UFC Fight Night 233 Predictions

UFC Fight Night 233 takes place tomorrow night in Las Vegas and we’ve got the full fight card below.

Main Card

Song Yadong vs. Chris Gutierrez

Song Yadong has won four of his last fights and is coming off a TKO win as he now squares up to Chris Gutierrez, who has also gone 4-1 in his last five fights.

Yadong has just turned 26-years-old, but has already been competing in the UFC for six years.  He’s a very capable all-rounder with good athleticism, but his strongest suit is certainly his striking.  He’s a skilled boxing with very good hand-speed and solid power, while his kicking game is effective too.  He’s also equipped with enough wrestling and grappling ability to be competitive there when required and has good cardio too.

The 32-year-old Gutierrez is also a high-volume striker who will deliver heavy leg kicks to go alongside his punches and mixes up his attacks nicely.  He’s defensively capable too and durable, and will likely be looking to keep the action standing as much as possible.

I’d expect a competitive fight here, but I think Yadong’s speed and sharp technique on the feet, together with a likely edge on the mat if he wants to mix things up will help him carve out a decision victory here.

Pick: Song Yadong wins by decision.

Anthony Smith vs. Khalil Rountree

Anthony Smith got back to winning ways with a split-decision win last time out and now comes in on two week’s notice to face Khalil Rountree, who has won his last four fights.

The 35-year-old Smith is a very experienced fighter who utilizes his muay thai striking well with all eight limbs being deadly weapons.  A big plus point for Smith though is that while striking is his primary weapon, he’s also a real threat via submissions too, and that’s made him something of a finishing machine, with 34 of his 37 career wins coming inside the distance (20 by strikes, 14 by submission).

It’s not all good news though.  Smith’s defense is weaker than his offense, so he can be quite hittable and is surprisingly poor at defending leg kicks.  Over the course of a long career that really adds up, and Smith has no less than 55 fights on his resume, including 10 losses via strikes and numerous injuries along the way, so while he is still tough it’s no surprise that he’s showing signs of decline.

Meanwhile the 33-year-old Rountree feels like the fresher fighter, going on a good run of form and still improving.  he generally sticks to technically sound muay thai fundamentals and generates serious power in his punches and kicks.  His leg kicks are particularly brutal and could be an important weapon in this fight.  However, Rountree suffers from a weak ground game and so he’ll have to be very wary to not give Smith takedown opportunities.

For Smith I think the fight hinges on whether he commits to his ground game, but he does like to strike and I think that will be his downfall as I see Rountree cutting down his lead leg with thunderous kicks, leaving him more vulnerable to a TKO finish via strikes in the second round.

Pick: Khalil Rountree Jr wins by TKO in Rd2.

Sumudaerji vs. Tim Elliott

Tim Elliott has come in on just a few days notice for this fight against Sumudaerji after Allan Nascimento pulled out due to a fight-week injury.

It’s a nice bit of matchmaking under the circumstances given that these two are neck-and-neck on the flyweight rankings, with Elliott one spot ahead at No.10.

Sumudaerji is a skilled striker and will have the advantage of a 3″ height and 4″ reach advantage here too.  He’s got good accuracy and speed in his punches and kicks and his career record is littered with stoppage wins via strikes, albeit many of those coming on the regional circuit in China.  However, even against that lower level of competition Sumudaerji was susceptible to being finished himself via submission (3 times), while he’s also been tapped out twice in the UFC as well which is a clear concern.

Elliott has an unorthodox style on the feet that’s not all that technical, but it is hard to read and his unusual rhythm and strikes from unexpected angles can throw off his opponents, while he is also very durable.  He’s tricky to deal with on the mat too and is more effective with his relentless takedown attempts, solid wrestling and scrambling ability, and he presents a submission threat too.  However, Elliott is better offensively than defensively on the mat and has been submitted himself several times, though that’s unlikely to be a big concern against Sumudaerji.

Sumudaerji should have the striking advantage here, but Elliott’s awkwardness on the feet and far superior ground game, together with the fact that his good conditioning should help make up for the short-time to prepare makes me believe he’ll emerge on top here via a 2nd round submission finish.

Pick: Tim Elliott wins by submission in Rd2.

Nasrat Haqparast vs. Jamie Mullarkey

Nasrat Haqparast comes into this fight off of two wins in a row, while Jamie Mullarkey has gone 2-1 in the Octagon so far this year.

The 28-year-old Haqparast is an athletic fighter with a good set of skills, though he’s perhaps not lived up to the sum of his parts yet.  He’s an agile, high-output striker who makes the most of his speed and movement.  He’s generally not been able to show the finisher power he demonstrated on the regional circuit though.  Haqparast is also comfortable on the mat, but can also use his takedown defense to keep the fight upright.

While Haqparast has not quite made the most of his potential, the 29-year-old Mullarkey is by way of contrast someone who seems to exceed expectations.  He’s not all that athletic, but yet his gritty style and mental toughness has served him well in implementing his gameplan and imposing his will on opponents.  He’ll have a 2″ height and reach advantage on the feet and can operate at range with decent power, but he mixes things up nicely by going for takedowns too to keep pressing the action.  On the downside, despite his steely determination he does suffer from a bit of a weak chin and has been TKO’d twice in the past two years.

I think we’ll have quite a close fight here, but Haqparast’s speed advantage and crisper technique should be significant here and will earn him a decision win.

Pick: Nasrat Haqparast wins by decision.

Jun Yong Park vs. Andre Muniz

Jun Yong Park is riding a four-fight winning streak heading into his next fight against Andre Muniz, who was on a five-fight unbeaten run of his own heading into 2023, but has slot twice since.

The 32-year-old Park’s versatile set of skills has helped him compete well in the UFC, although it’s worth noting he’s not being facing the stiffest of opposition and has tended to struggle more when he steps up a level.  He’s a capable counter-striker on the feet and pushes a good pace, while also benefitting from being very durable.  He’s also utilized his ground game more over time to good effect with solid wrestling and a submission game that’s been responsible for his last three wins ending via a finish.

The 33-year-old Muniz is an impressive BJJ player whose racked up 15 submission finishes from 23 career wins.  That skill was in full effect in his initial five-fight winning streak in the UFC, which included three submission stoppages.  On the feet he benefits from being a big middleweight and will hold a 3″ height and 6″ reach advantage over Park.  He throws with power, but prefers to get the fight to the mat, perhaps wary of the fact that he was finished 4 times on the regional scene via strikes.

Muniz recent performances have left something to be desired, having been submitted by Brendan Allen and TKO’d by Paul Craig, which has raised concerns about his cardio and resolve when the going gets tough.

Park will have to be very wary of implementing his wrestling here as Muniz remains extremely dangerous on the mat, but if he keeps the fight standing I think he can outstrike and outlast him to win on the scorecards.

Pick: Jun Yong Park wins by decision.

Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)

Song Kenan vs. Kevin Jousset
Hyun Sung Park vs. Shannon Ross
Steve Garcia vs. Melquizael Costa
Luana Santos vs. Stephanie Egger
Tatsuro Taira vs. Carlos Hernandez
Rayanne Amanda vs. Talita Alencar

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.