Tag Archives: UFC Vegas 19

UFC Vegas 19 Fallout – Lewis calls for ‘personal’ Overeem fight after KO’ing Blaydes

Derrick Lewis has set his eyes on a personal match up after knocking out Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19 this past weekend.

‘The Black Beast’ wasn’t taken down once against the man who holds the record for the most takedowns in heavyweight history, before he turned Blaydes’ lights out with a single uppercut in the second round to make it four wins in a row.

Many people expected Blaydes to get the takedown relatively easily and grind out a win over Lewis, who has notoriously struggled once being taken down in the past. Instead, the first round was a stand up affair with both men landing strikes that wobbled the opponent.

The second round was a different story though, as Blaydes came out looking for a takedown early which was stuffed well by Lewis. Blaydes seemed too confident about getting the takedown because of both their strengths in the past, and that led to a very lazy takedown attempt which saw Lewis capitalise with that violent uppercut knockout.

During his post-fight interview, Lewis acknowledged that there wasn’t much point talking about a title shot considering the state of the top of the division right now. Stipe Miocic will defend the title against Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 next month and Dana White has already confirmed that the winner of the fight will welcome Jon Jones to the heavyweight division, most likely in the summer.

With Alexander Volkov beating Alistair Overeem earlier this month the belief was that he was now out of the hunt for UFC gold in what he described as his ‘final run’ at the belt. But Lewis has seemingly given him a way back in by calling for a fight with the legendary Dutch kickboxer after trash talk over the years.

Speaking to the media, Lewis said after his big win:

“I want Overeem next. Soon as possible. As soon as he passes his concussion protocol, whatever, his suspension, whatever he got.

“I don’t care [about his loss]. He’s had a couple of losses in a row. It’d be cool just to fight him, because he’s a so-called legend. So it’d be cool to fight somebody like that. And also, he’s been talking trash. He’s been saying his teammate, Curtis, could handle this lightweight. We’ve been trying to fight him for years, and he turned down the fight four times already.”

A fight between the two would mean Lewis putting his number two ranking on the line, although he acknowledges the rankings don’t mean much at the moment. He’s already beaten Volkov fairly recently and with a title shot unlikely this year without another win to keep his momentum up, he has to take the risk.

A three round fight against Overeem keeps the division moving but also allows the new blood in the weight class to get big fights too.

Chris Daukaus and Tom Aspinall both secured impressive stoppage wins on the night too, with Daukaus KO’ing Aleksei Oleinik in the first round while Aspinall submitted Andrei Arlovski in the second after a very aggressive first round on the feet too.

The two could likely fight each other next, although I’d rather see them kept apart until later down the line. If they’re matched up well later this year they could be in and around the top seven or so by the end of the year and looking at a title run themselves in 2022.

As for Blaydes, he must go back to the drawing board. His best bet is likely to fight the loser of the UFC Vegas 20 main event between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Cyril Gane, both of whom he has never fought before. He will have to work his way back up to title contention with another run of wins after being so close, but yet so far once again.

UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs Lewis – Results (Highlights)

*Drakkar Klose vs Luis Pena was cancelled a few hours before the event after one of Klose’s cornermen tested positive for COVID-19.*

*Rafael Alves vs Pat Sabatini was cancelled after the weigh-ins, after Alves weighed in a 157.5lbs for their featherweight (146lbs limit) fight.*


EARLY PRELIMS

Serghei Spivac def Jared Vanderra via Knockout, Round 2 (4:32)

Good start to the fight for Spivac as he responds to being back up against the cage with some nice overhand rights, before catching a leg kick and charging forward to get a takedown. Vanderra is able to get back to his feet and clinch before Spivac sweeps him and ends up on top in half guard. Spivac looks to advance into side control but Vanderra does well to get him back into half guard, while Spivac looks to touch him with ground and pound. Lots of top control from Spivac but not much damage from him as Vanderra seems content to see out the round from the bottom – and that’s what he does. 10-9 Spivac.

Another quick start for Spivacas he ducks a head kick attempt from Vanderra and gets the fight back to the ground early to dominate from the top once again. Spivac content to stay in half guard and rain down short elbows and short punches, while Vanderra isn’t active enough at all to try and get out of the position. Vanderra is busted up bad with Spivac blasting him. The referee taking a close look as Spivac moves into full mount and continues to blast him with strikes, with Vanderra barely defending himself and the referee finally calls it off. Impressive from Spivac.

