Another month, another UFC PPV. Two title fights, two rematches and the return of Nate Diaz. This PPV is looking good. Let’s get started!
Paul Craig vs Jamahal Hill – Light Heavyweight Division
Craig comes into this fight 13-4-1 in his MMA career so far. He’s a jiu-jitsu practitioner and will be looking to takedown and submit Hill. In his last fight, although he did score a TKO finish against Shogun Rua, I don’t think he’ll do the same this weekend. Interestingly, in his last fight, Craig came out using a Muay Thai stance instead of his usual Kung-fu stance, which may show that Craig has a lot more confidence on the feet now. Hill comes into this bout 8-0-1NC in his career so far. He’s primarily a boxer, with a beautiful left hand and kick. In this fight Hill has got to avoid the takedown because Craig is definitely one of the best grapplers in the division. If he can, I think he’ll be able to land at will on the feet. Tough call this one, I’m going with Hill with a round 2 TKO win.
Prediction: Jamahal Hill
Demian Maia vs Belal Muhammad – Welterweight Division
I’m excited for this fight. Demian Maia is one of the best, if not the best jiu-jitsu practitioners of all time. If he can get Belal to the ground, he will find a limb or the neck and will make Belal tap or pass out. If Belal can avoid the takedown, he’s won the fight simple as. I’m going to side with Muhammad for this fight. I think he’ll get taken down in round 1 but Maia’s lack of cardio will be his downfall in round 2 and 3. I’m taking Muhammad via TKO in round 3.
Prediction: Belal Muhammad by TKO round 3
Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz – Welterweight Division
This is the first ever non main event, non title 5 round fight. The toughest fighter of all time Nate Diaz is back. But as much as I want Nate to win this, I don’t see it happening. In Nate’s last fight he lost by a doctor stoppage. That soft scar tissue has been a problem for him his whole career and if Leon can cut Nate, which he will, he can win by a doctor stoppage like Masvidal did. Leon is a brilliant boxer, with brilliant leg kicks. I expect him to simply overwhelm Diaz but he won’t put Nate to sleep. I’m taking Edwards by decision.
Prediction: Leon Edwards by decision
Deiveson Figueiredo (c) vs Brandon Moreno 2 – Flyweight Division
Sequel of the best fight of last year. These two went to war in their draw at UFC 256. Baring in mind both men fought the PPV before, it’s incredible how they went 5 rounds at full pace. This time, both men are fresh and will have a full training camp for each other. The champ is such a well rounded fighter, good on the feet with incredible power but also brilliant on the ground. Moreno is also so well rounded but I’d say his jiu-jitsu is slightly better than his striking. I’m going with Deiveson to finish the job this time. When you consider the illness he had, which would’ve prevented him from being at 100%, I think he could end this feud with Brandon once and for all.
Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo by TKO in round 5
Israel Adesanya (c) vs Marvin Vettori 2 – Middleweight Division
Main event time. Adesanya is back at middleweight after trying to win the Light Heavyweight strap at UFC 259. This time he has a rematch against Marvin Vettori. Both men are undefeated in this weightclass since their first fight in 2018 so it’s a question of who’s improved more since then. I’d have to go with Izzy. He’s gotten much faster on his feet, he throws much more feints and he’s improved his takedown defence game. We didn’t get to see that against Blachowicz because Jan was 15lbs heavier (Adesnaya’s fault) but we saw glimpses against Yoel Romero at the start of last year in their borefest and I’m sure he’s made more improvements since then. Now, Marvin has improved massively in his wrestling and jiu-jitsu, I think the Jack Hermansson fight proved that. However, I think Izzy has made well rounded improvements since. Also, I believe that Marvin hasn’t been tested against the best this division has to offer. Apart from Jack, who’s extremely debatable, he hasn’t faced the creme of the crop in this division so I think Adesanya wins by TKO.
Prediction: Israel Adesanya by TKO in round 4.