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UFC Fight Night 107 Breakdown:



Jimi Manuwa vs Corey Anderson

In a main event which was has come under a lot of criticism, two top ten ranked light heavyweights do battle as Corey Anderson takes on hometown favorite Jimi Manuwa at London’s O2 Arena.

With the hometown crowd in his favor, “Poster Boy” Jimi Manuwa will look to come out aggressively and push forward as he usually does with heavy low kicks and powerful punches. Possessing devastating power in both hands and feet, Manuwa will look to attack the legs of his opponent in an attempt to close range and deliver lethal hooks to either the body or head, much like we seen in the second round of his last outing against Ovince St. Preux.

Corey Anderson, a skilled boxer in his own right, prefers to employ a more calculated strategy which relies heavily on volume and movement as opposed to landing single heavy shots. With a clean jab and a snapping right straight to go along with it, “Overtime” will look to land an accumulation of straight shots from bell to bell, sometimes doubling up on the jab in an effort to set up his right and mask his takedowns. Whilst boxing may be Anderson’s biggest strength on the feet, he has also showcased powerful low kicks, particularly to the inside leg of a southpaw fighter. Despite the fact that Manuwa is not a southpaw, the utilization of low kicks could pay dividends for the American as he will look to stifle the forward momentum of “Poster Boy”.

With 14 finishes by way of KO or TKO, the power advantage is most certainly in the corner of Manuwa, something which could prove pivotal to his success on Saturday night. Despite being a fundamentally sound boxer, it is Anderson’s tendency to get hurt which has cost him dearly in the past. One need only cast an eye back to his 2016 bout with Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, a fight in which ‘Overtime’ was enjoying great success, only to end up on the canvas at the end of rounds 1 & 2 after eating hard counter shots from the Brazilian, and end up on the losing end of a split decision. Should Manuwa get the opportunity to land cleanly on Anderson, it could spell the end for the American.

The wrestling of ‘Overtime’ could prove key in this bout as we have seen Manuwa taken down in the past. A decent defensive grappler “Poster Boy” will look to either get to the fence in an effort to get back to his feet or choose to lock his half guard down and wait for the referee to stand things up. The far superior wrestler, Anderson has an excellent double leg which he masks well with strikes and level changes. Once on top, the American will look to land strikes from half guard or side control, much like we seen in his most recent bout with Sean O’Connell. Expect ‘Overtime’ to land takedowns early in the fight as he looks to put ‘Manuwa’ on his back and neutralize the Brit’s colossal power.

The major question mark surrounding this fight will be whether or not Corey Anderson can withstand the offense of Jimi Manuwa for all five rounds, something which I feel he can not. I expect Anderson to dominate the early portion of this fight with superior wrestling, but feel that Manuwa will land at some stage and send the English crowd into raptures.

Pick: Jimi Manuwa Inside the Distance

Gunnar Nelson vs Alan Jouban

Iceland’s favorite son makes his return to the octagon this Saturday night as Gunnar Nelson takes on Alan Jouban in the co-main event of the evening. With both men coming off victories in 2016, this is a high-stakes bout which will have serious implications on the upper end of the 170-pound division.

A grappler of the highest order, Nelson has compiled a 6-2 record since joining the UFC. With 5 of them coming by way of submission it is no great mystery as to where his biggest strength lies. A well rounded and intelligent fighter, Jouban is at his most comfortable on the feet where he can utilize his sharp muay-thai, despite being a technically gifted striker, “Brahma” has a thirst for violence which he often looks to quench by engaging in wild brawls, a habit which has earned him successes and failures alike.

The 11 submission victories on the record of “Gunni” may lead you to believe that he is but a one trick pony, this, however, is not the case at all. With a karate base, the Icelander has a lightning quick right straight which he lunges forward with to close the distance and a serviceable kicking game to accompany it. Defensively, Nelson does tend to leave himself exposed, as he keeps his hands very low, relying on reflexes and speed as opposed to a more conventional method of defense. This can cause him problems as the fight progresses, which we saw against Rick Story, as Gunnar ate shots aplenty when he became tired in the latter rounds. Although the right hand of Nelson is a formidable weapon, his reliance on it can also become a hindrance when he fails to set it up, Story was able to time the right hand and return fire with multiple counter shots time and time again, something which was key to his victory. The addition of a left hook is something which Nelson has benefited greatly from in recent fights as it proved pivotal in victories over Brandon Thatch and Albert Tumenov, both of whom are dangerous strikers in their own right.

