Irwin Rivera (9-5) Vs Ali Al Qaisi (8-3)
Recently Irwin Rivera stepped up on like 12 hour notice to face Giga Chikadze. Even thought he lost a unanimous decision 30-27 x2 and 30-26 he looked promising. A former Titan FC Bantamweight champion is finally getting his chance in his right weight class this time around. He will be facing Ali Al Qaisi a Brave FC fighter who’s currently on a 5 fight win streak. There isn’t much tape out there on this guy so I’m just going to pick Irwin Rivera solely for the fact he trains with Henri Hooft. He can scramble, has good cardio, and has had 3 consecutive TKO victories until his last minute featherweight bout.
Youssef Zalal (9-2) Vs Peter Barrett (11-3)
This is my lock of the night if I’m wrong then I truly don’t know MMA. Youssef Zalal is a former LFA fighter who burst on the scene last year. He beat Austin Lingo very decisively 30-27. After that he went on to face Jordan Griffin in a short notice fight. He also won that fight by decision. He’s stepping up on two weeks notice to take on Peter Barrett. A contender series veteran who won by decision but I wasn’t impressed with really anything he did except survive. I’m not going to go to much in detail why I know Zalal is going to win. Trust me this will be his easiest fight yet.
Justin Jaynes (16-4) Vs Gavin Tucker (11-1)
Justin “Guitar Hero” Jaynes is back making the quick turn around coming off a first KO over Frank “The Crank” Camacho. Gavin Tucker is fighting for the first time since July of last year. He won by Rear Naked Choke in the 3rd round against Seung Woo Choi. Both fighters are middle of the road fighters not bad but not great.
Jaynes to me is the right pick in this fight he’s got 5 finishes in a row all coming in the first round. What concerns me is this fight is going to be at featherweight and that’s not normally where Jaynes fights at. Gavin Tucker got his ass pummeled by Rick Glenn before his last win like bad. I feel like Gavin Tucker is going to look to wrestle here and use his complete game and try to win a decision. That could happen but I’m personally rocking with the “Guitar Hero” by first round KO.
Andrew Sanchez (11-5) Vs Wellington Turman (16-3)
I can tell you one thing about this fight it’s not going to pretty. Andrew Sanchez is a TUF winner who took out Phil Hawes & Khalil Rountree en route to the championship. He’s had a tough go since making it to the big stage. It’s funny though because he’s well rounded good striking skill and great takedown defense. What always trips him up is he’s got terrible cardio so when he faces someone with immense volume and pressure he tends to gas out. Wellington Turman on the other hand is a young upcoming fighter who lost a very close decision to Karl Roberson in his debut and won his last fight outworking Markus Perez.
Personally, I’m taking Andrew Sanchez here by decision I don’t think Wellington Turman is going to be able to take him down especially since Andrew Sanchez has a 100% TDD. I also can’t see Wellington Turman becoming a pressure fighter he’s slow with his striking and just doesn’t look like anything special.
Nasrat Haqparast (11-3) Vs Alex Munhoz (6-0)
This lowkey could be fight of the night. Alex Munoz is a highly touted prospect making his UFC debut. The first time we UFC fans have seen him was in the Contender Series where he dominated Nick Newell and won by unanimous decision. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the contract that night and went on to face a veteran on the regional scene in Troy Lamson where he also won that by unanimous decision. He’s now set to face Nasrat Haqparast who is coming off a brutal KO by Drew Dober before that fight he took on Joaquin Silva and won by second round KO.
A lot of people put so much stock into that fight and Nasrat was a huge favorite against the Veteran Drew Dober. Now that we’re back to reality I personally think Alex Munoz has all the tools to win this fight. He’s got very good wrestling and a great counter striking game. His biggest question mark is his gas tank and if it will hold up against the pressuring fighter Nasrat. If his gas tank holds up I think he counters him puts him down jumps on his back and gets the rear naked choke. If that doesn’t happen, I think he can win on minutes too his wrestling is no joke he looks like a complete fighter and trains with Team Alpha Male so the sky is the limit for this kid.
Kevin Holland (17-5) Vs Joaquin Buckley (10-2)
Kevin Holland is a real OG for this fight here. He was supposed to fight Trevin Giles last week and Giles passed out on the way to the octagon. So, what does he do he tells Dana White he’ll fight Ed Herman that night he don’t care. Obviously, that didn’t happen so here we are and he’s now going to take on UFC debutee Joaquin Buckley.
Kevin Holland is an interesting fighter he’s got all the skills needed to be a Top 10 fighter. He’s got a sneaky ground game including a black belt in BJJ. He’s coming off a very fast finish over Anthony “Fluffy” Hernandez. Joaquin Buckley is a Bellator & LFA veteran. He fought just 8 days ago at LFA87 where he won by TKO. I feel like Buckley can knock out Holland. I’m very worried about Buckley’s ground game if Holland wants to make this a grapple heavy fight, he should win this easily. He’s just a little too seasoned and experienced against the better competition.
