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UFC Vegas 49

Main Event

Islam Makhachev vs Bobby Green

Lightweight

Makhachev is coming off of an impressive 2021 campaign, as he had 3 submission wins; over the likes of Dan Hooker, Thiago Moises, & Drew Dober. Neither of them showing any real promise at all to threaten Makhachev. He’s on a 9 fight win streak, looking to make it 10. A lot of the top 15 guys have been ducking him, and for good reason, but soon they’ll have no choice, a title shot will happen for Makhachev in 2023 if I had to guess, and that’s at the latest, he could potentially see that by the end of the year. He now gets Bobby Green as a late replacement, after having just fought 2 weeks ago, I have nothing but respect for Green for that, the guy is a warrior. He’s on a 2 fight win streak after looking impressive vs Al Laquinta & Nasrat Haqparast. Green is a good overall fighter, and thrives off of a pressure striking game that’s based on high volume. He’s a good wrestler, but his opponent now is on another league in that department. His best chance is to somehow keep this standing for the better part of 3 rounds minimum. Tall task. Makhachev’s game is simple, get the fight to the mat, and dominate until he gets a sub. Green hasn’t been submitted since 2009, but seems inevitable here, just a matter of how quick. Much as been said about Makhachev’s striking if things did need to stay on the feet longer in his fights, but I’ll say this, he’s more than capable of holding his own there too, he’s got good technical striking, and uses it to close distance to shoot for TDs. Haven’t looked at props just yet, but I imagine you won’t make much $$ betting Makhachev by submission, that’s how likely it is. I’ve got Makhachev by sub in RD 3.

PICK: Islam Makhachev $23 FD ($9500 DK)

Bobby Green $8 FD ($6700 DK)

Co Main Event

Misha Cirkunov vs Wellington Turman

Middleweight

Interesting co main spot if you ask me, well, probably a great amount of people, considering Arman Tsarukyan vs Joel Alvarez is happening on this same Main Card, will get to that one shortly. But no one was clamoring to see Wellington Turman in a Co Main, let alone a main card. Turman is coming off of a much needed decision win over Sam Alvey that was extremely close to call last summer, after previously being knocked out in his previous 2 matches. Turman hasn’t really impressed me at all, his chin is questionable, and his biggest success comes from having an advantage in wrestling. He just recently struggled wrestling Sam Alvey, now he gets a much stiffer test with Cirkunov. He’s got decent striking, but no real power. Cirkunov needs a win here, he’s on a 2 fight skid, the most recent being a decision loss to Krzysztof Jotko this past October via split decision. Cirkunov tends to try and pressure his opponents, throwing 1-2 combos or hard single shots. He’s not very light on his feet, and can be relatively stiff. When he’s in close, he has a tendency to shoot for TDs to try and work his wrestling game. He’ll be much more prepared in that department too. Both guys are chinny, and I give power edge to Cirkunov, so he’ll be more suited to find a finish in this matchup. With his top pressure on the mat, I could see a late ground and pound win for him. Think he gets it RD 3 when Turman starts to fade a bit.

PICK: Misha Cirkunov $16 FD ($8300 DK)

Wellington Turman $15 FD ($7900 DK)

Ji Yeon Kim vs Priscilla Cachoeira

Women’s Flyweight

This should be a strikers delight style matchup. Cachoeira is 2-1 in her last 3, and very clearly struggles with strong grapplers, so she finally has a stylistic reprieve with this matchup. Kim, is coming off of 2 consecutive losses via decision and needs a win here. Her approach is simple, and that’s to throw punches in volume. She has decent TDEF if fighters close distance to try and change levels, and can struggle a bit if it gets there, she won’t have that particular worry here. On the flip side, Priscilla hopes that fights turn into striking wars. She’s very powerful for the division, and will certainly be the one with the more impactful striking, so I could see a scenario when it hits mid 2nd RD, where Kim tries to get it grounded to steal a RD, if she doesn’t, she could be in some trouble. Over the course of 15mins, Cachoeira will most certainly be the one dishing out more damage. Kim hasn’t been finished via strikes to this point, but she could float with disaster in this matchup. Kim generally maintains distance well with her reach, which is why most all her fights go to decision, that won’t help her here. She needs to be impressive I’m every facet to get this one I believe. The pick is for Cachoeira to get a decision win, 29-28 on the cards.

