Tag Archives: Umar Nurmagomedov

UFC Vegas 67: Strickland vs Imavov – Main card predictions

The UFC returns after a month-long absence for it’s first card of 2023, and there has already been drama.

Originally slated to be a middleweight main event between Nassourdine Imavov and Kelvin Gastelum, before Gastelum fell out with a mouth injury during fight week.

He’s now replaced by Sean Strickland, who steps in after his main event defeat to Jared Cannonier in the final card of 2022.

During that even we went 9/13 with five perfect picks to end the year at #UFCVegas66, moving us to 804/1251 (64.27%) with 331 perfect picks (41.17%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims of the night, and then moving on to the prelims section, we move on to our main card picks now.


Umar Nurmagomedov (15-0) vs Raoni Barcelos (17-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A shout for fight of the card in this one to open up the main card. Nurmagomedov is undefeated and claimed a dominant win over Nate Maness in his most recent outing, while Barcelos bounced back from a two-fight losing streak to beat Trevin Jones in his latest fight.

Nurmagomedov by name, but not in style. Umar is a fantastic striker in the bantamweight division, using his kicks well, but still having that legendary grappling in his back pocket when he needs it. Barcelos is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division who has found his age to be the biggest problem in his career. If Nurmagomedov wants to win this fight, he will absolutely need to use his grappling.

Barcelos has got fantastic jiu-jitsu skills to go along with his violent Muay-Thai, but on his back is where he’s at his least effective. Umar has got good striking to compete, but once he gets top position he can control the fight and work to a decision win in a close and entertaining bout.
PICK – Umar Nurmagomedov via Decision

Ketlen Vieira (13-2) vs Raquel Pennington (14-9) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An interesting bantamweight scrap up next between two women looking to get into title contention. Vieira is on a two-fight winning streak having beaten former champions Miesha Tate and Holly Holm in her most recent bouts, while Pennington has won her last four, beating Marion Reneau, Pannie Kianzad, Macy Chiasson and Aspen Ladd.

Vieira is a well-rounded fighter with good knockout power and nasty submission skills on the mat too. She’s very aggressive and forward thinking, and will have a size advantage in this bout. Pennington on the other hand is very well rounded too, but she doesn’t have the greatest of finishing instincts and tends to be quite a reactive fighter. That leans the fight into Vieira’s favour undoubtedly.

Pennington will almost certainly look to hold a lot and land the odd strikes to score with the judges, while being defensively solid to give herself a chance. Vieira will press forward and look to mix up her attacks, but if she can score takedowns early then this is her fight to lose. I expect she will be able to do that, and get to a relatively comfortable decision win.
PICK – Ketlen Vieira via Decision

Punahele Soriano (9-2) vs Roman Kopylov (9-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Bangers at middleweight go head-to-head up next. Soriano bounced back from consecutive defeats to Brendan Allen and Nick Maximov to earn a knockout win over Dalcha Lungiambula last time out, while Kopylov did the same after defeats to Karl Roberson and Albert Duraev with a KO win against Alessio Di Chirico in his last outing at UFC Paris.

Both of these guys see themselves as knockout artists in the short and simple summary, but they have more skills to their name than just that. Soriano is an All-American wrestler in the past too, while Kopylov is a decent grappler himself, especially defensively. There’s no doubt both men are at their best when striking though, with a combined 14 knockout wins in their career.

Both guys are at a similar level, and both fighters are at a similar stage of their career too. Kopylov is the better boxer with decent combinations, and Soriano has got the better cardio and ability to carry his power later in the fight. It will be entertaining for sure, but I think Kopylov should be able to do a bit more with his combinations to secure a decision,
PICK – Roman Kopylov via Decision



Dan Ige (15-6) vs Damon Jackson (22-4-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A really fun and close match up in the featherweight division is the co-main event here. Ige has lost his last three via decision to Korean Zombie, Josh Emmett and Movsar Evloev, while Jackson is on a four-fight win streak beating Charles Rosa, Kamuela Kirk, Dan Argueta and Pat Sabatini in just 79 seconds.

Ige is a striker with decent one-punch knockout power and some solid defensive wrestling too, but he’s on a slide right now. Jackson on the other hand has really developed in the last two years, with fantastic grappling skills and much improved striking earning him a KO last time out. Many people will be thinking Ige is a level up on previous competition, but this is closer than you’d think on paper.

