UFC Fight Night 228 takes place tomorrow night in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Rafael Fiziev vs. Mateusz Gamrot
An exciting lightweight showdown headlines the card as the No.6 ranked Rafael Fiziev comes in off a majority decision loss to Justin Gaethje to fight the No.7 placed Mateusz Gamrot, who edged out Jalin Turner by split-decision in his last fight.
Fiziev is a former muay thai practitioner who has an impressive striking arsenal. He is very agile, accurate and dynamic with his strikes, throwing kicks as effortlessly as he does his punches. He mixes up his attacks well to the legs, body and head and has finishing power to go with it. He also enhances his striking ability by having excellent takedown defense and reflexes, making him hard to take down or catch off guard.
Gamrot is a well-rounded, tough and relentless fighter. He’s can be competitive on the feet, but he does like to close the distance with punches to set up takedowns. He is a skilled and relentless wrestler who chains his takedown attempts well and he also thrives in scrambling situations and will seek out submission opportunities. He’s never been finished in his career, but he does get rocked more often than you’d like to see, which he tends to just fight through, but isn’t a good look for the judges.
This is a well-matched fight that should be highly competitive. Gamrot’s takedown pressure and cardio could be key factors, but I think Fiziev’s striking superiority and power, together with his stout takedown defense will pay dividends to help him the early rounds, meaning that a late rally from Gamrot won’t be quite enough to turn things around.
Pick: Rafael Fiziev wins by decision.
Bryce Mitchell vs. Dan Ige
Bryce Mitchell suffered his first career loss when he was submitted by Ilia Topuria in his last fight. Now he’ll look to bounce back against Dan Ige, who has reversed his fortunes with two consecutive victories in 2023 after losing four of his previous five bouts.
Mitchell is a 28-year-old featherweight contender who is a skilled grappler with a string of submissions to his name, including a rare finish via a Twister. He has been working on his striking skills too, but though he can be somewhat awkwardly effective he’ll still be looking to use his wrestling to get the fight to the mat.
The 32-year-old Ige is an experienced, well-rounded veteran who has never been finished in his career despite facing many tough opponents along the way. He has a good boxing game, mixing up his punches to the head and body with accuracy and respectable power. He is also competent in both wrestling and grappling, though he’s not as skilled there as Mitchell.
Ige should have the edge in the stand-up, but I think Mitchell can keep that side of things somewhat competitive while making the most of his grappling advantage to win rounds and attempt to go for the submission finish, before settling for a decision victory.
Pick: Bryce Mitchell wins by decision.
Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson-Gomez
Rodriguez looks to bounce back from two consecutive defeats for the first time in her career when she meets Waterson-Gomez, who is also in a slump after losing five out of her last six bouts.
These two have fought before in 2021 in a short-notice main event that Rodriguez won by unanimous decision. It was fairly competitive and Waterson-Gomez had her moments later in the fight, but Rodriguez generally got the better of the striking battle.
There’s no real evidence in the couple of years since that the outcome will be different time around. Rodriguez remains one of the most dangerous strikers in the division with her muay thai skills and she has a notable size advantage over Waterson-Gomez, having 3″ in height and reach. She can strike effectively from distance, but also at close quarters and from the clinch too. Her takedown defense isn’t the best however, but she is good at defending submissions if she is under threat on the mat.
Waterson-Gomez’s karate background is always evident with her light-on-her-feet movement and agile kicking ability. Her side kicks in particular are a frequent weapon to all levels and actually worked fairly well against Rodriguez at times. She is also solid in the clinch and likes to go for throws from there, which can open up opportunities for her capable submission ability.
I think this being a three-rounder benefits Rodriguez and I feel she will again be able to use her size and more powerful kicks and punches to outstrike Waterson-Gomez again and return to winning ways.
Pick: Marina Rodriguez wins by decision.
Bryan Battle vs. A.J. Fletcher
Winning TUF a few years ago has sent Bryan Battle to a 4-1 record in the UFC so far and now takes on A.J. Fletcher, whose own UFC run got off to a bad start with back-to-back losses, but he’s since bounced back with a submission win back in February.
Battle is a solid striker with good volume who can keep a steady pace throughout a fight and is very durable too, which can lead to him gradually gaining the upper-hand over time in his bouts. He has picked up a couple of very quick KO victories recently, but I don’t anticipate that being something we’ll be seeing on a regular basis. Meanwhile he can also wrestle to an extent and has a few submission wins to his name, but has yet to be full tested against high-level opposition and may start to struggle as he progresses closer to the rankings.
The 26-year-old Fletcher has a muscular build and brings power to the table in both his punches and takedowns, but he can tend to lean on that a bit too much, sacrificing some technique and stamina in the process. He also has a short reach for the weight class, which puts him at a significant disadvantage against Bryan Battle, who is 3 inches taller and has a whopping 10 inches more reach. On the plus side though, in addition to his wrestling, Fletcher also poses a submission threat that accounts for 5 of his 10 wins.
Fletcher might have a chance to win if he can pressure Battle and take him down early, but the longer the fight goes the more I think Battle will be able to use his range and cardio to get the better of Fletcher on the feet to win by decision.
Pick: Bryan Battle wins by decision.
Ricardo Ramos vs. Charles Jourdain
Ricardo Ramos has been struggling to consistently stay in the win column in his recent UFC outings, but is coming off a fast knockout win in his last fight. Now he fights Charles Jourdain, who had a rough 2022 that saw him lose twice in three fights, but got back on track with a dominant win over Kron Gracie this year.
Ramos is skilled in muay thai and can also catch opponents by surprise with effective spinning attacks. His grappling skills are his strongest suit though, working well both on top and off his back, delivering 7 submission finishes along the way. Troublingly, Ramos missed weight by 8lbs for his last fight in March, leading to that fight being cancelled.
Jourdain is an action-orientated fighter with a high output on the feet, piecing together his boxing combinations well while adding in some kicks and the occasional flying knees as well. He can be there to be hit more than you’d like, but he has a durable chin and has never been stopped by strikes. While he prefers to keep the fight standing he does have some opportunistic submissions if he’s taken down and is good at working back to his feet.
Both fighters have a chance here, but I think Jourdain’s more consistent intensity and higher volume throughout the full 15 minutes will win out to earn a decision win.
Pick: Charles Jourdain wins by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Tim Means vs. Andre Fialho
Mizuki Inoue vs. Hannah Goldy
Mohammed Usman vs. Jake Collier
Cody Brundage vs. Jacob Malkoun
Dan Argueta vs. Miles Johns
Montserrat Ruiz vs. Tamires Vidal