Tag Archives: Tim Elliott

UFC 272: Covington vs Masvidal – Early prelims predictions

A super highly anticipated grudge match main event at UFC 272 is finally upon us as Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal will clash in the welterweight division.

‘Chaos’ and ‘Gamebred’ will finally settle their very personal differences in the octagon after their friendship went sour several years ago, but while fans are hoping for a scrap it could actually be a bit of a mistmatch.

We’ll also see a five-round co-main event that was put together on short-notice as Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Renato Moicano at a 160-pound catchweight.

The last time we made picks was at UFC Vegas 48: Walker vs Hill a couple of weeks ago and we did pretty well, going 9/12 with three perfect picks to move to 548/852 (64.32%) with 234 perfect picks (42.7%).

Check out our full record for our predictions to date here.


Dustin Jacoby (16-5-1) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (16-4) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A big fight to start up the card in the light heavyweight division. Jacoby is undefeated in his last seven fights, with six wins including a decision win last time out at UFC 268. Oleksiejczuk has won each of his last two, earning a split decision over Modestas Bukauskas at UFC 260 before a KO win against Shamil Gamzatov at UFC 267.

Jacoby is an excellent kickboxer with some really good footwork and heavy hands, while Oleksiejczuk is a pressure-heavy fighter with super power in his hands. While Oleksiejczuk likes to walk forward, he struggles often to cut the cage off which will allow Jacoby room to move and even piece up the legs from the outside.

Oleksiejczuk isn’t much of a kicker at all and his volume often leaves you wanting more from him, and that’s why I can’t see past Jacoby winning. He can pick him off from the outside with kicks, while also holding his own in the centre. Both have a good chin, so I expect a Jacoby decision.
PICK – Dustin Jacoby via Decision

Devonte Smith (11-3) vs Ludovit Klein (17-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A short-notice banger at lightweight up next. Devonte Smith has never been to the judges in his professional career, but he has lost two of his last three with KO defeats to Khama Worthy and Jamie Mullarkey at UFC Vegas 38 coming either side of a KO win against Justin Jaynes at UFC Vegas 18. Klein on the other hand has lost his last two fights in a row, getting submitted by Nate Landwehr last time out. He steps in on one week’s notice.

Both of these guys are excellent strikers, but in different ways. Smith has good pressure and excellent power, while Klein tends to stick on the outside a little more and use his kicks and technique to break opponents down. While Smith isn’t the type of fighter to suffocate an opponent with pressure or grappling, he has got it in him. He’s a decent wrestler and has enough power to try and empty the tank early and finish the fights in the first round.

If he does that against Klein he will earn a victory, but the Slovakian is well aware of his weaknesses and surely will have worked on it. But with just one week of notice against an absolute powerhouse, I think they get into an exchange early on and Smith clips him for a big win.
PICK – Devonte Smith via Knockout, Round 1



Tim Elliott (18-12-1) vs Tagir Ulanbekov (14-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The super experienced Tim Elliott welcomes a super hot prospect in this bout in the flyweight division. Elliott has lost four of his last six including his last bout where he dropped a decision to Matheus Nicolau at UFC Vegas 39, while Ulanbekov is on a five-fight win streak including two wins in the UFC against Bruno Silva at UFC Fight Island 5 and Allan Nascimento at UFC 267.

Elliott is a decent striker with some good wrestling in his pocket and good submission skills too, while Ulanbekov is a primary wrestler who has awkward and strange striking attacks on the feet. Because of that wrestling though, he has the ability to dictate where this fight goes and that should give him the edge throughout the bout.

