground and pound from the top. What a great fight. 29-28 Hansen for me.

Sean Strickland def Brendan Allen via Knockout, Round 2 (1:32)

Great start to the fight as expected as both fighters look to set their pace early on. Strickland stringing together some nice combinations, using his length well. Allen goes for a kick that Strickland catches and then he trips Allen and secures a takedown. Good control against the cage and he takes the back but Allen defends well and eventually breaks away. Strickland popping his jab really well but then Allen lands a big left hook that wobbles Strickland! Allen starts coming forward with more venom but Strickland uses that jab again and then lands a front kick to the face clean too. Round ends as they stare each other down. 10-9 Strickland.

Fast start to the second round again as Allen comes forward and is getting picked off by the straight punches by Strickland. Big calf kick from Allen has Strickland moving gingerly but Strickland starts throwing shots down the middle and Allen is hurt. One-two followed by a left hook drops Allen and Strickland follows it up with some huge shots against the cage and it’s all over! Huge win for Sean Strickland!

Ashley Yoder def Miranda Granger via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 29-27 x2)

Interesting opening round as Ashley Yoder looks to use her grappling skills to her advantage for the most part. Some good striking to start with but Yoder tries to take her back but misses the hooks and ends up breaking. A few more shots and Yoder rushes in and uses a head and arm throw to get the fight to the ground but it’s against the cage in an awkward position. After a short scramble, Granger ends up on top and lands some nice ground and pound shots. Yoder throws up a triangle and pulls the arm through, so close to sinking it in but Granger uses her long legs to defend and the round ends in a stalemate position. 10-9 Yoder but very close round.

Competitive second round too as the first half of it is spent tying each other up and looking to gain control against the cage in the clinch. Granger throws some nice knees and shoulder strikes but Yoder eventually gets the throw although she ends up with Granger on her back. She nullifies the threat and turns the position around and now looks to advance from side control. Granger is threatening with a kimura but Yoder continues with body shots until the buzzer goes. 20-18 Yoder for me.

Granger comes out aggressively in this round throwing a heavy calf kick and some nice strikes but Yoder goes in for an early takedown and secures it well. Some ground and pound opens up submission attempts from Yoder but Granger defending really well. Some big ground and pound from Yoder and Granger is in trouble. Final few seconds and Yoder finally sinks in a rear naked choke deep! Granger holds out and refuses to tap as the buzzer goes and it will go to the judges. 30-27 Yoder for me.

Khaos Williams def Abdul Razak Alhassan via Knockout, Round 1 (0:30)

Quick start with some heavy leg kicks by Khaos, showing his speed advantage in this one early. The two come together in the middle of the octagon and both swing, Khaos lands a straight right hand through the guard and on the chin and Alhassan is OUT! Stiff as a board, this one is over!! What a knockout!!

Rafael Dos Anjos def Paul Felder via Split Decision (47-48, 50-45 x2)

Fast paced start to this fight as both guys throw fast combinations to start the fight. Felder lands a nice straight right and a front kick to the body before Dos Anjos lands two fierce body kicks of his own. Spinning elbow attempt from Felder just misses and Dos Anjos goes for a takedown and gets it. He looks to advance position but Felder defends well and eventually gets back up to his feet. Felder looks very sharp on the feet but both guys go for a takedown at the same time and it’s Dos Anjos who gets the edge against the cage as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Felder but it’s very close.

A great pace to this fight as both guys look to control the range. Felder is throwing a great jab but Dos Anjos is countering with a straight left from the southpaw position. Felder looking to keep the fight standing by staying in the centre and exchanging but Dos Anjos moving well to force him against the cage. He shoots for the takedown and Felder defends well but the second time around Dos Anjos gets him down. The rest of the round is a clinch affair against the cage as Felder eventually gets himself back to his feet but Dos Anjos continues to attack. 19-19.

Dos Anjos comes out aggressive in this third round as he goes for an early takedown against the cage inside the opening minute of the round. Felder denies him this time and lands a nice front kick to the body but Dos Anjos goes again and this time secures the dump. Felder defending the position really well and preventing damage for the most part but Dos Anjos is relentless right now. Dos Anjos goes again and this time lifts and slams Felder down to end the round in top position again. 29-28 Dos Anjos.

