UFC Vegas 46 Main Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Calvin Kattar vs. Giga Chikadze – This is going be a highly entertaining striking contest. However, one in which Giga Chikadze is going to shine in. Without the worry of a takedown, Chikadze is going to truly be at his best. Something in which we saw against Cub Swanson. While Calvin Kattar is a better striker and talent than Swanson, I don’t think that his boxing can overcome the dynamic striking of Chikadze. In the end, whether the Georgian chops down Kattar with leg kicks or he methodically picks him apart from the outside, I expect Chikadze to end this fight inside the distance via TKO.
265 lbs.: Jake Collier vs. Chase Sherman – I’m not exactly sure what to expect here, as both men are near the bottom of the Heavyweight division. If anything is certain, Collier seems to bring forth volume and doesn’t tire like Sherman does. This could be Sherman’s last stand, which makes him dangerous. However, if he can’t knock out Collier early, expect him to fade right out of the UFC. So with that said, I predict that Collier wins via late TKO.
125 lbs.: Katlyn Chookagian vs. Jennifer Maia 2 – I’m not sure I see a different result in the rematch, as Katlyn Chookagian has really improved her overall abilities since. No longer just a striker, Chookagian has proven that she can wrestle and grapple. On the other hand, Maia hasn’t really evolved and while a dangerous grappler, she can be taken advantage of on the feet. Something I expect Chookagian to take full advantage of, as she closes the chapter on Maia via decision.
125 lbs.: Rogerio Bontorin vs. Brandon Royval – This should be an exciting fight, as Brandon Royval is one of the more chaotic fighters in the UFC. Always looking to finish, this bundle of energy is relentlessly pressuring opponents and looking to finish them. That style has also been his crux, as the amount of energy he puts into his initial onslaught has repercussions as the fight wanes. In fact, Royval is 4-5 in fights past round one. As for Rogerio Bonterin, aside from being knocked out by Kai Kara-France, he has shown to have excellent durability. While Bonterin can strike, his area of strength is his grappling abilities. Something which in combination with his cardio, I could see giving Royval fits as the fight wanes. In what I expect to be a barnburner, I predict that Bonterin will weather the storm and defeat Royval via decision.
155 lbs.: Viacheslav Borshchev vs. Dakota Bush – I’m not exactly sure what to make of this fight, but it should be a close one. Viacheslav Borshchev is a kickboxer who transitioned to MMA. While he has yet to fight anyone of note yet, his striking experience is always going to be advantageous. Dakota Bush though is no pushover and while I initially picked him to win this fight, I’m not sure he can maintain a grappling heavy attack and avoid being touched up on the feet. One thing is for certain, we shall see if Team Alpha Male has Borshchev grappling up to speed. While I’d caution betting on this fight, I’ll side with Borshchev getting the job done via decision.
145 lbs.: Bill Algeo vs. Joanderson Brito – This fight should be all Joanderson Brito. Not only is Brito the better striker, featuring excellent explosiveness and power, but also he also is a solid wrestler. An aspect in which Algeo has mightily struggled with, as he has been taken down seventeen times in three UFC fights. The formula is there, and I expect Brito to follow it to a tee. So with that said, I predict that Brito will win via decision.
UFC Vegas 46 ‘Prelims’ Undercard On ESPN+ (5 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Ramiz Brahimaj vs. Court McGee – It’s a real testament that Court McGee, at thirty-seven years of age, has remained competitive despite father time continuously tapping him. While McGee longer has the speed that gave problems to foes, his toughness and output both have remained. I’m just not sure, at this point in his career, that he can defeat these younger cats. Ramiz Brahimaj may not be the better striker, as he for the most part, just wings punches. However, Brahimaj is a strong wrestler that can make this a grueling fight for McGee. One that I believe will be close, but the control and takedowns from Brahimaj, earn him the decision nod.
185 lbs.: Jamie Pickett vs. Joseph Holmes – Jamie Pickett has excellent size and his jab has proven to be a weapon. However, his durability is just so worrisome. In three UFC fights, Pickett has been knocked down twice and rocked several times. While Joseph Holmes isn’t known exactly for his power, he’s a finisher. On the ground, five of his seven victories have come via submission. Make it six in eight, as I predict Holmes wins this fight via submission.
145 lbs.: Brian Kelleher vs. Kevin Croom – Before Kevin Croom stepped up on short notice, Brian Kelleher had his hands full with a matchup against Saidyokub Kakhramonov. While Croom is no pushover, his skillset, particularly his striking woes give Kelleher a significant edge on the feet. Now, Croom has made a knack of making fights hectic and chaotic early. It’s something I could definitely see have Kelleher in a compromising position. However, as long as Kelleher can survive any initial trouble, he will subsequently then take over the fight. So with that said, I predict that Kelleher wins via decision.
155 lbs.: Charles Rosa vs. T.J. Brown – This is a tough one to call, but I lean Charles Rosa. Despite his inconsistencies and the fact that he is taking this fight on short notice, Rosa has the ability to make certain fights ugly. This may be one of them, as T.J. Brown is mainly a wrestler who has landed nine takedowns in three UFC fights thus far. The one problem is, Brown isn’t the most durable fighter and his constant wrestling attack often tires him. On the other hand, Rosa has been controlled before by wrestlers and grapplers, however, his gas tank is never at empty. While I see Brown having success early, the later the fight goes, the more I see the tide turning. In the end, I’m going with Rosa via split decision.