Tag Archives: Vicente Luque

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 51: Luque vs Muhammad 2 – Main card predictions

A huge welterweight main event is the main attraction at UFC Vegas 51 this weekend as Vicente Luque takes on Belal Muhammad in a rematch from 2016.

The two top six 170-pounders will go head-to-head looking to extend their winning streaks here, knowing that title contention won’t be far behind.

Last week at UFC 273 we saw a great card that was lacking a little bit on finishes, but we still managed to go 8/12 with four perfect picks to go to 593/915 (64.81%) with 252 perfect picks (42.5%).

You can view our complete pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and finishing off our prelims picks here, we move on to the main card picks now.


Mounir Lazzez (10-2) vs Ange Loosa (8-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Short-notice welterweight banger opens up this main card. Lazzez was on a three-fight win streak before coming up against Warrley Alves at UFC Vegas 46, getting KO’d in the first-round. Loosa on the other hand makes his UFC debut with a win over John Howard just two weeks ago earning him a spot following defeat on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Lazzez is an excellent kickboxer who showed great nous in the clinch too in his debut win, and he showed great composure against the big power of Alves before getting caught. Loosa is a talented fighter too, with a granite chin allowing him to walk forward and look to harm his opponents as much as possible. He also has decent takedowns, while his scrambling off the mat is brilliant too.

Lazzez has a speed advantage in this fight, but it’s due to be exciting because Loosa won’t be going anywhere and will force this fight to be at a good pace for the entire 15 minutes. He has the experience and the skill to win, but I’m getting a gut feeling that Loosa will be able to do something special here and ensure he’s in the UFC to stay.
PICK – Ange Loosa via Decision

Pat Sabatini (16-3) vs TJ Laramie (12-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very fun featherweight bout in this one. Sabatini is on an excellent five-fight win streak right now, including a submission of Jamall Emmers at UFC Vegas 35 and a decision win over Tucker Lutz last time out. Laramie on the other hand saw a four-fight win streak snapped by Darrick Minner at UFC Vegas 11 last time out, getting choked out in just 52 seconds.

Sabatini is an absolute wizard on the mat, with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and some improved kickboxing in recent years. Laramie is also a bit of a ground wizard in his own right, but the power in his hands and boxing is his avenue to victory in this one here. Sabatini has some top wrestling, where he chains together his takedowns and holds position before he works for submissions.

Sabatini has the advantage when it comes to the wrestling and grappling, which means he can dictate where this fight goes. Add to that the lengthy spell off that Laramie has had, I’d expect Sabatini to claim a win. He’s good enough to get a submission, but Laramie is very good too and should be able to see him off to go the distance at least.
PICK – Pat Sabatini via Decision

Mayra Bueno Silva (7-2-1) vs Wu Yanan (11-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Women’s bantamweights back in the limelight for this one. Silva is 1-1-1 in her last three, submitting Mara Romero Borrella, before a majority draw against Montana De La Rosa and then defeat last time out to the brilliant Manon Fiorot. Yanan has lost her last two fights, with a unanimous decision loss to Joselyne Edwards at UFC Fight Island 7 over a year ago in her last bout.

Silva is a jiu-jitsu specialist with a nasty armbar that she often goes to, whether she’s in top position or working from her guard. Her kickboxing and wrestling are greatly improved over recent years too, although they still have plenty of work to be done. Yanan is a striker with great volume and good hand speed, but she really lacks in power and her defensive wrestling leaves plenty to be desired.

Yanan has a chance of victory by sprawling and brawling with one-two’s down the middle and stuffing the takedowns of Silva, but it seems unlikely judging off previous outings. Neither fighter is particularly big for the division, both previously fighting at flyweight, so expect Silva to be able to get the fight down eventually and pull off another of her trademark armbar finishes.
PICK – Mayra Bueno Silva via Submission, Round 1



Miguel Baeza (10-2) vs Andre Fialho (14-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A banger at welterweight between two very exciting 170-pounders. Baeza has lost his last two fights, dropping a decision to Santiago Ponzinibbio before getting knocked out by Khaos Williams at UFC Vegas 42 in an incredible fight. Fialho was well beaten in a short-notice UFC debut back at UFC 270, dropping a decision to Michel Pereira.

Baeza is an absolutely brilliant striker, with excellent power and crisp technique adding to his ability to turn anyone’s lights out with a single punch or kick. Fialho on the other hand is a steady Muay-Thai fighter who pushes a steady pace throughout and proved to have a pretty decent chin, although he did lack speed or explosiveness. That leads me to believe Baeza will get back in the win column.

The Brazilian has got a ferocious low kick, decent grappling and some beautiful counter striking in his arsenal. As the fight goes on and Fialho takes more damage, there is more chance of Baeza landing big and closing the show so back a finish in this one.
PICK – Miguel Baeza via Knockout, Round 2

Caio Borralho (10-1) vs Gadzhi Omargadzhiev (13-0) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very peculiar co-main event in this one between two fighters making their UFC debuts after victory on Dana White’s Contender Series in their most recent bouts. Borralho has won seven in a row coming into this, while Omargadzhiev is an undefeated prospect.

Borralho is a black belt in jiu-jitsu but is also a solid striker, with some good karate stance kicks and some good power in his hands. Omargadzhiev on the other hand is a powerful wrestler with an excellent top game, and some steady attacks on the feet. This is a real 50-50 fight wherever the fight goes and it will be really interesting to see who has the advantages on the ground, because that’s likely where this fight will go in an ideal world for both guys.

With that said, Borralho seems to be the better guy defensively. He has good submissions defensively, is the better striker on the feet and he seems to be the physically stronger guy. This is a close fight, but I’m leaning towards the Brazilian to hand the Russian the first defeat of his career.
PICK – Caio Barralho via Decision

Vicente Luque (21-7-1) vs Belal Muhammad (20-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The fight of the night is the main event and this should be great fun. Luque has won his last four fights in a row earning stoppages against Niko Price, Randy Brown (UFC Vegas 5), Tyron Woodley (UFC 260) and Michael Chiesa (UFC 265) most recently. Muhammad on the other hand has is unbeaten in his last seven, with a no contest against Leon Edwards stopping his streak. He has beaten Demian Maia (UFC 263) and Stephen Thompson (UFC Vegas 45) in his most recent fights.

Luque is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division, with incredible boxing and some stunning jiu-jitsu skills mixed in with crazy intensity and cardio skills. Muhammad on the other hand is a solid kickboxer with brilliant wrestling skills and excellent cardio too, but he does lack knockout power from his arsenal. Muhammad is in a great vein of form in his career, mixing everything together to be able to really shut down his opponents’ offense. But Luque has so many weapons that I find it hard to see how he’ll be able to do that here.

The Brazilian pushes an unbelievable pace with superb power and technique, but he also has an excellent submission threat in scrambles and from his back too. For me, this is Muhammad’s peak level. I don’t see him getting into the title picture because the guys above him just have more to their game, whereas Luque has game-changing skills that can turn a fight on it’s head. I expect Luque to be tested, but I think he’ll be able to continue his run of finishes to push himself into the top five.
PICK – Vicente Luque via Knockout, Round 3

Major UFC fights announced for coming months

The UFC have been busy planning some big fights for the coming weeks and months.

Title fights, fight night main events, contender bouts, rumoured scraps in the pipeline and more have all been mentioned over recent weeks so here’s the big round-up for everyone that needs it.

Starting with April’s pay-per-view opener, we’ll list off all the fights that have been officially announced or rumoured for cards going through the summer so far.



UFC 273 takes place on April 9th after a two-week break in action with a big title-fight double header.

Already announced is the headliner between Alexander Volkanovski v Korean Zombie for the featherweight title, while Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan will finally meet in their rematch for the bantamweight title.

But we will also see the return of Khamzat Chimaev as he takes on Gilbert Burns in a bout that UFC president Dana White has admitted will serve as a title eliminator bout in the welterweight division.

The following week will see another welterweight clash serve as the main event in the Apex, as Vicente Luque takes on Belal Muhammad at UFC Vegas 51.

Down at 135-pounds at the end of April we’ll see a top contender bout between Rob Font and Marlon Vera battle in the main event of UFC Vegas 53, before UFC 274 takes place from Phoenix, Arizona.