More of the same for this round as Dos Anjos meets Felder in the middle and exchanges a few punches before backing him up to the cage with a clinch. Both guys look in good condition for the fourth round but Dos Anjos’ game plan is working to perfection right now. Big left hand by Dos Anjos opens up a big cut over Felder’s eye. Felder comes out and lands some nice combinations and then scores a takedown of his own but Dos Anjos gets to the cage quickly to get back up and the round ends. 39-37 Dos Anjos.

Final round and Felder knows he needs a finish. He comes out aggressively, throwing big punches but Dos Anjos throws his own and shoots for the takedown and this time gets it away from the cage. Felder looks tired now and Dos Anjos’ top pressure has been excellent all night. The rest of the round consists of Dos Anjos dominating the clinch and scoring takedowns, with Felder defending well but not doing enough to get a win. 49-46 Dos Anjos for me.

UFC Vegas 14: Felder vs Dos Anjos – Prelims Predictions

A wild week surrounding this fight card will finally come to a head at the UFC Apex when former lightweight champions Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Paul Felder, who steps in on five days notice for this main event.

After Islam Makachev withdrew from the fight with injury, Felder stepped in from the commentary booth to put his gloves on once again with the hope that a big win on short notice can get him a top five opponent in the near future.

The fight will have 11 other fights on the card too, including Brendan Allen taking on Sean Strickland in a short-notice fight following his fight against Ian Heinisch falling through on fight night last week.

Last weekend, I correctly predicted 8/10 fights with three perfect picks for a pretty solid week of predictions. This week with 12 fights on the card, I’ll see if I can better that and continue with a pretty decent percentage.

EARLY PRELIMS

Don’Tale Mayes (7-4) vs Roque Martinez (15-6-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Two big heavyweights coming off the back of defeats in the UFC looking to finally make their way onto the win column. Mayes is a power puncher who finally got a contract with a win in Dana White’s Contender Series at the third attempt last year before being submitted by Cyril Gane and Rodrigo Nascimento. Martinez made his short notice debut against Alexander Romanov back in September and was rag-dolled for two rounds before being choked out by the hugely impressive prospect. Both these guys are brawlers and Mayes has a huge eight inch height advantage and ten inch reach advantage, as well as more power. Martinez has the better technique but with such physical disadvantages, he eventually gets clipped and put out for a quick night.
PICK – Don’Tale Mayes via Knockout, Round 1

Tony Graveley (19-6) vs Geraldo De Freitas (12-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

After entering the UFC on an 11-1 streak thanks to a stoppage victory on Dana White’s Contender Series, Tony Graveley looks to get his first win in the organisation proper when he takes on Geraldo De Freitas. De Freitas himself entered the UFC having not lost since 2015 but was ultimately pipped in his last fight in a controversial split decision loss to Chris Gutierrez. Graveley should have the advantage in this fight in most areas. He’s an excellent wrestler and keeps a tremendous pace, while also having the skills on the feet to stand with anyone in and around him in the division. De Freitas has a tendency to drop his hands low when anticipating takedown attempts, so Graveley has many paths to victory and I think he’ll be able to get top position at some point and land enough ground and pound for a wide decision win.
PICK – Tony Graveley via Decision

PRELIMS

Randa Markos (10-9-1) vs Kanako Murata (11-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

‘Quiet Storm’ Randa Markos puts her winning record on the line in a short notice fight against Invicta strawweight champion Kanako Murata. Murata is a stud amateur wrestler who has eeked her way to a super 11-1 record and is currently on a seven-fight win streak. Markos is a grapple heavy fighter who alternated wins and losses religiously until she was beaten twice in a row earlier this year by Amanda Ribas and then Mackenzie Dern in September. This is a big step up in competition for Murata, depending on which version of Markos shows up. If the passive, reactionary version shows up then Murata should land takedowns and dominate from top position for three rounds. If the aggressive and determined version shows up then this will be a very evenly contested fight. Solely due to the short notice factor, I fear the former shows up and Murata gets a statement win in her UFC debut.
PICK – Kanako Murata via Decision

