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UFC Vegas 49 Prelims Undercard Betting Preview

The UFC is back at the APEX this weekend for UFC Vegas 49 where Islam Makhachev takes on Bobby Green in the main event.

Makhachev is on the cusp of getting a title shot. He would have most certainly gotten that had he beaten Beneil Dariush. But Dariush got hurt and Green stepped in to save the main event. Although Green isn’t the top-ranked opponent Makhachev wanted, a dominant win will nevertheless put him on a shortlist of title contenders.

Middleweights Misha Cirkunov and Wellington Turman are also featured in the main card, as well as Arman Tsarukyan who faces Joel Alvarez in a lightweight tussle.

But before Makhachev and Green hit the Octagon, an interesting prelims undercard will open the show in Vegas. Let’s take a look at the prelims bouts and make our predictions.

Zhu Rong vs Ignacio Bahamondes

Zhu Rong is a former WLF lightweight champion who joined the UFC last year. The 21-year old from Sichuan, China carried a ten-fight winning streak when he made his UFC debut at UFC 261 in the undercard of Usman vs Masvidal 2 on April 24, 2021. He suffered a unanimous decision loss to Rodrigo Vargas but then bounced back with a TKO win over Brandon Jenkins last September 18, 2021, at UFC Fight Night 192.

Zhu Rong is 18-4 with 12 knockouts and four submission wins. He is 5-9 tall with a reach of 71 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Ignacio Bahamondes started his career fighting for Square Ring Promotions, Lux Fight Series, LFA, Combate Americas before making an appearance at the Contender Series where he knocked out Edson Gomez to earn a UFC contract. The 24-year old from Santiago, Chile dropped a close split decision to John Makdessi in his UFC debut at UFC on ABC 2 but redeemed himself with a KO win over Roosevelt Roberts at UFC on ESPN 29 on August 21, 2021.

Bahamondes is 12-4 with nine wins via knockout. He is 6-3 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

  • Moneyline Odds: Zhu Rong +175, Bahamondes -225
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 02/24/2022

Zhu Rong displayed the ability to adjust his game plan and throw volume punches in his second UFC bout after a disappointing loss in his debut. He has the edge in wrestling here and is also the bigger puncher between the two.

Bahamondres though has the tools to beat Rongzhu. His takedown defense has the ability to limit Zhu’s wrestling. He also has the advantage in reach and has more variety of striking weapons. I think this is going to be a good fight but will be to the advantage of Bahamondes who will utilize his kicks and superior reach to strike from a distance and avoid Zhu’s big punches.

Prediction: Ignacio Bahamondres

Josiane Nunes vs Ramona Pascual

Josie Nunes fought for Uniao Fight Combat, Elite Fazenda Combat, Sicario MMA, Katana Fight, and Forze MMA before she joined the UFC last year. The 28-year old from Curitiba, Brazil defeated Bea Malecki in her UFC debut UFC on ESPN 29 last August 21, 2021. The win was her seventh consecutive victory and her sixth in a row via knockout.

Nunes has a record of 8-1 with 7 knockouts with her only loss coming at the hands of current UFC fighter Taila Santos. She is a southpaw who is 5-2 tall with a 67-inch reach.

Ramona Pascual is a veteran of IMPI World Series Asia, Road FC, WLF, and iKon Fighting Federation, and Invicta FC. The 33-year old from the Philippines has won four consecutive bouts heading to this contest. Three of those wins have been by stoppage, including a submission win over Shamir Peshewa at Invicta FC 45 just last January 12, 2022.

Pascual is 6-2 with four knockouts and one submission victory. She stands 5-7 tall and has a reach of 66 inches and is also a southpaw fighter.

  • Moneyline Odds: Nunes -200, Pascual +170
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 02/24/2022

This fight could easily turn out to be the most exciting and violent fight of the event. Nunes has that massive left-hand punch while Pascual owns powerful Muay Thai chops. Both women know only one way to fight and that is to move forward and throw their best shots.

The difference here could be Pascual’s limited time in the last couple of years which could turn against her. Then there is the fact that she faces a reach disadvantage which could be fatal against the heavy-handed Brazilian. Pascual likes to brawl but not only does Nunes have the advantage in punching power, but she is also the longer striker. Nunes may be limited in weapons but she has the stopping power to beat a brawler like Pascual.

Prediction: Josiane Nunes

Terrance McKinney vs Fares Ziam

Terrance McKinney began his career fighting at CageSport, ExciteFight, Front Street Fights, and LFA. He made an unsuccessful appearance at the Contender Series in 2019 where he was knocked out by Sean Woodson. After the loss, McKinney picked up back-to-back KO wins at LFA which got him signed by the UFC. In his UFC debut, McKinney knocked out Matt Frevola at UFC 263 last June 12, 2021.

McKinney is 11-3 with five knockouts and six submission wins. He is a switch hitter who stands 5-10 tall with a reach of 73 inches.

Fares Ziam is a former HIT Lightweight champion and Lyon Fighting Championship lightweight champion. The 24-year old Frenchman joined the UFC in 2019 but was beaten by Don Madge in his UFC debut at UFC 242. Ziam however, bounced back by winning his last two bouts against Jamie Mullarkey and Luigi Vendramini.

