UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs Green Main Card Predictions

Gregory Rodrigues vs Armen Petrosyan Predictions

Gregory Rodrigues UFC

Two giant middleweight knockout artists clash in a great introduction to the main card. “Robocop” is an appropriate name, but I think “Terminator” would also be applicable for Gregory Rodrigues. An intimidating figure, Rodrigues walks his opponents down and really makes it a dog fight. Relentless pressure is his trademark, and although he seems rather stiff, he carries massive power, and can mix it up on the ground too. In his last outing, Rodrigues cracked the iron chin of ‘The Iron Turtle’ Jun Yong Park, who, although not that exciting to watch, was a fighter I thought could have been a dark horse of the division. Rodrigues is a plodding middleweight, and not the fastest striker. He makes up for it with his immense power, grit, and great grappling. But does he have what it takes to defeat DWCS alumni Armen Petrosyan?

Petrosyan is a standup striker with a 100% finish rate in his 6 professional victories, all knockouts. He made a name for himself by knocking out Kaloyen Kolev on DWCS last October. I think by default he has the advantage on the feet versus Rodrigues, since he makes use of advanced head movement, and has good fundamentals in terms of ring generalship. Rodrigues brings an element into the fight in the form of grappling, but again, Petrosyan demonstrated incredible takedown defense against Kolev in his last fight.

I think this matchup spells disaster for Rodrigues as a bigger, slower fighter who practically has his chin on a platter for any fast striker on the roster. He’s had favourable matchups so far against smaller grapplers, so lets see how he fares against someone his size that loves to stand and bang, it could be lights out for Rodrigues.

My pick – Petrosyan by KO/TKO

Arman Tsarukyan vs Joel Alvarez Prediction

Joel Alvarez UFC

This is my fight to watch tonight. I first caught Joel Alvarez in his fight with Thiago Moises. You’d look at Alvarez’ record and think he’s a grappler first and foremost, but he blazed into the welterweight rankings by smashing Moises on the feet. Alvarez is a whopping 6’2 which is huge for the weight class, and has an astonishing 100% finish rate in 19 professional victories. He uses his large frame effectively, with long elbows and knees that are especially effective against shorter opponents (which are commonplace when he’s a giant for the division). It all depends on whether Tsarukyan and compete with the height bully in this matchup.

Joel Alvarez UFC
Alvarez bullies Thiago Moises

Armen Tsarukyan gets a lot of credit for giving Islam Makhachev one of his toughest fights so far. And I see a lot of statements from him discussing rematches with Makhachev as though he’s going to run over Alvarez in this fight, which I don’t see happening. Tsarukyan finds a lot of success in his fights by threatening the takedowns and working off of feints from a distance. Because of the height and reach disparity we see here, he won’t be able to employ this sort of game plan. For one, he needs to watch out for Alvarez’ long range knees on takedown entries, and secondly, can he even pose a threat to Alvarez on the ground, who has 16 victories by submission?

Alvarez should have all the tools on the feet to win this fight, but he also has lethal grappling. I expect Tsarukyan to be punished for takedowns in this matchup, and Alvarez’ guillotine is no joke, he snatches that neck in an instant. I predict Alvarez by finish.

My pick – Alvarez by finish

Jo Yeon Kim vs Priscila Cachoeira Prediction

Priscila Cachoeira UFC

I’m honestly surprised Priscila Cachoeira got a spot on the main card after the egregious eye gouging she attempted versus Gillian Robertson in her last fight. I genuinely expected her to be cut from the UFC after such blatant fouls. Never the less, Cachoeira is an exciting fighter at women’s bantamweight, utilizing some pretty spectacular pressure, and mean striking. She’s going to immediately force Jo Yeon Kim on the backfoot if she can, and work on setting up her strikes against the cage side. Does Kim have the tools to deny Cachoeira the game plan?

Priscila Cachoeira eye gouge
Cachoeira eye gouging Gillian Robertson shortly before being submitted

If karma exists, Kim will knock Cachoeira out, however, it’s not that simple. Kim does possess some great shot selection, she’s herky jerky and possesses great counter striking ability. She was doing well to piece up Molly McCann before McCann made the fight dirty and pulled away for the UD. If Cachoeira grants Kim the distance to work her striking, I could see her pulling off a UD, or KO/TKO victory, but unfortunately it’s just not in Cachoeira’s nature to give her opponents the space to work. I predict a Cachoeira KO/TKO/UD via. against the cage war.

My prediction – Cachoeira by UD

Misha Cirkunov vs Wellington Thurman Prediction

Wellington Thurman UFC

A weird co-main event considering all the potential of fights like Alvarez v Tsarukyan, or even Bahamondes v Rong on the prelims. Misha Cirkunov is going to be a problem for any fighter at middleweight, possessing strong striking and effective takedowns and submissions. He’s had a tough run most recently dropping a split decision to human wet blanket Krzysztof Jotko. I think Cirkunov is a decisive winner in this fight with Wellington Thurman.

Not only does Cirkunov have a 3 inch height advantage over Thurman, he has the wrestling and the striking to put it on him. Thurman just hasn’t looked that impressive in the UFC, I mean, his last win was a SD over Sam Alvey…

My pick – Cirkunov by KO/TKO or SUB

Islam Makhachev vs Bobby Green Prediction

Bobby Green

Finally, the main event! I was gutted when Dariush dropped out as I thought he had the edge in striking, grappling, and experience over Makhachev. What we’re left with is essentially Green with a puncher’s chance.

Islam Makhachev possesses rudimentary, but effective striking, with grappling that simply can’t be competed with. Bobby Green on the other hand, has some very visually appealing striking, featuring a shoulder roll defense and counter striking game plan. The only thing here is the fact he won’t be able to lean back with a shoulder roll if he has Islam storming his hips for a takedown. If it does go to the ground (incredibly likely), Green does have the standard UFC veteran crafty grappling, submissions, and defense. Green also has a wrestling background, but whether this will help him or not is the question.

What I do give Green credit for is his insane cardio. In his last loss to Rafael Fiziev, Green was starting to pull away with the fight in the third, and still looked fresh. It’s like he was just waiting for the opportunity to feature in a 5 round fight so he can demonstrate his spectacular cardio. He may have finally got the opportunity, but these Dagestani wrestlers have a unique ability to wear their opponent down with their non-stop wrestling, in a way we haven’t seen with other fighters, it sucks the energy right out of you.

Now lets imagine Green’s wrestling background is good enough to deny Makhachev the takedowns. Now I think he can win the fight with 1’s and 2’s, hands down he has the better striking. However, Dagestani wrestling is just on a different level, nobody has ben able to solve the puzzle yet, and I don’t think it will start tonight, so I have Makhachev by UD.

My pick – Makhachev by UD

Mathew Riddle