UFC 276 Prelim Card
Jessica-Rose Clark and Julija Stoliarenko open up the pay-per-view in women's bantamweight action. Clark is just about favored to get the victory and return to the win column.
Brad Tavares meets the rising Dricus Du Plessis in a middleweight encounter. It’s a close fight which can go either way, but oddsmakers are just about giving the edge to the more experienced Tavares. If Plessis wants to get into the rankings, the journey man Tavares is a tough test.
Jessica Eye takes on Maycee Barber in a women's flyweight bout. Expect Barber to come out on top and continue her rise in the division by beating the former title contender.
Uriah Hall and Andre Muniz collide in a middleweight tilt. Muniz is on an impressive run, but the underdog Hall is always a live dog. A good play id on Hall for a finish.
Jim Miller meets Donald Cerrone in a short-notice welterweight bout. Cerrone is winless in his last six and while he holds an old win over Miller. Cowboy has been waiting for a fight with his two previous bouts against Joe Louzon have been canceled on short notice. Expect Miller to get the finish as the sun sets on Donald’s career.
Rising star Ian Garry faces Gabe Green in a welterweight battle. Garry is a slight favorite to come out on top and remain undefeated in the UFC and rise his profile as a real up-and-coming European star.
Former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler takes on Bryan Barbarena. Barbarena is a step down from Lawler’s previous opponents, and surprisingly this bout lands on the prelims. Lawler will have to deal with the fast pace and pressure of Barbareno, but “Ruthless” always has the power to end things in one punch.
The featured prelim sees Brad Riddell take on Jalin Turner in a lightweight encounter. Turner is only just favored to get the best of Riddell in what should be a very close contest leading into the much anticipated main card.
UFC 276 Main Card
Munhoz (19-7, 1NC) v O’Malley (15-1)
Sean O’Malley faces his toughest battle yet when he takes on bantamweight veteran Pedro Munhoz. O’Malley has won his last three in a row, including a recent TKO win over Raulian Paiva in December. Munhoz, meanwhile, has lost four of his last five, including a unanimous decision defeat to Dominick Cruz in December.
However, they were all losses to top fighters and Munhoz still remains one of the toughest outings for anyone. With that said, O’Malley is coming in a strong favorite to beat his first ranked opponent. However, O’Malley is vulnerable and if he doesn’t take Munhoz out with strikes it could be a grueling fight.
Strickland (25-3) v Pereira (5-1)
Sean Strickland faces Alex Pereira in what could be a middleweight title eliminator fight. Strickland has won his last six and most recently outpointed Jack Hermansson in February. Pereira, on the other hand, is 2-0 in the UFC and could surge into title contention with a victory over Strickland. Despite his relatively little experience in MMA, Pereira is one of the best kickboxers, notably holding two victories over Israel Adesanya.
That is why oddsmakers are just about giving him the edge over Strickland in what is a very close battle that could go either way. If Stickland is smart, he will use his clear advantage in grappling on route to an easy win and spoil the efforts of the UFC to put Pereira in a rematch –this time in the Octagon—with the champ Adesanya.
Volkanovski (24-1) v Holloway (23-6)
A highly-anticipated featherweight title trilogy fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway co-main events UFC 276. Volkanovski remains undefeated in the UFC and most recently defended his 145-pound crown with a TKO victory over the Korean Zombie back in April. Prior to that, he defeated Brian Ortega which followed his two decision victories over Max Holloway.
Holloway, meanwhile, has bounced back from his defeats to Volkanovski with impressive decision victories over Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez. Given how close his two fights were with Volkanovski -- especially the second which many feel he won -- Holloway can be confident of his chances in a trilogy.
However, Volkanovski has shown time and time again that he is truly one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world with no holes in his game. That is why “The Great” is expected to go 3-0 in the series and finally end his rivalry with Holloway once and for all. Expect another decision victory for the Aussie in another 25 minute war.
Adesanya (22-1) v Cannonier (15-5)
The headliner sees Israel Adesanya look to defend his middleweight title against Jared Cannonier. Adesanya most recently defended his 185-pound strap with a unanimous decision victory over Robert Whittaker in their February rematch. Overall, “The Last Stylebender” still remains undefeated in the middleweight division.
Cannonier, meanwhile, has won five of his last six since moving down to the middleweight division all the way from the once heavyweight. He most recently bounced back from his defeat to Whittaker with a unanimous decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum and a knockout win over Derek Brunson.
While he is fresh blood for Adesanya who has mostly been having rematches of late, Cannonier is still a pretty sizable underdog. Adesanya has a clear speed and striking advantage, but Cannonier has the power.
At some time, the champ will be caught with a big punch from a heavy striker. I think there is some chance the time will come on Saturday. The champ is the safe bet, and could get a finish… but don’t count the challenger out of this one!
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