UFC Fight Night 237 Predictions

UFC Fight Night 237 takes place tomorrow night in Mexico City and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.

Main Card

Brandon Moreno vs. Brandon Royval

After losing the flyweight title to his nemesis Alexandre Pantoja last July, Brandon Moreno now goes up against another familiar foe in Brandon Royval, who is also coming off a loss to Pantoja.

It was back in 2020 that Moreno previously fought Royval, and he emerged victorious on that occasion via a 1st round TKO finish.  Moreno’s career skyrocketed after that, going on to compete in six consecutive title fights, winning and losing the belt twice along the way.

Now 30-year-old, Moreno has clearly gained a lot of valuable experience and honed his skills, with his boxing now being sharper and more potent, while he blends his wrestling and grappling into the mix well and has demonstrated impressive cardio over five rounds.  There’s no doubt he’s been hurt in some of the wars he’s been in, but his durability remains a strong point and he’s still yet to be finished in his career.

The 31-year-old Royval has compiled a 3-2 record since his last fight with Moreno, and it’s worth noting the two losses were both against Pantoja – something he shares in common with his opponent on Saturday night, who has actually been beaten by the current champion three times if you include their bout on TUF.

Royval fights at a high pace and has an all-action offensive style, with punches, kicks, knees and elbows all being unleashed with speed and bad intentions, while on the mat he’ll eagerly engage in scrambles and pounce on any opportunity to go for a submission.

Royval is a tricky and dangerous opponent to deal with, and the fact that Moreno has a naturally aggressive, straight-ahead style could create opportunities for ‘Raw Dawg’.  However, I believe Moreno has the tools he needs to succeed here, whether on the feet or the mat, in what’s sure to be an action-packed scrap until he emerges with a 2nd round TKO victory.

Pick: Brandon Moreno wins by TKO in Rd2.

Yair Rodriguez vs. Brian Ortega

These two first fought back in July of 2022, but it came to an unsatisfactory conclusion in the opening round when Brian Ortega unexpectedly suffered a dislocated shoulder that ended the fight.  He’s been out of action since, while Rodriguez went on to win the interim 145lb title by submitting Josh Emmett, only to then lose to Alexander Volkanovski via TKO in their subsequent title clash.

So it’s been a disappointing few years for Ortega, who also suffered losses in title fights against Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski, though he did have an impressive win over ‘The Korean Zombie’ sandwiched in-between.  There’s been long spells of inactivity too however, and it’s concerning that the 32-year-old has hinted at struggles with injuries and surgeries in the past couple of years that even had him contemplating retirement at one point.

At his best Ortega is a very dangerous jiu-jitsu specialist who can catch opponents in fight-ending submissions in the blink of an eye, while he did also make very promising improvements to his striking ability after his one-sided beatdown against Holloway in 2018, becoming more composed and technical with his output.

Even so, Ortega will know that his best avenue to victory remains on the mat as Rodriguez is one of the most skilled and dynamic strikers in the sport who has been able to deliver a seemingly endless arsenal of techniques in a surprisingly effective fashion.  Rodriguez has worked on his ground game too to be fair and can be a threat offensively, but he’d be playing with fire to go to the mat for extended periods against someone of Ortega’s calibre.

I picked Ortega to win by submission in their first encounter, but given his long lay-off, his secrecy regarding the various injuries and surgeries he’s suffered during that time and even talk of considering retirement has me reconsidering my pick this time around.  Ortega’s never been much of a wrestler, so it’s never easy for him to get the fight to the mat in the first place, and with Rodriguez having a clear striking advantage I’ll take him to force this into being largely a striking battle that’ll lead him to a third round TKO finish.

Pick: Yair Rodriguez wins by TKO in Rd3.

Daniel Zellhuber vs. Francisco Prado

Two promising young fighters on display here, with the 24-year-old Daniel Zellhuber having lost in his debut after joining from the Contender Series, but since going on to log back-to-back wins, while the 21-year-old Francisco Prado also came up short in his first fight in the promotion, but is now coming off a 1st round TKO finish of Ottman Azaitar.

Zellhuber is a large man for the lightweight division and as such will wield a 3″ height and 8″ reach advantage over Prado on Saturday night.  He’ll make use of that to fight from distance, working well to the body and head with his punches, while also having a solid kicking game too.  That being said he is still quite hittable, so he still has work to do defensively.  Meanwhile he can also operate in the clinch and has good ground-and-pound on the mat, along with a few submissions on his record too.

Prado is still so young that improvements could be evident from fight-to-fight.  He’s not as technically proficient as Zellhuber at this stage and will have to find ways to navigate past his opponent’s reach, but he is an athletic pressure fighter with good power and speed.  So far in his career Prado has proven to be a finisher, with all 12 of his career wins having been split evenly between strikes and submissions, but it remains to be seen if that continues as the quality of opposition improves.