Jackson’s chin is very good for the most part, but it gets tested way too much to take too many shots from Ige. Ige is a very good defensive wrestler and Jackson will have to work really hard to be successful. If he can do that then it’s his fight to lose on the mat, but Ige’s defeats have come against top guys and I do think he should be able to hold off the wrestling threat and land enough on the feet to get back on track.
PICK – Dan Ige via Decision

Sean Strickland (25-5) vs Nassourdine Imavov (12-3) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Two ranked middleweight fighters compete in a short-notice light heavyweight main event here. Strickland has lost his last two, getting KO’d by the new champion Alex Pereira before dropping a split decision to Jared Cannonier most recently last month, while Imavov has won his last three with knockouts over Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan before a decision against Joaquin Buckley.

Strickland is a well-rounded fighter but constantly allows his ego to dictate his game plan. He’s a solid wrestler who never wrestles, instead marching forward with his jab and weaponizing his cardio. Imavov is a very well-rounded fighter with spectacular striking to go with decent wrestling and grappling skills too. Imavov is a really top prospect in this division, and a win here could set him up for a title push in 2023.

Strickland will definitely step forwards and try to assert himself, but Imavov is a very good counter striker and we’ve seen that Strickland definitely trusts his chin rather than using his defence. That is a risky strategy, but with his volume and experience in a five-round fight he could start to pull away in the latter rounds. With that said, Imavov’s movement and speed, plus the fact he’s been in camp for this date, have me leaning towards him in a razor close fight.
PICK – Nassourdine Imavov via Decision

UFC 272: Covington vs Masvidal – Early prelims predictions

A super highly anticipated grudge match main event at UFC 272 is finally upon us as Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal will clash in the welterweight division.

‘Chaos’ and ‘Gamebred’ will finally settle their very personal differences in the octagon after their friendship went sour several years ago, but while fans are hoping for a scrap it could actually be a bit of a mistmatch.

We’ll also see a five-round co-main event that was put together on short-notice as Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Renato Moicano at a 160-pound catchweight.

The last time we made picks was at UFC Vegas 48: Walker vs Hill a couple of weeks ago and we did pretty well, going 9/12 with three perfect picks to move to 548/852 (64.32%) with 234 perfect picks (42.7%).

Check out our full record for our predictions to date here.


Dustin Jacoby (16-5-1) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (16-4) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A big fight to start up the card in the light heavyweight division. Jacoby is undefeated in his last seven fights, with six wins including a decision win last time out at UFC 268. Oleksiejczuk has won each of his last two, earning a split decision over Modestas Bukauskas at UFC 260 before a KO win against Shamil Gamzatov at UFC 267.

Jacoby is an excellent kickboxer with some really good footwork and heavy hands, while Oleksiejczuk is a pressure-heavy fighter with super power in his hands. While Oleksiejczuk likes to walk forward, he struggles often to cut the cage off which will allow Jacoby room to move and even piece up the legs from the outside.

Oleksiejczuk isn’t much of a kicker at all and his volume often leaves you wanting more from him, and that’s why I can’t see past Jacoby winning. He can pick him off from the outside with kicks, while also holding his own in the centre. Both have a good chin, so I expect a Jacoby decision.
PICK – Dustin Jacoby via Decision

Devonte Smith (11-3) vs Ludovit Klein (17-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A short-notice banger at lightweight up next. Devonte Smith has never been to the judges in his professional career, but he has lost two of his last three with KO defeats to Khama Worthy and Jamie Mullarkey at UFC Vegas 38 coming either side of a KO win against Justin Jaynes at UFC Vegas 18. Klein on the other hand has lost his last two fights in a row, getting submitted by Nate Landwehr last time out. He steps in on one week’s notice.

Both of these guys are excellent strikers, but in different ways. Smith has good pressure and excellent power, while Klein tends to stick on the outside a little more and use his kicks and technique to break opponents down. While Smith isn’t the type of fighter to suffocate an opponent with pressure or grappling, he has got it in him. He’s a decent wrestler and has enough power to try and empty the tank early and finish the fights in the first round.

If he does that against Klein he will earn a victory, but the Slovakian is well aware of his weaknesses and surely will have worked on it. But with just one week of notice against an absolute powerhouse, I think they get into an exchange early on and Smith clips him for a big win.
PICK – Devonte Smith via Knockout, Round 1



Tim Elliott (18-12-1) vs Tagir Ulanbekov (14-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The super experienced Tim Elliott welcomes a super hot prospect in this bout in the flyweight division. Elliott has lost four of his last six including his last bout where he dropped a decision to Matheus Nicolau at UFC Vegas 39, while Ulanbekov is on a five-fight win streak including two wins in the UFC against Bruno Silva at UFC Fight Island 5 and Allan Nascimento at UFC 267.

