Tag Archives: UFC Vegas 59

UFC Vegas 59: Santos vs Hill – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas for the TUF 30 finale card, headlined by light heavyweight bangers.

Thiago Santos will take on Jamahal Hill looking for a place in the top five of the rankings at 205-pounds in the main event, while Vicente Luque will also fight Geoff Neal in the co-main event.

The TUF finale also takes place as the heavyweights Mohammed Usman, brother of Kamaru, takes on Zac Pauga while the women’s flyweights will see Brogan Walker take on Julianna Miller.

Last time out at UFC 277 we went 10/13 with two perfect picks to move to 683/1059 (64.49%) with 291 perfect picks (42.61%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and moving on to the rest of the prelims, we now pick the main card.


Ariane Lipski (14-7) vs Priscilla Cachoeira (11-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very interesting women’s flyweight bout opens up the main card here. Lipski snapped a two-fight losing streak after KO defeats to Antonina Shevchenko (UFC 255) and Montana De La Rosa (UFC Vegas 28) when she beat Mandy Bohm last time out. Cachoeira has won three of her last four with KO wins over Shana Dobson (UFC Vegas 14) and Gina Mazany (UFC 262) as well as a decision last time out against Ji Yeon Kim. She was beaten by Gillian Robertson in the middle of that at UFC 269 via first-round submission.

Lipski is an effective Muay Thai striker with excellent technique, but her power is lacking and she tends to be relatively hesitant to throw. Cachoeira is the opposite, with incredible power and wild technique as she marches forward and takes one to give two. Lipski is by far the more technical, but that means little if she can’t keep Cachoeira away from her as she throws bombs.

Cachoeira will move forward through the lack of power and look to blast her head off with elbows and hooks. If they clinch then Cachoeira is big and strong enough to break away and if it goes to the ground then the Brazilian has the advantage there too. If it’s clean and tidy then Lipski has a chance, but Cachoeira fights rarely are so expect a nasty win.
PICK – Priscilla Cachoeira via Knockout, Round 2

Augusto Sakai (15-4-1) vs Serghei Spivac (14-3) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweight banger up next. Sakai has lost his last three in a row, getting stopped by Alistair Overeem, Jairzinho Rozenstruik (UFC Vegas 28) and most recently Tai Tuivasa (UFC 269). Spivac on the other hand has won four of his last five, with a KO defeat against Tom Aspinall followed up by a KO win over Greg Hardy at UFC 272 most recently.

Sakai is a powerful striker with good combinations and kickboxing, and some solid takedown defence to show too. Spivac is a grappler who looks to wrestle and use his size to wear on his opponents although his striking has been improving in recent bouts. With that said, this fight is an interesting battle between differing styles and could be settled based upon each fighter’s approach.

Prior to his three defeats in a row this is the type of fight that Sakai absolutely loved. Spivac’s striking isn’t good enough or powerful enough to strike fear in Sakai’s heart, while he’s be confident of stifling the wrestling attempts. But if he’s more hesitant after those defeats to come forward and throw then he could be in trouble. Based on what we’ve seen in the past though, it’s hard not to pick Sakai. The Brazilian should be able to walk Spivac backwards and unload combinations against the cage, and his power is enough to close the show early.
PICK – Augusto Sakai via Knockout, Round 2

Brogan Walker (8-2) vs Julianna Miller (3-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The TUF 30 women’s flyweight finale up next. Walker us 8-2 in her professional career, fighting in Invicta before going on the show, while Miller is 3-1 having done the same thing. Both women claimed decision wins on the show throughout the series, except for Miller’s submission in the semi-finals.

Neither of these women are particularly standout athletes or fighters, but they’re here for a reason. Walker is a 10th planet jiu-jitsu fighter and is very comfortable fighting off her back, but her grit and volume won her bouts in the TUF house, while Miller has plenty of volume on the feet herself with solid leg kicks and a decent jab too. There will be plenty of grappling in this fight though.

