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UFC 255 Fallout: Figueiredo The Scariest 125lber Ever, Buckley Beefing Krause

The November showcase of the flyweight divisions didn’t let us down at UFC 255 as both champions retained their belts in rather dominant fashion.

In the main event of the night Deiveson Figueiredo went head-hunting against challenger Alex Perez and got a first round finish, with a scramble on the ground leading to a deep guillotine choke in less than two minutes.

In the women’s title fight, Valentina Shevchenko outclassed Jennifer Maia to a unanimous decision win after an interesting game plan saw her take the fight to the ground on several occasions against the jiu-jitsu expert.

For Figueiredo it was the confirmation that he is the biggest and best fighter the division has seen since Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson.

‘God of War’ improved his record to 20-1 and made it seven finishes from ten fights in the division, tying the record for finishes with Mighty Mouse. It also means he improved to 3-0 for 2020, with finishes in all those fights.

Immediately after the fight he called for his next title defence to be against #1 ranked Brandon Moreno, who defeated Brandon Royval earlier in the night with a first round TKO after he dislocated his shoulder in a scramble.

The UFC have already made their move in booking that fight, with a 21 day turnaround expected as the two will headline December’s UFC 256 pay-per-view event. The decision was made after both fighters verbally agreed to the fight within two hours of this weekend’s card ending and Petr Yan being forced to withdraw from his fight with Aljamain Sterling due to personal reasons.

A win for Figueiredo in that fight will see him win four title fights in the calendar year, more than any UFC fighter in history. His power, speed and ability on the ground make him the total package and without a doubt the scariest prospect the flyweight division has ever seen.

For Shevchenko, the UFC look set to pair her up with former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade in her next title defence according to Dana White.

Shevchenko won her fight relatively comfortably on the night, although she was dominated in the second round by Jennifer Maia on the ground which is something future challengers will look to for encouragement to beat her.

Andrade is a heavy-hitting striker, as she showed when she finished Katlyn Chookagian with a body shot last month, but also an excellent wrestler with dominant top control and ground and pound. She would pose an entirely new threat to Shevchenko, something the UFC president is excited to see.

Away from the title picture, Joaquin Buckley continued his fine performances in the UFC with another big knockout win over an undefeated fighter – this time Jordan Wright.

Buckley was strong, powerful and explosive as he smashed his way through Wright at the end of the opening round before finishing the job inside 20 seconds of round two with a big right hand to the temple.

After the fight though, a fired up Buckley called for a fight with an unnamed fighter who has been disrespecting him online. That fighter is James Krause, the head coach of Glory MMA and their beef stems from comments made by Krause on a podcast.

According to Krause, Buckley has been kicked out of every gym in the Louisiana area they’re from due to roughing sparring partners up and generally just not being nice to be around. Buckley has taken offence to the comments and challenged him to a bout at welterweight (Krause’s natural division) or middleweight (where Krause has appeared once before).

Dana White confirmed in the post-event press conference that he would be interested in making the fight happen but he needed to talk with both fighters first to make sure they’re interested and what not.

A great event that has shaped up some future cards and built two champions up even further, a job well done to all involved.

UFC 255: Figueiredo vs Perez – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Sasha Palatnikov def Louis Cosce via Knockout, Round 3 (2:47)

What a round! Cosce comes out super aggressive but Palatnikov does well to use his kicks and attempt to slow him down. Palatnikov shoots for a takedown and Cosce defends well with a guillotine attack. Both men get to their feet and start swinging haymakers and Cosce catches a body kick attempt and starts throwing big punches. Palatnikov attempts a forward roll to escape but Cosce holds on and starts throwing haymakers again and he’s hurt him! Big punches go close to ending the fight but Palatnikov recovers and starts hurting Cosce back! Wild exchanges have both men hurt but Cosce is now exhausted! Spinning back first by Palatnikov lands flush as the round ends. 10-9 Palatnikov for me but could be either way.

Second round is much more composed by both fighters as Cosce is still trying to recover from an energy sapping opening round. Palatnikov throwing lots of combinations and landing big strikes, trying to put Cosce out but he’s showing real heart and determination to stick it out. A low blow from Cosce puts a pause in the action and allows Cosce a chance to recover but Palatnikov’s striking is giving him a big edge here. 20-18 Palatnikov.

Final round and Palatnikov comes out more calm and considered this time around, trying to stay away from the inevitable onslaught. Nice body kicks and a snapping jab while he continues to dominate the clinch with knees to the body. Another low blow from Cosce causes a pause in the action once again. Palatnikov comes out after the restart with a quick pace against the tired Cosce with more body attacks. A lazy takedown attempt from Cosce is defended well and then Palatnikov gets up to his feet and starts landing bombs on a downed Cosce! Cosce moving his head but not defending well and the referee steps in and ends it! What a win for Palatnikov!

