Tag Archives: Thiago Santos

UFC Vegas 50: Santos vs Ankalaev – Main card predictions

After a banger of a pay-per-view card last weekend the UFC returns to their APEX in Las Vegas for a big light heavyweight headline fight card as Thiago Santos takes on Magomed Ankalaev in the main event.

The 205-pound division is wide open at the top end and a big win for either man could see them enter title contention in the very near future.

We’ll also see Marlon Moraes take on Song Yadong in a bantamweight co-main event, while the likes of Drew Dober, Terrance McKinney, Miranda Maverick and Alex Pereira competing too in a sneakily stacked card.

Last time out at UFC 272 we went 9/13 with four perfect picks to move to 557/865 (64.39%) with 238 perfect picks (42.73%) with our picks.

We’ll look to improve on that going forward and after starting with the early prelims on this 14-fight card here and then rounding off our prelims picks here, we move to our main card picks now.


Alex Pereira (4-1) vs Bruno Silva (22-6) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Someone is going to sleep in this middleweight bout to open the main card. Alex Pereira made his UFC debut at UFC 269 and scored a huge flying knee knockout, while Bruno Silva is on a seven-fight win streak with KO’s in all of them including Wellington Turman at UFC Vegas 29, Andrew Sanchez at UFC Vegas 40 and Jordan Wright at UFC 269 too.

Pereira is a world class kickboxer who owns two victories over middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in his career, who has shifted to MMA to force another fight with him. His takedown defence has shown improvements, but is still a glaring weakness right now. Silva on the other hand is a brawler with dynamite in his hands, but he also has a solid ground game and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.

Someone is going to sleep. It’s that simple. Pereira is super technical and very proficient with his striking, only needing to land clean once to put your lights out, while Silva looks to make the fight wild before landing a clean strike and putting your lights out too. The grappling gives Silva a huge chance though, although I don’t expect he’ll show it much. He will look to take his head off and Pereira can kick from range and pick him off to earn a huge knockout scalp on his resume.
PICK – Alex Pereira via Knockout, Round 1

Drew Dober (23-11) vs Terrance McKinney (12-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A super short-notice bout in the lightweight division up next. Drew Dober has lost his last two fights against elite competition, getting submitted by Islam Makhachev at UFC 259 before dropping a decision to Brad Riddell at UFC 263. McKinney has made a big splash since his UFC debut, where he score a 7-second KO against Matt Frevola at UFC 263 and then earned a big win over Fares Ziam at UFC Vegas 49 just a few weeks ago. He steps in on eight days’ notice.

Dober is a hugely talented wrestler, whose entire game is based around shooting and then controlling opponents on the ground before raining down ground and pound or submissions. McKinney is a strong wrestler himself but he has serious knockout power too and is riding a huge wave of momentum right now. That said, it’s a big step up in competition for ‘T Wrecks’.

Dober’s chin has survived damage in the past, but he has been submitted in the past four times. McKinney showed in his last bout that he has submission skills and solid wrestling, which makes this fight very close on paper too. It’s hard to get a proper read on McKinney right now though, because he’s had less than half a round in the cage to date. I won’t be shocked if McKinney wins, but it will be mightily impressive. I expect Dober to wrestle defensively and use his striking on the feet to earn a good win, especially with the short-notice aspect being in his favour.
PICK – Drew Dober via Decision

Khalil Rountree Jr (10-5) vs Karl Roberson (9-4) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A fascinating bout at 205-pounds in this one between UFC stalwarts. Rountree Jr snapped a two-fight losing streak with a TKO win via leg kick against Modestas Bukauskas at UFC Vegas 36, while Roberson looks to snap his own losing streak after submission losses to Marvin Vettori at UFC Vegas 2 and Brendan Allen at UFC 261.

Rountree is a Muay-Thai fighter with incredible leg kicks and explosive power in his hands, with a largely improved and evolved game over the years. Roberson is a kickboxer outside of the cage, but for some reason when the door gets locked he starts looking to grapple a lot. This won’t be a grapple heavy affair though, with both guys looking to strike from range and use counters.

That favours Rountree though, because he is a fighter with much better output and volume as well as his leg kicking game being much more advanced. Both guys have the power to put the other out, but the likelihood is this will be quite a cagey affair and Rountree will be able to use his slight speed advantage to catch the judge’s eyes.
PICK – Khalil Rountree Jr via Decision



Sodiq Yusuff (11-2) vs Alex Caceres (19-12) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Two very talented featherweights go head-to-head in this one. Yusuff saw a six-fight win streak snapped by Arnold Allen last time out at UFC Vegas 23, while Caceres is currently on a five-fight win streak with a submission against Seung Woo Choi at UFC Vegas 41 in his most recent outing.

Yusuff is a powerhouse of a striker who fights with great patience and composure, while Caceres is very unorthodox and has an ability to take the fight anywhere with good grappling skills and a karate style of striking. Yusuff is physically the bigger and stronger fighter, which means he will be full of confidence when it comes to the striking game as well as defending any takedowns.

Caceres is on a great run, but this is a bad match up for him. Caceres likes to use volume to get his range, but Yusuff will happily eat a pitter-patter strike to land a bomb and that’s what I expect he will do. He will press forward and force Caceres backwards, before landing some heavy strikes and either forcing a stoppage or earning a wide decision win.
PICK – Sodiq Yusuff via Decision

Marlon Moraes (23-9-1) vs Song Yadong (18-5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The best division in the UFC serves up yet another beautiful fight for the fans here. Moraes is on a rough run right now, with three losses in a row to Cory Sandhagen at UFC Fight Island 5, Rob Font at UFC Vegas 17 and Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 266. A controversial win over Jose Aldo is the only thing stopping him from a five-fight losing streak. Yadong on the other hand is one of the best young fighters in the company and is on a two-fight win streak after a decision against Casey Kenny at UFC 265 before a KO against Julio Arce at UFC Vegas 42.

Moraes is a world class striker, with incredible power in his high kicks and lightning fast striking in his hands. He has got huge problems with his cardio however and recently his chin has really let him down, with repetitive stoppages. Yadong is a terrific boxer with great speed and some good wrestling skills too, which he may need to use in order to gain a victory here. This has got fight of the night potential all over it.

If Yadong wants to secure the win, he needs to mix it up and drag the fight into the latter rounds. Moraes is a better striker and is incredibly well-rounded, but his cardio always drains away in every fight if he doesn’t get the finish early. Yadong is powerful enough to clip that chin of Moraes once again, especially if he’s tired, and earn himself a huge win that potentially ends Moraes’ run with the UFC.
PICK – Song Yadong via Knockout, Round 2

Thiago Santos (22-9) vs Magomed Ankalaev (16-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A huge light heavyweight main event headlines this card with potential title implications. Santos has bounced back from three consecutive defeats to earn a decision win over Johnny Walker most recently at UFC Vegas 38, while Ankalaev is on a seven-fight win streak with his only defeat coming in the final second of his three-round fight with Paul Craig, where he was submitted. His most recent win came against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 267 via decision.

Santos is an excellent Muay-Thai fighter with ridiculous power in his punches, and a genuine ability to break your face. Ankalaev on the other hand is a very talented striker who also has grappling in his back pocket, but has patience and power in his strikes. Santos had both his knees ripped to shreds against Jon Jones and since coming back he’s been much more patient and less mobile, which doesn’t help him in this fight. He hasn’t lost his power, but he’s not as willing to stand and trade which may have been the key to winning this fight.

In a straight technique-for-technique clash with Ankalaev, he will lose. Ankalaev has speed, spinning attacks, a good variety to his strikes and enough power to put people out. Santos has a good chin but his lack of volume in recent fights worries me and that can allow Ankalaev to step in and pick him apart, while also not testing his cardio so he can waltz to a dominant decision win.
PICK – Magomed Ankalaev via Decision

Magomed Ankalaev to fight Thiago Santos in March main event

The UFC have announced a light heavyweight title contention bout for the first quarter of 2022 as Thiago Santos takes on Magomed Ankalaev in a five-round main event.

The 205lbs division recently crowned a new champion after Glover Teixeira defeat Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 last month, and the next contender seems to be settled at Jiri Prochazka.

But beyond that, the top of the division is wide open and these two top six fighters will now be looking to enter their name into the conversation for the belt.



Santos previously had a title shot back at UFC 239 where he lost a split decision to Jon Jones, before two more back-to-back defeats against Glover Teixeira at UFC Vegas 13 and then Aleksandar Rakic at UFC 259.

He got back to winning ways in his most recent bout though against Johnny Walker in a unanimous decision win at UFC Vegas 38.

Ankalaev currently holds a 16-1 record, with his only defeat coming against submission specialist Paul Craig via triangle in the final second of their three-round bout.

He has since won seven-in-a-row, including KO wins over Ion Cutelaba twice, Nikita Krylov at UFC Vegas 20 and then most recently against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 267.

It’s set to be the toughest challenge of Ankalaev’s career, but the Russian fighter is tipped as one of the best prospects in the division and many believe that his brilliant striking skills could see him become a future champion in the UFC.

Santos will be keen to build momentum once again with another big name win to get himself back in contention to take on potentially get one final title shot to round off his career.

The fight will take place on March 12th 2022 on a Fight Night event, but the location and start time is yet to be confirmed by the organisation.

UFC Vegas 38 Fallout: Winner of the main event? The rest of the division

UFC Vegas 38 produced an action-packed card with seven finishes (including a no contest) from 12 bouts but the main event that was supposed to produce fireworks barely produced sparks.

Thiago Santos fought against Johnny Walker in the highly anticipated main event in the light heavyweight division, with both guys having produced 30 knockout wins between them without mentioning the fact they’ve each been knocked out three times too.

The expectation was that both would step forward and throw explosive attacks that would eventually land clean and put one of them on the mat, but what we saw was 25 minutes of largely timid and tactical strategy from both guys as they looked to simply out-point each other.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a tentative approach when the person across the octagon is trying to take your head off and is very capable of doing so with one punch or kick.

Santos earned the win by landing the heavier shots of the fight throughout, but at no point were either fighter hurt or in any sort of real danger.

