This will be the PPV of the flyweights. The 125lbs men and women are on show tomorrow and I can’t wait to see the most underappreciated fighters in the UFC main event and co-main a PPV.
Brandon Moreno vs Brandon Royval – Flyweight Division
I don’t do predictions for prelims, but this fight is too good for me not to say something about it. To be honest, I don’t know why this isn’t actually on the main card as we have two of the biggest flyweights in the world right now competing. Coming into this ‘no.1 contender’ fight Royval is 12-4 in his MMA career, I counted Royval out in his last fight at UFC 253 and I won’t make that mistake this time. His submission game is elite and he has an unorthodox style of striking that takes time for his opponents to understand. Moreno is simply good everywhere, he reminds me of Robert Whittaker in that aspect as there are no real weaknesses to his game. This is such a tough fight to predict as I can picture both guys winning. However, I’m going with a Moreno victory by decision.
Mauricio Rua vs Paul Craig – Light Heavyweight Division
The first fight between these two, ended with a draw so it’s only right we get the long-awaited rematch. Rua comes into this fight 27-11-1 and is one of the greatest strikers of all time. I think the best way to break this down is to look at their previous fight where Craig looked much faster and much more athletic than Rua. His ability to control distance, especially in round one was what gave him a 10-8 round in the eyes of one of the judges. Of course in the second round ‘Shogun’ was able to take down ‘Bearjew’ and win the second round from there. I think the key factor going into this rematch is Shogun’s confidence in his grappling against Craig. I think he knows if he’s able to get close to Craig like he did in round 2 and 3 last year, he can dominate him on the ground. Yet, if we look at Rua last fight against Nogueira, he looked so poor and far from his best. So, I’m going with a Paul Craig victory by TKO in round three.
Katlyn Chookagian vs Cynthia Calvillo – Flyweight Division
I expect to see a lot of work in the clinch this fight and the winner of that battle will win this bout. Calvillo is very good when it comes to the ground game so I think she’ll have a slight advantage there. However, Chookagian’s huge advantage in reach does give her the ability to control distance. She did get dispatched in her last fight by Jessica Andrade a month ago but I think this fight will be much closer. Despite that, I’ve got Calvillo by decision.
Mike Perry vs Tim Means – Welterweight Division
Mike Perry comes into this fight 14-6 in his career and is primarily a brawler. He isn’t technically sound but he is an aggressor and will press Means throughout the fight. Means comes into this one 30-12-1 and is wrestler. His striking is poor and his movement on the feet isn’t too good. I think he’s a better wrestler than Perry and will definitely have an advantage if this fight goes to the ground. Perry doesn’t get too many knockouts these days, but I feel like that could change tomorrow. Means has taken vast amounts of damage in his career and I think Perry could catch him in the first round if Means doesn’t expect it. I think if this fight goes longer than one round, then Means wins it due to control on the ground. It’s a tough one to predict, but I’m going with a Perry win by TKO in round one.
Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs Jennifer Maia – Women’s Flyweight Championship
I’m going to keep this one pretty short and sweet, I’ve got the champ retaining. Valentina is levels above Maia in every aspect of MMA, on the ground, in the clinch, on the feet. The only way she loses this fight is if she gets caught, which could happen as anything can happen in MMA, but there’s no way I’m betting against The Bullet. Shevchenko will win by TKO in round two.
Deiveson Figueiredo (c) vs Alex Perez – Flyweight Championship
The champ comes into this bout 19-1 in his MMA career and is simply brilliant. The way he presses his opponents is like none other and I’m sure he’ll do the same to Perez. He’s also definitely one the strongest pound for pound fighters in the UFC and has the ability to knockout anyone in the 125lbs division. I think the best way for Perez to win this fight is to press the champ. We’ve seen Figueiredo become erratic in previous fights when being pressed, however he’s still able to give his opponents damage. Perez also does have brilliant leg kicks, and one of Figueiredo’s biggest weaknesses is his inability to check those leg kicks. Even though the champion is the better fighter, I actually do think there are some aspects that favour the underdog. However, the deciding factor that made me go with the champ is the fact that Perez’s movement is not good. His head is there to get hit and I won’t be surprised if Figueiredo knocks him out in round one from a bombardment of strikes. I’m sticking with the champ. I think we’ll see a clean KO in round two.