Aiemann Zahabi def Drako Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 1 (3:05)

Interesting start to this one as Rodriguez takes the centre of the cage but both men seem to be waiting for the other to throw. Rodriguez throws a nice uppercut down the middle and Zahabi fires back with some strikes of his own, before a short clinch. Nice calf kick from Rodriguez and he seems to be loosening up a little now. Both men go for a right hand and Zahabi starches him! Rodriguez goes down and Zahabi lands one more shot before the referee steps in and ends it. Wow what a punch!

Chas Skelly vs Jamall Emmers – CANCELLED

Unbelievable. Skelly makes the walk to the octagon and before Emmers comes out, the broadcast team tells us that he is suffering from back spasms backstage and can’t make the walk. The fight is cancelled. Crazy scenes.

PRELIMS

Casey O’Neill def Shana Dobson via Knockout, Round 2 (3:41)

Very fast start to this fight as O’Neill comes out quickly, they both exchange strikes and O’Neill goes for the takedown with a single leg. Dobson defends it well and O’Neill lets go, before another exchange and finally getting the takedown she craved. Dobson rolls through and ends up on top but O’Neill scrambles and they get back up. Dobson throwing some powerful strikes but O’Neill isn’t fazed at all and after a clinch she dumps Dobson back to the ground and goes into side control. O’Neill landing some nice elbows from the top but Dobson defending well and forces a scramble, which O’Neill wins by coming out on top before getting another takedown. Lots of ground and pound but Dobson doing well to not take too much damage, as the round comes to an end with O’Neill trying to lock in a heel hook. 10-9 O’Neill.

Fast start to the second round again, with Dobson throwing a nice body kick but O’Neill catches it and takes the fight to the ground. She tries to take the back of Dobson but it’s defended well despite two hooks being in. O’Neill gets into full mount and starts raining down crazy levels of ground and pound and Dobson tries to escape by kicking off the cage, but O’Neill maintains the position and keeps landing damage. Dobson tries to escape by O’Neill just stays tight to her and continues to stay in dominant positions landing elbows and punches and forces the referee to step in and end it. What a performance from the debutant!

Julian Erosa def Nate Landwehr via Knockout, Round 1 (0:56)

HOLY!! What a fight!!! Both men come out all guns blazing, Erosa sends Landwehr flying backwards with a right hand, Landewehr drops Erosa with strikes in the clinch, Erosa rattles the brain of Landwehr with some uppercuts in the clinch and then knocks him out with a flying knee! Landwehr protests to the referee but I think it was the right call. What a knockout for Julian Erosa! Wow!

John Castaneda def Eddie Wineland via Knockout, Round 1 (4:44

Tactical start to the fight early on as Wineland takes the centre of the cage and looks to pressure forward, with Castaneda circling on the outside. Wineland with lots of head movement and feints, with his rapid right hand landing hard a couple of times. Leg kick from Castaneda as he continues to circle, before an exchange of strikes sees Wineland get caught with a counter left hand. Lead right hand lands from Castaneda and wobbles Wineland and Castaneda charges for the finish. He lands four or five shots clean that drop Wineland and pours on the pressure with ground and pound to force the referee to stop the fight. Huge knockout for Castaneda!

Jared Gordon def Danny Chavez via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Cagey start to this bout as both men look to feel each other out with feints and movements. Gordon backs Chavez up against the cage but misses with some big strikes before they exchange calf kicks. Big one-two from Chavez backs Gordon up momentarily before he comes forward again with some leg kicks. Chavez throws a kick that hits Gordon right on the cup and there’s a brief pause in the action. Fight restarts and Gordon lands two nice leg kicks that Chavez tries to check, before he throws a beautiful spinning wheel kick that Gordon just avoids. Gordon backs Chavez up against the cage again and the two play with throwing heavy strikes but they’re both tentative about it and keep missing. Heavy leg kick from Chavez and Gordon goes for a takedown but it’s stuffed quite easily. Good round, very close. 10-9 Gordon for me but could go either way really.

Quicker start to this round from Chavez, as he comes out quickly for a takedown and gets it only for Gordon to pop back up to his feet quickly. Chavez trying to take the centre now but his leg is definitely hurting him and Gordon shoots for a takedown and gets it. He takes him against the cage and starts applying good top pressure from the guard position. Chavez tries to get back up to his feet but Gordon defends the position really well and is able to stay on top. More ground and pound as he goes body-head and Gordon is completely dominating on the ground right now. Chavez kicks Gordon away and tries to get back up but Gordon is able to recover and push him back down before he gets back up. Gordon passes guard with seconds remaining and takes the second round clearly. 20-18 Gordon.

