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Full Boat! Complete UFC Adelaide ‘Prelims’ Undercard Predictions, Preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to both UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sat., Dec. 1, 2018) when UFC Fight Night 142: “dos Santos vs. Tuivasa” storms Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Adelaide, Australia. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg delivers a complete UFC Fight Night 142 “Prelims” undercard preview, including fight picks, below.

Tai Tuivasa, Australia’s Heavyweight hopeful, faces his stiffest test to date this Saturday (Dec. 1, 2018) when the unbeaten Shoey welcomes former Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos to Adelaide “Down Under.” Local favorites Mark Hunt and Tyson Pedro get top billing as well, squaring off with Heavyweight prospect Justin Willis and the legendary Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, respectively.

Seeing as we’ve got a packed weekend (Bellator 210, TUF 28 Finale and Wilder vs. Fury), we’re cramming all of UFC Fight Night 142’s “Prelims” undercard predictions into one post. Gotta keep things efficient, you know.

UFC FOX Sports 1 ‘Prelims’ (8 p.m. ET start time)

170 lbs.: Alexey Kunchenko vs. Yushin Okami

Russia’s Alexey Kunchenko (19-0) successfully defended his M-1 Welterweight title four times before making the jump to UFC in September, taking on Thiago Alves in Moscow. Despite a strong effort from the former title challenger, “Wolverine” took home a unanimous decision, snapping a two-fight knockout streak in the process.

He has knocked out 13 opponents as a professional.

Yushin Okami (35-11) returned to the Octagon after four years away in Sept. 2017, moving up in weight to face Ovince Saint Preux on short notice. Though he succumbed to “OSP’s” signature Von Flue choke, “Thunder” successfully returned to Welterweight in April with a decision over Dhiego Lima.

He is four inches taller than the 5’10” Kunchenko.

I’ve been an Okami faithful for many years now, but there’s a lot of mileage on those tires. “Thunder’s” wrestling and southpaw jab have lost their potency and he’s more fragile than ever. Even if this wasn’t a nightmarish style match up, I’d be worried about him.

Unfortunately, it’s a nightmarish style match up.

Kunchenko is a close-quarters bruiser whose punching power far exceeds Okami’s ability to withstand it. Okami’s only area of superiority is his top game, but he’ll need to engage Kunchenko on the inside to do it, which will end extremely poorly. Kunchenko blasts him out midway through the first.

Prediction: Kunchenko via first-round technical knockout

125 lbs.: Wilson Reis vs. Ben Nguyen

A 5-1 run at Flyweight earned Wilson Reis (22-9) a crack at Demetrious Johnson, who handed the Brazilian the first submission loss of his career. He went on to fall to Henry Cejudo’s punches, then lost a competitive decision to John Moraga in April.

He is one inch shorter than Ben Nguyen (17-7), though their reaches are identical.

“Ben 10” rebounded from his loss to Louis Smolka with wins over Geane Herrera and Tim Elliott, the latter of which earned him “Performance of the Night.” He couldn’t do the same to Jussier Formiga, who clipped him with a spinning back fist and finished him off with a rear-naked choke.

Eight of his 13 wins have come by (technical) knockout.

Nguyen’s issues with Formiga — a stud grappler with sneakily good striking — paint a grim picture of his chances against Reis, another stud grappler with sneakily good striking. That said, Reis struggled to implement his grappling against Moraga, a notoriously poor defensive wrestler, and his habit of getting dropped once a fight bodes ill against one of the division’s hardest punchers.

Moraga overcame Reis with aggression, speed and power, all of which Nguyen has in spades. Reis just doesn’t have the durability to bully his way through Nguyen’s power shots to bring his jiu-jitsu to bear. Reis hits the deck early, as he usually does, but Nguyen won’t let him back up.

Prediction: Nguyen via first-round technical knockout

170 lbs.: Keita Nakamura vs. Salim Touahri

It took him seven years, but Keita Nakamura (33-9-2) made his Octagon return in 2015 after an unsuccessful first run, submitting Li Jingliang to earn “Fight of the Night.” He has since alternated losses and wins, most recently dropping a decision to Prelim headliner Tony Martin in Atlantic City.

He will have one inch of height and reach on Poland’s Salim Touahri (10-2).