The win will keep him in the top five in the rankings but the real winners of this fight are the guys already ahead of him in the rankings.

Jan Blachowicz will defend his title against Glover Teixeira at the end of the month, with Jiri Prochazka the seemingly obvious next contender after his violent knockout wins over Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 251 and Dominick Reyes at UFC Vegas 25 in his two UFC outings.

Below him are two rivals who know each other well in Aleksandar Rakic and Anthony Smith, who fought to a three-round main event decision back in August 2020. Rakic got the win that time and has since beaten Santos too, but the manner of the wins hasn’t been particularly entertaining and has arguably harmed his stock.

Smith is now on a three-fight win streak since his own skid, with wins over Devin Clark, Jimmy Crute at UFC 261 and Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 37. A rematch between Smith and Rakic now seems the most likely after their interactions on social media seemed to make clear they both were up for it.

So with Santos’ win, he doesn’t really meddle with any of those plans. Had he gone out there and taken Walker’s head off as he has done in the past with so many, including the champion Blachowicz once upon a time, then there would be more people calling for him to be involved in the title picture.

But with a lacklustre display, nobody is purring for him to be put into the mix. A win is a win, but in MMA it’s about how you win and Santos did himself no favours in reality with yet another timid performance, despite the change of result for the first time in four fights.

UFC Vegas 38: Santos vs Walker – LIVE Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Alejandro Perez def Jonny Eduardo via Submission (Armbar), Round 2 (4:

Interesting start to the bout as Perez comes out with a weird, bouncing stance and Eduardo lights him up with three heavy low kicks early on. Perez stops the bouncing and lands a few jabs but Eduardo responding with leg kicks again but not much volume from either guy so far. Eduardo lands a nice combination to the body and then head, but Perez responds with a heavy left hook that immediately gets the attention of Eduardo. Almost a pedestrian pace to the fight currently, with Eduardo landing another very heavy leg kick. Perez fires a right straight that grazes the chin, but Eduardo controlling the range and pace and despite the lack of action he’s ahead in the round for me. Eduardo lands a nice right hook to the chin as we enter the final 30 seconds of the round and that’s that. 10-9 Eduardo.

Eduardo opens up the round with two more very heavy leg kicks inside the first ten seconds. Perez goes for a blitz but misses and then eats a spinning heel kick to the body. Perez goes to charge with a blitz again but Eduardo does well to avoid for the most part, clinch and secure a takedown and top position. Perez ties Eduardo up well initially before bouncing back to his feet quickly. Perez lands two big right hands and steps up the aggression to land a few more strikes himself. Eduardo throws a big left hand that lands too, before Perez shoots in for a takedown and ends up on top himself. Two big strikes from the top by Perez and as Eduardo looks to get up Perez grabs for his neck but Eduardo rolls to his back. Perez scrambles for the back and ends up in side control. He has a side headlock and takes Eduardo’s arm, slides it between his legs and secures an armbar! Eduardo can’t deal with the pressure and taps!! Big win for Perez!

Stephanie Egger def Shanna Young via Knockout, Round 2 (2:22)

Egger comes out and takes the centre early on, throwing some nice straight right hands to keep the range and pose a threat. Young goes with a blitz and puts a blind kick behind it which Egger catches, and she tries for a trip but Young defends it well. Egger lands a nice one-two but it seems to wake Young up a bit and she starts applying more forward pressure. Few strikes land and then Young goes to clinch but Egger throws her down immediately and is almost in full mount. Young defends it with a leg lock attempt and after defending it well Egger is able to stack her and start landing some big ground and pound strikes from standing and side control. Egger landing big elbows from the top but Young survives the round. 10-9 Egger.

Another good start to the round for Egger as she takes the centre and throws some big right hands again. Young starts to come forward and lands a few good strikes in a blitz but Egger grabs hold of her and immediately hip tosses Young to the ground. Big elbows and ground and pound from Egger and Young is hurt. Egger stands and the referee stops the fight!? Bit of a weird stoppage there. Great performance from Egger though.

Douglas Silva de Andrade def Gaetano Pirrello via Knockout, Round 1 (2:04)

Pirrello hanging on the outside and throws a couple of hard leg kicks early on with Andrade taking the centre and just feinting a lot. Andrade steps forward and lands a big right hand and follows it up with a couple more shots before they clinch up and separate. Andrade lands a left hand and then a jab to the body, while Pirrello looks for his range. Pirrello goes for a head kick but Andrade counters with a check left hook and puts Pirrello OUT!!! A few hammer fists before the referee gets there but what a KO that is!

PRELIMS

Jamie Mullarkey def Devonte Smith via Knockout, Round 2 (2:51)

Nice even start to the fight for both guys as they trade feints and short jabs, with Mullarkey mixing in a low kick. Smith lands a clean one-two down the pipe and follows up with a couple of attempts but Mullarkey smiles at him. Mullarkey throws another hard leg kick but Smith fires back with two nice left hooks and then a huge right hand again that rocks him! He goes for a combination and jus misses with a big knee up the middle too. Nice jab from Smith and a big one-two behind it again before a big knee lands from Smith and rocks Mullarkey! Smith lands a head kick partially but Mullarkey is still in front of him and throwing those low kicks, then just misses with a big one-two. Smith’s speed a clear advantage as he lands a few more strikes but Mullarkey smothers him and gets a takedown late on in the round, lands some ground and pound before the buzzer goes. 10-9 Smith.

Strong start to the round again from Mullarkey as he steps forward early and takes the centre. Heavy low kick from Mullarkey again and it gets a big reaction from Smith who looks hurt from it. Mullarkey throws another as Smith gets on his bike and starts moving away. Mullarkey pushing the pace like a mad man and clinches up with some big knees to the body. Mullarkey keeps throwing knees and then rips two big hooks to the body that makes Smith cover up. An uppercut and hook to the head then back to the body and Smith drops! Mullarkey hits some strikes on the ground and the referee stops it! Huge win for Mullarkey! Impressive performance!

Karol Rosa def Bethe Correia via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Rosa makes a dominant start to this bout as she takes the centre, slips a jab and lands a right hand. Rosa gets a Thai clinch early and lands some big knees to the body and Correia responds with a hook that misses. Rosa staying patient in the centre before coming for more knees again. Nice one-two lands clean from Rosa before a nice body kick and another one-two. Rosa being so patient and sliding out of the way of all Correia’s attacks, then jumps in with a flying knee straight to the face that Correia just eats. Rosa pops out her jab twice and starts cutting the cage off, but Correia lands a nice right hand. Rosa shoots for a takedown against the cage but Correia defends it well and sees out the round. 10-9 Rosa.

Correia takes the centre early this time around but Rosa throwing her jab well once again and landing with ease. Nice left jab a few more times and then Correia tries to charge her and eats a massive knee to the nose! Rosa lands a nice one-two again and Correia goes back to the outside and circles, but Rosa staying patient and firing in right hands behind her jab. Rosa staying out of range until she’s ready to engage. Big knee to the body from Rosa again and she’s upping the pace now, landing some combinations to the head too and forcing Correia backwards. Correia clinches up against the cage but eats a big knee to the body and an elbow to the face twice for good measure. Rosa just misses with another big elbow as the separate, but she lands a nice right hook when they engage again. Rosa lands another flying knee and big elbow but Correia manages to survive the round. 20-18 Rosa.

Rosa coming out nice and aggressive in the final round looking for a finish, with knees to the body again and solid right hooks behind it. Correia is still there though and trading with her as she lands a nice right hand of her own. Rosa fires back with a jab followed with a low kick and yet another running knee into the body with a right hook behind it. Rosa staying patient again with her jab, low kicks and right hand at the end of combinations. Both women trade low kicks and Correia lands a right hand, but Rosa goes back to the step-in knee before they clinch against the cage with a minute to go. They separate again and Rosa lands another one of her knees to the body before they clinch up again. Correia goes for a takedown but Rosa reverses it and ends the round with ground and pound strikes. 30-27, dominant win.

Casey O’Neill def Antonina Shevchenko via Knockout, Round 2 (4:47)

Very fast and aggressive start to the fight from O’Neill who puts the pressure on immediately. O’Neill lands a nice right hand but Shevchenko replies well with a one-two after a warning about out-stretched fingers from the referee. O’Neill changes levels and looks for the takedown but Shevchenko ends up on top and gets her in a crucifix position landing big ground and pound strikes. O’Neill escapes but Shevchenko is landing nice strikes on the feet whenever she counters. O’Neill changes levels again and finally takes Shevchenko down and is in a dominant position in half guard. O’Neill landing some nice ground strikes but Shevchenko gets it back to full-guard before eventually getting back to her feet with 30 seconds left in the round. O’Neill catches a kick and gets Shevchenko back on the ground to end the round on top. Tough to call, but I’d probably lean 10-9 to O’Neill.

Even start to this round as O’Neill gets the pressure going again and Shevchenko looks to counter strike from range. Clinch against the cage and Shevchenko lands some nice knees again before they separate, then O’Neill lands a left hand and then changes levels and secures a takedown. Shevchenko rolls onto her knees but O’Neill lands some nice strikes and then rolls onto her back and drags her back down with the hooks in. O’Neill looks to pass into full mount and does, then lands a big elbow as she starts to control. Big elbows from top position from O’Neill and Shevchenko gives up her back again. O’Neill goes for a choke but can’t quite get it then continues to land some big elbows! Shevchenko is hurt but O’Neill raining down bombs with her elbows and punches and the referee steps in to end it! What a performance from O’Neill!

Jared Gordon def Joe Solecki via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Very quick start for Solecki as he gets an immediate takedown and moves straight to mount on the ground. Gordon defends well and escapes the position but Solecki landing some good strikes on the ground and controlling the position well. Gordon wall-walks into space but Solecki follows him around and takes the back while landing heavy strikes to the head. Solecki starting to look for the neck but Gordon not panicking. Solecki starting to switch grips for the choke while controlling him completely but Gordon gets back to his feet with 40 seconds to go and is able to get on top himself. Nice elbow from top position by Gordon but that’s the round. Easy 10-9 for Solecki.

