UFC 231 Predictions

Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega

A fight that has opinions split.

Max Holloway, current UFC Featherweight Champion, a guy who’s skills still seem to be on the rise, a guy who genuinely seems to get better with every fight. And in the actual fights he seems to get better as the fight goes on. He’s tall and slender with excellent boxing. He seems to just wear people down with his pressure, pushing forward not letting them settle and especially if he senses weakness.

Then you have Brian Ortega. Again a young guy in his twenties but with probably the best submission game in the division. He’s also a good striker who attacks with a fearless looseness of someone who has never been beaten, and who also doesn’t care if he gets taken down.

All things equal I give the edge to Holloway but there are a couple of points to think about. Back in July these two were due to fight but Holloway was pulled, suffering from ‘concussion like symptoms’. I think it was put down to the weight cut but it seemed like a kind of small stroke or something. I hope he’s fully recovered but to be honest we won’t know.

Also I don’t think Brian can win a decision (assuming Max is OK) but he has came back and finished late in fights he was losing, he can never be counted out but the other side of that is that he was getting his ass kicked by people nowhere near Max Holloway’s level.

For me it comes to this. If Max is 100% healthy(ish) (you know what I mean) and fight a good fight then he wins. If Max makes mistakes then Ortega will capitalise on them and probably grab a submission. All think being right Holloway finished Ortega with strikes in the third or fourth

Prediction : Holloway by TKO

Valentina Shevchenko vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk

For the inaugural Women’s Flyweight title. Two of the most decorated strikers in the history of combat sports. Both are excellent strikers with Joanna being quicker and more aggressive while Valentina is a very good counter striker with good timing. Both have good footwork and movement. Valentina is the better grappler but Joanna has an excellent sprawl and takedown defense.

In a fight where the combatants are so highly skilled its the small things that swing the fight and in this case I think its size. Shevchenko coming down from bantamweight and Jedrzejczyk coming up from strawweight, I don’t know if Joanne hits hard enough to keep Valentina off her or back her up too much and I think over a five round fight Valentina manages to do more damage and I can see her getting the TKO late on.

Prediction : Shevchenko by TKO

Claudia Gadelha vs Nina Ansaroff

I don’t think Ansaroff has the Lateral movement or quickness to deal with, or at least have success against, Gadelha. Claudia has tighter striking, better defense and when it hits the ground I think she’s a much better grappler.

Simply put, I think Gadelha is just a step above Ansaroff and she will show it here. I think she gets the finish on the ground, either with strikes or a submission.

Prediction : Gadelha by TKO

Jimi Manuwa vs Thiago Santos

Remember when Jimi Manuwa first showed up in the UFC? Continuing the destruction he was causing in cages in England and he looked great and was fun to watch. He’s had some bumps on the road in the years since but he still has the tools to do what he does.

Do you know that this will be Thiago Santos fifth fight in 2018? During which he’s gone four wins and one loss. Not bad at all. Thiago has a strong Thai style, long legs, hits hard and moves very well.

What makes this fight interesting is that both of these guys have the ability to put the other to sleep and it could be a short fight. I feel though that Jimi has better one punch knockout power and its more proven at this weight class. Santos will be aggressive and I think that opens him up for Manuwa.

Prediction : Manuwa by TKO/KO

Alex Oliveira vs Gunnar Nelson

I’ll make this quick. Oliveira is the better striker, more natural and fluid, but Gunnar has solid striking, good enough that he won’t get overwhelmed. As wild as Oliveira can be I think Gunnar gets body lock and takedowns and is able to work from there and eventually get a submission.

Prediction : Nelson by submission

Katlyn Chookagain vs Jessica Eye

I backing Eye to do it here. She’s a better striker than Chookagain and has good takedown defense. Chookagain will counter with kicks and decent punches but I feel Eye has tighter boxing and is defensively better and will do more damage over three rounds.