A more tentative final round as Chavez takes the centre and starts walking Gordon down now. Some good shots from Chavez land but his leg is definitely compromised, and Gordon goes for a takedown which is denied. Chavez lands a couple more right hands and Gordon lands a few more of his own before shooting for the single leg and getting the takedown. Chavez looks exhausted on the bottom as Gordon keeps busy from top position and looks to pass guard while throwing lots of ground and pound. Chavez gets back to the feet and goes for a flying knee but once again Gordon gets hold of him and clinches to force the grappling exchange to see out the round. 30-27 Gordon.

MAIN CARD

Tom Aspinall def Andrei Arlovski via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (1:09)

Very positive start to the fight for you Brit as Aspinall takes the centre and is using excellent footwork to step in and out of range. A few leg kicks from both and some nice blitzes but Aspinall staying very calm. Aspinall slips a shot and lands a big right hand that rocks Arlovski! He throws a barrage of strikes with tremendous hand speed and Arlovski looks hurt, then he keeps going to the body to try and get Arlovski to stop covering up before the veteran clinches up with him. Arlovski slowing this fight all the way down with a clinch as we enter the final 30 seconds and the clinch is broken. Both guys connect with a big right hand simultaneously just as the round ends. 10-9 Aspinall, good round.

Arlovski opens the round with a nice leg kick before landing a beautiful right hand that pushes Aspinall back. A bit more feinting and moving from Aspinall before he shoots in for a big power double leg takedown and gets it. He immediately wraps his arm around the neck of Arlovski and sinks in a rear naked choke which Arlovski taps too! Beautifully done! We have a new contender at heavyweight!

Phil Hawes def Nassourdine Imavov via Majority Decision (28-28, 29-28 x2)

Quick start from Hawes as he comes out and lands lots of calf kicks early on to chop away at Imavov. Big combination of strikes land too but Imavov covers up well, before Hawes kicks at the leg again and drops Imavov. Hawes misses a looping right hook and Imavov clinches up with him, which allows Hawes to go for a takedown but it’s good defending from Imavov to keep it standing. Imavov throws and lands a big elbow but Hawes responds with an immediate takedown and then slams him down too to end up in side control. A couple of nice shots on the ground from Hawes land as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Hawes.

Couple of kicks each start the round before Hawes ducks a straight right from Imavov and goes for the takedown against the cage once again. The clinch battle continues before Imavov is able to separate after a few minutes against the cage. Imavov lands a straight right and then another that wobbles Hawes! He comes forward with a big right hand again but Hawes ducks it and blasts a takedown against the cage. Hawes is able to get the back and drag him down to the mat back into side control and starts throwing ground and pound strikes once again. Imavov doing a good job of defending from the bottom but Hawes ends the round on top. 20-18 but Imavov is still in this.

Imavov comes out quickly and heavy, but Hawes ducks immediately and gets a takedown once again. Imavov is able to get back to the feet but Hawes continues to hold him against the cage and throws knees before they break. Imavov tries to walk forward and throws an uppercut but Hawes avoids it and clinches up against the cage once again. Imavov frames off and lands two big elbows and then breaks away and lands some big right hooks that have Hawes wobbling! Hawes steps away and Imavov goes for a Thai clinch, which allows Hawes to clinch up against the cage again. Imavov breaks away and lands more shots but Hawes clinches up again and survives to the buzzer. 29-28 Hawes in the end for me. Great fight.

Chris Daukaus def Aleksei Oleinik via Knockout, Round 1 (1:55)

Very quick start to the fight as Daukaus comes out and throws a big right hand but Oleinik grabs hold of him and clinches up. He starts looking for a key lock but Daukaus does well and then he tries to pull guard for that famed Ezekiel choke but Daukaus stays standing. Huge shots land from Daukaus and they rock Oleinik, who comes forward again and throws a big overhand right that misses. Daukaus stays patient, fires of some big shots that are all landing flush including knees to the head and the referee steps in and waves it off! Hugely impressive win for Chris Daukaus!

Darrick Minner def Charles Rosa via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)

Minner comes out with a fast pace to start the fight, closing the distance quickly and clinching up. Rosa goes for a guillotine immediately but Minner pops out and the two separate. Minner pushes forward and throws some heavy shots but only a couple land and Rosa eats them well. Minner gets the fight down to the ground with a nice takedown and then starts riding the positions. Both men transition really well throughout the round and Minner takes the top position for the most part to take the round. 10-9 Minner.

Second round and Minner lands a beautiful leg kick and follows it up with a big right hand that drops Rosa! Minner pounces for a finish and takes the back looking for a choke. Rosa defends it well and Minner continues to land some ground and pound while fishing for the submission but Rosa continues to defend it well. Minner controls the position and Rosa explodes back up to his feet, but Minner takes the back, and drags him back down and ends up in full mount. Minner threatening with a head and arm choke and it looks tight but Rosa transitions to an armbar attempt to escape! Minner lets it go and sees the round out on top. Potentially a 10-8 round. 20-17 Minner.

