Tag Archives: UFC Vegas 36

UFC Vegas 36: Brunson vs Till – Main card predictions

The UFC middleweight division is back in the spotlight in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night, on a card that was supposed to take place in London initially.

The main event will see Derek Brunson take on the UK’s own Darren Till with the winner making a case to become the next fighter to challenge for a title shot after Robert Whittaker’s upcoming rematch with Israel Adesanya.

In the co-main event is the UK’s best chance at heavyweight gold as Tom Aspinall takes on short-notice opponent Sergei Spivac, while Paddy Pimblett makes his UFC debut in the main card opener when he takes on Luigi Vendramini.

Last week at UFC Vegas 35, we went 7/12 with three perfect picks on the night to move up to 396/624 (63.46%) with 174 perfect picks (43.94%). We’ll try to improve on that here and after starting with the prelims here, we now move on to the main card.


Paddy Pimblett (16-3) vs Luigi Vendramini (9-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Finally the debut of Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett as he takes on ‘Italian Stallion’ Luigi Vendramini in the lightweight division. Pimblett has won his last two in a row in Cage Warriors, securing first-round stoppages both times. Vendramini returned from two years away to beat Jessin Ayari before losing his next fight to Fares Ziam at UFC 263.

Pimblett is a fantastic grappler, with seven submission wins in his career including a stunning flying triangle back in 2018. He’s cleaned up his striking throughout his career as he’s grown up but he’s still primarily a ground fighter. Vendramini is very well-rounded with excellent solid striking on the feet and some really good wrestling too.

If Vendramini chooses to keep this fight standing and just strike, he has a very real chance of victory. But if there are any sort of ground exchanges then Pimblett has the edge and Vendramini will be in danger. Because of Vendramini’s natural instinct being to wrestle too, I think Pimblett may be able to wrap up his neck and steal the show with a fun submission.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Submission, Round 2

Modestas Bukauskas (11-4) vs Khalil Rountree Jr (9-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A very interesting fight at 205lbs as Bukauskas takes on Rountree Jr. Bukauskas won his debut via elbows against the cage before getting stopped by Jimmy Crute and then losing a split decision to Michal Oleksiejczuk at UFC 260, while Rountree Jr has also lost his last two including the most recent to Marcin Prachnio at UFC 257.

Bukauskas is a solid kickboxer with good top control when asked to grapple too, while Rountree has shown a new Muay Thai side to his game but has failed to live up to the performance he debuted it with back in 2018. Bukauskas hits really hard and is good fighting backwards, but Rountree likes to dictate from the centre and throw good leg kicks followed by clinches and a crisp right cross.

His issue is that he never really commits to winning a fight. Rountree seems to be content going to the judges by sticking to his plan, while Bukauskas is someone who is always looking for a finish and willing to take a shot to give two back. Overall, the Lithuanian should be able to take whatever is coming back at him by applying plenty of pressure and landing heavy shots of his own for a big win.
PICK – Modestas Bukauskas via Knockout, Round 1

Alex Morono (19-7) vs David Zawada (17-6) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Another very interesting fight but this time in the welterweight division. Alex Morono is coming in off the back of his stunning knockout win over ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC Vegas 26, while Zawada has lost three of his last four including a split decision last time out against Ramazan Emeev at UFC Fight Island 7.

Morono is a brawler with great volume and some decent power in his hands with good technique, while Zawada has got plenty of power in his hands and he looks to come forward and engage in a war at all times. Zawada has 11 KO’s throughout his career but it’s his forward pressure that really sets him apart from others.

With that said though, Morono is the better fighter of the two. He’s shown that short notice doesn’t really matter to him in the past and while he’s got great volume and power himself, I think his defensive abilities will see him earn another win.
PICK – Alex Morono via Decision

Tom Aspinall (10-2) vs Sergey Spivak (13-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A banger of a heavyweight co-main event as Aspinall takes on short-notice opponent Sergey Spivak. Aspinall is undefeated in the UFC with two first round KO’s followed up by a second round submission win over former champion Andrei Arlovski at UFC Vegas 19. Spivak steps in on short notice on a three-fight win streak, with his most recent being a decision win over Aleksei Oleinik at UFC Vegas 29.