Touahri rode a five-fight win streak, which included four knockouts, into his short-notice UFC debut against TUF: “Brazil” veteran Warlley Alves. “Grizzly” struggled to get his offense going against the Brazilian, ultimately losing a unanimous decision.

This will be his first fight in more than one year, as injury scrapped a planned May bout with Brad Scott.

Nakamura is maddeningly inconsistent, but his grappling is no joke. Aside from his back-and-forth battle with Elizeu Zaleski, which could have gone his way, his issues have come against big, physical grapplers. Against Touahri, a striker without the firepower to crack Nakamura’s jaw, “K-Taro” should have considerably more success.

Of course, this is moot if Nakamura just decides to trade on the feet without bringing his grappling prowess to bear. Unwise though it may be, I’ll say he takes the obvious route, dragging Touahri to the mat and ultimately locking up his favored rear-naked choke.

Prediction: Nakamura via second-round submission

135 lbs.: Kai Kara-France vs. Elias Garcia

Kai Kara-France (17-7) — ranked No. 9 on TUF 24 — crushed Terrence Mitchell via 30-second knockout in the opening episode before losing to top-seeded Alexandre Pantoja in the quarterfinals. Though he lost a decision to Tatsumitsu Wada in his first post-TUF appearance, he went on to win five straight and earn a crack at the Octagon proper.

He has scored seven professional knockouts, including five in a row at one point.

Roufusport’s Elias Garcia (6-1) returned from 2.5 years away in 2017 to rattle off three more victories, among them a knockout of TUF veteran Adam Antolin. He made his Octagon debut four months later against Mark De La Rosa, who choked him out in Boise.

He replaces the injured Ashkan Mokhtarian on short notice.

Kara-France had a gimme fight against Mokhtarian, who isn’t anywhere near UFC-caliber, but he should still find success against Garcia. The latter has yet to develop the strong wrestling he needs to implement his excellent top game, and Kara-France has plenty of experience dealing with top-notch grapplers.

That just leaves the striking, where Kara-France’s power and experience far outstrip Garcia’s. Garcia is just too green at this point outside his area of expertise, which Kara-France won’t allow him to implement. Chalk one up for New Zealand as “Don’t Blink” puts away Garcia with an early right hand.

Prediction: Kara-France via first-round technical knockout


UFC Fight Pass ‘Prelims’ (7 p.m. ET start time)

155 lbs.: Mizuto Hirota vs. Christos Giagos

Mizuto Hirota (18-9-2) reached The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Japan” Finale, surviving a rough start to fight Teruto Ishihara to a split draw. He has since lost consecutive decisions to Alexander Volkanovski and Ross Pearson, returning to Lightweight for the first time in five years against the latter.

“Pugnus” is three inches shorter and will give up 4.5 inches of reach to Christos Giagos (15-7).

“The Spartan” went 1-2 in his initial Octagon run, then suffered a knockout loss to Josh Emmett upon his return to the regional circuit. He went on to win four of his next five bouts, heralding a return to UFC, but tapped to a Charles Oliveira rear-naked choke in September.

He has knocked out seven professional opponents and submitted another three.

This will boil down to the scrambling and dynamic offense of Giagos against the boxing and clinchwork of Hirota. Giagos has the fancier striking, but a history of submission losses, while Hirota is an iron-tough boxer and takedown artist who’s consistently fallen short against top competition.

Not easy to get a bead on the outcome.

Hirota’s durability may be what decides this, as Giagos constantly has to worry about overcommitting to blows that won’t put away “Pugnus.” This could go either way, but the sentimental part of me says Hirota finally gets a break, eking out a split decision with good punching and top control.

Prediction: Hirota via split decision

155 lbs.: Damir Ismagulov vs. Alex Gorgees

Damir Ismagulov (16-2) — the first Kazakh to enter the Octagon — rides an 11-fight win streak into his Saturday debut. The run saw him knockout Maxim Divnich for the M-1 Lightweight title in 2017 and successfully defend it three times.

He is four inches shorter than the 6’2” Alex Gorgees (7-0).

Representing Australian Top Team, Gorgees went 4-1 as an amateur before joining the pros in 2016. He’s since racked up three (T)KO victories and two submissions, avenging his sole amateur loss along the way. He replaces Joe Duffy on a week’s notice.

Gorgees has the stopping power to back up his arrogant style, but like the Mokhtarian brothers, who run his gym, his record is built on garbage. He’s fought just two opponents with winning records, both of whom were in the midst of slumps. Not so Ismagulov, who’s faced a constant stream of solid competition on the Russian scene.