Minner opens the final round with a big right hook that wobbles Rosa and he ends up taking the top position once again after dragging him to the ground. Rosa threatens with a kimura but it’s perfectly defended by Minner who gets back into top position and stacks Rosa against the cage looking for ground and pound. Rosa looking to attack an armbar and transitions to an omoplata but he’s cut open bad and Minner is able to defend it very well. Minner goes into north south position and controls the neck and Rosa looks to cage walk to roll out but Minner stops him again and just takes the back. Minner stretches Rosa out as we enter the final 30 seconds. Rosa starts throwing elbows and punches from the bottom but Minner eats the shots and rides it out until the buzzer. Big win for Darrick Minner.

Yana Kunitskaya def Ketlen Vieira via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Vieira opens the fight up with a couple of right hands before going straight in for a takedown. After some battling against the cage she gets Kunitskaya down, but the Russian battles her way back up and they re-engage in the clinch. Lots of knees to the body from Kunitskaya in the clinch which Vieira is not enjoying at all. Vieira goes for a throw, Kunitskaya throws a knee which lands but Vieira follows through with a takedown and gets it. Vieira steps over into mount pretty quickly but Kunitskaya does well to get back to half guard before Vieira steps into mount again and starts looking for submissions. Kunitskaya battles for half guard again and Vieira spends the last 90 seconds trying to get back into mount while they exchange ground and pound strikes. 10-9 Vieira.

Kunitskaya comes out fast in the second round and applies pressure from the off with strikes before clinching up against the cage. More of those uncomfortable knees to the body and as Vieira tries to get a takedown, Kunitskaya reverses it and gets herself on top as they fall to the ground. Vieira looking for submissions from the bottom while Kunitskaya defends well and throws lots of good ground and pound. Vieira transitions for an armbar but loses it and then goes for a knee bar which is close, but Kunitskaya kicks off and gets back to her feet. Vieira tries to drag the fight to the ground again but Kunitskaya defends it well and starts throwing those knees again. Vieira goes for a kimura but Kunitskaya defends it well and starts throwing big knees to the body on the ground followed by solid elbows too to end the round. 19-19.

Calf kicks for Kunitskaya to start the third round before Vieira changes levels and gets the takedown within the first minute. Vieira ends up in half guard on top and throws some nice ground and pound and is trying to pass into guard but Kunitskaya is defending well and the cage isn’t helping her either. She goes chest to chest and finally passes into mount and starts looking for a head and arm choke. Kunitskaya trying to escape but Vieira’s level is so high and she takes the back now. Kunitskaya starts fighting the hands and legs to break the locks but Vieira is still controlling the position well as she searches for an opening for a rear-naked choke. Kunitskaya throwing punches from the top with Vieira on her back and she reverses the position with 10 seconds and starts raining down huge ground and pound to end the round. Should be a Vieira round though which would give her the fight. 29-28 Vieira.

Derrick Lewis def Curtis Blaydes via Knockout, Round 2 (1:26)

A very static start to this fight as Lewis stands pretty much still in the centre and invites Blaydes to come towards him. Blaydes moves in to close the distance and Lewis cracks him with a big right hand that sends Blaydes retreating. He comes back in and lands a nice jab, but Lewis loops a big right hand again and misses. High kick attempt from Lewis misses and Blaydes is staying very patient, and then lands a big right hand. He slips Lewis’ counter and lands two more right hands that rock Lewis a little, then follows that up with some leg kicks. Blaydes is controlling the striking with his speed and movement and is throwing lots of leg kicks to destabilise Lewis. Lovely jab from Blaydes followed by another leg kick and Lewis is hurting on that leg. 10-9 Blaydes.

Second round and Blaydes comes out quickly with some nice right hands once again. He shoots for the takedown and Lewis denies it brilliantly. They meet in the middle again and Blaydes shoots for another takedown and Lewis throws an uppercut and Blaydes is out cold!! Lewis lands two more huge shots while Blaydes is unconscious and the referee ends it! Holy wow! What a knockout!

UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs Lewis – Main card predictions

It’s take two in the heavyweight division for this weekend’s main event as Curtis Blaydes takes on Derrick Lewis in their rearranged fight from November 2020.

The two were scheduled to meet at UFC Vegas 15 before a positive COVID-19 test ruled Blaydes out just hours before the weigh-ins. They’ll meet now, knowing that the path to the heavyweight title shot they both feel they deserve is now clearer than it was back then.