Elliott is a decent striker with some good wrestling in his pocket and good submission skills too, while Ulanbekov is a primary wrestler who has awkward and strange striking attacks on the feet. Because of that wrestling though, he has the ability to dictate where this fight goes and that should give him the edge throughout the bout.

Ulanbekov will have to be wary of the leg kicks of Elliott and any submissions while he’s on top, but his control of opponents in those positions keeps him in a favourable reckoning here. Elliott will need to sweep him or prevent the takedowns entirely, but his past suggests he’ll struggle with that so I expect the Dagestani to claim a decision win relatively routinely.
PICK – Tagir Ulanbekov via Decision

Brian Kelleher (24-12) vs Umar Nurmagomedov (13-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A banger in the featherweight division closes out the early prelims section of the show. Kelleher claimed consecutive wins for the first time since 2020 with his recent victories over Domingo Pilarte and Kevin Croom at UFC Vegas 46 in the opening card of the year. Nurmagomedov on the other hand is undefeated, with a big submission win in his debut at UFC Fight Island 8 against Sergey Morozov.

Kelleher is a talented wrestler who has got excellent cardio and good power in his looping hooks, and he’ll be coming up against the brilliant Dagestani who has got excellent striking skills as well as the customary wrestling that comes with being from where he is from. ‘Boom’ has got a great chance of victory if he lands a big right hand with his pressure or manages to sneak in a guillotine when defending a takedown, but aside from that it looks like a long night.

Nurmagomedov is the better, more technical striker, the better wrestler and the bigger man in the cage. He’s got the edge everywhere so unless he’s sloppy, he should claim an impressive win here.
PICK – Umar Nurmagomedov via Decision

UFC Fight Island 8: Chiesa vs Magny – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Manon Fiorot def Victoria Leonardo via Knockout, Round 2 (4:08)

Fiorot starts the fight with her standard side kick to maintain distance, while Leonardo is trying to throw punches in bunches early. Fiorot lands two more side kicks to the body and then lands a big head kick! Fiorot pushes forward and lands a big one-two that snaps Leonardo’s head back, but she eats it and continues to come forward. Clinch attempt but Fiorot is physically stronger and using knees well. Fiorot explodes with a big one-two again and rocks Leonardo! Fiorot charges forward looking to finish and lands two more shots but Leonardo moves away and avoids the big wheel kick attempt. Clinch against the cage and Fiorot lands a big elbow on the break. Big round for Fiorot. 10-9.

Better second round start from Leonardo, as she avoids the big strikes early but she’s throwing her own strikes from way too far out. Fiorot lands a nice body kick before Leonardo shoots for a takedown, but good defence from Fiorot to keep it standing. A few more clashes between the two before Fiorot gets Leonardo against the cage and gets a takedown of her own. She lands a couple of strikes on the ground before getting back up and making the referee stand them up. Fiorot lands a big head kick and Leonardo is hurt! She turns up the pressure and lands big punches as Leonardo covers up and the referee steps in and stops it! Hugely impressive performance.

Umar Nurmagomedov def Sergey Morozov via Submission (Rear naked choke), Round 2 (3:39)

A cagey start to this fight as Nurmagomedov comes out bouncing and throwing kicks, while Morozov looks to land a big overhand right. Bit of a stalemate on the feet so Umar shoots for a takedown and gets him down to the ground. He looks to take the back and stabs his hooks in, but Morozov scrambles and keeps rolling around before eventually breaking free. Back on the feet again and Umar lands a nice question mark kick before ducking an overhand right and getting another takedown. He takes Morozov’s back quickly but the buzzer goes to end the round. 10-9 Nurmagomedov.

Second round starts and Umar lands a huge head kick immediately that wobbles Morozov! Umar goes for the finish against the cage with big shots, but Morozov comes away and eventually shakes the cobwebs away. Another head kick attempt is blocked but then a big body kick lands from Umar. Umar throws a jab and shoots straight behind it with a perfect takedown, before transitioning to the back again. He finally is able to hold the position at the second time of asking and eventually lands a few shots before sinking in a lovely rear naked choke and putting Morozov to sleep! What a performance.

