UFC 270 takes place tomorrow night in Anaheim, California and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Francis Ngannou vs Ciryl Gane
The UFC starts 2022’s pay-per-view season with a band in this heavyweight title clash between former training partners turned rivals at a time when they are both flying high, with Ngannou having won five fights in a row in brutal fashion, while Gane holds an undefeated record and seven wins in the UFC so far.
While their paths crossed in the gym several years ago and they are both physical specimens with very similar height and reach, there is a distinct difference in the way these two fighters go about their business in the Octagon.
Ngannou is the more muscular, thickly built of the two, and behind that extra weight he carries lies thunderous power that ranks up their with the heaviest hitters we’ve ever seen in the UFC, making his boxing game extraordinarily potent, while he also holds the distinction of never being stopped inside the distance in his 19-fight career to date.
So there’s undoubtedly an intimidation factor when it comes to facing Ngannou, though on the other hand, he doesn’t tend to fight at a ferocious pace, instead fighting at a very measured pace without much in the way of volume, though he does occasionally launch into somewhat reckless and undisciplined flurries, relying on the fact that even a grazing punch landed with his power can cause his opponent serious harm.
On the other hand, Gane is far more technical, disciplined and cerebral striker. He comes from a muay thai background and has an excellent sense of distance management, enabling him to operate a volume-based striking game from range with straight punches down the pipe being punctuated by hard kicks.
Gane is also the more well-rounded of the two, being a solid wrestler who can also lock up a submission, which are areas Ngannou will not want to tangle with him in, and could compromise his cardio even if he is successfully able to get back to his feet.
Overall I think Gane has the tools at his disposal to dismantle a destructive power-puncher like Ngannou here over the course of five rounds with his concise, accurate striking from range, wrestling threat at closer distance and all-round higher work-rate and superior cardio, but that one-punch power coming back his way will keep the fight on a knife-edge throughout before he finally emerges as the UFC’s new heavyweight champion.
Pick: Ciryl Gane wins by decision.
Brandon Moreno vs Deiveson Figueiredo
After a majority draw in their first fight together in which Figueiredo had a point deducted for an illegal strike, Moreno then beat the champion by submission in their rematch to seize the belt, and now they go at it again to decide once and for all who the undisputed flyweight champ is.
These are two very well-rounded competitors who can mix it up wherever the fight goes. The feeling in the previous two bouts was that Figueiredo’s power advantage could sway the action in his favor, but Moreno has shown a willingness to trade with him and proven that he can not only get away with it, but even dropped his rival in the second fight.
That might not happen again, but Moreno has proven that he’s a good striker in his own right, keeping a good tempo while focusing on solid fundamentals, and he remains having never been finished inside the distance in his 26-fight career.
Still, it does feel like while we’ve seen Moreno shine in their two previous fights, that we haven’t seen the best that Figueiredo has to offer, and he remains a very dangerous, dynamic striker with an excellent finishing record both on the feet and on the mat.
Figeuiredo is now 34-years-old though and may now be passing his prime years, while Moreno is right in the middle of his at 28, and I think with the wave of momentum he’s riding right now and the fact he still appears to be remaining grounded mentally, I think he can again emerge victorious here by outworking him on the feet and matching him on the mat to claim a closely contested decision win.
Pick: Brandon Moreno wins by decision.
Michel Pereira vs. Andre Fialho
After making his mark on the regional circuit in the last year with four finishes in a row via strikes, Fialho now steps in on just over a week’s notice as a late replacement to fight Pereira, who has won his last three fights in the Octagon.
Pereira will welcome a striking battle with his attention-grabbing capoeira-inspired striking style that seems him unleash all kinds of acrobatic and eye-catching techniques. It makes him a very hard fighter to predict and also a dangerous one, though he can favor low-percentage, high-intensity moves at times that can not only fail to pay-off, but also sap his cardio. That being said, he does seem to be reigning that in a bit recently and has some nice momentum coming into this match-up.
It’s certainly not ideal for Fialho to becoming in against such a tricky opponent with so little time to prepare, but he’ll have some confidence due to the fact he’s already had success against former UFC fighters like James Vick and Stefan Sekulic as well as having also fought for the likes of Bellator and PFL in the past.
He’s also a heavy-handed boxer with solid technique, so he certainly has a chance here, particularly if Pereira gets too reckless. Nevertheless, I think Pereira’s active offense from range and unpredictability will enable him to get the upperhand here and emerge with a decision victory.
Pick: Michel Pereira wins by decision.
Cody Stamann vs Said Nurmagomedov
Stamann will be looking to get back to winning ways on Saturday night after two losses in a row, while Nurmagomedov is coming in off a KO win against Mark Striegl.
Stamann’s gameplan is no mystery – he’s very much wrestling based and will dedicate himself to working for takedown attempts early and often, and if he gets them then he has a stifling top game and is perfectly willing to smother his opponents for three full rounds to win on the scorecards.
Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov has far more to offer on the feet and has a versatile offensive approach and is fond of mixing in spinning attacks to catch his opponents unaware.
However, Nurmagomedov can grapple too and his scrambling ability could be an important factor if Stamann is able to get him down. That, together with his major striking advantage leads me to believe that he will get the better of the action here and battle his way to a decisive win on the scorecards.
Prediction: Said Nurmagomedov to win by decision.
Rodolfo Vieira vs Wellington Turman
Fight cancelled early on Friday after Vieira was withdrawn for medical reasons.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Raoni Barcelos vs Victor Henry
Tony Gravely vs Saimon Oliveira
Trevin Giles vs Michael Morales
Silvana Gomez Juarez vs Vanessa Demopoulos
Matt Frevola vs Genaro Valdez
Kay Hansen vs Jasmine Jasudavicius