UFC 237: Namajunas vs Andrade | Early Prelim Predictions

UFC 237: Namajunas vs Andrade | Early Prelim Predictions

125lbs- Luana Carolina (5-1-0) vs Priscila Cachoeira (8-2-0)

The 3rd early prelim to be altered by the injury bug sees Brazil Contender Series graduate Luana Carolina take on injury replacement Priscila Cachoeira in the Flyweight division. Carolina started her pro career with a defeat but has won 5 in a row since the loss. Cachoeira won 8 straight fight to being her MMA career, but she has lost back to back bouts at the onset of her UFC tenure including a devastating debut loss to Valentina Shevchenko.

Both girls are 5’7″, but Carolina will have a 4″ reach advantage. She is the younger girl by 5-years. Cachoeira is replacing Yanan Wu with less than 3 weeks to prepare.

Carolina bested an undefeated fighter in her Contenders bout, but her 3 previous opponents had a combined record of just 2-4. She has a pair of knockout wins, a single submission, and a 2-1 record on the cards.

In her debut, Cachoeira was simply overmatched. She spent the majority of the fight on the floor getting smashed. In her next fight, she had similar struggles surrendering a pair of takedowns.

The promotional neophyte does appear to have a threatening mat game. She has showcased a few skills on the floor but as a reaction to her foe taking her down. She likes to mix it up at distance and can do some damage in the clinch.

Cachoeira does her best work on the feet as well. She landed 75 significant strikes against McCann and has the majority of her success overwhelming her regional opponents while standing. Against McCann, she had mixed results in exchanges, often missing with big haymakers.

Cachoeira is a brawler, but just not a very effective one. Carolina appears to have the more capable striking attack and her reach advantage will help her to connect first. Carolina might opt to take the fight to the ground which is an area that Cachoeira has struggled with. Lastly, the short notice could negatively impact Priscila’s performance- my prediction is Luana Carolina to defeat Priscila Cachoeira by decision.

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170lbs- Warlley Alves (13-3-0) vs Sergio Moraes (14-5-1)

One of multiple all-Brazilian battles features TUF Brazil 3 winner Warlley Alves taking on elite level BJJ practitioner Sergio “Panther” Moraes in the Welterweight division. Alves is coming off an upset TKO loss to James Krause- he is 6-4 in the UFC. Moraes dropped a decision to Anthony Martin, dropping his Octagon mark to 8-3-1.

Moraes is an inch taller, but they have the same reach. Alves is the younger man by 9-years, but Moraes is making a quick turn around just 2-months removed from his last fight.

Both fighters have notable shortcomings that have impacted their previous performances. Alves’ cardio has failed him in more demanding fights.

While, Moraes has faltered when he has either been unwilling or unable to incorporate his BJJ into a fight.

Head to head, Alves is the more diversified fighter. He offers a dangerous submission game and capable striking attack with respectable power. That being said, Warlley will be hardpressed to get the better of Moraes on the mat.

Sergio is coming off a concerning performance where he struggled to find much success with his striking and his grappling was equally stifled. He seemed frustrated throughout the majority of the bout.

The knockout loss to Krause, the first of Alves’ career raises some concerns about his durability and coupled with his questionable cardio- this could signal a steep downturn in his career.

If Moraes pushes Alves, he could outwork or possibly score a knockout. For Alves, he is the more capable striker and should find success on the feet. Moraes doesn’t have the top-notch wrestling needed to incorporate his BJJ and Alves has had success stopping takedown oriented fighters. Warlley needs to be mindful of maintaining a consistent work rate without overextending himself. Alves will land the more consistent and impactful offense- my prediction is Warlley Alves to defeat Sergio Moraes by decision.

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135lbs- Raoni Barcelos (13-1-0) vs Carlos Huachin (10-3-1)

Another fight impacted by the withdrawal of a competitor will see the surging Raoni Barcelos fights Peru’s Carlos Huachin in the Bantamweight division. Barcelos is 2-0 in the Octagon but owns 4 straight wins over UFC rostered opponents. Huachin hasn’t lost since 2015 and has been defeated just once in his last 12 fights since an 0-2 start to his pro career.

Huachin is replacing Said Nurmagomedov with just over a week to prepare. Both men are 5’7″, but Huachin is the younger man by 9-years.

The UFC debutant fought just over a month ago, winning by first round TKO. Huachin has finished all 10 of his pro wins, 8 by knockout. Of his 10 stoppages, 9 have come in the first round compared to an 0-3-1 record on the cards.