Mike Davis def Mason Jones via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Great start to the fight for both men as Davis shows his kicking game, while Jones is looking to land combos early. Davis lands a big body shot and a strong leg kick, while Jones continues to come forward. Blind kick from Jones and Davis makes him pay with a takedown. A couple of strikes on the ground before Jones gets back to the feet. Jones starts landing some nice punches to the body and head, which makes Davis look twice and shoot for another takedown to slow it down. Jones gets back up again quickly and lands a nice left hand but Davis retaliates with a strike of his own. Jones turning the pace up on Davis with combos and knees but then Davis takes him down again. Jones gets back up and eats a huge flying knee right on the buzzer! 10-9 Jones but very close round.

Davis lands a big leg kick early in the second round that drops Jones, but again he gets back up to his feet quickly. Nice combinations from Jones are landing as Davis drops his hands but then Davis returns fire with a big straight right hand. Both men throw elbows that just miss, before a big calf kick again from Jones. Jones’ pace is excellent and Davis’ cardio is starting to let him down here. Big body shot from Jones again but Davis is significantly tiring now. Final minute and Jones throws a big leg kick again as Davis looks to avoid. Big right hand from Davis lands and knocks the mouth piece out of Jones’ mouth, then lands another big one two and a head kick but Jones catches it and ends the round on top. 20-18 Jones.

Final round and still a strong pace to this fight. Davis lands a big right hand but Jones eats it again and continues to come forward. Davis landing shots at a cleaner rate right now but Jones continues to come forward and attack the body and legs. Jones shoots in for a takedown against the cage but defended well by Davis and then he lands a big right hand on the break. Big knee from Davis lands again as we enter the final minute, but Jones is still coming forward with power and aggression. Takedown attempt from Davis but Jones defends well as the two exchange shots against the cage for the buzzer. What a fight. 29-28 Jones but could well be the other way around too.

PRELIMS

Francisco Figueiredo def Jerome Rivera via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Very interesting start to this fight as both men stand at range and exchange body kicks and leg kicks before clinching up against the cage. Nice exchange in the centre before a sweep and takedown from Figueiredo sees him end up on top. Some nice ground and pound from the top by Figueiredo before he gets back to his feet and lets Rivera back up. A few exchanges but nothing big and the round ends with a takedown attempt from Rivera being stuffed. 10-9 Figueiredo.

Second round starts with a takedown from Figueiredo again as he ends up on top, but Rivera is very active from his back throwing elbows, short strikes and trying to use his length to create distance. Figueiredo doing really well to stay square on the hips though and is keeping position to great effect. Rivera using his long legs really well to stop Figueiredo passing guard and not taking too much damage before getting back up to his feet. Figueiredo too strong in a clinch and breaks away before landing a really nice pull left straight counter. Round ends with another clinch, but Figueiredo looks good right now. 20-18.

Final round and once again Figueiredo is getting on the inside and able to secure a takedown, although Rivera gets back to his feet well this time. Good combination of strikes from Rivera land at a distance but then he steps in again and Figueiredo is able to clinch up against the cage. Rivera switches the position and looks for a takedown but Figueiredo defends it really well before they eventually break away. Rivera starting to up the pace and throw more strikes and he’s starting to land. Big takedown from Rivera at the end of the round but Figueiredo gets back up quickly and gets a takedown of his own on the buzzer to seal what should be a win.

Dalcha Lungiambula def Markus Perez via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Fast paced start to this fight as Perez looks to work the body of Lungiambula, who explodes with a combination that forces Perez all the way across the cage. Dalcha shoots for a takedown and lifts Perez into the air before slamming him down and ending in half guard. Perez threatens with a guillotine but Lungiambula stays patient, get out of it and look to land big shots. Perez threatens with submissions off his back and eventually gets back to his feet for the end of the round. 10-9 Dalcha but tough to score.

Perez looking to land body shots early in the second, but Dalcha lands a big body shot and charges to get the fight to the ground again. He ends up behind Perez, landing nice ground and pound strikes but Perez takes a kimura grip to threaten. The fight goes back down and Perez is so close to locking up the kimura but Dalcha uses brute strength to defend and end up back on top in a controlling position. Nice ground and pound strikes from Lungiambula have opened up a huge cut on Perez’s head and that’s his round. 20-18 Dalcha.

Fast start to round three as Perez comes out with kicks while Dalcha looks to counter by just taking his head off with wild hooks. Perez engages in a clinch against the cage but Dalcha is too strong and controls the position, before the two break. Dalcha throws a nice combination that just misses but Perez lands a straight left clean on the chin that staggers Dalcha. Perez keeps trying to get the fight down against the cage but Dalcha is too strong and is able to stay standing into the final minute. Both men throw knees against the cage and an accidental low blow causes a pause with 15 seconds to go and Perez lands a big spin kick with seconds to go but it’s not going to be enough. 29-28 Dalcha for me.

