UFC Fight Night 190 takes place teomorrow in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Ciryl Gane vs. Alexander Volkov
This is one of the better heavyweight match-ups we’ve had recently, with Gane being the 8-0 undefeated rising star, while Volkov has come very close to being a title challenger in the past, and at 32 still has plenty of time to fight for the belt.
Standing 6ft 7″ with an 80″ reach, Volkov has always been one of the division’s most technical strikers, doing very good work from range with his clean, accurate punches and kicks, and while he’s not always been the biggest one-punch hitter, his consistent volume and good cardio often sees him break down opponents and then finish them.
Gane is a powerfully built heavyweight who is 3″ smaller than Volkov, but actually has 2″ in reach over him. He too is a talented muay thai striker with experience to draw on from that sport to help make up for the fact that he’s not the most seasoned MMA fighter yet, while despite his size he’s got good speed to go alongside his significant, if not startling, power.
A big factor for Gane in this fight is that he’s proving to be well-rounded for the weight class, offering up solid wrestling and even a notable submission threat on the mat too.
That being said, Volkov’s takedown defense is improving and he’s recently gained weight in what appears to be the right way, now tipping close to the heavyweight limit, which not only appears to be adding extra sauce to his striking power, but also makes him less easy to manhandle.
With that in mind, and given that it’s still early enough in Gane’s MMA career that we’re not entirely sure how he’ll deal with a technical volume striker like Volkov, and how he’ll adjust if he can’t get his grappling game going, I’m edging slightly towards Volkov to outland him over five rounds here to get the decision nod, but it’s certainly a fight that could go either way and it’ll be intriguing to see who comes out on top.
Pick: Alexander Volkov wins by decision.
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Tanner Boser
After OSP’s original fight against Max Grishin at 205lbs fell through, he instead accepted a short notice fight moving back up to heavyweight against Tanner Boser instead.
It’s a bit of a weird switch given the timeframe, but then OSP’s whole UFC career has been an oddity, being one of the most inconsistent fighters on the roster – often looking uninspired and not pushing himself to his full potential, but yet also capable of moments of magic on the feet via a strike out of nowhere, or on the mat via slick submission.
Boser isn’t the biggest heavyweight out there and actually gives up 5″ in reach in this fight, but he is almost a decade younger than the 38-year-old OSP, is the harder worker of the two on the feet and has a speed advantage too.
As already indicated, Saint Preux is certainly capable of creating something out of nothing to get a finish here, but I think he’ll be looking to conserve his energy even more than normal here, which will play into Boser’s hands as he stays more active offensively and outworks OSP to win on the scorecards.
Pick: Tanner Boser wins by decision.
Andre Fili vs. Daniel Pineda
Both fighters here are hoping to get back to winning ways after Fili lost by decision to Bryce Mitchell, while Pineda was KO’d by Cub Swanson.
When looking at Pineda’s lengthy 43-fight career one stat that jumps out is the fact that he’s never won a fight by decision. In some ways that’s a good thing as it shows his strong finishing instincts – racking up 18 submission finishes to go alongside 9 by strikes, but it does raise concerns about what will happen if he can’t find a way to win before the final bell.
That’s a scenario that could well play out too as Fili hasn’t been stopped in the past five years and in fact has actually gone the distance nine times in his last 10 Octagon outings.
Fili is an assured striker and has a 4″ height and reach advantage to play with here as he looks to tame the opportunistic aggression of Pineda. He’ll certainly have to be mindful of Pineda’s considerable grappling threat here, but he has improved that aspect of his game and will also be aided by the fact that the now 35-year-old Pineda tends to fade as the fight goes on.
Fili will have to be cautious early in the fight, but I think he can weather the storm and then get the better of the striking exchanges as the bout progresses to ensure he wins on the scorecards.
Pick: Andre Fili wins by decision.
Timur Valiev vs. Raoni Barcelos
These are two featherweights who are accustomed to getting their hands raised, with Barcelos only having tasted defeat once in 17 pro fights, while Valiev also has a strong 17-2 (+1nc) record.
That being said, the reality is that Barcelos record shines brighter, with his run including five victories in the UFC so far, while Valiev actually lost his Octagon debut by TKO, only to then have that result swept under the rug when it was amended to a no-contest due to his opponent testing positive for Marijuana.
Don’t get me wrong though, Valiev is still a very good pressure-based fighter, possessing a well balanced skillset and good conditioning, with perhaps one drawback being that he’s not the most potent finisher around.
However, Barcelos is also very well-rounded, has more power than Valiev and when you look at the different ways this fight could go it’s he Brazilian who appears to just have the edge more often than not, so while this should be a highly competitive fight, I feel that Barcelos will eventually emerge with the decision victory.
Pick: Raoni Barcelos wins by decision.
Danilo Marques vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu
Marques is tall even by 205lb standards at 6ft 6″, but nevertheless, Nzechukwu only gives up 1″ in height, yet actually has a 6″ reach advantage over him.
That plays to ‘The African Savage’s’ strengths as he’s a very athletic striker and reminded everyone of his finishing power last time out when he KO’d Carlos Ulberg.
So, that’s an area that Marques will be eager to avoid, and fortunately for him he has a way to attempt to counteract that due the fact that he is a tricky grappler with a notable submission threat that could certainly pose problems for his primarily striking based opponent.
Nevertheless, Nzechukwu is still gradually rounding out his skill-set and with that long reach advantage and power at his disposal I think he can largely keep Marques at bay until he lands big and produces a second round TKO stoppage.
Pick: Kennedy Nzechukwu wins by TKO in Rd2.
Renato Moicano vs. Jai Herbert
After showing a lot of promise earlier in his UFC career, Moicano is now in the unfortunate position of having lost three of his past four fights – with each defeat having come by strikes.
Herbert also has a lot of weight on his shoulders here as he was TKO’d by Francisco Trinaldo in a tough UFC debut match-up last time out. Still, ‘The Black Country Banger’ can take comfort in the fact that before joining the promotion he was in fine form over in the UK’s Cage Warriors promotion and had an impressive knack for finishing fights via strikes.
So, Herbert will fancy his chances of testing Moicano’s questionable chin, but Moicano is a capable, if not heavy-handed striker, and more importantly is an excellent grappler whose Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can cause anybody in the division problems.
The fact that Moicano has proven to be so fragile on the feet of late is likely to ensure he wastes no time in trying to get this fight to the mat, and I do think he’s talented enough to do just that and get back to winning ways with a second orund submission finish.
Pick: Renato Moicano wins by submission in Rd2.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Ike Villanueva vs. Marcin Prachnio
Tim Means vs. Nicolas Darby
Michel Prazeres vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
Justin Jaynes vs. Charles Rosa
Julia Avila vs. Julija Stoliarenko
Warlley Alves vs. Jeremiah Wells
Yancy Medeiros vs. Damir Hadzovic