145lbs- #6 Jeremy Stephens (28-15-0) vs #13 Zabit Magomedsharipov (17-1-0)
The final preliminary bout features future contender Zabit Magomedsharipov facing feared knockout artist and 29-fight UFC veteran Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens. Magomedsharipov is 4-0 in the UFC with a trio of submission wins including his most recent win over Brandon Davis. Stephens is coming off a crush TKO loss to former Champion Jose Aldo- he had won 3 in row before the defeat.
At 6’1″, Magomedsharipov is the taller man by 5 inches, but he will have just a 2″ reach advantage. Jeremy is the older fighter by 5-years.
Stephens has made concerning comments in the media regarding his mindset after the Aldo loss. He has struggled against elite level competition, losing to the likes of Max Holloway, Frankie Edgar, and the aforementioned Aldo.
For Zabit, the question remains- is he elite?
The Russian offers a diverse offensive attack, melding together a strong ground attack and solid striking repertoire. He has recorded 6 wins by knockout and 7 by submission.
While Magomedsharipov offers a varied offensive front, Stephens is best known for his fight-stopping power. Jeremy has finished 19 opponents by knockout, and if he lands he can put almost anyone down.
Conversely, Stephens is 7-10 in decisions. While Stephens has worked toward expanding his offensive offerings by integrating more kicks and wrestling, against more diversified strikers he has struggled. Jeremy will chase the knockout and can fall behind on the scorecards as a result.
Zabit effectively utilizes his reach, fighting his opponents on the outside and has completed 23 takedowns once the action starts to transpire at close range
Stephens represents a step up in competition for Magomedsharipov. If he can land a big shot early he could change the complexion of the fight. Unfortunately, he is going to struggle to get into range with consistency and his wrestling won’t be an option as Magomedsharipov is too good on the floor. Zabit will frustrate him on the outside and force Stephens to take desperate low percentage chances- my prediction is Zabit Magomedsharipov to defeat Jeremy Stephens by decision.
205lbs- #14 Misha Cirkunov (14-4-0) vs #15 Johnny Walker (13-3-0)
The surging Johnny Walker makes a quick turnaround as he returning to face Latvian-born Canadian Misha Cirkunov in the Light Heavyweight division. Walker is 2-0 in the UFC, most recently putting down Justin Ledet in just 15-seconds. Cirkunov is coming off an impressive submission win over Patrick Cummins to end a 2-fight losing streak- he is 5-2 in the promotion.
Walker is replacing the injured Ovince Saint Preux on 3 weeks notice and last fought just a month ago. The 6’5″ Brazilian is 2 inches taller than Cirkunov to go along with a 5″ reach advantage. Walker is the younger man by 5-years.
Misha success has been a product of his stellar grappling game. Based in Judo and BJJ, he has averaged 4.53 takedowns per fight and finished each of his last 3 wins by submission.
Equally as impressive has been the finishing rate of Walker, including 13 wins by knockout. Johnny utilized close range elbows to score the finish in his debut and a spinning back fist to put his most recent adversary on the floor.
The key to his fight will be gap management. Cirkunov does his best work from the clinch, landing short strikes and setting up his takedowns. Conversely, Walker likes to use kicks and range weapons to target his opponent on the outside.
Walker’s UFC fights have been abrupt, but during his Contender’s bout he went the distance and tired significantly in the second half of the fight. If Misha can utilize his grinding clinch attack, he could exhaust and overwhelm the Brazilian.
Misha has been finished in both of his UFC defeats, raising questions about his ability to deal with adversity and damage.
Walker’s quick finishes still leave a lot of questions unanswered. If Misha can get him to the floor either with a takedown or by capitalizing on one of Johnny’s high-risk manoeuvres, he can end this one quick. Conversely, Cirkunov’s striking is still a little stiff and he will struggle to get into range against the longer foe. Walker will keep Misha on the outside, eventually hurting Cirkunov when he attempts to close the distance- my prediction is Johnny Walker to defeat Misha Cirkunov by TKO.
