Back to back wins and an engaging personality got “Sugar” Sean O’Malley (10-0-0) off to a good start inside the Octagon. Unfortunately, a failed drug test and multiple suspensions forced him out of action and cost him a high profile fight with Marlon Vera.
He works a volume-based striking attacking and has finished 6 opponents by knockout.
In his last appearance, he suffered a foot injury but managed to eke out a decision after his opponent opted to put him on his back for the final round of action.
This fight was expected to take place in 2018, but “Sugar” withdrew in anticipation of his first failed drug test and subsequent suspension.
A run on TUF Latin American and debut defeat were followed by a 4-pack of victories before a submission loss to Nathaniel Wood slowed Jose Quinonez (8-3-0). The Mexican fighter has since rebounded with a victory over Carlos Huachin.
Jose’s success has been a product of decent striking melded together with prolonged top control. He does a decent job of controlling his opponent on the floor and while he isn’t much of a finisher- he knows how to score points.
The prolonged layoff is a concern for O’Malley. That being said, he is a confident fighter that will most likely handle the potential for ring rust well. Quinonez needs to mix it up, landing takedowns and forcing O’Malley to be defensive. O’Malley is the longer fighter and the bigger hitter- he is also more active than his foe. Unless the layoff results in a slow start, look for “Sugar” to outwork Quinonez on the feet and avoid “El Teco’s” attempts to take him down- my prediction is Seasn O’Malley to defeat Jose Quinonez by decision.
icon-circle icon-circle icon-circle155lbs- Austin Hubbard vs Mark Madsen
The undefeated Danish fighter Mark Madsen (9-0-0) needed just 72-seconds of his UFC debut to secure a submission finish. It was the third knockout win of his career.
A silver medalist in Greco-Roman Wrestling at the 2016 Olympic games, Madsen closed the gap early in his debut. He does a decent job of punching and changing levels to shoot. Despite coming up short on his first TDA, he established double underhooks and quickly forced his opponent to the floor.
From top position, he will unload with some decent GNP and will also look for subs. All of his stoppages have come in round 1.
Austin Hubbard (11-3-0) is 7-years younger than Madsen. He faced a world-class BJJ practitioner in his debut in Davi Ramos, surviving the full 15-minutes, but coming up short on the cards. He gave up a trio of takedowns.
He had a much better outing in his 2nd fight, turning the tables on his opponent with 3 of his own takedowns and a decision victory.
Not surprisingly, Hubbard will need to keep this fight standing. He has some power in his hands and if he can force his opponent out of his comfort zone, it could create the opening he needs to turn this fight in his favour.
With a 4-pack of 5 round fights on his record and a number of other longer contests, Hubbard has more experience beyond the opening round. That being said, if he spends the majority of the fight on his back it won’t matter. Madsen has shown he can carry his pace deep into fights and he offers the vastly superior skill set. With the struggles that Hubbard had with Ramos, it is hard to believe Madsen won’t be able to take him down- my prediction is Mark Madsen to defeat Austin Hubbard by decision.
icon-circle icon-circle icon-circle185lbs- Saparbek Safarov vs Rodolfo Vieira
Maintaining an undefeated MMA record, BJJ ace Rodolfo Vieira (6-0-0) debuted with his 5 submission win in 6 pro outings. His second-round arm-triangle choke of Oskar Piechota was just his 2nd time fighting beyond the opening frame.
Vieira is a monster on the mat and did a decent job of setting up his shots against Piechota, jabbing and ducking under. His wrestling is still a work in progress, but he will work a solid trip into his TDAs to increase their effectiveness.
On top, his GNP is solid and opens opportunities for his lethal choke game.
Another capable finisher, Saparbek Safarov (9-2-0) has stopped 6 opponents by knockout and 2 more by sub. After back to back defeats to start his UFC tenure, he finally right the ship with his first trip to the scorecards.
He will have a 5″ reach advantage.
The Russian has shown a willingness to hit the mat, landing 5 takedowns over his last 2 fights. His fight IQ is a bit of a question mark. He lost a point for repeatedly grabbing the cage in his last fight and his ground heavy attack got him subbed by Tyson Pedro.
On the feet, Saparbek can do damage but tends to be wild and leaves himself open to taking a lot of damage.
He is making his Middleweight division which could help him to hold a physical edge over his opponent. Vieira also spent some time at 205.
Safarov can make an absolute mess of a fight, throwing wild hooks with fight-ending potential. If he can drag Vieira into a brawl and negate his BJJ skills- that is his best chance to win. For the Brazilian, look for him to counter the wild aggression with level changes and ground control. Safarov will slow down as the fight progresses (if it progresses) and that will open him up further to the mat attack of Rodolfo- my prediction is Rodolfo Vieira to defeat Saparbek Safarov by submission.
icon-circle icon-circle185lbs- Gerald Meerschaert vs Deron Winn
With 9 UFC fights under his belt, Gerald (GM3) Meerschaert (29-12-0) opens the televised portion of the UFC 248 prelims. “GM3″ has is 5-4 inside the Octagon. After a strong start, he has just 1 win over his last 4 outings.
With a submission heavy record, Meerschaert clearly does his best work on the mat. In his last fight, a combination of his opponent’s defense and his unwillingness to shoot force Meerschaert to spend the majority of the contest on his feet.
It resulted in his 2nd split decision loss in as many trips to the scorecards as a UFC fighter.