Nobody knows who the better wrestler is at this point, because neither were really forced to grapple in the house. Both have submission wins in their career to this point, but the experience of Walker is a big factor here. She has fought a far higher level of competition in her career up to this point and if she ends up under Miller she’ll be confident enough with her submission skills, while Miller’s submission wins came from the top. Because of that, and only that, I’m going with Miller to claim a decision win but this could probably go either way in reality.
PICK – Brogan Walker via Decision



Mohammed Usman (8-2) vs Zac Pauga (6-0) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweight TUF 30 finale next. Usman suffered defeat in his last bout before entering the house, getting submitted by Brandon Sayles in the PFL back in May 2021. Pauga is an undefeated fighter with a decision win over Markus Perez in Cage Warriors last time out in October 2021 via decision.

Usman is a natural heavyweight who is pretty well rounded, with decent striking and very good wrestling similar to his brother. He has finished five fights in his career, split pretty evenly with three knockouts and two submissions. Pauga is a natural light heavyweight who uses his slick movement and kickboxing skills to outpoint opponents so far in his career, with just one KO finish to his name. He has a big speed advantage here, but he will be severely undersized.

It’s strength and size against technique in this one. If Usman is able to get his hands on Pauga and take the fight to the mat, then it will be incredibly difficult for “The Ripper” to get back to his feet. If he keeps it standing though, Pauga wll be too quick and should be able to land well. I expect it to go the distance, and I can’t see how Pauga keeps Usman off him for 15 minutes so I expect “The Motor” to make it a family affair in the UFC.
PICK – Mohammed Usman via Decision

Vicente Luque (21-8-1) vs Geoff Neal (14-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

An absolute banger at welterweight in my pick for the fight of the night. Luque was on a four-fight win streak with submission wins over Tyron Woodley (UFC 260) and Michael Chiesa (UFC 265) the stand outs, before being dominated by Belal Muhammad last time out. Neal snapped a two-fight losing streak to Stephen Thompson (UFC Vegas 17) and Neil Magny (UFC Vegas 26) when he earned a split decision win over Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC 269.

Luque is a brilliant boxer with unbelievable power and cardio, as well as a solid jiu-jitsu game and unreal durability. Neal is a powerful striker too, but he tends to throw less volume and has been more hesitant in recent fights than usual. He’s got a bit of wrestling in his back pocket too, but he’s rather reluctant to use it. This should be a banger on the feet, and I can’t look past Luque at this point.

He’s the faster fighter, has better combinations and variety in his striking, great durability and he’s also more than capable of taking the fight to the ground. His chokes are great, but I expect plenty of body work and a threat of takedowns to be enough for Luque to be able to claim a highly entertaining decision victory.
PICK – Vicente Luque via Decision

Thiago Santos (22-10) vs Jamahal Hill (10-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Heavy hitters up next in the main event in the light heavyweight division. Santos is a former title challenger, but that defeat started a 1-4 run. He was beaten by Jon Jones, submitted by Glover Teixeira (UFC Vegas 13), dominated by Aleksandar Rakic (UFC 259) and most recently controlled by Magomed Ankalaev. He did claim a decision win over Johnny Walker at UFC Vegas 38. Hill recovered from the only defeat of his career where Paul Craig snapped his arm at UFC 263 by KO’ing Jimmy Crute (UFC Vegas 44) in just 48 seconds and then sleeping Johnny Walker in the first-round in February this year.

Santos is a brilliant kickboxer with unreal one-punch knockout power, but his volume has dramatically decreased since he blew out both his knees in the defeat to Jones. He’s also a black belt, but it’s hard to know why because whenever he’s gone to the mat he’s been dominated. Hill is also a brilliant striker with unbelievable knockout power, and he is confident on the mat too. It’s his surreal striking power and speed that make him a huge threat though.