Louis Smolka (16-7) vs Jose Quinonez (8-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A bantamweight clash between two guys trying to find their standing in the division. Louis Smolka, who has been around forever but mainly as a flyweight, is a submission starlet who also carries power in his hands. After leaving the UFC off a four-fight skid, he returned after winning his next three and has since alternated wins and losses. He lost his most recent fight to Casey Kenney back in May when he was submitted in the first round. Jose Quinonez has an interesting record where he is 5-3 in the UFC but none of the guys he has beaten are still with the company, while his defeats have come to contenders in Alejandro Perez, Nathaniel Wood and Sean O’Malley. Overall, Quinonez has the advantage on the feet and physically is the bigger man. He’s got good wrestling chops too but Smolka is good enough on the ground to wrap up a submission if he is successful with just a single takedown attempt. It should be a back and forth fight but I believe Quinonez will be able to land more and more significantly throughout the 15 minutes for a big win.
PICK – Jose Quinonez via Decision

Alex Morono (17-6) vs Rhys McKee (10-3-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

After being run over by Khamzat Chimaev back in July, Rhys McKee returns to the octagon to take on UFC veteran Alex Morono. McKee had won three in a row before his short-notice UFC debut against Chimaev and is a very well rounded fighter. He has good jiu-jitsu and great stand up, while his long frame makes him awkward to fight against. His issue is he lacks true power. Morono is also well rounded and has a lot more experience in his pocket. He’s got a massive edge in wrestling, with a power advantage on the feet too. The fact he has these advantages here mean he essentially controls where this fight goes and while McKee definitely has a chance if he can keep the fight standing, it’s hard to go against Morono in this one.
PICK – Alex Morono via Decision

Ashley Yoder (7-6) vs Miranda Granger (7-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

This might be the most even fight in women’s MMA history. Both women are 5ft 7′ with just an inch difference in reach (in Yoder’s favour) and with almost identical fighting styles. Yoder has lost five of her last seven in the UFC, including her last two but her record looks much worse on paper than it should. Four of those losses came in very competitive decisions against Angela Hill, Mackenzie Dern, Randa Markos and Livinha Souza who are all top fighters in their own right. Granger on the other hand was 7-0 going into her last bout, where she was stopped by Amanda Lemos by submission in the first round. Yoder will look to get the fight to the ground and control with her top game while Granger tends to use her frame and range better, despite a slight disadvantage in this fight. It’s really a case of who implements their game better early on and because of how close they are I think the fact Granger is capable of using her range more will help her get the decision win.
PICK – Miranda Granger via Decision

Brendan Allen (15-3) vs Sean Strickland (21-3) – (Catchweight/195lbs)

Potentially the fight of the night as Brendan Allen and Sean Strickland meet in a short notice catchweight bout. Allen was supposed to fight Ian Heinisch last weekend but a positive COVID-19 test scrapped the fight at the last minute. Strickland won two weeks ago in a thriller of a fight against Jack Marshman, where he showed a new level to his striking game to get the comfortable decision win. Allen is a phenom on the ground, with 8 submission wins on his record while also capable on his feet while Strickland is just as good on the ground. The new level of striking Strickland showed with his combinations and power could be a big, big problem for Allen and after a win so recently he will be flying high on momentum. It’s a really, really tough fight to call but I think Allen is going to be pumped up for this. He will be coming up against a similar style to the one he was scheduled to fight last week and will be fresher than Strickland too. It really is a toss up but I’m going with Brendan Allen in fight of the night.
PICK – Brendan Allen via Decision

UFC Vegas 12: Hall vs Silva – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Miles Johns def Kevin Natividad via Knockout, Round 3 (2:51)

Competitive start to the fight as both men put out feelers for each other early on. Johns lands a nice low kick and then shoots for a single leg against the cage, but Natividad defends very well to deny. They break and Johns starts landing a long, lead jab to keep Natividad away. Natividad starts letting off combinations against the cage on Johns, but he ducks under and shoots for a takedown once again. He gets it down but Natividad jumps up as he looks to land ground and pound. Round comes to an end but it’s been steady from both. 10-9 Johns for me.

Natividad comes out in the second round more aggressive, throwing hooks over the jab attempt but not landing with anything flush. Johns still looking to land his jab and then shoots for the takedown once again and gets it, but Natividad once again is able to get back to his feet quickly. Johns holds him against the cage for a while but the referee breaks them apart due to inactivity. Natividad coming forward with big punches again as Johns looks like he’s tiring and a flying knee attempt just misses. Natividad goes in for a takedown of his own but Johns sprawls out of it and lands a big spinning back fist as they get back to the feet. Wild hook attempt from Natividad is ducked under and Johns goes for a takedown again as the round ends. 20-18 Johns.

