I was able to redeem myself last Saturday night with my picks for UFC 251, going (5-0) on the main card. I must pat myself on the back for predicting how each fighter would win as well. Since beginning to make picks for MMA Power Hour, my cumulative record is (10-5). The only way I can beat my record from last week is by adding an undercard prediction in the hopes of going (6-0) tonight. Let’s go for it.
A featherweight matchup on the prelims has my attention, Ricardo Ramos (14-4) takes on undefeated prospect Lerone Murphy (8-0-1). Murphy made his UFC debut on the undercard of Khabib vs. Poirier at UFC 242. Murphy fought to a draw with Khabib’s teammate Zubaira Tukhugov who was able to take Murphy down at will. Tukhugov uses takedowns to set up his striking as opposed to Ramos, who uses takedowns to set up submissions. Ramos via submission.
Moving on to the main card in a welterweight scrap, the long-awaited return of Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-1). Alhassan hasn’t fought in two years while battling it out in a courtroom to prove his innocence against rape allegations. He will face Mounir Lazzez (9-1), the Team Nogueira Dubai standout originally from Tunisia. Lazzez, was signed by, Dana White based on the strength of his highlight video. How much will the extended layoff and long-distance travel effect Alhassan? Alhassan by KO.
Moving down to the women’s flyweight division, Molly McCann (10-2) fights Taila Santos (15-1). McCann, ranked No. 15 in the division, was originally scheduled to fight Ashley Evans Smith in March at the O2 arena in London. Santos is coming off a narrow defeat in her UFC debut. Santos has ten wins by way of knockout. McCann’s been touting a new fighting style she plans to unveil on Fight Island. Santos via TKO.
Next up, a fight at 145-pounds, Jimmie Rivera (22-4) jumps in the Octagon against Cody Stamann (19-2-1). Rivera has not fought in a year, Stamann fought just last month picking up a unanimous decision victory days after the tragic passing of his younger brother. Stamann by decision.
In the co-main event, Tim Elliot (16-11) squares off against Ryan Benoit (10-6), a bout in the flyweight division. Despite losing three fights in a row, Elliot is ranked 12th and recently signed a new contract with the promotion. Even though Jiu-Jitsu ace Garry Tonon will be in his corner Wednesday night, Benoit has serious deficits in his ground game. Elliot is one of the best scramblers in MMA. This does not bode well for Benoit. Elliot via decision.
On to the main event, Calvin Kattar (24-1) verses Dan Ige (14-2). Kattar fought most recently at UFC 249, knocking out Jeremy Stephens with an elbow strike. Ige hasn’t been on the shelf long either, picking up a controversial split decision victory over Edson Barboza back in May on UFC on ESPN: Overeem vs. Harris. Ultimately, this fight will come down to who is more successful at managing distance and range. If Kattar can keep Ige at the end of his crisp punches, victory will be his. I just think Ige is too good at closing distance and has an advantage in the grappling game for him to let that happen. Ige by Submission.