Tag Archives: Tracy Cortez

UFC 274: Oliveira vs Gaethje – Early prelims predictions

The UFC heads to Arizona for a huge pay-per-view card this weekend headlined by two massive title fights in the lightweight and strawweight divisions.

The main event will see Charles Oliveira defend his 155-pound title for the second time against Justin Gaethje, who looks to earn the belt at the second time of asking.

In the co-main event we’ll see Rose Namajunas defend her 115-pound title for the second time of her second stint as champion when she takes on Carla Esparza, reigniting a rivalry years in the making from the inaugural title fight in the division.

We’ll also see Michael Chandler fight against Tony Ferguson in a huge lightweight fight, as well as ‘Shogun’ Rua, Donald Cerrone, Randy Brown, Khaos Williams, Danny Roberts and more.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 53 we had a poor night with our picks, going 5/11 with four perfect picks. That moves us up to 613/951 (64.46%) with 259 perfect picks (42.25%).

We’ll look to improve on that here with this massive 15-fight card, starting with the early prelims.


Journey Newson (9-3) vs Fernie Garcia (10-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun bantamweight fight opens up the card between two interesting fighters. Newson is on a three fight winless streak, after dropping losses to Ricardo Ramos and Randy Costa (UFC Vegas 11) most recently. He did KO Domingo Pilarte in between those, but it was overturned to a no contest for a failed drug test. Garcia on the other hand makes his UFC debut after a successful appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Newson is a steady boxer with a decent wrestling game, but it’s hard to get a read on someone who has fought for less than 90 seconds in the last three years and is coming off a near two-year layoff. Garcia on the other hand is a volume striker with good speed and good wrestling defence to keep the fight in his wheelhouse. Neither guy has got great power, with just four KO’s across their combined 19 wins so it’s all about winning the 50/50 battles.

Newson will likely look to strike early on but when he realises that he’s not got the speed to match Garcia in the exchanges he’ll look to tie him up against the cage and wear on him. Garcia must be able to escape and get back to his boxing, which I think he will, to be able to claim a decision win.
PICK – Fernie Garcia via Decision

Ariane Carnelossi (14-2) vs Lupita Godinez (7-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

An interesting strawweight bout up next between two women coming off wins. Carnelossi has won her last two by finish, knocking out Na Liang at UFC 261 before submitting Istela Nunes in her most recent outing. Godinez had three fights in six weeks at the back end of 2021, going 2-1 in that run with a defeat to Luana Carolina sandwiched between wins over Silvana Gomez Juarez and Loma Lookboonmee all by decision.

Carnelossi is a powerful striker with a good jab, good low kicks and a decent wrestling game when on the attack. Godinez on the other hand is a sharp boxer too, but she has excellent wrestling both offensively and defensively and that would surely give her the edge here. On the feet Carnelossi’s power is a game changer. She swings big hooks and has the ability to turn the lights out as her nine career KO’s show. but if she ends up on her back she is in trouble.

Godinez is a relentless grappler when she knows she can secure a takedown and from top position she should be able to keep Carnelossi exactly where she wants her. If she avoids the big contact in the early rounds, I expect Godinez to be able to wrestle her way to a relatively one-sided decision win.
PICK – Lupita Godinez via Decision

Kleydson Rodrigues (7-1) vs CJ Vergara (9-3-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Flyweight banger up next between two exciting prospects at 125-pounds. Rodrigues has won his last six in a row, including his last fight on Dana White’s Contender Series where he dominated Santo Curatolo. Vergara on the other hand saw a five-fight win streak snapped when he lost his UFC debut to Ode Osbourne via decision back at UFC 268 in November.

Rodrigues is a striker who likes to use his length well and kicking game to set up range and straight strikes and has got a huge technique advantage in this bout. Vergara is a bit more of a brawler than that, but he has got a great clinch game that looks to wear his opponents down with hard knees and elbows. Unfortunately for Vergara though, he seems to be outmatched on this occasion.

‘K.R.’ has got the power to land well and early, while stylistically he is similar to Osbourne who gave Vergara lots of trouble last time out. Vergara will have to try and close the distance with his boxing and that should open him up to a big counter from Rodrigues, who’ll claim the statement KO win.
PICK – Kleydson Rodrigues via Knockout, Round 2



Tracy Cortez (9-1) vs Melissa Gatto (8-0-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very fun flyweight fight between two prospects in the division up next. Cortez is on a nine-fight win streak and is unbeaten in the UFC, claiming a split decision win over Justine Kish in her most recent outing. Gatto on the other hand has won each of her last three bouts, including finishes in her UFC debut against Victoria Leonardo at UFC 265 and then a KO win over Sijara Eubanks at UFC Vegas 45 last time out.

