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X-Factor! Some UFC 243 main card predictions

This Saturday (Oct. 5, 2019), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) travels to Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, for UFC 243. Man, the drop off from an incredible main event and excellent co-main to the rest of this card is pretty steep. Most of the event is clearly aimed at the local crowd, looking to highlight Australian talent. All the same, let’s analyze some main card fights!

Remember: Later in the week, Jesse Holland will be back to preview and predict the biggest fights of the night.

Heavyweight: Tai Tuivasa vs. Sergey Spivac

Best Win for Tuivasa? Andrei Arlovski For Spivac? Tony Lopez
Current Streak: Tuivasa has lost two straight bouts, and Spivac came up short in his UFC debut
X-Factor: Heavyweight power
How these two match up: Two young Heavyweights enter the cage, one man hits the floor.

After a hot start saw him win three straight, Tuivasa’s fallen on his face a bit against a higher level of competition. The big Aussie is still a very dangerous offensive force with some real tricks up his sleeve, but he’s proven fairly hittable in the process, and Tuivasa sets a pace he cannot maintain.

Spivac, meanwhile, lost his only UFC fight in less than a minute, so he has yet to show his full skill set in the Octagon. On the regional scene, Spivac found most of his success by muscling his foe around from the clinch, landing a trip, and mauling his opponent once on top.

There is a path to victory here for Spivac. He seems the better conditioned man, more prepared for a clinch wrestling war. If the Ukranian wrestler can drag this fight into the second and third round, there’s a real chance he can take over as Tuivasa fatigues.

It doesn’t seem likely though. Tuivasa is difficult to take down early, and Spivac was just blown out of the water when faced with a superior athlete last time out. There’s a real chance Tuivasa knocks him out quickly too, and even if Spivac does manage to slow things down in the clinch, “Bam Bam” is pretty dangerous from close quarters.

Prediction: Tuivasa via knockout

Welterweight: Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima

Best Win for Jumeau? Dominique Steele For Lima? Chad Laprise
Current Streak: Jumeau won his last bout, and Lima has put together two wins
X-Factor: Lima’s lack of durability
How these two match up: This should be a kickboxing match.

A black belt in Taekwondo, Jumeau has shown some nice movement and strong kicks in his trio of Octagon appearances. Admittedly, “The Jedi” has yet to face the best the Welterweight division has to offer, but he’s overall shown a fairly well-rounded game and some good punching power.

Lima is a lot of skill, but it hasn’t always resulted in UFC wins. The Brazilian’s Muay Thai is dangerous, notable for his hard low kick and left hook. He’s also picked up a fair few wins via submission, but Lima has struggled at the highest level with getting overpowered, both in wrestling exchanges and on the feet. His current win streak may be a sign of progress against that problem, though.

One can never be too confident when picking Lima. At any point, he could get clipped clean and crumble to the mat. It’s simply a reality of his fights. However, Jumeau is not a ridiculously hard-hitter, nor is he the type of pressure boxer that historically has found his way to Lima’s chin.

Lima has a lot more experience, and it came against better competition. He should be better in every area and a bit bigger than his opponent. This is a fight that Lima should win, particularly since he’s putting it all together.

Let’s see if he can keep from getting clipped.

Prediction: Lima via decision

Heavyweight: Yorgan De Castro vs. Justin Tafa

Best Win for De Castro? Alton Meeks For Tafa? Jeremy Joiner
Current Streak: Both men are undefeated at 5-0 and 3-0 respectively
X-Factor: Inexperience, Heavyweight power, conditioning — take your pick!
How these two match up: So Holly Holm was forced to withdraw due to injury just about a week before Saturday’s event, leaving UFC in a bit of a pickle given the complete lack of depth on the undercard. When in doubt, pull up two Heavyweight unknowns and hope one knocks the other out!

De Castro is a product of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and overcame massive odds on the show to stop his opponent via low kicks. Sprawl-and-brawl is the name of the game for the Massachusetts native, though it seems like he’ll have a will dance partner in Tafa.

Tafa is a bit more willing to offensively wrestle than his opponent, but on the whole, he’s very much a brawler himself. The Aussie has finished each of his opponents via strikes and has yet to see the third round, but that’s less impressive when you remember that this is only his fourth professional fight.

Look, this is a low-level Heavyweight fight. I’m not going to pretend there’s a ton of science behind my thought-process here or that there’s any type of guarantee that one man has any real advantage. A single punch could end the fight, and neither man has the experience required to really develop sound defense.

Regardless, I’ll side with De Castro. He should probably be fighting at Light Heavyweight, but he’s still the more experienced man and has at least shown an ability to shred the lead leg, which is always a plus.

Prediction: De Castro via knockout

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 243: “Whittaker vs. Adesanya” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

‘X-Factor’ Picks for 2019: 44-20-1 (1)