UFC 295 is live tonight from MSG in New York City. Headlining the show is Jiri Prochazka vs. Alex Pereira for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title. The co-main has Tom Aspinall taking on Sergei Pavlovich for the interim UFC heavyweight title.
The BE staff has looked at all these match-ups and made our picks. Now it’s time for the readers to do the same. Read below to see who the BE readers think will win tonight. There’s also extra analysis from reader Tusk Fletcher.
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UFC 295 reader picks and predictions
Jiri Prochazka vs. Alex Pereira
Reader’s Pick: Jiri Prochazka (61.1%)
Tusk Fletcher: Banger fight. Let’s keep this one simple. The last time Alex Pereira had on his tribal face paint, he f***** some s*** up. Pereira by KO.
Sergei Pavlovich vs. Tom Aspinall
Reader’s Pick: Sergei Pavlovich (61.1%)
Tusk Fletcher: This fight is tough but will be absolutely so fun to watch. I’m not sure how long this fight will last, and I’ve tethered back and forth between my picks. Pavlovich was training as a backup to Jones/Miocic, and Aspinall took this fight on short notice coming off of his injury. Both fighters are great strikers and are among the top in their division statistically. Huge Aspinall fan, so wouldn’t be surprised, but if he can’t get this to the mat, I believe he will eat more powerful shots. Pavlovich by KO.
Jessica Andrade vs. Mackenzie Dern
Reader’s Pick: Mackenzie Dern (83.3%)
Tusk Fletcher: Unpopular opinion probably, but I think Dern, who struggles at takedowns, will struggle at takedowns. With that simple statement being put out there, if Dern can’t get this to the mat, I think Andrade gets herself out of the slump of a 3-loss skid. She’s been training with Tatiana Suarez to aid her with submission defense, and despite her 2 losses by submission out of the last 3, she isn’t very easily taken down (surprisingly).
I expect Andrade to blitz her and out strike Dern early on. Dern looks like a champ some fights, then turns around and looks like crap. Andrade has only been taken down in two of her 13 fights at this weight, and I believe she’ll put Dern away to redeem herself. Andrade by KO.
Pat Sabatini vs. Diego Lopes
Reader’s Pick: Diego Lopes (83.3%)
Tusk Fletcher: I think this will be a stand-up fight, unless Sabatini is the one who tries to take this to the mat. Lopes being a Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, and a coach as well, he is very dangerous and I think this cancels out the wrestling threat of Sabatini. Lopes in my opinion is far more skilled on the feet and will need to keep this at range. I believe Sabatini will try to get on the inside to do his work, but I’m going with my gut-feeling here. Lopes by KO.
Matt Frevola vs. Benoit Saint-Denis
Reader’s Pick: Benoit Saint-Denis (66.7%)
Tusk Fletcher: I believe Saint-Denis’s best defense, is more offense. The combination of his kicks, powerful punches, and wrestling will all be on display during this banger of a fight. Frevola can very-well catch him on the chin and win by KO, as Saint-Denis isn’t the most un-hittable fighter, but I think if he can keep this at range, and eventually get this fight to the ground, that will be where he excels. Saint-Denis by Sub.
Joshua Van vs. Kevin Borjas
Reader’s Pick: Joshua Van (77.8%)
Tusk Fletcher: Van is very dangerous, and I’ve been following him for a while. He’s exceptional at longer ranges, and he impressed many of us with his debut. I believe Van is comfortable with his variety of attacks and can look to counter Borjas in their exchanges. He’s left himself open a few times when pressing forward, but with training since his last bout, who knows, this may have improved. Speaking of improvement, Van has also improved in the wrestling department, and if he threatens level changes, I think it’ll get Borjas worried about it. Doing so, I think along with feints and his fast pace, he’ll flatline Borjas. Van by KO.
Jared Gordon vs. Mark Madsen
Reader’s Pick: Jared Gordon (66.7%)
Tusk Fletcher: Madsen will/should try to implement his wrestling early on; however, I believe Gordon is well-versed with his grappling to negate some of those efforts by his opponent. Gordon was flat-out robbed against Paddy the Baddy, and he practically dominated that whole fight. His recent bout ended with a clash of heads, so I’m thinking this will be his bounce back fight, with a chip on his shoulder. This isn’t the Olympics, and I think Gordon will do just enough in front of his home crowd. Madsen’s cardio is questionable, and neither of their striking is very great. Gordon by Decision.
Dennis Buzukja vs. Jammal Emmers
Reader’s Pick: Jamall Emmers (83.3%)
Tusk Fletcher: Despite his controversial last loss, Emmers looked good. His strikes were damaging, but his fighting style isn’t too judge friendly and can kind of drag. He fights with a rangier style and utilizes his kicks. All-in-all, I just believe he’s better everywhere this fight can go. Emmers by Decision.
Nazim Sadykhov vs. Viacheslav Borschev
Reader’s Pick: Nazim Sadykhov (77.8%)
Tusk Fletcher: If this fight stays on the feet, I think either fighter has a chance. Neither have been knocked out, but I’m siding with Nazim who has the clear advantage with his grappling. Nazim can throw bombs as well, but that’s just not a smart gameplan. If Nazim implements his wrestling, I think it’s smooth sailing to a victory. Nazim by Decision.
Tabatha Ricci vs. Lupita Godinez
Reader’s Pick: Tabatha Ricci (55.6%)
Tusk Fletcher: I think Baby Shark has had better development at this stage of their careers. I feel like she is very balanced in the octagon, and her Judo game will play a big role in this matchup. Ricci is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and her striking has improved immensely. While I think Loopy has the advantage with the striking, I believe Ricci will be able to dictate where this fight goes and surprise everyone. Ricci by Decision.
Kyung Ho Kang vs, John Castaneda
Reader’s Pick: Kyung Ho Kang (55.6%)
Tusk Fletcher: Kang has twice the experience, and dominated the last prospect he faced, winning by submission. He has the skill set to get a win, although he is moving up in age. Kang has the height and reach advantage. He is able to grapple effectively, and his BJJ is just as good. Kang by Decision.
Steve Erceg vs. Alessandro Costa
Reader’s Pick: Steve Erceg (72.2%)
Tusk Fletcher: Costa is a great submission artist, but it’s also his striking that too has been good. Statistically, he has a higher striking offense, as well as a higher striking defense. Costa coming in on short notice worries me a bit, but the odds should be a lot closer in my opinion. I think Costa can win anywhere the fight goes. Costa by Decision.
Who gets a Performance of the Night award?
Reader’s Pick: Jiri Prochazka (33.3%)
Tusk Fletcher: I think Pavlovich’s only path to victory is by KO, and if he is able to secure that method of victory, it will surely be in devastating fashion.
Which fight wins Fight of the Night?
Reader’s Pick: Jiri Prochazka vs. Alex Pereira (55.6%)
Tusk Fletcher: Sabatini/Lopes. I think these two fighters will put on a striking showcase, rather than taking it to the ground. Easily could be wrong, but if both fighters nullify their grappling characteristics and keep this standing, I believe we can see fireworks.
Which fight are you most excited for?
Reader’s Pick: Jiri Prochazka vs. Alex Pereira (61.1%)
Tusk Fletcher: I’m most excited for Ricci/Loopy. I’m a huge fan of both, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went either way. Although my prediction is Ricci by Decision, I’m excited to see what improvements both these women have made. I very much think that these two will be around for a while and will climb the rankings regardless of result of this bout. While most casual fans banter about women’s fights, I find all fights enjoyable and this should be hell of a bout.
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