Prediction : Eye by decision

Devin Clark vs Alexander Rakic

Two good sized, athletic light heavyweight who can punch. Rakic is much better fundamentally and has better defense and although Clark can bang he gets a bit wild and tends to jump into things. I also think that Rakic will be strategically more aware. Attack when he can without over extending. Rakic wins and it might be by decision but I think that if he commits fully to the kill he will get the stoppage.

Prediction : Rakic by TKO

Eryk Anders vs Elias Theodorou

Could be a lot of clinching in this one. Anders stalks forward trying to land that big left hand while Theodorou will be trying to avoid it mainly and because he’s not the quickest he will try to get close and grind it out with a lot of clinch. Expect a lot of low kicks and shirt elbows from Theodorou as well.

I expect Anders to win the first round with aggressive striking and pushing forward. Theodorou will win the third. The way I see it Anders won’t win a decision, he needs the finish and I just don’t see him getting it.

Prediction : Theodorou by decision

Brad Katona vs Matthew Lopez

Always thought that Matthew Lopez would do better in the UFC than he has. It’s not bad luck it’s just that some tough fights haven’t gone his way, but two stoppage losses in a row is not good however you put it.

This might not be a good fight for Lopez stylistically either. He’s is a good aggressive wrestler who likes to get that top position and although he does have power he is a lot more flat footed than Katona. Brad Katona won The Ultimate Fighter season 27 and is undefeated so far.

Lopez will take the middle and look for openings while Katona will be moving around the outside, keeping near the black Octagon lines. Katona’s movement will cause Lopez problems, side to side and never settling, never giving Lopez an easy target.

I keep going back and forward on this one, something is telling me that Lopez is gonna take it. Lopez to get the take downs and do damage for the decision.

Prediction : Lopez by decision

Hakeem Dawodu vs Kyle Bochniak

Dawodu is a strong guy and a solid fighter who hits reasonably hard, but I don’t think there is anything special about him. One think we do know about Kyle Bochniak is that he’s tough as hell and keeps coming, he’ll be in the fight till the end.

I expect Dawodu to start strong but Bochniak will figure him out and Dawodu will fade later. Bochniak to win by ground strikes or submission.

Prediction : Bochniak by submission

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs Gilbert Burns

Gilbert Burns is a world class grappler, several time BJJ champion including the World Championships. On top of that he has knockout power in his hands, not an elegant striker by any means but he can bang. OAM is more of an all rounder. A good grappler but nowhere near Burns. A better striker than Burns but with less power.

If Olivier can stay around the outside and pick his shots then he has the edge. Avoid the power and stay off his back. I also think he has a better gas tank than Burns and if he force the pace early then the end of the fight should belong to Aubin-Mercier.

As we all know, anything can happen and anyone can get caught but I think that strategically Aubin-Mercier will be a step ahead and be able to deal with Gilbert enough for a decision.

Prediction : Aubin-Mercier by decision

Chad Laprise vs Dhiego Lima

Not really impressed by Lima at all. He’s lost his last three including two in the UFC and is surely under some pressure. I guess Lima could win a decision, theoretically, if he can use his reach and his jab for three rounds. There are too many negatives for me though. He doesn’t have a great chin nor really good takedown defence and he’s not particularly quick and doesn’t hit hard for the division.

Laprise will be moving a lot more and looking for openings and he throws hard, if a little wild at times. Laprise might walk into something but I think he will wear Lima down and knock him out in the third round.

Prediction : Laprise by KO

Jesse Ronson vs Carlos Diego Ferreira – CANCELLED (Ronson couldn’t make weight)

Ronson returns to the fold to fight Diego Ferreira on 11 days notice. Ronson seems to be just below UFC level and this fight won’t help his case. Although taking it on short notice, he will get another shot after this. Diego is just the superior fighter all over. Ronson will have moments in the striking but he does get hit and Ferreira throws tight and hard. I see a reasonably easy decision for Diego 30-27 across the board.

Prediction : Ferreira by decision

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.