Action will return to the UFC’s APEX Facility in Las Vegas this Saturday, November 21, 2020, for UFC 255. The event will be headlined by the UFC flyweight title bout between champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Alex Perez. Perez was supposed to fight Brandon Moreno in the event but after Cody Garbrandt was removed from the event with an injury, he stepped in to challenge the champion.
In the co-main event, UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defends her title against Jennifer Maia. Former light heavyweight champion Shogun Rua is also on the main card as he takes on Paul Craig.
But before the main show gets underway, UFC 255 will have an exciting prelims undercard that will feature grizzled veterans and exciting newcomers. Let’s take a look at the prelims undercard fight and make our predictions:
Brandon Moreno is the no. 1 ranked flyweight in the UFC. The former Legacy Fighting Alliance and World Fighting Federation flyweight champion joined the UFC in 2016 via the TUF Tournament of Champions. He is 6-2-1 inside the UFC octagon and heads to this bout after back to back wins over Kai Kara-France and Jussier Formiga. He is 5-7 tall with a reach of 70 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance. His record stands at 17-5 with two knockouts and 10 wins via submission.
Brandon Royval is also a former LFA flyweight champion who also fought for Combate Americas and WSOF. The 28-year old from Colorado joined the UFC this year and has picked up wins over Tim Elliott and Kai Kara-France, winning both bouts via submission. Royval is a southpaw who stands 5-9 tall with a reach of 68 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. His record is 12-4 with 3 knockouts and 8 wins via submission. He has never been stopped in his MMA career.
Royval has excellent submission skills and he has been able to implement it in the UFC. However, his submission game might not work here as Moreno has held his own against elite wrestlers and scramblers before. Royval took this fight on short notice and that could be an issue here. Moreno neutralizes Royval’s submission game and beats him with more punching power.
Prediction: Brandon Moreno
Joaquin Buckey fought for Shamrock FC, Bellator, and LFA before joining the UFC earlier this year. Buckley lost to Kevin Holland in his UFC debut but the 26-year old from St. Louis, Missouri is coming off a highlight-reel knockout of Impa Kasangay at UFC Fight Night 179. He stands 5-10 tall with a reach of 76 inches and is a southpaw fighter. Buckley has a record of 11-3 with eight wins via knockout.
Jordan Wright fought for Xplode Fight Series, AFC, and LFA before appearing in the Contender Series. Wright knocked out Isaac Villanueva in his UFC debut at UFC on ESPN 15 last August. The 29-year old Los Angeles native has a record of 11-0 with six knockouts and five wins via submission. Wright is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-2 tall with a reach of 77 inches.
Wright has the advantage in height and reach. Both could pose an issue for Buckley. However, Buckley’s aggressive fighting style might be the difference in this match. Wright doesn’t like to be pressured and he doesn’t fight well when he is on his back foot. I like Buckley here. Wright doesn’t have the defensive skills to stop Buckley’s striking offense.
Prediction: Joaquin Buckley
Antonina Shevchenko is the 15th ranked women’s flyweight in the UFC. The 35-year old from Russia is a former Muay Thai world champion who joined the UFC via the Contender Series. Shevchenko is 2-2 inside the octagon and she has a record of 8-2 with two knockouts and one win via submission. She is a southpaw who stands 5-8 tall with a reach of 67 inches.
Ariane Lipski is the former KSW flyweight champion. The 26-year old from Parana, Brazil vacated her title after two successful title defenses and moved to the UFC. She is 2-2 inside the octagon but is coming off back to back victories over Isabela de Padua and Luana Carolina. She stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 67 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. Lipski has a record of 13-5 with six knockouts and three wins via submission.
These are two entertaining strikers who don’t have good takedown defense. But I like Lipski here because she has the bigger punch and better offensive wrestling to mix things up. I think Lipski will try to walk Shevchenko down and Pantera won’t be able to keep her striking and kicks at bay. With the bigger punches and some takedown offense, Lipski should get the nod from the judges in a fight that goes the distance.
Prediction: Ariana Lipski
Daniel Rodriguez fought for Bellator, King of Cage, and Combate Americas. The 33-year old from Alhambra, California won the Smash Global welterweight title and earned a UFC contract. He is 3-0 with two stoppages inside the Octagon and heads to this fight after a first-round TKO win over Dwight Grant. Rodriguez is 13-1 with seven knockouts and four submission victories. He is a southpaw fighter who stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 74 inches.