Originally scheduled to be in Brazil, we’ll now get the 155-pound title fight between Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje in the headline slot in Gaethje’s home state, while Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza will meet in their long-anticipated rematch for the strawweight title in the co-main event.

We’ll also see an amazing lightweight bout between Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson on that card, as well as a stack of other amazing fights.

The following week the UFC is targeting the rescheduled main event from the UFC Columbus card in the light heavyweight division between Jan Blachowicz and Aleksandar Rakic, as well as a fun fight between Katlyn Chookagian and Amanda Ribas.

Then at UFC 275 the delayed light heavyweight title fight between Glover Teixeira and Jiri Prochazka will take place, while ‘Bullet’ Valentina Shevchenko will fight Taila Santos for the flyweight championship in the co-main event.

We’ll also see the return of Robert Whittaker at that event, as he is scheduled to take on Marvin Vettori in the middleweight division to get back on the title trail once again.

Dana White has also confirmed that the organisation are expecting welterweight champion Kamaru Usman to return in the summer, and he has promised the next title fight to British fighter Leon Edwards with the target aimed for international fight week in July.

It’s a great year coming up, so keep your eyes on Tap Ins & Tap Outs for coverage of all these events coming up.

UFC 265: Lewis vs Gane – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Johnny Munoz def Jamey Simmons via Submission (Rear naked choke), Round 2 (2:35)

Cagey start from both men to start out, with neither man looking to grapple early on. Simmons swings a big overhand right that Munoz ducks and goes for a takedown but Simmons avoids easily. Munoz flicking out the jab to keep the distance while Simmons has him against the cage and looks for some more power strikes. Munoz pushing forward with the jab and gets clipped by a left hand by Simmons that causes him to lose balance, but he’s not hurt and gets back to his feet immediately. Short blitz from Munoz and he just misses with a head kick as we enter the final minute of the fight. Simmons lands a nice one-two and then Munoz ducks under and lands a big takedown late in the round. Simmons battles well off his back and the round ends. Super close, I’d go 10-9 Munoz for the takedown but could really go either way.

More of the same to start the second round as Simmons comes out looking to blitz through some jabs, before Munoz ducks under and times a takedown perfectly. Munoz starts working for position and as soon as Simmons goes to his knees Munoz takes his back and puts the hooks in. He starts landing some ground and pound and looks for the rear-naked choke but Simmons fights the hands and breaks the grip. He goes back to his knees but Munoz drags him back down, locks in the choke and gets the tap! Big win for Munoz!

Melissa Gatto def Victoria Leonardo via Doctor’s Stoppage (Broken Arm), Round 2 (5:00)

Good start to the bout from Gatto as she lands a quick one two and then secures a body lock against the cage. She controls the clinch and then with an inside trip gets the takedown nice and easily before starting to search for submissions. She goes for the neck, then moves to a kimura attempt and then ends up on Leonardo’s back looking for chokes and armbars. Leonardo defending well though and eventually is able to roll through and get on top to land a bit of ground and pound herself. Gatto throws up a high guard and is being very active but Leonardo is defending well, following the hips and eventually allows the fight to get back up. Both women clinch and go for an inside trip but both fail at it and the round ends. 10-9 Gatto, but Leonardo can take some encouragement from the ground exchanges.

Second round and Gatto looks a lot fresher than Leonardo, landing a nice jab and forcing Leonardo backwards. Leonardo lands two nice left hands but Gatto is still there and pushing the pace with her range, landing a one-two. Then another one-two and Leonardo looks rocked there, but she comes forward again with a low kick. Gatto continuing to push the pace and lands a nice kick. Leonardo looks tired and Gatto putting the pressure on with strikes, forces Leonardo to shoot but it’s well defended. Leonardo goes for another takedown but is denied again and is stepping backwards a lot, clearly exhausted. 20-18 Gatto for me but could be 19-19.

Between rounds Leonardo says her right arm “isn’t working”. Doctor comes in, takes a look and says that it’s broken. Leonardo says she can fight through it but the referee waves the fight off. Gatto gets the win.

Miles Johns def Anderson Dos Santos via Knockout, Round 3 (1:16)

Tactical start to the fight from both men as they look to control the range, but it’s Johns who is landing the better shots early. Santos looking for clinches but Johns lands two big left hands and then two leg kicks, the last of which drops Dos Santos. Johns landing his jab with ease, but Dos Santos fires back with a right hand. Johns landing jabs at will and another leg kick is causing big problems for Dos Santos. Straight right hand just misses from Johns and Dos Santos forces his way forward but he’s in a lot of trouble with his leg. Johns lands a couple more strikes and Dos Santos is visibly limping. 10-9 Johns, Dos Santos needs to find a solution.

Johns opens up the second round by staying just out of range and using his big right hands to use the injured leg against Dos Santos. Some huge right hands land from Johns but Dos Santos is still standing and lands a nice knee himself. Johns lands a nice body shot and follows with a hook but Dos Santos shoots for a takedown. Johns denies it and lands a huge leg kick again that drops Dos Santos. Dos Santos coming forward but his leg is jacked and Johns is being patient, to the point where Dos Santos puts his hand behind his back. Johns lands a big one two and stays out of the way of any counters but Dos Santos takes it and the round ends. 20-18 Johns.

Final round starts and it’s more of the same from both men, as Johns lands a big right hand followed by a nice combination. Wild exchange from both guys as Dos Santos keeps coming forward. Johns digs a left body shot and lands a huge right hook and puts Dos Santos out cold!! What a knockout!! Wow!!

Manel Kape def Ode Osbourne via Knockout, Round 1 (4:44)

Osbourne takes the centre early on as both men are bouncing and feeling each other out. Kape lands a nice one-two and then a jab to the body, while Osbourne is looking to counter with his big left hand. Kape throws a kick but Osbourne catches it and as Kape falls Osbourne lands a big left hand. Kape and Osbourne both looking to counter each other, and Osbourne lands two excellent left hands clean on the chin. Kape responds with a left straight of his own and steps away. Kape stepping backwards switches stances and lands a huge flying knee bang on the chin that puts Osbourne down! He follows it up with some ground and pound and the referee steps in to end it! What a knockout! Wow!

PRELIMS

Jessica Penne def Karolina Kowalkiewicz via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (4:32)

Interesting start to the fight as Penne lands some quick strikes to rattle KK early. Penne throws a kick that KK catches and Penne falls backwards, which allows KK to throw some big leg kicks while she’s down. She chooses to engage on the ground and Penne is able to sweep her and take top position. She lands some decent strikes from the top and KK fights well from the bottom and attacks a kneebar, but Penne scrambles well and eventually rolls through into an armbar. KK is looking to extend the arm and is attacking the body to free up KK’s grip but she’s battling hard. Penne finally manages to extend the arm and gets the tap! Impressive performance from the veteran!

Alonzo Menifield def Ed Herman via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Menifield comes out fast with some heavy right hands but Herman just about avoids them, before Menifield lands some nice leg kicks. Herman lands a jab, but Menifield responds with one of this own before an overhand just misses again. Herman jab again but Menifield just misses with the counter right and Herman lands a check-left hook that rattles Menifield and cuts the eye. Menifield starting to throw the jab more but Herman throwing with him, so Menifield throws a hard low kick again. Menifield lands two more big leg kicks and gets some big reactions from Herman because of it. 10-9 Menifield.

Herman comes forward very aggressive out of the gate in this round looking to land his left hand, but Menifield moving well and then lands a big right hand of his own. Herman lands a jab but then eats a hard low kick and a jab himself. Menifield loses balance and falls but explodes back up to his feet and then starts throwing bombs of his right hand. Herman is hurt but still standing and Menfield stops pushing for the finish to save himself. Herman lands a big uppercut himself but Menifield eats it. A few hard leg kicks again from Menifield and some good footwork to avoid Herman who’s hunting him right now. Another hard leg kick and Herman is limping badly and forced to switch stances. Lots of jostling in the final seconds but then Herman goes for a push kick and Menifield moves away and then smashes a hard low kick again that drops Herman on the buzzer. 20-18 Menifield.