Like I said, though, Gorgees can hit, and he’ll have the edge in length. Even with that, Ismagulov is just a step too far, and this fight shouldn’t last long once the Kazakh drags Gorgees to the mat and starts punching.

Prediction: Ismagulov via second-round technical knockout

Heads will be knocked at UFC Fight Night 142 this weekend … I can assure you. See you Saturday, Maniacs!

Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 142 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET (also on FOX Sports 1).

Current UFC “Prelims” Prediction Record for 2018: 167-76-1

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Watch WBKFF 1: ‘Baroni Vs. Leben’ Full Fight Video Highlights!

The inaugural World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF) event set sail earlier tonight (Fri., Nov. 9, 2810) live on FITE.TV and pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Casper Events Center in Casper, Wyoming, as former UFC fighters Phil Baroni and Chris Leben square off in the main event at WBKFF 1.

In addition to the headlining bloodbath, former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks will look to revitalize his own combat career when he takes on late-filler Dakota Cochrane. Other notable combatants include Josh Neer, Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Jay Cucciniello, and Julian Lane.

In case you miss any of the action MMA Mania will be delivering comprehensive highlights below. As for the main event, that can be seen above as Leben put a brutal stop to Baroni in the very first round.

Former UFC champion Johny Hendricks was simply obliterated by this Dakota Cochrane right hand:

Christina Marks went to work on Jasmine Clarkson’s eye in the second round of their bantamweight clash.

Check out this barbaric finish by South African striker Leon Mynhardt:

Former UFC fighter Josh “The Dentist” Neer put a beating on Mike Alderete before a stoppage in between rounds.

This second-round body shot finish by Isaac Vallie-Flagg against Cory Simpson was absolutely brutal:

Here is some bare knuckle action from the five-round war between Joey Munoz and Marcelo Alfaya:

Check out this first-round TKO finish by heavyweight bruiser C.J. Leveque:

Here is the first knockout of the night as Fred Pierce lays into Jeff Chiffens with a nasty right hand one minute into the first round:

For complete WBKFF 1: ‘Baroni vs. Leben’ results and coverage click here.

MMAmania.com – All Posts

Watch WBKFF 1: ‘Baroni Vs. Leben’ Full Fight Video Highlights!

The inaugural World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF) event set sail earlier tonight (Fri., Nov. 9, 2810) live on FITE.TV and pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Casper Events Center in Casper, Wyoming, as former UFC fighters Phil Baroni and Chris Leben square off in the main event at WBKFF 1.

In addition to the headlining bloodbath, former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks will look to revitalize his own combat career when he takes on late-filler Dakota Cochrane. Other notable combatants include Josh Neer, Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Jay Cucciniello, and Julian Lane.

In case you miss any of the action MMA Mania will be delivering comprehensive highlights below:

Here is the first knockout of the night as Fred Pierce lays into Jeff Chiffens with a nasty right hand one minute into the first round:

Check out this first-round TKO finish by heavyweight bruiser C.J. Leveque:

For complete WBKFF 1: ‘Baroni vs. Leben’ results and coverage click here.

MMAmania.com – All Posts

The Conor McGregor Circus Is in Full Swing

UFC 229 y’all. Conor McGregor versus Khabib Nurmagomedov. Just a few days away, so already the McGregor circus is in full swing.

Yesterday it was the pre-fight press conference, and as usual McGregor arrived late. So late, in fact, that Khabib didn’t want to wait. In lieu of sitting on stage acting irritated and bored, he just started answering questions. And he didn’t bother waiting around – he left before McGregor even showed up.

When McGregor finally appeared, it was pretty much everything we’ve come to know and love about the man. So many gems and interesting things emanated from his mouth…

Perhaps one of the shiniest of the gems was his accusations toward Khabib’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz. Heck, even the Washington Post latched onto that one!

Once Conor McGregor eventually arrived at Thursday’s news conference to promote his showdown with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, he engaged in plenty of his familiar bravado and trash-talking. However, this time McGregor’s verbal jabs weren’t just aimed at his opponent in Saturday’s megafight, but also the Russian lightweight champion’s manager.

Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, is a “[expletive] snitch terrorist rat,” said McGregor.