Aspinall is a brilliant boxer who used to train with Tyson Fury, but he’s also a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu too as shown in his most recent win. Spivak is a good wrestler with decent jiu-jitsu and some okay boxing on the outside too. Aspinall is by far the more powerful of the two, with a sharp jab and a violent right hand. Spivak is no slouch himself though and on paper this is a really good match up.

If Spivak can get top position then Aspinall could struggle to get any offence going but Aspinall is capable of preventing any takedown and picking him apart on the feet. Realistically this is what I expect from this one, with Aspinall using his jabs and leg kicks to open up some power strikes later in the fight for a big win.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 2

Derek Brunson (22-7) vs Darren Till (18-3-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A banger at middleweight in a fight where title contention becomes a reality for the winner. Derek Brunson is on a tear right now with a four-fight win streak including a fantastic main event win over Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 22 while Till has lost three of his last four with a defeat to Robert Whittaker at UFC Fight Island 3 last time out.

Brunson is a wrestler first with takedowns the biggest part of his game, as he looks for top control after landing his left hand. Till on the other hand is a pure striker with brilliant strikes and kicks and tremendous power in his own left hand too. Brunson will almost certainly look to close distance and take Till down, but when he rushes forward he often leaves his chin up and Till doesn’t let those opportunities slide by often.

Till has got genuine one-punch knockout power, great hand speed and he goes into every fight knowing the opponent will want to take him down so his defence isn’t poor. It’s a case of how successful Brunson can be with his takedowns but I think Till will be able to land big shots to earn a knockout win for the first time since Donald Cerrone in 2017.
PICK – Darren Till via Knockout, Round 3

UFC Vegas 36: Brunson vs Till – Prelims predictions

The UFC middleweight division is back in the spotlight in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night, on a card that was supposed to take place in London initially.

The main event will see Derek Brunson take on the UK’s own Darren Till with the winner making a case to become the next fighter to challenge for a title shot after Robert Whittaker’s upcoming rematch with Israel Adesanya.

In the co-main event is the UK’s best chance at heavyweight gold as Tom Aspinall takes on short-notice opponent Sergei Spivac, while Paddy Pimblett makes his UFC debut in the main card opener when he takes on Luigi Vendramini.

Last week at UFC Vegas 35, we went 7/12 with three perfect picks on the night to move up to 396/624 (63.46%) with 174 perfect picks (43.94%). We’ll try to improve on that here, starting with the prelims.


Jonathan Martinez (13-4) vs Marcelo Rojo (16-8) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolute banger to start the night in the bantamweight division. Martinez’s record in the UFC currently stands at 4-3, with a KO defeat to Davey Grant last time out at UFC Vegas 21 while Rojo lost an incredibly exciting debut against Charles Jourdain in his last fight on the same card.

Martinez is a very technical boxer with genuine knockout power and some crisp striking combinations and he’s also nice and comfortable on the ground. Rojo is aggressive too and has some great strikes of his own but he’s not quite as tidy technically. Martinez for me is the more powerful and we’ve seen him take the action to strong fighters in the past and if he’s likely to continue that way then he’s got the edge here.

Rojo is more than capable of stepping forward with pressure and landing heavy blows of his own, but with the more comfortable striking and good footwork I think Martinez will be able to get a stoppage in a brilliant fight.
PICK – Jonathan Martinez via Knockout, Round 2

Dalcha Lungiambula (11-2) vs Marc-Andre Barriault (12-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very exciting middleweight fight up next. Lungiambula earned a decision win last time out against Markus Perez at UFC Fight Island 8 in January, while Barriault earned his first UFC win against Abu Azaitar at UFC 260.