Kyle Daukaus def Dustin Stoltzfus via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Very tactical start to the fight between both guys with Daukaus looking to use his big frame to use his range well. A big left hand lands by Daukaus and the two end up clinching against the cage trying to apply their grappling game. Daukaus eventually gets a takedown after lots of 50/50 positions and a scramble sees them in an interesting position with their legs tangled on the ground at the end of the round. 10-9 Daukaus but interesting nonetheless.

Second round is much more of the same, with Daukaus dominating the striking exchanges but Stoltzfus holding his own in the grappling realm of the fight. An accidental low blow from Daukaus causes a brief pause in the fight. Daukaus using his jab and a big left hand well as the action resumes but they tie each other up against the cage and battle it out there for the remainder of the round. 20-18 Daukaus.

Final round and the pattern continues at the start of it as Daukaus goes for the big left hand before a clinch ensues against the cage. Daukaus stuffs the takedown attempt from Stoltzfus and lands some big shots while he’s down! He throws a few bombs and then stands up to force Stoltzfus back to his feet. More big shots with the left hand and he continues to deny the takedown attempts to completely dominate the round. He threatens with a guillotine and ends up trying to lock up a d’arce choke with 30 seconds to go but Stoltzfus survives until the bell. Impressive performance.

Alan Jouban def Jared Gooden via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Very fun opening round between these two as Gooden looks to take Jouban’s head off with big hooks and Jouban responds with heavy left body kicks and some nice right check-hooks of his own. Jouban showing great head movement and footwork, mostly avoiding the big shots of Gooden. Gooden lands a big right hand and follows with an accidental headbutt that the referee misses and has caused Jouban’s eye to swell up. 10-9 Jouban.

Jouban comes out in the second round continuing to be aggressive and goes for the body kicks early but Gooden is throwing less haymakers and more pop shots. A nice right hand lands and wobbles Jouban but he stays calm and composed. Jouban starts to make a comeback with some big punches of his own and wobbles Gooden with a big right hook! Jouban goes for the kill but Gooden survives well as we head into the final round. 20-18 Jouban.

Final round and Gooden knows he is down on the scorecards, so he comes out very aggressively. He takes the centre of the cage and starts head hunting, landing left hooks on the closed eye of Jouban. Jouban still throwing big body kicks and doing well to avoid too much damage but Gooden continues to come forward. A big exchange of punches leads to Gooden shooting for a takedown and Jouban sinks in a guillotine as he hits the mat. 30 seconds to go and he hold the position but isn’t squeezing yet and then with 15 seconds to go, ramps up the pressure. A big squeeze almost puts Gooden out cold but the buzzer goes to save him a stoppage and it’ll go to the cards.

PRELIMS

Nicolas Dalby def Daniel Rodriguez via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

A very intriguing opening round between these two fighters as Dalby takes a traditional wide-base stance and bounces around a lot early on. Rodriguez is looking to move in and land big punches but Dalby is switching stances and using his front leg well to keep distance. Dalby throws a big one-two that lands flush on Rodriguez and wobbles him but ‘D-Rod’ recovers very quickly. Head kick by Dalby lands too and he is doing really well to stay out of range. Rodriguez lands a nice left hand and starts chasing for the punches and ends the round well. 10-9 Dalby.

Much more aggressive start to the round for Rodriguez as he comes out, takes the centre and forces Dalby against the cage. Some nice jabs and straight lefts before a takedown attempt is defended well by Dalby. Dalby then shoots for a takedown of his own but Rodriguez defends well this time. Dalby misses with a few head kick attempts but starts landing some nice inside leg kicks. Another takedown attempt from Dalby forces Rodriguez against the cage but he defends well and the buzzer ends the round. 19-19 but very close round.

Slower final round as both guys come out clearly quite tired. Rodriguez is throwing single punches and leg kicks while Dalby is continuing with the game plan to dart in and out using kicks and jabs. There’s not much action other than that, but it’s Dalby who has the upper hand and probably wins the round. 29-28 overall to Dalby for me but it could go either way.

Antonina Shevchenko def Ariane Lipski via Knockout, Round 2 (4:33)

Both ladies come out and swing big punches early before clinching up. Lipski looks to block a throw attempt from Shevchenko and they end up against the cage once again. Both women throwing knees and elbows before Shevchenko lands a nice takedown against the fence. Lipski tries to sweep to take the back but Shevchenko does well to control the position and land some nice shots before the round ends. 10-9 Shevchenko.

Second round and Lipski looks to stand and strike and lands a big right hook to the eye that troubles Shevchenko immediately. Shevchenko forces a clinch and a trip and immediately ends up in top position where she remains for the remainder of the round. She lands ground and pound and passes guard with complete ease constantly. Lipski in real trouble as Shevchenko moves into full mount and starts absolutely smashing ground and pound strikes until the referee stops. What a performance.