Despite gaining a reputation as a brawler, Jouban turned in a very mature performance last time out, as he put his feud with the brash Mike Perry to bed and emerged victorious via unanimous decision back at UFC on Fox 22.  Although his slow starts have gotten him in trouble in the past, when allowed to settle into the rhythm of a fight “Brahma” is a threat with his diverse repertoire of kicks and left straight from the southpaw stance, a punch which caused Perry a great deal of trouble and even left him on the canvas at one point. This could be an important weapon against Nelson as he primarily fights from an orthodox stance, meaning the opportunity to land the straight punch will be there for Jouban, just as it will be “Gunni”. Where Jouban excels is when he is given the opportunity to unload with strikes against an opponent with their back on the cage, much like we seen during his demolition of Brendan O’Reilly.

In terms of technical striking, Alan Jouban would appear the more diverse and dangerous, yet Nelson’s constant improvement on the feet leave a cloud of doubt over who may hold the advantage.

When debating who may have the advantage in the grappling department, things become a great deal clearer. Gunnar Nelson is one of the finest grapplers to ever grace the sport, as his record would suggest. Few are superior when it comes to MMA grappling than the stoic Icelander, eclipsed only maybe by Demian Maia, a man who handed him only his second career loss just two fights ago. Despite being on the losing end of a lopsided decision, Nelson gave a great account of himself when the success Maia has had since then is taken into account. For “Gunni” to take the fight south, he will attempt to bait Jouban forward, where he will then look to hit a reactive takedown by establishing a body-lock, and then looking for either an inside or outside trip. Although the American is a competent grappler who has never been submitted, his habit of starting slow coupled with Nelson’s grappling prowess could spell major trouble here.

Look for Nelson to get the takedown early, pass to mount, and soften Jouban up with strikes as he patiently awaits any opportunity to pounce on a submission.

Pick: Gunnar Nelson by Submission

Brad Pickett vs Marlon Vera

As the curtain closes on the career of Brad Pickett, few could have imagined a more fitting send-off for a true pioneer of the sport as he gets a chance at one last victory in front of an adoring home crowd. Standing in the Londoner’s way is a fighter at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of experience, at just 24 years of age Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera is still a developing prospect, but a win in enemy territory on Saturday night would do wonders for his progression.

The style of Brad Pickett is one which relies heavily on his boxing fundamentals, as the nickname “One Punch” would suggest. Often looking to incorporate a low calf kick as a set-up, the Londoners best weapons are his hooks to the body and head. Where the Brit has struggled most in the past has been at range, sometimes finding it difficult to get inside on the longer fighter, this was glaringly obvious in his bout with Cisco Rivera. Despite getting the nod from the judges, Pickett was forced to fight on the outside for large portions of the bout as Rivera kept him on the end of his straight shots. This inability to get inside can sometimes frustrate Pickett and force him to push forward in a reckless manner, something which has caused him a lot of trouble in recent fights as he can become quite hittable.

The range could be a key factor in this bout, as the preferred strategy of Marlon Vera on the feet is to sit on the outside and throw kicks in an effort to fully capitalize on his length. “Chito” will enjoy a 2.5” reach advantage over the Brit and as we have seen in the past, keeping Pickett at range is key to stifling his offense. Although Vera has looked a far more comfortable kicker than puncher in his UFC career so far, Pickett has been susceptible to counter hooks in the past, so it would be no surprise if we see an improved punching game from Vera on Saturday Night. “Chito” does tend to leave his back to the cage however though as he looks to strike from the outside, this could spell trouble against a puncher like Brad Pickett as it will allow him to cut the cage off and get inside on the taller man.