Su Mudaerji def Zarrukh Adashev via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Fun start to this one as Adashev looks to start fast with big looping strikes, but Su using his range well to stay away. Nice leg kicks land from Su and quickly force Adashev to switch stance. Nice head kick from Su lands but is partially blocked from Adashev, who returns first with a big one-two that misses. Jab from Su lands but Adashev lands a bit left hook counter, although he barely flinches at it. 10-9 Su but Adashev is active.

Adashev comes out quick again in the second round and lands a nice double-jab right hand clean. Su continues to use the inside leg kick and his range well, with a double jab of his own too. Spin kick attempt from Su misses and Adashev takes the back, landing some big shots to the face before they break. Su lands a big leg kick and just avoids the left hook coming back at him before a straight right while taking the centre of the octagon. Adashev lands a right hand that wobbles Su but he recovers quickly and shakes his head to say it didn’t hurt. Adashev charges forward and Su steps back and lands a big check hook that drops him! He follows it with a jab that drops him again but Adashev avoids any more significant damage before the end of the round. 20-18 Su.

Head kick lands for Su to open the final round but Adashev seems to have shaken off the cobwebs. Adashev eating leg kicks and can’t get into the rang of Su now, who seems to have figured out the way to victory now. Su keeping his hands low and throws a big wheel kick but hits fresh air. Nice one-two from Adashev but Su maintains the centre and throws a nice side kick to the body. Final 90 seconds of the fight and Su continues to stay out of range while just picking jabs and landing nice kicks. Adashev pushing forward into the final minute but Su avoidig all strikes with great footwork to take a decision win.

Ricky Simon def Gaetano Pirrello via Submission (Arm triangle choke), Round 2 (4:00)

Good start to the fight by Simon, who feints changing levels and lands nice strikes before eventually shooting for the takedown and getting the fight to the ground. Pirrello scrambles back to his feet but Simon keeps a body lock and engages in the clinch against the cage. Change of levels and Simon lifts Pirrello before slamming him down to the mat. Pirrello tries to get back up but Simon consistently dragging him back down and taking the back. Pirrello escapes but again Simon drops levels for another takedown. Dominant opening round. 10-9.

Second round and Pirrello tries to strike from distance, but Simon changes levels and shoots. Pirrello throws a huge knee that lands flush but Simon eats it and eventually finishes the takedown. More top control from Simon, with every time Pirrello gets up to his feet Simon just puts him back on his back. It’s a vintage Simon performance as he gets another takedown against the cage and lands straight into mount. Simon immediately sinks up an arm-triangle choke and gets the tap-out win. Beautiful performance.

MAIN CARD

Omari Akhmedov def Tom Breese via Submission (Arm triangle choke), Round 2 (1:41)

Fast start to this one with Akhmedov throwing bombs early with Breese looking to counter, before Akhmedov shoots in with a takedown early. Breese catches him in a guillotine on the way down though and it looks tight, but the Russian gets his head out and starts landing good shots from top position. Huge bombs from Akhmedov from the guard have Breese in big trouble as he attempts an armbar to escape, but he’s just eating shots from Akhmedov. Breese manages to scramble back to his feet with a heel hook attempt and then takes Akhmedov’s back and almost gets the choke, but Akhmedov defends well before the buzzer goes. 10-9 Akhmedov.

Second round and Akhmedov goes straight for the takedown again, but Breese is able to tilt him and ends up on the bottom but with a calf slicer submission. Akhmedov remains calm and eventually gets out, putting himself into mount. He immediately attacks for an arm triangle submission and after a bit of a wait, Breese has no choice but to tap out. Excellent performance from Akhmedov.

Lerone Murphy def Douglas Silva de Andrade via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Good start to this one for Murphy as he takes the centre of the cage and uses his range to land nice calf kicks. He’s throwing in straight lines and connecting out of range, attacking the body well. Andrade trying to fire back with leg kicks of his own but Murphy checks it and fires back with a big right hand of his own. Two more right hands land for Murphy but Andrade fires back with a nice body kick. Andrade comes forward with a combo that ends in a high kick, but Murphy blocks it all and moves away. Andrade looks for a takedown but Murphy defends well and responds with a knee before a leg kick as the round ends. 10-9 Murphy.

