UFC Fight Night 172: Figueiredo vs Benavidez 2 | Prelim Predictions

UFC Fight Night 172: Figueiredo vs Benavidez 2 | Prelim Predictions

205lbs- Roman Dolidze vs Khadis Ibragimov

In the final fight of the undercard, Russia’s Khadis Ibragimov (8-2-0) faces an uphill battle after back to back defeats to begin his Octagon career. Khadis came up short on home soil against Ed Herman- dropping a wide decision.

In his debut, Ibragimov threw significant volume early, slinging high paced combinations with his opponent backed up to the cage. He offered a similar start against Ed Herman before moving into the clinch. The Russian’s wild striking and tendency to muscle his grappling techniques takes a significant toll on his cardio.

He was tired prior to getting submitted in his debut and against Herman, even when dictating the position he was getting hurt in the clinch and tired far more than “Short Fuse”.

The hulking Roman Dolidze (6-0-0) of Georgia gets the call to the big show on the strength of 6 consecutive finishes to start his pro career- 3 by submission and 3 more by knockout. He is coming off his first 3 round fight which transpired roughly 19-months ago.

Roman has secured a pair of heel hook submission and knocked each of his last 3 opponents out which suggests a continued development in his overall skill set. His last win came after a low paced start. Dolidze was raising his hands to taunt his foe and even yelled at someone cage-side before landing a concussive right hand at the end his combination.

The UFC newcomer and WWFC Light Heavyweight champion has already had fights with Gadzhimurad Antigulov and Vinicius Moreira fall threw which resulted in the aforementioned layoff.

Ibragimov has a solid judo background but has failed to demonstrate those skills in either of his UFC bouts. Further concerning, his fight IQ is questionable which in turn impacts his cardio. Dolidze is still raw, but dangerous. He appears to be the more linear striker and packs considerable power. Unless Ibragimov presents a brand new approach, Dolidze should be able to either hurt him early or stop him late once he slows down- my prediction is Roman Dolidze to defeat Khadis Ibragimov by knockout.

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150lbs- Grant Dawson vs Nad Narimani

At 3-0 in the UFC and finishes in 5 of his last 6 wins, Grant Dawson (15-1-0) is a budding prospect worth watching. He is coming off a submission victory over veteran Darrick Minner and formerly undefeated Micheal Trizano.

Dawson builds his offense around a pressure wrestling attack. Rushing forward to engage his opponent Dawson will shoot from the outside or look for a body lock in the clinch. Once on the floor, the transitions, ground and pound, and sub attempts are constant.

On the feet, Dawson is exposed to take some damage. He will trade strikes looking to close the distance, but he has eaten some big shots and Trizano cut him up with a consistent jab. Even when dictating the pace, Grant has been hurt and will appear tired but still urgent.

Another fighter that continued his winning streak through his UFC debut, Nad Narimani (12-3-0) won back to back UFC fights to extend his winning streak to 5 straight before suffering a 2nd round TKO loss to Mike Grundy.

“Smiler” has 5 wins by submission with his last coming under the Cage Warriors banner in 2016. A 6 takedown effort in his debut helped carry him to victory while he relied more on his striking to secure his most recent victory. He throws a left hook/ straight right combo with power, mixing in low and front kicks.

Against a talented wrestler in Mike Grundy, Nad’s TDD held up fairly well and he had some success on the feet. He rocked Grundy in the middle round, but was unable to finish was eventually dropped and finished himself.

If Narimani can stay vertical and land hard punches against Dawson’s questionable striking defense, he could work his way to victory. The pace of Dawson is going to be a problem for Narimani, even if he defends the early takedowns. Look for Grant to maintain clinch pressure and force his foe to work extremely hard. As Nad slows, the takedowns will come easier for Dawson leading to the American taking the fight over. Narimani’s TDD, cardio, durability, and striking will all have to be better than previously seen- my prediction is Grant Dawson to defeat Nad Narimani by decision.

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155lbs- Joel Alvarez vs Joe Duffy

While having faced some high profile opposition inside the Octagon, Joe Duffy’s (16-4-0) only win over a “current” member of the UFC roster came almost 10-years ago under the Cage Warriors’ banner against a former multi-division champion. He is over 3 years removed from his last UFC victory.