Menifield comes out hard in the final round and Herman pulls guard immediately but eats some heavy ground and pound shots. Menifield moves to side control, lands some strikes then gets up and tells Herman to get back up too. Menifield staying very patient and lands a nice left hand against the cage, but Herman is just looking to survive right now by circling and avoiding damage. Big head kick from Menifield lands but not much action in this round so far. Big right hand from Menifield lands clean but Herman is still standing somehow. Big one-two from Menifield as he stays on the outside. Big right hand misses and Herman lands a left but Menifield lands a jab and moves away to end the fight. 30-27 Menifield.

Vince Morales def Drako Rodriguez via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Cagey start to this fight from both men, with Morales stepping forward but not throwing much and Rodriguez just flicking out the stiff jab well. Morales throws a decent right overhand to counter Rodriguez’s jab, but the jab lands cleaner and is doing a fair bit of damage to the nose. Morales keeping Rodriguez pinned to the cage but he’s moving well and then Rodriguez lands a nice right hand to create himself some space. Right overhand and uppercut just misses from Morales before he ducks under a Rodriguez shot and secures a body lock to try and get the takedown. Rodriguez does well to get to the cage though and then separates to stay on the feet. Short exchange and Rodriguez lands a flush right hand on the buzzer. 10-9 Rodriguez for me.

Second round starts very well for Morales as he catches a low kick from Rodriguez and throws a straight right hand down the pipe that drops him! He goes to ground but Rodriguez defends and he then steps up and allows Rodriguez back to his feet. Rodriguez lands a short left hook back on the feet and then he goes for a takedown of his own, but Morales defends mostly until Rodriguez switches to a single but then he scrambles back up to his feet. Rodriguez then sweeps him back down but Morales gets back up quickly again before being dumped down and getting back up. Morales starting to land his right hands but Rodriguez responds with a low leg kick and a right hand. Short one-two lands from Rodriguez before a left hook lands again, but Morales is still in there and doing well. 20-18 Rodriguez for me.

Cagey start to the third round once again as Morales starts to come forward a bit more aggressively, but Rodriguez landing his straight right hand well. Both men throwing at a similar volume and Rodriguez goes for a takedown but it’s denied. Morales starts chasing but Rodriguez avoiding a lot of damage with good footwork. Morales goes for the takedown but Rodriguez defends it brilliantly against the cage and then misses with a head kick. Final minute of the fight now and Morales is pushing forward throwing heavy left hands, but they’re largely missing. Rodriguez lands a big counter right hand and then Morales lands a big left as the fight comes to an end. Morales round, but 29-28 Rodriguez for me. Could go either way though.

Rafael Fiziev def Bobby Green via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Cagey start from both men as Fiziev looks to land some kicks early but Green is out of the way relatively easily. Nice right hand from Green lands as Fiziev looks to throw another body kick and two hooks. Left hand from Green misses then Fiziev charges forward with a nice combination that ends with a kick, but he mostly misses. Green is landing some slick shots but Fiziev is dangerous and busy with his kicks and then just misses with an elbow. Right hand and body kick lands from Green but Fiziev responds with a nice elbow before both men make each other miss just on the buzzer. Really tough round to score, 10-9 Green probably but really could be either way.

Second round and Fiziev lands a hard low kick and a big right hook but Green eats it. Green clinches up but eats an elbow before responding with a nice right of his own, before Fiziev steps forward with two hooks. Green catches a kick and tries to force Fiziev down but he stays standing so well and steps forward again with hooks and kicks. Green is slipping strikes perfectly but he’s eating leg and body kicks more frequently now. Both men land big body kicks but Fiziev then lands a big strike that rocks Green. Fiziev throws knees and hooks but Green eats it and pushes him away, then clinches after avoiding a head kick. Fiziev’s kicks starting to take effect but Green is still there and throwing hands back well. Both guys trade leg kicks then Fiziev lands a big elbow and cuts Green. Both guys throwing hooks and jabs and really going to war. What a round. 19-19 for me.

Fire start to the final round once again as Fiziev steps forward again and lands a big right hand that rocks Green. Green stands firm and both men start throwing down in the centre of the octagon. Fiziev throws some hard leg kicks but Green throwing one-twos down the middle again. Fiziev and Green going to war with hard hooks and feints. Green lands some big hooks and two one-twos of his own down the middle. Fiziev throwing body and leg kicks but Green is still pushing forward with big punches of his own. Green looks fresher and is landing the jabs and then catches Fiziev’s body kick attempt to land a knee to the body of his own. Huge short elbow from Fiziev and then Green lands some huge bombs with the right hand as the fight ends! What a crazy fight. 29-28 Green for me, but it’s all on that first round.

MAIN CARD

Song Yadong def Casey Kenney via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Fast start to the fight as Yadong steps forward and throws fast combinations early, while Kenney looks to close the distance and pressure Yadong. Body kick from Kenney lands but Yadong catches it. Kenney taunts Yadong by laughing at him so Yadong throws a solid body kick and Kenney responds with a hard low leg kick. Yadong throwing good combinations and kicks, not allowing Kenney to settle and back him against the fence. Yadong goes for a kick but slips and Kenney jumps on him immediately, but Yadong works his way back up to the feet quickly and escapes. Both guys just miss with big hooks as the round ends. 10-9 Yadong.

Second starts off exactly the same as Yadong steps forward but Kenney looking to apply pressure. Nice body shots from Yadong and then Kenney replies with a nice left hook onto the chin. Kenney forcing Yadong backwards and throwing low kicks, but Yadong replies with his own low kicks too. Yadong circling away but Kenney is pushing and Yadong is slowing down. Not a single takedown attempt yet from Kenney is surprising. Nice left hand from Kenney but then Yadong replies with a nice right. Two left hands land from Kenney and Yadong clinches against the cage, before Kenney switches and goes for the takedown himself to end the round. Closer round, 19-19.

Final round and Yadong is landing his strikes better, with Kenney slowing down a little and being less bouncy and mobile. Yadong with three hard body kicks but Kenney continues to come forward and looking to land jabs. Kenney throws a head kick and the knee connects with the head but Yadong eats it and comes forward. Good body shots from Yadong and Kenney shoots for a takedown, but Yadong sprawls and denies him. Yadong lands a jab and two body kicks but Kenney throws a nice right hook. Final minute and Kenney goes for the takedown again but Yadong sprawls once more. Kenney ducks under a strike and secures a takedown with seconds left and lands some big elbows from the top to end the round. I think that’s 29-28 Yadong but that’s a really close fight again.

Tecia Torres def Angela Hill via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Good start to the fight from Torres as she gets herself into range and lands some nice strikes and flurries. Hill looks to clinch up and then catches a kick to put Torres on the ground then looks to hold her down, but Torres does really well to get up and out of it. Hard leg kick from Torres on Hill, who comes forward with a one-two and a head kick attempt but they all miss. Torres shoots for a takedown but Hill gets immediately back up. Torres lands a body kick then just misses with a spinning back fist. Torres ducks under a strike and goes for a takedown but bails and lands some big strikes, but Hill replies with three of her own. Big kicks from Torres to end the round as Hill tries for a takedown. 10-9 Torres.

Hill pushing the pressure in the second round as Torres uses her side kicks to push her away and keep the range between them. Hill lands two nice strikes as Torres looks for a kick, but then she lands a big check-right hook and pivots away. Big side kick to the body again from Torres and then two big hooks. She goes for the kick again but Hill catches it and pulls her in for a body lock and takedown attempt, before landing some knees against the cage and a right hand on the break. Head kick from Torres and Hill grabs for the clinch. Hill throws knees but Torres avoids most of them and lands some huge hooks of her own in the clinch before they break. Wild exchange from both ladies and Hill gets the better of it with a big left hand. Big flurry ends with Torres on her back and Hill moves into mount immediately but the round ends. 20-18 Torres for me.

Final round and Hill is coming forward aggressively again and looks to clinch and trip her. Torres too quick though and is moving well, landing nice right hands well. Hill putting the pressure on and sprawls to deny a Torres takedown then lands a nice right hand. Torres goes for a kick that Hill catches again and lands a big right hand down the middle, but Torres keeps throwing strikes in return. Nice right hand from Hill and then a knee in the clinch but Torres breaks away. Big lunging right hand from Torres lands again before Hill goes in for a takedown but gets denied. Torres changes levels and gets a takedown with 20 seconds to go and lands some good ground strikes before the buzzer goes. 30-27 Torres for me, competitive but pretty straight forward.