Joaquin Buckley def Jordan Wright via Knockout, Round 2 (0:18)

Buckley rushes across the octagon early and engages in a clinch as Wright does well to hold his own. Some big looping strikes land from Buckley but Wright is doing well to move his head off the centre line for the most part. Some nice kicks land and he’s popping his jab well. Buckley explodes with a big hook and lands! He drops Wright and Wright is in big trouble! Some big ground and pound shots but the bell saves him! Very, very lucky to see a second round. 10-9 Buckley.

Second round starts and Wright still looks rocked. Buckley lands two big left hands down the middle and then a big hook that knocks Wright out cold! What a performance and another highlight reel knockout.

Brandon Moreno def Brandon Royval via Knockout, Round 1 (4:59)

What a round! Both guys come flying out of the traps with fast exchanges and strong strikes. Royval goes for a spinning elbow attack but Moreno avoids it and takes the back of Royval. He gets the fight down to the ground and looks to sink in a rear-naked choke but it turns into a nasty neck crank. It’s in tight but Royval refuses to tap and breaks the grip before escaping into full guard. A big scramble on the ground leads to a yell of pain from Royval and Moreno gets heavy on top and starts blasting him with ground and pound which forces the referee to stop the fight with a second to go in the round.

After the fight it’s spotted that Royval’s shoulder dislocated during the scramble, hence the lack of defence from the ground and pound.

MAIN CARD

Paul Craig def Mauricio Rua via Knockout, Round 2 (3:36)

Fast pace start to the fight as Shogun comes out with big shots and Craig looks to manage distance with a Muay-Thai stance and throws some nice kicks. Craig shoots for a takedown and gets it fairly easily to get the fight to the ground and proceeds to control with his excellent grappling. Shogun eventually reverses the position and ends up on top and the round ends with Craig looking to reverse. 10-9 Craig.

Second round and Craig is coming with a very wrestle-heavy approach. Shogun landing a few shots but Craig ducks and takes the fight down to the ground once again. Craig gets in double hooks as he takes the back and looks for submissions. Shogun defends the submission well but gets flattened out and Craig starts smashing him with big punches that forces the legend to tap to strikes. Great performance.

Katlyn Chookagian def Cynthia Calvillo via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A very tactical start to this round as Chookagian looks to stay at range and use her jab and kicking game. Calvillo catches a kick and gets a takedown early but Chookagian gets right up to her feet. The rest of the round is a jab and kick test and while there isn’t much action everything happens in Chookagian’s comfort zone. 10-9 Chookagian.

Second round is more of the same as Chookagian is using her length well to just pop jabs off at Calvillo’s face. Calvillo lands a nice left hook twice that lands clean but she has a cut on her nose and some swelling under her eye from the jab. Excellent footwork from Chookagian who is just moving in and out of range at will and picking her shots. 20-18 Chookagian.

Final round and it’s more of the same from both fighters for the final five minutes. Chookagian continuing to just pick her off at will with superior striking and kickboxing skills. Calvillo goes for a clinch but Chookagian pushes her away with ease, showing a clear physical advantage. Not much action throughout the bout but should be a comfortable decision win for Chookagian.

Tim Means def Mike Perry via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

A very intriguing opening round as Mike Perry shows off his grappling skills early on. Means lands a few nice jabs and Perry opts to shoot for the takedown against the cage. A nice body lock gets the fight down and Perry passes his guard and then eventually takes his back. Perry nice and calm on Means’ back and looks to sink in a rear-naked choke but Means fights it well and ends up on top before getting back to the feet. Means spends the rest of the round landing his jab at will but it’s a Perry round. 10-9.

Second round is more tactical from Means, who is using his jab well and much more aware of the takedown threat now. He’s starting to work the body more too but Perry is landing his right hook well too. Perry lands a huge right hand that wobbles Means but he looks to go for the takedown instead of more strikes and allows Means to recover. Big lead elbow by Means cracks Perry in the nose and they exchange more punches and elbows as the round comes to an end. 19-19, great fight.

Final round and Perry comes out looking to use his physical advantage to get another takedown. Means defends well against the cage and breaks away to land some nice punches. Calm approach from both suddenly disappears as the two start exchanging haymakers in the centre of the cage, both landing big hooks and crosses flush to the chin. Means shoots for a takedown to move the fight against the cage and break it up a bit. Final minute and Perry lands a big right hand before Means responds with an elbow. Both men end the round with another crazy exchange in the pocket. What a great fight!

Valentina Shevchenko def Jennifer Maia via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x3)

Interesting start to the round as both women exchange short flurries of strikes before Shevchenko gets hold of Maia and throws her to the mat, ending up in full guard. Maia ties up the guard as Shevchenko stays patient and lands some short shots and some elbows in ground and pound. Pretty chill round, 10-9 Shevchenko.

A very, very interesting second round as Maia controls the round. Another clinch but this time it’s Maia who controls the position against the cage and eventually she gets the takedown. She controls the position entirely for the round and gets in some offence too to take the second round for herself. 19-19.