Ziam is 12-3 with five knockouts and four submission wins. He is 6-1 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

  • Moneyline Odds: McKinney +100, Ziam -125
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 02/24/2022

McKinney looked impressive in his UFC debut. Despite that, he’s more of a work in progress than a finished product. Fortunately for him, Ziam isn’t too dangerous of an opponent. The Frenchman lands just two significant strikes per minute and doesn’t seem to have the urgency to fight.

Ziam has also been bullied by determined opponents to the fence or taken down to the mat. McKinney has better wrestling than Ziam and is the stronger fighter in that department. However, there’s a chance that McKinney’s gas tank fails him here or his reckless striking gets him caught with a big punch. However, I think McKinney bullies Ziam and takes him to the mat where he gets the submission win.

Prediction: Terrance McKinney

Jinh Yu Frey vs Hannah Goldy

Jinh Yu Frey is a former Invicta FC atomweight champion. The 36-year old from Arkansas won the SCS atomweight title in her MMA debut. After one successful title defense, she moved to Invicta FC where she also became champion. Frey joined the UFC in 2020 and after losing her first two Octagon assignments, she has picked up back-to-back victories over Gloria de Paula and Ashley Yoder, both in 2021.

She has a record of 11-6 with one knockout and two submission victories. Frey is 5-2 tall with a reach of 65 inches.

Hannah Goldy fought at Island Fights and Premier FC before joining the Contender Series where she defeated Kali Robbins to earn her UFC contract. The 29-year old from Bondville, Vermont was beaten by Miranda Granger and Diana Belbita in her first two UFC assignments. She picked up her first UFC win against Emily Whitmire last September 18, 2021, via submission.

Goldy’s record stands at 6-2 with 1 knockout and one submission loss. She is 5-4 tall with a reach of 61 inches.

  • Moneyline Odds: Frey -175, Goldy +150
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 02/24/2022

Goldy has the ability to win this fight simply by outworking Frey who is notorious for her low output. However, in her fight against Yoder, she landed more strikes than during her first three UFC bouts combined, making me think that she’s fixed her main weakness.

With the striking battle looking even right now, I think that she will win this fight by being the better fighter in the clinch. If Goldy gives her opportunities, it’s going to be tough to keep Frey off her once the latter gets to top position. With ground control and the heavier punches, Frey is going to sway the judges to give her the win on points.

Prediction: Jinh Yu Frey

Alejandro Perez vs Jonathan Martinez

Alejandro Perez was the bantamweight winner at The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America. The 32-year old Mexican posted a 14-5 record for promotions like Gladiator Challenge, MMA Xtreme, Fight Club Mexico, and Jungle Fight before joining the TUF. He opened his UFC career with a record of 7-1-1 before losing back-to-back bouts to Cody Stamann and Song Yadong. In his last bout, Perez submitted Johnny Eduardo on October 2, 2021.

Perez has a record of 22-8 with 9 knockouts and six submission victories. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 67 inches.

Jonathan Martinez is competed for Rumble Time Promotions, Legacy FC, XFL, Combate Americas, and Fist Fight Night before joining the UFC in 2018. Martinez is 5-3 inside the UFC Octagon and is coming off a unanimous decision win over Zvia Lazishvili at UFC Vegas 41 last October 23, 2021.

Martinez is 14-4 with seven knockouts and two submission victories. He is a southpaw who has a reach of 70 inches and is 5-8 tall.

  • Moneyline Odds: Perez +200, Martinez -250
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 02/24/2022

Martinez looks to have all sorts of an advantage here. He has a two-inch height and three-inch reach edge over Perez and looks to be the more durable fighter between these two. Martinez also has a proven takedown defense that should negate Perez’s superior ground game.

Honestly, I can’t think of how Perez is going to win this bout unless Martinez self-destructs. In most probability, Martinez’s physical advantages, his durability, and his edge in striking will be the keys to this bout. Martinez keeps the fight on the feet, controls the striking exchanges, and then lands the knockout punch late.

Prediction: Jonathan Martinez

Ramiz Brahimaj vs Micheal Gillmore

Ramiz Brahimaj is a veteran of GCS, XKO, and LFA before joining the UFC in 2020. The 29-year old from New York made his UFC debut against Maxim Griffin at UFC Vegas 13 in 2020 and lost via TKO. He won his second bout against Sasha Palatnikov but was beaten by Court McGee in his most recent bout at UFC Vegas 46 just last January 15, 2022.

Brahimaj is 9-4 with nine submission wins. He is 5-10 tall with a reach of 72 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Micheal Gillmore fought under WXC, TWC, Knockout Promotions, Motor City Cage Fights before first appearing in the UFC last year. Gillmore was knocked out by And Petroski in his UFC debut UFC on ESPN 30 in August of last year.

 The 34-year old from Michigan has a record of 6-4 with 3 knockouts. He is 5-11 tall with a reach of 72 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

  • Moneyline Odds: Brahimak, Gillmore
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 02/24/2022

No question, this is a do-or-die fight for Brahimaj but he’s in luck because Gillmore looks tailor-made to make him look good. Gillmore is the better striker between the two but his advantages on the feet will be negated by his issues on the ground.

Knowing he can’t win a stand-up battle, look for Brahimaj to look for the takedowns here. If he pursues the takedowns early, this shouldn’t be a difficult win. I think he knows that and that’s what he’ll do. Unless Brahimaj’s gas tank fails him here, this is likely ending up in a ground battle that ends in a submission win.

Prediction: Ramiz Brahimaj

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