This weekend we have a great card headlined by Islam Makhachev and Bobby Green. The main event was originally supposed to be Makhachev vs Beneil Dariush, but Dariush had to pull out due to an injury a little over a week before the fight.
Now Bobby Green will fill in for him on short notice. I’m going to break down this matchup as well as the rest of the main card, and I’ll also include what I think will be the most fun fights on the prelims.
I’ll give you my reads, predictions, and what I think are the best bets of the card.
Starting off with the third fight of the night, Alejandro Perez vs Jonathan Martinez will be an exciting fight to watch. Martinez has incredible hands and is five and three in the UFC, with losses to Andre Ewell and Dwight Grant, both formidable opponents.
Perez on the other hand has a long career and multiple win streaks but has only fought once since 2020. That fight was a submission victory over Johnny Eduardo. This fight is going to be scrap with two hard-nosed fighters ready to give it their all. Tune in for a banger!
Prediction: Martinez Wins
Best Bet: Martinez by decision (+120)
This next one is my favorite fight of the night, regardless if it’s the main card fight or a preliminary bout. Terrance Mckinney vs Fares Ziam will be crazy. I know I’ll be holding my breath from the moment the bell rings.
This is due to Terrance Mckinney’s stunning power and accuracy. In his debut, he knocked out Matt Frevola in seven seconds after only being notified about the fight eight days in advance.
Now Mckinney will look to capitalize on the hype he’s built and take out France’s Fares Ziam. Ziam is skilled and technical and is hoping to improve on his majority decision win over Luigi Vendramini in his last bout.
I’m looking at Mckinney to win this matchup. Although he only has one UFC fight, Matt Frevola came out and showed just how good he is in his last fight. Mckinney is no joke, and I’m expecting a short fight ending in a Mckinney finish.
Prediction: Mckinney by KO
Best Bet: Mckinney Straight up at +105
My final Preliminary Banger is going to be Ignacio Bahamondes vs Rong Zhu.
Bahamondes is a Chilean fighter whom we first saw on Dana White’s Contender Series. He had an incredible showing and finished his opponent with an Anderson Silva style front-kick to the face.
Rong Zhu is also a talented fighter but is coming into this fight as a large underdog. Zhu is significantly shorter and Bahamondes has a five-inch reach advantage. I think Zhu is scrappy enough to keep the fight close, but in the end, I expect Bahamondes to come out on top.
Prediction: Bahamondes ITD
Best Bet: Bahamondes by decision (+150)
Armen Petrosyan vs Gregory Rodrigues
Rodrigues has been one of my favorite prospects from the Contender Series. He’s huge, shredded, and fights extremely fun fights. That being said, he’s got a tough challenge in Armen Petrosyan, who is making his UFC debut after winning his contender series bout by KO.
Rodrigues has a solid ground game but Petrosyan is a great distance striker. I like Rodrigues by KO, but Petrosyan is live as a dog here.
Prediction: G-Rod first-round KO
Best Bet: Rodrigues KO +165 or Petrosyan by KO +200
Arman Tsarukyan vs Joel Alvarez
This fight could be crazy depending on if Alvarez can make weight. Alvarez has finished all of his last four fights inside the first round and a half. However, he’s also missed weight in his two previous bouts by a combined weight of almost seven pounds.
Fighters and commentators alike have recently been ragging on fighters for missing weight, which I think is fair. You sign up to make weight, so make weight. If Alvarez can do that he’ll still have a tough job to finish when it comes to fighting Tsarukyan.
Tsarukyan is a major prospect at 155 that alot of people like. He’s a talented and dominant grappler and has nasty ground and pound. While I like Alvarez and think he’s at a good line around +180, I’m fairly confident in Tsarukyan’s ability to get the job done.
Prediction: Tsarukyan by decision
Best Bet: Tsarukyan ITD +110
Ji Yeon Kim vs Priscilla Cachoeira
Kim comes into this fight having lost three of four, but is still a -170 favorite. She has amazing length and reach for her size, and throws five significant strikes per minute. Cachoeira will be fighting out of the blue corner, and has seven inches less reach than Kim.
Cachoeira has lost three of five, but her two wins both came by KO/TKO. I’ll look to see a rare early finish in this women’s mma match.
Prediction: Cachoeira by KO
Best Bet: Under 2.5 +150
Misha Cirkunov vs Wellington Turman
The line on this fight is almost at a pick’em. I’m sure that may change over the next few days, but as of this moment these two are basically even and I cannot figure out why.
I am not hot at all on Wellington Turman. He’s been chinned early in the first before and he doesn’t have any unbelievable abilities that impress me that much. He’s a decent grappler, a less decent striker, and has a respectable gas tank.
Cirkunov is a better grappler, a more effective and accurate striker, and has much more UFC experience. He’s submitted Jimmy Crute and fought the likes of Glover Texeira, Johnny Walker, Nikita Krylov, and Ion Cutelaba.
I see Cirkunov winning a boring decision, unless he can get Turman to the ground. I don’t think either of these fighters are good enough to co-main event a card, but i’m not a UFC matchmaker unfortunately. Turman has a chance, but I don’t like his odds.
Prediction: Cirkunov by decision
Best Bet: Cirkunov submission +200 or Cirkunov decision +450
Islam Makhachev vs Bobby Green
I was so happy when I found out that Bobby Green is replacing Beneil Dariush in this fight. Granted I would have loved to see Dariush and Makhachev fight, but Bobby Green is just so fun to watch fight.
Bobby “King” Green is five and two in his last seven, but one of those losses came against elite striker and top contender Rafael Fiziev, who is scheduled to fight Rafael Dos Anjos in March. This fight showed the world that Bobby could stand and bang with some of the most technical strikers on the planet.
Less than two weeks ago I accurately predicted Green to defeat Nasrat Haqparast by decision. He’s accepted this fight against Makhachev on less than a full week’s notice, showing how much of a savage he truly is.
Now he has the opportunity at age 35 to show everyone he can compete with the best grapplers in the world too. He’ll take on Islam Makhachev, student, friend, and prodigy of all-time UFC great Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Makhachev has won nine straight fights, four by decision, four by submission, and one by knockout. He is one of the most dominant and skilled grapplers in the lightweight divisions history, and will look to drag Bobby Green to deep waters.
The answer here is fairly simple. My heart says Bobby Green, my head says Islam Makhachev. Realistically, there’s no way I’m putting money down on Islam at -800, there’s close to no value there. I like prop bets in this fight.
Prediction: Makhachev 3rd round submission
Best Bet: Makhachev by sub +110, Green by KO +1000
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