UFC 250 takes place this coming Saturday night in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
UFC 250 Main Card
Amanda Nunes vs. Felicia Spencer
Nunes only has one fight at featherweight so far, but given that it was a title winning 51 second KO of dominant champion Cris ‘Cyborg’, there’s every reason to believe ‘The Lioness’ is every bit as deadly at 145lbs as she is at bantamweight.
Spencer is not without her own credentials, having been a former Invicta FC featherweight champion, but she too has faced ‘Cyborg’ before in the UFC and lost by unanimous decision. That being said, she does have a first round TKO and submission win to her name from her other two fights in the Octagon to date.
Nunes elite striking skills are well established, demonstrating a potent mixture of speed, accuracy, power and movement, and that’s going to be tough for Spencer to deal with as she’s not wielding anything like the same power or pace.
Instead, Spencer’s best chance here is to use her size and strength to focus on trying to control Nunes in the clinch and on the mat, while she is a legitimate threat from submissions.
However, Nunes is also well versed in jiu-jitsu and with her speed, agility and technique I suspect it’s going to be hard for Spencer to trouble her.
In the end I expect Nunes to be several steps ahead of Spencer in the striking department and will punish her with hard shots when she tries to close the distance, which will eventually lead her to a second round TKO stoppage.
Amanda Nunes wins by TKO in Rd2.
Raphael Assuncao vs. Cody Garbrandt
The last few years haven’t been kind to Garbrandt, who was on top of the world back in 2016 when he handily defeated Dominick Cruz to lift the 135lb title, but has since been finished three times in a row by strikes and been plagued by injury issues.
There’s no doubt that Garbrandt is still a very talented fighter though, with excellent boxing, lightning-quick speed and he’s a proven finisher too, but those gifts have been undermined by critical errors of judgement at times and failing to keep his emotions in check, which has left him vulnerable defensively and seen his chin compromised as a result.
Meanwhile, Assuncao’s well-rounded skills have enabled him to operate at a high-level in the UFC for a number of years, though at 35 there’s been signs of late that time is catching up to him, having suffered two losses in a row – an unusual occurrence for a fighter who had won 11 of his previous 12 fights.
Assuncao doesn’t have Garbrandt’s natural athleticism or power on the feet, but he’s still a respectable striker, though his ground work is where he excels the most. However, Garbrandt is a good wrestler too and is likely to use that to try to keep this fight standing.
I’m hoping to see a more composed version of Garbrandt here and if so I believe his striking superiority and takedown defense will enable him to get the better of Assuncao and secure a decision victory.
Cody Garbrandt wins by decision.
Aljamain Sterling vs. Cory Sandhagen
Two more high-level bantamweights on display here, looking to fight there way towards title contention at 135lbs.
Sterling is a very crafty grappler with dangerous submissions, but he’s also managed to improve upon his striking skills during his time in the UFC.
Sandhagen has steadily established himself as a forced to be reckoned with five wins in a row to date in the UFC, with his composed striking enabling him to effectively dictate the proceedings with good distance management and movement, while he can also handle himself on the mat too.
This should be a close fight, but I believe Sandhagen’s stand-up advantage will give him the edge here as he outstrikes Sterling to seal a decision win.
Cory Sandhagen wins by decision.
Neil Magny vs Anthony Rocco Martin
Magny may never have quite managed to consistently break into the upper reaches of the welterweight division, but his jack-of-all-trades skill-set and hard-work ethic has made him a well respected fighter.
Part of what’s held Magny back is that he’s not the hardest-hitting striker and can tend to get overwhelmed by pressure fighters, though at times his submission defense has been an issue too at the highest level.
On this occasion though, Martin isn’t a heavy-handed power puncher either and is more of a counter-striker, though on the mat he will threaten with submissions.
As is often the case Magny will have a sizeable height and reach advantage here and I also feel that he’s just technically the better fighter of the two, so I believe he should be able to land strikes from range and hold his own in the grappling exchanges here en-route to a win on the scorecards.
Neil Magny wins by decision.
Eddie Wineland vs Sean O’Malley
O’Malley is tipped as a potential future star and will look to showcase his skills in the main card opener against a true veteran of the division in Wineland.
Wineland is a dangerous and crafty striker who will be a willing dance partner for O’Malley on the feet, but he is in the twilight years of his career and as such hasn’t been fighting as frequently as he used to.
O’Malley hasn’t been competing regularly either due to extended issues with USADA, but when he does step into the Octagon there’s a buzz about his work, with flashy but effective striking that combines creativity and accuracy and at just 25-years-old he’s showing improvements every time he fights.
This should be a fun one to watch, but while Wineland is certainly capable of producing an upset here, I think this is O’Malley’s time to shine and he’ll be the fresher, faster fighter here and will find a frequent home for kicks and punches to secure a decision victory.
Sean O’Malley wins by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Alex Caceres vs Chase Hooper
Ian Heinisch vs Gerald Meerschaert
Cody Stamann vs Brian Kelleher
Charles Byrd vs Maki Pitolo
Jussier Formiga vs Alex Perez
Alonzo Menifield vs Devin Clark
Herbert Burns vs. Evan Dunham