Duffy offers a nice blend of boxing and submission skills, but was badly outclassed in all areas against Marc Diakiese. “Irish” Joe struggled with the speed of his foe and found even less success on the mat. One fight prior, Duffy came out aggressive against James Vick landing his jab and combinations before getting knocked out in the 2nd round.

Joe is far more effective as the aggressor when he pushes forward with combination striking. When he opts to sit back and counter, he struggles to land enough and his output is further diminished when his opponent starts attacking his lead leg.

With 14 wins by submission, Joel Alvarez (16-2-0) of Spain has yet to complete a takedown inside the Octagon. That being said, he was able to sweep his last opponent after getting taken down, leading to a GNP TKO win for the Spaniard. The 6’3″ Alvarez will stand a full 5-inches clear of Duffy, to go along with a 4″ reach advantage.

Joel made his debut on 4-weeks notice and spent the majority of the bout getting boxed up on the feet. It was the first time he went to the scorecards as he had finished almost all of his previous bouts inside the first 10-minutes.

On a full camp, he looked more comfortable on his feet engaging with kicks and punches, but struggled with his opponent’s takedowns prior to the finish.

This is a must-win for Duffy. He is the far better striker if he can overcome the reach advantage. He should also be able to take Alvarez down, but that does allow Joel to attack with his primary weapon. Look for “Irish” Joe to work his boxing combinations, avoiding and countering the periodic striking burst of Alvarez- while preventing the fight from hitting the floor- my prediction is Joe Duffy to defeat Joel Alvarez by decision.

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135lbs- Montel Jackson vs Brett Johns

After an unsuccessful debut against Ricky Simon, Montel Jackson (9-1-0) has found his footing with a trio of consecutive wins including a submission victory over Brian Kelleher. It was the first win by submission of his career to go along with 5 knockouts. Jackson will stand 3-inches taller than his foe to go along with a 4″ reach advantage.

After his submission win, Jackson continued to find success on the mat with a heavy focus on his takedown game. “Quik” is quite effective at maintaining control of his opponent and using his size and hand strength to control his opponent and force them to the floor.

Augmenting his grappling, Jackson throws long and heavy punching combinations with hard low kicks. Montel’s volume over his last 2 fights has been solid and his defensive game is also noteworthy.

“The Pikey” Brett Johns (16-2-0) came to the UFC undefeated and continue his winning ways with a trio of respectable wins. His foray into the upper echelon of the division produced a pair of losses to Aljamain Sterling and Pedro Munhoz, but he has since return to the win column.

The Welsh fighter is versatile offering consistent striking and solid grappling. Against Sterling, he struggled to find a comfortable striking range and was unable to land with regularity. He found more success standing with Munhoz, but also got hit more.

In a Fight of the Night performance, Johns went back and forth with wrestler Tony Gravely. He gave up 5 takedowns, landed 6, and demonstrated good durability and cardio. He secured a 3rd round submission win.

Johns’ best opportunity for success might be to press the pace early and try to wear Jackson out. Jackson’s longer and more powerful punches will prove problematic for Johns should he attempt to solely engage on the feet. Montel’s size advantage and strong wrestling background should further add to Johns’ offensive woes. Jackson lands more impactful offense on the feet while both find some success on the floor- my prediction is Montel Jackson to defeat Brett Johns by decision.

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125lbs- Amir Albazi vs Malcolm Gordon

A product of Canada’s Adrenaline Training Centre, Malcolm “X” Gordon (12-3-0) makes his UFC debut with just a single loss over his last 8 fights. “X” has submitted each of his last 3 opponents all under the TKO MMA banner. He has finished 10 of his 12 wins- 6 by sub.

The TKO Champion will most likely look to take this fight to the floor early. He is more than willing to work from top or bottom position and likes to attack his opponent’s arms with kimuras and armbars. In his last bout, a slick back take led to an RNC finish.

Prior to getting the tap, Gordon was hurt multiple times on the feet and was in trouble just moments into the bout. All 3 of his pro losses have come via knockout which raises some questions about his durability. In his last defeat, he landed some decent strikes on the feet but struggle with the impact of the strikes to the legs and body before getting finished via GNP.