Vicente Luque def Michael Chiesa via Submission (D’Arce Choke), Round 1 (3:25)

Very cagey start to the round with Chiesa circling on the outside and Luque holding the centre. Hard low kick lands from Luque and Chiesa fires off a big one-two that cuts Luque’s eye immediately. Luque comes forward hard and Chiesa ducks under and gets the takedown. Immediately he slides the knee over and takes the back to start searching for a rear naked choke. He has a crank in tight but Luque fights the hands and Chiesa switches to an armbar but loses it. As they go to get up to the feet Luque sinks in a d’arce choke and it’s tight! Chiesa tries to fight it but Luque tightens it and Chiesa taps! Wow!

Jose Aldo def Pedro Munhoz via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Good start to the fight from Munhoz as he takes the centre and throws a couple of hard leg kicks. Head kick attempt misses from Munhoz and then Aldo makes him miss with the hands too. Nice one-two from Aldo and then a straight right lands nicely too. Nasty left hook to the body from Aldo and a jab, but Munhoz still has the centre and is throwing bombs with his right hand. Nice right hand from Munhoz and he’s swinging for the stands, but Aldo counters with a body shot and uppercut. 10-9 Aldo.

Munhoz coming very aggressive again with some leg kicks but Aldo is checking them and then throws one of his own. Munhoz stepping in with more leg kicks and a looping right hand but Aldo hangs in there and fires back with a big right hand before a combination to the body. Aldo’s jab is landing well and defensively he looks sound as usual, with Munhoz struggling to land anything of note so far. Aldo checks a leg kick then goes back for the body combination, but Munhoz’s leg kicks are still there and he’s still in Aldo’s face. Aldo fakes the right knee and lands a big right straight as the round ends. Another close round, but I think that’s 20-18 Aldo.

Final round and Munhoz comes out with a big blitz early on. Aldo returns fire with a beautiful combo of his own before Munhoz clinches up. Aldo working the jab again as Munhoz goes for a spinning capoeira kick and misses. Triple jab from Aldo lands and he follows it with a big combination to the chin. Hard low kick from Aldo but Munhoz responds with a hard right hand and Ado retreats a little. Big leg kick from Aldo drops Munhoz and he follows it up with two hard right hands that cut Munhoz over the eye. Aldo lands a three-punch combo and follows it with a leg kick that gets a big reaction from Munhoz again. Final 30 seconds and Munhoz goes for a big spinning wheel kick before Aldo hits him with another big combo and leg kick to see the fight out. Should be a big win for Aldo. 30-27.

Ciryl Gane def Derrick Lewis via Knockout, Round 3 (4:11)

Lewis opens the fight with a high kick and slips and then Gane slides a right hand in on his way back up. Gane bouncing, with some light leg kicks and pokes to the knee as Lewis starts to step forward. Lewis changes levels to load up his right hand but Gane scoots out of the way and evades before he even throws. Leg kicks from Gane once again and then Lewis throws a right hand to the body. Lewis goes for an inside leg kick but catches the cup flush and causes a pause in the action. Lewis steps forward again and Gane immediately ducks under and clinches up before they break. Lewis swings a big right hand again but Gane literally runs away from it before resetting. Big right hand from Gane before a hard low kick and then a stiff jab to the face as the round ends. 10-9 Gane.

Second round and Gane once again comes out with his jab landing flush. Lewis lands a hard leg kick and then tries a flying switch kick but Gane is too quick and is gone before he gets there. Gane with some more short kicks to the leg before Lewis explodes and tries to rush Gane, only for Gane to throw him off to the side. Flying knee attempt from Gane sees them end up in a clinch and Gane throwing big knees to the thighs and overpowering Lewis against the cage. Gane lets a big elbow and right hand fly but both just miss as the round ends. 20-18 Gane.

Some heavy leg kicks land from Gane to open the round before a right hand over the top just clips Lewis. Another hard leg kick, then another and then another as Lewis struggles to get any sort of offense going. High kick from Lewis is blocked and then Lewis goes to clinch up, but once again Gane just stuffs his attemts. Knee to the body in the clinch and then a big leg kick again and Lewis is hurt bad! Gane goes in for the finish and lands some huge strikes to the head and Lewis is covering up. Lewis throws a few haymakers but misses wildly and then Gane throws a big knee and more strikes that drop Lewis. He gets on top and lands some bombs and the referee steps in! It’s allll over! Ciryl Gane with a huge knockout win. What a performance.

UFC 265: Lewis vs Gane – Main card predictions

The UFC heavyweight division moves a step closer to naming a solidified number one contender as Derrick Lewis takes on Ciryl Gane for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 265.

After a deal with Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones couldnโ€™t be found, the UFC moved to keep the division moving and will see the number two and three ranked heavyweights battle it out in the main event with the winner essentially guaranteeing themselves the next shot at the belt.

In the co-main event Jose Aldo continues his push for bantamweight greatness when he takes on Pedro Munhoz, while the welterweight division looks to create a new contender too as Michael Chiesa takes on Vicente Luque.

We skipped last weekโ€™s Hall vs Strickland card, which means we remain on 374/387 correct picks (63.71%) with 165 perfect picks (44.12%).

Weโ€™ll look to improve on that now with this 13-fight card and after starting with the early prelims here and the rest of the prelims here, these are the picks for the main card.


Song Yadong (16-5-1) vs Casey Kenney (16-3-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolute banger in the bantamweight division as two highly-rated 135lbers look to get themselves back into the win column. Yadong was beaten by Kyler Phillips back at UFC 259 last time out, while Kenney suffered defeat to former champion Dominick Cruz on the same night.

Yadong is traditionally a kung-fu fighter but he has got good boxing and also some decent defensive wrestling chops. He’ll need all of that when he takes on Kenney, who is a top level wrestler but also has got some good power in his striking and kicks. Yadong’s cardio is his biggest advantage in this bout, with Kenney fairly often fading away in the third round.

If Kenney chooses to wrestle almost exclusively then he is more than good enough to wrap up the first two rounds and then look to survive the third when he eventually tires. But against Cruz he opted to battle it out on the feet and Yadong is a better striker who could punish that decision. Really close and interesting fight, but I think Kenney’s wrestling proves the difference.
PICK – Casey Kenney via Decision

Tecia Torres (12-5) vs Angela Hill (13-9) – (Strawweight/125lbs)

A fun fight at strawweight as both women look to extend their win streak as they look to build up the rankings. Torres has won each of her last two after suffering four losses in a row before that, stopping Sam Hughes via corner stoppage last time out at UFC 256. Hill on the other hand was in great form despite not the best results in 2020, and got a big win over Ashley Yoder at UFC Vegas 21.

Torres is scrappy boxer with good striking and some decent wrestling in her arsenal too, while Hill is a well-rounded Muay-Thai fighter who uses her knees and cardio brilliantly. Torres has fought some of the best around and while she’s not as good as she once was she still has a terrific skillset. Hill on the other hand has never really beaten any of the top contenders and wins fights she’s supposed to win.

Torres has a size disadvantage but Hill will look to wrestle and clinch, which can open opportunities up for her to land her offense. The issue both of these women have is that neither have fight-changing power so it really comes down to skill. For me, Torres is the more skilled of the two though and she should claim a win.
PICK – Tecia Torres via Decision

Michael Chiesa (18-4) vs Vicente Luque (20-7-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Arguably the best fight on the card as two top welterweight contenders go head-to-head to earn contender status. Chiesa is on a four-fight win streak, with a dominant win over Neil Magny last time out at UFC Fight Island 8, while Luque is on a three-fight win streak with a submission win over Tyron Woodley at UFC 260.

Chiesa is a magnificent wrestler and grappler, with incredible jiu-jitsu and superhuman strength on the ground, while Luque is a powerhouse with aggressive boxing but also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Chiesa will undoubtedly use his kicks before shooting for takedowns and if he gets control on the mat then he very rarely lets it slip. In Luque though he has someone who can knock him out if he makes a mistake and can also hold his own on the ground.

