UFC 271: Early Prelims Predictions - Predictions - 02/12/22
Going to do a condensed look at the entire early prelminary card for this article. Same amount of research went into these as the full breakdowns. Check back on the betting guide later.
Leomana Martinez (9-2) vs Ronnie Lawrence (7-1)
Lawrence put on a takedown clinic last time out but the flipside of landing 8 takedowns means your opponent got up a whole lot. Nevertheless, every one of these takedowns came in different ways so it was quite impressive; and even though he didn’t keep him down for long, he still ended up getting the finish eventually. All his spinning strikes are going to be of no use here against Martinez who is a big bantamweight with solid striking. I also don’t see Lawrence suplexing Martinez all over the place due to the aforementioned size advantage. Even still, Martinez taking a 42 year old Guido Cannetti to split decision doesn’t instill a ton of confidence. He got handedly reversed on the ground in that fight too and submitted in his previous fight. Give me Lawrence to execute another relentless grappling mission.
Prediction: Ronnie Lawrence
Alexander Hernandez (13-4) vs Renato Moicano (15-4-1)
Great match up here. Both guys have what it takes to soundly defeat the other. Moicano has good movement and range management but he looks incredibly uneasy in there now as a result of getting knocked out many times recently. He has more heavily relied on his grappling recently than he ever has and it’s a trend I suspect will carry over into this fight. If Hernandez smells blood in the water he will absolutely put Moicano out. But if he gets too overzealous with his pressure he’s going to wind up on his back. I’m going to bank on Hernandez’s defensive grappling and scrambling ability being enough to keep it standing, and that’s where the fight should shift in his favour. We will know pretty early however if Hernandez has the defensive wrestling to do this.
Prediction: Alexander Hernandez
Carlos Ulberg (3-1) vs Fabio Cherant (7-3)
Carlos Ulberg is a decent kickboxer as long as he’s the one throwing. When his opponent throws, then Ulberg is just going to willingly get hit. He also gassed out pretty badly in his loss against Nzechukwu. In his defense, he probably has never come up against that kind of fight. One where his opponent just shells up and lets you tee off pretty much as often as you’d like. Once gassed, the striking defense went from poor to atrocious and he got put out. In his defense, he did throw 145 strikes in a round and a half. Meanwhile, his opponent has done nothing good in his last 2 octagon appearances, offering up no offense and getting finished both times. When you dig into Cherant’s LFA career, you can find him utilizing some grappling to get to fight ending positions (usually through submission), but in the 5 minutes on the feet against Knight, he gave no inclination that he would go that route. I’ll take Ulberg here based on being a better technician but he’s incredibly green and a knockout defeat would not surprise me.
Prediction: Carlos Ulberg
A.J. Dobson (6-0) vs Jacob Malkoun (5-1)
Tough one to call. Dobson could very well blitz Malkoun early and get the KO, similar to Hawes 18 second melting of “Mamba”. But I am slightly leaning toward Malkoun to prevail based on his methodical dismantling of Alhassan last time out. Alhassan is similar to Dobson as well with the whole 1st round blitz/threat thing.
Prediction: Jacob Malkoun
Douglas Silva de Andrade (27-4) vs Sergey Morozov (17-4)
This one jumped out at me when the card was announced as a pretty easy fight for Silva de Andrade and then I remembered I thought the same thing with Morozov vs Taha. I’m probably going to underestimate him again here but I have to side with Douglas Silva de Andrade. He has the power to rock Morozov, similar to how Umar Nurmagomedov did, but he also has the scrambling ability to get things back to the feet (which Taha didn’t have). If Morozov is relentless enough with the takedown pressure though he will certainly prove me wrong again, but I see there being enough stand up striking time in this fight to get him in trouble.
Prediction: Douglas Silva de Andrade
Jeremiah Wells (9-2-1) vs Mike Mathetha (3-0)
You’re probably not going to want to miss this one. Mike Mathetha is a great pick up for UFC. He’s a kickboxer out of City Kickboxing who’s making his debut. What I like about him is how calm he is when his opponent is trying to unload on him. He delivered a head kick knockout in one of his kickboxing fights when his opponent was emptying the tank and it was very impressive. Those kinds of shots are the ones opponents don’t see coming. Some cardio issues came into play a bit in his last fight but he still toughed out the win.
And on a side note, my buddy from Australia texted me and told me this guy was a killer and a steal at that price. And honestly, even with the can crushing footage I’ve seen and a solid req like that, I’d take him if he wasn’t fighting Jeremiah Wells.
If you’re looking to take a shot on the dog making his debut however, the calmness under fire point I mentioned is perfect to counter a guy like Wells who is a bricked up, blitzing maniac. What is giving me pause is if Mathetha doesn’t get the KO during that exchange, he’s going to find himself against the cage against a guy with the grappling and strength advantage to plant him. I’d say he finds out quickly that he doesn’t want to be on the bottom of Wells, who obliterated Warlley Alves last time out.