UFC Fight Night 206 takes place tomorrow night in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad
Nearly five years ago Luque fought Muhammad in the UFC and KO’d him in just 79 seconds. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then though, with Luque having won 10 of his last 11 fights to reach No.5 in the welterweight rankings, while Muhammad has also performed well, claiming six wins and a no-contest over the past three years to take the No.6 spot on the ladder.
Luque has made a habit of demonstrating his explosive striking during his time in the UFC, with his technical and high-output offense being too much for many too handle, reinforced by the fact that his solid cardio ensures he carries his power into the later rounds. However, Luque is also dangerous on the mat too as in fact has finished his last two fights via d’arce choke.
Meanwhile, Muhammad is a robust fighter who offers up a good blend of striking and wrestling. On the feet he stays active throughout the fight, bursting into range at times to land strikes, though he’s never demonstrated much in the way of stopping power. Nonetheless, keeping a good pace, using feints and keeping his opponents guessing even further by also looking for takedowns at times works in his favor. He is also a solid wrestler and that could be his best weapon in this particular match-up.
It will be interesting to see what happens if Muhammad does look to assert his wrestling advantage early, but Luque is fairly solid defensively and is crafty on the mat if required. The fight starts on the feet though and I think that’s going to prove to be a problem for Muhammad as I feel he’s likely to be outgunned again both in terms of technique and power in the striking exchanges, which will lead Luque to a second round TKO finish.
Pick: Vicente Luque wins by TKO in Rd2.
Caoi Borralho vs. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev
A slightly surprising choice for co-main event here as these are two debuting fighters fresh from the Contender Series, with Barralho booking his spot in the promotion after two wins on the show took his career record to 10-1, while the undefeated Omargadzhiev also picked up a victory to go 13-0.
Barralho has a karate-based approach on the feet, bouncing light on his feet on the outside, but he can be quite aggressive and offensive with his output, while his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ability on the mat is an obvious strong suit for him.
Omargadzhiev is 3″ taller, but actually at a 4″ reach disadvantage here. He is a capable striker, but really he comes into his own when he’s implementing his very strong wrestling game, relentlessly pursuing takedowns and shutting opponents down from top control. He backs that up with solid ground-and-pound, a submission threat and the fact that he has excellent cardio.
These are certainly two solid prospects from the contender Series who will be eager to prove their worth, but I think Omargadzhiev will prove to be the better of the two on the night thanks to his stifling wrestling game, leading him to a decision victory.
Pick: Gadzhi Omargadhziev wins by decision.
Miguel Baeza vs. Andre Fialho
Baeza got off to a great start in the UFC with three wins in a row, but has faltered since with back-to-back defeats, while Fialho lost his UFC debut back in January.
Baeza is a major threat offensively thanks to his sharp striking and mix of volume and power, but he let’s himself down by not being as concerned with his defensive responsibilities, which means he eats more shots than he should, and he paid the price for that last time out when he was TKO’d by Khaos Williams.
He’ll have to be careful of that in this fight as Fialho, a veteran of promotions like Bellator and PFL, is also a threat on the feet with power in his punches, leaving him with 11 stoppage wins from 14 career victories.
So, both fighters have a chance here, but though his chances of getting caught are higher than you’d like to see I still feel Baeza has the technical edge here and will make his own offense count to secure a stoppage in the second round via strikes.
Pick: Miguel Baeza wins by TKO in Rd2.
Pat Sabatini vs. T.J. Laramie
After their original fights fell through, these two find themselves going up against each other instead at a time when Sabatini is on a three-fight winning streak in the UFC, while Laramie is coming off a loss in his promotional debut.
Laramie’s loss came via a submission in just 52 seconds and so that will be a major concern coming into this fight as Sabatini is a submission specialist whose already racked up 10 tapouts from 14 career wins and he can execute takedowns too in order to get the fight where he wants it.
That being said, Laramie has the striking advantage here despite being 2″ smaller and with a 4″ reach disadvantage. While Sabatini’s striking is merely functional, the 24-year-old Laramie is technically sound and has notably faster hands in addition to a clear power advantage.
Still, I feel that it’s going to be Sabatini’s grappling advantage that wins out here and that’ll lead him to a submission finish in the opening five minutes.
Pick: Pat Sabatini wins by submission in Rd1.
Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Wu Yanan
These two female fighters still have a lot to prove in the UFC after not making a strong impression so far, with Silva going 2-2-1 so far, while Yanan has only mustered a 1-3 run in the promotion.
Silva’s biggest strength is her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu prowess and that’s accounted for five of her seven careeer finishes via submission, but she also has a fairly solid muay thai game and will look to pressure her opponents, though without much in the way of finishing power.
Yanan is a capable kickboxer who strikes with volume. On the regional circuit in her native China she did pick up some finishes on the feet and on the mat, but since taking a step up in competition after joining the UFC we have yet to see any sign of that continuing.
I feel that this is Silva’s fight to win as she can compete with Yanan on the feet and will have a notable advantage on the mat which will result in a second round submission victory.
Pick: Mayra Bueno Silva wins by submission in Rd2.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Devin Clark vs. William Knight
Lina Lansberg vs. Pannie Kianzad
Drakker Klose vs. Brandon Jenkins
Rafa García vs. Jesse Ronson
Chris Barnett vs. Martin Buday
Jordan Leavitt vs. Trey Ogden
Istela Nunes vs. Sam Hughes
Heili Alateng vs. Kevin Croom