The UFC heavyweight title will be on the line this weekend at UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou at the UFC’s APEX Facility in Enterprise, Nevada. Champion Stipe Miocic will defend the heavyweight belt against top contender Francis Ngannou in the main event. Co-headlining UFC 260 will be a welterweight clash between former champion Tyronn Woodley and Vicente Luque. Also in the main card is a lightweight clash between Jamie Mullarkey and Khama Worthy.
Before the main card, five Prelims undercard bouts will precede the main card which will be shown on PPV. Let’s take a look at these bouts and make our predictions:
Alonzo Menifield fought for Bellator and LFA before joining the UFC via the Contender Series. The 33-year old from Los Angeles, California won his first nine bouts but has lost his last two assignments against Devin Clark and Ovince Saint Preux. Menifield has a record of 9-2 with eight knockouts and one win via submission. Menifield is an orthodox fighter who stands six feet tall and has a reach of 76 inches.
Fabio Cherant fought for CES MMA and LFA. Cherant joined the Contender Series in 2019 but lost to Alexa Camur. The 26-year old from Wrentham, Massachusetts won the vacant LFA light heavyweight title in his last bout and immediately jumped ship to the UFC. He has a record of 7-1 with five submission victories. Cherant is 6-1 tall with an undisclosed reach and fights out of the southpaw stance.
Cherant was a phenomenal striker in the LFA and has excellent grappling as well. He is taking this fight on three days’ notice and usually, the short notice is a disadvantage. However, I think that Cherant has good betting value here as he matches well against Menifield. Not only that, Menifield’s tendency to fade in fights could play a factor here as well. I think that Cherant survives Menifield’s early onslaught and wears him out for a submission or catches him coming in with a big counterpunch. Either way, I like the underdog here.
Prediction: Fabio Cherant
Jared Gooden is a veteran of NFC and Titan FC before joining the UFC last year. The 27-year old from Atlanta, Georgia lost to Alan Jouban in his UFC debut. Gooden has a record of 17-5 with seven knockouts and six wins via submission. He is an orthodox fighter who stands six feet tall and has a reach of 77 inches.
Abubakar Nurmagomedov is a former combat sambo world bronze medalist and the cousin of Khabib Nurmagomedov. The 31-year old from Dagestan fought for the WSOF and competed in the 2018 season of the PFL. Nurmagomedov has a record of 15-3 with seven knockouts and three submission wins. He is 5-11 tall with a reach of 72 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.
Abubakar is no Khabib but his excellent grappling fundamentals should carry him to victory in this fight. Gooden is the more dangerous fighter on the feet but the last time he fought a top-notch wrestler, his takedown defense failed him. The issue here is that Nurmagomedov hasn’t fought since September 2019 and his cardio is affected by the long layoff. However, he should have enough periods of top control to eke out a win.
Prediction: Abubakar Nurmagomedov
Modestas Bukauskas fought for UCMMA and Cage Warriors before joining the UFC last year. After beating Andreas Michailidis last July, he was knocked out by Jimmy Crute at UFC Fight Night 180. Bukauskas has a record of 11-3 with eight knockouts and two wins via submission. He stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 78 inches while fighting as a switch hitter.
Michal Oleksiejczuk is a former Thunderstrike League light heavyweight champion in Poland. The 26-year old from Leczna in Poland won his first three UFC bouts, including one that was later overturned into a no-contest but is coming off back-to-back losses to Ovince Saint Preux and Jimmy Crute. He has a record of 14-4 with 10 knockouts and one win via submission. Oleksiejczuk is a southpaw who stands six feet tall and has a reach of 74 inches.
Bukauskas has a good gas tank and he has the edge in speed and striking over Oleksiejczuk. If he gets past the early stages and withstands the bombardment, these should carry him as the fight progresses. However, lasting long enough to do that is unlikely here. Oleksiejczuk will march forward here, throwing big left hands into Bukauskas until the latter falls. It doesn’t help that Bukauskas isn’t hard to hit and struggles to keep his back off the fence. I smell a stoppage here.
Prediction: Michal Oleksiejczuk
Shane Young is a former XFC featherweight champion who also challenged for the promotion’s lightweight title. The 27-year old from Napier, New Zealand joined the UFC in 2017 but has fought only four times, picking up a record of 2-2 inside the Octagon. Young is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-8 tall with a reach of 72 inches. He has a record of 13-5 with six knockouts and three submission victories.
Omar Morales is a veteran of Fight Time and Bellator who joined the Contender Series in 2019, where he picked up a win over Harvey Park and earning a UFC contract. After winning his first two UFC bouts, Morales suffered a loss against Giga Chikadze last October. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-11 tall with a reach of 73 inches
Young is a high-volume striker who throws great combinations. Morales doesn’t throw as many punches, but he is powerful and bigger. I think this will go down to whether Morales can offset the difference in volume with his power, which I believe he will. Young isn’t an elusive target and he will be there for Morales to hit. I don’t think that Young’s high-volume offense will bail him out here. Morales catches him with a big bomb and ends this fight in a hurry.
Prediction: Omar Morales
Abu Azaitar fought for CWFC, KSW, and WSOF before joining the UFC. He’s fought only once and that was in 2018, which was a win over Vitor Miranda. The 35-year old from Rabat, Morroco has a record of 14-2 with seven knockouts and one submission victory. Azaitar is 5-9 tall with a reach of 76 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.
Marc Andre Barriault is a former TKO middleweight and light heavyweight champion. The 31-year old from Montreal, Canada joined the UFC in 2019 but is winless with one draw in four UFC bouts. Barriault has a record of 11-4 with eight knockouts. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 74 inches.
An uninspiring brawler with decent wrestling, Azaitar has been mediocre at best. He’s already 35 and has not fought in nearly 3 years. Unless he’s made tremendous progress while he has been away, Barriault will be too tough and too powerful for “Gladiator” Barriault is the much better striker between the two and Azaitar doesn’t have the takedown offense to take advantage of Barriault’s known weakness. I like Barriault to punish Azaitar on the feet and take him out late in the fight.
Prediction: Marc-Andre Barriault
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