Tag Archives: UFC Vegas 30

UFC Vegas 30: Gane vs Volkov – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex this weekend with some giant European heavyweights headlining the card as Ciryl Gane takes on Alexander Volkov with a potential title shot looming for the winner.

A make-believe European title will be on the line as the two top five heavyweights clash, coming into the fight off the back of win streaks over top contenders too.

Elsewhere on the card in the co-main event, Ovince Saint-Preux moves up to heavyweight to take on short-notice opponent Tanner Boser while Raoni Barcelos gets back in the octagon to take on Timur Valiev in an absolute banger at bantamweight.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 29, we went 8/12 on the night with four perfect picks to go up to 346/542 (63.84%) with 155 perfect picks (44.8%).

We’ll look to improve on that here with this 13-fight card and after starting off with the early prelims here, and predicting the rest of the prelims here, here are our main card picks.


Renato Moicano (14-4-1) vs Jai Herbert (10-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very intriguing lightweight fight to open the main card as Renato Moicano takes on the UK’s Jai Herbert. Moicano has lost three of his last four fights, including most recently getting knocked out by Rafael Fiziev at UFC 256. Herbert on the other hand got knocked out in his UFC debut by Francisco Trinaldo at UFC Fight Island 3 to snap a six-fight win streak.

Moicano is a super technical striker with some brilliant jiu-jitsu skills, while Herbert is a fine striker of his own accord but seems to have left his chin behind at Cage Warriors after his last outing. Herbert has good power on his feet too but Moicano’s grappling is so far and away from Herbert’s that it makes it incredibly lopsided.

Moicano can work his way in to grappling range with his striking and can end up getting the fight down and working for a submission. Herbert is technical enough to avoid the submissions on the ground, but Moicano should control on the ground for a wide decision win.
PICK – Renato Moicano via Decision

Tim Means (31-12-1) vs Nicolas Dalby (19-3-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two welterweights coming into this one on win streaks as Tim Means takes on Nicolas Dalby at 170lbs. Means has won two-in-a-row, with decision wins over Laureano Starapoli at UFC Vegas 6 and Mike Perry at UFC 255. Dalby had a no-contest against Jesse Ronson at UFC Fight Island 3 where he lost by submission on the night, before he bounced back with a win over Daniel Rodriguez.

Means is a fantastic boxer on the feet but he also has some good wrestling skills, while Dalby is a solid wrestler with some okay boxing skills too. Means doesn’t have top level power but he has enough to put a hurting on someone who doesn’t excel at striking, just like Dalby. Dalby is durable though but even his most recent performances haven’t been too convincing.

Means should pick Dalby apart using his jab and power strikes following them up but I don’t expect he’ll get the knockout.
PICK – Tim Means via Decision

Andre Fili (21-8) vs Daniel Pineda (27-14) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun featherweight banger between Andre ‘Touchy’ Fili as he takes on Daniel Pineda with both guys coming off a loss. Fili was well beaten by Bryce Mitchell at UFC Vegas 12 back in October last year, while Pineda followed up a win over Herbert Burns at UFC 253 by getting knocked out cold by Cub Swanson at UFC 256.

Both these guys are really well rounded, but have their main strengths at opposite ends. Fili’s solid grappling is usually his starting spot for game plans, with good volume to his striking and a good ability to mix it up. Pineda is a boxing heavy guy who has some decent grappling skills to fall back on if needed, as seen with his stunning 18 submission wins. It’s a really, really interesting fight that will likely be in the conversation for fight of the night.

With that said Fili is the master of the decision and I think he’s capable of riding out the storm and using his good striking to earn a win.
PICK – Andre Fili via Decision

Raoni Barcelos (16-1) vs Timur Valiev (17-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

My pick for fight of the night, an absolute bantamweight banger in this one. Barcelos returned from a near two-year absence with a fight of the night win over Khalid Taha to extend his win streak up to nine in a row. Valiev on the other hand is officially on an eight-fight unbeaten run although he was knocked out by Trevyn Jones at UFC Vegas 7 in his debut only for it to be overturned. He returned with a great win over Martin Day at UFC Vegas 18 though.

Barcelos is a stunning fighter, with brilliant striking, jiu-jitsu, scrambles and footwork. Valiev is a black-belt in jiu-jitsu too with good kicks but he’s a striker first and foremost and both these guys will come forward and trade. Unfortunately for Valiev, that fight against Jones did happen and you can’t overlook it.

