UFC Vegas 48 Main Card On ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):

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205 lbs.: Johnny Walker vs. Jamahal Hill – In the main event, we have a Light Heavyweight showdown between a pair of ranked fighters in Johnny Walker and Jamahal Hill. Fighting in his second straight main event, Walker will look to put aside his recent struggles and get back on track. With losses in three of his last four, the time is now for Walker to prove that he belongs. Meanwhile, Hill most recently bounced back from his first professional defeat with an impressive 48 second knockout victory over Jimmy Crute. The victory was his third inside the octagon, fourth if you count the result that got flipped to a no contest after Hill tested positive for marijuana. Which less than eight months later, USADA essentially eliminated marijuana use as a violation.

As for a prediction, I’m going with Walker. While I believe that Hill is in better form, is a better striker and obviously by the indication of the odds, has a better chance at winning, there is an inkling of me that see’s Walker pulling off this upset. Having faced tough competition during his last four fights, one could say that the former title challenger Thiago Santos, the #1 ranked Light Heavyweight in Bellator Corey Anderson and two top fifteen ranked Light Heavyweights in Ryan Spann and Nikita Krylov are stiffer competition than Hill’s faced thus far. Another component is that Walker, has grappling abilities in his back pocket. In a fight against a pure striker like Hill, who is more susceptible on the mat, I could see Walker working in a gameplan to get this fight to the ground. If he doesn’t, even with power, I’m not in the belief that he can out-strike Hill. In five UFC fights, Hill is averaging an astonishing 6.65 significant strikes per minute. Over three more than Walker. Hill has also knocked out three opponents in that span. The only two opponents that didn’t get slept, were those who sought to get the fight to the mat. Again, this isn’t the most confident play, but I predict that Walker wins this fight via submission.

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195 lbs.: Kyle Daukaus vs. Jamie Pickett – We have ourselves a catchweight fight at 195 pounds, as Kyle Daukaus takes on Jamie Pickett. Having seen two consecutive fights scrapped due to opponents pulling out, Daukaus wasn’t about to let a third one slip away. Accepting a catchweight fight against a short notice foe, Daukaus will seek to his “first” win since 2020. Meanwhile, Pickett steps into his biggest fight to date on short notice. A winner of two straight, Pickett will seek to keep the momentum going in his first ever co-main event slot.

As for a prediction, I have Daukaus winning. While it’s valiant that Pickett is stepping up to the plate, he’s got a very limited skillset. Not really strong in any one area, Pickett relies on his jab and strength to smother and takedown foes. With an 80 inch reach, Pickett should in essence, utilize it more. However, he lacks output and the ability to be technical. Daukaus though, isn’t much of a striker, but he does offer volume. Where his strength lies is in his constant pressure, wrestling and grappling. If Daukaus can get the fight to the mat, he’s dangerous. Whether it’s ground-and-pound or submissions, Daukaus is always working for a finish. Something in which I believe he will get, as Pickett’s chin and takedown defense are iffy. In the end, I believe Daukaus gets it done via submission.


265 lbs.: Alan Baudot vs. Parker Porter – On the main card, we have a Heavyweight scrap between Parker Porter and Alan Baudot. At 36 years old, Porter will look to win his third straight fight. Something that has eluded Porter since he debuted in 2007. Meanwhile, Baudot seeks his first UFC victory. Having joined the UFC in October of 2021, Baudot hasn’t had the best of success. In two UFC fights, Baudot has been nail, as he’s been stopped both times. Luckily, one of the fights was turned to a no contest after Rodrigo Nascimento tested positive for a banned substance.