Lungiambula is a grappler who uses big bursts of energy to land some strikes and then go in for the takedown, while Barriault is a considerably better striker than him with constantly improving scrambles off his back. Lungiambula is shorter with a longer reach, but his cardio issues make him struggle as the fight goes on. His striking is pretty poor and while Barriault isn’t stunning in any department, his cardio keeps him going later and gives him a chance here.

On the feet Barriault has a clear edge and while Lungiambula will likely score a takedown or two, Barriault is able to get back to his feet and with the cardio issues visible for all to see he could secure a sneaky decision win.
PICK – Marc-Andre Barriault via Decision

Julian Erosa (23-10) vs Charles Jourdain (11-3-1) – (Catchweight/150lbs)

Yet another banger of a fight at the halfway point of the prelims in a short-notice catchweight bout. Erosa had won three in a row before his most recent fight, which saw him knocked out by Seung Woo Choi at UFC Vegas 29. Charles Jourdain is 1-1-1 in his last three, with a win over Marcelo Rojo last time out at UFC Vegas 21.

Erosa is a slick striker who is always looking for an exciting war with his opponent, marching forward to slug it out with whoever is standing across the cage from him. Jourdain is a fantastic boxer himself with a great jab and plenty of punching power in his bank and good durability. Erosa has a wrestling edge over Jourdain, but ‘Air’ has a fantastic gas tank and great scrambles so even that is a tough run to victory.

Overall, Erosa will land powerful strikes but leave himself open to eating some of his own from the more powerful fighter and Jourdain should be able to score the victory in a fun fight.
PICK – Charles Jourdain via Knockout, Round 2

Jack Shore (14-0) vs Liudvik Sholinian (9-2-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The undefeated against the unknown in this one. Jack Shore is 14-0 including 3-0 in the UFC, with a split decision win over Hunter Azure last time out at UFC Vegas 23, while Sholinian makes his promotional debut on a four-fight win streak.

Shore is a slick submission grappler with eight wins via tap-out in his career, but he’s also shown improved striking in recent performances too. Sholinian was part of the most recent TUF season on Team Ortega and takes the fight on short notice. He is a brilliant wrestler with some decent submission skills of his own but some brilliant top control to round off his skills.

The Welshman is the overwhelming favourite but this fight is a bit closer than that. Shore has the edge on the feet, has more experience on the big stage and is a good wrestler in his own right. If Sholinian gets top position, Shore is good enough to submit him from his back but the likelihood is he controls the fight and earns a finish as the fight goes on either late in the second or in the third.
PICK – Jack Shore via Submission, Round 2

Molly McCann (10-4) vs Ji Yeon Kim (9-3-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Featured prelim bout is a women’s flyweight clash coming off defeats. McCann has lost her last two, getting dominated by Taila Santos and most recently Lara Procopio at UFC Vegas 18 while Kim was beaten by Alexa Grasso at UFC Vegas 8 last year in her last fight.

McCann is a straight up brawler who walks forward with pressure and looks to outland her opponent as much as possible using her kicks and cardio as a weapon. Kim is a technical striker with a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, using her counter-attacking skills as much as she can. It’s almost to her detriment in that sense, because she never kicks due to how good her boxing is and she is often left waiting for a long time.

McCann is well out-matched in terms of height and reach but she’s a much improved wrestler and has the edge there over Kim. Kim doesn’t really use her reach as much as she should and her defence isn’t the best which means she will leave herself open and that tells me McCann has a path to victory, which I think she’ll take – just.
PICK – Molly McCann via Decision

Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett finally arrives in the UFC and he has a point to prove

MMA fans have waited half a decade for this day and it is finally upon us, Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett makes his UFC debut this Saturday in Las Vegas at the Apex.

He opens up the main card against Brazilian Luigi Vendramini on a card that is stacked with British talent and he may just prove to be the best of the lot.

This event was put together with the intention of being held in London in front of a full O2 Arena which would have been the perfect coming out party for the scouser. But with the UFC unable to get isolation rules waived for their non-UK staff, the party is postponed for now and Pimblett will have to prove his hype in a venue without fans.