Ulanbekov will have to be wary of the leg kicks of Elliott and any submissions while he’s on top, but his control of opponents in those positions keeps him in a favourable reckoning here. Elliott will need to sweep him or prevent the takedowns entirely, but his past suggests he’ll struggle with that so I expect the Dagestani to claim a decision win relatively routinely.
PICK – Tagir Ulanbekov via Decision

Brian Kelleher (24-12) vs Umar Nurmagomedov (13-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A banger in the featherweight division closes out the early prelims section of the show. Kelleher claimed consecutive wins for the first time since 2020 with his recent victories over Domingo Pilarte and Kevin Croom at UFC Vegas 46 in the opening card of the year. Nurmagomedov on the other hand is undefeated, with a big submission win in his debut at UFC Fight Island 8 against Sergey Morozov.

Kelleher is a talented wrestler who has got excellent cardio and good power in his looping hooks, and he’ll be coming up against the brilliant Dagestani who has got excellent striking skills as well as the customary wrestling that comes with being from where he is from. ‘Boom’ has got a great chance of victory if he lands a big right hand with his pressure or manages to sneak in a guillotine when defending a takedown, but aside from that it looks like a long night.

Nurmagomedov is the better, more technical striker, the better wrestler and the bigger man in the cage. He’s got the edge everywhere so unless he’s sloppy, he should claim an impressive win here.
PICK – Umar Nurmagomedov via Decision

UFC Vegas 39: Dern vs Rodriguez – Main card predictions

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

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

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

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

We’ll look to improve on that here on this ten-fight card and after starting with the prelims picks, we move on to the main card picks now.


Phil Hawes (11-2) vs Deron Winn (7-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very fun middleweight fight opens up the main card in the middleweight division. Hawes is on a seven-fight win streak, beating Kyle Daukaus last time out at UFC Vegas 26 via decision while Winn is coming off the back of a win over Antonio Arroyo at UFC Vegas 17 following back-to-back losses.

Hawes is a power puncher with legitimate one-punch KO power, while Winn is a wrestler before everything with some okay boxing too. Winn is only 5ft 6′ so he tends to struggle when it comes to engaging in his strengths, and with Hawes having such a big advantage in the striking and the range this is a weird match-up.

Most likely, Hawes keeps his distance and just picks Winn apart from range before landing one of his really big punches and securing a stoppage win.
PICK – Phil Hawes via Knockout, Round 2

Sabina Mazo (9-2) vs Mariya Agapova (9-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very fun women’s flyweight bout between two up and coming prospects in the division. Mazo lost her last fight to Alexis Davis last time out at UFC Vegas 20, while Agapova was beaten by Shana Dobson last time out at UFC Vegas 7 over a year ago.

Both of these women are excellent kickboxers who look at their best from range, but seem to struggle whenever their opponent looks to close the distance and starts grinding in style with dirty boxing and grappling. Luckily for them both, neither will do that here. Agapova has had trouble with her cardio in the past and Mazo is the bigger woman naturally, having previously fought at bantamweight.

This is a close fight but I think Mazo’s size, reach and cardio will edge her over the line to earn a decision win.
PICK – Sabina Mazo via Decision

Tim Elliott (18-11-1) vs Matheus Nicolau (16-3-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

My pick for the fight of the night in the flyweight division next. Elliott has won each of his last two, with decisions over Ryan Benoit and most recently Jordan Espinosa at UFC 259. Nicolau won his second UFC debut against former RIZIN champion Manel Kape in a controversial split-decision at UFC Vegas 21.

Elliott is a great wrestler who gets his takedowns using his cardio as a weapon and making every fight a straight up war. Nicolau on the other hand is a power puncher with some decent wrestling defence too and some good kicks in his arsenal. Elliott is a veteran who has never even been dropped in the UFC but it’s his relentless pace that often breaks opponents.

Nicolau’s best chance of a win is a big knockout and with Elliott’s durability it seems unlikely. Elliott will keep the pace high, perform his wrestling duties well and be able to just overwhelm Nicolau for a decision win.
PICK – Tim Elliott via Decision

Randy Brown (13-4) vs Jared Gooden (18-6) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A banger at welterweight in the co-main event between ‘Rudeboy’ and ‘Nite Train’. Brown bounced back from defeat against Vicente Luque with a one-arm rear-naked choke win over ‘Cowboy’ Alex Oliveira last time out at UFC 261, while Gooden starched Niklas Stolze last time out at UFC Vegas 33 to bounce back from two consecutive losses.