Final round and Natividad comes out very aggressive in this one. Both men exchange big hooks but they eat it well and continue circling. Natividad starts trying to work the body, but Johns fires back with two nice low kicks. Johns shoots for a single leg takedown and pushes Natividad against the cage. Natividad threatens a d’arce choke attempt and as they break Johns lands a huge uppercut that knocks Natividad unconscious! What a knockout!

Dustin Jacoby def Justin Ledet via Knockout, Round 1 (2:38)

Strong start to the round for Jacoby as he comes out and attacks the legs of his opponent. Ledet looks to land a hook but Jacoby avoids and counters with a big straight right hand of his own that wobbles Ledet. Calm pressure from Jacoby but Ledet lands a nice jab and swings an uppercut that just misses. Jacoby lands three more leg kicks and drops Ledet then jumps on the ground and pound. He lets Ledet back up and then knocks him out cold with a huge right hand. What a performance from Dustin Jacoby.

PRELIMS

Jason Witt def Cole Williams via Submission (Head & Arm Choke), Round 2 (2:09)

Witt comes into the centre and immediately shoots for a takedown with the single leg. He gets him down immediately and takes Williams’ back, but against the cage and he defends a precarious position well and gets him into full guard. Witt starts throwing some heavy ground and pound and Williams moves away from the damage but is showing no signs of being able to get back up to his feet. Witt lands a beautiful short elbow that opens up a massive cut above the left eye of Williams and blood is pouring down his face now. Witt continues with the strikes on the ground as the round comes to an end. 10-8 Witt for me.

Quick start to the round again as both men throw some big shots before Witt shoots in for a takedown, picks Williams up above his head, walks him over to the opposite side of the octagon in front of his corner and slams him down. Witt advances to full mount and is searching for the submission, but Williams slips out of the rear-naked choke attempt. Witt switches to a head and arm choke and squeezes, then gets the tap. Hugely impressive win for Jason Witt.

Sean Strickland def Jack Marshman via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Strickland comes forward immediately and starts walking him down across the cage, throwing out feel punches while Marshman responds with big hooks that hit fresh air. Strickland starts mixing in a leg kick too and lands a huge left straight, right hook combo. Marshman starting to feel the effects of the shots he’s absorbing as Strickland continues to walk him down across the octagon. Strickland backs him up against the cage again and throws a huge one two that lands flush, before a big body shot lands too. Marshman throws a big right hook that lands flush and stings Strickland but the round ends. 10-9 Strickland.

Strickland once again comes out and takes the centre, landing his jab with ease. He lands a big double-jab and follows it up immediately with a right cross that lands clean. Marshman starting to look banged up but is holding firm and still throwing strikes of his own. Another strike from Strickland opens up a cut under Marshman’s eye as he stays out of range and counters well. Strickland landing his jab at will and Marshman throwing wild hooks that aren’t even close to landing for the most part. Dominant round again for Strickland. 20-18.

Third and final round and both guys start exchanging words in the centre of the cage as they trade blows. Both guys going back to back with big hooks, crosses and stiff jabs but Strickland has been completely dominant. A nice jab and head kick combination lands and the two start screaming at each other. Strickland asks Marshman “why won’t you fall?!” as they exchange wild hooks until the buzzer goes. 30-27 Strickland.

Adrian Yanez def Victor Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 1 (2:46)

Quick start to the round for Rodriguez who shoots in for an early takedown against the cage, but Yanez defends well after about a one minute clinch and they break back into the centre. Rodriguez throws a big overhand right that lands but Yanez eats it and moves forward. Big combination lands and wobbles Rodriguez! He starts hunting landing big shots and gets a knockdown. Rodriguez gets back to his feet but Yanez lands another big right-left combo that drops him again. Rodriguez gets back to his feet, Yanez throws a right hand followed a head kick that puts Rodriguez’s lights out. Superb performance from Yanez.

Alexander Hernandez def Chris Gruetzmacher via Knockout, Round 1 (1:46)

Gruetzmacher comes out and lands two heavy leg kicks immediately but Hernandez fires back with one of his own. Hernandez landing jabs, hooks and kicks at will and staying out of range perfectly well. He’s really showing his talents here, dominating every exchange and he looks a level above right now. Big one-two lands and a head kick wobbles Gruetzmacher! Hernandez hunts for the knockout and lands a four-piece combo that knocks Gruetzmacher down and out! What a stunning performance!