Offensively, the Englishman would appear the superior wrestler, should the fight hit the ground, though, Vera is notoriously tricky from his back as his long legs allow him to threaten with triangles and arm-bars. Despite being the better wrestler, Pickett may struggle to mount any substantial offense on the mat, as the Ecuadorian is very good at avoiding damage on the bottom by breaking the posture of his opponent and constantly threatening with submissions and sweeps. There is always the possibility that Pickett will grind out a decision by remaining busy on top, but against a grappler as tricky as “Chito” I feel that is an unlikely outcome.

The experience of Brad Pickett could serve him well here; I do however expect to see great improvements from Vera here as he proves too dynamic for the aging Brit.

Pick: Marlon Vera via Decision

 Arnold Allen vs Makwan Amirkhani

Two of featherweights finest prospects do battle as we kick off the main card with a much-anticipated bout between Arnold “Almighty” Allen and “Mr. Finland” Makwan Amirkhani.

A man with no shortage of confidence, the exuberant Makwan Amirkhani quickly captured the attention of fans and fighters alike as he burst on to the scene with an impressive eight-second victory over Englishman Andy Ogle. Hoping to fare better than his countryman this time out is Arnold Allen, who had a tricky task in his premiere UFC outing as he faced the experienced Alan Omer. Despite emerging victorious in the end, many believed he was well on his way to being handed a debut loss before locking up a guillotine in the final round. Both men have continued their winning ways since then and remain undefeated in the promotion, something which will stay true for only one come Saturday night.

With good boxing fundamentals and a solid kicking game, Arnold Allen is undoubtedly the cleaner of the two on the feet. Often looking to counter from Southpaw after slipping shots, “Almighty” has been susceptible to right straights in the past from opponents in the Orthodox stance, this was visible during his debut bout with Alan Omer as he ate a lot of straight shots early on. Although he did adapt well as the fight progressed by slipping and countering, it is still something of which to be wary. The threat of a right hand from Amirkhani will be almost non-existent, as he fights from a southpaw stance and uses his striking purely as a means of taking the fight to the floor. Should “Mr. Finland” get the fight to the ground, that is where he excels, something which his UFC career to date has highlighted.

The wrestling of Arnold Allen has looked much improved since making the move to Tri-Star, in the past “Almighty” has struggled when pressed against the cage, as he was held there for large portions against Alan Omer and Marcin Wrzsozek. This hole in his game seemed slightly remedied in his most recent outing against Yaozin Meza, as he was able to defend the takedowns of Meza on numerous occasions. Offensively, the Englishman is a competent wrestler who will use trips to take the fight to the canvas, but against a wrestler of the caliber of Amirkhani, it is doubtful he will seek any form of takedown.

So far in his UFC career, Makwan Amirkhani’s modus operandi has been simple, get the fight to the ground and use his superior wrestling to get the victory. Looking to take the fight south from the first bell, “Mr. Finland” will take any opportunity to shoot or grab a leg in what is a predictable yet effective offensive strategy. This has proved fruitful so far in his UFC career as both Masio Fullen and Mike Wilkinson have fallen victim to the Finns dominant wrestling. Most effective when on top, Amirkhani is a very patient and fluid grappler who will often wait for his opponent to move before committing himself. When in side control, he will often look for a crucifix or pass to mount. Although Allen has shown a good ability to get up in the past, he may struggle against a ground game as smothering as Amirkhani’s.

Should this one stay on the feet, Arnold Allen will likely enjoy great success as the technically superior striker, the big question mark, however, will be whether he can fend off the takedown attempts of “Mr. Finland”. Amirkhani tends to get caught in guillotines as he is shooting for takedowns, and as we have seen from Allen in his UFC debut, he needs just one opportunity to latch on to a neck. I do feel however though that the technical top game of Amirkhani will prove too much for the young brit, as he picks up the victory via decision.

