Welcome to MMAJunkie’s Quick Picks and Prognostications, where MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom gives brief fight-day breakdowns for UFC main cards.
Today, we look at the main card for UFC 270.
Last week’s results: 5-1
Overall picks for UFC main cards in 2022: 5-1
With that in mind, I hope these write-ups don’t come off as curt or dismissive, as my goal here is to offer quick picks and analysis in a digestible format. All odds listed are provided by Tipico Sportsbook.
If you’d like more detailed analysis from me, then feel free to check out my weekly show, The Protect Ya’ Neck Podcast.
So, without further ado…
Matchup: Francis Ngannou (+120) vs. Ciryl Gane (-155)
I once compared Francis Ngannou to Sonny Liston and Allistair Overeem to Floyd Patterson in the previous analysis, so I shouldn’t be surprised if Gane’s elusiveness and athleticism allow him to play the Cassius Clay of the equation. That said, I believe that Eric Nicksick and the rest of the Xtreme Couture team have devised an excellent game plan to both corral and counter Gane’s game, as I suspect Ngannou finds a knockout by the second round.
Matchup: Brandon Moreno (-180) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (+140)
Summary: Although Deiveson Figueiredo appeared to make weight without issue on Friday, I still stand by what I said in my in-depth breakdown of this fight regarding the former champion’s taxing weight cuts.
Figueiredo may have hit his number on the scale, but the man was still sucking himself out in a sauna since Tuesday, according to his own social media. So, between Figueiredo arguably being destined for bantamweight and Brandon Moreno being the more consistent competitor, I’ll be picking the durable champion to adjust and pull away for a late submission win.
Matchup: Michel Pereira (-290) vs. Andre Fialho (+220)
Summary: Despite this betting line being a bit wide for such a volatile fight, I ultimately don’t disagree with Michel Pereira being favored to beat Andre Fialho.
Although I was tempted to take a flier on Fialho as a live dog who likes to box in the pocket, I ended up siding with Pereira for his clear edge in athleticism and ability to hit level-changing takedowns. The Brazilian will have the big cage to dance around in and will likely score enough to win by decision so long as his pace holds up.
Matchup: Said Nurmagomedov (-205) vs. Cody Stamann (+155)
Despite a popular last name like Nurmagomedov, this Russian fighter’s style is more akin to his training partner, Zabit Magomedsharipov. And though Nurmagomedov shows serviceable takedowns to compliment his kick-heavy assaults, his lone two losses have come at the hands of superior wrestlers.
For that reason, I ended up taking a shot on the more experienced Stamann in a fight that has split-decision written all over it.
Matchup: Michael Morales (-125) vs. Trevin Giles (-102)
Summary: In another tricky fight that is closely lined for a reason, I ended up siding with the underdog in Trevin Giles to find a finish by the third round.
Michael Morales’ size and wrestling ability may stymie Giles in moments, but I noticed that the Contender Series product tends to leave holes in his guard that are likely due to an overabundance of training in boxing gloves. Against a more proven puncher like Giles (who has knockouts in the light heavyweight division), these tendencies could prove problematic.
Giles will also be the better submission grappler should this fight hit the floor, but his gas tank and durability will be worth watching with this being his first drop down to the welterweight division.
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