PICK: Priscilla Cachoeira $13 FD ($7600 DK)

Ji Yeon Kim $19 FD ($8600 DK)

Arman Tsarukyan vs Joel Alvarez

Lightweight

This is easily the 2nd best fight on the card, and if you ask me, I think it’s the best, Main would be 2nd. Alvarez made weight, which was pleasant to see, and both guys are hot prospects looking to continue to rise. Tsarukyan’s lone UFC loss was to the guy headlining this card on short notice, at that, that’s impressive, and it was via decision, so it speaks to the talent he has, he’s on a 4 fight win streak. Alvarez, is also on a 4 fight win streak, all coming via stoppage, 2 TKO/KO, and 2 submissions. Alvarez was widely known for his submission prowess, but has recently shown the power/striking dominance he can have. He utilizes kickboxing to set things up, and to no surprise, is the much bigger fighter in this one. He’s got an 8 inch height advantage, and by fight time will be huge over Tsarukyan. Tsarukyan, is also known for his grappling/wrestling prowess, as neither guy has been submitted in their UFC careers. Tsarukyan has good striking, and will look to close distance to shoot for TDs, he won’t want this to turn to a striking affair. He’ll have success getting TDs, the biggest question mark will be how quickly Alvarez can get it back standing. Alvarez could very well find a finish on the feet, similar to the Thiago Moises bout, but could be tough sledding, Tsarukyan is really good defensively. I understand Alvarez will be a popular pick among underdogs tomorrow, and rightly so, but I can’t pass up the discount we’re getting for him in this matchup. I think he can certainly do enough in 2nof the 3 rounds to win a decision, with the upside of finding his 5th straight finish. So that means there’s leverage with taking the fav here, assuming you believe he dominates in wrestling exchanges, I don’t. The pick is Alvarez via decision.

PICK: Joel Alvarez $11 FD ($7100 DK)

Arman Tsarukyan $20 FD ($9100 DK)

Gregory Rodrigues vs Armen Petrosyan

Middleweight

This should be a fun bout. Robocop Rodrigues gets back to it after starting his UFC career off at 2-0, the most recent being a 2nd RD finish over Jun Yong Park. Rodrigues surprised me in his debut over Dusko Todorovic as well, although it was much more disappointment for me in Todorovic’s approach than anything. Rodrigues will pressure forward, throwing strikes, but doesn’t have good head movement, which makes him very hittable with counter strikes. He has the ability to fall back on a strong wrestling game, which could serve him well in this particular matchup. Petrosyan is making his UFC debut, and is an alum of DWCS. While his striking isn’t the best technically, we know exactly what he’s going for, and that’s the KO punch. He packs great power and can end it quickly, so it’s in Rodrigues’ best interest to get this to the mat and try and keep it there. Petrosyan has found ways to scramble and get back to his feet when he’s been downed before, but that was to much easier competition than what Rodrigues will offer there. This could get interesting, but Rodrigues’ inability to have great head movement when it matters most worries me, and I think he’ll get caught with one that’ll put him down. The pick is Petrosyan via 2nd RD KO/TKO.

PICK: Armen Petrosyan $13 FD ($7700 DK)

Gregory Rodrigues $18 FD ($8500 DK)

Ignacio Bahamondes vs Zhu Rong

Lightweight

Rong missed weight again for this one. So his next time out may be at a different weight class, at least it should be, if he’s not going to take his fight prep seriously enough. Despite that, his most recent outing showed all the tools he does well, he got a 3rd RD finish over Brandon Jenkins. He showed an ability to mix in his striking with his knack for wanting to change levels and get the fight grounded. He has good striking and looks to pressure opponents to close distance. His debut vs Rodrigo Vargas isn’t lost on me though, and i remember him being a big fav in that matchup. Better competition limits what he’ll be most effective at. Insert Bahamondes here and we’re in for a great fight. Bahamondes late 3rd RD KO over Roosevelt Roberts was among one of the best in the UFC last year. Aside from that, his performance was near flawless. Due to his length, he can utilize his kickboxing to help maintain distance as he puts together his striking. And his TDEF was excellent, he stuffed all 12 of Roosevelt’s attempts, when that happened, Roosevelt was done. If that type of TDEF shows up vs Rong here, we could be in for a similar performance. I’m not as confident that he finds another finish, but he’ll clearly do enough to get the win on the scorecards. I like Bahamondes via decision, should put up another 100+ SS performance along the way too.

PICK: Ignacio Bahamondes $19 FD ($9000 DK)

Zhu Rong $12 FD ($7200 DK)

Josiane Nunes vs Ramona Pascual

Women’s Bantamweight

Nunes is heading out for her second UFC appearance after a blistering KO win over Bea Malecki in her debut. She gets Pascual, who makes her UFC debut here. Pascual will have the 4 inch height advantage here, but that won’t matter much to Nunes. Nunes fights in a low stance as she marches forward, getting a ton of power from her legs. She throws with the intent to put her opponents out. Pascual, has shown similar power in fights on the regional scene, so it’s tough to know exactly how it’ll translate. Pascual could find some success if she’s able to get the fight grounded, but Nunes strength should help her anywhere this goes. Nunes should be the one dictating things, and if she gets Pascual backing up to the cage early, it won’t mean anything good for the debutant. Nunes power should pay dividends again here, I think she finds another 1st RD KO.