Pick: Makwan Amirkhani via Decision


Preliminary Card:

Joe Duffy vs Reza Madadi: Joe Duffy*

Francimar Barroso vs Darren Stewart: Darren Stewart

Daniel Omielanczuk vs Timothy Johnson: Timothy Johnson

Vicente Luque vs Leon Edwards: Vicente Luque

Marc Diakiese vs Teemu Packalen: Marc Diakiese

Tom Breese vs Oluwale Bamgbose: Tom Breese*

Ian Entwistle vs Brett Johns: Brett Johns*

Scott Askham vs Brad Scott: Brad Scott

Lina Lansberg vs Lucie Pudilova: Lina Lansberg*

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MMA Latest’s UFC 216 Betting Preview

Harry Davies



The UFC returns to the fight capital of the world, as the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas hosts UFC 216, a fantastic PPV card with two title fights at the top of the bill.

Eight months after we were supposed to have one, an interim lightweight champion will be crowned on Saturday night. Top contenders Tony Ferguson (23-3) and Kevin Lee (16-2) will go to battle in the main event of UFC 216. Having polar opposite fight styles, this title fight will certainly be an intriguing contest.

Looking to break the record for the most consecutive title defenses on the night, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1) faces #3 ranked Ray Borg (11-2). A conclusion that should have already been established, Borg pulled out of a scheduled bout with “DJ” at UFC 215 due to illness.

Amongst the title fights are a plethora of exciting match-ups, such as the heavyweight contest between Derrick Lewis and Fabricio Werdum, and the preliminary bantamweight bout between hot prospect Tom Duquesnoy and Cody Stamman. We bring you the best bets on the card to earn yourself an extra few quid or so.

Fabricio Werdum vs. Derrick Lewis – Heavyweight Bout

Fabricio Werdum to win by Submission – 11/4 – SkyBet

The debate of who is the best BJJ practitioner in MMA is ongoing. Some say ‘Jacare’ Souza, some say Demian Maia, some say Werdum. “Vai Cavalo” is a master on the mat, and although he hasn’t racked up a submission win since defeating Cain Velasquez in June of 2015, we expect Werdum to submit Lewis on the night.

In Lewis’ last fight against the unyielding Mark Hunt, we saw what happened when someone could take “The Black Beast’s” best punches. By the third round, Lewis was exhausted and Hunt secured the TKO finish in the fourth.

Expect Lewis’ reckless ground game to be his downfall in this heavyweight contest. Given his size, he often finds himself just standing back up when underneath his opponent, this is where Werdum can capitalize and secure a submission of some sort to finish the fight.

Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg – Flyweight Title Fight

Demetrious Johnson by KO or Submission – 10/11 – Paddy Power

Would you be surprised if I told you that Demetrious Johnson has four finishes in his last six wins? Most would. The stigma surrounding ‘DJ’ is that he doesn’t finish fights, well the numbers don’t lie and we think we will see another finish from ‘Mighty Mouse’ this weekend.

From manhandling an Olympic gold medal wrestler in Henry Cejudo, to submitting an elite BJJ black belt in Wilson Reis, Johnson can do it all as he continues to improve fight after fight.

Given the weight cutting problems Borg has had in the past, it wouldn’t be surprising to see “The Tazmexican Devil” struggle to keep up with the pace Johnson fights at. Expect ‘DJ’ to break the record for most consecutive title defenses in style, perhaps in the later rounds.

Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee – Interim Lightweight Title Fight  

Total Rounds: Over 2.5 – 4/6 – Betfair


Lee on the other hand couldn’t be so different. His methodical and calculated approach to fighting contrasts that of the free-flowing Ferguson. It’s the first time Lee has been booked for five rounds in his career, whilst “El Cucuy” has already showed he can go 25-minutes at over 7000-feet in altitude.

Whilst Ferguson has tallied up a few first and second round finishes in his UFC career, expect the solidity of Lee to be his biggest asset in the fight. It’s unlikely we will have a foregone conclusion in the early rounds, so jump on these odds whilst you can.

Our longshot fourfold: Tom Duquesnoy, Lando Vannata, Beneil Dariush and Pearl Gonzalez – £5 returns £34.95 – Betway.