Brown is a great striker with terrific length and some very good submission skills, with his 11 stoppage wins split 6-5 in KO’s and taps. Gooden on the other hand is an explosive puncher with some good wrestling skills, but it’s still hard to know where he stands at the UFC level. He got dominated in his first two fights, but then earned a win with a flash knockout early so it’s hard to see if he made many improvements.

That said, he has the power advantage in this fight if he and Brown were to go strike for strike. I don’t think Brown will do that though and he’ll look to mix in his grappling and use his length well to earn himself a close decision win.
PICK – Randy Brown via Decision

Mackenzie Dern (11-1) vs Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

The main event is a super fun strawweight battle between grappler and striker as they look to make themselves title contenders with a win. Dern has won each of her last four, with three by submission including her most recent against Nina Nunes at UFC Vegas 23, while Rodriguez made it two in a row with wins over Amanda Ribas at UFC 257 and Michelle Waterson at UFC Vegas 26.

Dern is one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners on the roster, with seven submission wins in her career but she has shown a marked improvement in her striking in recent fights too. Rodriguez on the other hand is a boxer first with some decent kicking too, with six knockout wins in her career. It’s a classic striker vs grappler bout and my mind tends to almost always go with the grappler, because they can dictate where the fight goes.

Rodriguez will look to keep the distance and use her slight reach advantage to land strikes, but Dern will be aggressive and likely pull guard because her takedowns are pretty rubbish. If she does, she’ll lock up a submission in no time but if Rodriguez keeps it standing she’ll win easily. That said, I don’t see Rodriguez keeping it standing for five rounds, so I’m backing Dern to earn yet another submission win.
PICK – Mackenzie Dern via Submission, Round 2

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 – Early prelims 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.


Mario Bautista (8-1) vs Trevin Jones (12-6 1NC) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The opening fight of the card is a fun bantamweight fight between two up and comers in the UFC. Bautista is coming off two wins in a row after losing his debut on short-notice to Cory Sandhagen, where he beat Jin Soo Son and Miles Johns, while Jones’s UFC debut win over Timur Valiev at UFC Vegas 7 was overturned to a no-contest following a positive test for marijuana.

Bautista is a great striker, with fantastic knees and straight punches while Jones is a power puncher with a strong wrestling base behind him too. Bautista has really good takedown defence too but is so well rounded when it comes to MMA that he should be considered a threat wherever the fight goes. Jones is more one-dimensional and will likely find himself with his back to the cage and his best path to victory is with that role reversed. Bautista is good enough to avoid takedowns and if he doesn’t, he’s great at getting back to his feet quickly. On the feet, Bautista has a clear advantage and I think he’ll be able to pick Jones off for the victory while standing.
PICK – Mario Bautista via Decision

Uros Medic (6-0) vs Aalon Cruz (8-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A UFC debut for Serbian lightweight Uros Medic as he takes on fellow Contender Series alumni Aalon Cruz. Medic is 6-0 with all finishes in his career, including a knockout against Mikey Gonzalez back in August. Cruz made his UFC debut in February last year where he was knocked out in 85 seconds by Spike Carlyle.

Medic has never gone past the first minute of a second round because of the pure power and aggression he shows in fights. While Cruz is the more weathered fighter who has fought much better competition, he tends to back up in straight lines when defending and when he got cracked by Carlyle his response was less than impressive. He has a huge reach advantage over Medic but he doesn’t really fight in a way that uses it well and if Medic steps forward with the same aggression and clips him early then this could be a short night in ‘The Doctor’s’ favour.
PICK – Uros Medic via Knockout, Round 1

Livinha Souza (14-2) vs Amanda Lemos (8-1-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A strawweight fight between two women who won their only fight in 2020 and will look keep that momentum going in 2021. Souza won her first two fights in the UFC before losing to Brianna Van Buren, but she bounced back with a unanimous decision win over Ashley Yoder at UFC 242. Lemos made it consecutive wins in the same month with her decision win over Mizuki Inoue making her 2-0 since her suspension for a failed drugs test.