Tim Means (29-12-1) Vs Laureano Staropoli (9-2)
Tim “Dirtybird” Means is back after his disappointing loss to Daniel Rodriguez last time out. He’s going to be facing Laureano Staropoli Saturday night. Any fight with Tim Means is going to be a barn burner and I fully expect that trend to keep continuing. Personally, I think Means has just taking too much damage in these past recent fights especially the Niko Price KO that was bad. Laureano Staropoli is 2-1 in the UFC before coming into the UFC his fights never went past the 2nd round now all 3 of his UFC fights have gone the distance.
I think that streak is broken here Tim Means is always there to hit and outside of a KO I don’t see how Means will win. I got Staropoli by KO probably second round, he’ll have Tim in trouble at the end of the first. Should be a great fight for as long as it last’s though.
Beneil Dariush (18-4-1) Vs Scott Holtzman (14-3)
This is a great fight to open the card I LOVE IT! Scott “Hotsauce” Holtzman is coming off a war with Jim Miller his last time out which ended up being a unanimous decision victory for Scotty. He’s now facing the surging Beneil Dariush. It’s been a interesting career for Dariush he was knocked out two times by Edson Barboza & Alexander Hernandez. He followed up those two losses with a unanimous decision win against Thiago Moises. Since than he’s had 3 finishes in a row and is looking for his forth one here.
The fight outcome really comes down to Beneil Dariush’s durability. If he can take Scott Holtzman’s hardest strikes and that early onslaught it’s going to be a great fight. I’m going to have to go with Beneil Dariush by Decision if he can take the damage, but I would not be surprised if he got knocked out here.
Yana Kunitskaya (12-5) Vs Julija Stoliarenko (9-3-1)
Yana Kunitskaya should win this rather easily. I’m just going to pick her because Thiago Santos is her boyfriend and training partner for this camp. I don’t know shit for shat about the other girl.
Darren Stewart (11-5) Vs Maki Pitolo (13-5)
” The Dentist” is back he was supposed to fight Marvin Vettori before the Pandemic and ended up getting dominated by Bartosz Fabinski in Cage Warriors. Darren Stewart is a pretty good fighter he just struggles with wrestlers mightily. Luckily for him he will be taking on Maki Pitolo. This should be a stand-up fight which heavily favors Darren Stewart. Maki Pitolo is okay, but I just can’t see a avenue of victory. Darren Stewart may have struggled with the wrestling of Fabinski but Pitolo isn’t a wrestler by any means. I expect Darren Stewart to either knock him out or a win a very comfortable decision here.
Chris Weidman (14-5) Vs Omari Akhmedov (20-4-1)
Omari Akhmedov is on a decent winning streak at middleweight. He’s won 3 in a row by decision and prior to that he went to a draw with Marvin Vettori. He’s good everywhere but I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s great anywhere. He has good grappling, but his cardio fades a bit too much, and he’s not the hardest hitter in the division but he puts everything together well enough that he can be a problem for anyone if they don’t take him seriously. One thing that worries me about Omari is that while he is on a nice winning streak, all the wins have come by decision and the people he beat weren’t ranked or were barely ranked. I’m not so sure how his skillset is going to match up with the top 10 of the division.
I don’t know if Chris Weidman has a bad chin. What I do is he has taken an insane amount of damage from ELITE competition. He’s had countless surgeries; he’s admitted to the weight cut being unhealthy for him and he’s clearly not as durable as he once was. With all that being said I think Weidman is better everywhere than Akhmedov. Chris has faced better competition and done well against them until he wasn’t. I expect him to use his superior striking to open up his superior grappling where I predict a 2nd round TKO via ground and pound. If Weidman loses this fight via stoppage, I think it would be a travesty for any commission to license him afterwards. Some people are too tough for their own good, but nobody deserves to take that much damage.
Derrick Lewis (23-7) Vs Alexey Oleinik (59-13-1)
Alexey Oleinik has had a million fights. He’s got good grappling, ok striking and bad cardio. After just a few minutes he starts to get sloppy on the fight but that doesn’t matter because he usually wants the fight to hit the ground. If he doesn’t submit his opponent once on the ground, he usually becomes gassed, gets sloppy and eventually finished. He’s the better grappler and more threatening submission artist over Lewis.
The Black Beast is one of the greatest guys in all of MMA. He’s at the top of the heavyweight division and its hilarious because out of hitting really, really hard and having decent striking He’s pretty bad everywhere else. He often gets taken down where his opponent will move to side control or mount and hang out for a minute or 2 until Lewis gains some energy and basically says “fuck this” and explodes back to his feet without using actual technique, basically just sheer power. If he survives the ground game, he usually gets tired. Grappling and attempting to control Lewis on the grounds seem to usually make most of his opponents tired.
This isn’t a good thing for Oleinik who in my opinion doesn’t have the best cardio in the world. I predict Lewis wins via head kick KO. Or maybe he stuffs a takedown or reverses a ground position and wins very vicious ground & pound TKO. Either way I have a feeling this fight will suck really bad until a finish happens.