PICK: Josiane Nunes $19 FD ($8900 DK)

Ramona Pascual $9 FD ($7300 DK)

Terrance McKinney vs Fares Ziam

Lightweight

Absolutely ready to see this fight. McKinney’s debut has everyone ready to see if he can follow up his 7 second KO win over Matt Frevola. His nickname is T Wrecks for a reason. Ziam, is making his 4th UFC appearance, and sits 2-1 currently. His most recent win was over Luigi Vendramini via decision. Ziam is a patient striker, who does most things at a decent clip. Vendramini gave him the fight he desired, a slower paced striking affair that allowed Ziam to counter. One thing to note though, is that any type of sustained pressure from an opponent flusters Ziam. He very clearly lost the 3rd RD of that fight, and could’ve been on the wrong end of a split. McKinney will waste no time pressuring Ziam, he’ll throw a 1-2 combo almost immediately to get a reaction. I don’t think Ziam wants to pressure forward first. McKinney’s wrestling is also really good, so should things end up there, McKinney has violent ground and pound. The danger is him burning out his gas tank if he can’t get the finish within RD 1. Ziam is more poised in that regard and will be better prepared for 3 RDs. However, I don’t think it gets there,  McKinney should have another short night at the office. RD 1 KO/TKO for McKinney.

PICK: Terrance McKinney $15 FD ($7800 DK)

Fares Ziam $16 FD ($8400 DK)

Jonathan Martinez vs Alejandro Perez

Featherweight

This should be an interesting bout. Martinez seems to have the tools to be successful, he just hasn’t been consistent to start his UFC career. He sits at 5-3, with some mixed results. He gets the forgotten Alejandro Perez, who sits at 8-3-1 in his UFC career. Perez is a well rounded fighter, who doesn’t do any one thing that’ll wow you. He has a bit of a frustrating approach for fighters. In the past if there was signs of trouble on the feet, he’d shoot for a TD and try and work his wrestling to hunt for a submission. On the feet, Perez will try to move in and out of the pocket as he throws combinations to avoid being countered. He struggles with someone who has clear size advantage over him though, as it becomes tougher to implement the style fight he wants. So we may see a kickboxing match from both guys to start. Martinez should be the one leading the dance though, and with his size, any or most TD attempts from Perez should be met with great resistance. Neither guy packs too great a power, so I see this one going the distance, somehow being closer than it should be. Martinez should take a decision though on account of his activity. Don’t have much confidence he’ll come close to his heavy price tag though, so will be a fade for me both ways.

PICK: Jonathan Martinez $21 FD ($8800 DK)

Alejandro Perez $8 FD ($7400 DK)

Ramiz Brahimaj vs Michael Gillmore

Welterweight

Brahimaj found out his last time out what it’s like to be met with a resilient grapple heavy approach that he generally likes to apply from the Vet Court McGee. McGee’s cardio is still pretty elite, and he never gave Brahimaj any real chance to get his footing in that bout. Which is why Brahimaj needs to continuously work on his striking. He’s gotten a bit better, but as his competition in opponent continues to rise, so will the problems he faces. Brahimaj is still a great grappler who has an ability to find the sub, especially if he can take the back.  He gets Gilmore, who’s coming off of a pretty dominant KO loss in his debut vs Andre Petroski last summer. Petroski was able to have his way on the mat, and had considerable control time. Gillmore’s best hope is to somehow turn it into a striking match where he can dictate things on the feet, that seems hard pressed though, Petroski was able to get him to the mat 4 times, so should be no problems for Brahimaj. As far as level of competition goes, this is much better for Brahimaj to show off his wrestling chops. I think he comes out looking to make amends from that last showing. 2nd RD sub is the pick.

PICK: Ramiz Brahimaj $22 FD ($9300 DK)

Michael Gillmore $8 FD ($6900 DK)

Carlos Hernandez vs Victor Altamirano

Flyweight

To open the night we get two guys making their respective UFC debuts. Both men are DWCS alum. This should be a fast paced war. Hernandez is the better overall fighter here IMO, he’ll be the one dishing out the harder hits in the striking exchanges, and will be better suited when things hit the mat. Altmirano can string together volume, but has a clear issue with being taken down, so Hernandez should have sustained success there if he wants it. Altamirano fights well off his back though, so he generally doesn’t mind being there. The tape on these two is few, so I’m expecting an extremely close affair as the odds suggest. I think Hernandez will do more in the way of activity that should earn him a decision win here to start the day.

PICK: Carlos Hernandez $17 FD ($8200 DK)

Victor Altamirano $14 FD ($8000 DK)

by: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)

Best of luck to you all!

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