Souza’s skillset should see her much higher up in the reckoning of the strawweight world. She has tremendous striking, brilliant jiu-jitsu skills and even some judo throws under her belt with ten stoppage wins in her career paying to that. Lemos is an active striker, with great grappling skills of her own but her volume should see her take this fight. If Souza can’t outwrestle her opponent she seems to panic a bit despite her great skills and she just doesn’t let her hands go. If that’s the case here, Lemos will punish her with strikes and should take the victory.
PICK – Amanda Lemos via Decision

Sean Brady (13-0) vs Jake Matthews (17-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A cracker of a fight at welterweight between the undefeated Sean Brady and ‘The Celtic Kid’ Jake Matthews. Brady made his UFC debut back in 2019 and has gone 3-0, beating Christian Aguilera last time out in August 2020 at UFC Vegas 8. Matthews is a UFC vet despite being only 26 years old and is on a three-fight win streak after beating Diego Sanchez on Fight Island last year at UFC 253.

Brady and Matthews are very similar in style and this should be a competitive match up. Both are good wrestlers with good striking too, but Matthews is more of a finisher on the mat while Brady tends to mix it up a little more. Despite that, Matthews has only had one submission win in the last five years and while he’ll look for the takedowns more Brady is arguably the slightly better wrestler of the two and he has the edge on the feet too. That quality should shine through and Brady should do enough to get a decision win.
PICK – Sean Brady via Decision

Kennedy Nzechukwu (7-1) vs Carlos Ulberg (5-0) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Two relative newcomers to the light heavyweight division meet up on the card where the title is on the line to showcase their skills as prospects. ‘The African Savage’ is 1-1 in the UFC and took all of 2020 off following his last win, while Ulberg is an undefeated prospect making his UFC debut in this game.

Nzechukwu is 6ft 5′ tall and incredibly lengthy when it comes to his striking, while Ulberg is a former professional kickboxer who has transitioned over to MMA and brought those striking skills to the fore with him. Nzechukwu doesn’t like to commit too much and a real lack of volume means he’s in for a torrid time against Ulberg who is quicker, better technically and arguably just as powerful. Ulberg will feint, leg kick and then terrorise Nzechukwu for a spectacular finish.
PICK – Carlos Ulberg via Knockout, Round 2

Tim Elliott (17-11-1) vs Jordan Espinosa (15-8) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A super fun flyweight fight between two guys who could be fighting for their careers in the company. Both Elliott and Espinosa have lost three out of their last four, with Elliot winning against Ryan Benoit last time out on Fight Island after defeats to Deiveson Figueiredo, Askar Askarov and Brandon Royval. Espinosa lost his last fight to David Dvorak at UFC Vegas 11, after beating Mark De La Rosa and losing to Alex Perez and Matt Schnell.

Elliott is a wrestler by trade and always looks to get the takedown and smother his opponents on the ground, while Espinosa is a mobile striker who likes to shoot himself in the foot strategically in fights. Elliott will look to box himself into takedown range and despite Espinosa’s reach and footwork advantage he should be able to push the pace for a relatively comfortable win.
PICK – Tim Elliott via Decision

UFC Fight Island: Kattar vs Ige – Results (Highlights)

PRELIMS

Jack Shore def Aaron Phillips via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) (Round 2, 2:29)

A very, very typical opening round in a Jack Shore fight. The Welshman used his jab well to close the distance then locked his hands and secured takedown after takedown. Big head strikes against the cage and an attempt to get a rear-naked choke were close but Phillips defended well. 10-9 Shore.