MAIN CARD

Thiago Moises def Bobby Green via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Strong start to the fight by Thiago Moises in this one as he comes in throwing bombs early including some vicious leg kicks that force Green to switch stance. A head kick lands by Moises but Green eats it and comes forward with a nice right hook of his own. Moises shoots for a takedown and is able to pick up Green and slam him down. Moises moves straight to the back but Green shakes him off and ends up on top himself. Big knee to the body and they break. Lots of feints and small strikes land before Moises lands a big right hand flush to the face that hurts Green, but he takes it and survives. Flurry of punches from Green ends the round. 10-9 Moises.

Fun second round as the two meet in the middle and exchange hooks early on. Green lands a beautiful step back right hand that lands on Moises who is wobbled for a second, before Green shoots in for a takedown. He lifts the single leg and sweeps the standing leg to get the top position. Moises gets back up quickly and takes the back of Green, then rolls through with a reverse heel hook. Green fights it in a panic and eventually escapes. Moises looks tired now and Green is teeing off against the cage while the Brazilian looks to recover. Flying knee attempt by Green just misses and then Moises lands a big right hook as the buzzer goes. Close round but 19-19 for me.

A tense final round as both guys are landing big strikes and swinging big. A wild exchange ends up with Green having a big cut over his right eye but it doesn’t stop him coming forward and looking to land heavy right hooks. Moises pushes Green back against the cage and looks to load up a takedown but Green tries to counter it with a kimura. Moises avoids and takes the back but can’t get Green down on the mat properly. They get back to the feet for one final wild exchange as the fight ends. Great fight, 29-28 Moises for me but super close fight.

Kevin Holland def Charlie Ontiveros via Verbal Submission, Round 1 (2:38)

Interesting start to the round as Holland with a big swing and a miss puts himself on his butt, then when he gets back up Ontiveros lands a big axe-kick to the head of Holland. Holland responds with an immediate takedown and ends up in north-south position landing big elbows to the head. Ontiveros fights for position and tries to get back up against the cage but Holland gets a firm grip and slams him to the mat again. The referee then waves the fight off out of nowhere and Ontiveros is saying he’s injured. The broadcast tell us after the decision that he needs to be stabilised and removed on a stretcher having not moved since the fight ended. Best wishes to Charlie Ontiveros.

Greg Hardy def Maurice Greene via Knockout, Round 2 (1:12)

Aggressive start to the fight by Greg Hardy, who checks a leg kick and marches forward. Greene throws a body kick attempt that Hardy catches and he lands two huge right hands that drop him! He runs for the finish with heavy ground and pound and Greene looks to defend with up-kicks before Hardy scrambles and ends up on top. A huge elbow lands but Greene manages to tie him up enough to frustrate him and Hardy stands the fight back up. Nice one-two lands for Greene but Hardy eats it as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Hardy.

Second round starts slowly, with both fighters tiring already. Lots of feints and jabs, but Hardy throws a big lead left uppercut and drops Greene! He jumps on for the ground and pound again and despite him moving still, Greene is taking unanswered shots and the referee waves it off. Big win for Hardy!

Bryce Mitchell def Andre Fili via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)

Quick start from Mitchell in this one as he comes out with jabs and then goes for an early takedown. Fili gets back up quickly but Mitchell drives him back down again and wraps up the legs as he looks to pass but Fili escapes. Mitchell latches on again though and takes the fight back down immediately, stacking Fili against the cage and landing some ground and pound. Mitchell eventually passes into full mount but not doing much damage, just taking his time and looking for openings. Fili escapes full mount but Mitchell once again is able to step into it before Fili reverses the position and gets back to his feet. Mitchell throws a huge overhand right and catches a kick at the same time to get the fight back down once again as the opening round comes to an end. 10-9 Bryce.

Second round starts with Mitchell landing a big overhand left twice, before shooting for a takedown. Fili sprawls expertly well and defends against it, before landing a big right-hand of his own. Fili throws a flying knee that lands well and Mitchell starting to look uncomfortable on the feet. Both men throw a right hook and Mitchell changes levels to shoot for a takedown, but Fili defends superbly against the cage. Fili coming forward now on the feet and is teeing off on Mitchell, who shoots for another takedown and this time lifts Fili and slams him down to complete it. Fili threatens with a guillotine but Mitchell stays calm and moves away from the position. Fili kicks off the cage and rolls through to get back to his feet and both men land big strikes as the round ends with Mitchell attempting a takedown and failing. 19-19.