Gordon lands two nice strikes early but Solecki changes levels immediately and goes for a takedown once again. Gordon defending it against the cage but Solecki pushing for the takedown again. Gordon lands a nice knee and elbow while defending but Solecki not going anywhere. Gordon throws some elbows before Solecki finally gets the trip and ends up on top. Gordon gets the reversal though and ends up on top himself halfway through and lands some short elbows. Solecki tries to sweetp to get back on top but Gordon defends it well and is landing a few shots on the ground and wearing on him. Gordon prioritising position over damage in that round but he takes it. 19-19.

Composed start to the final round from both guys as they stay standing to begin with. Gordon more comfortable and landing his jab well, but Solecki exploding well and lands a body kick. Nice one-two by Solecki followed by a jab but Gordon starting to force him backwards. Solecki changes levels and comes over the top with a right hand that just misses, before Gordon shoots in for a takedown but Solecki defends it. Both men land a jab before Gordon gets a takedown against the cage, but he allows Solecki up immediately. Clinch in the centre sees Gordon use his strength and lands a couple of knees. Big right hand lands from Solecki and the round ends. I think that’s a 29-28 Gordon but third round is tough to score.

MAIN CARD

Alexander Hernandez def Mike Breeden via Knockout, Round 1 (1:20)

Very quick start to the fight from Breeden as he steps forward with some hooks and a heavy low kick early on. Hernandez right there with him and returns fire then shoots for a takedown, but Breeden denies him. Hernandez backs up then shoots in again but again he’s denied. Hernandez puts the pressure on him and lands a big one two that hurts Breeden. Hernandez lets the combinations fly and Breeden is covering up. Hernandez blasts his mouthpiece out with a big right hand and keeps going. Breeden fires a left hand but misses and Hernandez smashes a right hand just behind the ear and puts Breeden out cold!!! What a knockout!

Krzysztof Jotko def Misha Cirkunov via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Cirkunov takes the centre early on and steps forward to force Jotko against the cage, before shooting in for a takedown early. Jotko defends it well and gets back to the feet, before another attempt from Cirkunov sees a trip get him down but bounce straight back up. Jotko defending the clinch against the cage before separating and taking the centre. Both guys trade leg kicks and then Cirkunov steps in with a jab, before Jotko lights him up with a nice combination. Cirkunov still keeping the centre but Jotko is moving well and landing his counters well. Cirkunov fakes with a takedown attempt and Jotko clinches with him immediately which allows Cirkunov to get hold of him against the cage until the end of the round. Tough to score, but I lean 10-9 Cirkunov.

Even start once again in this second round as they continue with Cirkunov in the centre and Jotko bouncing around on the outside. Cirkunov goes for a clinch and throws a knee to the body but it’s a bit low and there’s a pause in the action. Nice combination lands from Jotko that ends with a left uppercut, then Cirkunov responds with a low kick. Cirkunov keeps going for clinches and takedowns but Jotko is very easily defending and separating. Hard low kick from Cirkunov to counter a right hand from Jotko. Another clinch and denial before Jotko throws a big knee and that’s the end of the round. Tough to score again, but I’d go 19-19.

Better start to the round for Cirkunov as he finally gets a takedown after changing levels and securing a single leg. Immediate bearhug position on the back and he’s dragging Jotko around and landing big knees to the thighs and back. Jotko explodes up and gets to the feet and tries to land a big elbow, but Cirkunov ducks under it and scores another big takedown. Jotko gets back up quickly though and goes for a takedown of his own before looking to explode with strikes against the cage. Jotko explodes with a knee but accidentally gets a finger in Cirkunov’s eye and the referee pauses the fight. Jotko fired up and as they restart he fires in some hard one-twos that narrowly miss. Nice jab from Jotko with 40 seconds to go and he goes for a takedown but Cirkunov denies it easily. Both guys clinch and Jotko gets a takedown with ten seconds to go to end the fight. Tough call, could go either way, but I’d give it 29-28 Cirkunov.

Niko Price def Alex Oliveira via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Action packed start to this one as both guys look to take the centre and start trading heavy blows straight away. Nice exchange of strikes and Oliveira goes for a knee which Price catches and charges him up against the cage. Oliveira manages to reverse it and push Price down to the mat but Price holds on to the neck and rolls through to end up on top. Price looking to create space for ground and pound but Oliveira defending well. Price trying to move to side control but Oliveira defending well. Hard body shots from Price and then some elbows from the top to see out the round. 10-9 Price.

Good start to the round again from both guys with lots of feinting and some leg kicks just to touch each other. Oliveira lands a nice left hand before both men narrowly miss with big hooks. Price misses a head kick but lands a right hand hammer fist instead. Oliveira lands a right hand after catching a kick and Price falls backwards, so Oliveira looks to jump on top. Lots of scrambling for position but Oliveira manages to retain top position throughout. Some nice ground and pound and transitions from Oliveira but Price defending relatively well from the bottom and the round ends. 19-19 even.

Final round and both guys are going for it early. Hard low kicks from Oliveira and then a big right hand lands but Price not moving away at all and continues to threaten. Big body shot from Oliveira then a right hand. Price goes for the right hook but Oliveira responds with one of his own. Price lands two big shots and a right hook wobbles Oliveira, but he side steps and avoids. Both guys throwing big strikes and just missing, before Price throws a big right hand that stumbles Oliveira. Price going for a takedown against the cage but Oliveira defends it and they separate. Side kick from Oliveira to the body but Price continues to walk forward and Oliveira is exhausted. Price goes for a big superman punch but Oliveira ducks it and clinches him, looking to drag Price down to the mat. Price manages to throw Oliveira down and ends up on top and he’s hammering ground and pound to end the round. That should win it for Price. 29-28.

Kevin Holland vs Kyle Daukaus – No Contest (Accidental headbutt led to fight ending sequence)

Good start to the round for Daukaus as he comes forward with two hooks and goes straight for a takedown. Holland defends it well against the cage and shows excellent balance to stay on his feet before he looks to break away in a clinch. Daukaus then puts him back in a full nelson and the referee breaks up the position. Daukaus lands a nice one-two, and then as Holland throws a right hand they clash heads and Holland goes out cold! Daukaus goes on to continue to look for a finish and eventually gets a rear-naked choke locked in and Holland is forced to tap out despite fighting hard to stay in the fight.

After the fight, a significant review takes place over the footage and the referee deems the fight a no contest due to an accidental clash of heads leading to the fight-ending sequence.

Thiago Santos def Johnny Walker via Unanimous Decision (48-47 x3)

First strike of the fight comes 30 seconds in as Walker throws a low kick, and the second comes 30 seconds later when Walker blocks a high kick from Santos. Walker takes the centre and is backing Santos up against the cage, but neither man throwing anything as we approach the halfway point of the round. Walker continues with a couple of low kicks and Santos goes to throw a high kick, but lots of feinting from both guys and not much action at all. Teep kick from Walker lands. More jockeying from both guys as the round ends. That’s an impossible round to score because nothing happened. 10-10.

Second round starts quicker as Santos takes the centre and shoots for a takedown with a single leg. Walker defends it well but both guys swing big hooks on their way out of the clinch and Santos lands the left hand grazing him. Santos throws a head kick but Walker blocks it and replies with a low kick. The round has gone timid again and Walker misses with a big overhand right, then lands another low kick. Nice left body kick from Santos lands and then he lands two more too with a left hand behind it. Walker eats them though and comes forward. More touching and feinting as the round ends. Round 2 goes to Santos for me, 20-19.

Lots of feints again in the third round as Walker looks to go back to the teep kicks and leg kicks from the first round. Santos grazes him with a head kick and then misses with a wild left hand. Walker throws more kicks but Santos side steps it and lands a left cross on the chin. Walker still there and doing lots of feinting again but Santos looks comfortable. Big exchange from both guys but they both miss and the fight is starting to open up a little bit now. Santos parries a body kick and lands a strong left hand again but Walker is still standing and moving. Walker throws a leg kick again and Santos replies with a left hook. Big spinning wheel kick misses from Santos but then he throws a head kick that is partially blocked. 30-28 Santos.

Santos comes out aggressive in the fourth and lands a nice body shot. Walker coming forward but not really throwing anything of note. Head kick attempt from Santos misses again, then Walker throws one and just misses. Santos throws a jump knee that misses and then Santos goes for his left hand again. Hard leg kick from Santos but Walker doesn’t look too affected by them. Walker’s kick gets caught but he lands two big right hands of his own before eating one from Santos. Big one-two lands from Santos again but Walker eats it well and threatens with a reverse elbow. Another hard left hand from Santos just misses, before he lands a body kick to end the round. Close round that one, 40-37 Santos for me.

This has not been the type of fight we all expected, but we go into the fifth round anyway. Slow start again with lots of feints and a slow pace. Santos comes forward and lands a left hand to the side of the head but Walker is still looking to chop the legs. Santos lands a HUGE left hand clean but Walker eats it and calls him on for more. Body kick from Santos lands twice before Walker slides forward to close distance. Santos staying out of danger for the most part and both men faking a lot again. Left hand lands from Santos and Walker lands a right hand at the same time. Big head kick from Santos lands but again Walker just eats it. Capoeira kick from Walker misses and that’s the round. 50-36 Santos for me, maybe 49-47 but very weird fight to score.

UFC Vegas 38: Santos vs Walker – Main card predictions

A fun light heavyweight card at the UFC Apex this weekend as former title challenger Thiago Santos takes on hot prospect Johnny Walker in the main event of UFC Vegas 38.

Santos previously fought Jon Jones for the 205lbs title and many thought he won, before ultimately falling to a decision defeat. He blew out both knees in that fight and has since returned to face Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic, where he was dominated and now looks to get back to winning ways. Walker went on a tear before suffering a small skid himself, but after getting back in the win column he is hoping to make a push for the top five.

Elsewhere on the card two hot prospects at women’s bantamweight clash as Aspen Ladd takes on Macy Chiasson, while Antonina Shevchenko takes on the undefeated Casey O’Neill and Kevin Holland takes on Kyle Daukaus in the co-main event.

Last week at UFC 266 we went 10/13 with five perfect picks on the night to move us up to 421/659 (63.88%) with 183 perfect picks (43.47%). We’ll look to improve that here and after starting with the early prelims and the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card.