As for a prediction, I have Porter winning. While there is something to be said about a fighter fighting with his back against the wall, which Baudot is clearly doing, there is also something to be said about the Baudot’s last five fights. Obviously one is a no contest, but the result was a knockout defeat. His third such in five fights. Of his two victories, only one is legitimate. Somehow, in a stoppage defeat to Todd Stoute, he was later credited with a disqualification victory after Stoute tested positive for marijuana. What I’m trying to say is, Baudot clearly isn’t UFC caliber and circumstances may have aided him in getting here. Meanwhile, Porter has proved his worth in his last two fights. Showing excellent volume, cardio and some good wrestling chops, Porter has a skillset that could be problematic for some. Obviously not against those in the top ten, but potentially outside of that. Anyways, I predict that Porter will win this fight via TKO.

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155 lbs.: Jim Miller vs. Nikolas Motta – We have an excellent fight in the Lightweight division, as Jim Miller takes on UFC newcomer Nikolas Motta. The UFC record holder for most bouts, Miller, returns to the octagon looking to tie Donald Cerrone’s record twenty-three wins. Having debuted in the UFC in 2008, it’s a testament that Miller, with Lyme disease, has been able to stick around. Meanwhile, Motta will finally grace the octagon for the first time. A winner of three straight, Motta will look to keep the momentum going in the biggest fight of his career.

Originally, this fight between Miller and Motta was supposed to go down in September of last year. Unfortunately, Miller tested positive for COVID and the fight was scrapped. While Miller fought the following month, defeating Erick Gonzalez by knockout, Motta sat on the sidelines for an additional five months. Miller may be 38 years old, however he remains competitive. An excellent grappler, with good wrestling and durability, Miller is one of the toughest and scrappiest fighters on the roster. Motta looks to be a good addition to the roster. While his takedown defense and chin seem iffy, his hand speed, aggression, cardio and power are excellent. In what I expect to back-and-forth fight, I’m giving the nod to Miller. If he can manage to get this fight to the mat, he should be able to control Motta and find a submission. While I do worry about Miller gassing, I don’t think he’ll need long to find a fight ending submission once he gets the fight to mat. So with that said, I predict that Miller will win via submission.


185 lbs.: Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Joaquin Buckley – We have ourselves a banger in the Middleweight division, as Joaquin Buckley takes on Abdul Razak Alhassan. Looking to make it two straight and four in his last five, Buckley has a chance to elevate himself into a bigger fight. With legitimate knockout power, Buckley has finished ten of his thirteen victories via knockout. Meanwhile, Alhassan comes into this fight off a stunning seventeen second knockout over Alessio Di Chirico. A much need victory, as Alhassan had dropped three straight prior and was at risk of being cut.

As for a prediction, I have Alhassan winning. While I’m not confident in this prediction, mainly due to the fact that I expect this to be a short night for either fighter, it’s Alhassan who I’m siding with. The reason behind that is, Alhassan is at his best when he isn’t fending off takedowns. Something which has plagued him during this losing streak and has caused him to gas out sooner. Against a fellow striker in Buckley, the Ghana native won’t have to keep his stance low or worry about the threat of a takedown. Obviously the worry is within the striking power of Buckley, but I believe his aggressiveness opens him to being countered. The last notion I’ll make, and this isn’t out of disrespect, the three opponents Buckley defeated, are a combined 4-7. Two of them, aren’t even on the roster anymore. So with all that said, I predict that Alhassan wins this fight via knockout.


UFC Vegas 48 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):

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145 lbs.: Gabriel Benitez vs. David Onama – We have an exciting scrap in the Featherweight division, as Gabriel Benitez clashes with David Onama. Having lost three of his last four fights, Benitez will seek to find some consistency. A veteran of eleven fights in the UFC, Benitez carries vast experience in perhaps his most important fight of his career. Meanwhile, Onama returns to the octagon after an excellent debut that saw him come up just short. Having fought that debut on short notice, up a weight class and against the talented Mason Jones, there is an excitement of how Onama will look at his proper weight class and with a full training camp.

