The UFC heads to Singapore for only the fifth time ever for UFC 275 this weekend as we’re treated to two huge title fights in the main events.
Glover Teixeira will defend the light heavyweight title for the first time when he takes on Jiri Prochazka in the headline fight, while Valentina Shevchenko will defend her flyweight title for the seventh time against first-time challenger Taila Santos.
We’ll also see the hotly anticipated rematch between Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk as well as the likes of Manel Kape, Brendan Allen and Andre Fialho competing too.
We come into this card after a small break from picks. We sit at 634/987 (64.24%) with 272 perfect picks (42.9%) and you can see our total picks list here.
We’ll try to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims, we move on to the rest of the prelims now.
Brendan Allen (18-5) vs Jacob Malkoun (6-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Banger in the middleweight division. Allen recovered from a shock KO defeat to Chris Curtis at UFC Vegas 44 by earning a submission win over Sam Alvey most recently after clubbing him to the mat first. Malkoun has bounced back from a horror debut that saw him KO’d in 18 seconds by Phil Hawes at UFC 254 by earning back-to-back wins over Abdul Razak Alhassan and AJ Dobson most recently at UFC 271.
Allen is exactly what his nickname suggests – “All In”. He is a brilliant grappler on the mat with a fearsome top game and nasty submission skills that have earned him ten wins via tap out, but he is also capable of standing and striking with good combinations and power. Malkoun on the other hand is very similar to teammate Robert Whittaker, with excellent range management and kickboxing skills as well as good wrestling to hold opponents down and control fights.
Malkoun will likely try to recreate his two wins with ground control and lots of risk averse tactics, but Allen is by far the best fighter he’s faced. Allen should be able to control the striking with his size advantage and pressure, and in the grappling department I’d expect Allen to have the advantage anyway whether it’s getting back up to his feet or keeping Malkoun down. Expect fast pace and a mix of attacks for Allen to earn another victory.
PICK – Brendan Allen via Decision
Maheshate (6-1) vs Steve Garcia (12-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
Lightweight prospects go head-to-head in this one. Maheshate is on a six-fight win streak after earning a UFC contract with a win on Dana White’s Contender Series, while Garcia got the only UFC win of his career last time out when he KO’d Charlie Ontiveros.
Maheshate is a fighter who is at his most effective from long-range, using kicks and straight punches to keep distance and avoid damage while inflicting some of his own. Garcia on the other hand is well-rounded but tends to use aggressive strikes to move forward and close distance, while he has mixed in wrestling in previous fights too. This is a huge step up in competition for Maheshate and he will likely stick to what he knows, which is quick counters and point scoring.
For Garcia he has proven vulnerable to counters in the past, but his chin has never let him down to date and Maheshate isn’t the heaviest puncher out there. He should be able to walk through a couple to mix in his wrestling and use his aggression to catch the eyes of the judges a claim a decision win.
PICK – Steve Garcia via Decision
Seungwoo Choi (10-4) vs Josh Culibao (9-1-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
Featherweight banger up next between a very good Asian prospect and one of Australia’s best. Choi earned three wins in a row in the UFC before his last fight against Alex Caceres ended in a second-round submission defeat. Culibao alternatively got back on the winning horse last time out with a unanimous decision win over Nuerdanbieke Shayilan after a loss and a draw in the two fights prior.
Choi is an excellent striker who uses straights, hooks and uppercuts really well but often is guilty of headhunting regularly rather than mixing up the point of attacks. Culibao is also a talented striker, but he is more open to mixing in wrestling attacks to make up for a lack of one-punch power in the octagon. Both have improved since their initial signing with the organisation, but this seems to be a more favourable fight for Choi.
He has a big advantage in reach and height and Culibao’s wrestling against Charles Jourdain really saw him fail to implement his game plan. Choi isn’t the greatest wrestler either, but he’ll feel as if he has the advantage and could look to tie up and grapple every time Culibao closes the distance. It’ll be a fun stand-up battle for the most part, but Choi should claim the win on the cards.
PICK – Seungwoo Choi via Decision