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UFC 272 Prelims Undercard Betting Preview

Former good buddies and teammates Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington will settle their difference on Saturday night at the main event of UFC 272 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Masvidal and Covington used to be like brothers before a falling out made them the worst of rivals. Both fighters have gone back and forth in social and mainstream media for years now.

Meanwhile, Bryce Mitchell and Edson Barboza will square off in the co-main event and former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos will take on replacement opponent Renato Moicano in one of the main card bouts.

But before the big names take the Octagon, an exciting prelims undercard is set to open the show at UFC 272. Fighters like Jalin Turner, Marina Rodriguez, Mariya Agapova, Dustin Jacoby, and Tim Elliott will appear in the curtain-raiser.

Let’s take a look at the prelims bouts and make our predictions.

Jalin Turner vs Jamie Mullarkey

Jalin Turner is a veteran who fought under Bellator, World Series of Fighting, King of the Cage, and Tachi Palace Fights. The 26-year old from San Bernardino, California entered the UFC via the Contender Series where he picked up a TKO win over Max Mustaki in 2018. Turner lost two out of his first three UFC bouts but has gone on to win his last three bouts, all via stoppage.

Turner is a southpaw who stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 77 inches. He is 11-5 with 8 knockouts and three submission victories.

Jamie Mullarkey is a former Super Fight MMA lightweight champion and Urban Fight Night lightweight champion. The 27-year old from New South Wales, Australia joined the UFC in 2019 and lost his first two UFC bouts against Brad Riddell and Fares Ziam. Mullarkey has since won back-to-back knockouts against Khama Worthy and Devonte Smith.

Mullarkey has a record of 14-4 with 10 knockouts and 3 submission victories. He stands six feet tall with a reach of 74 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

  • Moneyline Odds: Turner -151, Mullarkey +131
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 03/03/2022

Mullarkey gives up three inches in height and reach against Turner. It will also be the third straight bout where he’s had to face a taller and rangier opponent. In the first two, however, he was able to bully his way to the inside with the help of his concrete chin and win by KO. However, Turner will be the biggest puncher he’s ever faced and his shaky defense will leave him vulnerable to being hit with the hardest punches he’s ever felt.

There’s a chance that Mullarkey withstands Turner’s punches and fights back. But if he plans to utilize his wrestling to neutralize Turner’s power, the latter has an improved his ground game well enough to hold his own on the mat. This fight will be fought mostly on the feet and Turner’s edge in reach will be key in a long-range striking battle.

Prediction: Jalin Turner

Marina Rodriguez vs Yan Xiaonan

Marina Rodriguez is the UFC’s no. 3 ranked female strawweight and the no. 9 ranked female pound for pound fighter in the promotion. The 34-year old from Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil began her career fighting for promotions like Aspera FC, Shooto Brazil, Thunder Fight, and Curitiba Fight Night. She joined the Contender Series in 2018 where she knocked out Maria de Oliveira Nata to earn a UFC deal. Rodriguez went 2-1-2 in her first five UFC assignments but has won her last three, beating Amanda Ribas, Michelle Waterson, and Mackenzie Dern in succession.

She has a record of 15-1 with six knockouts and one submission victory. Rodriguez is 5-6 tall with a reach of 65 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance

Yan Xiaonan is the no. 4 ranked female strawweight in the UFC and the no. 10 ranked female pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion. The 32-year old from Liaoning, China is a veteran who competed at Martial Combat, Xian Sports University, URCC, and Road Fighting Championship. She joined the UFC in 2017 and picked up six consecutive wins before getting knocked out by Carla Esparza in her most recent bout.

Yan is 13-2 with five knockouts. She is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-5 tall with a reach of 63 inches.

  • Moneyline Odds: Rodriguez -240, Xiaonan +205
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 03/03/2022

These are two aggressive, highly-skilled, and high-output fighters who won’t have to worry about being taken down to the ground in this fight and that could make this one of the more exciting fights of the event, not just the prelims. Fight of the Night? Maybe.

Yan’s toughness and speed will make her a threat to win this bout but looking at both, it just seems that Rodriguez is better at everything: more punching power, better variety in her attack, and more comfortable at the clinch. Yan will be a game opponent here and will have her moments. However, the better-skilled fighter will take over after an even first round and eventually win the fight.

Prediction: Marina Rodriguez

Nicolae Negumereanu vs Kennedy Nzechukwu

Negumereanu is a former Real Xtreme Fighting light heavyweight champion who also fought under Superior FC in Germany. The 27-year old from Brasov, Romania joined the UFC in 2019 and was beaten by Saparbek Sarafov during his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 147 in March 2019. Since then, he’s won back-to-back fights, taking a split decision against Aleksa Camur at UFC Vegas 29 last June 19, 2021, and knocking out Ike Villanueva at UFC Vegas 41 four months later.

He is 11-1 with seven knockouts and three submission wins. Negumereanu is six feet tall with a reach of 78 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Nzechhukwu is a veteran of XKO and LFA who made two appearances at the Contender Series and picked up a pair of wins in the process. Nzechukwu scored a knockout of Dennis Bryant during his second appearance at the DWCS and earned his UFC contract. He won his first three UFC bouts including back-to-back KOs of Carlo Ulberg and Danilo Marques before getting stopped by Da Un Jung in his most recent bout last November.