135lbs- #12 Cody Stamann (17-2-0) vs #13 Alejandro Perez (22-6-1)
In a battle of closely ranked Bantamweights, Cody Stamann looks to rebound from a difficult defeat when he takes on Mexico’s own Alejandro Perez. Stamann started his UFC career with a trio of wins before running into Aljamain Sterling who submitted him in round 2. Perez is undefeated in his last 7 fights, compiling an impressive 7-1-1 record inside the Octagon.
Both fighters stands 5’6″, but Perez has a 3-inch longer reach. Stamann is replacing Yadong Song with less than 2-month to prepare.
Perez has compiled an impressive run over a series of closely contested fights. Over his last 5 fights, Perez has outlanded his foe by more than 5 significant strikes on just 1 occasion.
The American has relied on a takedown-heavy attack, completing 15 takedowns over 4 fights. A ground-heavy approach could be a key weapon against Perez who has been subbed 3-times and taken down more twice on 3 different occasions.
In his win over Matthew Lopez, Alejandro struggled with Lopez’s wrestling in the opening round. It wasn’t until Lopez’s faded that Perez was able to take over.
Stamann is a solid wrestler and while he has struggled with maintaining top position, he is persistent and will continue to shoot for takedowns throughout the fight.
Perez has a tendency to allow his opponents to dictate the exchanges, opting to sit back and counter. This is a major contributor to the narrow striking totals and contestable decision wins.
Perez has benefited from some questionable decisions in close fights. That ends here. Stamann’s aggressive wrestling, pressure based striking, and solid gas tank will be too much for Perez to overcome. Unless Alejandro can hurt Cody early, Stamann will simply outwork him- my prediction is Cody Stamman to defeat Alejandro Perez by decision.
170lbs- Diego Sanchez (30-11-0) vs Mickey Gall (5-1-0)
The first televised preliminary bout features the return of the “Nightmare” Diego Sanchez as he takes on submission ace Mickey Gall in the Welterweight division. Sanchez is coming off his first win in roughly 2-years, earning a decision victory over Craig White. Gall scored a 69-second submission win over George Sullivan to improve to 4-1 in the UFC.
Gall is 11-years younger than Diego, standing 4 inches taller with 2″ reach advantage.
Diego’s fighting style is well documented. He is a brawler with strong submission defence and a diminishing level of durability.
His wins over White, Marcin Held, and Jim Miller came largely because Sanchez was able to defend their grappling attack and control top position. That will be the key against Gall who has secured all 5 of his pro wins by sub.
More specifically, all of Mickey’s wins have come by rear-naked choke. His only loss came in a fight where he was unable to consistently control his opponent on the mat and faded.
Gall will utilize multiple forms of takedowns and is an aggressive guard passer. For Sanchez, he is not easy to get off of his feet- giving up just 3 takedowns over his last 7 fights.
Mickey has showcased very little beyond his dominant position submission skills. Brown exploited his lack of diversity by putting him on his back and outworking him. Sanchez’s durability is a concern, but his wrestling and BJJ are not. Gall doesn’t appear to have the striking needed to exploit Diego on the feet and Sanchez has shown he can shut down skilled grapplers with his top game- my prediction is Diego Sanchez to defeat Mickey Gall by decision.
185lbs- Edmen Shahbazyan (6-0-0) vs Charles Byrd (9-5-0)
In the final fight of the FightPass Prelims, undefeated Edmen Shahbazyan meets “Kid Dynamite” Charles Byrd in the Middleweight division. Shahbazyan made a successful debut, defeating Darren Stewart by split decision. Byrd bested John Phillips in his first UFC outing, but fell to the aforementioned Stewart by middle frame TKO.
At 6’2″, the 21-year-old Shahbazyan is the taller man by 4 inches. He is 14-years younger than his foe.
A graduate of the Tuesday Night Contenders Series, Shahbazyan came into the UFC on the strength of 7 straight first-round knockout wins. He promptly went the distance in his debut.
Compiling a 2-0 record on the Contender’s circuit, Byrd’s submission win in his UFC debut was his 3rd consecutive and 5th overall.
Despite his knockout heavy record, Edmen offered a grappling-centric attack versus Stewart. He utilized a clinch and well-timed takedowns to control the fight.
Conversely, he didn’t mount much offence and was warned by the official for inactivity. As the fight went deeper, he slowed considerably. Byrd was taken down several times in his Contenders’ fights, but utilized his grapplings skills to earn the victory in both.
