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UFC 255 predictions: ‘Figueiredo vs Perez’ ESPN+ early ‘Prelims’ undercard preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to both UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+ and ESPN 2 this weekend (Sat., Nov. 21, 2020) when UFC 255: “Figueiredo vs. Perez” returns to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC 255 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

UFC Fight Night: Muradov v Smith Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight champions put their belts on the line this Saturday (Nov. 21, 2020) as the organization returns to pay-per-view (PPV) for UFC 255, which will emanate live from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. On the men’s side, Deiveson Figueiredo looks for his inaugural defense against late replacement Alex Perez, while women’s queenpin, Valentina Shevchenko, squares off against former Invicta title holder, Jennifer Maia. In other PPV main card (and non-title) action, Mike Perry slugs it out with Tim Means and Katlyn Chookagian looks to rebound from her recent defeat at Cynthia Calvillo’s expense.

UFC 255 features seven “Prelims” undercard bouts, three on ESPN+/Fight Pass and four on ESPN+/ESPN2. Let’s break down the former below ...

170 lbs.: Alan Jouban vs. Jared Gooden

Alan Jouban (16-7) claimed victory in six of his first eight Octagon appearances, one of those two losses a controversial split decision against Warlley Alves. “Brahma” currently finds himself 1-3 in his last four, having wound up once again on the wrong end of a questionable decision in last year’s loss to Dwight Grant.

This marks his first appearance in 19 months.

Jared Gooden (17-4) put together a six-fight win streak to set up a shot at LFA gold, but found himself unable to overcome UFC veteran Mike Graves’ wrestling. A subsequent 4-1 run led to a planned August UFC debut against Dwight Grant, from which Gooden ultimately withdrew because of an injury.

His 14 professional stoppage wins are split evenly between knockouts and submissions.

This one looks like it’ll be plenty of fun. Gooden’s mixed finishes belie the fact that he’s generally happy to slug it out, and Jouban’s penchant for slugfests is well-documented. Expect a good old-fashioned slobberknocker while it lasts, which might not be too terribly long. That’s because Gooden’s got some serious defensive lapses that bode ill against a slugger of Jouban’s caliber.

However, Gooden could find success is with his wrestling, as he’s got better offensive takedown chops than his poor takedown defense would suggest. Having said that, Jouban’s no slouch at stopping shots and getting back to his feet. In the end, expect him to clobber Gooden with something nasty within the first two rounds.

Prediction: Jouban via second-round technical knockout

185 lbs.: Kyle Daukaus vs. Dustin Stoltzfus

Kyle Daukaus (9-1) — then the CFFC Middleweight champion — made his first trip to the judges on “Contender Series” last year, claiming victory but not a UFC contract. After a pair of successful title defenses, he stepped up on short notice to fight Brendan Allen to a competitive decision loss.

His eight submission wins have all come by either rear-naked choke or D’arce.

Dustin Stoltzfus (13-1) stepped into the “Contender Series” Octagon having won nine straight and submitted his previous opponent via twister. He extended his finishing streak to five in rather unpleasant fashion, as Joe Pyfer inadvertently posted while getting slammed and suffered a nasty arm injury.

He stands four inches shorter than Daukaus at 5’11.”

It stinks to see such a compelling match up buried on the early “Prelims.” Indeed, both of these men are highly promising and entertaining prospects who could easily pick up post-fight bonuses for their efforts here. Between the two, I’d say Daukaus has the better shot. Stoltzfus is too trigger-happy with his guillotine, which should allow his fellow front choke specialist to put him on his back with regularity, and Daukaus also looks to have a slight boxing edge.

Though Stoltzfus hits far harder than his record would suggest, his lack of footwork and willingness to accept bad positions play into Daukaus’ hands. In short, Daukaus holds his own on the feet and ground before finding Stoltzfus’ neck in the second partway through.”

Prediction: Daukaus via second-round submission

170 lbs.: Louis Cosce vs. Sasha Palatnikov

Louis Cosce (7-0) joined brother Orion on “Contender Series” in August, having dispatched his previous four opponents in a combined 2:03. “The Monster” added Victor Reyna to his collection of rapid finishes by pounding him out in just 72 seconds to secure a UFC contract.

All but one of his professional wins have come in less than 80 seconds.

Sasha Palatnikov (5-2) — Hong Kong’s first UFC representative — has lost only to future Octagon debutant Mounir Lazziz since his unsuccessful 2017 pro debut. He successfully rebounded from that loss with an 83-second knockout victory in September. He’ll enjoy a four-inch reach advantage.

There’s only so much analysis you can do when the subject consistently wastes his opponents in less time than it takes me to open a childproof cap. I can tell you that Cosce is aggressive, fast and powerful for the first 90 seconds of a fight, but the rest is a mystery.

Luckily for him, those 90 seconds should be plenty. “The Monster’s” wrestling pedigree is sufficient to keep it on the feet, where he has a massive edge in technique and firepower. Palatnikov needs the durability to survive the early onslaught and the fortune to see Cosce’s gas tank empty in the process, and I’m not convinced he has either. Cosce trucks him shortly before the announcers finish their traditional early-round product placement.

Prediction: Cosce via first-round technical knockout

Four more UFC 255 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict, including a potential No. 1 contender eliminator match at 125 pounds. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 255 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 255: “Figueiredo vs. Perez” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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