Nicolas Dalby is a former welterweight champion at the Cage Warriors and European MMA promotions. The 36-year old from Copenhagen, Denmark joined the UFC last year and defeated Alex Oliveira in his debut. Dalby is coming off a submission loss that was overturned to a no-contest. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-11 tall with a reach of 74 inches. His record is 18-3 with six knockouts and four wins via submission.
Dalby has the technical kickboxing and is durable enough to avoid the knockout so he does have the real chance to pull off the victory here. However, Rodriguez has the output and power to hurt Dalby who has the tendency to get dropped early. Dalby has made a habit of getting drilled early and finishing strong. However, Rodriguez isn’t the fighter who will fade late. I like Rodriguez to clip Dalby early and he will not let his opponent out of the hook.
Prediction: Daniel Rodriguez
Alan Jouban competed for Shark Fights, RFA, and Tachi Palace Fights. He was the former Fight Club OC welterweight champion. The 37-year old from Lafayette, Louisiana has lost three out of his last four bouts and is coming off a split decision loss to Dwight Grant. He is a southpaw who is six feet tall and has a reach of 73 inches. Jouban has a record of 16-7 with 11 wins coming via knockout.
Jared Gooden fought for the National Fighting Championship, LFA, EFC, and Titan FC. The 26-year old from Atlanta, Georgia will be making his UFC debut in this bout. Gooden is coming off a TKO win over Tim McCown at Titan FC 62 last July. He is 6-0 tall with a reach of 76 inches. Gooden is 14-4 with seven knockouts and six submission wins.
Gooden likes to slug it out against his opponents and Jouban loves to engage in slugfests so this could have the makings of an exciting fight. Gooden may find success if this bout goes down as he has better wrestling and good takedown offense. While Jouban can be taken down, he’s no slouch in getting back on his feet. He’s a good enough slugger to take advantage of Gooden’s defensive shortcomings. I think this will be a good old fashioned brawl and Jouban is going to land something big that ends this early.
Prediction: Alan Jouban
Kyle Daukaus fought for KOTC and CFFC. He also made an appearance for the Contender Series in June 2019 but returned to CFFC following his win. He finally joined the UFC earlier this year but lost to Brendan Allen in his octagon debut. Daukaus is a southpaw who stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 76 inches. He owns a record of 9-1 with eight wins via submission.
Dustin Stoltzfus is a veteran of We Love MMA Promotions who also fought for German MMA Championships before joining the Contender Series last August where he picked up a submission win over Joseph Pyfer. The 29-year-old from Lancaster, Pennsylvania will be making his UFC debut here. He is 6-0 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter. His record is 13-1 with two knockouts and five wins via submission.
These are two entertaining and promising prospects and this fight could earn one of the post-fight bonuses in the event. Stoltzfus hits harder than his record suggests but his slow footwork and tendency to get himself into compromising positions will put him in danger here. Both fighters love to choke out their opponents but Stoltzfus is too focused on the guillotine. That should allow Daukaus to put him on his back. Daukaus also has the better striking if this stays on the feet. I think Daukaus holds his own on the ground and in the stand-up. Stoltzfus will get himself into trouble against while going for the guillotine. Daukaus catches the neck and gets the victory.
Prediction: Kyle Daukaus
Louis Cosce fought for Bear River FC, URCC, and Combate Americas before appearing in the Contender Series last August where he knocked out Victor Reyna inside one round. The 25-year old from Arcata, California is an orthodox fighter who is 5-9 tall and has a reach of 71 inches. Cosce has a record of 7-0 with five knockouts and two wins via submission.
Sasha Palatnikov is a veteran who appeared for Fight Time Promotions, AFC, and ADW-UAE Warriors before joining the UFC recently. He will be making his octagon debut in this bout. Palatnikov is 31-year old and fights out of Hong Kong. He is a switch hitter who stands six feet tall. Palatnikov has a record of 5-2 with two wins via knockout.
Cosce is aggressive, fast, and powerful. But he’s dangerous only in the opening minutes. After that, we don’t know what he can do as all but one of his wins have come in less than 80 seconds. Palatnikov needs to survive the opening salvo in order to find out whether Cosce can win a long fight. However, I’m not sure if he is durable enough to last the first two minutes with Cosce. Cosce has good enough wrestling to keep this fight in the stand-up. He has the edge in striking and that’s where this will be won.
Prediction: Louis Cosce
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