Murphy opens the round throwing a leg kick and Andrade is hurt bad. Murphy throws a head kick but Andrade catches it and forces him down to the ground and quickly transitions to the back, but Murphy scrambles up to his feet very quickly. Another big leg kick from Murphy and the two end up clinching against the cage. Andrade gets it down and ends up in mount but again Murphy escapes and lands a nasty body shot on Andrade. Andrade comes forward and lands a big body shot of his own, while Murphy continues to attack the leg and throw long one-twos. Murphy catches a kick and lands a big right hand flush on the chin but Andrade eats it. Another huge leg kick and Andrade is in trouble as the round ends. 20-18 Murphy.

Murphy nice and aggressive in this final round, attacking the leg again. Andrade knows he needs the knockout and comes forward with a big right-left hook combo that lands hard and wobbles Murphy! Spinning back kick to the body but Murphy clinches up, before a low blow causes a pause in the action. Andrade lands two big hooks again and Murphy looks hurt, but he’s using footwork well to move away. Big right straight lands for Murphy and Andrade comes forward again, but Murphy changes levels and looks for a takedown as we enter the final minute. Murphy gets it down and scrambles to end up on top and looks to just control for the final 30 seconds for a big decision win. 29-28.

Matt Schnell def Tyson Nam via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Cagey start from both fighters in this one as Schnell looks to stand with Nam, who is throwing low kicks with his right hand behind it as usual. Good head movement from Schnell to avoid any damage early on, as both guys doing a lot of feinting but nothing heavy landing. Nam lands a big counter right hand out of nowhere but Schnell eats it and continues to stand and trade in the centre as the round ends. 10-9 Schnell.

Much better second round from Nam so far as he starts landing his left jab a bit more, but Schnell is firing back with good boxing. Nam’s face is bloody and red from the strikes he’s taking, but Schnell’s power isn’t causing him too much of a problem. Nam coming forward and lands a big left hook but Schnell is still there and doing well with his left jab too. Schnell goes for a kick but Nam counters with a right overhand. Nam throws a big windmill right that Schnell side-steps that sums up the fight so far as the round ends. 20-18 Schnell.

Nam looking more aggressive in the final round, knowing he needs a finish to win this fight. Schnell continuing with his volume, winning him the fight right now with the jab and short combinations. Nam forcing the fight right now with his big punches, but Schnell is either avoiding them or eating the shots. He’s landing first almost every time too, making Nam’s striking game look basic. Nam more active in this round and landing more but Schnell should take the decision win.

Viviane Araujo def Roxanne Modafferi via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Great start to the fight for Araujo as she uses her range excellently and picks Modafferi off with her jab. Nice one-two down the pipe lands and immediately causes swelling under the eye of Modafferi. Modafferi continues to come forward but hasn’t looked for a level change once and is getting picked off. She charges forward and Araujo steps back and lands a big right hand that drops her. Big right hook again wobbles Modafferi but she keeps coming forward before finally clinching and pushing her to the cage looking for a takedown, but Araujo reverses the position, takes her back and sinks in a rear-naked choke but the buzzer saves her. 10-9 Araujo.

More great striking from Araujo once again, picking Modafferi off at will with her jab and right straight. Modafferi shoots in for a takedown attempt but again Araujo defends it easily and transitions to the back before breaking to start striking again. Big right hand from Araujo lands but then Modafferi lands a right hand of her own that wobbles Araujo! She charges forward but Araujo recovers quickly and avoids. Araujo ducks a strike and shoots for a takedown to end the round on top, landing elbows and cuts Modafferi open. 20-18 Araujo.

Final round and Araujo starts flowing with her striking, with big combinations landing clean. Modafferi trying to come forward for a takedown but Araujo reverses the position and ends up in side control. Modafferi gets back to her feet and lands some big puches while Araujo moves backwards to avoid, but Araujo fires back with shots of her own. Araujo breaks away and shoots for a takedown to see out the remainder of the round in top control. 30-27 Araujo, pretty easy night’s work.

Ike Villanueva def Vinicius Moreira via Knockout, Round 2 (0:39)

Villanueva comes out throwing flurries to the head, but Moreira covers upwell with a high guard and throws back with a leg kick. Villanueva goes to the head a few more times but once his shots get blocked again, he starts attacking the body well. Villanueva goes for another flurry against the high guard and lands a couple of flush right hands around the guard. Another body shot from Villanueva before Moreira throws a big superman punch that lands. Body kick from Moreira gets caught and a straight right follows behind it for Villanueva as the round ends. 10-9 Ike.