Last week at UFC 258 we went 6/10 with our predictions, with three perfect picks to take us up to 230/359 (64.07%) with 104 (45.22%) perfect picks since we started out back in June 2020.

We have a monster 15 fight card this weekend, so the predictions will be split into three parts rather than the usual two. We’ve already predicted the first five fights of the night and the remainder of the prelims, so lets go with the main card now.


MAIN CARD

Andrei Arlovski (30-19) vs Tom Aspinall (9-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A huge heavyweight clash between the legendary former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski against Britain’s next big prospect in Tom Aspinall. Arlovski won his last two fights, including against Tanner Boser back in November at UFC Vegas 13. Aspinall has won his only two UFC fights, both by first round knockout against Jake Collier and Alan Baudot.

Arlovski is the epitome of a mixed martial artist, with fantastic striking and a solid ground game to his name too. Aspinall is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who took time away from the cage to become a professional boxer, training with world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. He has tremendous one-punch power, great hand speed and technique and is so confident in his ground game that he isn’t hesitant to throw hands.

Arlovski is a veteran and knows how to stuff momentum, but with where they both are in their careers right now this could be the statement win Aspinall’s career needs to really take off.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 1

Phillip Hawes (9-2) vs Nassourdine Imavov (9-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

After getting a random, undisclosed injury during fight week of UFC Fight Island 7 this fight was rescheduled for this card. Someone’s winning streak end as Hawes and Imavov go to war at 185lbs. Hawes has won each of his last five fights, including an 18 second knockout on his UFC debut at UFC 254, while Imavov has won each of his last six including his UFC debut against Jordan Williams in October.

Hawes is a violent counter striker who is very physical in his approach, while Imavov is a bit more of a rounded fighter. His issue is that when he’s out-gunned on the feet he tends to use his wrestling, but Hawes is the better wrestler here. Imavov has good footwork but with a range and power deficit, but Hawes should be able to get the victory here.
PICK – Phil Hawes via Knockout, Round 2

Aleksei Oleinik (59-14-1) vs Chris Daukaus (10-3) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A very, very interesting fight at heavyweight between a true veteran of the sport against an up and coming prospect. Aleksei Oleinik will be competing in his 75th professional fight here against Daukaus, who has was his last three in a row including both of his UFC fights.

Oleinik has 46 submission wins in his career and almost got the win against Derrick Lewis in his last fight, only for the round to end and he get knocked out in the second before he could get it down to the mat again. Daukaus beat Parker Porter with a knee and strikes at UFC 252 in his debut before starching Rodrigo Nascimento Ferreira in 45 seconds at UFC Fight Island 5.

If you have knockout power, which Daukaus has with nine knockout wins in ten victories, you can beat Oleinik. But you have to do it before he gets his hands on you and puts you on the ground. He can submit you from the top or the bottom but Daukaus’ striking is so powerful and heavy hands have beaten Oleinik in three of his last five fights. I’ll either get this spot on or horribly wrong, but I think Daukaus pulls out the big knockout win.
PICK – Chris Daukaus via Knockout, Round 1

Charles Rosa (13-4) vs Darrick Minner (25-11) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fight that will take place between two unranked fighters with two of the best submission artists in the featherweight division. Rosa has won eight of 13 via submission, but his most recent fight was a split decision win over Kevin Aguilar. Minner on the other hand has won 22 of 25 wins by submission and in each of his last 13 wins, including his most recent fight against TJ Laramie back in September.

Rosa has a great karate style on the feet and he fights in a similar way to Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, but Minner will pressure him well with boxing and attack the legs with solid calf kicks. Rosa has the advantage on the feet and his movement could see him look to keep it there, but Minner has a great wrestling background and looks to land a big shot then take the fight down to the ground.

It’s a very close fight between the two but I think with Minner more likely to get Rosa to the ground than Rosa is to keep the fight standing, I’ll go with Minner to get the win.
PICK – Darrick Minner via Submission, Round 2

Ketlen Vieira (11-1) vs Yana Kunitskaya (13-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very interesting fight in the women’s bantamweight division as two of the prospects go head to head. Ketlen Vieira bounced back from the first defeat of her career with a comfortable decision win over Sijara Eubanks at UFC 253, while Kunitskaya bounced back from a defeat to Aspen Ladd to get a decision win of her own against Julija Stoliarenko.

Both women are grapplers by trade, by Vieira is a legit Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and is comfortable off her back and on top, while Kunitskaya prefers to lay and prey from the top and uses her kicking game when on the feet. It seems like a recipe for disaster against Vieira, who is among the elite grapplers in the women’s MMA world.