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BAMMA 30 – Full Fight Card, How to Watch and Betting Odds



Tomorrow night BAMMA is back in Ireland for yet another cracking night of fights. This card will be aired live from start to finish providing non-stop action from about 6.30pm until about 10:30/11pm. The Prelim card will be available to view on the UNILAD Facebook page from 6:30 followed by the televised section of the card live on Dave from 9pm.

The event is of course taking place in the 3Arena, doors will open as early as 5pm for those attending the event that are eager to get there before the rest. For those looking to attend and still without tickets, there are still some available here.

For those looking to make a bit of money on the card, back our favourite fighter or maybe just chance your arm on a gut feeling you may have on one of the fights. BAMMA have now officially partnered with so here’s your chance.

Live odds currently stand at:
*Odds are subject to change*

Chris Stringer 9/2  v Niklas Stolze 1/20

Blaine O’Driscoll 1/10  v Harry Hardwick 7/2

Maciek Gierszewski 11/4  v Steve Owens 1/6

Ben Forsyth 6/4 v Matt Clempner 2/5

Henry Fadipe 3/1  v Ion Pascu 1/6

Decky Dalton 1/9 v Mick Brennan 4/1

Daniel Olejniczak 1/4  v Richard Kiely 2/1

Rhys McKee 5/6 v Richie Smullen 5/6

Daniel Barez 5/1  v Ryan Curtis 1/10

Aaron Kennedy 5/1  v Fabian Edwards 1/10

Paul Redmond 15/8 v Rob Sinclair 2/5

Alan Philpott 15/8 v Shay Walsh 1/3

BAMMA 30: Philpott Vs. Walsh Fightcard

Main Card – Live on Dave from 9 pm Main Event – BAMMA World Bantamweight Title: Alan ‘The Apprentice’ Philpott (16-9) Vs. Shay Walsh (16-4)

Co-Main Event – Lightweight Feature Bout: Rob ‘C4’ Sinclair (13-4) Vs. Paul ‘Redser’ Redmond (11-6)

Middleweight Bout: Fabian ‘The Assassin’ Edwards (1-0) Vs. Aaron Kennedy (Debut)

Lonsdale European Flyweight Title: Ryan ‘Chaos’ Curtis (4-0) Vs. Daniel Barez (7-4)


UNILAD Prelims – Live on UNILAD Facebook page from 6.30 pm

Lonsdale European Lightweight No.1 Contenders Bout: Rhys ‘Skeletor’ McKee (5-1) Vs. Richie Smullen (3-0)

Welterweight Bout: Ion ‘Bombardierul’ Pascu (15-7) Vs. Henry ‘Herculeez’ Fadipe (9-8-1)

Lightweight Bout: Ilkin “Monster / Hulkin’” Gasimov (4-1) Vs. Phillip ‘Honeybadger’ Mulpeter (7-5)

Welterweight Bout: Richard Kiely (1-0) Vs. Daniel ‘Obi Wan’ Olejniczak (1-0-1)

Welterweight Bout: Kiefer ‘BDK’ Crosbie (2-0) Vs. Dariusz Swierkosz (3-1)

Light Heavyweight Bout: Ben ‘Spider Monkey’ Forsyth (2-2) Vs. Matt Clempner (1-0)

Featherweight Bout: Decky ‘The Diamond’ Dalton (6-3) Vs. Mick ‘Basher’ Brennan (4-7)

Featherweight Bout: Arann McGuire (1-1) Vs. Dylan Logan (0-1)

Welterweight Bout: Steve Owens (2-0) Vs. Maciek Gierszewski (1-0)

Bantamweight Bout: Harry Hardwick (2-0) Vs. Blaine O’Driscoll (4-1)

*SWING BOUT*  Lightweight Bout: Niklas ‘Green Mask’ Stolze (8-2) Vs. Chris ‘The Menace’ Stringer (11-12-1)

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UFC Fight Night 106: Belfort vs Gastelum, Barboza vs Dariush Breakdown



The UFC makes its return to Brazil this coming weekend, as the Olympic training center in Fortaleza plays host to an intriguing main event match-up between two men at very different points in their careers, as Vitor Belfort takes on rising star Kelvin Gastelum.