This fight should be what many expected Santos vs Walker to be. That one ended up being very slow as both guys were worried about the power coming back their way, but Hill never has that fear. He will come forward, use his boxing and low kicks to close the range and look to take Santos’ head off. Santos is very durable on the feet but his lack of volume is a problem, and he’s nowhere near as effective when going backwards. Hill could make a big statement with a KO, but expect it to go 25 minutes with a bit more caution in Hill’s favour.
PICK – Jamahal Hill via Decision

UFC Vegas 59: Santos vs Hill – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas for the TUF 30 finale card, headlined by light heavyweight bangers.

Thiago Santos will take on Jamahal Hill looking for a place in the top five of the rankings at 205-pounds in the main event, while Vicente Luque will also fight Geoff Neal in the co-main event.

The TUF finale also takes place as the heavyweights Mohammed Usman, brother of Kamaru, takes on Zac Pauga while the women’s flyweights will see Brogan Walker take on Julianna Miller.

Last time out at UFC 277 we went 10/13 with two perfect picks to move to 683/1059 (64.49%) with 291 perfect picks (42.61%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims, we move on to the rest of the prelims.


Bryan Battle (8-1) vs Takashi Sato (16-5) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

TUF 29 winner vs MMA veteran in this one. Battle moves down to welterweight for this bout, having won each of his last six including a submission win over Gilbert Urbina before a decision win over Tresean Gore. Sato meanwhile has lost his last two getting submitted by Miguel Baeza before losing a dominant decision against Gunnar Nelson at UFC London back in March.

Battle is a jack of all trades with good wrestling and submission skills as well as his fast hands with boxing combinations and range management. He does lack big power in his hands however. Sato is someone who tends to rely on a big strike from the power in his hands, while he has pretty poor takedown defence and a lack of volume. With that said, this is a super tough match up for him.

“Pooh Bear” is likely to use his movement and physical strength to wear on Sato, while his volume should be more than enough to keep Sato away from him. Add to that his decent wrestling to make his opponent think about the next attack constantly, this should be a pretty comfortable win for Battle.
PICK – Bryan Battle via Decision

Terrance McKinney (12-4) vs Erick Gonzalez (14-6) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The big lock of the card between two bangers in the lightweight division. McKinney lit the UFC up initially with a seven-second KO of Matt Frivola at UFC 263 before a first-round submission win over Fares Ziam. He was beaten last time out though as Drew Dober put him out with a knee and strikes. Gonzalez lost his UFC debut to Jim Miller back in October when he was KO’d in the second round and hasn’t fought since.

McKinney is an incredibly powerful striker with a really strong wrestling game in his back pocket to go with it, and he’ll be hungry to get himself back in the win column after his positive UFC start. Gonzalez on the other hand is not a UFC calibre fighter, with poor takedown and striking defence with his best form of defence coming via offense.

Gonzalez will look to start a brawl and hope he lands the harder, cleaner shot first but against McKinney that’s nigh on impossible. “T-Wrecks” is going to come in, put his lights out and send him home early.
PICK – Terrence McKinney via Knockout, Round 1



Sam Alvey (33-17-1) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (16-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

No idea how, but Sam Alvey is still in the UFC and he’s in the featured prelim bout this weekend. Alvey has lost 7 of his last 8 fights, getting stopped in four of them including his most recent bout when he was submitted by Brendan Allen. Oleksiejczuk saw a two-fight win streak snapped last time out when he dropped a decision to Dustin Jacoby at UFC 272.

Alvey is done, honestly. Once upon a time he had a feared big left hand, but in recent times he’s just become a punching bag and someone who is tentative and looks like he shouldn’t be in there. Oleksiejczuk is a good kickboxer with good power and counters, and usually has solid cardio to go with it. The one issue could be the weight cut with Oleksiejczuk making his 185-pound debut.