Both guys are fantastic prospects, but Barcelos has the knockout power and durability to stop this one early if it does become a war.
PICK – Raoni Barcelos via Knockout, Round 2

Tanner Boser (19-8-1) vs Ovince Saint-Preux (25-15) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A strange co-main event as Tanner Boser steps in on short-notice to take on Ovince Saint-Preux, moving up to heavyweight for this one. Boser has lost each of his last two, dropping decisions to Andrei Arlovski at UFC Vegas 13 and Ilir latifi last month at UFC Vegas 28. ‘OSP’ on the other hand was knocked out in his last one at light heavyweight against Jamahal Hill at UFC Vegas 16.

Boser is a boxer with a decent kicking game in his arsenal, while OSP is a laboured striker with terrific grappling skills including his own patented choke. OSP has fought at heavyweight before but made his name at 205lbs and Boser is not a small heavyweight fighter. Considering OSP has been KO’d at the smaller weight class before, that doesn’t pose too well against heavyweights.

OSP is likely to try and use his grappling skills in this one but Boser’s takedown defence is good and his striking is better than OSP’s, so I think he’ll take the win after 15 minutes.
PICK – Tanner Boser via Decision

Ciryl Gane (8-0) vs Alexander Volkov (33-8) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A really intriguing fight in the main event as Ciryl Gane puts his undefeated record on the line to take on Alexander Volkov with a future title shot surely on the line. Gane has beaten Junior Dos Santos at UFC 256 and then Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC Vegas 20 in a dominant performance, while Volkov bounced back from defeat to Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 3 with knockout wins over Walt Harris at UFC 254 and Alistair Overeem at UFC Vegas 18.

Gane is a Muay-Thai fighter with some good grappling skills in his weaponary too, while Volkov is a rangy boxer standing at 6ft 7′ tall. Volkov’s performance against Overeem was arguably his best, as he used his jab brilliantly and stuffed some takedown attempts to keep the fight standing while against Blaydes he really struggled to do that. Blaydes is a far better grappler than Gane though, who is very patient and accurate with his striking.

Volkov’s got real knockout power in his hands and uses his body kicks well, while Gane’s stoppages come more from volume than just putting people away. It’s a really intriguing fight but having never seen Gane lose, it’s hard to know how he reacts to adversity. Volkov will land strikes and he has lots of experience, so I think Volkov is able to get the job done at this stage of their careers.
PICK – Alexander Volkov via Knockout, Round 4

UFC Vegas 30: Gane vs Volkov – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex this weekend with some giant European heavyweights headlining the card as Ciryl Gane takes on Alexander Volkov with a potential title shot looming for the winner.

A make-believe European title will be on the line as the two top five heavyweights clash, coming into the fight off the back of win streaks over top contenders too.

Elsewhere on the card in the co-main event, Ovince Saint-Preux moves up to heavyweight to take on short-notice opponent Tanner Boser while Raoni Barcelos gets back in the octagon to take on Timur Valiev in an absolute banger at bantamweight.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 29, we went 8/12 on the night with four perfect picks to go up to 346/542 (63.84%) with 155 perfect picks (44.8%).

We’ll look to improve on that here with this 13-fight card and after starting off with the early prelims here, we move on to the rest of the prelims here.


Marcin Prachnio (14-5) vs Ike Villanueva (18-11) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An interesting light heavyweight scrap booked in this one as Prachnio looks to make it back-to-back wins over ‘Hurricane’ Ike Villanueva. Prachnio lost three-in-a-row including a first-round stoppage against Mike Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 7, before bouncing back with a decision win over Khalil Rountree JR at UFC 257. Villanueva himself lost two in a row, including a KO inside 90 seconds against Jordan Wright at UFC Vegas 7 before beating Vinicius Moreira by knockout at UFC Fight Island 8.

Both guys are strikers and while Prachnio opts for volume and combinations, Villanueva just looks for a slug fest. Both guys have been beaten by knockouts but the nature of those finishes were very different. Villanueva got stopped by a cut and by a heavyweight, while Prachnio got separated from consciousness three times and could’ve been against an exhausted Rountree last time too.

I don’t think either guy are really UFC calibre at this point, but I’d trust Villanueva to land the big show-stopping punch before Prachnio so he’ll get the dub.
PICK – Ike Villanueva via Knockout, Round 1

Warlley Alves (15-4) vs Jeremiah Wells (8-2-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A banger at welterweight ar Warlley Alves takes on UFC debutant Jeremiah Wells. Alves returned from over two years out with a first-round stoppage win over Mounir Lazzez, while Wells is on a two-fight win streak but hasn’t fought since 2019.