He is 9-2 with six knockouts. Nzechukwu is a southpaw who stands 6-5 tall with a reach of 83 inches.

  • Moneyline Odds: Negumereanu +115, Nzechukwu -135
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 03/03/2022

Nzechukwu is a way much better fighter than Negumereanu in technical striking skills and looks like he has the cardio to match his opponent’s durability. But the big question here is what the Jung loss has taken from Nzechukwu’s confidence, and chin. He is also a notoriously slow starter so he will have to survive the early onslaught if he is to win.

You can’t count out Negumereanu here. There’s always a chance that he uses his aggression and takedowns can produce an early finish or a grind-out win. However, it’s more likely that Nzechukwu uses his height and reach to potshot his way to victory. Nzechukwu gets past the opening round and wins the next two rounds to earn a decision.

Prediction: Kennedy Nzechukwu

Maryna Moroz vs Mariya Agapova

Maryna Moroz is the boxing coach for the Ukrainian women’s Olympic boxing team. The 30-year old from Vilnohirsk, Ukraine fought under Kunlun Fight, Oplot Challenge, and XFC before signing with the UFC in 2015. Moroz began her UFC career with a modest 3-3 record but has since won back-to-back fights against Sabina Mazo and Mayra Bueno Silva.

She has a record of 10-3 with one knockout and five submission wins. Moroz is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-7 tall with a reach of 67 inches.

Mariya Agapova is a veteran of WFCA, Brave CF, Fight Nights Global, and Heroine FC before she appeared in the Contender Series where she lost to Tracy Cortez. Despite that setback, she was signed by the UFC after picking up consecutive wins at Invicta FC. Agapova is 2-1 in the UFC with two submission wins. She choked out Sabina Mazo in her most recent bout.

Agapova has a record of 10-2 with three knockouts and five submission victories. She is a southpaw shot stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 68 inches.

  • Moneyline Odds: Moroz +156, Agapova -181
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 03/03/2022

If the Agapova which ran over Mazo shows up here, it’s all over. Agapova dismantled a very good striker in Mazo with power, technical striking, and patience. Moroz is no match for Agapova’s power and output and she also has to deal with ring rust here. She also has to keep her composure here and not let her emotions get the better of her, which is easier said than done.

Moroz has the skills to beat Agapova in boxing or grappling. But the difference in power and volume may be too much to overcome. I won’t blame you if you go with Moroz here but I’ll take my shot with Agapova.

Prediction: Mariya Agapova

Tim Elliott vs Tagir Ulanbekov

Elliott faces a four-inch reach disadvantage but that does not look to figure in the result of this bout as this one will likely be fought on the mat, at least for the most part. Ulanbekov is the more technically sound and stronger grappler between the two. Elliott has solid grappling and wrestling but he has been unable to overpower opponents who are high-level takedown artists.

  • Moneyline Odds: Elliott +184, Ulanbekov -214
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 03/03/2022

Ulanbekov has a tendency to be passive and Elliott may be able to outwork him and get the judges’ nod. But if he learned the lesson from his last fight, Ulanbekov should be busier here and when he is, I don’t see how Elliott beats him. Whether it’s on the feet or the mat, Ulanbekov beats Elliot via decision.

Prediction: Tagir Ulanbekov

Dustin Jacoby vs Michal Oleksiejczuk

Dustin Jacoby is a former kickboxer who fought at GLORY and who also appeared in MMA organizations like Bellator, World Series of Fighting, and Titan FC. The 33-year old from Fort Morgan in Colorado is in his second tour of duty with the UFC. Jacoby went 0-2 during his first UFC stint but after going 5-3 outside the promotion, he joined the Contender Series where he beat Ty Flores and earned his UFC contract. Jacoby is unbeaten in five UFC bouts with one draw against Ion Cutelaba.

Jacoby is 16-5 with 10 knockouts and one submission victory. He stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 76 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Michal Oleksiejczuk is a former Thunderstrike Light heavyweight champion in Poland. The 27-year old from Leczna, Poland joined the UFC in 2017 and saw his win against Khalil Rountree Jr. in his UFC debut overturned to a no-contest after he failed a drug test. After serving a one-year suspension, Oleksiejczuk has won four out of his last six bouts. He is coming off back-to-back wins over Modestas Bukauskas and Shamil Gamzatov.

Oleksiejczuk is 16-4 with 11 knockouts and one submission victory. He is a southpaw who stands six feet tall with a reach of 74 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

  • Moneyline Odds: Jacoby -208, Oleksiejczuk +178
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 03/03/2022

Oleksiejczuk has a pressure-heavy offense and possesses genuine knockout power. However, he does not cut the cage well enough to make those work against seasoned strikers like Jacoby who will be very busy punishing his legs with kicks and hitting him with counter punches.

Jacoby’s motor will allow him to go at Oleksiejczuk for 15 minutes without fading late in the fight. He doesn’t have the best defense though and Oleksiejczuk will be able to land some of his big punches. But Jacoby has shown durability against big punchers. If he can take the first few punches in this bout, he should be able to go three rounds while punishing his opponent with crisp counters.

Prediction: Dustin Jacoby

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