UFC 250: Nunes vs Spencer | ESPN+ Prelim Predictions

UFC 250: Nunes vs Spencer | ESPN+ Prelim Predictions
125lbs- Jussier Formiga vs Alex Perez

Serving as a stepping stone for immediate title contention for a number of fighters, Jussier Formiga (23-7-0) appeared on the cusp of his own title opportunity with a 4 fight winning streak. Despite capping his run off with a win over the next potential champion- back to back losses have stunted Jussier run.

The Brazilian is a talented grappler with a lethal back mount. Once Jussier is able to establish ground control he is difficult to get out from under.

Where Formiga has struggled has been when he is unable to find consistent success with his ground attack. Despite improving his striking, he is still very ground reliant. He is 0-4 when he lands zero takedowns and has lost each of his last 2 bouts when limited to just a single completion.

A former All-American wrestler, Alex Perez (23-5-0) has been taken down just once in his UFC tenure compared to 11 completions of his own. He is coming off of his first submission victory since his time on the regional scene- he has recorded 7 overall.

Despite his reliance on the ground, Perez has been submitted 3-times- all early in his career.

Arguably his best performance in the UFC was Perez’s only fight in which he did not complete a takedown. Against Jose Torres, Perez went off with an impressive onslaught- he landed 84 significant strikes in under 4-minutes prior to getting the knockout.

Formiga has struggled with fighters that can avoid going to the mat with him, but Perez has relied heavily on his ability to score takedowns. If he can’t take Formiga down or gets out-positioned on the floor that will take away a key aspect of Alex’s offense. Formiga will have success on the feet and his well-timed counter takedowns and tricky grappling will give Perez fits. Formiga puts the wrestler in some bad positions at some key moments- my prediction is Jussier Formiga to defeat Alex Perez by decision.

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205lbs- Devin Clark vs Alonzo Menifield

In the heaviest fight on the card, undefeated Alonzo Menifield (9-0-0) has not seen the 2nd round of a fight since late 2017. He has finished all 9 of his opponents, 8 of by knockout and 7 in the opening round.

Menifield is a strong athlete with impressive power, but it is worth noting that his 2 UFC victims have seen knockouts account for 6 of their combined 8 defeats.

The former football player will fire a beastly straight left, right hook combination with fight-ending potential. He does load up on his punches which raises some questions about his ability to maintain his performance in a prolonged battle.

Owning as many UFC fights as his adversary has pro bouts, Devin Clark (11-4-0) has traded wins and losses over his last 7 outings. He is coming off a decision win over Dequan Townsend, with his 5 UFC victories coming over opponents with a combined 6-16 record.

“Brown Bear” is a solid athlete with decent punching power and serviceable wrestling, but he appears to be stuck in a pattern of securing a victory, getting a step up in competition, and promptly finished.

A National Junior College All-American and champion wrestler, Clark’s takedowns have been a key element of his success. Over his last 4 UFC wins, he has completed 16-takedowns compared to just 3 over his 4 losses.

Menifield has the power and aggressive striking front to take Clark out. Conversely, in Alonzo’s first Contender’s bout, he had some issues with his opponent’s wrestling heavy attack- only saved by a referee standup. He was able to outmuscle his last 2 opponents, but Clark should be able to match his physicality. Look for Clark to utilize a clinch heavy attack, landing takedowns, and tiring out an opponent with minimal experience outside of round 1- my prediction is Devin Clark to defeat Alonzo Menifield by decision.

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150lbs- Herbert Burns vs Evan Dunham

In the opening fight of the night, Evan Dunham (18-8-1) officially ends his retirement to make his return to the Octagon. Dunham is winless in his last 3 fights with back to back TKO defeats and draw against Beneil Dariush. Prior to the Dariush bout, Dunham experience a resurgence with a 4-pack if victories.

At his best, the American combines an aggressive pressure striking offense with solid grappling skills. He completed 10 takedowns during his 4-fight winning streak.

Evan’s willingness to absorb damage in order to deliver his own has taken a toll on his body. He has been finished in each of his last 4 defeats including a trio of TKO brought about by effective body strikes.

Looking to build on the momentum of his brother’s recent main event victory and his own successful debut, Herbert Burns (10-2-0) get’s his second UFC opportunity.

A vaunted BJJ practitioner, Burns instead showcased his stopping power with a first-round knockout of Nate Landwehr. It was the first knockout win of his career to go along with 7 submission wins.

Burns is willing to work off his back and will pull guard to get the fight to the floor. In his final contender’s bout, he took some damage on his back before catching the fight-ending sub.

Dunham is closing in on 40-years of age and has been out of action for nearly 24-months. His lack of durability is a major concern as his well-known vulnerability to the body. Burns’ top-level BJJ should prevent Dunham from finding success on the mat, unless Herbert tires and starts to pull guard. Look for the aggressive Brazilian to walk Dunham down- tagging him to the body with a front kick or body punch before locking up a sub on stunned foe- my prediction is Herbert Burns to defeat Evan Dunham by submission.

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