Tag Archives: Sergei Pavlovich

UFC 277: Pena vs Nunes 2 – Main card predictions

The most anticipated women’s MMA rematch of all time as Julianna Pena defends her bantamweight title for the first time against Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 in the main event.

Pena completed one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport last time out, and now she looks to prove it wasn’t a fluke by beating her again.

In the co-main event we also have an interim flyweight title fight as former champion Brandon Moreno takes on Kai Kara-France in a rematch of their own, with the winner setting themselves up to take on injured champion Deiveson Figueiredo once he’s healthy.

Last time out at UFC London we had great fun live at the event, and we had a decent night with our picks too. We went 9/14 with five perfect picks to move to 673/1046 (64.34%) with 289 perfect picks (42.94%). You can check out our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that record here and after starting with the early prelims and then moving on to the rest of the prelims, here are the main card picks.


Magomed Ankalaev (17-1) vs Anthony Smith (36-16) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An absolute banger in the light heavyweight division opens up the main card in this one. Ankalaev is one a mission to the title, and is on an 8-fight win streak currently with a win over Thiago Santos last time out in an underwhelming main event. Smith on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak after stopping Devin Clark, Jimmy Crute (UFC 261) and Ryan Spann in his last bout.

Ankalaev is an absolute demon wherever the fight goes, with brilliant striking and kickboxing to go with his one-punch power and dominant wrestling skills. Smith is a former golden gloves boxing champion who also has great kicks and is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Stylistically this is a really fun fight, but Ankalaev just seems to have an edge wherever this fight goes.

On the feet his slow pacing usually means he is able to pick and choose when to hurt his opponent, while his explosive and masterful wrestling means Ankalaev always has another option if his striking isn’t working. His top game is solid too, which should be enough to neutralise Smith’s jiu-jitsu if it gets there. With that said, I expect the fight to stay standing and while Smith will come forward plenty Ankalaev should be able to pick him off and claim a win on the scorecards.
PICK – Magomed Ankalaev via Decision

Alexandre Pantoja (24-5) vs Alex Perez (24-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An amazing flyweight fight next between two guys who could easily be in the title fight happening later in the night. Pantoja has won his last two with a decision over Manel Kape at UFC Vegas 18 before a submission win against Brandon Royval last time out. Perez hasn’t fought since UFC 255 where he was stopped by Deiveson Figueiredo in the first-round of his flyweight title shot.

Pantoja is a brilliant striker on the feet who uses great counters and excellent low kicks, while also having brilliant grappling skills on the mat too. Perez on the other hand is a very impressive grappler with fantastic cardio and submission skills, earning seven wins via tap out in his career. The issue here is he’s matched in that department by Pantoja, and he’s more than bettered on the feet.

“The Cannibal” will stay patient and his lack of output could be a problem in the early rounds on the feet, but he will be confident of being able to land bigger and better in the striking while also holding his own in the grappling. It’ll be a fast-paced, fun fight and I expect Pantoja to claim the victory on the judges’ scorecards.
PICK – Alexandre Pantoja via Decision

Derrick Lewis (26-9) vs Sergei Pavlovich (15-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Big boys take centre stage once again in this heavyweight banger. Derrick Lewis has gone 2-2 in his last four, earning KO wins over Curtis Blaydes (UFC Vegas 19) and Chris Daukaus (UFC Vegas 45) and losing to Ciryl Gane (UFC 265) and Tai Tuivasa (UFC 271) most recently. Pavlovich has won his last three all via first-round knockout, beating Marcelo Golm, Maurice Greene and Shamil Abdurakhimov.

Lewis is your traditional heavyweight who has limited skills but incredible power, with the most knockout wins in UFC history. His takedown defence has improved but on his back he relies on explosiveness rather technique to get back up. Pavlovich is a savage with great knockout power too, earning 12 KO wins from 15 career victories. Power for power Lewis will win, but Pavlovich has more than just power.

The Russian has got solid kicks, is a decent wrestler and also has power in the hands. Pavlovich has got a reach advantage and Lewis hasn’t looked himself in recent fights, looking unmotivated and less powerful (?). That said, he’s easily the best fighter Pavlovich has ever fought. This is a fight he should win, but don’t be surprised if he gets put down again.
PICK – Derrick Lewis via Knockout, Round 2



Brandon Moreno (19-6-2) vs Kai Kara-France (24-9) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An interim title fight in the flyweight division up next in a rematch from 2019. Moreno is 1-1-1 in his last three all against Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 256, UFC 263 and UFC 270 where he won the title then lost it again. Kara-France has been on a tear winning three in a row, KO’ing Rogerio Bontorin (UFC 259) and Cody Garbrandt (UFC 269) and then earning a decision over Askar Askarov back in March.

Moreno is a superbly well-rounded fighter, with much improved striking and an elite grappling game on the ground where he also has brilliant scrambles to get back up to the feet when he gets taken down. Kara-France is a striker with great power in his hands, but he proved against Askarov that he’s got excellent wrestling defence and good grappling skills too. This is a super fun match up stylistically but I would be quite surprised to see Kara-France come out on top, especially after the way their first fight went.

Moreno controlled him the first time around and his grappling is still just as good, but his striking is much improved in that time. Kara-France has also improved since that first fight but the level of competition and lack of five-round experience goes against him in comparison to Moreno. The Mexican is one of the most durable fighters in flyweight history and his grappling game is a huge advantage in this fight. It will be 25 minutes of hell and excitement, but Moreno gets the belt at the end of it.
PICK – Brandon Moreno via Decision

Julianna Pena (12-4) vs Amanda Nunes (21-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

We’re running it back this weekend after the biggest upset in the history of the sport last time. Pena made it two wins in a row at UFC 269 when she submitted Nunes in the second-round to win the belt, ending the “Lioness”‘s 12-fight win streak.

