UFC 270 Main Card On ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou vs. UFC interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane – I’ve gone back and forth with this one. If Francis Ngannou is going to win, he has to knock Gane out in either round one or two. After that, it may be difficult, as Gane’s cardio and pressure will prove to be too much for Ngannou to keep up with. Usually I side with fighters who have the cardio advantage, but Ngannou has been so disrespected by the UFC that I almost feel like he’s going to show up with an edge. One in which has him focused, despite rumors. One in which see’s his power connect and knock Gane out. And still!
125 lbs.: UFC Flyweight champion Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo – The first fight was a classic. The second fight, for the most part, was all Brandon Moreno. The third fight, will highly depend on what Deiveson Figueiredo will show up.
Now, the weight cut is always a story with Figueiredo. As a big Flyweight, it’s something that has often hung over his shoulder. It could very well be the reason he looked so sluggish in the second fight. It’s a major red flag that has me leaning Moreno. A consistent fighter, who has proven he can brawl or grapple with the best. Never uncomfortable anywhere, he truly is a well rounded fighter. However, against my better judgement, I’m siding with Figueiredo. The power and the size are rarities in this division. A knockdown in a round or two could be the difference in flipping the fight. So with all that said, I predict Figueiredo wins via TKO.
170 lbs.: Michel Pereira vs. Andre Fialho – This is a mismatch that will end depending on when Michel Pereira decides to turn it. With that said, Pereira wins this one via TKO.
135 lbs.: Said Nurmagomedov vs. Cody Stamann – I feel for Cody Stamann. He is a well rounded fighter and in his own right, a definite top fifteen Bantamweight. However, that’s his plateu. Not being strong in any one area, Stamann is often beaten in close fight because his competitor is just better in certain areas. Said Nurmagomedov happens to be a better wrestler, which is the area where I see him grinding down Stamann en route to a decision victory.
170 lbs.: Trevin Giles vs. Michael Morales – This is a tough fight to call, as Trevin Giles makes his Welterweight debut against Michael Morales. For some fighters, cutting weight can deplete fighters and increase the likelihood of them getting hurt. However, Giles was not a ripped Middleweight and I do think this is a good move for him. While Morales will have the reach advantage and he’s got some good pop, Giles is a savvy veteran that has proven he can handle himself wherever the fight goes. His most recent fight didn’t look like the same Giles on a three-fight win streak. Hopefully this one will, as I’m predicting Giles to win via decision.
UFC 270 ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (8 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Raoni Barcelos vs. Victor Henry – Despite dropping his first fight in seven years, I consider Raoni Barcelos as one of the dark horses in the Bantamweight division. A former wrestler for the Brazil national team, a BJJ black belt and an evolving striking, Barcelos is a complete fighter. Often doing an excellent job mixing up his attack, Barcelos is not only landing 5.39 significant strikes per minute, but nearly two takedowns per fifteen minutes. Dangerous wherever, Barcelos has won ten of his sixteen victories via stoppage. This fight however won’t be easy, as Victor Henry brings in a wealth of success and experience. Fighting for promotions such as DEEP, RIZIN, Pancrase, KOTC and BAMMA, Henry has been able to fight some of the best around the world. With wins over Masakatsu Ueda, Yuki Montaya, Anderson dos Santos and Albert Morales, Henry has proven that he is ready to take on the best the UFC offers.
As for a prediction, I’m siding with Barcelos. Despite being high on Henry, I believe that Barcelos is not only the better striker, but his grappling should be able to neutralize La Mangosta’s excellent grappling. The one real concern I have in this fight, is if Henry pressures and brings forth a hard pace, we could see a defensively lax and tired Barcelos in the later rounds. Then again, Barcelos 6-1 in decisions, two of which went twenty-five minutes. So with that said, I predict that Barcelos gets it done via decision.
170 lbs.: Jack Della Maddalena vs. Pete Rodriguez – This just has knockout written all over it. Unfortunately for Pete Rodriguez, who at 4-0 hasn’t fought anyone of note yet, it’s him who I believe will have the light shut on him. Jack Della Maddalena is a brawler, who is going to get in Rodriguez’s face early and often. Eventually, landing that fight ending knockout.
135 lbs.: Tony Gravely vs. Saimon Oliveira – This fight comes down to if Saimon Oliviera can keep this standing. If so, he’s got a real shot at the upset. If not, Tony Gravely will wrestle his way to his third win in the last four fights. So with that said, I predict Gravely will win via decision.
125 lbs.: Kay Hansen vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius – This fight just seems like it’s going to be close. I think Kay Hansen may have the hype, but Jasmine Jasudavicius has the skills. So with that said, I predict that Jasudavicius wins by decision
UFC 270 Early ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Matt Frevola vs. Genaro Valdez – This is an intriguing fight, as Genaro Valdez heads into his UFC debut undefeated against a veteran in Matt Frevola. Valdez like push a pace, often using his wrestling and grappling to get him into an advantageous position. One in which, more or less, leads to a finish. However, he doesn’t really pack a punch on the feet and Frevola, despite being finished in two of his last three losses, is a durable fighter. As long as he can withstand the early adversity, which he has done in the past, I believe he gets by Valdez. Lets says via decision.
115 lbs.: Silvana Gomez Juarez vs. Vanessa Demopoulos – This is a coin toss. Vanessa Demopoulos is a fireball of energy, who isn’t afraid to scrap and has a dangerous guard. However, she is an inaccurate striker who is a little too tense. While her guard is dangerous, she can also accept being on bottom for long periods of time. That might not cost her in this fight, but it’s a possibility. In the end, I believe Silvana Gomez Juarez’s technical striking is enough to get by Demopoulos via decision.