Luque’s struggled in the past against the best of the best and right now Chiesa is one of the best. His fight IQ is very high, his grappling is good enough to beat anyone in the division and I think he’s content to make it boring and control the distance and ground exchanges to earn a very big win.
PICK – Michael Chiesa via Decision

Jose Aldo (29-7) vs Pedro Munhoz (19-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Yet another bantamweight banger on this card as former featherweight champion Jose Aldo takes on UFC veteran Pedro Munhoz in the co-main event. Aldo snapped a three-fight losing streak with a great win over Marlon Vera at UFC Vegas 17, while Munhoz snapped a two-fight losing streak with a decision win over Jimmie Rivera at UFC Vegas 20.

Aldo is arguably one of the best ever, with brilliant striking and kicking to go with his jiu-jitsu black belt and stunning wrestling defence. Munhoz is a good boxer and kicker himself with decent wrestling too, so this is a well balanced fight. The issue for Munhoz however is that Aldo is still so elite, despite recent results.

I find it hard to look at this match-up and see Aldo coming out second best. Munhoz is good enough to cause Aldo problems but I think the Brazilian earns himself the win by mixing his striking attack up to the body and head.
PICK – Jose Aldo via Decision

Derrick Lewis (25-7) vs Ciryl Gane (9-0) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A huge heavyweight battle for the interim title headlines this card as Derrick Lewis takes on the undefeated Ciryl Gane. Lewis is on a four-fight win streak, with a stunning one-punch finish over Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19. Gane has fought twice since then, beating Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov via unanimous decisions and keeping his 100% record.

Lewis is a big man with decent offensive wrestling but a hammer of a right hand and stunning ground and pound that can literally put any man to sleep. Gane on the other hand is a very technical and polished kickboxer who has rounded his game out with good takedowns and even some submissions. Gane is undoubtedly the better fighter of the two and uses his range well, with kicks and great cardio but sometimes that doesn’t matter because Lewis is always just one punch away from ending the fight.

Unfortunately though, I do think that one punch hail mary won’t be enough this time. Gane is so good at moving in, landing his strike then moving away before he takes any damage. He’s powerful himself and talented enough to earn a big win and set up a huge title fight against former teammate Ngannou later down the line.
PICK – Ciryl Gane via Decision

Nick Diaz ‘wants a fight’ – who should he face?

Who would have thought that after that exciting five round fight with Anderson Silva way back in 2015, we’d never see Nick Diaz in the octagon ever again?

After back-to-back title fight defeats against Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre, Diaz moved up to 185lbs to take on the greatest of all-time and despite his trademark wind up tactics and excellent striking he was well beaten in the end.

Following the bout both fighters tested positive for banned substances and the fight was overturned to a no contest, but the result of a positive marijuana test for Diaz meant USADA banned him for life.

After an appeals process the ban was eventually cut to 18 months, before another 12 month suspension for failing to report his whereabouts to USADA meant that he was finally free to fight again in April 2018.

He announced at the end of last year that he was preparing for a comeback in early 2021, although UFC president Dana White was adamant he didn’t want to fight. Diaz completed a test weight-cut for the welterweight division and after UFC 261 White confirmed he was indeed looking to fight and the UFC were going to make it happen.

The press conference announcement led to an immediate question about potential opponents and when Khamzat Chimaev was mentioned, the boss confirmed it was a possibility.

Chimaev made a huge impression after winning three fights in 66 days last summer. He was set for a bout against Leon Edwards that could have potentially set up a title shot, but after dealing with COVID-19 and lingering issues afterwards the bout was cancelled three times and the UFC moved on from it.

A fight between Diaz and Chimaev would be of huge interest to the MMA world but also the status of the welterweight division. Both men have a huge reputation and while they’re at different points of their career a win would just as beneficial for each fighter.

Because of Chimaev’s standing in the company at the moment, Diaz could potentially use a win to leverage himself into the title conversation while Chimaev would have a huge name on his resumรฉ as he looks to run through the division too.

There are other names that are possibilities though, with the biggest arguably being the man who was KO’d in the UFC 261 main event – Jorge Masvidal.

The two had some words back and forth in the build up to Masvidal’s big fight against Nate Diaz, Nick’s brother, when the BMF title was created. Nate forever claimed that the real BMF in the MMA world was his brother Nick, so why not make that fight happen.

Masvidal will look to make big money in his next bout and needs a win after back-to-back losses to Kamaru Usman, while Nick will be keen to avenge his brother’s defeat and make a name for himself once again to prove that he still has it.

Should Masivdal prefer to fight someone nearer the top of the rankings instead, there is always the potential of a rematch against Robbie Lawler for Nick Diaz.

The two fought way back in 2004 at UFC 47 in a memorable fight that ended when Diaz got the knockout in the second round and their careers ran alongside each other. Lawler of course went on to win the welterweight title during his career while Diaz was suspended and now at the end of his career he has lost five of his last six fights.

It would be a way of seeing just where Diaz is at after so long away from the cage, and with two big names it would surely attract attention too.

An outside option could be Vicente Luque, who recently got a big win over former champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 260 with a first round submission. With the rest of the top of the division already booked up, this is arguably the biggest fight that Luque could get right now.

Colby Covington has already been confirmed as the next title challenger for Usman, while Gilbert Burns will fight Stephen Thompson at UFC 264 and Leon Edwards is fighting Nate Diaz at UFC 262.

Luque would provide a fun stylistic match up for the fans and would be a way for him to move into the upper echelons of the division with a big win, while Diaz would get to test himself against one of the top contenders to see where he really stands after so long away from competition.

It seems as though the UFC could look to move in the direction of Chimaev, but Masvidal could be the biggest fight to make. Regardless of what happens, it’s just great to see Nick Diaz back in the octagon.

UFC 260 Fallout – Ngannou flattens Stipe, Woodley finished?

There is a brand new baddest man on the planet and his name is Francis Ngannou.

The Cameroon-born Parisian fighter showed just how far he has come in the last three years as he managed to keep the consensus greatest heavyweight of all-time to just 12 significant strikes en route to a second round knockout victory.

It was a sign of just how much improvement the 34 year old has made since the first meeting between the two, as he was patient and dangerous while showing improved grappling skills.

Ngannou landed some heavy shots early on and when Miocic did shoot for a takedown, ‘The Predator’ was not only able to lift him back up and sprawl down to stuff it but he floated and was able to take the former champion’s back and land some heavy ground and pound of his own.

As soon as that moment happened, Miocic looked like a deer in the headlights and just wasn’t able to get going. Ngannou was so much bigger, so much stronger, so much more powerful and just seemed more game throughout.

Miocic deserves some credit though, as he ate some of Ngannou’s biggest shots including a flush head kick and was durable early until Ngannou went for the kill. A short left hook from Ngannou was the final nail in the coffin of Miocic’s title reign, with the punch while he was unconscious was the exclamation point on what is now the era of the African champion in the UFC.

He becomes the third African champion in UFC history, alongside welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

Speaking in the post-fight press conference, he gave some inspirational words about his rise from the streets of Paris and spoke positively of the defeat he suffered three years ago in his first title fight – essentially calling it the biggest lesson of his career so far.

“I’ve never been shy about it. I think it was just so tough for me, I didn’t like to think about it. At some point I felt like it was a moment I want to erase from my life but you know, moving on, I understood that this also made me who I am today.

“A lot of people also go through that, the same struggle as me, you know, didn’t have a chance. Every kid should at least have a chance to enjoy his childhood then become an adult who is in charge of his life so he can take action and be responsible for his life.

But for those who are in the same situation, I mean I can’t do anything but if I can tell somebody something it’s you know, keep moving. Believe. It’s not fair, I know, but it’s not your fault. Sometimes you feel like it’s your fault as a kid but it’s not your fault that you can’t afford a scholarship. It’s not your duty… Just keep moving and try to do your best. That’s what you can hold yourself accountable for, for not trying. But if you try and still don’t succeed, that’s not your fault.

Elsewhere on the card, Tyron Woodley fell to a fourth consecutive defeat in the welterweight division since losing his title back in 2019 when he was submitted by Vicente Luque in the first round.

Woodley was true to his word and came out very aggressively, attempting to use his wrestling skills before landing heavy strikes with his hands to rock the Brazilian. But as he loaded up a big, looping right hand to try and finish the fight, Luque was able to return with a right hook of his own that essentially put Woodley out on his feet.