Alexander Hernandez (12-4) vs Mike Breeden (10-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A short-notice bout at lightweight to open the main card as ‘The Great’ Hernandez takes on Mike Breeden. Hernandez has alternated wins and losses in his last five, with a defeat against Thiago Moises last time out at UFC Vegas 20. Breeden has won his last two outside the UFC, beating Ken Beverley and Nick Compton most recently back in May.

Hernandez is a pressure fighter with good power in his hands, solid kicks and a good, durable chin. Breeden is a good boxer who has great combinations but also with a solid calf kick and someone who is always game to fight. Hernandez is really well-rounded, with his best performances coming when he mixes up clinches and takedowns with his powerful striking.

Breeden is a good fighter in his own merit, but this is a huge step up in competition for him and even moreso on just a week’s notice. He’ll come forward and be game, no doubt, but Hernandez will push the pace and eventually his body work will pay dividends to get him a stoppage win.
PICK – Alexander Hernandez via Knockout, Round 3

Aspen Ladd (9-1) vs Macy Chiasson (8-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An intriguing fight at the top of the women’s bantamweight division as Aspen Ladd takes on Macy Chiasson. Ladd is a great striker, who’s only defeat came in just 16 seconds against Germaine De Randamie. She bounced back from that with an impressive KO win over Yana Kunitskaya back in 2019 but hasn’t fought since. Chiasson won TUF 28 and has since gone 4-1 in the UFC proper, with her most recentΒ win coming against Marion Reneau at UFC Vegas 22.

Ladd is a brilliant wrestler who has some violent ground and pound and vicious striking on the feet to go with it, while Chiasson is a super well-rounded fighter herself too with an even split of finishes via knockout and submission. Ladd is returning from a torn ACL/MCL injury but while Chiasson has got some good names on her resumΓ© she’s not fought anyone of the calibre of Ladd before.

Ladd is powerful, quick, a great striker and has the advantage with the wrestling too which means she can dictate where this fight goes. Because of that, she’ll only need one takedown per round to control and land some vicious shots and therefore I think she’ll get the win.
PICK – Aspen Ladd via Decision

Misha Cirkunov (15-6) vs Krzysztof Jotko (22-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A fun middleweight clash between two Europeans in this one. Cirkunov has lost four of his last six bouts, getting KO’d by Ryan Spann in just 71 seconds last time out at UFC Vegas 21. Jotko on the other hand had won three-in-a-row before coming up against Sean Strickland at UFC Vegas 25 and getting dominated on the feet.

Cirkunov is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who is the most grapple heavy fighter on this card. He is a brilliant submission artist, with eight of his 15 wins coming via tap out. Jotko on the other hand is a great kickboxer with a terrific amount of power in his strikes, although his ground game is next to non-existent.

It’s a true grappler vs striker bout and I’d be surprised to see it come out of the first round in all honesty. If Cirkunov gets a takedown, he gets a submission win. If Jotko keeps it standing, he blasts the chin and gets a KO. As it goes, I think Cirkunov does get the takedown and locks up a head-and-arm choke for the win.
PICK – Misha Cirkunov via Submission, Round 1

Alex Oliveira (22-10-1) vs Niko Price (14-5) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Potentially the fight of the night in the welterweight division here. ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira is a veteran of the sport who doesn’t know how to have a boring fight, having lost five of his last seven including his last two against Shavkat Rakhmonov and Randy Brown at UFC 261 most recently. Niko Price is in the same boat in terms of entertainment value, and has also lost two of his last three (the third a draw overturned to a NC) against Vicente Luque and Michel Pereira at UFC 264.

Oliveira is a good boxer with solid wrestling and nasty body kicks, but he’s seen his durability wane in recent years and that will harm him. Price is a powerful puncher who pushes a relentless pace and just straight up loves a war in the cage, willing to give it his all no matter where it goes.

On the feet Price has him outpowered and on the ground Oliveira has the edge, but realistically they’re going to brawl at some point and Price is far more durable which means he’s likely to slam him with a big right hand that puts him into orbit and close the night early.
PICK – Niko Price via Knockout, Round 2

Kevin Holland (21-7) vs Kyle Daukaus (10-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very intriguing fight in the middleweight co-main event here. Holland was the 2020 Fighter of the Year racking up five wins in a row, but 2021 hasn’t been kind to him as he’s been dominated by both Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori most recently at UFC Vegas 23. Daukaus hasn’t had a great UFC run so far, especially in comparison to his brother Chris, with a decision win against Dustin Stoltzfus sandwiched between defeats to Brendan Allen and Phil Hawes most recently at UFC Vegas 26.

Holland is a very powerful striker with great kickboxing and Muay Thai, but he’s also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt on the mat. Daukaus is a grappling heavy fighter who is very heavy handed himself, but he looks to rain those punches down from top control. Daukaus is a good grappler but being unranked, this is a huge step up in competition for him. If he gets a takedown and gets on top then he’ll have success, but on the feet Holland has a huge edge.

Ultimately it’s a stylistically fun match up, but the level between the two fighters should see Holland able to keep the fight standing and slam punches down the pipe to earn himself a way back into the win column.
PICK – Kevin Holland via Knockout, Round 3

Thiago Santos (21-9) vs Johnny Walker (18-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An absolutely wild fight in the 205lbs division makes the main event here. Santos is on a three-fight losing skid after earning his way to a title shot, losing to Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic most recently at UFC 259. Walker on the other hand halted a two-fight losing streak by bouncing back with a brilliant knockout win over Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 11.

Santos is one of the most terrifying strikers in MMA, with ridiculous power in his hands and really powerful calf kicks and body kicks too. Walker is one of the most erratic fighters on the roster, with scary one-punch knockout power too and some really good clinch techniques too. Santos ripped his knees to shreds against Jones which has seen him stop kicking since his return, with limited movement.

That doesn’t bode well for Santos realistically because of how explosive Walker can be, but I think Santos is slightly more durable and has the faster hands which means he could land first and end the fight early. It could very realistically go the other way, but I lean towards Santos.
PICK – Thiago Santos via Knockout, Round 1

UFC 259: Blachowicz vs Adesanya – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Trevin Jones def Mario Bautista via Knockout, Round 2 (0:47)

Tentative start to the card as Bautista and Jones trade leg kicks and feints to feel each other out for the first minute or so of the bout. Bautista pushes forward with a flurry that Jones avoids and the two clinch up, with Jones controlling the underhooks and landing some nice knees to the thigh. Both fighters exchange body kicks, with Bautista landing a bit cleaner. Jones landing lots of leg kicks from the outside, as Bautista responds with some fast hands with a nice hook in particular. Jones lands a left hand and goes for a takedown as the round ends but Bautista fights it off well. 10-9 Bautista but not much in it.

Bautista comes out with some nice combos once again and Jones goes back to the leg kicks. Both exchange strikes and Jones slips a punch then throws a lead uppercut that drops Bautista! He follows up with some big ground and pound and the referee ends it early! Huge knockout win for Jones!

Uros Medic def Aalon Cruz via Knockout, Round 1 (1:40)

Fast start to the fight from Medic as he walks forward and clips Cruz with a big right hand quickly to the temple! Cruz looks for a takedown but Medic brushes him off and lands a big left hand too, then follows it up with a flying knee. Medic lands a barrage of strikes and the fight goes too long before the referee steps in and ends it! What a debut.

Amanda Lemos def Livinha Souza via Knockout, Round 1 (3:39)

Slow start to the bout as Lemos takes the centre of the cage and backs Souza up against the cage, landing jabs and hard leg kicks. Souza looks wary on the feet early on as Lemos lands a straight right hand that drops her! She goes for the ground and pound but Souza tries to grapple to survive and manages to tie her up. She goes for a heel hook but Lemos avoids it and starts landing huge strikes from the ground once again too. Lemos lands a stinging jab that drops Souza again and a few more strikes sees the referee step in and call it a night. What a performance from Lemos.

Sean Brady def Jake Matthews via Submission (Arm Triangle Choke), Round 3 (3:28)

Competitive start to the round with both guys standing in range of the other and exchanging small flurries of punches and leg kicks. Matthews using his range advantage well and throwing his jab nicely, but Brady avoiding it well and landing nice leg kicks. Matthews throws a big right hand that drops Brady but Brady doesn’t seem too hurt and manages to recover into top position after Matthews tried to grab the neck. Brady landing nice short shots from the top and trying to control the posture by holding the neck, but Matthews doing well to avoid too much damage in the final minute as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Matthews.

Brady opens up the round a bit more aggressive, taking the centre and being first with the jabs and short hooks. Matthews eventually takes control once again though and uses his length to start throwing some nice strikes. Brady shoots for the takedown and gets it first time and immediately takes the top position. He tries to work to the back but Matthews defends against the cage as Brady starts working for a guillotine. Good defence from Matthews as Brady continues to work the top mount and starts throwing nasty body strikes while wrapping up the neck. Matthews really struggling to do anything from his back as he gives up the position and Brady starts raining down punches as the round ends. Definite Brady round, 19-19 for me.

Matthews takes the centre early in the final round and tries to land a couple of flurries, but Brady trying to slow him down with some chopping leg kicks again. Brady lands a beautiful counter left hook that drops Matthews to one knee, but he stays patient and stays standing. He fakes a takedown but Matthews sprawls and it allows Brady to jump on his neck to threaten a guillotine. He moves to take the back and takes him against the cage to start throwing nice strikes on the ground and dominant once again. Brady continues to work the position and steps over into a head and arm choke to secure the tap out. Brilliant performance.

Kennedy Nzechukwu def Carlos Ulberg via Knockout, Round 2 (3:19)

Fast start from Ulberg as he hurts Nzechukwu! Ulberg on the back foot but threw some front kicks and a combination of strikes wobbles Nzechukwu but he keeps a high guard and survives the beating for now. Nzehukwu continues to walk forward but Ulberg stays patient and lands some nice leg kicks. Nzechukwu starting to come forward and land strikes of his own and a left hand wobbles Ulberg! Ulberg starts throwing some heavy body shots but Nzechukwu keeps coming forward and both men are trading in the centre now! Ulberg is very tired nowbut still landing the heavier shots as the round ends. 10-9 Ulberg. What a round!