Third round and Shevchenko opens up with two big left hands that land flush on Maia’s chin. Maia fires back with a right hand of her own and clinches against the cage. Shevchenko breaks away and then lands two more big shots that wobble Maia! They clinch up again and Shevchenko lands a heavy takedown and ends up in side control. Maia gets back up to her feet before one more takedown by Shevchenko as the round ends with ‘Bullet’ in top position. 29-28 Shevchenko.

Into the championship rounds and Shevchenko lands some big left hands once again. She throws a right hook, wraps in a body lock and takes the fight down to the ground again. She spends the entire round in top position landing strikes from the top, mainly to the body to take this round too. 39-37 Shevchenko.

Final round and Maia charges across the cage looking for a clinch early on to try and get a takedown. Shevchenko defends excellently and then lands a flurry of strikes that bust up the nose of the challenger. Maia tries again for a clinch but Shevchenko is defending perfectly now and landing big, heavy shots on the break. Into the final minute now and Maia lands a front kick to the face but Shevchenko eats it. Spinning back fist misses as the Maia goes for a final takedown attempt but the buzzer goes. 49-46 Shevchenko for me, pretty straight forward win.

Deiveson Figueiredo def Alex Perez via Submission, Round 1 (1:57)

A fast start to the fight as both men meet in the middle and throw big body kicks but miss. Perez moves in quickly and throws some nice shots but they all miss, then Figueiredo lands a body kick. Two big kicks from Perez and then he shoots for a single leg takedown, but Figueiredo keeps it standing. Perez tries to get the back but Figueiredo spirals around the leg and looks for a knee bar which leads to a scramble. Figueiredo turns on the ground mid-scramble and sinks in a deep guillotine and secures the tap! Wow! Figueiredo is the real deal.

UFC 255: Figueiredo vs Perez – Main Card Predictions

The flyweights take over the UFC Apex on Saturday night as both Deiveson Figueiredo and Valentina Shevchenko defend their 125lbs titles at UFC 255.

Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Alex Perez looks to become the first contestant from the show to wear UFC gold, but Figueiredo will be looking to begin his reign of terror on the division. Shevchenko on the other hand is looking for a fourth consecutive title defence when she takes on Jennifer Maia in the co-main event, with her legacy as the greatest female 125lber ever on the line too.

A twelve fight card looks full of fun fights and prospects too, with seven prelims fights preceding a stacked main card.

Last week was a poor outing for our predictions, as we got just 5/9 correct picks with four perfect picks. It takes our overall pick numbers to 168/252 (66.67%) with 78 perfect picks (46%) since starting up our predictions back in June 2020.

Lets see if we can improve those numbers with this big card. I’ve already predicted the prelims here, so we move on with the main card now.

MAIN CARD

Mauricio Rua (27-11-1) vs Paul Craig (13-4-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

The rematch nobody wanted or needed to see, but it’s happening. These two met back in November 2019 and fought to a draw. Since then Craig has submitted Gadzhimurad Antigulov on Fight Island in July, while ‘Shogun’ got a win over Antonio Nogueira on the same card. Craig will almost certainly look to get this fight to the ground, with 12 submissions wins from 13 career victories. ‘Shogun’ Rua is a black belt in jiu-jitsu but he isn’t active off his back and prefers to just crack jaws if he can help it. It’s a tough one to call considering how the first fight went but I think Craig can get it done this time. He dominated the first round in that fight and if he can do it again this time, I think he gets the finish.
PICK – Paul Craig via Submission, Round 1

Katlyn Chookagian (14-4) vs Cynthia Calvillo (9-1-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A good fight between two top contenders in the women’s flyweight division. Chookagian fought for the title and was beaten to a pulp before bouncing back with a win over her sister, Antonina Shevchenko. Last month though, she was beaten thanks to a nasty body shot by Jessica Andrade as she looked to climb back up the rankings. Calvillo made her debut in the division back in June with a big win over then ranked #1 Jessica Eye. Chookagian is a kickboxer by trade, who can clinch if she needs to as she showed against Andrade. She’s going to need her grappling skills in this one as Calvillo will look to get the fight to the ground and dominate with her excellent top game and chokes. Chookagian will look to use her kicks to stop Calvillo getting into range but she is capable of boxing her way into that range to get the clinch and takedown. It will be close with not many highlights but I think Calvillo takes the decision.
PICK – Cynthia Calvillo via Decision

Mike Perry (14-6) vs Tim Means (30-12-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

This was supposed to be a wild battle between Mike Perry and Robbie Lawler, but when ‘Ruthless’ dropped out it fell to the veteran Tim Means to step up to the plate. Perry won his last bout with a dominant decision over Mickey Gall in June while Means got a decision win over Laureano Staropoli in August. Perry is essentially a street fighter, with looping hooks and big kicks his main fortΓ©. Means is primarily a Muay-Thai fighter who throws nice combinations, including elbows and knees. His issue is that he is very open to having his lights turned out with one punch, and Perry has the power to do that. He’s also got a fantastic chin, but has a four inch reach disadvantage. I think it goes the distance and it could honestly go either way, but I’m going with my gut with Means.
PICK – Tim Means via Decision

Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) vs Jennifer Maia (18-6-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

This is the lock of the night. Shevchenko is the greatest female flyweight fighter of all time and has a complete skillset when it comes to mixed martial arts. Her expert kickboxing technique keeps her at range from her opponents, while her wrestling skills mean she can mix it up whenever she needs too. Maia is a jiu-jitsu fiend, who got a big win in her last outing against Joanne Calderwood back in August to get this bout with a first round submission win. For her to get a win here, she needs a takedown into a dominant position then enough time to sink something in. The chances of that are incredibly slim though and I think Shevchenko beats her up on the feet for a couple of rounds before landing one of her trademark head kicks to end it early.
PICK – Valentina Shevchenko via Knockout, Round 3

Deiveson Figueiredo (19-1) vs Alex Perez (24-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The most powerful striker in the division’s history, Figueiredo will be throwing bombs early in this one. Alex Perez is a very impressive grappler with fantastic cardio and submission skills, winning his last three in row including his last bout against Jussier Formiga in June. His only loss in the UFC came against Joseph Benavidez, when he was KO’d back in November 2018. His style is eerily similar to that of Benavidez, which doesn’t bode well against Figueiredo. Figueiredo destroyed Benavidez in both of his last bouts. ‘God of War’ is a vicious striker who is also very good on the ground himself. The power is scary enough but Perez’s way out is blocked by the fact he’s matched on the ground too. Perez’s best chance of a win is if Figueiredo makes a mistake which I don’t see happening. Figueiredo lands a huge hook or two and ends this one early and violently.
PICK – Deiveson Figueiredo via Knockout, Round 1

UFC 255: Figueiredo vs Perez – Prelims Predictions

The flyweights take over the UFC Apex on Saturday night as both Deiveson Figueiredo and Valentina Shevchenko defend their 125lbs titles at UFC 255.

Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Alex Perez looks to become the first contestant from the show to wear UFC gold, but Figueiredo will be looking to begin his reign of terror on the division. Shevchenko on the other hand is looking for a fourth consecutive title defence when she takes on Jennifer Maia in the co-main event, with her legacy as the greatest female 125lber ever on the line too.

A twelve fight card looks full of fun fights and prospects too, with seven prelims fights preceding a stacked main card.

Last week was a poor outing for our predictions, as we got just 5/9 correct picks with four perfect picks. It takes our overall pick numbers to 168/252 (66.67%) with 78 perfect picks (46%) since starting up our predictions back in June 2020.

Lets see if we can improve those numbers with this big card, starting with the prelims here.

EARLY PRELIMS

Louis Cosce (7-0) vs Sasha Palatnikov (5-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

An absolute powerhouse in the welterweight division in Louis Cosce makes his UFC debut after a successful appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series in August. He’ll take on Hong Kong’s first UFC fighter in Sasha Palatnikov, who makes his company debut also. Cosce has won four of his last five fights in 79 seconds or less and it’s hard to see this one going any way other than a quick knockout win. Palatnikov is a good wrestler with decent kicks but Cosce is arguably the better wrestler and has a big edge in power and technique on the feet. It may not be as quick, but my money is on it happening in the first round.
PICK – Louis Cosce via Knockout, Round 1

Kyle Daukaus (9-1) vs Dustin Stoltzfus (13-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Kyle Daukaus makes a second appearance in the UFC following his short-notice defeat to Brendan Allen back in June, when he takes on debutant Dustin Stoltzfus. Both men are grappling experts with Daukaus claiming eight of his nine wins via submission, while Stoltzfus has five submissions of his own. On the feet, Daukaus has a slight boxing edge while Stoltzfus has the power advantage but this bout will almost certainly take place on the ground where I believe Daukaus takes the cake. He’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu and his takedowns are good enough to present him with the top position. Stoltzfus loves a guillotine choke which will often see him on his back and Daukaus should be able to move through the positions to secure a choke win for himself.
PICK – Kyle Daukaus via Submission, Round 2

PRELIMS

Alan Jouban (16-7) vs Jared Gooden (17-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A super even bout between two experienced welterweights as Alan Jouban takes on Jared Gooden at 170lbs. Jouban has lost three of his last four and makes his return to the octagon for the first time since his defeat to Dwight Grant in April 2019. Gooden on the other hand makes his UFC debut on the back of three straight wins, including a TKO stoppage win back in July. Both guys are incredibly well rounded and open themselves up to a brawl, which will suit Jouban that little bit more. He’s got a slight edge everywhere for me, but Gooden has the youth factor and is a bit more explosive. ‘Nite Train’ is a good offensive wrestler, but defensively he struggles. Jouban is very capable of getting back to his feet if he gets taken down and he has the power to end the fight on the feet. Ultimately I think it goes the distance but don’t be shocked if someone gets put to sleep.
PICK – Alan Jouban via Decision