Main event:

Vitor Belfort vs Kelvin Gastelum

Debuting in the UFC at the age of 19, “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort captured the hearts of fans almost instantaneously as he effortlessly laid waste to those put before him in devastating fashion, accumulating just 2:52 of total fight time as he picked up finishes over Tra Telligman, Scott Ferozzo and Tank Abbott. Since then the Brazilian has amassed a career record of 25-13, fighting in various top level promotions around the world, and at 39 years of age, this could be one of the last times “The Phenom” steps inside the octagon.

In recent years, Vitor Belfort has shown great patience on the feet, often waiting to counter-strike as his opponents push forward. The Phenom had great success with this in fights against Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson, as he finished all three in impressive fashion on his way to a shot at the Middleweight crown in 2013. However, it was not the patient countering of Belfort which garnered the most attention, it was the powerful kicking game he had developed in such a short space of time.

Despite always possessing ferocious power and speed in both his hands which has caused many an opponent trouble over the years, it is the newly developed arsenal of kicks which contributed most to his recent success. As he looks to wait for the opponent to overcommit to a strike and make them pay by retaliating with a powerful head kick. This was on display in the aforementioned bouts with Rockhold, Bisping, and Henderson, where each of these men fell prey to a devastating kick which left them on the canvas wondering what had just happened.

Although he may not hold as many spectacular highlight reel finishes as his Brazilian counterpart, Kelvin Gastelum is one of the sports most promising stars, and at just 25 years of age, his best years could well be ahead of him. Since winning the Ultimate Fighter 17, Gastelum has gone from strength to strength, picking up victories over the likes of Jake Ellenberger, Tim Kennedy, and former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.

Despite dropping a pair of split decision losses to Neil Magny and current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, it is problems of weight management which have proved the biggest hindrance to the progress of Gastelum, missing the 170-pound mark on numerous occasions, a misdemeanour which has forced him to pursue a career at Middleweight for the foreseeable future.

Whatever deficits of size and strength Gastelum may suffer in his new home at Middleweight, his superior technical ability has allowed him to overcome so far. Showcasing great boxing and footwork, Gastelum has looked ultra-impressive since making the move.

In his last outing, many felt Tim Kennedy would enjoy a decided advantage in the strength department, but it was the technical superiority of Kelvin Gastelum which shone through. Gastelum looked to pressure Kennedy from the outset (as he usually does) and land his accurate and powerful left straight, it was the jab and left hand which ultimately proved the deciding factor as Gastelum hurt Tim multiple times before the referee intervened.

Despite being the far less experienced fighter, the odds heavily favor the American in this bout. And rightly so, in my opinion. It would appear as though Gastelum will likely be superior wherever the fight may go. On the feet, the American has a superb jab which he closes the distance frighteningly quickly with, something which Vitor has struggled against in the past, most recently against Gegard Mousasi. Although “The Phenom” is always dangerous on the counter, it is unlikely he will enjoy much success on the feet here against a technically superior boxer.

Should the fight hit the ground, recent fights would suggest Gastelum is the superior grappler at this point. Although Belfort has shown good takedown defense, looking to sprawl or control a wrist and get an under-hook against the fence in order to shake the opponent off, he has struggled when on the bottom, taking a lot of damage and eventually giving up mount. It goes without saying that Kelvin Gastelum is not yet a grappler of the quality of ‘Jacare’ however, I still feel that his good scrambling ability and superior wrestling will prove too much for an aging Vitor to handle.

Although the odds are practically unplayable at this point in time, Gastelum seems superior in all areas here and will likely get the finish within the first 2 rounds.

Pick: Kelvin Gastelum Inside the Distance


Edson Barboza vs Beneil Dariush

Currently riding a two-fight win streak, Beneil “Benny” Dariush will be looking to progress further up the ranks as he takes on 5th ranked lightweight Edson Barboza.

