Tag Archives: Steve Garcia

UFC Vegas 63: Kattar vs Allen – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas for a featherweight clash in the main event between Calvin Kattar and Arnold Allen in a potential title eliminator.

Both guys are coming off great wins last time out and will be hoping to put their case forward for a shot against Alex Volkanovski in 2023.

There’s a pretty good undercard to go off too in comparison to recent weeks, so it’s a good set of fights to look forward to.

Last time out at UFC 280 we went 8/12 with four perfect picks to move to 749/1166 (64.58%) with 317 perfect picks (42.1%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.


Christian Rodriguez (7-1) vs Joshua Weems (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An interesting bantamweight fight opens the card here. Rodriguez made his UFC debut back in February but was on the wrong side of a decision against Jonathan Pearce, while Weems makes his promotional debut in this one on a two-fight win streak via submissions.

Weems is a terrific grappler with a fantastic submission game, but he almost never uses it offensively and instead waits for his opponents to try and take him down before latching onto their neck or arm. He’s a brawler outside of that and it always makes for exciting bouts. Rodriguez on the other hand is a more steady boxer with good combinations and a decent low kick too, while his defensive grappling and offensive wrestling are decent too.

Both of these guys are unlikely to pull up any trees in the UFC any time soon, but Rodriguez certainly has more to his game. Weems is likely to come in as usual quite aggressively, and I expect Rodriguez to deal with that relatively easily with his jab and footwork. He’s got decent finishing power and with a really short-notice build for this for Weems, he could secure a late finish if he stays sharp and focus throughout.
PICK – Christian Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 2

Cody Durden (13-4-1) vs Carlos Mota (8-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Flyweights going at it next in a fun bout. Durden was submitted by Muhammad Mokaev in just 58 seconds back in March, but rebounded from that with a 68 second knockout win over JP Buys in June most recently. Mota makes his UFC debut in this one having won his last two in a row via first-round knockouts.

Durden is an excellent wrestler with great top control and some nasty ground and pound to go with it, while his improvements in the striking department are noted too. Mota is a super aggressive and brilliant striker with a phenomenal body attack and great power that has earned him four knockout wins in his career to date. The longer this stays standing it will suit the Brazilian, and Durden has got a habit of fading as we get later into the fight.

With that said though, Durden’s wrestling and experience at this level should be enough to win at least two rounds. Mota is a good scrambler but Durden doesn’t often need multiple takedowns to gain control, but he has it in his toolbox to do that. I expect him to win both the first two rounds with his wrestling and top game, before surviving a late comeback from Mota to earn the decision win.
PICK – Cody Durden via Decision



Chase Hooper (11-2-1) vs Steve Garcia (12-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Another fun bout this time in the featherweight division to close out this portion of the card. Hooper was super highly rated in the UFC but is now 2-2 in his last four, alternating losses to Alex Caceres (UFC 250) and Steven Peterson (UFC 263) with wins over Peter Barrett (UFC 256) and Felipe Colares most recently. Garcia on the other hand is 1-2 in the UFC, losing to Luis Pena, before beating Charlie Ontiveros and then losing most recently to Maheshate at UFC 275 in the first round.

Hooper is a grappling wizard on the ground with supreme technical skills in jiu-jitsu, who leaves a lot to be desired in the realm of striking on the feet. Garcia on the other hand is a striker who relies a lot on his power, but often overthrows and finds himself in trouble as he isn’t the most durable man on the roster. With that said, Hooper will be licking his lips at this match-making.

Garcia really struggles to control distance on the feet and if he gets too close and allows Hooper to grab him, this will likely end up on the mat. There he is basically in the ocean with a shark, as Hooper will control him relatively easily and likely cave his head in until the referee steps in to call it a day.
PICK – Chase Hooper via Knockout, Round 2

UFC 275: Teixeira vs Prochazka – Prelims predictions

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

UFC Vegas 39: Dern vs Rodriguez – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex once again this weekend for a strawweight main event that could decide the next title contender for the division.

Mackenzie Dern looks to continue her win streak when she goes up against Marina Rodriguez in the main event, with both women aware that a win could pit them against the winner of Rose Namajunas vs Weili Zhang 2 at UFC 268 next month.

Elsewhere on the card is a fun welterweight clash between Randy Brown and Jared Gooden, while there is also an exciting flyweight fight between Tim Elliott and Matheus Nicolau as well as the return of heavyweight Alexandr Romanov.

Last week at UFC Vegas 38, we went 7/11 on picks with just one perfect pick to move us up to 428/670 (63.88%) with 184 perfect picks (42.99%).