Shahbazyan built his record against some lower level opposition and capitalized on a frustrated and defensively vulnerable Stewart. Byrd’s submission and takedown skills are sound and he is the better athlete with a decent set of hands. Edmen gassed hard despite dictating the grappling exchanges and Byrd should make him work harder if he opts to go that route. Look for Shahbazyan’s lack of long fight experience to catch up to him- my prediction is Charles Byrd to defeat Edmen Shahbazyan by submission.
135lbs- Gina Mazany (5-2-0) vs Macy Chiasson (3-0-0)
In the Women’s Bantamweight division, TUF 28 winner Macy Chiasson makes her UFC divisional debut when she meets TUF 18 alumni Gina Mazany. Chiasson is coming off her debut and TUF tournament victory over Pannie Kianzad at Featherweight. Mazany is 1-2 in the UFC, defeating Yana Wu, but most recently dropping a decision to Lina Lansberg.
Chiasson is 5 inches taller than Gina and will have a 4″ reach advantage. Macy is the younger fighter by 3 years.
With the Woman’s Featherweight division appearing finished, Chiasson is taking a stab at making the cut to 135 pounds. Her desire to stay in the UFC could create a bad weight cutting scenario that severely impacts her performance.
If she can make the cut without issue, she will have a physical edge over most women in the division.
The only UFC win on Mazany’s record came on the basis of her takedown game. She completed 5 of 7 shots on route to a decision victory. Against Lansberg, she wasn’t nearly as active with her wrestling but still landed both her attempts.
In the TUF final, Chiasson showcased a decent sprawl and a swift back take once she had her foe overextended.
On the feet, Macy works well at range, but offers her best offence in the clinch with elbows, knees, and dirty boxing.
Mazany’s grinding wrestling attack could allow her to capitalize on Chiasson if the weight cut goes poorly. If not, Gina is going to struggle to find success with her takedowns. Chiasson will bust her up at range and do damage from the clinch. Look for Mazany to get desperate with her TDAs and Maci to capitalize- my prediction is Maci Chiasson to defeat Gina Mazany by submission.
115lbs- Polyana Viana (10-2-0) vs Hannah Cifers (8-3-0)
The first fight of the night and 1 of 3 female bouts sees Brazilian Polyana Viana taking on Hannah “Shockwave” Cifers in the Women’s Strawweight division. Vianna lost by decision to JJ Aldrich to drop her UFC record to 1-1 Cifers is making her sophomore appearance after suffering a middle frame TKO loss to Maycee Barber last November.
The Brazilian is 4 inches taller than Cifers and will have a 2″ reach advantage. Polyana is the older girl by just 2 weeks.
A decorated BJJ competitor, Viana has finished all 10 of her wins- 6 by submission. Cifers has recorded 5 wins by TKO- 4 in the opening frame.
Polyana’s UFC success has not surprisingly hinged on her mat game. In her debut, she secured an early takedown and scored the submission, but against Aldrich she completed just 1 of 5 takedowns and lost on the cards.
Cifers offers a Muay Thai based attack and needs to keep this fight standing to capitalize on her power. Polyana’s has a lot of holes in her standup; hanging her hands and leaving her head up and exposed while throwing single strikes.
Viana has finished all but 1 of her pro wins in the opening round, while carrying a 1-2 record beyond the first 5-minutes. She appeared to tire against Aldrich as the fight advanced and struggled to mount much offense.
The American made her debut on short notice and did an admirable job defending the clinch based TDAs of her opponent. Viana will look for takedowns from the clinch, but if she can’t get her opponent down- her striking leaves a lot to be desired. Cifers is a capable striker and has a far better track record outside of the first round. Polyana will initiate the clinch early, but as the fight progresses she will slow down and Cifers will take over on the feet- my prediction is Hannah Cifers to defeat Polyana Viana by decision.
Starting in 2010, Scott began posting UFC and NFL predictions videos on youtube under the name Kamikaze Overdrive MMA Predictions. Eventually, MMA became his main focus and as the channel’s popularity grew Kamikaze Overdrive eventually expanded to include a website. Scott has worked for various MMA and Sports betting information sites and now posts UFC Predictions, Betting Breakdowns, and Content along with other sports-related betting information.