Second round is more of the same early on, with Moreira covering up to not get hit. He swings a punch of his own and Villanueva counters with a huge right hook that lands on the chin and puts him out cold. One punch KO!! Goodnight!

Warlley Alves def Mounir Lazzez via Knockout, Round 1 (2:35)

Alves comes flying out of the blocks and lands some big shots before clinching up against the cage early. Alves very aggressive throwing short elbows, before a spinning back fist lands clean. They clinch again and Alves throws Lazzez onto the ground with a beautiful judo throw but Lazzez gets back to his feet quickly. Lazzez throws a spinning elbow of his own, before Alves breaks and throws three huge body kicks in a row and drops Lazzez! He gets on top and rains down punches and the referee stops the fight! What a win for Warlley Alves!

Michael Chiesa def Neil Magny via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x3)

Fast start to the round from Magny as he takes the centre and looks to use his range early. A few strike exchanges before a clinch in the centre allows Chiesa to trip Magny in the centre of the cage and work from top position. Chiesa tries to pass half guard and attack a kimura but Magny defends well and the rest of the round passes with Chiesa on top. 10-9 Maverick.

Chiesa starts the second round and immediately goes for the body lock and trip again, but Magny defends well and they clinch against the cage again. After a war of attrition Chiesa eventually drags him down, but Magny is able to get back to his feet quickly. Magny goes for his own takedown but falls backwards and ends up on the bottom once again. Chiesa lands some big elbows on the ground and looks to pass half guard again. More elbows from Chiesa as Magny is trying to prevent the pass, but another dominant round from Chiesa. 20-18.

Faster start in round three for Magny as he comes out with flurries of strikes and looks to get the fight to the ground. He eventually drags Chiesa down and looks to take the back, but Chiesa is able to defend well, stand and they break apart. Chiesa lands a nice left straight and shoots for the takedown again, but Magny defends, reverses and clinches against the cage well. They scramble to the ground and Chiesa ends up in full mount, and sees the round out on top. Tough to score that one. 29-28 Chiesa.

Fourth round and Chiesa comes out with a big strike and then an immediate takedown early on in the centre. Lots of attempts to pass the half guard but Magny defending well and Chiesa maintaining top position. Chiesa looks to move to a kimura, but Magny scrambles and gets an inverted triangle but Chiesa remains patient and eventually gets out of it before riding out the round on top once again. 39-37, maybe 40-36. Easy for Chiesa.

Final round and it’s more of the same. An absolute clinic from Chiesa in the grappling to waltz to a dominant, one sided victory. Very impressive.

UFC Fight Island 8: Chiesa vs Magny – Prelims Predictions

After a banging start to 2021, the UFC moves swiftly onto their second event of the year with a midweek card headlined by welterweights Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny.

Originally supposed to be headlined by Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev, that fight fell apart for a second time when Chimaev withdrew due to complications from COVID-19. The fight has now been rescheduled for March 13, Chiesa and Magny have the chance to take the limelight at 170lbs.

On a 14 fight card, there will be six on the main card which means eight prelim fights to break down and predict.

At UFC Fight Island 7, we managed to correctly predict 6/10 with four perfect picks to take our lifetime totals to 200/313 (63.9%) with 89 perfect picks (44.5%).

Lets see if we can improve on that here, starting with these eight prelim bouts.

PRELIMS

Victoria Leonardo (8-3) vs Manon Fiorot (5-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A double UFC debut in the women’s flyweight division as grappler ‘Fury’ Leonardo takes on knockout artist ‘The Beast’ Fiorot.

Leonardo’s only knockout win in her career came in her last bout on Dana White’s Contender Series back in November, while Fiorot got a knockout win herself in her November bout at UAE Warriors. Fiorot is a great kickboxer with good karate skills too and loves a good push kick. Leonardo may look to use those opportunities for a takedown but her wrestling isn’t the strongest. Florot will maintain range and pick her shots, and she possesses good power and accuracy. She should be able to potentially get a finish, but at the very least she should get the win.
PICK – Manon Fiorot via Knockout, Round 2

Umar Nurmagomedov (12-0) vs Sergey Morozov (16-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun fight in the most fun division in the UFC right now as the cousin of Khabib makes his UFC debut against Morozov where both men fight for the first time since 2019.