Alves is super powerful but is more known for his terrific grappling skills that go with being a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Wells is a great wrestler with good hand speed and jiu-jitsu brown belt, making him a legit threat to Alves wherever the fight ends up. It’s tough to see an ideal path to victory for Wells because he prefers to wrestle his way into fights, but he won’t want to be on the ground with Alves.

Overall, I think Alves is the man who has the advantage with this one and I think he can out-grapple Wells or potentially KO him with the short notice aspect working in his favour too.
PICK – Warlley Alves via Decision

Shavkat Rakhmonov (13-0) vs Michel Prazeres (26-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A really exciting welterweight fight as the undefeated Rakhmonov takes on the highly underrated Prazeres in this one. Rakhmonov won his UFC debut at UFC 254 with a submission over Cowboy Oliveira, while Prazeres is well over two years out from his last fight – a defeat to Ismail Naurdiev.

Rakhmonov is an absolute beast of a fighter, with seven knockouts and six submission wins. He is a fantastic grappler on the ground but also a crisp striker on the feet. Prazeres on the other hand is a tremendous grappler and is very grapple heavy stylistically, looking for takedowns early and then working to positions where he can attack submissions. Rakhmonov though has a HUGE advantage in size, with a nine inch height advantage and ten inch reach advantage.

Prazeres is very good, but Rakhmonov has all the advantages at this stage and this could be a real showcase fight for the Kazakhstan fighter.
PICK – Shavkat Rakhmonov via Knockout, Round 2

Kennedy Nzechukwu (8-1) vs Danilo Marques (11-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A banger at 205lbs as ‘African Savage’ Nzechukwu takes on Danilo Marques in the featured prelim bout. Nzechekwu returned to the UFC after an 18-month absence to knock out Carlos Ulberg at UFC 259, while Marques has won his last four including a submission over Mike Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 18.

Nzechukwu is a powerful puncher with good accuracy who showed some improved cardio in his last fight, as well as a solid chin. Marques on the other hand is a terrific grappler on the ground who can match Nzechukwu for size, standing at 6ft 6′. He has lots of good tripping techniques and has the clear advantage on the ground, so if he can get the fight down then it’s his to lose.

Nzechukwu is a power puncher but Marques has shown a decent chin and unless he can stop the takedown attempts I can’t see the Nigerian getting the win on this occasion.
PICK – Danilo Marques via Submission, Round 2

UFC Vegas 30: Gane vs Volkov – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex this weekend with some giant European heavyweights headlining the card as Ciryl Gane takes on Alexander Volkov with a potential title shot looming for the winner.

A make-believe European title will be on the line as the two top five heavyweights clash, coming into the fight off the back of win streaks over top contenders too.

Elsewhere on the card in the co-main event, Ovince Saint-Preux moves up to heavyweight to take on short-notice opponent Tanner Boser while Raoni Barcelos gets back in the octagon to take on Timur Valiev in an absolute banger at bantamweight.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 29, we went 8/12 on the night with four perfect picks to go up to 346/542 (63.84%) with 155 perfect picks (44.8%).

We’ll look to improve on that here with this 13-fight card, starting off with the early prelims here.


Yancy Medeiros (15-7) vs Damir Hadzovic (13-6) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Likely a ‘loser leaves UFC’ bout at 155lbs here as former fan favourite Yancy Medeiros takes on Damir Hadzovic with both men on losing streaks. Medeiros has lost his last three in a row to Donald Cerrone, Gregor Gillespie and Lando Vannata, while Hadzovic has lost two in a row to Christos Giagos and Renato Moicano.

Medeiros’ record recently doesn’t look great, but he’s lost to only very capable fighters. He’s a great, technical striker with power in his hands and feet and has good wrestling to back himself too unless he’s coming up against someone as elite as Gillespie. Hadzovic isn’t elite at anything, and will look to step in and have a straight up fire-fight in the octagon.