A slower start to the round for Ulberg as he starts picking his shots more and landing jabs nicely. Nice on-two from Nzechukwu lands but both men landing heavy on each other. Big body kick from Ulberg followed with a one-two but there’s an accidental thumb in the eye that causes a short break in the action. Ulberg’s volume is higher but the power has diminished greatly from the opening exchanges and Nzechukwu’s cardio is carrying him through this bout right now. Nasty low kicks from Ulberg and a right hand lands then Nzechukwu lands a HUGE right hand!! Oh my god what a knockout!!! Kennedy Nzechukwu!

Tim Elliott def Jordan Espinosa via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-25)

Fast pace to start this fight with Espinosa flicking out jabs and kicks as Elliott walks him down and applies pressure. A clinch against the cage and Elliott lands some nice knees before they break and Espinosa lands a nice left hook before another clinch against the cage. They separate again and Espinosa throws a big head kick that misses by inches and Elliott is able to take him down and get on his back. Espinosa fighting the hands well as Elliott looks for a rear-naked choke but he gets his back to the cage and is able to avert that threat. Elliott controls the position for the rest of the round and should have that in the books. 10-9 Elliot.

Second round starts exactly as the first ended, with Espinosa throwing a head kick that Elliott ducks and gets the takedown but this time Espinosa is able to get back up to his feet quickly. Elliott pushes the pace and lands a second takedown quickly and stays in the half guard grinding away with short strikes. Elliott starting to suffocate Espinosa with pressure and a great wrestling game, riding the back and looking to sink in a rear-naked choke. Espinosa gets away from it but Elliott is smothering him and beating him up bad as he lands elbows and chokes him with his forearm until the round ends. That’s a 10-8 round, so 20-17 Elliott.

Espinosa opens the round with a flying knee but Elliott catches him with ease and takes the fight down to the ground immediately and starts throwing heavy strikes. Espinosa throwing some elbows from the bottom and cuts Elliott open badly, but he continues to be completely smothered by the top game. Elliott throwing heavy shots and some elbows of his own and then Espinosa throws up an armbar attempt that Elliott avoids and he controls from top position for the rest of the round. Great performance from Elliott.

PRELIMS

Kai Kara-France def Rogerio Bontorin via Knockout, Round 1 (4:55)

Good start to the round from Bontorin as he comes forward and strikes well, with a few leg kicks and some nice right hands. A right cross wobbles Kara-France and Bontorin goes in for a takedown and dumps him down with ease, then takes the back immediately. Bontorin threatening the rear-naked choke straight away and dominating on the back, flowing perfectly with a body triangle locked in but Kara-France is fighting the hands brilliantly to avoid the submission. He finally shakes Bontorin off and they get back to the feet with 30 seconds remaining. Bontorin looks tired but Kara-France comes forward and lands a three punch combo that puts Bontorin out!! Walk off KO!! Wow!!

Askar Askarov def Joseph Benavidez via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2. 30-26)

Good competitive start to the fight as Askarov throws some nice front kicks from the lead leg, while Benavidez looks to throw looping hooks. Askarov’s kicks doing damage early on to the mid-section, but Benavidez lands a nice one-two. Askarov keeps it coming and lands a big right hook, then a left hand behind it. Askarov eats a right hand from Benavidez then lands another right hand of his own, before he goes in for the takedown. He closes the distance, wins the scrambles and lifts before taking the back and threatening the submission before the round ends. 10-9 Askarov.

Benavidez comes out strong in the second round, looking to swarm him against the cage with his looping hooks but Askarov takes it and returns fire with his own. Askarov wobbles Benavidez with a right hand and goes right back to the takedown attempts, getting a lift and putting the fight on the ground immediately. Askarov dominating the grappling exchanges, landing short strikes on the ground while taking the back and threatening with choke positions too. Benavidez stays on the ground for the remainder of the round until with five seconds to go Askarov cracks him with a huge right hand on the feet. Huge round for Askarov again. 20-18.

Final round and Askarov staying very patient as Benavidez comes forward knowing he needs a finish. Lovely question mark kick lands flush on the chin of Benavidez but he eats it and comes forward again, moving forward with a head kick of his own that just misses. Right hook from Askarov lands and knocks Benavidez off balance but he gets back up quickly. Head kick again from Askarov is partially blocked by Benavidez but still lands enough to wobble him as we enter the final two minutes. Benavidez throws a big superman punch that lands clean but Askarov eats it and replies with a jab into the final minute. Lots of attempts from Benavidez for big strikes but he’s nowhere near Askarov and this should be a comfortable decision win. 30-27.

Kyler Phillips def Song Yadong via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Positive start for Phillips as he comes with a big right hand earlier then a spinning kick that just misses. Yadong eventually takes the centre and starts throwing some straights but Phillips throws a stunning head kick that lands flush but Yadong just eats it. Amazing. Phillips tries another spin but misses again as Yadong lands with a nice uppercut then misses with a spin kick of his own. Phillips landing first with his jabs and right straights so far but Yadong continues to move forward. Phillips changes levels and goes for a takedown but Yadong scrambles back up to his feet immediately and eats a one-two as the round ends with an exchange against the cage. 10-9 Phillips.

Yadong comes out strong in the second round but Phillips being first again. Phillips slowing down a little from the first round but still landing heavy and as they break from a clinch he throws a beautiful spinning back kick again. Song trying to close the distance and landing big hooks but Phillips doing well to be first and stay out of the way. Nice jab from Phillips knocks Yadong off balance on his way in, then after some back and forth on the feet Phillips slides in for a big takedown and gets it beautifully. Yadong scrambles his way back to the feet once again but he’s starting to look desperate. Big right hand lands from Yadong but the round ends with both men fresh. 20-18 Phillips.

Phillips looks calm as they enter the final round, with Yadong knowing he needs the finish. Phillips shoots for a takedown early but Yadong sprawls quickly and gets up to throw heat straight away. Nice flurry to the body ends with a left hook to the chin, but Phillips moves away and keeps his guard high. Both men exchange a straight right and Yadong is starting to close the distance a bit more and land better shots. Another exchange in the pocket that Yadong wins, but Phillips shoots in for a takedown and for the first time is able to keep him down. Phillips looks to take his back but Yadong reverses and ends up on top in the final minute. The round ends with Yadong on top and Phillips looking for a submission in what should be a Phillips decision win. 29-28.

Dominick Cruz def Casey Kenney via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Cruz starts with an immediate takedown attempt that is sprawled on by Kenney but breaks away from the front headlock position and starts landing some leg kicks. Kenney takes the centre and starts backing Cruz up against the cage with both guys exchanging low kicks. Big left hand lands from Cruz but Casey eats it and keeps walking forward, before Kenney throws another strong leg kick. Very back and forth round, I edge it 10-9 to Cruz.

Strong start to the round from Kenney as he lands a big leg kick that drops Cruz to one knee for a second. Cruz rallies with a nice one-two but Kenney starting to get the timing down a bit more and is landing cleaner shots now. Straight left from Kenney lands before two more leg kicks. Cruz lands a nice right hand to the body followed by a straight right to the face, but Kenney keeps coming forward and throws a body kick. Cruz avoids a right hand and charges forward with several clean shots to the face but Kenney takes them and lands two back of his own. Big right hand from Cruz lands but Kenney responds with another leg kick. Left hand from Kenney lands on the chin and then he grabs the neck for a guillotine attempt but Cruz is safe and the round ends. 19-19 but close yet again.

Cruz shoots in for a takedown early on then abandons it and lands a big left hook up top. Shoots back in for a takedown again against the cage, but Kenney looks to defend with a guillotine attempt although Cruz is on the right side to avoid the threat too much. Cruz takes half guard and starts landing some body shots but Kenney then gets up to his feet with ease and they go back to striking. Left hand from Kenney staggers Cruz who then is able to evade an attack and lands a counter right hand. Kenney lands a couple of big hooks but Cruz responds with three big punches of his own as we enter the final 90 seconds. Cruz denies another takedown attempt from Kenney and lands a big knee to the body, then follows up with a one two. Cruz then shoots for a takedown of his own and gets Kenney down and holds him down against the cage to see out the fight. 29-28 Cruz for me, but a great fight.

MAIN CARD

Aleksandar Rakic def Thiago Santos (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Tense opening to the fight as both men throw out feints and feelers but neither committing too much just yet. Santos charges forward with his left hand but Rakic steps back and lands a nice check right hook. A few leg kicks from each guy as Rakic takes the centre, but Santos staying patient on the outside. Big left hand from Santos but it’s blocked well from Rakic and they reset in the middle. Rakic fakes the right hand and Santos throws his left, which he slips and he throws a big head kick but Santos ducks under it. Nice jab from Rakic then a big body kick from Santos lands. 10-9 Rakic but not much action in that one.

Rakic takes the centre immediately as the round starts and lands a nice jab but both men being cautious once again. Rakic faking a level change and Santos threatens with a kick up the middle before trying to close the distance with his left hand but just missing. Rakic clinches up with Santos against the cage and both guys trade knees to the body and thighs. Another action-less round for the most part as we enter the final minute. Santos swings his left hand but misses and Rakic counters with a right hand and the round ends. 20-18 but not the most impressive performance so far.

Santos shoots for a takedown early on in the third round but Rakic is able to hold him off easily and turns the tables to put Santos against the cage. Huge body kick from Santos lands and Rakic tries to grab the leg but it looks like it hurt him a little. They trade leg kicks again before more feinting and missed hooks from both fighters. Rakic goes for a takedown but Santos defends well and starts landing some big elbows to the head. Rakic tries again but it’s defended well and Santos lands some nice knees in the clinch that follows as we enter the final minute. Not much happens in the final minute and it should be a win for Rakic on the scorecards. 30-27 or 29-28.

