Two UFC belts will be on the line when the UFC heads to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC 276 on Saturday night.
In the main event, UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will defend his belt for the fifth time against Jared Cannonier. In the co-main event, UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will stake his title against the man he won it from, ex-champ Max Holloway, in a third fight between the two.
Also fighting on the main card are Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira in what could be a middleweight title eliminator. Former welterweight king Robbie Lawler fights Brian Barberena in the 4th bout of the main card while top prospect Sean O’Malley opens the main show against Pedro Munhoz.
However, before the big stars come out to fight, an exciting prelims undercard will precede the main card. Let’s take a look at those bouts and make our predictions.
Brad Riddell is the no. 14 ranked lightweight in the UFC. The 30-year-old from Christchurch, New Zealand is a former Wollongong Wars welterweight champion. He began his MMA career at Glory of Heroes and Hex Fight Series. Riddell joined the UFC in 2019 and is 4-1 inside the Octagon. Riddell lost his last bout against Rafael Fiziev at UFC Vegas 44.
He has a record of 10-2 with five knockouts. Riddell is an orthodox fighter who is 5-7 tall and has a reach of 71 inches.
Jalin Turner has been fighting professionally since 2016. The 27-year-old from San Bernardino, California has fought for promotions like Bellator MMA, World Series of Fighting, King of the Cage, and Tachi Palace Fights. Turner knocked out Max Mustaki at the Contender Series 12 in 2018 in the win that earned him his UFC contract.
Turner is 12-5 with 9 knockouts and three submission wins. He is a southpaw who is 6-3 tall and has a reach of 77 inches.
Riddell will be the best striker that Turner has ever faced in the UFC since Vicente Luque. With the Tarantula prone to getting outstruck in the pocket, Riddell’s blistering combinations are going to score on him. If Riddell is able to take Turner deep in the fight, it’s easy to see Riddell breaking him down with leg kicks and body shots.
Doing that is easier said than done however because Riddell is a notoriously slow starter. He’s lost four UFC bouts in the first round. As said earlier, Riddell should do better if this fight goes the distance. However, given Turner’s ability to finish bouts, I’m not sure if Riddell gets past the opening round. If he does, he’s got a good shot to win this. But I doubt that.
Prediction: Jalin Turner
Ian Garry rose to prominence with an unbeaten run at the Cage Warriors promotion. The heavily-hyped Irish prospect joined the UFC and knocked out Jordan Williams in his debut at UFC 268. He returned at UFC 273 last April to defeat Darian Weeks via decision.
The 24-year-old from Dublin, Ireland has a record of 9-0 with five knockouts and one submission victory. He is 6-3 tall with a reach of 74 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Gabe Green is a former California Xtreme Fighting 160-pound champion who also fought under Bellator MMA, Combate, and Fight Club OC. Green joined the UFC in 2020 and took a short-notice debut against Daniel Rodriguez. He lost the fight via unanimous decision, his first defeat since 2017.
Overall, Green is 11-3 with four knockouts and six submission victories. The 29-year-old from San Pedro, California is a switch-hitter who is 5-10 tall and has a reach of 73 inches.
Garry opened his UFC career with a bang then had to settle for a unanimous decision in his second appearance. He will face Green who has won two in a row. Although Garry has not been as impressive as we thought he would be so far in the UFC, he has several things going for him in this matchup.
Green isn’t hard to hit, and Garry’s movement and counterattacks are going to work for him here. Garry also has a good gas tank as he’s proved he can go five rounds. Meanwhile, Green is known to have issues with his cardio. Garry is also a judo black belt which could be troublesome for a fighter like Green who has terrible takedown defense. Having said those, Garry has the tools to trouble Green and he should be able to win this fight by using his advantages.
Prediction: Ian Garry
Jim Miller is one of the longest-tenured fighters in the UFC and holds the record for most bouts in UFC history, most wins in UFC history, and most wins in UFC lightweight history. A former Cage Fury Fighting Championships lightweight champion and USKBA welterweight champion in kickboxing. The 38-year-old from Sparta Township, New Jersey heads to this bout coming off back-to-back KO wins over Erick Gonzalez and Nikolas Motta.
He is 34-16 with six knockouts and 18 submissions. Miller is a southpaw who is 5-8 tall with a reach of 71 inches.
Donald Cerrone is one of the most popular fighters in the history of the UFC. Cowboy is a former Ring of Fire lightweight champion who also competed for WEC before joining the UFC in 2011. Cerrone is tied with Jim Miller with 23 wins in the UFC, the most by any fighter. He is also tied with Charles Oliveira for most post-fight bonuses in the UFC with 18. Cowboy once challenged for the UFC lightweight title but lost to Rafael Dos Anjos. He heads to this bout having lost his last six bouts.
Cowboy is 36-16 with 10 knockouts and 17 submission victories. He is 6-1 tall with a reach of 73 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Miller looks like he’s found the Fountain of Youth with back-to-back KO wins in his last two bouts. That newfound knockout power is what is most likely going to be the decisive factor in this bout. Cowboy beat Miller eight years ago with low kicks, knees, and impressive combinations. That Cowboy is long gone.
