UFC Fight Night 235 takes place on Saturday night in Las Vegas and you can see our predictions for all the fights below.
Roman Dolidze vs. Nassourdine Imavov
8th ranked middleweight Roman Dolidze lost his only fight in 2023, but was on a good run before that which had seen him win four-in-a-row. Now he’ll fight the current No.11 Nassourdine Imavov, who had been on a nice three-fight winning streak of his own heading into last year, only to then suffer a a loss and a no-contest.
At 35-years-old Dolidze has a muscular middleweight frame, but moves well for his size and generates a lot of power in his strikes, which helps compensate for the fact that he’s not the most refined offensively. Dolidze’s strength benefits his wrestling and he can control the action and work for hard-hitting ground-and-pound. Cardio can be a bit of an issue for him at times so it’ll be interesting to see how he holds up in a five-rounder.
The 28-year-old Imavov doesn’t have the same level of strength and power as Dolidze, but he is the more technical striker, offering up a higher volume offensively and having the ability to work on the counter. Imavov is a capable wrestler, but might struggle against Dolidze in that area, so while he has some nice ground-and-pound and can work for submissions I think he’ll lean on his takedown defense to try to keep this one upright more often than not.
Both of these fighters have proven to be hard to finish, so I think we could well go to the scorecards here and while Imavov’s cardio isn’t his strong suit either he did get five-round experience against Sean Strickland last year. Together with being the better technician on the feet I’ll say that’s enough to earn him a closely-contested decision win.
Pick: Nassourdine Imavov wins by decision.
Renato Moicano vs. Drew Dober
Renato Moicano has been out for over a year due to knee surgery following his submission victory over Brad Riddell, but now gets back into the Octagon in the co-main event against Drew Dober, who has racked up four wins in his last five fights.
The 34-year-old Moicano is a very good BJJ player who has proven to have a knack for taking his opponents back and finishing via rear-naked choke, as has been the case in all five of his most recent wins. He’s also has sound muay thai technique too, albeit without being known for his stopping power. On the downside, Moicano’s chin has been a bit suspect in striking exchanges, with three of his losses in recent years having come via strikes.
By way of contrast, the 35-year-old Dober is known for having a strong chin and relies on that as he applies pressure and looks to land some of the heavier-handed blows found in the weight class. That being said he was TKO’d in the 1st round by Matt Frevola last year, which took some of the shine off his durability for the time being, but he has picked up a win since then.
I’d expect Dober’s chin to hold up just fine against Moicano, but his takedown defense is another story and I think his vulnerability to being brought to the canvas will be fully exploited here, leading Moicano to a first round submission victory.
Pick: Renato Moicano wins by TKO in Rd1.
Randy Brown vs. Muslim Salikhov
Randy Brown came into 2023 on a four-fight winning streak, but then went 1-1 that year. Now he heads into 2024 facing Muslim Salikhov, who lost his only fight last year, but had won six out of seven fights before that.
A long, lanky welterweight, the 33-year-old Brown will hold a 4″ height and 8.5″ reach advantage over Salikhov on Saturday night. He’ll make the most of that with his boxing from range, while his kicks come into play to and help him maintain distance. In closer quarters Brown likes to switch to working for the clinch and though wrestling isn’t his strongest suit he’ll look for takedowns at times and is capable of locking up the occasional submission.
Salikhov has an assuming build, but even at 39-years-old he still remains a skilled striker. He might not always have the highest output, but he is a crafty fighter with a versatile kicking arsenal and accurate punches, while he’s also known to throw in spinning strikes too. while striking is his main focus he’s actually a respectable wrestler too and will look for strategic takedowns at times.
Salikhov is the better striker here, but Brown is certainly capable of holding his own, helped in part by his large size advantage, and with his higher output approach from range I think he notches up a decision win here.
Pick: Randy Brown wins by decision.
Viviane Araujo vs. Natalia Silva
7th ranked flyweight contender Viviane Araujo picked up an important win over Jennifer Maia back in October after having lost three out of four fights beforehand. Now she faces Natalia Silva, who has reached No.9 in the rankings after winning her first four UFC fights in a row.
Araujo was up against stiff opposition during her recent losses in the shape of Katlyn Chookagian, Alex Grasso and Amanda Ribas, but it does continue a general trend of more-often-than-not coming off 2nd best against the bigger names in the division. She’s also now 37-years-old, and that’s a concern given that she’s a fighter who relies on her athleticism. Still, she remains a good boxer and will apply pressure on the feet, though she seems to be becoming less convincing at evading the strikes coming back at her. Araujo can also work in some wrestling and grappling too, though she’s better offensively than defensively.
At 26-years-old Silva is more than a decade younger than her opponent here, but she already has a well-rounded skill-set. On the feet she’s a technical, high-volume striker whose kicking ability has played a part in two recent TKO wins courtesy of a head kick and spinning-back kick. However, it’s worth remembering that in general it’s been submissions that have been Silva’s best chance of finding a finish and she can wrestle too.
As well as being the fresher fighter, Silva can match Araujo’s athleticism and I think she’s just generally got the edge over her opponent in a few areas, which will lead her to a decision victory.
Pick: Natalia Silva wins by decision.
Aliaskhab Khizriev vs. Makhmud Muradov
Asliaskhab Khizriev heads into this fight with an unbeaten record of 12-0 after winning his UFC debut back in 2022. Now he returns to fight Makmud Muradov, who won in his only fight last year after having twice in a row in 2022.
While Khizriev’s record looks good the one downside is that he’s been extremely inactive over the past five years. A 2018 KO win over Rousimar Palhares in the FNG promotion marked him out as one to watch, but he’s only fought twice since then, once in the Contenders Series in 2020, and then his promotional debut almost two years ago. That’s unfortunate as he’s a strong wrestler and grappler who will stay active with ground-and-pound and submission attempts, and is not afraid to engage on the feet either.
Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Muradov is an athletic technical striker with a lean towards boxing where he demonstrates a solid balance between power and volume. Muradov is also capable of wrestling when required, but I don’t think he’ll want anything to do with Khizriev on the mat here.
The possibility of ring rust has to be a concern for Khizriev, but I still feel like his ability to get the fight to the mat is going to prove to be too much for Muradov. There’s a possibility of a submission finish here, but in the end I’ll say Khizriev settles for a comfortable decision victory.
Pick: Asliaskhab Khizriev wins by decision.
Gilbert Urbina vs. Charlie Radtke
Gilbert Urbina has gone 1-1 in the UFC so far and now faces up against Charlie Radtke, who earned a win in his UFC debut last September.
The 27-year-old Urbina is a former middleweight TUF finalist, although he actually made it there as a replacement and was beaten by Bryan Battle. However, since then Urbina has moved down to welterweight and looked better there last time out as he picked up his first UFC win. He’s a capable but fairly scrapper striker, while he can also grapple too and is an active scrambler.
The 33-year-old Radtke has a big of a rough-and-ready style and will welcome a brawl on the feet, which isn’t necessarily the best idea given that he’s been rocked in some recent fights. He’s not a fish out of water on the mat, but he’ll try to keep the fight upright where possible.
Neither fighter here is a particularly polished performer but they will make a scrap of it and I feel Urbina’s higher pace and willingness to blend striking with grappling will win out here on the scorecards.
Pick: Gilbert Urbina wins by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Thomas Peterson vs. Jamal Pogues
Molly McCann vs. Diana Belbita
Azat Maksum vs. Charles Johnson
Themba Gorimbo vs. Pete Rodriguez
Jeong Yeong Lee vs. Blake Bilder
Luana Carolina vs. Julija Stoliarenko
Landon Quinones vs. Marquel Mederos