With that said, it’s also the only way that he loses this fight. He’s got the speed, power and physical attributes to dominate Alvey and unless he absolutely fluffs the weight cut and is struggling physically then he should be able to back Alvey up against the cage and finish him with nasty combinations to finally end “Smile’n”‘s UFC run.
PICK – Michal Oleksiejczuk via Knockout, Round 1

UFC Vegas 59: Santos vs Hill – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas for the TUF 30 finale card, headlined by light heavyweight bangers.

Thiago Santos will take on Jamahal Hill looking for a place in the top five of the rankings at 205-pounds in the main event, while Vicente Luque will also fight Geoff Neal in the co-main event.

The TUF finale also takes place as the heavyweights Mohammed Usman, brother of Kamaru, takes on Zac Pauga while the women’s flyweights will see Brogan Walker take on Julianna Miller.

Last time out at UFC 277 we went 10/13 with two perfect picks to move to 683/1059 (64.49%) with 291 perfect picks (42.61%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.


Mayra Bueno Silva (8-2-1) vs Stephanie Egger (7-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An interesting women’s bantamweight fight to kick off the card. Silva got back in the win column last time out with a decision victory over Yanan Wu back in April, while Egger has won her last two with a TKO win over Shanna Young before an armbar submission win over Jessica-Rose Clark last time out.

Silva is a solid grappler with great jiu-jitsu skills, but she tends to choose to strike in her fights and comes forward with good pressure and boxing combinations. Egger on the other hand is a stand-out judoka who is excellent with her throws, but also uses her range and stance to land strikes from range if needed. Neither of these girls are particularly known for their power, but it could be a real slug fest on the feet to kick off the event.

Egger will no doubt look to keep Silva at distance or take her down for her top control if she gets within range, but Silva is a newly-awarded brown belt in jiu-jitsu and will be confident of keeping the fight where she wants it. Expect her to march forward and land good combinations and make it an uncomfortable night for Egger to claim a decision win.
PICK – Mayra Bueno Silva via Decision

Cory McKenna (6-2) vs Miranda Granger (7-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Another fun women’s fight up next in the strawweight division this time. McKenna suffered defeat in her last bout, dropping a split decision to Elise Reed to snap a four-fight win streak. Granger meanwhile has lost her last two coming into this, getting submitted by Amanda Lemos before dropping a decision to Ashley Yoder at UFC Vegas 14. This is her first fight since November 2020.

McKenna and Granger are pretty green despite their records, but stylistically they couldn’t be more opposite. McKenna is a wrestler at heart with solid takedowns and pretty tame striking, while Granger is a lengthy striker with a good clinch game but woeful takedown defence. This is simply about whether or not Granger has improved that enough to stop McKenna dumping her on the mat over and over again.

If she has been able to improve and do that, then she should be able to keep range and piece McKenna up with straight shots and kicks. If not, then she’ll get ground out by an undersized fighter for 15 minutes with little answer. My expectation is the latter takes place in a less than memorable fight.
PICK – Cory McKenna via Decision



Jason Witt (19-8) vs Josh Quinlan (5-0) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Big time fire-fight in the welterweight division up next. Witt has lost two of his last three via KO, getting stopped in 16 seconds by Matthew Semelsberger at UFC Vegas 21 and then by Phillip Rowe in February. He earned a majority decision win over Bryan Barbarena in between those fights. Quinlan is an undefeated fighter who has finished all his wins, including a 47 second KO on the Contender Series last time out that got switched to a no contest for a positive drug test.

Witt is a strong wrestler who has good takedowns and solid top control, but has a leaky chin and has been KO’d six times in his professional career to date. Quinlan is a power puncher with excellent Muay Thai skills, but has shown a difficulty in fighting when being pressured backwards in the past. That said though, this looks set up for a Quinlan victory.

“The Renegade” is powerful, fast, strong and accurate which will be way too much for Witt. Quinlan is capable of being taken down, but he’s also more than capable of getting back to his feet and any extended sequence of striking will likely end with Witt staring up at the lights. Expect a statement win from the newcomer with a violent combination.
PICK – Josh Quinlan via Knockout, Round 1