Cerrone is in the toughest stretch of his career. He is winless in his last six bouts and has looked nothing more than a shell of his old self. No question, Cerrone still has the skills to do what he did in 2014. However, given Miller’s knockout power, I’m not sure if Cerrone can implement whatever game plan he has. I think Miller sparks Cowboy early.
Prediction: Jim Miller
Uriah Hall is the TUF 17 tournament runner-up. The 37-year-old from Spanish Town, Jamaica is a former Ring of Combat middleweight champion. Hall joined the UFC after losing to Kelvin Gastelum in the TUF 17 Finale and won 6 out of his first 13 UFC bouts. Since then, Hall is 4-1 but is coming off a loss to Sean Strickland in a defeat that snapped a four-fight winning streak.
Hall is 17-10 with 13 knockouts and one submission victory. He is six feet tall with a 79-inch reach and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Andre Muniz is the no. 13 ranked middleweight in the UFC. The 32-year-old from Montes Claros, Brazil is a former Bitetti Combat middleweight champion. Muniz also competed for X-Fight MMA, War of Champions, and Watch Out Combat Show before joining the Contender Series Brazil 2 event where he beat Bruno Assis to earn his UFC contract. He is 4-0 with three submission wins in the UFC.
Muniz is 2-4 with four knockouts and 15 submission victories. He is 6-1 tall with a reach of 78 inches and is a southpaw.
Despite his long stint in the UFC, he still remains vulnerable to pressure and wrestling. Muniz does not have the stand-up skills to do what Sean Strickland did to Hall. However, he does not need plenty of time on top to finish this fight.
You can’t count out Hall in this fight. If there’s a fighter who can pull off the victory, it’s Hall. However, he has also been stopped four times inside the cage. I’m not sure if he can keep this fight on the feet long enough to finish Muniz. I think Muniz is going to drag Hall to the mat early in the fight. When he does that, I don’t think it will take him long before he finds Hall’s neck and force him to tap.
Prediction: Andre Muniz
Jessica Eye is the no. 10 ranked female flyweight in the UFC. The 35-year-old from Rootstown, Ohio is a former UFC women’s flyweight title holder. She challenged for the belt at UFC 238 but was knocked out by Valentina Shevchenko. Eye is a former Ring of Combat 130-pound women’s champion.
She is 15-10 with three knockouts and one submission victory. Eye is 5-6 tall with a reach of 66 inches and is an orthodox fighter.
Maycee Barber is the no. 13 ranked female flyweight in the UFC. The 24-year-old from Greeley, Colorado was an undefeated fighter at LFA when she joined the Contender Series in 2018. After knocking out Jamie Colleen at the Contender Series, she joined the UFC in 2018 and won her first three bouts. Barber suffered consecutive losses to Roxanne Modafferi and Alexa Grasso but has recovered with a pair of wins against Montana De La Rosa and Miranda Maverick.
Barber has a record of 10-2 with five knockouts and two submission wins. She is a switch hitter who is 5-5 tall with a reach of 65 inches.
Barber replaces Casey O’Neill and took this fight on two months’ notice. She’s recovered some of the luster she lost when she dropped back-to-back fights against Roxanne Modafferi and Alexa Grasso. Eye could pose a problem for her, given Evil’s experience and stand-up skills.
However, Barber was able to complete three of five takedowns against the tough Grasso. Given that Grasso has a better takedown defense than Eye, I don’t think Barber will have a hard time taking this fight to the ground where she will have the clear edge. I’m going with Barber to win via decision.
Prediction: Maycee Barber
Brad Tavares is the no. 12 ranked middleweight in the UFC. The 34-year-old from Kailua, Hawaii was a competitor at The Ultimate Fighter 11 tournament in 2010 when he lost to Court McGee in the semifinals. Tavares earned a UFC deal with his performance and won six out of his first seven UFC bouts. He is 7-5 since but is coming off consecutive wins against Antonio Carlos Junior and Omari Akhmedov
Tavares is 19-6 with five knockouts and two submission wins. He is 6-1 tall with a reach of 74 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Dricus Du Plessis is a former KSW welterweight champion and EFC middleweight champion. The 28-year-old from South Africa knocked out Markus Perez in his UFC debut at Fight Island last October 2020 and knocked out Trevin Giles at UFC 264 last July 10, 2021.
Du Plessis is 16-2 with seven knockouts and nine victories via submission. He is a switch hitter who stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 76 inches.
Du Plessis is a weird and unique fighter who has never seen a fight go the distance. Seven of his wins have been by knockout and nine submission wins. He has an impressive ground game which makes him a difficult out for any opponent.
However, Tavares has the takedown defense to stall Du Plessis’ ground attack. Despite that, Stillknocks has the counter-striking skills and knockout power to spell the difference. We’ve seen Tavares’ chin fail him several times in the past. We could see it here again. I think Du Plessis catches Tavares with a left hook early in the fight.
Prediction: Dricus Du Plessis
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