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UFC 227 predictions: ‘Dillashaw vs Garbrandt 2’ FX ‘Prelims’ undercard preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to both UFC Fight Pass and FX this weekend (Sat., Aug. 4, 2018) when UFC 227: “Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2” storms Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.’s Patrick Stumberg continues UFC 227 “Prelims” party with the second — and final — installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

If at first you don’t succeed, try ... etc.

Cody Garbrandt and Henry Cejudo are out to avenge knockout losses, challenging Bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw and Flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson this Saturday (Aug. 4, 2018) at UFC 227, which takes place inside Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature Renato Moicano against Cub Swanson and knockout artist Thiago Santos against Dana White’s “Tuesday Night Contender Series” winner Kevin Holland.

FX will host the latter four UFC 227 “Prelims” undercard bouts (check out the Fight Pass portion here), so be sure you’re on the right station to enjoy these.

135 lbs.: Pedro Munhoz vs. Brett Johns

Despite a rocky 1-2 (1 NC) start to his Octagon career, Pedro Munhoz (15-3) prove his hype was legit with four consecutive victories, including bonus-winning submissions of Russell Doane, Justin Scoggins and Rob Font. He couldn’t quite chase down John Dodson, though, dropping a split decision to him at UFC 222.

Nine of his professional wins have come by submission, six of them via guillotine.

Conversely, Brett Johns (15-1) got to work right off the bat in the Octagon, winning his first three fights and scoring one of 2017’s best submissions with his calf slicer of Joe Soto. Against Aljamain Sterling, however, he struggled to get his wrestling going and ultimately lost a wide decision.

“The Pikey” will have a seven-inch reach advantage.

I’m a lot more conflicted about this fight than I expected. Munhoz looks like the clear choice on the surface, as his guillotine makes trying to wrestle with him a dicey proposition, but the Brazilian’s striking just hasn’t developed the way it should have. He was losing the stand up against both Scoggins and Font, and he’s never had good wrestling.

If nothing else, “The Pikey” can take a shot and has some solid boxing. Munhoz won’t be able to drag a panic takedown out of him or consistently get inside that huge reach advantage. I’m probably leaning too much on my gut, but I’ve got Johns for the upset.

Prediction: Johns via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Ricky Simon vs. Montel Jackson

The first victory for Ricky Simon (13-1) Dana White’s “Tuesday Night Contender Series” wasn’t enough to get him a contract, so he won and defended the LFA Bantamweight title to make his case for a contract. He wound up in one of the wildest debuts in recent memory, a “Fight of the Night” barnburner against Merab Dvalishvili that ended in a buzzer-beater.

At 5’6,” he will give up two inches of height and six inches of reach to Jackson.

Montel Jackson (6-0) went 8-1 as an amateur with six knockouts and two submissions before making the jump to the professional circuit in 2017. One year almost to the day after his debut, he took part in the “Tuesday Night Contender Series” and knocked out Rico DiSciullo on the Season 2 premiere.

Five of his six professional wins have come by knockout, three of them in the first round.

There’s a lot to like about both of these fighters. Two young, aggressive Bantamweights with well-rounded skillsets who turned in impressive recent performances. Though Jackson has the size and looks to be the bigger heater, Simon’s seasoning looks like it’ll be the key difference.

Jackson hasn’t faced anywhere near the competition Simon has and, crucially, took this fight on less than two weeks’ notice after Benito Lopez had to pull out. Simon’s ability to mix his striking and wrestling should allow him to get inside that reach difference and land enough strikes and takedowns to get the win.

Prediction: Simon via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Bethe Correia vs. Irene Aldana

Bethe Correia (10-3-1) punched her way to a UFC title shot with victories over Julie Kedzie, Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler, only to get torched by Ronda Rousey in just 34 seconds. She has gone 1-2-1 since, following a questionable decision over Jessica Eye by drawing with Marion Reneau and getting head kicked into oblivion by Holly Holm.

“The Pitbull” will give up four inches of height and reach to Aldana.

Irene Aldana (8-4) entered the Octagon with first-round stoppages in four of her previous five fights, among them finishes of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veterans Peggy Morgan and Jessamyn Duke. She’s had a bit less success in the Octagon, though she snapped a two-fight win streak this past January by beating Talita Bernardo in St. Louis.

She has finished seven opponents in the first round, five of them via (technical) knockout.

This fight entirely boils down to Aldana’s ability to execute. She’s taller, rangier, by far the bigger puncher, and also has the edge in technique. Correia isn’t much of a wrestler, either, so Aldana is free to open up with her combinations.

This is damn near a gimme.

The issue is that Aldana has been reluctant to let her hands go in the past, allowing opponents to stay competitive, and Correia has won some iffy decisions through sheer work rate. Even then, though, there’s just way too much going in Aldana’s favor for me to pick against her. She buries Correia in power punches for a mid-round finish.

Prediction: Aldana via second-round technical knockout

145 lbs.: Matt Sayles vs. Sheymon Moraes

Matt Sayles (7-1) rattled off three amateur wins and five professional victories before dropping a questionable split decision to George Hickman. Coming back stateside, he dispatched Christian Aguilera and Yazan Hajeh in less than four minutes combined, defeating the latter on “Tuesday Night Contender Series.”

He has knocked out six professional opponents, all but one in the first round.

Sheymon Moraes (9-2) — a decorated Muay Thai veteran — saw his undefeated record go up in smoke thanks to Marlon Moraes in his World Series of Fighting (WSOF) title shot. After two more victories, he joined UFC on short notice against another top fighter in Zabit Magomedsharipov, tapping to the young prospect’s anaconda choke in the third round.

He’s one inch taller than Sayles and will have four inches of reach on him.

What makes this interesting is that Sayles will most likely engage Moraes on the feet, and though the Brazilian has the superior striking pedigree, his lack of urgency and volume have resulted in iffy decisions in fights he should have dominated. He’s also worryingly hittable when he throws his left hook, which is a problem considering how often he slings it.

Still, though, he’s a top-notch striker against someone willing to trade in his wheelhouse, which makes this a pick ‘em. A Moraes knockout wouldn’t surprise me, but his inconsistency has me thinking Sayles catches him with a lethal counter at some point.

Prediction: Sayles via second-round technical knockout

There’s no way UFC 227 isn’t a night of violence. See you Saturday, Maniacs!

Remember, too, that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 227 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FX at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

Current UFC “Prelims” Prediction Record for 2018: 110-52

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