Tag Archives: Tabatha Ricci

UFC Vegas 55: Holm vs Vieira – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas for UFC Vegas 55, headlined by women’s bantamweight contenders Holly Holm and Ketlen Vieira.

In a rather underwhelming card, there is a banger of a co-main event on display though in the welterweight division when fan favourites Santiago Ponzinibbio and Michel Pereira clash in a ranked bout.

Last week at UFC Vegas 54 we went 6/11 on the night with three perfect picks, moving our total to 628/976 (64.34%) with 268 perfect picks (42.68%). You can check out our total picks chart in detail here.

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


Eryk Anders (14-6) vs Junyong Park (13-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An interesting middleweight scrap opens up the main card here. Anders picked up a big win over Darren Stewart back at UFC 263, but then had his arm ripped off by Andre Muniz at UFC 269 in no time at all last time out. Park picked up a good win over Tafon Nchukwi at UFC Vegas 10, before getting stopped by Gregory Rodrigues in the second round in his last bout.

Anders is a solid wrestler with some good straight punches, but his durability in the past has been questioned and his cardio has never been the greatest. Park is a super steady fighter with a solid all-round game, although none of his attributes really stand out among others. This is likely to be a pretty steady fight with both guys waiting for the other to move first.

Because of that, I expect Park’s fundamentals to get him the win. He has good variety in his attacks, has good wrestling and his straight cardio usually holds up so expect him to pick up an underwhelming decision victory.
PICK – Junyong Park via Decision

Polyana Viana (12-4) vs Tabatha Ricci (6-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Strawweights go head-to-head in this main card scrap. Viana snapped a three fight losing streak when she submitted Emily Whitmire via first-round armbar at UFC Vegas 8, then did the same to Mallory Martin in her last bout at UFC 258 too. Ricci got stopped in her UFC debut by Manon Fiorot at UFC Vegas 28, but got back in the win column against Maria Oliveira at UFC Vegas 41.

Viana is an excellent grappler with brilliant submissions off her back and on top, while her striking is pretty solid too earning her four knockout wins in the past. Ricci will walk forward to try and blitz strikes before clinching and looking for a takedown herself, so where this bout ends up will be pivotal to the result. Whoever is on top will have the greater success, with both women Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts.

Ricci’s awkward striking makes me lean towards Viana though. Viana has a big size advantage for height and reach, but she does struggle technically with her striking. But the size should be enough to avoid any strikes and clinches with the judoka and lots of scrambles, but I think Viana should be able to get on top and control position enough for a win.
PICK – Polyana Viana via Decision

Chidi Njokuani (21-7) vs Dusko Todorovic (11-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Another middleweight scrap here between two guys who know how to bang. Njokuani is on a three-fight win streak including a violent knockout win over Marc-Andre Barriault in just 16 seconds back in February. Todorovic snapped a two-fight losing skid with a first-round knockout win over Maki Pitolo in his last bout back at UFC Vegas 44.

Njokuani is a powerhouse with fantastic hand speed and great striking, while he has got decent wrestling in his back pocket too. Todorovic is a former Serbian grappling world champion, but loves to step forward and use his kickboxing although his defensive striking is pretty poor. Todorovic tends to stand up straight and with Njokuani’s hand speed, that makes the target bigger and easier to hit.

Both of these fighters are strong in the stand up and steady in the grappling, able to mix it up well so where this fight goes will be interesting. But with that said, the lack of head movement from Todorovic and his willingness to move backwards will open up the chance for ‘Bang Bang’ to land a nasty combination that turns the lights out.
PICK – Chidi Njokuani via Knockout, Round 2



Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-5) vs Michel Pereira (27-11) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Fight of the night, bar none, without question. Ponzinibbio once upon a time was a serious contender at welterweight, but a long injury layoff saw him miss several years and he’s returned to mixed fortunes. He was flatlined by Li Jingliang at UFC Fight Island 7, before earning a brilliant win over Miguel Baeza at UFC Vegas 28. Last time out though, he was beaten by Geoff Neal at UFC 269. Pereira on the other hand is on a four-fight win streak, with impressive decision wins against Niko Price (UFC 264) and Andre Fialho (UFC 270) most recently.

Ponzinibbio is a stud striker with great boxing and superb power in his hands, while his kicks are among the best in the division even today. Pereira is one of the wildest fighters in UFC history, pulling off capoeira techniques including back flips and spinning attacks to go with his incredible dynamic power and excellent grappling. This fight has got fireworks written all over it.

Pereira will likely lean on his grappling in this fight quite heavily, because a firefight with Ponzinibbio is a huge risk he just doesn’t have to take. After a few initial blitzes and exchanges, expect Pereira to change levels and get a takedown to control him on the ground in order to save his energy for any blitzes that he needs in the latter rounds.
PICK – Michel Pereira via Submission, Round 3

Holly Holm (14-5) vs Ketlen Vieira (12-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Main event time as the former champion returns to the cage. Holm has won her last two, defeating Raquel Pennington and Irene Aldana via decision but hasn’t fought since October 2020. Vieira on the other hand picked up a huge win over Miesha Tate back in Novemeber to put her name firmly on the map, claiming a unanimous decision win.