The Irishman went on to claim that Abdelaziz had been “pulled off a flight” from Cairo to New York on Sept. 11, 2001, and was “caught with five passports in his possession.” Abdelaziz “turned informant and turned on the people he was working with,” McGregor said, adding, “I don’t even know why that man is in this [expletive] country.”

McGregor had previously targeted Abdelaziz during a UFC 229 promotional event last month in New York, yelling, “You terrorist snitch!” at the Egypt native. McGregor added at the time, “I know a lot about you as well, you mad rat.”

Few people in the world have McGregor’s gift of gab.

Here’s some of yesterday’s greatest hits:

The post The Conor McGregor Circus Is in Full Swing appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

The Conor McGregor Circus Is in Full Swing

UFC 229 y’all. Conor McGregor versus Khabib Nurmagomedov. Just a few days away, so already the McGregor circus is in full swing.

Yesterday it was the pre-fight press conference, and as usual McGregor arrived late. So late, in fact, that Khabib didn’t want to wait. In lieu of sitting on stage acting irritated and bored, he just started answering questions. And he didn’t bother waiting around – he left before McGregor even showed up.

When McGregor finally appeared, it was pretty much everything we’ve come to know and love about the man. So many gems and interesting things emanated from his mouth…

Perhaps one of the shiniest of the gems was his accusations toward Khabib’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz. Heck, even the Washington Post latched onto that one!

Once Conor McGregor eventually arrived at Thursday’s news conference to promote his showdown with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, he engaged in plenty of his familiar bravado and trash-talking. However, this time McGregor’s verbal jabs weren’t just aimed at his opponent in Saturday’s megafight, but also the Russian lightweight champion’s manager.

Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, is a “[expletive] snitch terrorist rat,” said McGregor.

The Irishman went on to claim that Abdelaziz had been “pulled off a flight” from Cairo to New York on Sept. 11, 2001, and was “caught with five passports in his possession.” Abdelaziz “turned informant and turned on the people he was working with,” McGregor said, adding, “I don’t even know why that man is in this [expletive] country.”

McGregor had previously targeted Abdelaziz during a UFC 229 promotional event last month in New York, yelling, “You terrorist snitch!” at the Egypt native. McGregor added at the time, “I know a lot about you as well, you mad rat.”

Few people in the world have McGregor’s gift of gab.

Here’s some of yesterday’s greatest hits:

The post The Conor McGregor Circus Is in Full Swing appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

The Conor McGregor Circus Is in Full Swing

UFC 229 y’all. Conor McGregor versus Khabib Nurmagomedov. Just a few days away, so already the McGregor circus is in full swing.

Yesterday it was the pre-fight press conference, and as usual McGregor arrived late. So late, in fact, that Khabib didn’t want to wait. In lieu of sitting on stage acting irritated and bored, he just started answering questions. And he didn’t bother waiting around – he left before McGregor even showed up.

When McGregor finally appeared, it was pretty much everything we’ve come to know and love about the man. So many gems and interesting things emanated from his mouth…

Perhaps one of the shiniest of the gems was his accusations toward Khabib’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz. Heck, even the Washington Post latched onto that one!

Once Conor McGregor eventually arrived at Thursday’s news conference to promote his showdown with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, he engaged in plenty of his familiar bravado and trash-talking. However, this time McGregor’s verbal jabs weren’t just aimed at his opponent in Saturday’s megafight, but also the Russian lightweight champion’s manager.

Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, is a “[expletive] snitch terrorist rat,” said McGregor.

The Irishman went on to claim that Abdelaziz had been “pulled off a flight” from Cairo to New York on Sept. 11, 2001, and was “caught with five passports in his possession.” Abdelaziz “turned informant and turned on the people he was working with,” McGregor said, adding, “I don’t even know why that man is in this [expletive] country.”

McGregor had previously targeted Abdelaziz during a UFC 229 promotional event last month in New York, yelling, “You terrorist snitch!” at the Egypt native. McGregor added at the time, “I know a lot about you as well, you mad rat.”

Few people in the world have McGregor’s gift of gab.

