UFC 138 takes place in Birmingham, England tomorrow evening and we’ve got our quick picks for the fights for you below.

Main Card:

Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz

I like Munoz here, though it’s certainly a close fight. His big advantage here is his wrestling and if he can get the fight to the floor I see his impressive ground and pound overriding Leben’s underrated BJJ skills. Leben’s best chance is on the feet where he has the striking edge, but Munoz has a good chin and has already stated he won’t get caught up in a slug-fest with the hard-hitting ‘Crippler’.

Mark Munoz to win by TKO in Rd3.

Brad Pickett vs. Renan Barao

Despite his ‘One Punch’ nickname the charismatic Pickett isn’t an especially big puncher, but he is a well rounded fighter who shows good striking technique and a nice selection of submissions on the mat. Barao is talented too and very dangerous on the ground, but I think Pickett will try to keep this one standing and the pace he fights at along with his durability and tough, gritty approach will eventually wear on the Brazilian.

Brad Pickett to win by decision.

Thiago Alves vs. Papy Abedi

This feels like a fight that was designed to get Alves a win after a disappointing run of defeats in the Octagon lately. It’s a big ask for Abedi to make his debut against a high level opponent like this, and though he’s capable on the feet, Alves is amongst the very best in the divison and can use his takedown defence will ensure he can keep this fight standing for as long as it lasts. I just don’t see Abedi surviving the full 15 minutes here as Alves looks to serve a reminder to the rest of the division that he’s still got plenty to offer.

Thiago Alves to win by TKO in Rd2.

Terry Etim Vs Edward Faaloloto

Faaloloto is one of the weakest of the UFC’s Brazilian contingent while Etim is one of the UK’s best fighters. Etim is particularly adept offensively on the ground with his Luta Livre background giving him a swiss-army knife of submissions to choose from, while he’s also a smooth, if not particularly devastating striker. His biggest problem in this fight is that he’s been out for more than 18 months due to injury so ring-rust will be a factor, but I still think he’s got too much for the inexperienced Faaloloto here wherever the fight goes.

Terry Etim to win by submission in Rd2.

Cyrille Diabate vs. Anthony Perosh

Perosh made his way into the UFC as a token Aussie when the promotion began to make their annual visit there and found themselves in need of a replacement at short notice. He’s since made the move down to light-heavyweight which appears to suit him better, but at the age of 39 he has seen better days and I don’t feel he’s UFC class. Diabate on the other hand is a dangerous striker and I fully expect to see him show off his muay thai skills en-route to a stoppage victory here.

Cyrille Diabate to win by KO in Rd1.

Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)

Justin Edwards vs. John Maguire

Michihiro Omigawa
vs. Jason Young

Rob Broughton vs. Philip De Fries

Chris Cope vs. Che Mills

Chris Cariaso vs. Vaughan Lee

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