Second round starts and Phillips goes for a superman punch, which is well read by Shore and he drops the level to secure an immediate takedown. Ground and pound strikes are causing Phillips big problems and he turns over, Shore takes the back. He applies pressure and sinks in a rear-naked choke to secure the submission win. Hugely impressive win from Shore.

Liana Jojua def Diana Belbita via Submission (Armbar) (Round 1, 2:43)

Fight starts and Belbita immediately goes for the takedown. She secures it but immediately Jojua secures full guard and goes for the armbar. She gets it in tight but Belbita refuses to tap, Jojua then readjusts and tightens it again and eventually gets the tap as she goes belly down. Impressive first round win.

Jared Gordon def Chris Fishgold via Unanimous Decision (30-26 x3)

Fishgold starting this fight very aggressively with a lot of spectacular attacks. He eventually gets a single leg and pushes through but Gordon threatens with an arm-in guillotine. He uses it to try and get back to his feet but Fishgold pushes through again and lands some nice strikes before they return to the feet. Fishgold lands a big uppercut that puts Gordon on his knees and then goes for a big guillotine, but eventually pops his head out and gains side control. He moves into full guard and lands some nice hammerfists before the round ends. 10-9 Fishgold.

Second round starts with an immediate takedown by Gordon. Once again Fishgold threatens with a guillotine but Gordon avoids it immediately and threatens with a kimura of his own from side control. Plenty of ground and pound from full guard for Gordon and Fishgold isn’t showing any signs of trying to get to his feet. 19-19 but that could have arguably been a 10-8 round for ‘Flash’.

Final round and Gordon goes for the takedown immediately again. Fishgold defends it well though and keeps the fight standing and is now pressing forward with one-twos. Fishgold now shoots for a single leg but Gordon sprawls and ends up in side control landing big strikes to the head. Gordon is in his element here and dominating again landing strikes. Referee is threatening to stop the fight but Gordon switches positions. More strikes but Fishgold won’t quit, but he’s out of gas and can barely move away. Fight comes to an end. Big win for ‘Flash’ Gordon. 29-27 Gordon for me.

Modestas Bukauskas def Andreas Michailidis via Knockout (Round 1, 5:00)

A fantastic striking contest in the first round between these two big boys. Bukauskas circling well and throwing leg kicks, while Michailidis is throwing nice right hands. Big overhand right from Michailidis lands but Bukauskas eats it. He lands a big left hand of his own but Michailidis eats that too. More striking exchanges with Michailidis edging them and he shoots for the takedown against the cage with 5 seconds to go. Bukauskas stuffs it and lands some big elbows to the head as the buzzer goes. Micahilidis doesn’t get back to his feet and as the referee asks him if he’s good, he falls backwards out of cage still wobbly. Immediately the referee waves the fight off. Big win for Bukauskas.

Lerone Murphy def Ricardo Ramos via Knockout (Round 1,4:18)

Fight starts with some nice leg kicks by Ramos, with Murphy showing his speed on the feet with his hands. Ramos attacks with a spinning elbow and misses but ends up in a clinch against the fence. He get Murphy down and tries to take his back, but ‘The Miracle’ defends well and scrambles back to the feet. Ramos goes for a capoeira kick but Murphy ducks and gets his own takedown. He lands four huge elbows and Ramos is hurt. Murphy being very patient and lands more big shots. Ramos is badly hurt now and Murphy pours on the damage and the referee waves it off. What a win for Murphy! Superb performance.

Khamzat Chimaev def John Phillips via Submission (D’Arce Choke) (Round 2, 1:12)

Well….. Chimaev fakes a head kick and shoots in for a takedown inside the first 5 seconds. Phillips ends up on his back and that’s where he stays for the remainder of the round. Severe ground and pound busts the Welsh fighter wide open but Chimaev is relentless and keeps landing strikes will keeping his opponent grounded. The round ends with a strike count of 72-1 in favour of the Swede. 10-8 minimum.