Nicolas Dalby (18-4-1 1NC) vs Daniel Rodriguez (13-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A potential barn burner in the welterweight division as Daniel Rodriguez steps in on short notice looking to go 4-0 during 2020 to take on UFC veteran Nicolas Dalby. Rodriguez was supposed to fight Ryan Barbarena last week but after that fight fell through, he now comes in to replace Orion Cosce on a week’s notice. He currently sits on a nine-fight win streak including a KO win over Dwight Grant in August, while Dalby was beaten last time out after getting submitted by Jesse Ronson on Fight Island. Rodriguez has great power and Dalby has a habit of starting slowly, despite his obviously great skillset. If Dalby can avoid that, he has the technical edge in most places but I think Rodriguez could get it done early.
PICK – Daniel Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 1

Antonina Shevchenko (8-2) vs Ariane Lipski (13-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

There’s another Shevchenko family member on this card and it’s the older sister of the champion, as Antonina looks to bounce back from two losses in her last three against up and comer Ariane Lipski. ‘Pantera’ saw the unbeaten start to her career ended by Roxanne Modafferi in April 2019, before bouncing back with a win over Lucie Pudilova. She went back into the loss column in May of this year, being dominated by Katlyn Chookagian. Lipski is on a two-fight win streak including a win last time out against Luana Carolina on Fight Island. It’s a true striker bout, with both women awful at defending takedowns and more comfortable on their feet. It should be a banger but I think Lipski has the power advantage and better footwork to be able to continue her winning run.
PICK – Ariane Lipski via Decision

Joaquin Buckley (11-3) vs Jordan Wright (11-0) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

The human highlight reel Joaquin Buckley returns following his incredible knockout win over Impa Kasanganay back in October. He takes on Jordan Wright, who looks to make it 2-0 in the UFC and maintain an unbeaten record in his career. Buckley is an absolutely powerhouse with excellent striking techniques and a great chin, while Wright is also a fine striker in his own right. Both guys possess fantastic power but Wright struggles when it comes to fighting off the back foot. Buckley is happy to take a shot on his way in and once he’s in the pocket he is violent and it won’t be long until he turns Wright’s lights out.
PICK – Joaquin Buckley via Knockout, Round 1

Brandon Moreno (17-5-1) vs Brandon Royval (12-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

One of the best fights on the card for me as we could be potentially looking at the next contender for the title. Brandon Moreno has won his last two fights, outclassing Kai-Kara France and Jussier Formiga following a draw to Askar Askarov. Royval entered the UFC in May and has taken it by storm, beating Kai-Kara France and Tim Elliot using his aggressive submission skills. Both of these guys thrive in chaos with scrambles from takedowns while also holding their own on the feet which makes this arguably the most even fight on the card. Moreno has the edge in power and has performed well in scrambles before in previous fights but Royval’s unbelievable work-rate is something he hasn’t come up against before. Royval is so slick on the ground and so aggressive that it’s hard to see him letting the opportunity slide if he gets into a dominant position on the ground and I think he goes into 2021 as the next big thing in the flyweight division.
PICK – Brandon Royval via Decision

Valentina Shevchenko Looking To Cement Herself As Greatest Flyweight Ever

UFC 255 is due to be the biggest card in flyweight history, as both champions defend their belts on the same card for the first time ever.

As Deiveson Figueiredo looks to begin his reign of terror against Alex Perez, Valentina Shevchenko looks to make it four successful title defences against Jennifer Maia.

‘Bullet’ is among the best technical fighters in the UFC, male or female, and has made a name for herself as the best flyweight in the company.

Since making her UFC debut in December 2015, Shevchenko has beaten everyone placed in her path except for two razor close decision losses to Amanda Nunes. Her wins include decisions over Sarah Kauffman, Holly Holm, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Liz Carmouche while she has finished Juliana Pena, Priscilla Cachoeira, Jessica Eye and Katlyn Chookagian.

A master of distance management and range control, Shevchenko has cleaned out a division that was essentially made just for her to shine.

UFC 238: Shevchenko v Eye : News Photo

She’s too big for the strawweight division and despite her wins, she struggled against the elite of the elite in the bantamweight division. But she’s so good, the UFC made a division in between the two just to show it.

She comes into UFC 255 to take on Maia as a 1/14 favourite (-1400) and despite her opponent being as talented as she is, the odds are reflective of her chances here.

Maia needs a takedown, to end up in top position and secure a submission or to land a big lucky punch while they stand. If that doesn’t happen, ‘Bullet’ will dominate and likely finish the fight pretty much whenever she wants.