Offering a similar submission reliant record, Sweden’s Amir Albazi (12-1-0) is coming off a win after suffering his first pro loss to UFC veteran Jose Torres. Albazi lost the fight by decision where he is 1-1 overall to go along with 7 submission wins and 4 by knockout.

Amir offers solid transitions on the mat, willing to engage his opponent in any manner and then working towards a superior position. “The Prince” will punch his way into range before changing levels for a takedown. His record indicates a strong inclination towards RNC and Kimura based finishes.

Against Torres, Albazi held his own on the feet landing short punches including a nice right hand over the top, but he spent a lot of the contest moving backward.

Albazzi will have the home-field advantage and his 2-0 run in Bellator offers some solid experience as well. The scrambles in this bout should be entertaining, but it is probable that the outcome will not be decided on the mat. Gordon doesn’t react well to getting hit and while he has survived and rallied, he can be hurt and he can be finished. Albazzi appears to have the edge on the feet which is key, especially if the grappling is close- my prediction is Amir Albazi to defeat Malcolm Gordon by TKO.

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155lbs- Davi Ramos vs Arman Tsarukyan

With his 4-fight winning streak in the rearview mirror, Davi Ramos (10-3-0) looks to rebound from his 2nd UFC loss- a decision defeat against Islam Makhachev.

Ramos, a talented BJJ Black Belt, has leaned heavily on his ability to take his opponents to the floor. He completed 10 takedowns over his 4 UFC wins while unable to pick up even a single completion in either of his defeats.

The Brazilian has some power in his hands, but he struggled to find much success on the feet against Makhachev. Ramos was too willing to counter-strike, waiting on his opponent to engage and getting slowly outworked in the process.

Entering the UFC with 12 consecutive wins, Russia’s Arman Tsarukyan (14-2-0) also saw his winning streak end at the hands of Makhachev. In that contest, Arma was taken down 4-times, but still proved difficult to control. He had more success defending the takedowns of Canadian submission artist Olivier Aubin-Mercier.

Conversely, Arman had some success with his takedowns- pressing forward behind punching flurries.

At distance, Tsarukyan will fire a variety of kicking techniques up and down the body. His aggressive punching barrages, highlighted by a hard right hand, will be key to his success on the feet but also open him up to Ramos’s counters.

Tsarukyan pursued takedowns against OAM despite having the edge on the feet, but he will need to be mindful of testing Ramos on the mat. If Davi can’t get this fight to the floor, he will be faced with similar difficulties to his last fight. Arman is the rangier striker with a wider variety of weapons and a greater work rate. Look for the Russian to land kicks at range and hard punches, while avoiding the counter striking and takedowns of Ramos- my prediction is Arman Tsarukyan to defeat Davi Ramos by decision.

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265lbs- Carlos Felipe vs Sergey Spivac

At 1-2 inside the Octagon, Moldovan-born Sergey Spivac (10-2-0) faces a pivotal bout in his pro career. After getting finished in his debut, arm-triangle submission of Tai Tuivasa gave way to a takedown heavy defeat at the hands of Marcin Tybura.

Spivac is multi-faceted, but still quite vulnerable. He dominated Tuivasa on the floor, but once on the mat against Tybura he had no answer or the Polish fighter’s top control.

Until the Tybura loss, Spivac had never fought beyond the 2nd round- seeing the judges’ scorecards for the first time in his career.

In a similar fashion, UFC neophyte Carlos Felipe (8-0-0) has finished 6 opponents in the opening frame- all by knockout. He is also 2-0 in decisions. He has faced a mix of competition, alternating between opponents with respectable records and others making their pro debuts.

Felipe will need to over a size advantage for Spivac, who is both taller by 3-inches, will have a 3″ reach advantage, and should be 10-15 pounds heavier. He has also not fought professionally since 2017- roughly 38-months off. A USADA suspension played a role in the layoff.

A wild brawler, Felipe likes to wing punches and press forward. His overhand right is a little sloppy and he will slow down as the fight advances.

The massive layoff creates a sizeable amount of uncertainty surrounding Carlos. He is undersized and has had issues creating separation against opponents that drive him against the cage. Spivak has Judo and Sambo to rely on and has demonstrated his ability to capitalize on an opponent’s weakness on the mat. Sergey will hold his own on the feet, but control Felipe on the cage and mat- my prediction is Sergey Spivac to defeat Carlos Felipe by submission.


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