He was able to keep landing big punches before eventually locking up a d’arce choke to force the tap out win. After the fight Luque moved to call Nate Diaz for a big clash at 170lbs while UFC president Dana White hinted that it could be time for the former champion to retire. Woodley said after the fight on Instagram that “it was going well until it wasn’t,” but he doesn’t regret his approach.

โ€œSh*t was going really well until it wasnโ€™t. My camp pushed me in ways I havenโ€™t been pushed in a while. I committed, and swore to myself I would bring the tiger out that earned me gold. I saw the opportunity for the KO and got too excited. Paid a big cost.

โ€œI donโ€™t regret my aggression as thatโ€™s what God created me to do. [Luque] is a tough and humble fighter. Was an honor to share the cage with you tonight.โ€

UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou 2 – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Marc-Andre Barriault def Abu Azaitar via Knockout, Round 3 (4:56)

Fast start to the bout for Azaitar as he comes out with some powerful hooks to begin but they miss the target for the most part. Barriault throws a hook back that makes Azaitar lose his balance and the two clinch up against the cage but Barriault accidentally lands a low blow for a short pause in the action. Azaitar comes forward very aggressively once more, with flurrys that end with a nice knee to the body before another clinch. Nice elbow in the clinch from Barriault but Azaitar responds with a big knee in the clinch that lands flush. Azaitar working the body well as they clinch up once again and staying very busy as we enter the final 90 seconds of the round. More knees to the body in the clinch from Azaitar but Barriault stay in there and eating, while returning with shots of his own. Nice counter left from Barriault lands in an exchange but Azaitar should take that round. 10-9.

Barriault takes the centre at the start of this round and is landing his jab well early on as Azaitar looks considerably slower than the first round. Barriault landing the better shots but then Azaitar comes forward with a nice leg kick. Azaitar throws a big hook that lands and wobbles Barriault, but he continues to come forward and continues to push a fast pace. Azaitar looks for a takedown, which his corner isn’t happy about, but Barriault defends it well to keep the fight standing. Big one-two lands from Barriault as Azaitar takes a big deep breath and is slowing down a lot. Nice uppercut lands from Azaitar and then a front kick lands but he’s very lathargic with his strikes and Barriault is walking him down now with big right hands. Barriault slips a left hook and lands three strikes in a row that wobble Azaitar but he’s staying in there and survives the round! 19-19.

Barriault takes the centre at the start of the third round and eats a big leg kick to make up ground and start landing big right hands. Azaitar is stiffened up and is fighting purely off instinct right now. Barriault lands a big right hand that drops Azaitar but the referee doesn’t stop it. Azaitar spits out his mouth guard with Barriault on top landing ground and pound and the referee stops the fight to allow him to put it back in and then the ground and pound continues, with Barriault landing huge shots. Azaitar continuing to move but it’s pure instinct and he’s taking a battering right now. This fight could be stopped at any moment but Azaitar is trying to move away. Barriault keeps landing huge strikes on the ground but the referee is letting them go with 30 seconds to go. Barriault is battering him and somehow Azaitar is surviving but the referee ends the bout with four seconds remaining! Huge win for the Canadian.

PRELIMS

Omar Morales def Shane Young via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Slow fight to this bout as both men engage in a feeling out process, both circling and flicking jabs but not going too hard. Young checks a leg kick from Morales and then both continue to just throw out feelers. Young pushes forward for a takedown against the cage but Morales defends well, puts in a body lock and reverses the position before picking up and dropping Young. Young gets back to his feet quickly and they clinch up against the cage to a stalemate as we enter the final minute of the round. Morales lands a nice uppercut as Young tries to enter for another takedown and they clinch up once more as the round ends. 10-9 Morales, but close.

Second round starts and Morales throws a leg kick pretty early that gets caught and Young immediately moves into top position. Morales defending off his back and as Young moves for a leg lock, Morales is able to stuff it and get back to his feet quickly. Morales doing well on the feet with a nice jab and some good leg kicks too, but Young is checking them well and closing the distance well. Young shoots in for a takedown again but Morales defends it well, then throws a knee that just misses. Morales takes the centre well and forces Young backwards then lands a nice leg kick, followed by an uppercut that Young just eats. Two jabs and then a one-two from Morales lands clean and forces Young backwards again. Morales pours on the pressure towards the end of the round with his right hand and a knee attempt as they end in a clinch. 20-18 Morales for me.

Morales looks to take the centre early in the third round and throws his jab well, but Young does well to change it around and they clinch in the centre. Morales is able to get a trip and gets into a dominant position in side control, but Young is able to scramble and chase a single leg takedown of his own to get back to his feet. They clinch against the cage again and Young shows a physical strength advantage, but Morales lands a couple of nice leg kicks as they separate and fighting well behind his jab. Nice right hand lands from Morales as we enter the final minute, but Young keeps coming forward and then ducks a high kick to look for a takedown but Morales defends well to end the fight and likely take the win. 30-27 Morales.

Michal Oleksiejczuk def Modestas Bukauskas via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Bukauskas opens the fight with a spinning heel kick that misses by a matter of inches, before Michal steps forward and lands a big left hand early. BUkauskas lands a decent right hand but Michal is walking him towards the cage well. Bukauskas shoots for a takedown but it’s well stuffed, before a clinch exchange allows Bukauskas to show his strength advantage as he powers him all the way across the octagon. Bukauskas lands a nice right hand flush and then steps forward with a nice flurry that hurts Michal! He goes for a finish but Michal defends well and recovers. Bukauskas throws a straight that Michal slips and throws a big overhand left that lands clean! Michal starts walking Bukauskas backwards again and misses with a left hand but then lands a nice right hand. Bukauskas throwing lots of kicks to try and maintain the distance but Michal continues to step forward and close it. Both men land a few more shots and Bukauskas ends the round with a head kick that is partially blocked. Really competitive round, I lean 10-9 to Bukauskas.

Second round is more of the same, as Michal comes forward and throws lots of hooks but Bukauskas continues to circle on the outside and uses his length well to keep a distance. Michal keeps marching forward and lands a nice left hand but Bukauskas eats it well. Michal throws it again and lands flush on the chin, but Bukauskas continues to move well and then throws a nice front kick to the body. Bukauskas lands two straight rights nicely then misses a wild overhand, as Michal looks to grab a leg but does nothing with is. Bukauskas lands a nice lead elbow but Michal clinches up and eats it, before Bukauskas shows the physicality advantage again and is able to reverse the position and then separate. Bukauskas lands a head kick and then ends with a round with a big flurry of hooks that land, but Michal still there and probably takes that round. 19-19 for me but it’s close.

Bukauskas and Michal in the final round following a similar pattern to the previous two, with Bukauskas circling on the outside. Both men throw a right hook but it’s Bukauskas who lands better and then he follows it up with a straight and an uppercut too. Michal goes in for a body lock looking for a takedown but Bukauskas defends it really well and uses the cage well to keep the fight standing. Michal throws a couple of knees but nothing that troubles Bukauskas who is able to separate and is starting to land some good strikes of his own. Michal continues to march forward but Bukauskas is happy to trade with him now as we enter the final 90 seconds. Big right hook lands from Michal but Bukauskas eats it and throws a right hand of his own. Michal throws a huge uppercut to the body that has really hurt Bukauskas but Michal hasn’t noticed how hurt he is and both men go out swinging as the fight goes the distance. Great fight, 29-28 Bukauskas for me.

Abubakar Nurmagomedov def Jared Gooden via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Gooden opens up the round super relaxed, carrying his hands down by his hips ready for any takedown attempts and throwing some jabs that immediately redden the eye of Nurmagomedov. Gooden has a big speed advantage and is able to get in and out quickly but Nurmagomedov not rushing for any grappling and is throwing his jab very well too. Nurmagomedov closes the distance and lands a big one-two flush on Gooden’s chin that rocks him! He closes the distance and looks to take the fight down but Gooden is able to escape quickly. Nurmagomedov throws a strong leg kick and then a big knee in the clinch too. Another jab from Nurmagomedov has Gooden backing up and he’s now started to carry his hands a bit higher in respect of Nurmagomedov’s strikes. A big left hook from Nurmagomedov lands again and he just misses with a follow up head kick, then ends the round with a nice jab. 10-9 Nurmagomedov.