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


Steve Garcia (11-4) vs Charlie Ontiveros (11-7) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

An interesting fight to start off the card as two fighters who lost their UFC debuts clash here. Garcia made his UFC debut in February 2020 against Luis Pena, while Ontiveros is a previous welterweight who made his debut at middleweight and got slammed to defeat by Kevin Holland last year at UFC Vegas 12.

Garcia is a natural featherweight who has decided to stick around at lightweight for now, with good striking volume and decent power. Ontiveros is another with great strength in the striking department. Both have been absolutely battered on the ground in the past and that means this should be a fun, stand-up affair.

With that said though, it’s unlikely to last very long. Between them they have had 33 professional fights and only one of them has taken place at lightweight before but further to that, Ontiveros has been KO’d SEVEN times in his career. This doesn’t stand to go better for him, with Garcia powerful enough to fold him early.
PICK – Steve Garcia via Knockout, Round 1

Lupita Godinez (5-1) vs Silvana Gomez Juarez (10-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A short-notice strawweight bout here as ‘Loopy’ takes on debutant Silvana Gomez Juarez. Godinez suffered a split-decision loss on her debut to Jessica Penne back in April, while Juarez is on a three-fight win streak as she makes her UFC debut.

Godinez is a striker first with some decent grappling in her back pocket too, but lots of volume and a great gas tank. Juarez is a brilliant striker on the other hand, with a brilliant boxing stance and even a 4-0 professional boxing record. She is a cardio machine with good power and great cardio too, even though she is 37.

Juarez has the edge on the feet and Godinez really needs to make this an ugly fight to get the win. Short-notice helps her, but Juarez was due to fight next week anyway on the Contender Series so it’s not a massive factor. However the grappling is a big factor for Godinez and I think she’ll be able to control from the top to grind out a decision.
PICK – Lupita Godinez via Decision

Charles Rosa (14-5) vs Damon Jackson (18-4-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very interesting grapple-heavy bout in the featherweight division up next. Rosa has alternated wins and losses ever since joining the UFC in 2014, beating Justin Jaynes most recently at UFC Vegas 30. Jackson is 1-1 in the UFC, beating Mirsad Bektic at UFC Vegas 11 before defeat last time out against Ilia Topuria at UFC Vegas 16.

Rosa is a solid submission artist with eight tap-out wins in his career but some really poor takedown defence. Jackson is also a brilliant grappler and one of the premiere back-takers in the UFC, with 14 submission wins in his career. His top control game is really, really good and if Rosa leaves any limbs dangling then Jackson will take them.

Jackson has been KO’d three times in his career and Rosa is a decent enough striker to land some clean shots and hurt him, but overall the defensive takedown struggles of Rosa lead me to believe that Jackson will be able to get on top and control for a win.
PICK – Damon Jackson via Decision

Alexandr Romanov (14-0) vs Jared Vanderaa (12-5) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A heavyweight banger coming up as the undefeated Romanov returns to the cage to take on Vanderaa. Romanov has run through opponents in the UFC until he came up against Juan Espino, with the fight ending in a technical decision after a low blow saw the fight ended early. Vanderaa got a win the last time out when he beat Justin Tafa back in May, taking his UFC record to 1-1.

Romanov is an absolute monster with the wrestling, who just charges forward with a takedown and dominates on the ground with pure aggression. Vanderaa is a fighter with decent striking and some good cardio, but considering he’s a heavyweight he doesn’t have the most power in the world. He is the cleaner and more technical fighter in this bout, but Vanderaa likes to clinch up and get inside on his opponent which plays into the strengths of Romanov.

Unfortunately for Vanderaa, that is just not ideal. Romanov will find a way to get the fight down to the ground early and do plenty of damage with strikes and submission attempts, before probably getting a finish.
PICK – Alexandr Romanov via Submission, Round 1

Chris Gutierrez (16-3-2) vs Felipe Colares (10-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Banger in the bantamweight division steps into the place of the featured prelim bout in this one. Gutierrez is unbeaten in his last five with four wins and a draw, beating Andre Ewell at UFC 258 most recently, while Colares has alternated wins and losses in his last four with a win over Luke Sanders at UFC Vegas 25 last time out.

Gutierrez is a decent wrestler who is one of the best leg kickers in the entire company, with a large percentage of his strikes in all his fights being leg kicks. Colares on the other hand is a solid striker with some decent jiu-jitsu, but his takedown defence is lacking and often his weakness. Gutierrez is often someone who works at quite a slow pace, which could work against him in this one because Colares is quick and super durable.

That said though, Gutierrez has the advantage in the wrestling and has the advantage in the striking which means Colares will need to catch a kick to get him down. That’s unlikely and I think Gutierrez will be able to piece him up from range and do lots of damage with the leg kicks for a decision win.
PICK – Chris Gutierrez via Decision