Final round begins with Fili swinging big and looking to apply pressure, but Mitchell changes levels and gets an early takedown in the centre of the octagon. Mitchell looking to advance but Fili defending really well and manages to kick back up, but Mitchell holds onto a leg and takes him back down. Fili switches the position and ends up on top, lands a couple of shots but Mitchell gets back to his feet. Mitchell throws a big right hook that lands then goes straight back to the takedown and now starts landing short elbows and punches. Final minute of the fight and Mitchell is still on top forcing Fili to defend strikes. More ground and pound for Mitchell as he manages to stay on top for the remainder of the round and likely take the win. 29-28 Mitchell.

Uriah Hall def Anderson Silva via Knockout, Round 4 (1:24)

A very, very slow start to this fight. In the first two minutes we get a leg kick each before Silva opens up a bit more with a head kick. Silva has a leg kick checked by Hall and then decides to come forward with some punches and apply that infamous pressure against the cage. Some decent shots land but nothing that effects Hall before a stalemate in the centre of the octagon again. Two nice jabs from Hall land before Silva charges forward with a three punch combo. Big jab from Hall again keeps Silva away as the round ends. 10-9 Silva.

Another slow round from both fighters as they continue to feel each other out. Silva bouncing around on the outside while Hall is snapping his jab. Both fighters are exchanging leg kicks too but neither man doing any damage whatsoever. Hall seems hesitant to fire anything powerful and Silva seems content to just touch him. Spinning body kick from Hall connects and the two exchange jabs as the round ends. 19-19.

Silva’s footwork is moving him out of Hall’s range constantly, but he isn’t throwing nearly enough to really trouble ‘The Spider’ so far. Still lots of feeling each other out with neither fighter seeming willing to throw hands with any real venom just yet. Hall throws a right hand followed by a spinning body kick but both miss, as Silva misses with an axe kick. Left overhand lands for Silva but Hall is the one moving away on the outside now. Both guys exchange a body kick and then Silva lands a right hand that catches the eye of Hall. He comes forward with pressure now as Hall shows he’s struggling but nothing heavy lands and he recovers. Hall lands a big right hand that drops Silva! He follows up with big ground and pound but Silva grabs a leg and the round ends! Saved by the bell. 29-28 Hall.

Hall comes out more aggressive in the fourth round after the end of the previous round. Silva charged forward with a rushing one-two that completely misses and Hall lands a counter right hand that drops Silva again! He lands some huge ground and pound and the referee waves it off! Big knockout win for Uriah Hall!

UFC Vegas 12: Hall vs Silva – Prelims Predictions

The first ever Halloween card in UFC history will see the end of the career of one of the greatest fighters of all-time when Anderson Silva fights Uriah Hall in the main event.

After the fun of Fight Island, the UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas for a 12 fight card with some interesting fights including a featherweight clash between Bryce Mitchell and Andre ‘Touchy’ Fili in the co-main event.

I will break down each fighters skills and style and give my prediction for each fight, starting with the seven prelim fights.

Last weekend at UFC 254, I got 9/12 picks correct with five perfect picks. Since starting my predictions back in June, my current record stands at 145/222 total picks, with 67 perfect picks in that time. I will look to improve that this week with these picks.

EARLY PRELIMS

Miles Johns (10-1) vs Kevin Natividad (9-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Two very well rounded bantamweights are scheduled to open the card up as Kevin Natividad makes his UFC debut against Miles Johns. ‘Chapo’ won his debut in September last year, a split decision against Cole Smith before losing his last fight when he was mauled by Mario Bautista and eventually knocked out. Natividad was supposed to debut against Brian Kelleher in September but withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19. He comes into this fight on a five-fight win streak including a knockout in his most recent fight in July. Johns has the advantage in boxing and wrestling, so he probably should control where the fight takes place but Natividad has got fantastic power. If Johns employs and sticks to a game-plan to mix it up he should be able to get a decision win, but he needs to ensure he doesn’t take too many shots from a man looking to make an impression.
PICK – Miles Johns via Decision