As for a prediction, I have Onama winning. Not only did I predict him to win in his UFC debut, but when watching tape prior to that fight, I saw a UFC ready fighter. Onama didn’t fail me either, as he showed off his excellent striking and heart in what was a back-and-forth fight. While many might think that just because he was taken down eight times against Jones, that his takedown defense or grappling may not be up to snuff. I however disagree. Jones had a weight and strength advantage, fighting at his more natural weight. Onama held his own for the most part, but couldn’t overcome it. In my honest opinion, Onama has good grappling to go along with his striking. So even if Benitez saw that fight as a blueprint, which I doubt given he’s a striker, than he’s going to be surprised. In the end, I’m super high on Onama. I believe he’s going to make short work of Benitez. A fighter whom is struggling and has been stopped in two of his last three losses. Make it three, as I predict Onama wins via knockout.

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145 lbs.: Jonathan Pearce vs. Christian Rodriguez – We got ourselves an intriguing fight in the Featherweight division, as Jonathan Pearce takes on UFC newcomer Christian Rodriguez. A winner of two straight and seven of the last eight, Pearce comes into his fourth UFC fight with momentum. With ten finishes in eleven victories, Pearce is not one to need the full fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, Christian Rodriguez comes into his UFC debut on short notice. Having been passed over on Dana White’s Contender series due to a missed weight cut in October of last year, Rodriguez pressed on, winning via submission in January of 2022. A perfect 8-0, Rodriguez will look to keep a 0 in the loss column.

As for a prediction, I have Pearce. While I do think that Christian Rodriguez has a skillset that will be successful inside the octagon, I believe that the short notice nature combined with the opponent will be a tough task. Pearce seems to have found his stride of late, finishing his last two opponents in round two. Having excellent wrestling abilities, Pearce looks to take down his opponents and implement his volume based ground-and-pound. With submissions in his arsenal and excellent cardio, Pearce is one you generally want to avoid being on the ground with. So with all that said, I predict that Pearce wins via late submission.


145 lbs.: Chas Skelly vs. Mark Striegl – The Featherweight division plays host to a showdown between Chas Skelly and Mark Striegl. Having been out for nearly two and half years, Skelly will attempt to shake off the rust and win his second straight fight. Something that could be difficult for some, but Skelly being a veteran of eleven fights inside the octagon, should be ready to rock. Meanwhile, Striegl will look to put his unsuccessful UFC debut in the past and claim his first UFC victory. With eighteen professional victories and fourteen coming via submission, Striegl is one to be on high alert when tangling on the mat with.

As for a prediction, I have Skelly winning. Despite the layoff, which is a bit of a red flag, stylistically this fight is in his wheelhouse. Not known for his striking, Skelly is an excellent grappler with a knack for finding submissions. While his gas tank may not be solid, he seems to always push through exhaustion. Something that I’ve noticed hits Striegl sooner than Skelly. Which could be problematic, especially considering I expect this fight to heavily feature grappling. The one area where Striegl could of taken advantage in this fight is his striking, but it’s not something he thrives with. So with all that said, I predict that Skelly wins via late submission.


135 lbs.: Mario Bautista vs. Jay Perrin- The Bantamweight division plays host to a fun scrap, as Mario Bautista welcomes UFC newcomer Jay Perrin. Looking to rebound, Bautista will try to put his knockout defeat to Trevin Jones behind him. A fight where Bautista looked good early, but was just caught by a heavy shot. Previous to the loss, Bautista had won two straight, including a knockout victory over Miles Johns. Meanwhile, Perrin will make his UFC debut on three days notice. A former Dana White’s Contender Series competitor, Perrin will look to prove that he is UFC caliber. A winner of two straight and seven of his last eight, Perrin heads into his debut with momentum.

As for a prediction, I have Bautista winning. While Perrin looks to be a competitor with some good offensive wrestling and cardio, the short notice nature of the fight combined with some of his weaknesses lean me to Bautista. To me, Perrin just seems to lack takedown defense, his striking isn’t crisp and he doesn’t have much in terms of power. While Perrin doesn’t have to worry about takedowns, he does have to worry about Bautista’s striking output. Averaging nearly 6 significant strikes per minute, Bautista does a good job being active. So with all that said, I predict that Bautista wins via decision.

