It is nearly time for the fights and we have last minute predictions to help you beat the bookies.
Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega
This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 226, a whole five months ago, however due to extremely concerning health risks for Holloway, he was pulled from the fight, which itself was ultimately scrapped when an opponent was not found to face Ortega.
While this itself on paper may seem like a traditional and cliche “Striker vs Grappler” matchup, but both fighters have so much more than that.
Holloway is a rangey striker with quick movement and a ferocious pace. He aims to get in and out of the pocket and land multiple punch combinations while taking little damage. He is also a very good grappler in his own right, scoring submission wins over Cub Swanson and Andre Fili. Submitting him will not be an easy task, even for someone of Ortega’s ability. Holloway will aim to use his range to stay out of any grappling exchanges and his pace to wear down Ortega.
Ortega is an incredibly gifted BJJ specialist with 4 of his 6 official UFC wins coming via submission. Ortega also possesses power which is an underrated aspect of his game. While he may not be the most technically gifted striker, he is still capable of putting guys away on the feet, which we saw with a brutal uppercut against Frankie Edgar, or his flying knee finish over Clay Guida with under 30 seconds left in the fight. His route to victory is simple. Look for the submission at all costs. He will be patient and wait for his opportunity like he did against Cub Swanson.
The biggest question over Max Holloway is whether he is fully fit after his long layoff and if previous weight cut issues will come into play. If they do, it could be a seriously bad night for him. That being said, I believe he will be fit. I believe he will have the striking, speed and footwork advantages in this fight as well the ability to keep a high pace for the entire fight. I believe he avoids the clinch and outboxes Ortega until he gets the win.
Official prediction: Max Holloway def. Brian Ortega via TKO (Round 4)
Valentina Shevchenko vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Look, in my opinion, the odds in his fight are crazy – I certainly make ‘The Bullet” the favourite but I certainly do not believe that she should be as much as a -400 favourite.
While the size difference between the fighters may play a part, I don’t believe Joanna will be undersized by any means. Both are incredible strikers and will have moments in the fight. I believe this fight will remain on the feet for the vast majority of the contest and will simply come down to who will get their opponents respect more often.
While I believe that Joanna is as good of an MMA striker as Shevchenko, I feel that the power of Valentina will just be able to keep Joanna back. Whether the finish will come, that’s hard to tell but unless Joanna has the power to make Schevchenko think twice it could be a bad night.
Joanna needs to be on her A+ game and make essentially no mistakes. She needs to put on a master class. Valentina will have the grappling advantage also and may look for a takedown, but as mentioned I think that she may have a decent power advantage and will look to back up Joanna and land combinations on her way to a unanimous decision victory.
Official prediction: Valentina Shevchenko def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk via DEC
Other main card picks:
- Gunnar Nelson def Charles Oliveria via TKO (Round 3)
- Hakeem Dawodu def. Kyle Bochniak via TKO (Round 2).
- Thiago Santos def. Jimi Manuwa via TKO (Round 2).
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
- Claudia Gadelha def. Nina Ansaroff via SUB (Round 2)
- Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Gilbert Burns via SUB (Round 3)
- Kaitlyn Chookogian def. Jessica Eye via. decision
- Elias Theodorou def. Eryk Anders via decision.
Fight Pass Prelims
- Brad Katona def. Matt Lopez via decision.
- Chad Laprise def. Dhiego Lima via decision.
- Carlos Diego Ferreira def. Kyle Nelson via SUB (Round 2).
- Aleksander Rakic def. Devin Clarke via TKO (Round 3)