Nurmagomedov takes the centre in the second round and lands his jab well once again as Gooden starts to throw his right hand some more. Nurmagomedov steps back and slips the punches brilliantly before landing a nice right hand of his own. Nurmagomedov is piecing Gooden up on the feet right now, completely dominating the striking exchanges. Big right hand lands and then throws a huge head kick that lands and hurts Gooden! Nurmagomedov backs Gooden against the cage and looks for a clinch, throwing elbows and a nice left hand. Gooden can’t get near him right now as he eats another jab flush to the nose. Big left hand lands clean on Gooden whose chin is holding up well right now as the round comes to an end. 20-18 Nurmagomedov.

Nurmagomedov using his jab once again early on, completing in control of the striking exchanges. Gooden takes the centre and loads up a nice uppercut but Nurmagomedov shoots in for a takedown and ends up with a body lock on the back. He picks him up and drops him down, but Gooden does well to get back to his feet before Nurmagomedov shoots in for a takedown once again and ends up on top. Gooden throwing great elbows from the bottom but Nurmagomedov eating them well and controlling the position before landing some ground and pound of his own. He steps over into half guard and starts setting up an arm triangle, but Gooden is aware and defending it well. Both men throwing body strikes on the ground as we enter the final minute of the round. Nurmagomedov controls the position for the remainder of the round and should take a comfortable decision win.

Alonzo Menifield def Fabio Cherant via Submission (Von Flue Choke), Round 1 (1:11)

Menifield comes out flying with a big one two and then goes for a takedown early. Cherant looks to lock up a guillotine but Menifield is able to turn him and slam him down with a big takedown into side control. Cherant keeps hold of the neck, all the while Menifield is synching in a Von Flue choke. He gets it tight and heavy and Cherant has no choice but to tap out! What a win for Menifield!

MAIN CARD

Jamie Mullarkey def Khama Worthy via Knockout, Round 1 (0:46)

Fast start to the round for both guys as Mullarkey lands a nice left hand early before Worthy responds with a couple of jabs. Mullarkey fakes a couple of shots and then throws a big, tight left hook that catches Worthy on the chin and gets him wobbling and faceplants! Mullarkey rushes in with a few ground and pound strikes and the referee steps in the wave it off! Huge win for Mullarkey!

Miranda Maverick def Gillian Robertson via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Nice active start to the fight from both ladies, with Maverick throwing nice combinations early and staying out of range of Robertson’s attacks. Maverick holding the centre well and and landing the better strikes in the exchanges on the feet, but Robertson not backing up too much and throwing some strikes of her own. Maverick lands a nice short-right hook and lots of leading leg kicks to the body. Maverick pushes Robertson onto the ground and then jumps on top with really heavy top pressure, then lands a couple of ground and pound strikes as Robertson looks to get back up to her feet. Maverick shoots a power double leg and gets the fight down with ease as the round comes to an end to take the opening round. 10-9 Maverick.

Busy start to the second round for Maverick as she seems to be more aggressive, landing some heavy punches and coming forward with more intent. Nice superman punch lands from Maverick then Robertson changes levels and shoots in for a takedown, then secures top position. Maverick tries to escape by kicking out and swinging her hips, but Robertson adjusts perfectly and looks to take the back now. Robertson sticking to her like glue and trying to find submissions, but Maverick is doing well to keep moving and not settling for positions. Robertson keeps looking for the positions but Maverick is eventually able to get back to the feet with about 45 seconds remaining in the round. Maverick spends the rest of the round walking Robertson down and landing big shots against the cage but should still be a Robertson round. 19-19.

Maverick comes out swinging in this third round and is walking Robertson down, landing some big straight punches. Robertson shoots for takedowns but Maverick defends them twice and then is able to take Robertson’s back herself. She switches into full mount and then side control and is landing some big ground and pound strikes, but Robertson is threatening with an armbar. Maverick is able to escape the armbar and gets back on top to land more ground and pound. Robertson tries to sweep her but Maverick too strong and gets back to the feet. Maverick lands a couple of straights against the cage then shoots for a takedown of her own and sees out the round in a dominant position to take a decision.

Sean O’Malley def Thomas Almeida via Knockout, Round 3 (3:52)

Good start to the round for O’Malley as he opens with a clean one-two on Almeida’s chin. O’Malley switching stances well and landing kicks to the body and legs, with Almeida seeming quite hesitant early on. O’Malley lands another one-two and then a nice spinning back kick to the body before Almeida lands a big hook of his own. O’Malley throws a big head kick that seems to land with the knee and then a big left hand drops Almeida! O’Malley walks away but the referee doesn’t wave the fight off and he goes back in with a spin kick that misses. O’Malley looking for style points for a finish but Almeida has recovered now and O’Malley sees the round out with some more clean striking. 10-9 O’Malley for sure.

O’Malley opens up with some front kicks to the body and a calf kick, but Almeida coming forward still and lands a couple of leg kicks of his own. O’Malley landing with his left hand in a one-two quite cleanly and often, but Almeida refusing to go away. Some knee stomps from O’Malley and kicks as he continues to switch stances, showing great speed to be first in the exchanges. O’Malley goes for a flying knee towards the end of the round and misses, falling onto his back. Almeida lands a big shot on the ground but O’Malley uses his long legs to defend really well and sees out the round. 20-18 O’Malley.

O’Malley opens up the round with a huge calf kick that takes Almeida’s balance away, before a knee stomp once again makes Almeida very uncomfortable. A few more leg kicks land and then O’Malley throws a nice one-two, but Almeida continues to come forward. Exchange near the cage and Almeida lands a decent left hand, but O’Malley continues to slip the majority of the shots and landing well himself. Beautiful one-two from O’Malley lands and Almeida just can’t get near him. Huge left hand as he moves backwards catches Almeida and drops him and O’Malley tries to walk off again but the referee doesn’t stop it again! O’Malley strolls over and lands one nasty ground strike that puts his lights out and that’s that! The ‘Suga’ show is back!

Vicente Luque def Tyron Woodley via Submission (D’Arce Choke), Round 1 (3:56)

Woodley comes out and immediately goes for a body lock and takedown against the cage. Luque defends it well and is able to rotate Woodley against the cage, but they fight to a stalemate and eventually separate. Woodley lands a big overhand right and then a couple of one-twos before going back to his wrestling, where Luque is able to steady him and get him back against the cage. Luque throwing punches to the body while Woodley looks for knees as they clinch up before separating. Woodley throws a huge right hand that wobbles Luque and he goes for the kill with big punches, then Luque fires back with a huge right overhand that lands on Woodley’s chin and wobbles him! Luque comes forward and throws bombs and Woodley is in trouble! He throws a hook that lands on Luque and wobbles him back then goes for a takedown but his legs give out on him. Luque drops down and locks in a d’arce choke and despite fighting it against the cage, Woodley is forced to tap! Huge win for Luque!

Francis Ngannou def Stipe Miocic via Knockout, Round 2 (0:52)

Ngannou opens the round with a heavy low kick that Miocic eats and continues to circle on the outside. Miocic lands a couple of leg kicks of his own before Ngannou explodes with a big right hand that lands clean and Miocic just eats. Ngannou explodes again and Miocic shoots in for a double leg takedown but Ngannou defends it brilliantly, sprawls and is able to take Miocic down himself! He takes the back of Miocic and starts throwing some heavy shots but the champion eats them and separates. Ngannou then throws a head kick that lands clean but once again Miocic eats it. A couple more leg kicks from Miocic in the remainder of the round, but it’s a Ngannou round. 10-9.

Miocic comes out and knows he needs to be a bit more aggressive. Ngannou being patient in the middle once more and lands a nice leg kick. Ngannou throws a big left hand that rocks Miocic and drops him! He goes for the finish and lands some big shots but Miocic gets back up and eats an uppercut. Miocic lands a massive left hand of his own but Ngannou eats it and then lands a short left hook that puts Miocic’s lights out! He lands one more huge shot before the referee gets there but this is all over! NEW CHAMPION!

UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou 2 – Main card predictions

It’s the big one, as the baddest man on the planet is decided in the main event of UFC 260 when Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou.

The two met previously during Miocic’s first reign as champion, and he dominated to a victory but yet he is still the underdog coming into this fight. Overlooking Miocic seems crazy, but it’s happening again and not least because of the sheer power of his opponent.

In the co-main event, Tyron Woodley fights for his career in the UFC as he takes on Vicente Luque after the featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega was cancelled due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Last week at UFC Vegas 22, we went 6/10 with three perfect picks to move to 262/416 (62.98%) with 118 perfect picks (45.04%).

There are scheduled to be ten bouts on this card and having already predicted the prelims here, lets look to improve it with the main card also.


Jamie Mullarkey (12-4) vs Khama Worthy (16-7) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A really fun lightweight fight between two guys looking to get back in the win column to open up this main card. Mullarkey has lost his last two bouts, dropping decisions to Brad Riddell and Faras Ziam most recently at UFC Fight Island 6. Worthy had a seven fight win streak snapped in a little over 90 seconds when he was put away but Ottman Azaitar at UFC Vegas 10 back in September.

Mullarkey is a wrestler who is capable of standing and striking, but he’s often a sitting target when it comes to the stand-up game. Worthy is a powerful striker with nine knockout wins in his career. If Mullarkey can’t get the fight to the ground, he is in big trouble. He’s got a granite chin but with the power that Worthy hits at, plus the fact that Worthy isn’t a sloppy wrestler himself, ‘The Death Star’ should be able to get himself a hard-fought victory.
PICK – Khama Worthy via Knockout, Round 3

Gillian Robertson (9-5) vs Miranda Maverick (10-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Two very highly rated women’s flyweight prospects go head-to-head in this one.

Another chance for Robertson to make an impact on the division as she takes on Maverick in the flyweight division. Robertson was on a two-fight win streak prior toย getting dominated by Taila Santos in December, while Maverick is on a four-fight win streak including a doctorโ€™s stoppage between rounds last time outย against Liana Jojua at UFC 254.

Robertson is a strong wrestler whoโ€™s main aim is always to get the fight to the ground, with her six submission wins standing out on her record. Maverick is a great, technical striker with good wrestling of her own. Robertsonโ€™s striking is iffy at best, while Maverick often leaves herself open for takedowns by coming forward. Both can attack the weaknesses of their opponent but Maverick is the better all round fighter and I think she can come away with a wide decision win.
PICK โ€“ Miranda Maverick via Decision

Sean O’Malley (12-1) vs Thomas Almeida (22-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

My pick for fight of the night here in the bantamweight division as ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley makes his return to the octagon following his first defeat to take on Thomas Almeida. O’Malley was en-route to superstardom, stopping Eddie Wineland at UFC 250 before being stopped by Marlon Vera at UFC 252, getting knocked out after a leg injury. Almeida has suffered all of his professional defeats inside his last five fights, including three in a row and most recently against Jonathan Martinez at UFC Fight Island 6.

O’Malley is a super-technical striker who can work off either stance and has legitimate one-punch knockout power. Almeida is a great technical striker himself, but his biggest issue is his durability. Almeida has been knocked out whenever he’s been hit clean and O’Malley is one of the most accurate strikers in the 135lbs division. This is certainly a favourable match up for O’Malley to get back on track towards a title shot with a height, reach, technique and power advantages and he should get an impressive win.
PICK – Sean O’Malley via Knockout, Round 1

Tyron Woodley (19-6-1) vs Vicente Luque (19-7-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A very big fight in the welterweight division between the former champion Tyron Woodley and the ‘Silent Assassin’ Vicente Luque. Woodley has lost three in a row, including most recently when he verbally submitted to Colby Covington at UFC Vegas 11 following a rib injury. Luque on the other hand is on a two-fight win streak, knocking out Niko Price before a stoppage win over Randy Brown at UFC Vegas 5.

Woodley is known for his fantastic wrestling defence and impressive knockout power, but in his last three fights he’s been gun shy when it comes to striking and has been taken down with ease. Luque is a boxer who pressures his opponents and walks them down, happy to take a shot to give one in the belief he will knock them out. Luque hits harder than any of Woodley’s last three opponents and is a long-time training partner of both Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns. If Woodley comes back in this fight and shows his old self where he throws heavy punches and threatens with his wrestling, he could very well get the win. But it’s hard to expect that from a guy who’s lost his last 14 rounds in a row and was finished in the 15th. Luque has youth on his side, is confident and has great pressure, work-rate and power, so I think he is able to get a win in this fight.
PICK – Vicente Luque via Decision

Stipe Miocic (20-3) vs Francis Ngannou (15-3) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The baddest man on the planet will be decided as the greatest heavyweight of all-time makes the second defence of his second reign as champion against ‘The Predator’ Francis Ngannou. Miocic beat Ngannou back in 2018, before going 2-1 in a trilogy with Daniel Cormier which came to an end at UFC 252. Ngannou lost his next fight after that loss to Derrick Lewis, but has since won four-in-a-row against Curtis Blaydes, Junior Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez and Jairzinho Rozenstruik all via first round knockout.

Miocic is one of the most well-rounded heavyweights ever, with fantastic wrestling skills but also legitimate knockout power himself. Ngannou is a banger, who comes in with explosive power and one-punch knockouts. The first fight was incredibly one-sided, with Miocic wrestling his way to a dominant win. Since then, Ngannou has become “obsessed” with grappling but it’s not something we’ve been able to see in the cage yet. Miocic is quicker, the better wrestler and in the first fight he was able to eat Ngannou’s punches that landed. He’s taken a lot of damage since then, being KO’d by Cormier so whether he can take the punches this time is questionable but he is so much better than that first fight too.

Ngannou’s skillset is limited despite his success, but his power is absolutely unreal. The issue is that he’s so big his cardio just can’t go for 25 minutes. Miocic can and has several times. It only takes one punch from Ngannou, but it’s hard to see this fight going much differently to the first one – except this time I think Miocic gets the stoppage on an exhausted, grounded Ngannou.
PICK – Stipe Miocic via Knockout, Round 4

Tyron Woodley fighting for his career at UFC 260

It wasn’t that long ago that Tyron Woodley was the welterweight champion of the world and in the conversation for one of the best 170lbers to ever do it in the UFC.

After winning the belt from ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler with a stunning first-round knockout, ‘The Chosen One’ went on to successfully defend his title four times with wins over Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, Demian Maia and Darren Till.

Then he came up against Kamaru Usman and Woodley’s whole demeanour changed once he entered the octagon.

He was dominated for 25 minutes by the man he’d spoken down on during the build up to the fight, out-wrestled, out-struck and out-worked en route to a unanimous decision defeat with two judges handing the challenger a 10-8 round too.

He then tried to bounce back from that defeat by getting in the octagon with Usman’s training partner Gilbert Burns a little over a year later. Once again though Woodley was out-worked, out-wrestled and out-struck by his opponent and beaten via the exact same scorecards for another unanimous decision.

He then tried to save his legacy as one of the best welterweights ever when he matched up against Colby Covington last September at UFC Vegas 11. He made it 15 rounds in a row of pure domination when he was beaten to a pulp by Covington and forced to verbally submit after breaking a rib when being taken down.

UFC Fight Night: Covington v Woodley : News Photo

Since his last title fight, Woodley has been out-struck 724-192 in total strikes and also been taken down seven times in three fights. With the UFC not shy of cutting big names recently and with his 39th birthday just a little over a week after fight night, Woodley’s career is most definitely now on the chopping block.

He’ll take on another of Usman’s teammates in Vicente Luque, in a match-up that looks less than ideal for him on the evidence of his most recent fights.

Luque is a pressure fighter with an excellent chin, lots of volume and dynamite in his hands. If there is anything that Woodley doesn’t want right now, it’s someone walking him down looking to take his head off while he backs up against the cage and hesitates to throw his own hands.

But there is more to this fight than Woodley just looking to get back in the win column, his career is hanging in the balance.

A loss will almost certainly see him cut from the company after four consecutive defeats, with Luque more likely than not to get a finish than the other three were. He is battling for his career after already tarnishing his legacy as one of the greats, so a show stopping performance is needed now more than ever.