Cortney Casey (9-8) vs Priscilla Cachoeira (9-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Cortney Casey returns for her third appearance in the octagon of 2020, after beating Maria Romero Borella before losing to Gillian Robertson a month later. Cachoeira lost her first three UFC fights, including her debut against the division champion Valentina Shevchenko but finally got herself in the win column with a knockout of Shana Dobson back in February. Casey is a solid all round fighter but has real issues with consistency, not winning back-to-back fights since back in 2016. Cachoeira however is a power puncher and nothing more. She has heavy hands but struggles on the ground and isn’t particularly fast either. Casey has the skillset to nullify her and get a win, but knowing her she’ll make it tougher than it needs to be.
PICK – Cortney Casey via Decision

PRELIMS

Dustin Jacoby (12-5) vs Justin Ledet (9-3) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A return to the Octagon for the first time since 2012 for Justin Jacoby as he takes on former heavyweight Justin Ledet. Jacoby was in the UFC previously, but consecutive defeats saw him leave the company without a win. Ledet started at 3-0 in the heavyweight division but then moved down to 205lbs and has been battered ever since. He was dominated by Aleksandar Rakic, KO’d in 15 seconds by Johnny Walker and then beaten convincingly by Aleksa Camur back in January. Jacoby went into kickboxing after leaving Bellator and had lots of success before returning to MMA in 2019. Ledet is a talented boxer but his output is poor and he gets hit far too easily for someone who relies on striking. Jacoby should be able to use his kickboxing skills to control the fight and pick up a pretty comfortable win.
PICK – Dustin Jacoby via Decision

Cole Williams (11-2) vs Jason Witt (17-6) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

This is a fight that in all honesty has no business on a UFC card. Both guys have had decent regional careers but when they entered the UFC, albeit on short notice, were both trounced in no time by specialists of their craft. Williams was submitted in the first round by Claudio Silva back in August, while Witt was knocked out in under a minute by Takashi Sato in June. Both guys are well-rounded but not to a particularly high level and it’s tough to predict who will come out on top. Williams has the slightly sharper striking skills but is also now 36 years old having fought just three times in the last three years. Witt has been much more active with 12 fights since January 2017 and has a decent submission game in his arsenal. It won’t be the most memorable of fights, but I think Witt has enough about him to get another tap out on his record.
PICK – Jason Witt via Submission, Round 2

Sean Strickland (20-3) vs Jack Marshman (23-9) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An exciting fight between ‘Tarzan’ Sean Strickland and Wales’ Jack Marshman who steps in on short-notice for Wellington Turman, who tested positive for COVID-19. Strickland has fought some of the best welterweights around, losing to Kamaru Usman and Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos but beating Court McGee and Nordine Taleb but this is his first fight since 2018 and first fight at 185lbs since 2014. Marshman is a powerful striker but has lost four of his last six fights in the UFC, including his last bout against Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC 239. On the feet the fight is close, with Strickland’s reach advantage likely to give him the edge but on the ground it’s as one-sided as can be. Strickland has good submission skills and great wrestling so I think he uses the jab to get in on a takedown and gets a quick submission on his return to the cage.
PICK – Sean Strickland via Submission, Round 1

Adrian Yanez (11-3) vs Victor Rodriguez (7-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

This could be a blowout. Adrian Yanez is arguably the hottest prospect in the 135lbs division, with unbelievable boxing and hand power coming up against a short-notice opponent in Victor Rodriguez who hasn’t got much to show for his record. Yanez demolished his opponent on Dana White’s Contender Series in just 39 seconds and Rodriguez is so easy to hit that this might as well be an exhibition fight to show off Yanez’s skills. A highlight right hand lands in the first round and turns out the lights of ‘Vicious’ early.
PICK – Adrian Yanez via Knockout, Round 1

Chris Gruetzmacher (14-3) vs Alexander Hernandez (11-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

This is another fight that seems like a bit of a mismatch on the card as Chris ‘Gritz’ Gruetzmacher takes on Alexander ‘The Great’ Hernandez. Hernandez was one of the top prospects in the division until he was smashed by Donald Cerrone and has since struggled to gain momentum, beating Francisco Trinaldo but then being knocked out by Drew Dober. ‘Gritz’ has also lost two of his last three, being submitted by Chas Skelly and Davi Ramos in 2017 before winning his last fight against Joe Lauzon in 2018. Hernandez is the better striker, better grappler, more physical fighter and more skilled fighter. Hernandez isn’t really a finisher and ‘Gritz’ has never been knocked out before but so I expect ‘The Great’ to dominate the fight wherever it goes for the full 15 minutes to get himself back in the win column.
PICK – Alexander Hernandez via Decision