Second round starts and Chimaev once again immediately gets the takedown. Phillips rushes to the cage to attempt to get to his feet but Chimaev is in complete control landing more blows to the face. A quick transition and Chimaev has applied a D’Arce choke out of nowhere and forces Phillips to tap. One of the best debuts I’ve ever seen in the UFC. Wow.

MAIN CARD

Mounir Lazzez def Abdul Razak Alhassan via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

What a first round! Alhassan comes out super aggressive and lands some big shots to the head. Lazzez covers up and eats some big shots but then starts to move away and lands some nice leg kicks. He’s throwing some beautiful knees to the body and checking all of Alhassan’s kicks. Alhassan may have gassed himself out and Lazzez is coming forward now. Lazzez lands a big takedown to end the round but that’s an Alhassan round, just. 10-9.

Second round starts and it’s more of the same. Alhassan landing a lot of leg kicks and working behind a jab. Nice right hand from Lazzez forces Alhassan to back pedal towards the cage and he starts ripping off shots to the head looking for a finish. Alhassan maybe playing possum though and starts swinging for the fences himself! Lazzez lands a beautiful takedown and some nice strikes before Alhassan gets back to his feet but he’s visibly tired. Another takedown against the cage from Lazzez and the round ends as they get back to the feet. 19-19, Lazzez will win this if he doesn’t get KO’d.

Third round is a bit more timid to begin with, probably with both men for fatigued. A lovely takedown attempt from Alhassan gets the fight down to the ground but Lazzez remains against the cage and gets himself back up to the feet quickly. Lazzez reverses the position and gets a takedown of his own now, with Alhassan threatening with a guillotine but Lazzez not really in any danger. Lazzez moves into side control and lands three huge elbows as Alhassan tries to explode back to his feet. Lazzez controls the position very well though and ends the fight exchanging in the pocket. 29-28 Lezzaz for me.

Taila Santos def Molly McCann via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

McCann sprints across the Octagon to start the fight and lands a few nice right hooks but Santos is throwing powerful, crisp shots. ‘Meatball’ continues to push the pace and lands more shots but they’re not really causing Santos too many problems. Santos gets herself a few takedowns to take the round. 10-9 Santos.

A dominant round for Santos again now. She secures another few takedowns and progresses into mount with big elbows and punches. Santos is just much stronger than McCann physically and it’s causing her a lot of issues. Santos comes close with a d’arce choke attempt but Molly escapes well and ends the ground underneath Santos being punched. 20-18 Santos.

Third round is just more of the same. Santos too big, too strong and too good for Molly McCann tonight. A dominant third and final round will see Taila Santos get a comfortable decision win here. 30-26 Santos for me.

Jimmie Rivera def Cody Stamann via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

A competitive first round sees both men exchanging punches and takedowns as they feel each other out. Stamann unbalances Rivera when he catches a kick and lands a nice right hand before Rivera responds with the exact same sequence of events. Stamann goes for a takedown and manages to control the back of Rivera for the remainder of the round, although no real damage is inflicted. 10-9 Stamann.

Stamann goes for a takedown immediately at the start of the second and goes to take the back again. Rivera immediately pops up and eventually reverses the position before breaking away looking to engage in more of a striking battle. He lands a nice left hand followed by a big inside-leg kick that echoes through the arena. They end the round exchanging in the pocket with Rivera getting the better of it. 19-19.

Final round and Rivera comes out with two big head kick attempts but misses both. Stamann goes for the takedown but it’s defended brilliantly by Rivera who gets it against the cage and reverses the position. Rivera again engages in striking and gets the better of Stamann who pushes for a takedown but once again is denied by Rivera’s balance. Rivera threatens with a guillotine but nothing comes of it. Final minute is mainly Rivera throwing combos and the round ends with a beautiful left hook. 29-28 Rivera for me.