Barcelos has proven his diversified finishing skills, recording a pair of UFC wins- 1 by sub and the other by knockout. Overall, he has finished 7 opponents by TKO/KO compared to just 2 submission victories.

As the numbers suggest, Huachin has power in his punches, mainly throwing big hooks in flurries while mixing in a sneaky uppercut.

Barcelos is more than willing to stand and trade, with serious power in his punches. If the striking exchanges aren’t fairing too well for the Brazilian, look for him to change levels for a takedown.

Huachin does tend to slow down and in his recent draw, he faded under his opponent’s pressure after a strong start.

With just a week to prepare, Huachin is facing a difficult task. His lack of success beyond the opening round is equally as concerning. Barcelos needs to avoid getting drawn into a brawl and should look to exploit the larger gap in capability which is on the mat. Look for the Brazilian, to continue his mix of striking and takedowns, ultimately getting it done on the floor- my prediction is Raoni Barcelos to defeat Carlos Huachin by submission.

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135lbs- #15 Talita Bernardo (6-3-0) vs Viviane Araujo (6-1-0)

With Melissa Gatto pulling out in the midst of fight week, Talita Bernardo will face another opponent change. Bernardo is coming off her first UFC win in 3 tries- a decision over Sarah Moras. Undefeated, Gatto turned pro in 2016 and fought 4-times in 2018 with a 3-0-1 record. Araujo has won 3 in a since suffering the first loss of her pro career.

The height and reach of both girls are identical with Araujo the younger fighter by a year. That being said, Araujo traditionally fights at Strawweight, a full 20-pounds below Bernardo.

Araujo has finished all 6 of her wins inside the distance- 4 by sub. 5 of 6 in the opening round. Her last 3 opponents have a combined 34-19 record.

Talita continued her reliance on takedowns completing 2 against Moras to run her overall total to 6 completions at a 25% completion rate.

On the feet, Araujo carries a solid pace and moves well. She will bounce in and out of range with single strikes. She should have a speed advantage on the feet which could be her avenue to victory here.

Against Moras, Bernardo didn’t experience the typical slowdown. She has had success with body lock takedowns and she was routinely able to pass the guard. In the final frame, she was put on her back but orchestrated a beautiful sweep back to top position.

The incredibly late notice could be an issue for Araujo, especially considering her lack of experience beyond the opening round. Bernardo can’t risk standing with a much quicker opponent. If she starts to slow down, Araujo will be able to pile up the volume and pull away on the cards. Look for Bernardo to close the gap, clinch, and drag her smaller opponent to the mat. Talita needs to magnify her size advantage- my prediction is Talita Bernardo to defeat Viviane Araujo by decision.

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135lbs- #15 Talita Bernardo (6-3-0) vs Melissa Gatto (6-0-2)Cancelled

The first fight of the night features Brazilian Talita Bernardo squaring off with the debuting and short-notice replacement Melissa Gatto in the Womens Bantamweight division. Bernardo is coming off her first UFC win in 3 tries- a decision over Sarah Moras. Undefeated, Gatto turned pro in 2016 and fought 4-times in 2018 with a 3-0-1 record.

Gatto is taking the spot of Jessica-Rose Clark with just over a month to prepare. She normally competes at Flyweight which will help her with the cut. She is 9-years younger than Bernardo and an inch taller.

Talita continued her reliance on takedowns completing 2 against Moras to run her overall total to 6 completions at a 25% completion rate.

The UFC newcomer has finished 4 of her 6 opponents by submission- all in the opening round. Gatto is 2-0-2 on the scorecards. Her last 3 opponents are a combined 20-9.

With an opportunistic submission game, Gatto will attack from top or bottom position. At this level, she will need to be mindful of giving up position too often.

Against Moras, Bernardo didn’t experience the typical slowdown. She has had success with body lock takedowns and she was routinely able to pass the guard. In the final frame, she was put on her back but orchestrated a beautiful sweep back to top position.

Bernardo should have the advantage on the feet for however long it stays there. She should also have the edge on the floor. Gatto is too willing to go to her back and the size and skill of Talita will neutralize her aggressive guard game. Bernado’s improved cardio is encouraging. Bernardo controls the action on the mat, capitalizes on superior positions and eventually sets up a finish- my prediction is Talita Bernardo to defeat Melissa Gatto by submission.