Nurmagomedov is an excellent grappler with top submission skills, winning five of his 12 fights via tap out. Morozov on the other hand is a great striker with fantastic kicks and a good overhand right, who is a very good counter puncher. It’s a battle of styles in reality but one is by far superior at implementing the style and this one should be quite one sided.
PICK – Umar Nurmagomedov via Decision

Mike Davis (8-2) vs Mason Jones (10-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A sneaky contender for fight of the night in this one as two top prospects clash in the lightweight division.

Mike Davis is a super well rounded fighter, who has fought some of the top guys in the UFC already. He lost to Gilbert Burns on short notice and Sodiq Yussuf on the Contender Series, but has won every other fight on his resume by stoppage. Mason Jones is an undefeated Cage Warriors champion, who is a fantastic boxer with good knockout power and submissions too.

Both guys will likely trade in the pocket in this one and they match up really well, but the advantage goes to Davis in the power department. If they’re to land bigger shots, Davis is more likely to get the KO and if that doesn’t happen he should be able to wrestle too for a tight decision win.
PICK – Mike Davis via Decision

Francisco Figueiredo (11-3-1) vs Jerome Rivera (10-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The brother of the flyweight champion makes his UFC debut when he takes on someone looking to earn their first UFC win at the second attempt.

Figueiredo is very similar to his brother Deiveson in terms of skillset, with good striking and excellent submission skills too. He lacks the overwhelming power in his hands and the incredible reaction time though. Rivera came into the UFC for a short notice bout against Tyson Nam in September 2020, but was starched in the second round and beaten.

Figueiredo has the striking advantage, wrestling advantage and speed advantage but has never fought at 125lbs before. So long as the weight cut goes well, he should win this one.
PICK – Francisco Figueiredo via Knockout, Round 2

Dalcha Lungiambula (10-2) vs Markus Perez (12-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Dalcha ‘Champ’ finally gets a UFC bout again after two cancellations when he takes on Markus Perez on short notice in the middleweight division.

‘Champ’ has previously fought at 205lbs, where he was beaten by Magomed Ankalaev before his 185lbs debut were halted twice by Karl Roberson withdrawing meaning he missed 2020 entirely. Markus Perez is coming into this one with four defeats in his last six, including each of his last two against Wellington Turman and debutant Dricus Du Plessis on Fight Island in October.

Perez is a bit of a jack of all trades but does nothing that well and if he walks into Lungiambula the way he did Du Plessis, he’s going to sleep again. ‘Champ’ has the cardio, striking and power to end this early.
PICK – Dalcha Lungiambula via Knockout, Round 1

Su Mudaerji (12-4) vs Zarrukh Adashev (3-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

So this one is the definition of a fighter being fed to the wolves.

China’s Su Mudaerji has won 11 of his 13 victories by knockout and is a great striker, as he showed when he knocked out Malcolm Gordon back in November in just 44 seconds. Adashev on the other hand is 3-2 and got starched by Tyson Nam back in June in his last fight in just 32 seconds. He’s a polished striker himself and is a natural flyweight which is positive, but this is just too big a step up right now.

Mudaerji will come out hard and fast and if he lands flush, everything points towards a highlight reel finish.
PICK – Su Mudaerji via Knockout, Round 1

Ricky Simon (16-3) vs Gaetano Pirrello (15-5-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A name known to UFC fans already in Ricky Simon takes on debutant Gaetano Pirrello in what should be a fun fight in the bantamweight division.

Simon was the comeback fight for the legendary Urijah Faber back in 2019 and got knocked out in the first round, before dropping a decision to Rob Font later that year. He bounced back with a win over Ray Borg in May 2020, while Pirrello hasn’t fought since October 2019 when he got a first round knockout.

Pirrello is a brawler but isn’t the best technical striker and isn’t a great grappler. Simon is a tidy striker but prefers to grapple so he should be able to wrestle his way to a wide decision win.
PICK – Ricky Simon via Decision

Omari Akhmedov (20-5-1) vs Tom Breese (12-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A fight that got pushed back by a few days, Omari Akhmedov finally steps in the cage with Tom Breese in the middleweight division.

Breese won his last fight via first round knockout against KB Bhullar on Fight Island in October, while Akhmedov saw a three fight win streak snapped by Chris Weidman in August. Breese is a great striker, who is very aggressive with great power. He struggles off his back though, which is exactly where Akhmedov will want this fight to take place. Akhmedov has a poor gas tank though as we saw against Weidman, while Breese can go at a decent pace for the full 15 minutes.

It’s all about if Breese can keep the fight standing or not in honesty. I’m not sure he does and Akhmedov gets two rounds ahead before dropping the third in a tight decision win.
PICK – Omari Akhmedov via Decision