Tim Elliott def Ryan Benoit via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

A strong opening round from Benoit as he coped really well with Elliott’s unorthodox movements. Elliott throwing lots of feints and Benoit trying to make lots of reads and then lands a huge jab followed with a big kick. Benoit’s jab has been really effective throughout and he has stuffed all of Elliott’s takedown attempts. 10-9 Benoit.

Second round and Benoit seems to have made all his reads. He’s picking Elliott apart on the feet and landing excellent jabs, kicks and uppercuts. Benoit shoots for a takedown and Elliott goes for the guillotine but it’s scrambled out of and Elliott ends up in mount. A transition of submissions sees Benoit with a kneebar locked in tiiiight but Elliott just refuses to tap and eventually gets out. They get back to the feet and Benoit continues to piece Elliott up. 20-18 Benoit.

Third round and Elliott comes out super aggressive with some big heavy hands. He’s fiddling with his hand, it seems he may have dislocated a finger but he fights on without throwing his right hand again. Benoit is visibly tiring and Elliott is pouring it on. Lots of jabs and body kicks as Elliott takes over the round. He wins this round but I have the fight going to Benoit. 29-28.

Calvin Kattar def Dan Ige via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x2, 48-47)

Fight starts with both fighters looking to feel each other out by throwing feints and nothing significant power-wise. Lots of jabs and one-twos by Ige as Kattar just waiting for his moment. Kattar throws a beautiful right hand to the body with a left uppercut to follow it up. Lots of body shots now by Kattar and Ige didn’t like the power so shoots for a takedown. Kattar avoids and lands more body shots and uppercuts to end the round. 10-9 Kattar.

Kattar’s boxing is a thing of beauty. Second round is a boxing masterclass with Kattar landing accurately and avoiding any big shots so far himself. Ige rushes forward and lands a lovely left hook right to the nose that draws blood. Kattar’s nose is bothering him and allows Ige to step in with a beautiful body shot. Much better round for Ige as he pushes forward with more shots but then Kattar lands a beautiful right hand that rocks Ige! He follows up with a flying knee but misses and it allows Ige to recover as the round ends. 19-19.

Third round begins with Kattar being slightly more aggressive. Big leg kicks and nasty uppercuts are his weapon of choice but Ige isn’t backing up at all. Beautiful body shot from Kattar lands but Ige fires back with a one-two of his own. Ige is managing the distance really well so far in this fight. Kattar rushes forward and lands some big punches to throw Ige off and follows it with a head kick but Ige deals with it well. Big exchange of punches where both men land, which opens up a cut over the eye of Kattar. 29-28 Kattar.

Fourth round starts relatively slowly but Kattar starts to back Ige back up against the cage. A big right straight lands and makes Ige shoot for a takedown, but Kattar sprawls and ends up on top and lands some big elbows. Ige gets back to his feet quickly though and we’re back to the regular fight pattern. Ige looks to be tiring a bit but lands a nice right hook, and follows it up with a big right elbow. Ige rushes forward with a body shot and Kattar throws a knee up the middle and Ige is clearly tiring now. Ige shoots for the takedown at the end of the round but misses it and Kattar just misses with a big knee in response. 39-37 Kattar.

Dan Ige being more aggressive in the final round, knowing he likely needs a finish to win this fight. Goes for a kick but Kattar side-steps it and lands a big right cross. Ige lands a nice body shot at the same time Kattar throws a nice leg kick too. Kattar goes for another kick and Ige catches it and rushes forward for the takedown, but Kattar adjusts in mid-air and escapes brilliantly. Ige’s eye starting to swell shut as we enter the final 90 seconds, as he continues to land jabs while Ige presses forward. Ige goes for a very late takedown but misses it again. Kattar lands a nice shot that drops Ige at the end of the round and lands some heavy ground and pound strikes looking for a finish as the buzzer goes! Great fight, 49-46 Kattar for me.