Islam Makhachev def Drew Dober via Submission (Arm Triangle Choke), Round 3 (1:37)

Good start from Dober as he fires in a low kick followed by a jab, before Makhahev shoots for a single leg takedown and gets the fight to the ground immediately. Makhachev in half guard but very heavy on top in a chest to chest position as he goes body head with strikes. Makhachev slides into mount momentarily but Dober gets it back to half guard before he passes into side control. Makhachev tries to slide onto the back of Dober but he manages to move away before Makhachev slides through quickly back into side control. He takes the back and then transitions to an armbar, but runs out of time and Dober survives. 10-9 Makhachev.

Second round once again and Makhachev avoids a big hook before another single leg takedown and trip gets the fight back to the ground. Makhachev is able to tie the legs of Dober up between his own and starts pressuring with his top game again with body strikes. Completely dominant so far from Makhachev in full guard, landing more and more ground and pound with a flush elbow to the face. Round ends with Makhacehv in control, 10-8 round. 20-17.

Dober throws a big left hand that Makhachev slips and then he goes for a bear hug like takedown and gets it. Dober attempts a kimura to defend but Makhachev is able to step over and defend it. As soon as Dober lets go Makhachev slides his shoulder under the chin of Dober and secures the submission out of nowhere! Super impressive performance from Makhachev.

Aljamain Sterling def Petr Yan via Disqualification (Illegal Knee), Round 4 (4:29)

Fast paced start to this fight from Sterling as he moves forward quickly and is right in the face of Yan applying lots of pressure. Constantly touching him and kicking his body and making it really uncomfortable. Body kick attempt from Sterling lands and gets caught by Yan who throws him to the ground. Sterling lands a flying knee and keeps coming forward then gets a takedown himself. Yan is able to get back to the feet then lands a big right hand that drops Sterling! Both fighters keep up the high pace for the rest of the round, super close. 10-9 Sterling but could go either way.

Sterling comes out fast again in the second round and goes for a takedown but Yan is able to defend it well and ends up standing with Sterling on the floor under him. The referee stands them up after some leg kicks from Yan and then Sterling goes in for the takedowns once again, but Yan defends well for the most part. Sterling goes for the takedown against the cage but Yan is defending well as we enter the final minute. Sterling steps away and tries to trip him but it fails and he continues to come forward. Yan ends up behind Sterling and takes him down for the final 15 seconds. 20-18 Sterling for me, but could be 19-19.

Third round and Yan is starting to go for the body a bit more as Sterling starts to slow down. Sterling still touching him with jabs but Yan is taking over now a bit more, landing more shots and seeing everything Sterling is doing. Sterling trying to throw more strikes but he’s considerably tired and the champ is opening up a bit more with some takedowns of his own as well as a few solid right hands. 29-28 either way.

Fourth round and Yan is taking over the fight now. Sterling is shooting in with lazy takedown attempts and Yan is dominating the striking exchanges and landing at will almost. Yan stuffing all the takedown attempts at chopping away at the legs and body of Sterling, controlling the entire pace of the fight. Yan holds Sterling down and throws an illegal knee to the head of Sterling! Oh my goodness. Sterling is out of it right now and the referee calls in the doctor and waves the fight off. Wow. New champion via DQ.

Amanda Nunes def Megan Anderson via Submission, Round 1 (2:03)

Anderson takes the centre of the cage and Nunes takes her time to step forward.. big overhand right lands from Nunes and rocks Anderson immediately. She steps forward and lands two more that drop Anderson. She lands some ground and pound then switches to an armbar and triangle at the same time to force the submission. The best ever.

Jan Blachowicz def Israel Adesanya via Unanimous Decision (49-45 x2, 49-46)

Composed start to the fight from both fighters as Adesanya looks to get his range with feints while Blachowicz takes his time coming forward. Adesanya throws a few head kicks that are blocked by Blachowicz, who throws a few leg kicks that land and some right hands that miss. A few more leg kicks from each fighter as the fight continues at a relatively slow pace. Adesanya lands a nice body kick but is forced backwards as Blachowicz comes forward with a left straight. Round comes to an end without much action but probably an Adesanya round for pressing the action.

Adesanya comes out with a bit more speed in this round and flicks out his leg kicks well, but Blachowicz starts checking them. Blachowicz fires back with a nice one-two that lands on Adesanya but doesn’t connect quite flush. Adesanya chopping away at the leg of Blachowicz who lands a nice jab to the body and closest the distance and tries to clinch, but Adesanya escapes quickly. Adesanya lands an inadvertant low blow that causes a very short break in the action before a second low blow moments later is also accidental and causes a break. Blachowicz comes forward with a flurry into a clinch pop Adesanya gets out and keeps landing jabs and low kicks. 20-18 Adesanya but not a lot of big moments so far.

Blachowicz comes out harder in the third round and starts blasting some punches that land, then shoots in for a takedown and gets it. He tries to take Adesanya’s back but Izzy slips away and counters with a big left hand that rocks Blachowicz! Adesanya lands a few jabs but stays relatively calm before Blachowicz clinches up with him again against the cage but Adesanya once again pulls away. Both fighters exchange jabs and then Blachowicz lands a nice stiff right straight. Adesanya goes for a body kick that gets caught but nothing comes from it and the round ends. 30-27 Izzy, but could be 29-28.

Fourth round and Adesanya is opening up a bit more now. Some nice jabs and leg kicks land as Blachowicz is still looking for the big hooks and straights. More of the same as the round progresses before Blachowicz shoots for a takedown and gets it. From there on, he controls from half guard and side control and drops big ground and pound strikes and just wears on Adesanya. Jan’s round without a doubt. 39-37 Izzy for me but could be 38-38.

Final round and Blachowicz is breathing very heavily, so Adesanya comes forward with a bit more pace. Lots of jabs and he tries to follow it up with a straight right hand but Blachowicz avoids. Not much urgency from either fighter just yet and Blachowicz blasts a takedown half way through the round. Blachowicz starts hammering away with ground and pound and moves into half guard. He continues to control the round and then moves into mount as it comes to an end to reign down punches. 3-2 either way.. good fight.

UFC 259: Blachowicz vs Adesanya – Main Card Predictions

The biggest and best card of 2021 is finally upon as as a title fight triple header takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Petr Yan will defend his bantamweight title against Aljamain Sterling in potentially the best 135lbs title fight ever, before Amanda Nunes returns to the octagon to fight Megan Anderson in a featherweight title fight. The card will be headlined by Israel Adesanya trying to become just the fifth dual-weight simultaneous champion in the companies history as he moves up to light heavyweight to take on Jan Blachowicz.

Elsewhere on the card, Islam Makhachev returns to the octagon to take on Drew Dober while bantamweight great Dominick Cruz headlines the prelims against Casey Kenney in a do-or-die fight for his career on a blockbuster 15 fight card.

Last week at UFC Vegas 20 we had a poor night for predictions going 4/9 on the night, although it was worsened by a majority draw and a dodgy decision too. It moved us to 240/380 (63.16%) with 108 perfect picks (45%) since starting our predictions.

We’ll look to move ahead with a big week this week on a stacked card, breaking the card down into three this week. We’ve already predicted the early prelims here and the rest of the prelims here, so lets move onto the main card now.


Thiago Santos (21-8) vs Aleksandar Rakic (13-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An absolute war is sure to happen here in the light heavyweight division between the scarily powerful Thiago Santos and the hottest prospect in the division in Aleksandar Rakic. Santos was on a tear in the 205lbs division before losing a close decision to Jon Jones in the title fight where he blew out both knees, before being finished by Glover Teixeira last time out at UFC Vegas 13. Rakic bounced back from a decision defeat to Volkan Oezdemir with a dominant decision win over Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC Vegas 8.

Santos is a tremendous kickboxer with enough power to put anyone out cold with one punch, while Rakic is a really technical striker who showed his excellent wrestling game against Smith last time out. Rakic has knockout power of his own with nine stoppage wins and has the youth and size factor on his side too. The likelihood is Rakic uses his boxing game and mixes in takedowns for a decision win.
PICK – Aleksandar Rakic via Decision

Islam Makhachev (18-1) vs Drew Dober (23-9) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A lightweight fight between two guys expected to be contenders in the future as Makhachev takes on Drew Dober. Makhachev hasn’t fought in almost 18 months, but is on a six-fight win streak coming into this one. Dober on the other hand has won six of his last seven, with his only defeat coming to Beneil Dariush in the middle of that run.

Makhachev is an active striker who uses his length brilliantly and also has a hugely impressive ground game, which you’d expect considering he trains with the champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Dober is a decent boxer with a pretty impressive ground game too, as shown by his six submission wins in his career. The likelihood of this fight is that while Makhachev should get the win, we won’t see him at his free-flowing striking best. I think they’ll exchange on the feet and Makhachev will take it down to the ground and just control his way to a win.
PICK – Islam Makhachev via Decision

Petr Yan (15-1) vs Aljamain Sterling (19-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

For my liking, the best fight on the card. The bantamweight division is arguably the most stacked in the entire company and these two are the very best of that bunch. Yan is on a a ten-fight win streak and currently sits at 7-0 in the UFC, winning the title in his last fight by KO’ing Jose Aldo on Fight Island at UFC 251. Sterling is a UFC veteran but is only 31 years old and is currently riding a five-fight win streak beating all the top guys in the world en route, including Cory Sandhagen at UFC 250 with a sub-90 second submission.

Yan is a stunning boxer who’s punching and footwork in the pocket saw him outstrike the legendary Aldo and has seen him rack up seven KO wins in his career. He’s also got excellent takedown defence as he showed when he avenged the only defeat of his career against Magomed Magomedov outside the UFC. Sterling is potentially the best grappler in the division with super jiu-jitsu but he’s also a decent striker too. It’s a really intriguing fight between the two and it could quite easily go either way.

We’ve not had to see Yan on the ground in the UFC and if anyone is going to get him there it’s Sterling. Sterling has a four inch reach advantage too and likes to use his kicks to keep distance. While it’s more than possible that Yan closes that distance and just outboxes him from the pocket but something tells me that Sterling will be able to get a takedown in the rounds and control from the top position for a new champion.
PICK – Aljamain Sterling via Submission, Round 4

Amanda Nunes (20-4) vs Megan Anderson (11-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

The women’s G.O.A.T is back to defend her 145lbs belt once again as she takes on a legitimate featherweight in Megan Anderson. Nunes is on an 11-fight win streak having won two belts and beaten everyone there is to beat en route to this fight, including Felicia Spencer most recently at UFC 250. Anderson is a world class fighter on a two-fight win streak after beating Zarah Fairn dos Santos and Norma Dumont.

