UFC 244: Masvidal vs Diaz | Early Prelims Predictions

UFC 244: Masvidal vs Diaz | Early Prelims Predictions

125lbs- 1# Katlyn Chookagian (11-2-0) vs #5 Jennifer Maia (16-5-1)

The final fight of the early prelims features the potential crowning of the next Flyweight contender as a top-ranked Katlyn Chookagian takes on Brazil’s Jennifer Maia. Chookagian has won 4 of 5, including a decision win over Joanne Calderwood in her last fight. Maia is 8-1 in her last 8 fights, rebounding from a debut defeat to defeat Alexis Davis and Roxanne Modafferi.

Chook is the taller fighter by 5-inches to go along with a 4″ reach advantage. They are the same age.

Chookagian is a striking based fighter with a reputation for utilizing a high volume attack. Conversely, with just a 32% striking accuracy rate Katlyn is active but struggles to land with regularity. Her opponents have landed more strikes than her in 4-straight fights and 5 of 6.

Her last finish came back in 2016, before entering the UFC. She is 9-2 in decisions, including a 1-2 record in splits.

The Brazilian has gone the distance in 7 straight fights (6-1), but unlike her opponent, she is far more aggressive. Fighting out of Chute Boxe Academy, she has just 3 wins by knockout but she hits hard and brings a lot of forward pressure. Against Davis, she hurt her with a couple of heavy clinch punches and was able to continually back Roxy up during the exchanges.

Maia has had issues with her TDD and she has been known as bit of a slow starter, forced to rally late in fights.

Both have struggled when put on their back and either could grab an edge there. Both girls have a tendency to get outlanded by their foe but still win. Maia with power and Chook with activity. Katyln needs to stay light and mobile, working the perimeter of the cage while scoring points. Maia needs to crash forward and land with regularity to keep Chook on the defensive. Maia will have difficulty tracking Chookagian down, struggling with her movement and reach- my prediction is Katlyn Chookagian to defeat Jennifer Maia by (split) decision.

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170lbs- Lyman Good (20-5-0 1NC) vs Chance Rencountre (13-3-0)

Looking to build on back to back upset wins, Chance “Black Eagle” Rencountre takes on former Bellator champion Lyman “American Cyborg” Good in the Welterweight division. After a loss to Belal Muhammad in his debut, Rencountre has turned around his UFC career with wins over Kyle Stewart and Ismail Naurdiev. Good is 2-2 in the promotion, most recently suffering a submission loss to former title challenger Demian Maia- he owns a knockout win over Ben Saunders.

Rencountre is the taller man by 2-inches to go along with a 1″ reach advantage. He is a year younger than Good.

Good has had issues remaining active and will be fighting twice in a calendar year for the first time since 2015. He has solid power 10 opponents by knockout- 2 in the UFC.

Where the “American Cyborg” has been vulnerable has been in the defensive wrestling phase of his game. He is coming off the first submission loss of his career and opponents have opted to look for a ground-oriented offense against him.

Rencountre is coming off of a pair of grappling-heavy wins. While he has just 3 submission wins (2 by RNC), they have all transpired over his last 4 wins. Against, Naurdiev he utilized his size to routinely take the Austrian to the floor and keep him on the mat.

In his debut, Chance struggled to match Belal’s output at 70 to 16. When Naurdiev was on his feet he was able to land strikes with regularity and overall his willingness to eat offense has resulted in a 5-3 record in decisions.

Lyman needs to maintain space and utilize his superior striking attributes. Rencountre will want to close distance, tie up, and eventually drag Good to the floor. Good does a solid job of disengaging when his opponent looks for a takedown. The majority of Rencountre’s completed TDs come when his foe is unable to break away. Good will work an anti-clinch defense and rely heavily on his boxing attack- my prediction is Lyman Good to defeat Chance Rencoutre by decision.

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145lbs- Julio Arce (15-3-0) vs Hakeem Dawodu (9-1-1)

The first fight of the night goes down in the Featherweight division as New York trained Julio Arce takes on Canadian “Mean” Hakeem Dawodu. Arce scored a head kick KO of Julian Erosa to rebound from his split decision loss to Sheymon Moraes. Dawodu has won a trio of fights since his unsuccessful debut, most recently scoring a head kick stoppage of Yoshinori Horie.

The Canadian is an inch taller and will have a 3″ reach advantage. He is also the younger fighter by 2-years.

Dawodu has steadily put together better and better performances inside the Octagon. His striking technique is solid and he is coming off his first UFC knockout and 7th overall. In addition to his finishing ability, his volume and overall sound defense has put him at a sizeable advantage in the striking totals.

He has outlanded his last 3 opponents by a total of 258 to 104. He finished just 2 opponents in the first frame.

Offering a more diverse offense, Arce has secured 9 finishes- 5 by submission including 1 in the UFC. Despite his skills on the mat, he has offered minimal focus on the ground attack; landing just 2 takedowns at a 28% completion rate. He may opt to try and take Hakeem to the floor to negate his striking skills.

In Arce’s sole UFC defeat, he got cut early by Arce and struggled to get back into a fight that was primarily contested on the feet.

If the American can utilize his grappling attack he adds a new dimension to this fight that favours him significantly. On the feet, Arce struggled with Moraes and Dawodu will offer a similarly troublesome attack. Hakeem is the more impactful striker and appears to have the edge in offensive output along with defensive striking. His length will also aid him during the vertical exchanges. Julio is fighting at home, but that won’t be enough- my prediction is Hakeem Dawodu to defeat Julio Arce by decision.

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