UFC Fight Island: Kattar vs Ige – Main Card Predictions

After a super successful UFC 251 card, the UFC makes a quick turn-around for it’s second card on Fight Island this week.

The card has some good fights on the undercard but the main card is where all the action AfterΒ picking 12 out of 13 winners at UFC 251, I take a look at this card to see if I can maintain that success rate. You can see my prelims predictions here.

Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-1) vs Mounir Lazzez (9-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

With 10 wins and 10 knockouts, Alhassan is one of the biggest prospects in the welterweight division. After his first professional defeat to Omari Akhmedov, he bounced back with three big wins including in his last fight where he knocked out Niko Price in just 43 seconds. ‘Sniper’ Lazzez makes his UFC debut with a similarly impressive record, having won 8 of his 9 fights by knockout. Alhassan missed weight for this fight and they’ll now fight at a catchweight. After almost two years away due to legal troubles, ‘Judo Thunder’ will want to come back with a bang and I think we’ll see that here.
PICK – Abdul Razak Alhassan via Knockout, Round 1

Molly McCann (10-2) vs Taila Santos (15-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Meatball Molly comes into this fight on a three fight win-streak, knowing that a win could see her move into the Top 15. Taila Santos came into the UFC off the back of a 15-0 record but then lost her first ever fight in the organisation by split decision. The record is incredibly padded though, having fought several women with losing records or making their pro debuts. McCann is very good at closing range down and throws good volume. She’s arguably the best fighter that Santos has ever fought and when she doesn’t wilt under the power in the first round, she will likely take over.
PICK – Molly McCann via Unanimous Decision

Jimmie Rivera (22-4) vs Cody Stamann (19-2-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Cody Stamann makes a quick turnaround after his win at UFC 250, against Rivera who is looking to get back on the horse having lost three of his last four bouts. These two usually both compete at bantamweight but due to the short notice it’s been bumped up to featherweight by the UFC and should be an exciting fight. Rivera is a super well-rounded fighter, good at everything but not exceptional anywhere while Stamann is very much a wrestler. This is a bout almost guaranteed to go the distance with the two having 27 decision wins between them and I think Rivera should get it done. He’s been unlucky in his recent fights and I think he may just be a level above where Stamann is at currently.
PICK – Jimmie Rivera via Unanimous Decision

Tim Elliott (15-11-1) vs Ryan Benoit (10-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A fight between two fighters coming off losses, with Elliott potentially fighting for his career in the UFC. Elliott has lost four of his last five including his last three in a row, while Benoit has yo-yo’d his last ten fights going 5-5 with no streaks involved. Elliott is very similar to another Octagon veteran in Clay Guida, in the sense that he’s just constantly active. Whether he’s striking, grappling, scrambling or defending he’s constantly busy and Benoit is unlikely to be able to keep up in the cardio department. Benoit has decent power and a big shot is his most likely path to victory, but I think Elliott does enough to earn the nod from the judges.
PICK – Tim Elliott via Unanimous Decision

Calvin Kattar (21-4) vs Dan Ige (14-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A top 10 clash in the 145lbs division headlines the second card on Fight Island for the week. Calvin Kattar comes in with three wins from his last five including a vicious KO of Jeremy Stephens in his last bout. ‘Dynamite’ Dan Ige is on a six-fight win streak including a decision win over former lightweight contender Edson Barboza in his last fight. While Ige was given the nod, it was a controversial decision with many scoring it in favour of the Brazilian. He is a grappler with submissions on his record and he will look to smother Kattar’s strikes and close the distance to clinch and get a takedown. Kattar is a clear level above Ige though in my opinion on the feet but the ground game is untested. If Ige can get the takedown, then he will have the advantage. Ige was dropped three times in his win over Barboza though and Kattar will take confidence in that. In a five round war, I think Kattar will be able to land enough damage on the feet to secure a TKO win.
PICK – Calvin Kattar via Knockout, Round 4