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115 lbs.: Diana Belbita vs. Gloria de Paula – In the women’s Strawweight division, we have a showdown between Diana Belbita and Gloria de Paula. Coming off her first UFC victory, Belbita will look to make it two straight inside the octagon. Having lost two fights prior, Belbita was able to finally showcase her striking abilities in a winning effort. Meanwhile, de Paula will seek to move past her recent knockout defeat. A fight where de Paula was caught by a perfectly timed head kick while getting up from the mat. A tough blow for de Paula who still is looking for her first UFC win. Perhaps, the third times the charm.

As for a prediction, I have Belbita winning. I’m actually pleasantly surprised that the odds indicate this is a near pick’em fight. I believe that Belbita is not only better everywhere, but is a significantly better striker. Being that striking, more specifically Muay-Thai is a strength of de Paula, I’d say she’s in for a tough night at the office. Belbita may be hittable, but so is de Paula. The area where Belbita takes the cake, is simply output. Belbita is landing 6.72 significant strikes per minutes. In de Paula’s two UFC fights, she’s landing a mere 2.25 significant strikes per minute. The activity is going to be a major factor in this fight and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a late finish here. However, I predict that Belbita wins via a dominant decision.

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135 lbs.: Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Stephanie Egger – We ourselves a clash in the Women’s Bantamweight division, as Jessica-Rose Clark takes on Stephanie Egger. Having battled injuries, Clark will make her fourth appearance in the last 43 months. A winner of two straight fights, the former Flyweight is coming back into her own at Bantamweight. Meanwhile, Egger is coming off her first UFC victory. A fight in which her grappling and ground-and-pound looked fantastic. Looking to make it two straight, Egger will have to rise up to tougher competition in Clark.

As for a prediction, I have Clark winning. While Egger showed off her grappling abilities in her most recent fight, the striking is just not there yet. There are certain fights you can get away with a limited game, this however is not one of them. Clark has shown off improved wrestling to go along with her already crisp striking. Training with Daniel Cormier’s wrestling team for this training camp, we may see an ever better version of Clark. However, Clark may only need her wrestling to keep Egger off of her, as the Aussie is clearly the better striker. With that said, I predict that Clark will win via decision.


135 lbs.: Chad Anheliger vs. Jesse Strader – The curtain jerker comes in the Bantamweight division, as UFC newcomer Chad Anheliger takes on Jesse Strader. Not many fighters earn contracts from Dana White’s Contender series after a split decision victory. However, Anheliger did. In fight where he showcased well rounded abilities and a will to win, Anheliger pulled off an upset and earned himself a contract. With nine consecutive wins, Anheliger heads into his UFC debut with excellent momentum. Meanwhile, Strader will look to put his unsuccessful UFC debut behind him, as he makes his second appearance inside the octagon. With only seven professional fights, Strader is relatively green. However, he has proven to be a finisher, as he has finished four of his five victories.

As for a prediction, I have Anheliger winning. As the second biggest favorite on the card, I’d have to agree that this is his fight to lose. Strader is inexperienced and hasn’t defeated anyone notable. In fact, his five wins have come against opponents with a combined 10-8 record. While Strader’s UFC debut seemed like an impossible task, he landed some excellent leg kicks and body strikes. The problem is his chin and durability. Having previously been dropped twice and finished by Marcelo Rojo, only to have the same done in his UFC debut by Montel Jackson, there seems to be an issue with withstanding punishment. Given Anheliger has a knack for finishing fights, winning six by knockout and three submissions, I’d say Strader is in trouble. The other thing I’ll say, Anheliger has only been stopped by submission and not since his last defeat nearly eight years ago. So with that said, I predict that Anheliger will win by TKO.

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