Holm is one of the best pure strikers in women’s MMA history, using a karate style and kickboxing skills that secured her several world championships outside of the UFC. Her kicks are remarkable and her footwork excellent, but her volume is sometimes lacking and her power isn’t what it once was. Vieira on the other hand has shown great improvement in her striking recently, but it’s the grappling where her bread gets buttered and she will be looking to get this fight to the ground ASAP.

Vieira absolutely needs this fight on the mat to win. Holm is so good with her striking and movement that she can piece her up on the feet, and her defensive grappling has been solid in the past. But Vieira is the best grappler she’s faced probably and it’ll be tough, especially now that she’s 40. With that said, her style suits this match up favourably and she should claim a decision win quite comfortably.
PICK – Holly Holm via Decision

UFC Vegas 41: Costa vs Vettori – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex once again for UFC Vegas 41 this weekend as Paulo Costa takes on Marvin Vettori in the middleweight division.

The Brazilian is looking to earn some respect back following his excuses and defeat to Israel Adesanya, while Vettori is looking to finally get that marquee name on his resume following his most recent defeat to… Israel Adesanya.

It’s not the most stacked card this week in name value, but there are some very fun fights on the card that we’ll look to predict.

Last week at UFC Vegas 40 we struggled at went 5/10 with zero perfect picks, moving us to 439/689 (63.72%) with 187 perfect picks (42.6%) since June 2020.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims picks, we complete our prelim picks here.


Jamie Pickett (11-6) vs Laureano Staropoli (9-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very fun middleweight scrap continues the prelims of the card here. Jamie Pickett has lost his last two, dropping a decision to Tafon Nchukwi at UFC Vegas 17 before getting stopped by Jordan Wright at UFC 262. Staropoli has lost his last three via decision, with the most recent coming against Roman Dolidze at UFC Vegas 28.

Pickett is powerful puncher with some decent kicks, but he struggles to use his length to its maximum potential. Staropoli is a brawler who likes to march his opponents down and use his strong boxing and decent power on the inside to overpower opponents. The issue for the Argentine however is that he’s a natural welterweight and was way undersized at middleweight last time out.

His last five fights have gone the distance, but stylistically he is a nightmare for Pickett. ‘The Night Wolf’ likes to take his time to pick his shots and fight on the front foot, but Staropoli will come forward and force him onto the back foot with his pressure. For that, I think Staropoli can outwork him and earn a late finish.
PICK – Laureano Staropoli via Knockout, Round 3

Tabatha Ricci (5-1) vs Maria Oliveira (12-4) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

An interesting fight in the strawweight division between two women looking for their first UFC wins. Ricci fought Manon Fiorot in her UFC debut on super short notice and got KO’d at UFC Vegas 28, while Oliveira makes her organisation debut on a two-fight win streak.

Ricci is a jiu-jitsu black belt with really good submission and grappling skills, but obviously we haven’t seen it at the elite level. Oliveira on the other hand is an okay striker on the feet but is very lengthy, with a non-existent ground game.

It’s a much nicer match-up for Ricci in this one than her debut and while Oliveira is talented, her record is as padded as they come. She doesn’t really have the greatest of KO power and Ricci should be confident enough to come forward and tie her up to get her to the mat. Once it gets there, it’s all about survival for Oliveira and I don’t think she lasts too long.
PICK – Tabatha Ricci via Submission, Round 1



Mason Jones (10-1) vs David Onama (8-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A really exciting fight between two prospects at 155lbs on short notice in this one. Mason Jones bounced back from his first defeat against Mike Davis at UFC Fight Island 8 with a great performance against Alan Patrick, where an accidental eye-poke made it a no contest. Onama on the other hand is an unbeaten fighter with all eight wins coming via finish and steps in on less than a week’s notice.

Jones is a phenomenal athlete, who likes to stand and strike with his opponent but also with great grappling to fall back on too while Onana is an absolute powerhouse of a man with power and good fighting instincts on the ground too. Despite his short career, he looks ready for this step up and with more time and a better match up he’d have a great chance of making an impression.

Unfortunately for him, his debut comes against someone who is relentless and more experienced. Jones will look to overwhelm Onama and with his experience, wrestling and power of his own he should prove too much for the debutant as the fight goes on.
PICK – Mason Jones via Decision

Junyong Park (13-4) vs Gregory Rodrigues (10-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Another fun middleweight scrap is the featured prelim bout on the card. Park is on a three-fight win streak with a dominant grappling and ground and pound display against Tafon Nchukwi last time out at UFC Vegas 26. Rodrigues on the other hand has also won his last three, with a decision win over Dusko Todorovic in his debut at UFC Vegas 28 most recently.

Park is a well-rounded fighter, with tight striking and some solid wrestling to go with his violent ground and pound. Rodrigues is a supremely powerful fighter with brilliant wrestling and jiu-jitsu too, boasting four submissions and four knockouts in is career.

Rodrigues has the power to finish, but Park is very good at defending himself and pushing forward. Unfortunately, he hates being on his back and being out-matched in the wrestling department doesn’t bode too well for him. Both guys have the power to land and hurt the other, but I think Rodrigues’ control from the top will earn him a decision win.
PICK – Gregory Rodrigues via Decision