UFC 240: Holloway vs Edgar | Televised Prelim Predictions

UFC 240: Holloway vs Edgar | Televised Prelim Predictions

125lbs- #8 Alexis Davis (19-9-0) vs #15 Viviane Araujo (6-1-0)

The last fight before the main card features former Bantamweight title challenger Alexis “Ally-Gator” Davis taking on Brazilian Viviane Araujo in the Flyweight division. Davis has lost back to back fights to Jennifer Maia and Katlyn Chookagian after a Flyweight debut victory over now title challenger Liz Carmouche. Araujo entered the UFC on short notice at Bantamweight and upset Talita Bernardo via brutal knockout- her 4th win since a loss to Sarah Frota.

Davis is the taller fighter by 2-inches, but they share the same 68″ reach. The Brazilian is the younger fighter by 2-years.

Araujo made a significant impact in her debut, added to her finish heavy record. She has secured a trio of wins by knockout and 4 more by submission. She has secured 4 opening round finishes to go along with 3 stoppages in the final round.

In her debut, her foot speed and overall technique was impressive. She moved in and out of range, stuffing takedowns and landing a variety of damaging offense prior to scoring the finish.

Davis has put together a solid resume against good opposition, but at times she has been a frustrating fighter to back. Davis offers a very capable submission game and can score with her kick-heavy striking attack. Unfortunately, she lacks the wrestling to consistently threaten her opponents on the mat and doesn’t effectively blend the various elements of her attack together.

She is coming off back to back performances where she landed more strikes and takedowns than her foe, but failed to get the nod from the judges. Her last win saw her give up more strikes and takedowns but win a split decision.

Araujo is getting a sizeable push here off of an impressive win. If Davis can find success slowing Araujo down with her leg kicks and plant her on the mat at key moments, she could pull off the upset. Unfortunately for the Canadian, Viviane is too quick for her. Look for the Brazilian to bounce in and out of range, land her own kicks and damaging punches while Davis plods forward trying to return fire. Davis wears a lot of damage in her fights which won’t help her here either, my prediction is Viviane Araujo to defeat Alexis Davis by decision.

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145lbs- Hakeem Dawodu (9-1-1) vs Yoshinori Horie (8-1-0)

In the Featherweight division, Alberta’s “Mean” Hakeem Dawodu takes on the debuting Yoshinori “Rising Son” Horie. Dawodu is 2-1 in the UFC, suffering the first loss of his career in his debut, but rebounding to secure a pair of wins in his next 2 contests. Horie has fought his entire career under the Pancrase banner and has won back to back fights since suffering the first loss of his career.

Both men are 5’8″, but Dawodu will have a 3″ reach advantage. Horie is the younger man by 4-years. Both men are coming into this bout on relatively short notice as it was added to the card roughly 3-weeks prior to the start of the event.

A striking based fighter, Dawodu has finished 6 opponents by knockout but has yet to secure a finish in the UFC. He has badly outlanded each of his last 2 foes by a combined count of 178 to 65. The Alberta-native has showcased a technically sound striking repertoire.

“Mean” Hakeem only career defeat came by submission and he gave up a pair of takedowns in his split decision win over Kyle Bochniak.

Offering a similar record with 5 of 8 wins by knockout, Horie offers a capable counter striking attack with good power. Of his knockouts, 4 have come in the first round. He is quick and his counter right hand is dangerous. His last 3 opponents are a combined 36-33.

His only career defeat came via 2nd round TKO against UFC veteran Issei Tamura.

Dawodu is in a better spot with a trio of UFC fights already under his belt and he is also fighting at home. Conversely, Yoshinori is making his debut and fighting in North America for the first time. Nonetheless, he is far more dangerous than the lines suggests. Hakeem’s ability to limit his opponent’s offense while piling up his own will make it difficult for Horie to score with his counter-heavy attack- my prediction is Hakeem Dawodu to defeat Yoshinori Horie by decision.