Here’s some of yesterday’s greatest hits:

The post The Conor McGregor Circus Is in Full Swing appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

Darren Till Remains Full of Confidence Despite Lopsided Loss at UFC 228

Darren Till entered his title fight against Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight king Tyron Woodley at UFC 228 last month full of confidence, and that confidence remains undiminished despite his in-cage setback.
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Predictions! Full Bellator 204 Main Card Preview For ‘Caldwell Vs. Lahat’

Noad Lahat

Bellator 204: “Caldwell vs. Lahat” takes place tomorrow night (Fri., Aug. 17, 2018) at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. With no other contenders on the horizon for awhile at Bantamweight, a unique non-title fight has emerged for the main event pitting two men with 12 wins each against each other for pride and glory.

Let’s break it down:

145 lbs.: Darrion Caldwell (12-1) vs. Noad Lahat (12-3)

When Darrion Caldwell walks into the Sanford Pentagon the crowd can chant “The Champ Is Here” like Jadakiss. With only one blemish on his record for his entire professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career — contested almost entirely inside the Bellator cage — Caldwell is a homegrown Bantamweight champion. He made it look it easy by wrestling Eduardo Dantas to defeat at Bellator 184, then made it look even easier with a first round finish of Leandro Higo in March. Caldwell has put such a stamp on his weight class that for the moment — at least — there’s literally nowhere to go but up.

That makes Israeli fighter Noad Lahat the man of the hour for his second main event in a row. With a 3-1 record in Bellator’s competitive Featherweight division, Lahat is certainly on the rise toward a title shot somewhere down the road. Even though he was born in Petah Tikva he fights out of American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, already well known as one of MMA’s elite stomping grounds for current and future world champions. Lahat has scored submissions in 50 percent of his wins (six out of 12) and — given that Caldwell’s lone loss comes via a guillotine choke — that has to give Lahat a lot of confidence going into this fight.

That’s the good news for Lahat. Now, here’s the bad news: Even though he’s a naturally strong and stocky 145-pound fighter, he gives up both height (5’9” vs. 5’10”) and reach (69” to 74”) to Caldwell. “The Wolf” has always been an incredibly tall drink at Bantamweight, so going up for this fight is simply a matter of cutting less weight, which may if anything make him stronger and faster. Caldwell is also in the habit of training for five rounds, but here he can dump his gas tank quicker for a non-title fight. Even though Caldwell only has one knockout versus five submissions, his striking technique and reach are what can rock the bells of opponents to make them vulnerable to a finish. If it doesn’t come the decorated collegiate champion can double Lahat to the ground over and over to grind out a win.

Final prediction: Darrion Caldwell wins via unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Logan Storley (8-0) vs. A.J. Matthews (9-7)

This fight isn’t necessarily as lopsided as their pro MMA records may indicate. Veteran experience benefits Matthews as he’s had twice as many fights at 30 as the younger Storley has at 25. Matthews has also been on the wrong end of a few split decisions, including a fight with Andre Fialho that could have gone either way. After an emotional win over his friend Kendall Grove, Matthews has proved himself ready for this fight, but Storley is as blue chip a wrestler as they come and learned from one of the best as both an amateur and a “pro.” Matthews does have some stopping power (six knockouts), but we haven’t seen it since 2014, and Storley is what Jim Ross would call a “hoss” — he’s got thick, stocky strength straight off the farm in Webster, S.D., with six knockouts. Matthews is a good test of his potential.

Final prediction: Logan Storley wins via technical knockout

135 lbs.: James Gallagher (7-0) vs. Ricky Bandejas (10-1)

Bandejas comes to Bellator straight out of Cage Fury Fighting Championship (CFFC) in New Jersey. The former CFFC interim champion boasts a 10-1 record with three knockouts and three submissions. By now you know “The Strabanimal” Gallagher, but if you need a refresher he’s a training partner of Conor McGregor out of Straight Blast Gym (SBG) in Dublin, Ireland, submitting all but one opponent he has faced. Gallagher is so young (21) that he can only be getting better with age, and that’s a scary prospect for nearly every Featherweight out there — only he’s going the opposite direction of Caldwell and cutting to 135 pounds. He’ll still be the bigger man at 5’9” vs. 5’7,” so if he doesn’t have a difficult drawn out weight cut this is his fight to lose, although Bandejas didn’t sign a multi-fight deal just to be anyone’s stepping stone.

