UFC 247: Jones vs Reyes | ESPN+ Prelim Predictions

UFC 247: Jones vs Reyes | ESPN+ Prelim Predictions
135lbs- Journey Newson vs Domingo Pilarte

After narrowly escaping a pair of split decisions on the regional scene, Domingo Pilarte (8-2-0) wasn’t able to continue his streak in his UFC debut, failing to convince a 2nd judge that he deserved the victory. Just like in his debut, he will be fighting at home in Texas.

The majority of his debut was spent at close range, in back and forth grappling exchanges. He has secured 4 wins by submission, including his Contender Series victory over Vince Morales.

Pilarte found his greatest success in the final round of the fight, taking and hold his opponent’s back.

In order for Journey Newson (9-2-0) to find success, he will need to overcome a massive length disadvantage. Newson will stand 7-inches shorter than Pilarte to go along with a 6″ reach difference that favours the Texan.

Newson debuted on short notice and faced some questionable pre-UFC competition, but he put forth a decent effort against the danger Ricardo Ramos.

Newson has divided his 9 victories evenly between decisions, submissions, and knockouts.

The length of Pilarte will pose a problem Newson and he doesn’t appear to offer the grappling chops to threaten the Texan on the mat. Conversely, Domingo could find some grappling success- aided by his long limbs. Pilarte is a serviceable striker and has held his own when forced to compete on the feet. Domingo will have home-field advantage which would require Newson to score a stoppage or a dominant decision in order to get the nod. Pilarte has never been finished- my prediction is Domingo Pilarte to defeat Journey Newson by decision.

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135lbs- Andre Ewell vs Jonathan Martinez

Unable to capitalize on an upset of former Bantamweight champion Renan Barao, “Mr. Highlight” Andre Ewell (15-6-0) will attempt to raise his Octagon record above .500. He has suffered 3rd round stoppages in both of his defeats and has been finished in 5 of his 6 pro setbacks.

The lanky Ewell has power and a solid striking repertoire with which to deliver it, but his opponents have had success targetting his shaky TDD and often testing his cardio at the same time.

Unsuccessful in his debut, Jonathan Martinez (11-2-0) has rebounded to secure a pair of wins including the 6th knockout victory of his career.

Martinez could look to exploit Ewell’s TDD issues, but more than likely he will opt for a striking based assault. The majority of his grappling exchanges have been forced by his opponents. His volume game isn’t overwhelming as he will sit back and trade and doing so against a longer opponent could be problematic.

If Martinez opts to deviate from his traditional approach he could work his way to victory on the floor. Conversely, making such a drastic alteration is not always a beneficial approach. Ewell’s combination of power and length makes him difficult to deal with on the feet and he should find success hurting his foe at range. This should be an entertaining battle, my prediction is Andre Ewell to defeat Jonathan Martinez by decision.

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145lbs- Austin Lingo vs Youssef Zalal

A pair of UFC debutants square off, including the undefeated Austin “Lights Out” Lingo (7-0-0) who is making the move to the promotion after an impressive 5-0 run under the LFA banner. Headlining his final LFA appearance, he earned a 25-second knockout- the 3rd of his career.

Lingo is a Texas-native and has fought at home in multiple recent events. He is an aggressive striker with some power in his hands. He has also shown that he can work off his back if taken down.

Zalal offers a more submission centric record with 5 of his 7 wins coming via sub including a pair of Brabo chokes. He has finished all of his opponents, but only 2 in the opening round.

Prior to his final regional win, he suffered back to back setbacks- the first 2 of his career. He went 4-2 fighting in LFA.

There are a lot of parallels to look at between these 2 fighters, but with Lingo fight at home he should have the edge here. Zalal’s TDD is a bit of a question mark and with early prelim fights often ending quickly, that favours the Texas-native. Look for big punch power of “Lights Out” to carry the day- my prediction is Austin Lingo to defeat Youssef Zalal by knockout

Scott Johnson


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.

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