It’s close, but stylistically Vieira seems to have a path to victory wherever the fight ends up while Kunitskaya will need to win in a realm where her opponent is at her best or where she isn’t at her best also.
PICK – Ketlen Vieira via Decision

Curtis Blaydes (14-2) vs Derrick Lewis (24-7) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The ultimate takedown vs stand up battle. Blaydes has the record for most takedowns in heavyweight history, while Lewis has the record for the most knockout wins in heavyweight history. Blaydes is currently on a four-fight win streak, including his most recent dominant decision against Alexander Volkov. Lewis is on a three-fight win streak, including his knockout of Aleksei Oleinik.

That Oleinik fight doesn’t bode well for Lewis though. He was taken down and dominated on the ground by the much smaller man and only got back to his feet when the bell went to end the first round. Blaydes will take this to the ground and look to blast him out of there from top position. If Lewis somehow survives the first round, he will need a knockout just like against Oleinik but Blaydes is elite and will take it back to the ground for a dominant win.
PICK – Curtis Blaydes via Knockout, Round 2

UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs Lewis – Prelims predictions

It’s take two in the heavyweight division for this weekend’s main event as Curtis Blaydes takes on Derrick Lewis in their rearranged fight from November 2020.

The two were scheduled to meet at UFC Vegas 15 before a positive COVID-19 test ruled Blaydes out just hours before the weigh-ins. They’ll meet now, knowing that the path to the heavyweight title shot they both feel they deserve is now clearer than it was back then.

Last week at UFC 258 we went 6/10 with our predictions, with three perfect picks to take us up to 230/359 (64.07%) with 104 (45.22%) perfect picks since we started out back in June 2020.

We have a monster 15 fight card this weekend, so the predictions will be split into three parts rather than the usual two. We’ve already predicted the first five fights of the night, so will get on with the rest of the prelims here.


PRELIMS

Nate Landwehr (14-3) vs Julian Erosa (24-9) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Currently 1-1 in his third stint in the UFC, Landwehr takes on the impressive Julian Erosa in a potential fight of the night on this card. Landwehr’s current stint started with a defeat to Herbert Burns, before an impressive win last time out against Darren Elkins via decision. Erosa is in his second stint with the company after losing three in a row first time out, before a win against AJ Bryant in CageSport before a return win against Sean Woodson last June.

Landwehr is a pressure fighter and will throw a lot of volume, but is also very capable in the ground game. Erosa is a talented grappler who has got good power in his hands too, with 11 submission wins and ten knockouts in his career to date. Despite his huge size advantage, Erosa tends to prefer just going to war and that should favour Landwehr who has great technique and is more durable.

‘The Train’ has the better techniques on the feet and mixes his attacks up more, and thus I think he’ll be able to get the nod in a great fight that goes the distance.
PICK – Nate Landwehr via Decision

Eddie Wineland (24-14-1) vs John Castaneda (17-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The man probably known to most UFC fans as the guy who got starched by Sean O’Malley takes on the guy known to most UFC fans as the man who got dominated by Nathaniel Wood in this one. Eddie Wineland is a vet in the UFC having made his debut in 2011, but his record of 6-8 is less than flattering, while Castaneda got beaten on his company debut.

Wineland has a super right hook, great pressure and good takedown defence too which has seen him finish all his wins in the last decade bar one via stoppage. Castaneda is a good kickboxer too, with a bit of a speed advantage over Wineland. Castaneda doesn’t have as much power though and while ‘Sexi Mexi’ loves to throw a calf kick or ten, Wineland’s added experience should see him able to land the more notable strikes in the fight and take the win.
PICK – Eddie Wineland via Decision

Drakkar Klose (11-2-1) vs Luis Pena (8-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A return to the octagon for Drakkar Klose after being knocked out in a crazy fight against Beneil Dariush in March 2020, as he takes on ‘Violent Bob Ross’ Luis Pena in the lightweight division. Pena was submitted in his last bout against Khama Worthy in June, meaning he has now lost two of his last three.

Pena is a fantastic grappler, with really good submission skills and has a huge size advantage in this fight. On the feet he’s not the most polished though and he’s struggled to use his length in the past. Klose is a power puncher who has great boxing, but he has struggled in the past against long fighters. Pena has the attributes to cause Klose a lot of problems, but he doesn’t use those attributes usually. Stepping in on just two-weeks notice for this fight, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to use them here.