Final prediction: James Gallagher via majority decision

145 lbs.: Tywan Claxton (2-0) vs. Cris Lencioni (4-1)

Featherweight prospects get a nice share of the main card spotlight on the same night as Gallagher thanks to this bout. Tywan Claxton’s nickname is “Speedy” although only one of his professional wins was “fast” per se — his flying knee knockout of Jonny Bonilla-Bowman at Bellator 186. That highlight reel finish gained him some viral fame and a bigger push from Bellator though, so he’ll get another fight with a slightly more experienced man. If Claxton keeps it standing he should score the win whether or not he makes the highlight reel again.

Final prediction: Tywan Claxton via unanimous decision

That’s a wrap!

MMAmania.com will deliver coverage of Bellator 204 tomorrow with Paramount Network fights starting at 9 p.m. ET. To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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Full Boat! Complete UFC 226 ‘Prelims’ Undercard Predictions, Preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to both UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sat., July 7, 2018) when UFC 226: “Miocic vs. Cormier” storms T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg delivers a complete UFC 226 “Prelims” undercard preview, including fight picks, below.

For the first time since B.J. Penn squared off with Georges St-Pierre for the second time way back in 2009, two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champions with actual title defenses will duke it out this Saturday (July 7, 2018) as Heavyweight kingpin Stipe Miocic welcomes Light Heavyweight roost-ruler Daniel Cormier back to the division where he got his start. Meanwhile, 120 pounds below, Featherweight champion Max Holloway squares off with the surging Brian Ortega in UFC 226’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, while Derrick Lewis gets his long-awaited grudge match with Francis Ngannou.

We’ve got seven “Prelims” undercard matches that will first set the stage inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, with three on Fight Pass and the rest on FOX Sports 1. Because this is a double fight week — The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 27 Finale takes place the night before — we’ve crammed them all into one post.


FOX SPORTS 1 ‘Prelims’ (8 p.m. ET start time)

185 lbs.: Paulo Costa vs. Uriah Hall

Paulo Costa (11-0) — the martial artist formerly known as “Borrachinha” — bounced back from an unsuccessful TUF: “Brazil” 2 run to win and defend the Jungle Fight Middleweight title. He has been every bit as successful in UFC, smashing Garreth McLellan, Oluwale Bamgbose and Johny Hendricks in his 2017 campaign.

He has never gone past 1:23 into the second round as a professional, knocking out 10 opponents and submitting one other.

Uriah Hall’s (13-8) ridiculous upset of Gegard Mousasi gave way to three consecutive losses, including first-round (technical) knockouts against Brunson and the aforementioned Mousasi in the rematch. Down on the cards and with his back against the wall, “Primetime” knocked out Krzysztof Jotko to win “Performance of the Night” and keep his Octagon career afloat.

These two were originally slated to fight in April before Costa suffered a biceps injury.

We all know how it goes at this point. Hall has the potential to knockout anyone in the division at any time, but it is beyond foolhardy to put any faith in his ability to execute against competent Middleweight competition. This is a guy who lost to Josh Howard and then went on to knockout Mousasi, a feat multiple world champions and quality Heavyweight kickboxers have failed to accomplish.

Costa is young, huge, incredibly powerful and seemed to have solid cardio in his two trips to the second round. The obvious outcome sees him pressure Hall against the cage and blast him with hooks for the finish as Chris Weidman and the aforementioned Brunson did. Barring another Hall miracle, that’s my call.

Prediction: Costa via first-round technical knockout

170 lbs.: Paul Felder vs. Mike Perry

Paul Felder (15-3) is 5-1 since consecutive losses to Edson Barboza and Ross Peason, securing three consecutive (technical) knockout victories. He was originally slated to fight James Vick in Boise, Idaho, but answered the call when Vick got called up to face Justin Gaethje and Yancy Medeiros busted a rib.

“The Irish Dragon” has knocked out 10 opponents and submitted one other.

Mike Perry’s (11-3) thunderous knockouts of Jake Ellenberger and Alex Reyes put him within spitting distance of title contention, only for Santiago Ponzinibbio to out-slug him in a grueling affair. He returned two months later against Max Griffin in what looked to be a rebound fight, but “Max Pain” defied considerable odds to pick Perry apart and secure a decision.

Seven of his 11 knockout wins have come in the first round.

Perry has all the tools to be a truly standout Welterweight, boasting hellacious power, hand speed and physicality, but his technique isn’t advancing the way it should. While losses to Alan Jouban and Santiago Ponzinibbio are understandable, Griffin is someone he should have destroyed. Felder is durable enough, adaptable enough, and versatile enough on the feet to recreate Griffin’s winning effort.