In an ideal world, she takes this win and goes back for a third bite of the cherry against Amanda Nunes in a clash that would crown the greatest female fighter of all time. The likelihood is she continues in her weight class and takes on Cynthia Calvillo next, if she can topple Chookagian at UFC 255 herself.

A win doesn’t do much for Shevchenko other than cement the fact that she’s the best 125lber in women’s MMA history. But that’s already the case.

Deiveson Figueiredo Preparing For Flyweight Reign of Terror to Begin at UFC 255

Just under two years ago, the flyweight division was on the verge of being completely scrapped by the UFC as TJ Dillashaw dropped down in weight to challenge Henry Cejudo at 125lbs.

If Dillashaw won, it was expected that the UFC would liquidate the division and force Dillashaw back to 135lbs. As it happened, Cejudo destroyed him and ended up claiming his 135lbs title just a few months later.

UFC Fight Night: Figueredo v Benavidez 2 : News Photo

The flyweight title got vacated and the UFC opted to keep the division alive and put together a title fight between Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez. When Figueiredo missed weight for the first time in his career, it meant he couldn’t win the title on the night.

That didn’t stop him from knocking Benavidez unconscious in the second round after an accidental clash of heads opened up a big cut on the veterans head. Due to not being able to win the title, the UFC immediately made a rematch for the title again in July.

Then came Fight Island, where Figueiredo made sure everyone knew it wasn’t a fluke the first time around. ‘Deus de Gerra’ destroyed Benavidez with a violent knockdown before sinking in a deep rear naked choke that put him to sleep.

Thus began the reign of Deiveson Figueiredo as the king of the flyweights.

He was due to make his first defence of the title at UFC 255 against former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, who was going to step down and look to become a two-weight world champion.

The move looked destined to be a clever decision by the UFC, adding some much needed star power to the division regardless of the result that came from it.

UFC 250: Assuncao v Garbrandt : News Photo

Garbrandt is one of the most popular fighters on the roster and many would see him as a genuine threat to the title, especially after the way he performed in his title fight against Dominick Cruz.

Unfortunately for fans all over the world, ‘No Love’ was forced to withdraw from the bout with injury. A replacement was found quickly in Alex Perez, graduate from the Dana White Contender Series and flyweight contender currently 6-1 under the UFC umbrella.

Figueiredo’s reign will begin on Sunday and he will be confident that it will be violent, but it may have to wait a little bit longer before it has some much needed star power to go with it.

A win under his belt at UFC 255 puts Figueiredo on a reign of terror, as king of the division without a genuine flyweight contender in sight. If Garbrandt comes down, he better watch his chin or watch himself back on tape the next day when he finally comes to.

Conor McGregor Accepts UFC Offer To Fight Dustin Poirier – On One Condition

The return of the Notorious one might just be closer than we think.

On Thursday night Conor McGregor took to Twitter once again to respond to a message from Dustin Poirier where he revealed that he has accepted an offer from the UFC to fight Poirier, but with one condition.

While no details of the offer were revealed, McGregor declared that he had told the UFC brass he wants a 2020 date to fight and claimed he was ready to step in for either of the November or December PPV events which recently fell apart.

Poirier responded with positivity, claiming he was also ready and was hopeful that they could ‘get it worked out.’ Dana White had previously ‘guaranteed’ that McGregor wouldn’t fight again in 2020 but his word will be tested now.

McGregor had publicly challenged Poirier to a charity event to help towards ‘The Diamond’ charity The Good Fight. He had promised to donate $500,000 of any proceeds to the cause and has confirmed his plans to follow through with that donation even if the fight happens in the UFC rather than on their own terms in an exhibition fight.

The two have fought before, when both men were in the featherweight division and McGregor scored the TKO win in the first round after a left hand to the temple dropped Poirier. At that point, he had the most wins and knockouts in featherweight history and McGregor made short work of him en route to a record-breaking title fight with Jose Aldo just over a year later.

Since then, McGregor has gone on to break all sorts of records including becoming the first ‘double-champ’ in UFC history when he beat Eddie Alvarez to claim the lightweight title. Poirier himself has held interim gold in the 155lbs division, although he suffered a similar fate to that of McGregor when he took on Khabib Nurmagomedov as he was choked out with a rear-naked choke.

A fight between the two would almost certainly get plenty of attention in the lightweight title picture and would obviously draw plenty of money with McGregor on the card. One issue for the UFC would be that with no fans, they would almost certainly make less than normal on a Conor card but it may have to be a hit they’re willing to take to get this fight done.

With November’s UFC 255 losing Cody Garbrandt from the main event, the UFC moved quickly to replace him with Alex Perez. More likely is UFC 256 on December 12th, conveniently also the scheduled date for McGregor and Poirier’s charity fight, where Kamaru Usman was forced to pull out of his title fight with Gilbert Burns due to injury.

Whenever it happens, it’s clear as day that Conor McGregor is very serious about a return to the octagon and getting his ‘season’ completed one way or another to get another crack at Khabib and the lightweight title.