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145lbs- Gavin Tucker (10-1-0) vs Seungwoo Choi (7-1-0)

“The Newfoundland Terror” Gavin Tucker looks to rebound from his first career defeat when he faces off with South Korea’s Seungwoo Choi in the Featherweight division. Tucker bested Sam Sicilia in his debut, but suffered a brutal decision defeat to veteran Rick Glenn in his next fight. Choi made his debut last April in Russia, dropping a decision to Movsar Evloev.

At 6’0″, Choi is a full 6-inches taller than Tucker to go along with a massive 8″ reach advantage. Choi is the younger fighter by 6-years.

The Canadian is returning after a prolonged layoff. He last fought in September 2017- a 22-month layoff. Choi made his debut with just 3-weeks to prepare and off a 17-month layoff.

Choi is is a capable striker, but spend the majority of his debut on the defensive as his opponent routinely put him on the floor. He landed some decent strikes in the few moments he was able to stay vertical, but unfortunately showed very little of his striking skills.

The South Korean fighter has finished 5 foes by knockout- 3 in the first frame.

Tucker put on an impressive show in his debut. He utilized a lot of movement, working in and out to limit the ability of his foe to land counters. He battered Sicilia’s legs with hard leg kicks, stepping in to add to the impact.

Against Glenn, Tucker took some big shots that turned the fight. Additionally, he has appeared to fade in each of his fights.

The layoff for Tucker is concerning. Furthermore, Gavin took a significant beating against Glenn which exposed his lack of a gas tank. Choi isn’t an aggressive striker at first push, but he throws hard barrages and his counters are damaging. Tucker will find some early success moving in and out, but once he slows a little and Choi get his timing he will begin to struggle. Look for the reach of Choi to create some issues as well- my prediction is Seungwoo Choi to defeat Gavin Tucker by TKO.

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125lbs- #3 Alexandre Pantoja (20-3-0) vs #4 Deiveson Figueiredo (15-1-0)

With the Flyweight division potentially on the verge of a rebirth, a pair of top-ranked contenders square off as Alexandre Pantoja takes on fellow-Brazilian Deiveson Figueiredo. Pantoja has won 3 in a row dating back to a decision loss to Dustin Ortiz- he has lost just once over his last 14-fights. Figueiredo dropped a decision to Jussier Formiga for the first loss of his career- he had previously won 4-straight fights to begin his UFC run.

Both men are 5’5″, but Figueiredo will have a slight 1″ reach advantage. Pantoja is 3-years younger.

Pantoja’s success has hinged largely on his ability to stay vertical and land decent volume. He can do damage in the clinch and his kicks at distance are a key element of his offense. Defensively, his opponents have found some success taking him down including 7 completions by Ortiz is his lone UFC loss and 14 takedowns over 6 Octagon entries.

Pantoja has recorded 7 wins y knockout and 8 by submission. He has added to each total over his last 2 fights- both ending in the opening round.

Figueiredo has had similar struggles with takedown oriented fighters- Formiga bested with on the basis of 3 takedowns and a nullifying top game. Deiveson has shown his striking prowess in the UFC, stopping his foe via TKO in 3 of his 4 wins. He throws hard and does a decent job of maintaining pressure.

Prior to the Formiga loss, Figueiredo showed he can work on the mat with back to back 2-takedown performances. He offers solid ground and pound once on the floor.

Figueiredo struggled with the grappling of Formiga and it compromised his vertical aggression. Pantoja can crack but he doesn’t appear to have the power that Deiveson offers. Additionally, the gas tank of Alexandre has been a concern in more demanding bouts. This fight should be mainly contested on the feet with Figueiredo pushing forward and landing the more impactful offense. The opening round should be competitive, but Figueiredo’s more physical style will wear on Pantoja and allow him to pull away in rounds 2 and 3- my prediction is Deiveson Figueiredo to defeat Alexandre Pantoja by decision.

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