There is the concern of Felder being unable to stand up to the power of a genuine Welterweight, but he has absorbed blows from quality finishers like Edson Barboza and Daron Cruickshank without flinching. I have faith in his ability to steer clear of Perry’s bombs and pick him apart for a decision win.

Prediction: Felder via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Raphael Assuncao vs. Rob Font

It hasn’t always been the prettiest of affairs, but Raphael Assuncao (26-5) is 10-1 since his knockout loss to Erik Koch, beating the likes of T.J. Dillashaw, Bryan Caraway, Aljamain Sterling and Marlon Moraes, among others. His latest win was the most eye-catching yet, a brutal one-punch knockout of Matthew Lopez that earned the Brazilian his first post-fight bonus since 2013.

He is three inches shorter than Rob Font (15-3) and will give up five inches of reach.

Font scored brutal finishes in four of his first five UFC appearances and looked poised for another win in Oct. 2017, but succumbed to Pedro Munhoz’s infamous guillotine late in the first round. Against another dangerous foe in Thomas Almeida, Font survived a competitive first round to drop and stop “Thominhas” in Boston.

Font has knocked out seven opponents and submitted another four.

Well, if there’s anyone outside of Cody Garbrandt and John Lineker who could drag a great fight out of Assuncao, it’s Font. Dangerously powerful and aggressive, he’s everything you’d want in a young fighter. For all that destructive potential, though, I’m not convinced he’s sharp enough to take the Brazilian out of his comfort zone. Assuncao’s counterpunching is some of the best in the division — only Dillashaw and the incredibly adaptive Moraes have been able to consistently land on him without taking more in return. Based on what I’ve seen, he can slow this fight to his pace and consistently punish Font’s aggression.

I’m pulling for Font, as he’s exponentially more entertaining, but I say Assuncao picks him off enough to take a controversial decision.

Prediction: Assuncao by unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Max Griffin vs. Curtis Millender (15-3)

Max Griffin (14-4) — after splitting bouts with Colby Covington and Erick Montano — threw down with Elizeu Zaleski at UFC Fight Night 119, coming up short on the cards but securing a $ 50,000 bonus for his troubles. Four months later, “Max Pain” took a wholly unexpected decision over Mike Perry, whom he outclassed on the feet.

Half of his pro wins have come by form of knockout.

The early 1-3 skid for Curtis Millender’s (15-3) didn’t stop him from winning six straight afterward, including solid victories in LFA. His Octagon debut pitted him against Thiago Alves, whom he caught with a vicious knee in the final minute of the second round.

“Curtious” stands four inches taller than Griffin at 6’3.”

Griffin impressed pretty much everyone against Perry, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him shut down “Curtious,” but this looks like a rough match up for him. In addition to the height disadvantage, Griffin is fairly easy to hit and got knocked down more than once against Zaleski. It’s also worth noting that his arsenal doesn’t prominently feature takedowns or low kicks, which are Millender’s key weaknesses.

Without the tools to get inside on Millender or make him hesitate on those long kicks, Griffin is going to struggle to bring his heavy hands to bear. Millender finds the mark with a head kick partway through the second round.

Prediction: Millender via second-round knockout


UFC Fight Pass ‘Prelims’ (6:30 p.m. ET start time)

155 lbs.: Gilbert Burns vs. Dan Hooker

Gilbert Burns’ (13-2) Brazilian jiu-jitsu pedigree earned him quite a bit of attention when he joined UFC and he lived up to the hype with wins in his first three Octagon appearances. A 1-2 stretch slowed his roll, but he has smashed his way back into contention with crushing knockouts of Jason Saggo and Dan Moret.

Burns has submitted seven professional foes, four by armbar, and knocked out another five.

After an inconsistent run at Featherweight, Dan Hooker (16-7) has reinvented himself as a Lightweight contender with three impressive finishes. He opened his 155-pound run with a knee knockout of Ross Pearson, submitted Marc Diakiese soon after, and went back to the basics with another savage knee against Jim Miller.

He will have two inches of height, four inches of reach, and three inches of leg reach on “Durinho.”

Hooker has looked like a new man at 155 pounds, discarding his face-first brawling in favor of a varied, tricky offense. Burns has looked ferocious as well, but I’m not sure energy-intensive headhunting is the best approach against the iron-jawed Kiwi. Hooker is notoriously durable and has gotten out from under ace grapplers like Hatsu Hioki in the past.