Nunes is the hardest hitting woman ever while also being a truly great grappler and an extremely good kicker. While Anderson is a hard hitter too with a great right cross and a good clinch game, she doesn’t match up to Nunes’ level anywhere. It’s really hard to see how Anderson can get a win here, with the truest description of the outcome here being that if Nunes is motivated then she wins by stoppage.
PICK – Amanda Nunes via Knockout, Round 3

Jan Blachowicz (27-8) vs Israel Adesanya (20-0) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

The main event sees champion vs champion with the light heavyweight king Jan Blachowicz making the first defence of his title against middleweight king Israel Adesanya. Blachowicz is on a four-fight win streak, knocking out Luke Rockhold, Corey Anderson and Dominick Reyes in that run. Adesanya is undefeated and has run through everyone in the division, KO’ing his rival Paulo Costa at UFC 253 last time out to retain his title.

This should prove to be Adesanya’s toughest test yet. He’s expected to weigh in at around 193lbs, way below the limit, while Blachowicz will be cutting weight to get there so there is a considerable size difference between them. Blachowicz is a powerful puncher with good submission skills and decent grappling, but at 38 years old he isn’t the quickest or sharpest anymore. Adesanya has a height and reach advantage over the Polish fighter and he will look to use that and his speed to avoid anything and point score/counter strike. Blachowicz will undoubtedly look to put this fight on the ground to use his size advantage but I think Adesanya will be too quick and be able to get a stoppage. I’m envisioning a head kick followed by a TKO by strikes, but it should be a super main event.
PICK – Israel Adesanya via Knockout, Round 2

UFC Vegas 13 Fallout – Glover Teixeira Needs The Next Title Shot

The light heavyweight title scene is rocking for the first time in years following UFC Vegas 13.

After a stunning performance, Glover Teixeira defeated Thiago Santos via submission in the third round despite being knocked down twice by huge strikes from ‘Marreta’.

After being knocked down in the first round, Teixeira managed to take Santos down to the ground and completely dominate from top position before more of the same in the second round led to a potential 10-8 round.

In the third round, Santos dropped Teixeira again and when looking for the finish managed to gas himself out. Glover took over, got the takedown again and choked Santos out quickly for the big win.

UFC Fight Night: Santos v Teixeira : News Photo

At 41 years old, his career hasn’t got much longer to go but he is now currently involved in his second five-fight winning streak since joining the UFC. His first led to a title shot against Jon Jones, where he was beaten by the champ via a unanimous decision back in 2014.

This time, it looks as though he could miss out on an immediate title shot because the UFC is looking to book a super fight between Jan Blachowicz and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

While a fight between Adesanya and Blachowicz would be quite the spectacle, it’s not a super fight that we really need right now.

At middleweight, Adesanya has contenders he could face. Robert Whittaker’s wins over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier have got him back to the front of the line with the UFC interested in making that bout happen too. While Adesanya may not like it having beaten Whittaker convincingly already, he shouldn’t be able to pick and choose his opponents anyway.

The UFC should make Adesanya wait to move up and defend against the No.1 contender, while Blachowicz has already revealed he is open to fighting Glover as the No.1 contender too.

If the organisation want to implement a rankings system, they should honour it. Neither division has been cleaned out and there are obvious contenders available to fight on schedule, so make it happen.

Elsewhere on the card, Raoni Barcelos staked his claim for a ranked opponent in the stacked bantamweight division. A fight of the night performance saw Barcelos defeat Khalid Taha, taking his record to 16-1 and 5-0 in the UFC.

He showed a tremendous skillset in the fight, landing several solid strikes and showing true skill on the feet while also showing great submission skills during his short period on the mat.

With Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera ranked at No.15 in the division, it shows just how stacked it is with quality fighters. A fight against Barcelos could be a fantastic introduction for the Brazilian to the top of the division.

At 33 years old, Barcelos had a year out of the octagon following an injury but he is back now and seems to be at the peak of his powers. Watch out for a big 2021 for him coming up as the bantamweight division starts to shape up.

UFC Vegas 13: Santos vs Teixeira – Results (Highlights)

Note – Ian Heinisch vs Brendan Allen was cancelled a few hours prior to the card starting due to a positive COVID-19 test. The card will proceed with 10 fights, with Giga Chikadze vs Jamey Simmons moving to the main card.

EARLY PRELIMS

Gustavo Lopez def Anthony Birchak via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1 (2:43)

Quick start to the round by Lopez, who comes out and lands two big left hooks and drops Birchak! He has Birchak wobbled against the cage and changes levels quickly to take the fight to the ground. He swarms Birchak, who is defending but can’t quite do anything to keep Lopez off him. Lopez gets his back and starts landing ground and pound, which opens up a rear naked choke opportunity which he sinks in and gets the tap. Very impressive performance.

Max Griffin def Ramiz Brahimaj via Knockout (Injury), Round 3 (2:03)

Slow start to this fight as both men circle each other and throw pot shots as they try to figure each other out. Both fighters landing the odd jab but nothing significant as we enter the final 90 seconds of the round. Brahimaj lands a right hook and then Griffin throws a nice left hand as the two engage in a clinch to end the round. Could be scored either way in honesty. 10-9 Griffin.

Second round begins with Brahimaj coming out with a nice one two before Griffin goes for a body kick but lands flush on the cup so there’s a pause in the action. Griffin starting to throw body shots and combos to open up the guard of Brahimaj. Nice one-two by Brahimaj lands clean but Griffin returns with a straight right through the guard. Griffin is piecing Brahimaj up on the feet and has opened up a cut in this round. Once again the round ends with a clinch between the two but that was much more of a Griffin round. 20-18 for me, could be 19-19.

Faster start to the round for Brahimaj as he looks to press forward but another accidental groin strike pauses his momentum. Griffin has been cut over his right eye now, but he lands a nice combo which wobbles Brahimaj. The two clinch up against the cage as Griffin tries to go for a finish and he lands a huge elbow that essentially rips the ear off Brahimaj’s head. The two continue fighting for a few seconds before the referee spots the injury and stops the fight! TKO win for Griffin but that is nasty!

Darren Elkins def Eduardo Garagorri via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3 (2:22)

Immediate takedown from Darren Elkins opens the fight up as he looks to take it to the ground immediately. A bit of ground and pound before Garagorri gets up before being put straight back down several times over. Elkins really wearing Garagorri out with these constant takedown attempts, not allowing him any space to breathe. They finally break with a minute to go and Garagorri lands a head kick but Elkins eats it, then catches a second attempt and ends up in full guard to end the round. 10-9 Elkins.

Elkins comes out and the two look to exchange strikes this time and Garagorri gets the better of it with some nice left hands. At that point Elkins decides enough is enough and puts him on the mat with another takedown, this time holding him down and landing some ground and pound. Garagorri gets back to his feet and breaks away this time, landing a nice spin kick to the body before missing with a big uppercut and allowing Elkins to hold onto him again. Garagorri landing with the left hand a lot more in this round and he’s hurting Elkins, so Elkins goes straight back to the takedown and slams him down onto the mat. The round ends with both guys exchanging strikes on the ground but should be another Elkins round. 20-18.

Both guys showing they’re tired in this round, with Garagorri landing some nice shots once again. A big left hand snaps Elkins’ head back and hurts him but he goes for a flying knee and ends up getting his back taken instead. Elkins locks in a body triangle and makes Garagorri carry all of his weight, while landing big shots and then sinking in a rear naked choke for the tap. Great performance.

Alexander Romanov def Marcos R. de Lima via Submission (Arm Choke), Round 1 (4:48)

Very interesting start to the fight as de Lima throws two big leg kicks to open before a power double leg from Romanov puts him on his back. Romanov looks to pass to a head and arm choke but de Lima explodes back to his feet and lands some heavy punches. More leg kicks from de Lima causing Romanov problems and then he lands some big combos that look to hurt Romanov! Another two takedown attempts against the cage but de Lima defends really well until Romanov explodes and trips him to end up on top. Big ground and pound strikes and then Romanov thrusts his forearm into the throat of de Lima and chokes him out! First forearm choke in UFC history! de Lima is OUT! Hugely impressive win.

Trevin Giles def Bevon Lewis via Knockout, Round 3 (1:26)

Fun start to the round as Giles comes straight out for a takedown and the two clinch against the cage, testing each other’s physical strength early. Giles gets the better of the exchange mostly before they separate and he connects with a couple of nice shots. Another clinch and once again they break, with both guys firing in big shots and Giles landing harder. Big elbow attempt by Lewis against the cage but he doesn’t land and the clinch continues into the final minute. The fighters break and Giles lands a beautiful jab that drops Lewis! Giles gets on top and controls position for the final 30 seconds. 10-9 Giles.

Slower second round as both guys try to feel each other out a bit more on the feet here. Giles trying to work his way into boxing range to use his jab more, but Lewis using his size to stay out of range mostly. Giles’ speed advantage is the difference at the moment as he’s landing first and able to slip out of the way too. Giles lands a big right hand against the cage and Lewis is struggling to find an answer or throw any real volume to trouble him. 20-18 Giles.

Lewis comes out looking for the knockout with heavy strikes being thrown. Giles avoiding them all though and forces Lewis to shoot for a takedown, which he stuffs with a perfect sprawl. A scramble ensues and they get back to the feet. Giles throws a huge one two which rattles Lewis’ brain, then he follows it up with two more strikes that knock Lewis down and the referee steps in to end the fight. Big win and very impressive from Giles.

MAIN CARD

Yan Xiaonan def Claudia Gadelha via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Good opening to the round for both women, as Gadelha comes out and exchanges in the pocket with Yan before securing a clinch and a takedown. Yan gets back to the feet as Gadelha clinches against the cage once again looking for another takedown, but Yan defends really well until the referee breaks them up. Yan throws a low kick that Gadelha catches and she does get the fight down to the ground again and starts landing some big ground and pound. Big elbow lands and lots of body shots as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Gadelha.