In general I feel that Zellhuber is a bit further on in his development as a fighter and together with his size advantage and better cardio I think he’ll be able to keep Prado on the end of his strikes from range to earn a decision victory.

Pick: Daniel Zellhuber to win by decision.

Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Ricky Turcios

Raul Rosas Jr remains very young for a UFC fighter at just 19 years-old, yet now holds a 2-1 record in the promotion, including stopping Terrence Mitchell via TKO in just 54 seconds last time out.  Now he’ll fight TUF 29 winner Ricky Turcios, who is also 2-1 in the promotion.

Rosas Jr is a fighter with clear potential, but he does remain quite rough around the edges.  He’s physically strong and has good grappling for his age, while he’s also a fairly capable wrestler.  His striking in particular is a work-in-progress, but he does seem to have natural power and can be quite dynamic offensively.  It’s a skill-set that’s enough to help him run through fighters on the regional circuit or fringe UFC fighters, but the cracks begin to show beyond that.  He’s not learned to pace himself yet and instead can try too hard to overwhelm his opponents early, making him more prone to silly mistakes and risky manoeuvres while draining his gas-tank.  As such the hope is that he learns from fight-to-fight and not only continues to build on his technique, but also develops more composure and fight IQ over time too.

The 30-year-old Turcios can be a tricky opponent to deal with as he’s quite wild and unorthodox, pushing a hard pace and being unpredictable with his offense, while also having an extra 4″ in reach.  He’s also a decent offensive wrestler and can be quite crafty on the mat, but has poor takedown defense.

Turcios certainly should have the cardio advantage here and will hope to keep the pace high and wear out Rosas Jr over time here.  That’s a real possibility, but I feel Rosas has the ability to get the better of the action in the opening couple of rounds and will then have to dig deep to survive the third and eek out a win on the scorecards.

Pick: Raul Rosas Jr wins by decision.

Yazmin Jauregui vs. Sam Hughes

Yazmin Jauregui entered into the UFC as an undefeated fighter and won her first two fights, but suffered a 20 second TKO loss last time out.  Now she faces Sam Hughes, who was barely clinging on to her spot on the roster after losing her first three UFC fights, but has since won three of her last four bouts.

Jauregui got caught early in her last fight against Denise Gomes and couldn’t recover, but at just 24-years-old and an overall 10-1 record she remains a promising prospect.  That defeat was a reminder to be more mindful of her defense in the heat of the moment, but beyond that she has shown good technical striking ability, piecing together fast, high-volume combinations while appearing to have good power for her size.

The 31-year-old Hughes isn’t a fighter who is going to impress with her high-level technique or athleticism, but she is a rugged, durable battler with solid cardio who will look to apply pressure with her mix of boxing and wrestling.

I expect Jauregui to have a distinct advantage in her hand-speed and footwork here, which will help her to deliver her combinations while staying out of harms way, but given Hughes durability I’ll say she survives until the final bell.

Pick: Yazmin Jauregui wins by decision.

Manuel Torres vs. Chris Duncan

Two Contender Series fighters here coming off back-to-back wins in the UFC so far, with Manuel Torres having delivered two 1st round stoppages via strikes, while Chris Duncan has got the job done on the scorecards.

16 fights into his MMA career, the 28-year-old Torres has still only fought beyond the 1st round once.  That speaks to his good finishing instincts so far, though of course the standard of opposition has to be factored into that.  Nonetheless, he does have solid striking with finishing potential in his fists, nice use of kicks and good speed.  We haven’t seen his wrestling fully tested, but he has shown off some grappling ability with 6 of his 14 wins coming via submission.

A tall lightweight at 6ft the 30-year-old Duncan actually likes to fight at close range, throwing punches with respectable power while showing off the toughness to battle through adversity when necessary and a willingness to mix in some wrestling at times too.

Duncan has far more experience beyond the 1st round here, but there’s a real chance this turns into a gritty slug-fest, and with Torres on home soil and being the more potent striker, I think he’ll punish his opponent for being too willing to eat punches, leading to a TKO finish in the first five minutes.

Pick: Manuel Torres wins by TKO in Rd1.

Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)

Cristian Quinonez vs. Raoni Barcelos
Jesus Aguilar vs. Mateus Mendonca
Edgar Chairez vs. Daniel Lacerda
Luis Rodriguez vs. Denys Bondar
Claudio Puelles vs. Fares Ziam
Victor Altamirano vs. Felipe dos Santos
Erik Silva vs. Muhammad Naimov

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.