Deron Winn’s (6-1-0) sophomore appearance in the UFC also produced a split decision- the first loss of his career. Despite recording 6-takedowns, Winn was unable to convince the judges that he had done enough.
Despite coming from a strong wrestling background, Winn relied on his striking against a potential submission threat in his debut. He put up triple digits in a solid decision victory over Eric Spicely.
At just 5’6”, Winn is 7-inches shorter than his foe and will give up a similar 7-inches of reach. He trains alongside Daniel Cormier and offers some similarities inside the cage.
Meerschaert is a bit of a slow starter, but has he shown the ability to rally and closeout opponents- especially if they fade. Winn missed weight, faded, and didn’t have a good finish in his loss to Darren Stewart. His takedowns were devoid of any top position damage which was a contributor to his downfall. Winn’s debut performance is the ideal way to fight “GM3”. Counter wrestling to stay away from the subs and volume striking. Look for Winn to put avoid the grappling of his foe and outwork him with constant striking over the duration of the fight- my prediction is Deron Winn to defeat Gerald Meerschaert by decision.
icon-circle icon-circle icon-circle115lbs- Polyana Viana vs Emily Whitmire
The final fight on the undercard features American Emily Whitmire (4-3-0) looking to rebound from her first loss as a UFC Strawweight. Whitmire made the cut after her debut and promptly picked up back to back wins but then ran into the streaking Amanda Ribas and fell via middle-frame submission.
Whitmire has been submitted in all 3 of her per losses but has also found success on the mat in both of her Octagon wins.
Brazil’s Polyana Viana (10-4-0) will look to capitalize on her foe’s deficiencies on the mat. A talented BBJ practitioner, Viana has recorded 60% of her pro wins by sub- including 4 armbars.
Viana is coming off a shocking submission defeat and has had issues with fights escape the first round- she is 0-3 in decisions.
The cardio of Polyana has been a concern at times and in some of her fights, her lack of commitment to her grappling has been an issue as well. Her return to Strawweight could give her a physical edge over her opponent in close.
A fighter on a 3-fight losing skid often comes into their next fight with a sense of desperation. While that might be the case for Viana, beyond her debut she hasn’t shown that she has the ability to win at this level. The clear concern for Whitmire is the grappling of her foe and Emily’s past issues with submission defense. Whitmire needs to be mindful early, but when Viana begins to slow Whitmire will start to find more success anywhere this fight goes. Whitmire is no slouch on the mat and could put Viana in some bad spots as well- my prediction is Emily Whitmire to defeat Polyana Viana by decision.
icon-circle icon-circle icon-circle145lbs- Jamall Emmers vs Giga Chikadze
Originally scheduled to fight a week earlier, Giga Chikadze’s (8-2-0) fight with Mike Davis fell through and he stepped in to fill the void against the debuting Jamall Emmers (17-4-0)
Giga’s split decision debut victory over Brandon Davis extended his winning streak to 3. On the regional scene, he spent time under the Gladiator banner, facing some extremely low-level competition.
A talent kickboxer, Chikadze does the majority of his work on the feet and will need to avoid getting taken down. He had some issues with Davis on the mat early but found more defensive success as the fight advanced.
Emmers has a 2-1 edge in MMA experience, fighting in variety of organizations. His only loss over his last 9 fights came to Julian Erosa in his Contender’s opportunity- he has won 4 straight since.
Offering a nice combo of striking and wrestling, Emmers has 7 wins by knockout- but has also been knocked out twice. Emmers may have an advantage later in the fight as he is 7-1 in decisions and has a trio of 3rd round knockouts.
In addition to getting stopped by Erosa, he was also knocked out my Thiago Moises in the 5th round of a 2016 RFA title fight.
Chikadze was able to narrowly overcome Davis with his volume on the feet. Emmers has the skills to hold his own standing and dominate on the mat. The big issue with Jammall is that he tends to forgo his wrestling at times in favour of a striking based attack. He is coming off the 3rd submission win of his career which is encouraging. Emmers will eliminate the striking skills of Giga with his wrestling- my prediction is Jamall Emmers to defeat Giga Chikadze by submission.
icon-circle icon-circle icon-circle135lbs- Danaa Batgerel vs Guido Cannetti
Argentina’s Guido Cannetti (8-4-0) has alternated wins and losses over the first 5-fights of his UFC career, most recently falling via submission to Marlon Vera. Guido is an aggressive fighter, finishing 6 of his 8 wins. He has also been submitted in all 4 of his pro defeats.
Only 4 of Cannetti’s 12 fight have gone beyond the opening round- he is 2-2 in those fights.
He is 10-years old than his foe.
Mongolia’s Danna Batgerel (7-2-0) debuted in mid-2019, dropping a decision to Heili Alatang but earning a Fight of the Night bonus. Batgerel offered a decent level of output, more than doubling up his opponent’s striking volume but struggling to stay off his back.
The trio of takedowns given up by Batgerel are concerning when considering Cannetti has had success taking down each of his UFC opponents.
Cannetti tends to start fast and fade. In both of his wins, his opponents were unable to mount much of a counter push and Guido’s limit offensive output held up. Batgerel pushes a pretty steady pace and is relatively durable. He will need to survive the early surge by the Argentinian, get off his back when taken down, and capitalize on Cannetti’s faltering cardio- my prediction is Danaa Batgerel to defeat Guido Cannetti by submission.
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.