Two UFC PPV Main Events Fall Apart

The UFC’s end of year pay-per-view schedule needs rearranging as two of the four co-main events have fallen apart.

UFC 255 was due to see Deiveson Figueiredo defend his flyweight title against Cody Gabrandt, while Valentina Shevchenko will defend her flyweight title against Jennifer Maia too. The UFC had yet to officially announce UFC 256 but it had been confirmed that the event was due to see Kamaru Usman defend his welterweight title against Gilbert Burns in their rescheduled fight from Fight Island back in July, co-mained with Amanda Nunes defending her featherweight title against Megan Anderson.

It’s been revealed now however that both Cody Garbrandt and Kamaru Usman have had to withdraw from their scheduled bouts due to injury and the UFC have confirmed the fights won’t be happening.

Figueiredo’s first title defence will now be against Alex Perez at UFC 255, with the 28 year old stepping in to take Garbrandt’s place. He is currently ranked at No.4 in the UFC flyweight rankings, with his last win coming at UFC 250 with a TKO win over Jussier Formiga. Joseph Benavidez is currently ranked at #1 but he’s been beaten and battered by Figueiredo in both of his last fights. Below him #2 Brandon Moreno is already scheduled to fight Brandon Royval at UFC 255 while Askar Askarov isn’t scheduled to fight anyone currently.

It’s weird that it’s Perez who’s been given the nod for the fight, but it should still be a fun bout with both men fairly explosive and durable. Perez is more of a ground fighter than he is stand up though and with Figueiredo’s heavy hands and jiu-jitsu black belt, I expect he’ll still be able to come out on top.

As for UFC 266, nothing has been announced yet in terms of a new main event. Leon Edwards has offered to step in for Usman against Gilbert Burns in a No.1 contender fight, while Aljamain Sterling has called out bantamweight champion Petr Yan for a bout in December too. Another option, while unlikely could be Conor McGregor’s return against Dustin Poirier. Both fighters agreed online to an ‘exhibition match’ for charity in December, before Dana White confirmed he had offered both guys the bout on their UFC contracts and was waiting for a reply.

According to Ariel Helwani, the UFC have tentatively spoken about making Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou but it is ‘a long shot’, while they could also try to make Colby Covington vs Jorge Masvidal although it’s not close to being done.

There are plenty of options for the UFC for them to add a big fight to the card but they’re running out of time to make their final card of the year as strong as they usually do.

UFC 255: Two Flyweight Title Fights Announced

The UFC have announced their headliners for UFC 255 as both men’s and women’s flyweight titles will be defended.

Deiveson Figueiredo, who won the belt with a first-round knockout over Joseph Benavidez on Fight Island last month, will make the first defence of his belt against former Bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt who will drop down a division to take the fight. In the women’s division champion Valentina Shevchenko will defend her belt against Jennifer Maia, who earned her shot with a first round submission win over Joanne Calderwood last weekend.

The event is scheduled for November 21st 2020 and while the location isn’t yet official, it’s likely to take place on Fight Island since Figueiredo and Shevchenko both live outside of the USA and may face issues getting into the country if COVID-19 is still a problem then.

Garbrandt is gifted this title shot after knocking out Raphael Assuncao in his last fight to bring to an end a three-fight losing streak in which he was knocked out every time. Following Figuereido’s win over Benavidez, Garbrandt made public his wish to drop down a division and fight for the flyweight belt. He messaged Dana White telling him his weight, and White clearly enjoys the thought of these two heavy handed punchers going to war.

The 125lbs division is struggling for star power following the retirement of Henry Cejudo earlier this year and trade of Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship two years ago. Joseph Benavidez’s title ambitions are surely done now following four failed attempts while Brandon Moreno still doesn’t have a reputation that will get fans watching a division that was very close to being completely liquidated from the UFC.

Garbrandt’s popularity and reputation for exciting fights will get eyes on the division and gives Figueiredo the chance to prove he is a legitimate champion, something fans will get behind. This fight is almost guaranteed to not go the distance but it’s hard to predict without seeing how Garbrandt looks after cutting the extra 10lbs. Figueiredo hits very hard though and we’ve seen what happens if ‘No Love’ gets his chin touched, so expect fireworks.

Valentina Shevchenko on the other hand is in the other side of this argument. She has proved time and time again that she is the best 125lber in the world and has almost cleaned out a division that was put together specifically for her. She was due to fight Joanne Calderwood but after nearly a year being inactive, Calderwood decided to step in on short-notice to fight Jennifer Maia. It has cost her the title shot though as she was submitted via armbar in Round 1 by the Brazilian.

Maia is a great fighter with excellent jiu-jitsu skills, but her striking is nowhere comparable to that of Shevchenko. The Kyrgyzstani fighter is good enough to pretty much end this fight whenever she wants and I expect she’ll get a couple of rounds under her belt before turning up the pressure and earning a knockout win.