If that’s the case, Medeiros should fancy his chances. Hadzovic has been finished twice in his last two and while he has decent power himself, I think Medeiros still has the tools to use his big reach advantage for a decision.
PICK – Yancy Medeiros via Decision

Charles Rosa (13-5) vs Justin Jaynes 16-7) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An interesting featherweight bout in this one as ‘Boston Strong’ takes on ‘The Guitar Hero’ Justin Jaynes. Rosa has alternated losses and wins since his UFC debut in 2014, including a defeat to Darrick Minner at UFC Vegas 19 while Jaynes has lost three-in-a-row – getting submitted by Gavin Tucker at UFC Vegas 6, before stoppage defeats to Gabriel Benitez at UFC Vegas 16 and Devonte Smith at UFC Vegas 18.

Rosa is a great grappler with an active guard off his guard, while Jaynes is a good wrestler who has fallen in love with his hands in recent fights after his knockout win over Frank Camacho back at UFC Vegas 2. Rosa is far too happy to accept his guard position and especially against someone who overpowers him, but Jaynes seems unlikely to use his wrestling any more now that he’s moving down to 145lbs.

Rosa has the technique edge and a great chin and the longer the fight goes, he will have the advantage so I think stylistically he’ll claim another yo-yo win for his record.
PICK – Charles Rosa via Decision

Julia Avila (8-2) vs Julija Stoliarenko (9-5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Two women looking to get back into the win column in the women’s bantamweight division as ‘Raging Panda’ Julia Avila takes on former Invicta fighter Julija Stoliarenko. Avila started her UFC career with two wins against Pannie Kianzad and Gina Mazany in just 22 seconds, before losing to Sijara Eubanks at UFC Vegas 10. Stoliarenko was on a five fight win streak coming into her debut against Yana Kunitskaya at UFC Vegas 5, but lost a decision.

Avila is a wonderful stand-up fighter, who has good power in her hands and good takedown defence. With that said, Stoliarenko has a fantastic ground game which includes eight armbar submission wins in her career. If Stoliarenko is able to get the fight down to the ground then it’s highly unlikely the fight sees an end, despite Avila’s skills. While the fight is standing, Avila has the advantage and I think he’s overall skillset will help her to avoid the takedowns and outland Stoliarenko on the feet – but she will be a threat for the entire three rounds.
PICK – Julia Avila via Decision

Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov fighting for imaginary European title

The heavyweight division right now is in the best place it’s been in for the last decade and there are two European giants looking to make their way to the top.

Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov are the guys who are propping up the top five right now, with Volkov ranked at number five and Gane at number three. On Saturday night they fight each other with a make-believe European title on the line to show who the top guy from our continent is.

But more than that, the winner will have a more than legitimate claim to the world heavyweight title in their next bout.

Gane is currently 8-0 and has beaten some top level talents on his run. After making his debut in the company at just 3-0, Gane has picked up three stoppage wins on his run in the UFC on his current five fight win streak including a heel hook submission and a knockout over former champion Junior Dos Santos.

Volkov’s run hasn’t been as dominant, but he has shown that he is absolutely one of the elite in the division. He made his debut in 2016 for the organisation and is currently 9-2 with the company. His only defeats came with a late knockout by Derrick Lewis in a fight he largely dominated and a grapple-heavy affair against Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 3.

But he bounced back from both of those losses with impressive victories and he’s now established himself as one of the best around when it comes to the striking game at the top of heavyweight division.

The fight between the two will be a showcase of Europe’s greatest exports, with both fighters preferring to strike and show their skills on the feet. But Gane has got a grappling skillset too which he could use to his advantage.

A win for either moves them into the top two of the rankings and it’s hard to see how their next fight wouldn’t be a title shot against the winner of Francis Ngannou vs Derrick Lewis, which is likely to take place at some point this summer.

Gane is a previous training partner of Ngannou’s so that fight instantly has a back story to it too, but it would just be the best performing heavyweights going head-to-head with each other.

Jon Jones still lurks in the background with a title shot his to claim whenever he so wishes, but other than a fight against former champion Stipe Miocic there is nothing that should come between the winner of this bout and the world heavyweight champion next time out.

European MMA has really come on leaps and bounds over the last half-decade with the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Valentina Shevchenko, Jan Blachowicz, Petr Yan, Giga Chikadze, Leon Edwards, Darren Till, Marvin Vettori, Jiri Prochazka, Aleksandar Rakic making real waves in the UFC.

But in the heavyweight division the only man to really break through in the modern UFC was Alistair Overeem and yet he never won the gold.

Volkov already beat him into a premature UFC exit, and now both he and Gane have the chance to potentially eclipse his legacy by becoming the first European heavyweight world champion in UFC since Andrei Arlovski way back in 2005.