Yan keeping her hopes alive in this round, landing lots of stiff shots and staying out of the range for Gadelha’s takedown hopes. Lots of quick jabs that are being followed with a right cross and she’s marking up the face of Gadelha. Gadelha looks very slow and laboured in this round and Yan continues to press forward with pressure but Gadelha ends an exchange with a nice hook. Yan throws a beautiful right hand straight down the middle that lands flush and she’ll take this round. 19-19.

Yan comes out popping that jab once again but this time Gadelha closes the distance with a clinch against the cage. Yan defends it really well and lands some nice strikes of her own before breaking away. Another laboured attempt from Gadelha but Yan defends again and continues to land strikes from distance. Gadelha is exhausted but goes in for another clinch against the cage but Yan is fresh and strong enough to defend while also attacking from the cage. Big flurry of punches ends the round and should be a win for Yan Xiaonan. 29-28.

Giga Chikadze def Jamey Simmons via Knockout, Round 1 (3:51)

Interesting start to the round as Chikadze shows patience to try and feel out Simmons early on. A few jabs and body kicks but nothing too significant, as Simmons looks for a takedown but is stuffed twice by the Georgian. Big body kick from Chikadze hurts Simmons and then he follows it up with a big head kick that drops Simmons! He jumps on him with ground and pound and the referee calls it off! Comfortable win for Chikadze.

Raoni Barcelos def Khalid Taha via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Fun start to the fight as both men come out swinging hell for leather early on. Barcelos chops at the leg of Taha and drops him with it before landing a nice jab. Taha fires back but another leg kick drops him again. Barcelos keeping a relentless pace and lands some huge punches, then throws some big Muay-Thai knees to the head. Taha fires back with some big punches of his own and Barcelos goes in for a takedown. Dominant on the floor, he’s transitioning from position to position and tries to sink in a rear naked choke but Taha is able to defend it and eventually reverses the position. Barcelos throws up an armbar but again Taha is able to defend before they get back to the feet and the round ends. 10-9 Barcelos, great round.

A blistering pace to this fight so far as both men look to push the other to their limit. Barcelos firing in low kicks but Taha reading well and returning with hooks. Both men exchange in the pocket and Barcelos fires in a beautiful flying knee that lands clean but Taha just eats it. Accidental groin strike from Barcelos causes a pause in the action halfway through the round. Barcelos countering Taha’s strikes beautifully but he’s sticking around and proving why he’s in there to begin with. Head kick attempt from Barcelos followed up by hooks, and straights from Barcelos. Final 10 seconds and Barcelos lands a big left hand that hurts him! He’s looking for the finish and lands a big combo but Taha is saved by the buzzer! 20-18 Barcelos.

Final round and Barcelos is looking to start where he left off with big shots. Leg kicks are really hurting Taha and he’s following it up with huge combinations that are rocking Taha. Barcelos picks the leg and takes the fight to the ground as he takes his back and looks for a rear naked choke. Taha defends it well but Barcelos goes into half guard and starts rattling off ground and pound. The fight gets back to the feet and Taha lands two big hooks as Barcelos starts showing some signs of slowing down. Stiff right hand from Barcelos rocks Taha again but he refuses to go down. Leg kick again as Taha walks forward in the final minute before another leg kick drops Taha again! Taha shoots for a takedown with 20 seconds left but Barcelos stuffs it and then they start swinging wild hooks at each other as the round comes to an end. What a fight. 30-27 Barcelos.

Andrei Arlovski def Tanner Boser via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Standard slow start for the big boys as both guys look to feel each other out early on. Boser throws a couple of leg kicks that Arlovski tries to check, before fainting with the jab. More leg kicks before Arlovski throws a jab and leg kick of his own. Arlovski flies in with a head kick attempt but Boser steps out of the way unfazed. Big overhand right lands from Arlovski right at the end of the round but still a Boser round for me. 10-9.

Another slow start to this round as Boser once again comes out with leg kicks, while Arlovski seems to be hanging back looking for counter striking opportunities. Arlovski lands a big overhand right that Boser eats, before landing another straight right moments later. Boser continuing to try and throw leg kicks and then lands with a nice left hand. Neither fighter really committing to offence but Boser is throwing leg kicks a lot. Pretty dull round overall. 19-19.

Final round and both guys come out a little quicker this time around but Boser is continuing with the attack on the legs. Nice jab from Boser is followed by a big right cross by Arlovski but once again he just eats it. Boser still doing lots of fainting but Arlovski isn’t biting. Nice right hand lands again from Arlovski as we enter the final minute of the fight. Fight ends with nothing significant happening. Scorecard could be anything.

Glover Teixeira def Thiago Santos via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3 (1:49)

Quick start to the round as Santos comes out early and establishes himself with some body kicks. Suddenly he explodes with a huge right hook and lands a big combination that drops Teixeira! He goes for the kill but Glover looks for a takedown, Santos continues striking hard but Glover eats them and eventually stalls the attack. Glover moves to the back and slams Santos down to the mat and moves straight into mount. Glover spends the rest of the round dominating position from the top and landing some nice ground and pound. Somehow, its a Glover round. 10-9.

Strong start to the second round from Glover as he gets an early takedown and moves straight back into top control again. Big elbows from the half guard by Glover and hammer fists land hard as he looks to progress into full mount. Santos doing next to nothing to get back to his feet and Glover is having his way with him on the mat. Glover moves into side control and lands big elbows again in the final minute of the round but that’s a dominant round from the 41 year old. 20-17 for me.

Third round starts with a bang! Santos stuffs the immediate takedown attempt from Glover and lands a massive left hand that drops him! He jumps on him for the finish again but Glover defends well from the bottom but Santos unloading with ground and pound. Glover eats the shots and somehow reverses the position, ends up on Santos’ back, sinks in a rear naked choke and gets the tap. What a fight! Unbelievable performance from Glover Teixeira.

UFC Vegas 13: Santos vs Teixeira – Main Card Predictions

After the end of an era at UFC Vegas 12 last weekend, the UFC looks on setting up future events with this card.

In the main event, Thiago Santos takes on Glover Teixeira with both fighters hopeful that a win will put them in line to take on Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title in the near future, despite Israel Adesanya being lined up for the next title shot from middleweight.

There are currently scheduled to be 11 fights on this card, with six prelim bouts followed up by a five-fight main card. I have already predicted the prelims here and will now try to predict the main card.

Last time out I secured a great round of predictions with 10/11 correct picks, including four perfect picks. Lets see if I can’t improve that this time around.

Claudia Gadelha (18-4) vs Yan Xiaonan (12-1 1NC) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A classic striker vs grappler bout in this one, as Gadelha looks to make it three wins in a row against Xiaonan in the most exciting women’s division. Xiaonan is undefeated in the UFC, winning all five of her fights so far and currently 10-0 with one no contest in her last 11 fights. Gadelha is a tremendous grappler who has a few issues with cardio, often fading away in the latter parts of fights. Xiaonan is a very active kickboxer, who has been working on her takedown defence even more so in recent weeks. Her excellent ability to keep a fast pace throughout the entire fight will also play a big part and while it’s possible Gadelha gets her down and controls her on the ground, I think this is Xiaonan’s fight to lose.
PICK – Yan Xiaonan via Decision

Ian Heinisch (14-3) vs Brendan Allen (15-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

The fight of the night as far as my picks go for that, two very good middleweights go head to head. Heinisch got back into the win column at UFC 250 against Gerald Meerschaert following two back-to-back defeats prior to that. Allen is on a seven fight win streak, including a stoppage win over Kevin Holland and a decision over Kyle Daukaus last time out. Allen is a phenom on the ground, with 8 submission wins on his record while also capable on his feet. Heinisch is also a tremendous wrestler but has struggled in the past against the pure strikers he’s faced. It’s really a battle of who turns up on the night because it really is a 50/50 fight. Heinisch has good leg kicks and body work, so if he can prevent Allen’s takedowns he should win. Something tells me though that Allen will be able to get top position and grind out a win.
PICK – Brendan Allen via Decision

Raoni Barcelos (15-1) vs Khalid Taha (13-2 1NC) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A short notice fight as Barcelos steps in on short notice to take on Taha in place of Jack Shore. Barcelos is currently on an eight fight win streak, including a win over Said Nurmagomedov last time out at the back end of 2019. He has a fantastic skillset, where he has proven he has knockout power to go with his counter-striking as well as a great base for his ground game. Taha is a powerhouse on the feet with serious knockout power though so Barcelos will have to be careful for the most part. Barcelos should prove himself to be too well rounded during this fight though and I expect him to get the fight to the ground and secure a submission win.
PICK – Raoni Barcelos via Submission, Round 2

Andrei Arlovski (29-19 2NC) vs Tanner Boser (19-6-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The legendary Arlovski is back in the octagon and he’ll take on a man who is looking for his third win of 2020. Boser knocked out Phillipe Lins in June before then knocking out Raphael Pessoa a month later. Arlovski’s last fight was also against Phillipe Lins but he got the win via a decision. Arlovski has great output for a 41 year old and he obviously has knockout power but Boser is the guy with the advantages right now. He has a wicked leg kick and has shown in the past that he can go the distance quite comfortably. In recent fights though he has shown a willingness to go for the kill and that is something Arlovski won’t be looking forward to. A string of combinations lands in the second and gets the legendary Russian out of there.
PICK – Tanner Boser via Knockout, Round 2

Thiago Santos (21-7) vs Glover Teixeira (31-7) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A fight to determine who’s at the top of the light heavyweight division, Thiago Santos makes his return to the octagon for the first time since July 2019 when he lost a title fight to Jon Jones, while Teixeira is coming off a thumping win over Anthony Smith. Santos has terrifying knockout power and a fantastic kicking game, while Glover is a boxer first and foremost but his ground game is fantastic too. If Glover gets the fight down to the ground, he’s almost always able to keep it there and dominate whoever is under him. Santos is incredibly explosive though and isn’t a novice on the ground either but his wrestling is poor. Santos is so powerful on the feet though, I think he’ll be able to land flush on Glover relatively early on and end the fight before his ground game gets tested too much.
PICK – Thiago Santos via Knockout, Round 2