Few strikers in the sport throw kicks as ferociously as Edson Barboza, and it will be on the feet where he will hold the biggest advantage in this match-up. Although “Benny” does possess some power in both his left hand and left kick, Barboza holds a clear advantage in the technical striking department.

One of the key weapons in the striking arsenal of the Brazilian are his leg kicks, these were on display as he finished Mike Lullo and Raffaelo Oliveira early in his UFC career, but most recently he utilized them as a means of stifling the offense of Anthony Pettis as he brutalized his inside leg for three rounds. Although he made use of these when Pettis adopted an orthodox stance, they could still be a key weapon against the southpaw Dariush as he has a very wide base and tends to leave his lead leg out very far, this was clear in previous fights as Jim Miller was able to kick his leg out from underneath him at the beginning of their fight.

The left hook of “Junior” could also play a major part here, this has been an effective counter for him in the past, and Benny has a tendency to throw a lazy jab which he brings back to his waist, this could leave him majorly exposed to the counter. Dariush’s habit of not bringing his jab back to his chin for protection coupled with the lack of head movement we have seen from him in the past could spell major trouble for the Iranian. Although he has shown improved striking and his left counter is always a danger, it would be unwise of him to engage in a battle on the feet with a striker of Barboza’s quality.

It would clearly be an intelligent strategy for Dariush to try and take the fight to the ground, where he would obviously hold a decided advantage. A high-level BJJ black belt, “Benny” has 6 career victories by way of submission and is very dangerous when controlling the back of his opponent. This was also on display in his bout with Jim Miller, a fellow BJJ black belt. Dariush showed excellent control during transitions as Miller turned to give up his back from mount and “Benny” effortlessly locked on the body triangle while also butterflying the left leg to secure control. Dariush is also dangerous on top when in mount and half-guard, as he will look to underhook an arm and bury his head in search of an arm-triangle which he will threaten with in order to pass to a better position.

Should the fight hit the ground, despite the fact that Barboza is no novice, there could be a clear path to victory for Benny as the Brazilian has been submitted twice already in his UFC career.

In order for Dariush to gain a takedown, he must pressure the Brazilian effectively by cutting the cage off and not just following him. Barboza punished lightweight contender Tony Ferguson for coming forward time and time again, unloading a swift hook to the body or head and then pivoting out of trouble as “El Cucuy” pressed forward recklessly.  Beneil had good success when pushing Rashid Magomedov against the fence and this could prove effective as he is more proficient when going for takedowns from that position. Barboza has shown very good takedown defense in the past though so taking the fight there may be a tall order for the Iranian. The threat of the takedown alone may prove significant for Dariush as it might cause the Brazilian to hesitate and provide him with an opportunity to close the distance and apply pressure intelligently.

This is a very close match up; one I would advise against betting on. I feel like the pressure of Dariush might see him take the decision. My pick is Beneil Dariush, but not a confident pick by any means.

Pick: Beneil Dariush via Decision


Main Card Picks

  • Vitor Belfort vs Kelvin Gastelum: Kelvin Gastelum- Inside the Distance*
  • Mauricio Rua vs Gian Villante: Mauricio Rua Inside the Distance
  • Edson Barboza vs Beneil Dariush: Beneil Dariush via Decision
  • Jussier Formiga vs Ray Borg: Jussier Formiga via Decision*
  • Bethe Correia vs Marion Reneau: Marion Reneau via Decision ( or over 2.5 rounds)*
  • Alex Oliveira vs Tim Means: Tim Means Inside the Distance

Preliminary Card Picks:

  • Francisco Trinaldo vs Kevin Lee: Kevin Lee via Decision
  • Sergio Moraes vs Davi Ramos: Davi Ramos via Decision
  • Rani Yahya vs Joe Soto: Rani Yahya via Decision
  • Michael Prazeres vs Josh Burkman: Michael Prazeres via Decision*

FS1 Prelims:

  • Rony Jason vs Jeremy Kennedy: Jeremy Kennedy via Decision
  • Gareth McLellan vs Paulo Borrachinha: Paulo Borrachinha inside the Distance

* Most confident plays

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