If Pena can get into clinch situations against the cage and take the back he will have success, but the likelihood is that Klose kicks his lead leg hard to beat him up and lands big powerful strikes every time he gets within distance of Pena to take a win.
PICK – Drakkar Klose via Decision

Jared Gordon (16-4) vs Danny Chavez (11-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun fight in the featherweight division as ‘Flash’ Gordon looks to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since 2017 when he takes on Danny Chavez. Gordon bounced back from a defeat to Charles Oliveira by beating Chris Fishgold back in July, while Chavez won his debut with the company against an overweight TJ Brown at UFC 252 in August.

Chavez is a fantastic striker who throws calf kicks for days, while Gordon is a wrestler who looks to wear his opponent down from top position. The problem for Gordon in this fight, is that Chavez has really good takedown defence and the leg kicks will really effect his ability to get in close and shoot for takedowns. If Gordon can get the fight down, he’ll have the advantage over Chavez and ‘The Colombian Warrior’ has shown some cardio issues in the past later in the fight.
PICK – Jared Gordon via Decision

UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs Lewis – Early prelims predictions

It’s take two in the heavyweight division for this weekend’s main event as Curtis Blaydes takes on Derrick Lewis in their rearranged fight from November 2020.

The two were scheduled to meet at UFC Vegas 15 before a positive COVID-19 test ruled Blaydes out just hours before the weigh-ins. They’ll meet now, knowing that the path to the heavyweight title shot they both feel they deserve is now clearer than it was back then.

Last week at UFC 258 we went 6/10 with our predictions, with three perfect picks to take us up to 230/359 (64.07%) with 104 (45.22%) perfect picks since we started out back in June 2020.

We have a monster 15 fight card this weekend, so the predictions will be split into three parts rather than the usual two, starting with the first five fights of the night here.


EARLY PRELIMS

Serghey Spivak (11-2) vs Jared Vanderaa (13-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A fight originally scheduled for UFC 256 back in December, two heavyweights go at it on the prelims. Spivak is 2-2 in the UFC, alternating losses and wins against Walt Harris,Tai Tuivasa, Marcin Tybura and Carlos Felipe most recently. Vanderaa is on a two-fight win streak and makes his UFC debut after a KO win on the Contender Series back in November.

Spivak is a talented kickboxer who has a massive striking advantage on the feet in this fight, but he has won six of his 11 fights by submission. He isn’t afraid to initiate the grappling because of that, which could see him open himself up to the strengths of Vanderaa who has phenomenal ground and pound. Vanderaa will look to get this fight down and as the considerably bigger man, he is likely to only need one takedown and Spivak will struggle to get back up.

The likelihood of a stoppage in this fight is high, with both fighters seeing the judges only once each in their careers so far. Vanderaa’s wrestling chops and size mean he should get the takedown he craves and if he ends up on top he should be able to pound Spivak to a stoppage win.
PICK – Jared Vanderaa via Knockout, Round 2

Aiemann Zahabi (7-2) vs Drako Rodriguez (7-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun bantamweight fight that has been rescheduled from the December UFC Vegas 17 card as Zahabi makes his first appearance in nearly two years when he takes on Drako Rodriguez. Zahabi, brother of the legendary coach Firas, is a fantastic striker who lacks the elite ground game to call him a well-rounded fighter. Rodriguez on the other hand is well-rounded, with great grappling to go with his decent level of striking.

Zahabi has lost his last two fights and is potentially fighting for his future on the roster, having been beaten by Ricardo Ramos and Vince Morales. Rodriguez has won his last three and is so, so aggressive when it comes to his style. He will press forward, throw volume with strikes and attack for submissions if the fight goes to the ground.

With Zahabi’s weaknesses on the ground and Rodriguez’s aggressiveness and submission skills make me believe that the debutant gets the win and ends Zahabi’s run in the UFC.
PICK – Drako Rodriguez via Submission, Round 2

Chas Skelly (18-3 1NC) vs Jamall Emmers (18-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A return to the cage for the first time since September 2019 for Chas Skelly as he takes on Jamall Emmers in the featherweight division. Skelly is 1-1 1NC in his last three fights, losing to Jason Knight and beating Jordan Griffin with a no contest against Bobby Moffett sandwiched in the middle. Emmers himself is 1-1 in the UFC after losing his debut to Giga Chikadze in March 2020, before securing a decision win over Vince Cachero in August.

Skelly is an awkward fighter, with odd technique but it clearly seems to work for him considering his impressive record. With that said, he’s been known to burn himself out quickly and struggle in the third rounds. Emmers is a great wrestler who will look to get this fight to the ground and use his physicality to keep him down. Skelly has a decent submission game, but Emmers is solid enough in his own right to avoid those and has the advantage on the feet too with speed.