Nunes is the best ever for a reason. She has abnormal punching power on the feet, is a tremendous boxer with great combinations and has the ability to wrestle and submit opponents with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to her name too. Pena on the other hand is a jiu-jitsu fighter with good wrestling herself and she looks to secure top position and work from there. What she showed in the first fight though was a willingness to get in Nunes’ face to wear her out.

Pena will likely try to do the same again. She’ll use that jab effectively before looking to secure a takedown, but Nunes will be more patient. She won the first round comfortably before getting carried away in the second and chasing the finish. I doubt she does that again and eventually the leg kicks and power punches will add up and the GOAT will reclaim her throne with a finish to set up a trilogy.
PICK – Amanda Nunes via Knockout, Round 3

UFC London: Volkov vs Aspinall – Prelims predictions

After a three year absence the UFC returns to London and the O2 Arena for a huge UFC London fight card, headlined by heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall.

A stacked card will see the two heavyweights competing to get title contention with a win, while we’ll also see the likes of Arnold Allen take on Dan Hooker, Paddy Pimblett makes his UK return while Jack Shore, Nathaniel Wood and Muhammad Mokaev also compete too.

In case you’re unaware, we’ve done a list of five things you must not miss from this card too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 50 we went 11/14 with three perfect picks to move to 568/879 (64.62%) with 241 perfect picks (42.43%). You can see our full record here.

We’ll look to improve that record here and after starting with the early prelims, we round off our prelims picks here.


Jack Shore (15-0) vs Timur Valiev (18-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Arguably the fight of the night, so no idea why this is all the way down the card like this. Shore is an undefeated talent with a perfect 15-0 record, earning a dominant decision win over Liudvik Sholinian at UFC Vegas 36 most recently while Valiev earned a mightily impressive win over Raoni Barcelos at UFC Vegas 30 in his most recent outing to make it eight wins in his last nine bouts.

Shore is a technical kickboxer with some solid top game too with excellent jiu-jitsu skills too, while Valiev is a speedy striker who has really strong wrestling skills too and has fought a better level of competition. This is an incredibly close match up stylistically and in terms of their current level and could really go either way.

Valiev has the speed edge on the feet and his wrestling is usually good enough to dictate where the bout goes, but Shore will pressure him hard and if he gets on top the likelihood is the round ends with a finish or with him still in that position. Valiev has shown an ability to get KO’d in the past and while Shore doesn’t have that one-punch power himself, the ground-and-pound game will come in handy to secure him a late finish.
PICK – Jack Shore via Knockout, Round 3

Nikita Krylov (27-8) vs Paul Craig (15-4-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A big light heavyweight banger up next as ‘BearJew’ makes a return to the octagon. Krylov has alternated defeats and losses in the UFC with losses against Jan Blachowicz, Glover Teixeira and Magomed Ankalaev most recently at UFC Vegas 20 while he earned wins against Ovince St Preux and Johnny Walker. Craig hasn’t fought since UFC 263, where he smashes Jamahal Hill and got a nasty TKO after pulling guard and dislocating his elbow.

Krylov is a solid offensive fighter with good kickboxing skills, good power in his hands and a decent ground game too. Craig on the other hand is a highly-skilled Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and while he has powerful striking, his home is on the mat. Krylov will want to keep this fight standing as much as possible, but Craig should look to bring it down quickly.

On the feet, Krylov is the more crisp striker and he has got 15 submission wins in his career from the top position but he’s also been defeated five times via tap out. Craig will likely get clipped on the feet, pull guard and eventually work his way to an armbar for yet another brilliant submission win..
PICK – Paul Craig via Submission, Round 2



Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-6) vs Sergei Pavlovich (14-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweights step up to the plate in this prelim bout between a veteran and a prospect among the big men. Abdurakhimov returned after two-years away to get stomped by Chris Daukaus at UFC 266 last time out, while Pavlovich is on a two-fight win streak but hasn’t fought since October 2019.

‘Abrek’ is a grinding wrestler, with a great sambo background and dominant top game looking to wear on his opponents on the mat. Pavlovich on the other hand is a heavy-handed striker with tremendous power, but some takedown defence issues make this a hard fight to call. Abdurakhimov is happy to take a punch or three to close the distance and get hold of his opponent, but those punches could see the end of the night early on.

Pavlovich’s path to victory is clear; avoid takedowns and strike with speed and power. If he can keep this on the feet then I expect him to land enough clean shots to end this one early and while Abdurakhimov will try hard for the takedown I think he gets dropped on the way in before a quick finish.
PICK – Sergei Pavlovich via Knockout, Round 1

Mike Grundy (12-3) vs Makwan Amirkhani (16-7) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun featherweight scrap rounds off the prelims section of the card between two European fighters. Grundy is on a two-fight losing streak, dropping decisions against Movsar Evloev and then most recently Lando Vannatta at UFC 262. Amirkhani on the other hand has lost each of his last three, dropping decisions against Edson Barboza and Kamuela Kirk before getting KO’d by Lerone Murphy at UFC 267 most recently.

Grundy is a freestyle wrestler, who looks to use pressure and a big right hand on the feet to set up his takedowns. Amirkhani is a brilliant wrestler also, with excellent submission skills but just about two rounds of cardio in the bank. If it goes to the ground, it’s all about how long they’re there for and who’s on top.

If Amirkhani is on top, then I expect him to be able to work the position before finding a neck or an arm and getting a submission win. If Grundy is on top he will look to wear on Amirkhani and start using big ground and pound on the mat to do damage. With their skills matched up, I’m going to go with the cardio and home crowd advantage of Grundy to drag him through and earn him the victory.
PICK – Mike Grundy via Decision