It’s a massive shame for ‘The Baddy’ but probably more for the UFC themselves that they can’t showcase their new star in front of a fanatic crowd.

His well known walkout to his own mash up of songs will get any UFC attendance pumped but starting off in front of a home crowd would have been a perfect way to introduce the future lightweight contender.

That won’t affect Paddy when the cage is shut though. His last two fights were behind closed doors which both resulted in first round stoppages and he’s expecting similar this weekend.

Speaking to Mike Owens Media, Pimblett said ‘I’m gonna put it on him in a big way and he’s getting finished in one or two, I’m getting that performance bonus.” This match up certainly gives him that chance.

Vendramini doesn’t shy away from a fight and will meet Paddy in the middle if he wants to, but it will likely come down to whether Vendramini can deal with the Scousers unique and awkward grappling.

Pimblett is so quick, extremely flexible and can throw up submission attempts when you least expect it. Don’t be surprised to see him attempt a few on Saturday.

Vendramini though has plenty of motivation for this fight. Having lost in his last outing he is now 1-2 in the UFC and has admitted his only win kept him from getting a ‘normal job’, for the time being at least. A loss would mean one win in four and a likely cut from the roster on the horizon.

Should Paddy get the debut win, he’ll no doubt make the most of his interview post fight with Michael Bisping and have a well rehearsed call out prepared. Now it’s confirmed he’ll be contending in the lightweight division too, there’s plenty of names there to do so.

Pimblett is adamant he’s on his way to superstar status and insists he’s here to takeover much similar to a previous former two-weight Cage Warriors champion, Conor McGregor.

The comparisons with the Irish superstar aren’t just throw away comments. ‘The Baddy’ has all the attributes to become a household name and have a long and successful UFC career and this Saturday evening is the start of that journey.

Tom Aspinall has everything to become England’s best ever heavyweight

Combat sports’ Hollywood division is changing in the UFC and Liverpool’s very own Tom Aspinall is leading the way for English heavyweights in this transition as its sole representative.

The days of your big, labouring heavy hitters dominating at the top of the rankings are numbered as we begin to move into an era with leaner, quicker and more technically gifted athletes staking their claim to be contenders in the pinnacle of MMA.

It feels like the division has opened up this year since the goat Stipe Miocic was knocked out by Francis Ngannou at UFC 260.

We also have an interim champion in Cyril Gane, who is the number one example of this new era and proved that last month when he dominated and knocked out veteran Derick Lewis at UFC 265.

Tom Aspinall is certainly part of the new school and this Saturday he has a chance to showcase his talent once again as he comes up against Serghei Spivac in the co-main event.

Aspinall’s last outing got him into the rankings at 13th after he forced UFC legend Andrei Arlovski to tap with a rear naked choke. The way in which he pounced on the former heavyweight champion and finished him with such ease has really made people take notice.

This will be Aspinall’s biggest test so far though and he’ll need to use his entire skill set to come out of this with his arm raised.

Spivac is a powerful man, with a 13-2 record including six submissions and five knockouts to his name. He has won each of his last three bouts, including a unanimous decision win over Aleksei Oleinik in June. He steps in for Sergei Pavlovich on a week’s notice after the Russian had visa issues and was forced to withdraw.

Spivac is ranked one place above Pavlovich in the official UFC rankings, so it should be seen as a tougher challenge for Aspinall who is keen to advance his way up those charts.

A win for the Liverpudlian could bump him up into the top ten and set him on his way to some big nights, meaning the possibility of Aspinall being in title contention by the end of next year isn’t an unrealistic one.

He’s trained in MMA since seven years of age and is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. His dad is a trainer at Team Kaebon in Liverpool and he even took time out of MMA to tune up his boxing skills where he spent time sparing with Tyson Fury. You really can’t be more prepared than Aspinall is for this.

With Dana White refusing to let the division stagnate while it waits for Jon Jones, by the time the former light heavyweight is ready to fight, he may well wish he hadn’t bothered moving up.