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UFC prediction: Masvidal definitely can win this fight. Frankly, he can win most fights against most fighters on the right day. But, the question for ‘Gamebred’ is always, will he. He has a bad, consistent habit of falling into whatever rhythm, range, and competitive arena his opponent is interested in offering. It’s especially notable when opponents want to hang back and not overpursue him. Give Masvidal someone high paced and aggressive and his technical skills really shine, give him someone looking to potshot from outside, and he’ll often let himself get out-worked. Till’s game isn’t very diverse, but it is dangerous, slow paced, and rangy. I get the feeling that will be just too easy for Masvidal to fall into matching on his way to a contentious split decision loss that he doesn’t understand. Darren Till by decision.

Danny Roberts vs Claudio Silva

Roberts vs Silva FULL FIGHT

UFC prediction: This fight kinda runs as an interesting lower-tier parallel to the Nelson/Edwards fight above. A well rounded, powerful striker who uses an unexpectedly large amount of wrestling and grappling as a fundamental part of his game, against an aggressive pressure fighter who really wants nothing other than to take people down and submit them. Unfortunately for Roberts, where there’s a really clear path for a victory for Edwards, his own is much less easy to see. Roberts tends to plant his feet a lot, making him a prime target to get clinched up or taken down. And while he’s a good, competitive scrambler, Silva is the kind of crushing cling on to any body part at any cost grappler that’s only really beaten by just staying away. If Silva can get his hands on Roberts, he’ll probably make this a nightmare fight for him. Claudio Silva by submission, round 1.

Jack Marshman vs John Phillips

Marshman vs Phillips FULL FIGHT

UFC prediction: There is really nothing particularly between these two men, as this is a mirror match of big punching Welsh brawlers with no ground games. Marshman perhaps has a bit more craft in his approach, but really it’s a coin toss which should be wondrous, hilarious fun to watch. Jack Marshman by TKO, round 3.

Jose Quinonez vs Nathaniel Wood

Wood vs Quinonez FULL FIGHT

UFC prediction: This fight should be a ton of fun. Quinonez has been both a grinder and increasingly a high-volume gangle-striker. Wood is very much the next-gen protege of Brad Pickett, with a cleaner and more diverse striking game, but the same love for banging it out in the pocket and underrated wrestling and top game chops. The main differential here is sheer power: Wood can crack, and Quinonez has mostly relied on wearing people out with pace. I don’t think he can do that here. Nathaniel Wood by unanimous decision.

Marc Diakiese vs Joseph Duffy

Diakiese vs Duffy FULL FIGHT

UFC prediction: Duffy’s takedown defense is a major question mark here. While Diakiese isn’t the technical wrestler that Poirier, he is fond of hulking people to the floor and has a vast athleticism advantage over Duffy. Between his array of bizarre strikes and his grappling, Diakiese has a not inconsiderable chance of winning this. That being said, Duffy is a far more functional fighter and just a much better striker. This booking is still a puzzler, frankly. Joe Duffy by unanimous decision.

Dan Ige vs Danny Henry

Dan Ige vs Danny Henry FULL FIGHT

UFC prediction: Henry has already overperformed in the UFC, in part by being incredibly tough and opportunistic. It’s also a little hard to see just how good he is beyond that? Ige himself is absolutely rawhide tough. He packs less power but is a relentless wrestler, and I don’t trust Henry to be able to pull a comeback on him. Dan Ige by unanimous decision.

Gunnar Nelson vs Leon Edwards

Nelson vs Edwards FULL FIGHT

UFC prediction: Nelson is a defined strike to submission finishing threat. He’s very fast, very focused, and almost totally lacking in round-winning process or defense. Leon Edwards is almost the opposite, in that he’s similarly well-rounded but far more process driven. In general, his gameplan selection for opponents has been excellent, and given a similarly dynamic strike to submission grappler in Vicente Luque he pressured him and shut him down quickly. Given how porous Nelson himself is in almost every area (includingly, concerningly, the ground against Alex Oliveira) he seems primed to get outworked. Edwards does tend to get tagged hard at least once in his fights, but it’s rarely early on, where Nelson tends to pick up most of his finishes. Leon Edwards by unanimous decision.

Volkan Oezdemir vs Dominick Reyes

Oezdemir vs Reyes FULL FIGHT

UFC prediction: Parts of Oezdemir’s game have definitely been evolving, but there seems to be one massive gap in the middle of it. He came to the UFC as an uncomfortable boxer with a great clinch striking game and some good GnP from top control when he could force the fight there. Slowly, he’s become a much much more confident and capable pocket boxer, who can swarm opponents with long combinations. However, it seems to have come without any recognition for pacing or cardio. Notably, in his last two fights, Oezdemir’s hands have looked incredibly sharp... for about a round. Then he gasses out. Reyes isn’t the combination puncher that Oezdemir is, but he’s comfortable in every space; out at range, in the pocket, in the clinch, he has tools to hurt opposition and the confidence to let them go as needed. He’s maybe a little too willing to take a shot to land a shot inside, but so far he’s also been tough as hell. Oezdemir will likely make this a wild exchange early, but like Anthony Smith and Daniel Cormier, if Reyes rides out the storm, he’ll likely come out on top. Dominick Reyes by decision.

Arnold Allen vs Jordan Rinaldi

Allen vs Rinaldi FULL FIGHT

UFC prediction: Rinaldi’s size and single-mindedness make him a bit of a wildcard at 145. He just wasn’t strong enough to implement his grinding wrestle-grappling game against lightweights, but at featherweight? It’s hard to tell outside of his debut success. Allen himself is pretty strong and well rounded, and absolutely pathologically aggressive at all times in all arenas. That should be enough to get him the win over an opponent who just isn’t that competitive a striker, but there’s a chance Rinaldi just hits reactive takedowns all fight and is too big to get swept. Arnold Allen by decision.

Molly McCann vs Priscila Cachoeira

Molly McCann vs Priscila Cachoeira FULL FIGHT

UFC prediction: I think the UFC likes what they have with McCann, but have realized that it might be an issue if they book her against anyone with any semblance of a ground game. Cachoeira seemingly fits the bill. Molly McCann by TKO, round 3.

Nicolae Negumereanu vs Saparbek Safarov

Negumereanu vs Safarov FULL FIGHT

UFC prediction: This is basically a “how much is UFC experience worth” fight. In the case of the big man divisions, it’s often quite a lot, simply because it often takes a fight or two to acclimate to the idea that you’re now fighting dudes that can stand up to one, two, or perhaps even three or more punches, and can fight for a full fifteen minutes. Negumereanu looks like a decent physical talent and Safarov is really just not very good, but don’t be surprised if Negumereanu gasses out and gets ground down. Nicolae Negumereanu by TKO, round 1.

Nad Narimani vs Mike Grundy

Narimani vs Grundy FULL FIGHT

UFC prediction: This should be a really physical, fun fight. Mike Grundy has had the kind of world-travelling career you don’t necessarily expect of a regional British wrestler in this day and age, and has picked up some solid wins on the way. I largely echo Zane’s thoughts: Narimani is the better, more willing striker, but Grundy is just a better and more explosive technical wrestler. Mike Grundy by unanimous decision. 
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