Cortez is a grinding wrestler who has surely been working on her jiu-jitsu game in recent times since starting a relationship with Brian Ortega. She tends to get takedowns and control opponents on the ground, while her striking is good enough to hold her own in the exchanges. Gatto on the other hand is a solid striker with decent power and kicks, while she showed her ground game is of more than adequate level when she went toe-to-toe with Eubanks.

If Gatto keeps the fight standing then it’s her bout to lose. She has a small reach advantage but also she has got some nasty jiu-jitsu off her back and that could be a problem for Cortez. With that said though, Cortez will do some big wrestling movements and will look to grind her way to a win, but she must stay very aware of the submission threat that is posed against her. Overall, there are more paths to victory for the Brazilian, so I expect her to edge out a tough fight.
PICK – Melissa Gatto via Decision

Andre Fialho (15-4) vs Cameron VanCamp (15-5-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A banger in the welterweight division that was put together on super short notice. Andre Fialho returns to the octagon just three weeks after a huge win over Miguel Baeza last time out, having been beaten in his UFC debut by Michel Pereira at UFC 270 at the start of the year. VanCamp makes his organisation debut on the back of a four-fight win streak with three submissions in a row.

Fialho is a powerhouse who constantly walks forward and throws heavy strikes as he closes the distance, with good defensive wrestling too. VanCamp on the other hand is a solid grappler with excellent submission skills, but his striking leaves plenty to be desired and that puts him in a world of trouble here. He’s a technical boxer with a nasty left hook and so long as the quick turnaround doesn’t negatively impact him this is his fight to lose.

VanCamp needs to get the fight to the ground and control the grappling exchanges to win this fight, but he’ll need to eat a host of strikes to get it there and I don’t see him being able to cope. Fialho lands big and early to hurt VanCamp and earn a nasty KO win.
PICK – Andre Fialho via Knockout, Round 1

UFC Vegas 24: Whittaker vs Gastelum – Prelims predictions

The middleweight division continues to move on at UFC Vegas 24 as Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker takes on short-notice replacement Kelvin Gastelum in the main event.

Whittaker knows a win cements his place as the number one contender for a potential rematch with Israel Adesanya, while Gastelum looks to get back to the sort of run that saw him fight Adesanya in an interim title fight two short years ago.

In the co-main event, Jeremy Stephens makes a return to the lightweight division for the first time since 2012 when he takes on heavy hitter Drakkar Klose at 155lbs.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 23 we had a pretty good night, going 9/13 with four perfect picks to take our total up to 279/439 (63.55%) with 125 perfect picks (44.8%).

In a fun 12 fight card we’ll look to improve that here. Having already predicted the early prelims, here are our picks for the rest of the prelims.


Bartosz Fabinski (15-4) vs Gerald Meerschaert (31-14 – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A middleweight bout between ‘The Butcher’ against the man who got run over in his last fight Gerald Meerschaert. Fabinski has lost two of his last three, with a decision win over Darren Stewart sandwiched between first-round submission defeats to Michel Prazeres and Andre Muniz. Meerschaert has lost five of his last seven including his last two in a row to Ian Heinisch at UFC 250 and Khamzat Chimaev at UFC Vegas 11.

Fabinski is a wrestler who will look to put you on your back and dominate from top position, while Meerschaert is a jiu-jitsu practitioner with 23 careers wins by submission. Fabinski is an okay striker on the feet and may choose to use that early on because of Meerschaert’s skill off his back. Early on when they’re dry Fabinski may be careful, but his wrestling should see him in a comfortable position for the most part and get a comfortable win here.
PICK – Bartosz Fabinski via Decision

Jessica Penne (12-6) vs Lupita Godinez (5-0) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A very interesting bout in the strawweight division as Jessica Penne makes her return for the first time in three-and-a-half years following issues with USADA to take on debutant Lupita Godinez.

Penne is a wrestler who we’ve seen in the past get absolutely wailed on by any sort of top striker and that’s exactly what Godinez is. She has a tremendous jab, really powerful punches and solid combinations – all things that will trouble the veteran Penne. While she is likely to have improved a bit after nearly four years away, her weaknesses are likely to still be her weaknesses. At 38, she is now coming up against a more youthful, more powerful and hungrier opponent.

Godinez will likely step forward and land some heavy shots early to put Penne on the back foot and from there it’s a matter of when not if.
PICK – Lupita Godinez via Knockout, Round 1

Alexander Romanov (13-0) vs Juan Espino (11-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A super exciting heavyweight bout between two ground specialists among the biggest of big boys in the UFC. Romanov is undefeated in his career and has smashed through his two UFC opponents so far, submitting Roque Martinez at UFC Vegas 10 before choking out Marcos Rogerio de Lima in one round at UFC Vegas 13. Espino is a former Ultimate Fighter winner and won his first UFC bout against Jeff Hughes at UFC 253 with a first round submission win too.