If he’d showed a better jab and more blended wrestling, I’d take Burns over most of the division. As is, while he’ll get plenty of highlight-reel finishes, the stylistic match up isn’t in his favor — Hooker is just too damn tough to get rid of and too sharp with his game planning. Heavy knees and straight punches keep the hard-charging Burns at bay for 15 minutes.

Prediction: Hooker via unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Lando Vannata vs. Drakkar Klose

Lando Vannata (9-2) opened his UFC career with a near-upset of Tony Ferguson, dropping “El Cucuy” with a head kick before ultimately tapping to a d’arce choke. His Octagon career since has been inconsistent but entertaining, as he has gone 1-1-1 and earned three post-fight bonuses.

He has knocked out and submitted four professional foes apiece.

Drakkar Klose (8-1-1) — fighting out of The MMA Lab — defeated “Lookin’ for a Fight” product Devin Powell in his Octagon debut before using powerful leg kicks to upset Marc Diakiese. He had less success against David Teymur, who shut down his wrestling and picked him apart at range.

He will give up an inch of height and 2.5 inches of reach to the “Groovy” one.

Vannata is a match for anyone in the division in the first round. The reason he’s sitting on a losing UFC record despite his obvious skills is his inability to pace himself. That said, he still gave David Teymur a much tougher fight than Klose did and his slickster stylings seem well-equipped to shutting down Klose’s straightforward offense.

Klose will struggle to keep Vannata on the fence, isn’t a sufficiently overpowering wrestler to take him down in the center of the cage, and doesn’t have the power to put him away. Vannata banks at least two rounds with nifty long-range striking before fading enough for Klose to start connecting.

Prediction: Vannata via unanimous decision

115 lbs.: Emily Whitmire vs. Jamie Moyle

Representing Team Justin Gaethje on TUF 26, Emily Whitmire (2-2) submitted Christina Marks in 40 seconds before falling to Roxanne Modafferi in the quarterfinals. Her woes continued at the Finale, which saw her tap to a Gillian Robertson submission in little more than two minutes.

She is five inches taller than Jamie Moyle (4-2), but will give up two inches of reach.

Moyle likewise went 1-1 in her TUF run, beating Alyssa Krahn in the elimination round of TUF 23 before falling to eventual finalist Amanda Cooper. Things have been similarly up-and-down in the Octagon, defeating Kailin Curran in her Octagon debut and losing to Viviane Pereira six months later.

This will be her first fight in 13 months because of injury.

Whitmire’s two professional victories came over opponents who were 0-0 and 2-7. She was a Strawweight before moving to 125 pounds for TUF, so she shouldn’t have much of a weight advantage. She has been submitted twice as a professional and got ground-and-pounded into the dirt on TUF.

That said, you can see why I’m not picking her over a capable wrestler.

Moyle has faced much stronger competition and has the stylistic edge to overcome the height disadvantage. She outstrikes, outwrestles and outgrapples Whitmire for up to 15 minutes.

Prediction: Moyle via unanimous decision

UFC 226 will feature two incredible world title fights, a grudge match, and the return of Gokhan Saki. If that’s not worth your money, I don’t know what is. See you Saturday, Maniacs!

Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 226 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

Current UFC “Prelims” Prediction Record for 2018: 86-40

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Edwards Vs. Cerrone Full Fight Video Highlights

Leon Edwards extended his current win streak to six earlier today (Sat., June 23, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 132 live on Fight Pass from inside Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore, when he defeated Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision in the main event.

Edwards controlled most of the fight. He was stronger inside and landed the more meaningful shots over the course of five rounds, including some vicious body kicks and slicing elbows inside. “Cowboy” would battle back in the later frames and land his own offense, but it just wasn’t enough to edge out “Rocky” on the scorecards.

In the end, it was Edwards who walked away with the unanimous decision win, leaving a bloodied Cerrone with his fourth loss in his last five fights.

Check out below for some of the most memorable action from Edwards’ main event clash with Cerrone:

With this performance, Edwards captures the biggest victory of his career thus far and pushes himself further up the 170-pound ladder. The UFC’s welterweight division is one of the most jam-packed factions around, but six in a row should put the 26-year-old Englishman in good position to contend among the elite heading into the second half of 2018.

For complete UFC Singapore results and coverage click here.

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