UFC Fight Night 225 Predictions

UFC Fight Night 225 takes place tomorrow in Singapore and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.

Main Card

Max Holloway vs. Chan Sung Jung

Both fighters here have fallen short in recent title attempts against Alexander Volkanovski,with Holloway having since returned to the win column by beating the in-form Arnold Allen to retain his status as 2nd in command at 145lbs, while The Korean Zombie has been out of action for over a year since his title challenge failed.

Holloway is widely regarded as one of the best boxers in all of MMA, with his crisp and precise combinations, high output and excellent movement together with a highly durable chin, excellent cardio and agile takedown defense still marking the former champ out as an elite talent.

The Korean Zombie became a crowd-pleaser with his action-orientated fighting style and never-say-die toughness.  He remains a good striker,  is skilled with submissions and between the two has good finishing ability, but he is 36-years-old now and the many wars he’s been over the years appear to be taking a toll on his durability and speed. It’s something he himself seems to have noticed as after being outclassed by Volkanovski in his last fight he appeared on the verge of retiring, though he’s since changed his mind.

Holloway is a huge favorite here, and for good reason.  TKZ’s best chance could be to get get his crafty submission game going, but it seems unlikely as Holloway’s extremely hard to take down.  Meanwhile, on the feet I think ‘Blessed’ will be as much of a headache for the Zombie to deal with as Volkanovski was, leading to five dominant rounds where only TKZ’s toughness keeps him from being stopped.

Pick: Max Holloway wins by decision.

Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann

Spann is looking for revenge against Smith here, having been submitted by him in the first round of their previous encounter in 2021. Spann then earned two quick finishes in 2022, before suffering another submission loss against Magomed Ankalaev last time out. Meanwhile, Smith has been on a downward spiral with back-to-back losses and a series of health issues, including a broken ankle and life-threatening blood clot.

Smith is a more refined technical striker than Spann, using his muay-thai skills to good effect, while also being a threat on the ground too via submissions. In total he’s finished 36 of his 38 wins by either knockout or tapout, but the downside is that he has also been stopped 14 times in 18 losses, mostly by strikes. He’s harder to stop than that might suggest, but he can take too much damage at times, and it’s possible that all that punishment, together with injuries and ailments, may be taking a toll on him as he looked out-of-sorts in his last fight and notably more hesitant than usual.

Spann is a big light-heavyweight who stands an inch taller than Smith and has a 3-inch reach edge. He is not as technical as Smith on the feet, but he has explosive power in his fists and combines than with a knack for finding opportunities to sink in the guillotine choke, which he has accounted for 10 of his 12 submission victories. However, he has also shown vulnerability to submissions himself, having lost to both Smith and Ankalaev via chokes.

Smith’s lackluster showing against Johnny Walker raised some doubts about his current state of mind and body after all the hardships he has faced in recent years. However, I still think that he has the edge over Spann skill-wise and his advantage on the mat will lead to a repeat of his previous victory by securing a first-round submission.

Pick: Anthony Smith wins by submission in Rd1.

Giga Chikadze vs. Alex Caceres

Chikadze’s 7-fight winning streak came to an end last time out against Calvin Kattar by unanimous decision, while Caceres has been enjoying a career resurgence in recent years with 7 wins in his last 8 bouts.

Chikadze has been out of action for more than a year-and-a-half due to injuries and fight cancellations, but is now ready to return and demonstrate his high-level striking skills. The former pro-kickboxer has serious power in both his hands and feet and has stopped respected veterans like Edson Barboza and Cub Swanson in the UFC. However, he is not very well-rounded and his takedown defense is questionable.

Caceres has a karate-based style that has become more refined and efficient rather than flashy over time.  He’s never had much in the way of power, but he is active with his kicks from distance and also likes to mix things up with his crafty submission and scrambling ability, which has seen him finish numerous opponents on the mat, though he has also been vulnerable to being stopped via submission too.

Caceres isn’t much of a wrestler though, and together with Chikadze’s good movement I think that’ll lead to a fight that remains on the feet, where Chikadze will prove to be the more skilled, hard-hitting and effective striker on his way to a 3rd round TKO stoppage.

Pick: Giga Chikadze wins by TKO in Rd3.

Rinya Nakamura vs. Fernie Garcia

Nakamura earned his UFC contract by winning the ‘Road To UFC Season 1’ tournament earlier this year to go 7-0. The 28-year-old now faces Garcia, 31, who came to the UFC through the Contender Series in 2021, but has suffered two losses in the octagon so far.

Nakamura is a formidable wrestler with impressive credentials, together with strength and athleticism. He has adapted well to MMA and shown potential as a striker, as well as having devastating ground-and-pound and solid top control on the mat.

Garcia has some skills on the feet, but he lacks knockout power. He can work for submissions on the ground, but he’s not as capable in the wrestling department, which could be his downfall against Nakamura.

That being said, I have a feeling Nakamura will be happy to work his striking here, and I think that will work out well for him via a 1st round TKO finish.

Pick: Rinya Nakamura wins by TKO in Rd1.

Erin Blanchfield vs. Taila Santos

The 24-year-old Blanchfield has made a big impression at 125lbs after compiling five wins in a row to rise up to No.3 in the rankings, while Santos exceeded expectations in her title challenge a year ago when she only narrowly lost to Valentina Shevchenko via split-decision.

Blanchfield is a talented grappler with solid wrestling, aggressive ground-and-pound and assured submission ability. She is also improving her striking too and showed her toughness and fighting spirit in her last fight against Andrade, where she was able to outstrike the veteran. However, Andrade has gone off the boil lately, so that performance may flatter Blanchfield slightly.

Santos is a big flyweight with a 2″ height and reach advantage over her opponent here. She can strike effectively from distance and in the clinch thanks to her good muay thai ability and solid power. She’s physically strong and has capable takedown defense, while she can hold her own on the ground to an extent, but isn’t as skilled as Blanchfield there.

I think it will be a close and competitive fight, but while I think Blanchfield has a bright future in the division I lean towards Santos to edge it out with her superior striking and solid clinch-work, which will make it difficult for the younger fighter to close the distance and initiate takedowns.  As such I’ll take Santos to win a competitive fight via decision.

Pick: Taila Santos wins by decision.

Junior Tafa vs. Parker Porter

Porter actually lost to his opponent’s brother Justin Tafa via a 66 second KO back in February, but he’s since bounced back with a 1st round finish of his own in May.  Now he takes on another Tafa, Junior, who lost in his UFC debut back in April to go 4-1 in his career so far.

Porter is the more versatile fighter here as he combines workmanlike striking with grinding clinch work and takedowns, where ground-and-pound and submissions are both viable options.

On the other hand Tafa is much more striking-orientated, having initially been a pro-kickboxer competing for the likes Glory.   So he’ll have the advantage in technique and power on the feet, but he doesn’t have much to offer beyond that.

It’s quite possible that Tafa could replicate his brother’s success and find a big shot early that finishes his opponent, but I think this time Porter will use his experience and broader skill-set to take the fight to the mat and secure a first-round tap-out.

Pick: Parker Porter wins by submission in Rd1.

Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)

Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. Lukasz Brzeski
Toshiomi Kazama vs. Garrett Armfield
Chidi Njokuani vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
Song Kenan vs. Rolando Bedoya
Billy Goff vs. Yusaku Kinoshita
Liang Na vs. JJ Aldrich
Choi Seung-woo vs. Jarno Errens

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously FightOfTheNight.com) in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.