UFC 274 Prelim Card
Bantamweights kick off the night as Journey Newson takes on Fernie Garcia. Garcia should have the edge and get the victory in this one.
A women's strawweight bout between Ariane Carnelossi and Lupita Godinez is also on the cards. Despite her inferior experience, Godinez is favored to earn the win.
Kleydson Rodrigues and CJ Vergara clash in a flyweight encounter. Rodriguez is a solid favorite to overcome Vergara.
Tracy Cortez looks to continue her winning run against Melissa Gatto in a women's flyweight bout. Cortez is the slight favorite and should remain undefeated in the UFC.
Lightweight veteran Francisco Trinaldo takes on Danny Roberts in a welterweight bout. This fight can go either way as it’s a pick ‘em, but Roberts is the much younger fighter which is something to keep in mind.
Heavyweights Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Blagoy Ivanov collide. Ivanov is on a two-fight losing streak, but should return to the win column in this outing.
Brandon Royval meets Matt Schnell in an exciting flyweight contest. Royval recently returned to the win column and should make it two in a row.
Macy Chiasson clashes with Norma Dumont in a women's featherweight contest. Dumont is the natural featherweight and is a solid favorite to come out on top.
Randy Brown takes on Khaos Williams in a welterweight bout in the featured prelim. It’s a close fight which can go either way, but Williams carries more power which sees him just about edge Brown when it comes to the odds.
UFC 274 Main Card
Donald Cerrone (36-16, 2NC) v Joe Lauzon (28-16)
Lightweight legends open up the main card as Donald Cerrone takes on Joe Lauzon in a fan-friendly encounter. “Cowboy” is currently in the twilight of his career as he is winless in his last six outings, having last suffered a TKO defeat to Alex Morono in May of last year.
Lauzon has also been inactive as he hasn't competed since a TKO win over Jonathan Pearce back in October 2019. That win snapped a three-fight losing streak. Oddsmakers are leaning with Cerrone to finally return to the win column, but Lauzon is crafty and could win the fight standing or on the ground.
Mauricio Rua (27-12-1) v Ovince Saint Preux (25-16)
Mauricio Rua returns to action when he faces Ovince Saint Preux in a light heavyweight rematch. The legend “Shogun” suffered a knockout defeat to Saint Preux in their 2014 meeting, last competed in November 2020 when he was TKO’d by Paul Craig.
Saint Preux, meanwhile, will return to light heavyweight again after a knockout defeat to Tanner Boser in June last year. Overall, he has lost three of his last four outings. But with that said, Saint Preux is favored to make it two wins in a row. Again, another
Michael Chandler (22-7) v Tony Ferguson (26-7)
A potential lightweight barnburner is set between Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson. Chandler is coming off a unanimous decision defeat to Justin Gaethje in their three-round war in November.
The setback made it two defeats in a row for Chandler, who previously was TKO’d by Charles Oliveira in their lightweight title fight. However, the American has won fans in these loses, showing his ability to hurt fighters with one punch and exciting style
Ferguson, on the other hand, is on a three-fight losing streak. With defeats to Gaethje, Oliveira and most recently, Beneil Dariush, Ferguson has seemingly lost a step and is well beyond his prime. It comes as no surprise that Chandler opens as a huge favorite and I don’t see Ferguson’s chin holding up here.
Rose Namajunas (12-4) v Carla Esparza (19-6)
Rose Namajunas defends her women’s strawweight title against Carla Esparza in the co-main event. It will be a rematch of their 2014 meeting where Esparza submitted Namajunas to become the first-ever 115-pound champion.
Since then, both fighters have grown tremendously. Namajunas is a two-time champion. “Thug Rose” is coming off a split decision victory over Weili Zhang in November, winning six of her last seven outings.
Esparza has also been on a winning streak as the former champion has won her last five in a row, including a TKO victory over fellow contender Yan Xiaonan in May last year. The wrestler will need to get the fight to the ground and keep it there to have any chance of winning. It will be a tough order as Rose’s ground game is slick, and confidence on her feet makes her a threat to stop the fight at any moment.
Namajunas has too much firepower and should find an opening in the 25-minute bout for a finish.
Charles Oliveira (32-8, 1NC) v Justin Gaethje (23-3)
The main event will feature the highly-anticipated lightweight title fight between current champion Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje. Oliveira is coming off his first title defense after he submitted Dustin Poirier back in December. Overall, “Do Bronx” is on a very impressive 10-fight winning streak dating back to 2018, with finishes in nine of them.
In Gaethje, however, he will face another action-packed finisher. Gaethje returned to the win column in the aforementioned back-and-forth war victory over Michael Chandler. Prior to that, he suffered a submission defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in their lightweight title fight that snapped a four-fight winning streak. “The Highlight” will look to become a champion in his second attempt.
Oliveira is favored to come out on top, as he has dispatched fighters like Gaethje before. The American has pure KO power and violence in his fists, so there is always a chance that a KO comes in the first or second round.
However, a tiring Gaethje will be finished by submission by the champ, which can happen at any time. I’d put a play on the Brazilian to get a finish before the 25 minutes comes to an end.
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