It’s a closer fight than it looks and I think Emmers’ style and activity in recent years should see him get the nod here.
PICK – Jamal Emmers via Decision

Shana Dobson (4-4) vs Casey O’Neill (5-0) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

After three defeats in a row, the UFC served up Shana Dobson to Mariya Agapova back in August. She shocked the world after surviving the blitz and then coming back to get a TKO finish in the second round and save her spot on the roster. O’Neill on the other hand is an undefeated fighter who makes her UFC debut after a 5-0 run to begin her career.

Dobson was on her way out of the company because she simply isn’t that good. Her two wins in the UFC have come from her opponents kind of giving in, rather than her stopping them. She doesn’t have a great skillset in reality, while O’Neill’s grappling game is very strong. With that said, her quality of competition hasn’t been that high so it’s hard to compare.

From what has been seen though, O’Neill can manage her gas tank more and should have enough about her to control the fight for the most part and get the win in her debut.
PICK – Casey O’Neill via Decision

Rafael Alves (19-9) vs Patrick Sabatini (13-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun fight in the featherweight division between two prospects making their UFC debut. Alves is a power puncher who presses forward and looks for finishes, with 14 finishes from 19 wins split evenly at seven wins by submission and knockout. Sabatini is also a good striker, who has a bit more technique to his game and throws really nice straight shots down the middle.

Alves has won his last six fights in a row, culminating with a guillotine choke win on Dana White’s Contender Series back in August. Sabatini won his last two under the Cafe Fury banner, with a knockout and submission added to his record. Sabatini has fantastic submission skills and a great ground game, while Alves is also a beast on the ground and a bit like Gilbert Burns isn’t afraid to throw strikes because of how confident he is on the ground.

That means it’s likely to stay on the feet and while Sabatini has a slight power advantage and better technique, he is taking this fight on just eight days notice. It’s a pretty evenly matched bout but that short notice should play into the favour of the Brazilian.
PICK – Rafael Alves via Decision

Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis have heavyweight trail planned out

Take two for this huge heavyweight clash as Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis finally meet in the main event at UFC Vegas 19 this weekend.

The fight was originally scheduled for back in November, but was cancelled just hours before the weigh-ins after ‘Razor’ tested positive for COVID-19. The fight was scrapped, with Anthony Smith and Devin Clark stepping into the main event slot on short notice in a five round fight that was won by ‘Lionheart’.

After being planned for January, Conor McGregor’s return to the fight game meant that their prospective date was turned into a pay-per-view card and they were moved back even further once again but it has seemingly worked in their favour.

Since then we’ve seen Cyril Gane pick up a very convincing knockout win over Junior Dos Santos at UFC 256 in December, while Alexander Volkov was able to completely outclass Alistair Overeem at UFC Vegas 18 too.

With Volkov’s win, he moved into the conversation about title contention once again but both of these men have already beaten Volkov in the past. So a fight for him against one of them is unlikely, and he will likely fight the winner of Gane’s fight against Jairzinho Rozenstruik which takes place at UFC Vegas 20.

With the heavyweight title on the line next month when Stipe Miocic takes on Francis Ngannou at UFC 260, this fight has kind of created it’s own path for the winner because of the later date.

Jon Jones has already been guaranteed the next shot at heavyweight against the winner of that title fight, and with Volkov likely to get paired up with Gane or Rozenstruik that would leave the winner of this fight to take on the loser of the title fight to earn themselves a shot at the strap.

Lewis has fought for the title before, being dominated by Daniel Cormier in a second-round submission defeat back in 2018. He lost his next fight too, being knocked out by Junior Dos Santos but has since won three in a row. A win over Blaydes followed by a win over Ngannou or Miocic would almost guarantee him a shot at the crown next.

UFC Fight Night: Lewis v Oleinik : News Photo

For Blaydes, the story is different though. He has lost only twice in his career, both times to Ngannou, with the first due to a doctor’s stoppage for a cut and the second via knockout in under a minute. Since then he has won four in a row and had it not been for Jones’ move up to heavyweight, he’d probably be next in line for a title shot.

Winning alone simply isn’t enough for Blaydes, after coming under fire for his style by Dana White after he beat Volkov back in June. He needs to win emphatically and make a statement in the process. With Jones’ title fight pencilled in for the summer, a win here for Blaydes could see him either wait out until the end of the year for a shot at the belt that he definitely would have earned – or take out the loser.

Whatever happens, the heavyweight title path is very clear for all involved right now. It’s a waiting game mostly unless your name is Miocic, Ngannou or Jones – or you can make a statement to try and jump the queue.