Romanov is a powerful wrestler, who has rag dolled opponents so far throughout his career and has violent ground and pound as well as a submission game. Espino is also a wrestler but he tends to move for submissions far more than working ground and pound. Both men want to be on top to work their game and we haven’t really seen either on the bottom during their career. We haven’t seen either have to defend takedowns either because that is something their opponents try to avoid so it makes for a very interesting clash.

In the end, Romanov is a younger and fresher fighter who has been more active. If the fight stays on the feet he has the striking edge and a deeper gas tank too so I think he gets the win here but don’t be surprised if Espino gets him down early and works a submission from the top.
PICK – Alexander Romanov via Knockout, Round 1

Tracy Cortez (8-1) vs Justine Kish (7-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

In the featured prelim bout of the card the impressive Tracy Cortez makes a return to take on former Ultimate Fighter contestant Justine Kish. Cortez lost the first bout of her career but has gone unbeaten since, including decision wins in the UFC over Vanessa Melo and most recently Stephanie Egger at UFC Fight Island 5. Kish on the other hand has lost three of her last four, including most recently against Sabina Mazo at UFC Vegas 10 when she was submitted.

Cortez is an excellent wrestler with super takedowns and a well polished ground game, while Kish is anything but. Kish likes to stand and trade kickboxing techniques when she gets the chance but she once literally pooped herself trying to escape from a choke against a strong grappler. Cortez can hold her own the feet for sure but her best work is done on the ground and with Kish’s lacklustre takedown defence there is only one place this is going to end up.

Cortez gets her down and beats her up for 15 minutes for a ninth consecutive career win.
PICK – Tracy Cortez via Decision

UFC Fight Island 5: Moraes vs Sandhagen – Early Prelims Predictions

The UFC returns to Fight Island for part three of their five part series this time around and it’s a bantamweight clash that headlines this one.

Marlon Moraes looks to get back into title contention following his win over controversial win over Jose Aldo last year when he takes on Cory Sandhagen who tries to bounce back from his defeat to Aljamain Sterling back in June.

It’s a full card this weekend with 13 fights scheduled so we’re going to split it into three once again and look to break down each fight and predict how they all go.

Last weekend we secured 7/11 correct picks with four perfect picks (winner, method, round) so we’ll look to carry on the good run with this card.

EARLY PRELIMS

Bruno Silva (10-4-2) vs Tagir Ulanbekov (10-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

‘Bulldog’ Bruno Silva makes his third walk to the octagon looking for the first victory of his UFC career when he takes on Tagir Ulanbekov making his UFC debut from the Eagles MMA camp alongside Khabib Nurmagomedov. Much like the lightweight champion, Ulanbekov is a world class wrestler and grappler who’s style relies entirely on taking you down and smothering you on the mat. Silva is a great jiu-jitsu fighter but the likelihood is that he ends up on the bottom and suffers great pain for 15 minutes before a very one-sided decision.
PICK – Tagir Ulanbekov via Unanimous Decision

Tracy Cortez (7-1) vs Stephanie Egger (5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very interesting fight in the women’s 135lbs ranks as Tracy Cortez looks to make it back-to-back wins in the UFC over debutant Stephanie Egger. Cortez is a pressure fighter who is very well-rounded in all aspects of the sport, while Egger is a renowned judo fighter who holds a win over Ronda Rousey in her judo career. She has since rounded out her skillset and is a blue belt in jiu-jitsu while also adding kicks and striking to her game. She’s the larger woman physically but Cortez is more skilled. She’s a good wrestler herself so is no stranger to the ground and to clinches. She’s not the strongest physically which is where Egger has the advantage but if Cortez uses her greater experience and can use her striking efficiently she should be able to claim a decision win.
PICK – Tracy Cortez via Unanimous Decision

Giga Chikadze (10-2) vs Omar Morales (10-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fascinating scrap expected in the featherweight division when two fighters undefeated in the octagon face off with each other. Giga Chikadze has won three in a row in the UFC and five overall while Morales has never tasted defeat in his professional career and has won twice in the octagon previously. On the face of it, both men are stand up fighters who like to use their kicks from range and Chikadze for me is the better of the two when it comes to that type of fight. Despite that however, Morales showed some decent wrestling chops in his last fight and that could be a more than viable plan B. Morales is the bigger man, moving down from lightweight for this fight and Chikadze has struggled convincing judges unanimously so far with two out of three split decisions. Overall, if Morales’ weight cut doesn’t effect him too much he could pull off the upset but I think Chikadze will do just enough to scrape another close decision.
PICK – Giga Chikadze via Unanimous Decision