UFC 237: Namajunas vs Andrade | Prelim Predictions

UFC 237: Namajunas vs Andrade | Prelim Predictions

205lbs- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (22-8-0) vs Ryan Spann (14-5-0)

The final fight on the undercard features the Pride alumni Antonio Rogerio Nogueira taking on promotional sophomore Ryan “Superman” Spann in the Light Heavyweight division. Spann debuted with a win over Luis Henrique by decision to extend his current winning streak to 5 straight wins. Nogueira returned to action with a knockout win over Sam Alvey- he has won 2 of his last 3 fights.

At 6’5″, Spann is 3 inches taller than “Lil Nog” to go along with a 4″ reach advantage. Spann is 15-years younger than Nogueira.

Antonio has fought in Brazil in each of his last 4-fights, including a 2-1 record against foreign-born opponents. Spann is coming off of a successful trip to Brazil in his win over Henrique.

Of the Brazilian’s last 5 fights, 4 have ended by knockout- 2 wins and 2 losses. This is an indication that he is still dangerous, but he is equally as vulnerable to an opponent’s power.

Spann has finished the majority of his wins by submission (10 of 15) and is debut performance was indicative of that. The majority of his success came on the mat, both initiating grappling exchanges and countering his opponents’ attempts to take him down.

The American is coming off his first win since early 2015 that went beyond the opening round. He has suffered a pair of knockout defeats and is 1-3 in his last 4 bouts to last more than 5 minutes.

Physically Spann appears to hold all of the cards, but his lack of success outside of the opening round is concerning. Nogueira has proven vulnerable to takedowns, but only against the best of the division. If “Lil Nog” can force his foe beyond the opening round and keep him on the feet, the edges turn in his favour. Nogueira’s boxing remains dangerous and unless “Superman” can hurt or back Antonio up, he will struggle with his pressure- my prediction is Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to defeat Ryan Spann by TKO.

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155lbs- Thiago Moises (11-3-0) vs Kurt Holobaugh (17-6-0 1NC)

In the Lightweight division, Thiago Moises takes on American Kurt Holobaugh. Moises fell via decision to Beniel Dariush in his debut, ending a 2-fight winning streak. Holobaugh fell via submission to Shane Burgos to drop his 2 tenure UFC record fall to 0-3.

Holobaugh has fought at Featherweight during his time in the UFC, but will be moving up to 155-pounds where he won the Titan FC title back in 2017. Kurt is the taller man by 2-inches, but they share a 70″ reach. Moises is the younger man by 9-years.

The Brazilian didn’t showcase much of his offense in his debut, succumbing to the grappling-heavy attack of Dariush.

Holobaugh also lost his last fight on the mat; after scoring a knockdown and getting caught in an armbar.

On the feet, Holobaugh has some power and can put some decent volume on his opponent. He is also a little too willing to absorb damage and this cost him in his re-debut.

Both fighters have experience in longer fights. Moises has gone 5 rounds on 3 occasions, winning twice. Holobaugh has also fought into the championship rounds in multiple fights.

Holobaugh has been finished in each of his last 2 fights, but he has put forth decent performances. Moises has looked pedestrian at times and his struggles with pressure is concerning. Look for Holobaugh to benefit from the less impactful weight cut and push a steady pace of offense at his opponent. The visitor needs to be mindful of a close decision, but Kurt will simply outwork his foe from start to finish- my prediction is Kurt Holobaugh to defeat Thiago Moises by decision.

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135lbs- #10 Irene Aldana (9-4-0) vs Bethe Correia (10-3-1)

In the Womens Bantamweight division, former title challenger Bethe “Pitbull” Correia battles Mexico’s Irene Aldana. Correia is coming off a vicious knockout loss to Holly Holm and has struggled to a 1-3-1 record that started with her title fight loss to Ronda Rousey. Aldana

This fight was originally scheduled to take place last summer, but Bethe pulled out and hasn’t competed in almost 2-years. Aldana is the taller fight by 4 inches and will have a 4-inch reach advantage. Bethe is 5 years older.

Bethe garnered a quick rise to contention with less than impressive opposition. She has since faced better competition and the results have been less than stellar.

She has just a single win over her last 5-fights and it came by split decision.

Aldana started 0-2, but has since picked up back to back wins.

In stark contrast, Correia has won the majority of her fights (8 of 10) by decision. While Aldan has scored stoppages in 7 of her 9 wins- 5 by knockout.

Aldana is a high volume striker, willing to stand and trade with her opponent. She throws decent kicks and will work behind her jab. She is coming off her UFC personal-best 119-significant strikes landed.

Bethe prefers to work in close quarters. Moving into range to throw strikes and potentially backing her opponent into the cage. She can maintain a consistent output from start to finish, but her volume usually finds her in the 60 strikes range.

The Brazilian’s durability is a bit of a question mark. Both Holm and Rousey stopped her and Marion Reneau hurt her in the final round to earn a draw.

The home-field advantage could help Correia in a close fight that goes the distance. Conversely, the long layoff could get her off to a bit of a slow start. Aldana is the more diversified striker and should be more active as well. She needs to avoid allowing Correia to close the distance to both clinch and throw short-range strikes. While Aldana is hittable, she will make the greater impact and that will back Bethe off- my prediction is Irene Aldana to defeat Bethe Correia by TKO.

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155lbs- BJ Penn (16-13-2) vs Clay Guida (34-15-0)

The opening fight of the televised prelims features the continued search of BJ “The Prodigy” Penn for one more UFC victory as he takes on “The Carpenter” Clay Guida. Penn has not won a fight since his 2010 knockout of Matt Hughes, he is 0-6-1 since. Guida recent 2-fight resurgence was halted by a submission loss to Charles Oliveira.

BJ is the taller man by 2-inches, but they have the same reach. Guida is just 3-years younger than Penn.

Penn has held on way too long and it is rather shocking that he is still getting fights. His 2014 loss to Edgar would have been a fitting end.

Guida enters the fight not too far removed from a brief winning streak, proof that he can still win at this level.

How does BJ win this fight? Guida isn’t nearly as durable as he used to be, so there is the potential that Penn could clip him and score a finish.

Clay has also proven vulnerable on the mat with 10 losses by submission.

For Penn, his foot speed and boxing are a shadow of their former self and his cardio is worse than ever. That doesn’t bode well against Guida who’s key weapon remains his cardio and pace.

Clay has demonstrated a few new wrinkles in his striking that could be attributed to his time with Team Alpha Male.

It could be suggested that this will be Penn’s last walk to the Octagon, but that could have been said multiple times before. Penn doesn’t have much beyond a puncher’s chance here. There is a window for victory, but it will close fast and hard. The combination of Guida’s frenetic pace coupled with a few well-timed takedowns will prove too much for Penn as he slows more and more- my prediction is Clay Guida to defeat BJ Penn by TKO.