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UFC Vegas 47 predictions, early ‘Prelims’ undercard preview | Hermansson vs. Strickland

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing more “Prelims” fights to ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., Jan. 15, 2022) when UFC Vegas 47: “Strickland vs. Hermansson” returns to UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Vegas 47 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

UFC 268: Hawes v Curtis Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

One week before UFC Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, faces former titlist Robert Whittaker in a hotly anticipated rematch, Sean Strickland and Jack Hermansson will look to prove they belong among the top 185-pound contenders in the latest ESPN+-streamed main event. Also on tap are an intriguing Middleweight bout pitting Punahele Soriano against Nick Maximov and blue-chip Welterweight prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov’s stiffest test to date against Carlston Harris.

UFC Vegas 47 features seven “Prelims” undercard bouts this time around; therefore, we’ve prepared the first batch of four for you below ...

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 74 On ESPN+

HIGH STAKES FLYWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns home to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., June 3, 2023, with No. 3-seeded contender, Kai Kara-France, face rising No. 7-ranked Amir Albazi. In UFC Vegas 74’s ESPN+-streamed co-main event, an exciting Featherweight bout sees No. 15-ranked contender, Alex Caceres, lock horns with all-action Daniel Pineda.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

135 lbs.: Alexis Davis vs. Julija Stoliarenko

Alexis Davis (20-11) made a smooth transition from Invicta to UFC, racking up six wins in her first seven Octagon appearances. She now finds herself in the midst of a 1-4 slump, though she did manage a decent-sized upset of Sabina Mazo along the way.

“Ally-Gator” stands an inch shorter than Julija Stoliarenko (9-5-1), but will enjoy a two-inch reach advantage.

After a 1-1 run on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28 and a subsequent split decision loss in her Octagon debut, Stoliarenko fought her way back to the big show with four straight finishes on the regional circuit and a successful bid for the Invicta Bantamweight championship. She’s yet to find her first Octagon victory, however, suffering consecutive losses to Yana Kunitskaya and Julia Avila.

She boasts eight wins via first-round armbar.

Credit to Stoliarenko: I thought Avila would demolish her, but I actually had her up going into the third round. That said, I don’t like her chances here. Davis is far too sharp on the ground to get caught in one of Stoliarenko’s quick-kill finishes and her high-volume, fundamentally sound Muay Thai looks a fair bit more effective than Stoliarenko’s own stand up.

While Stoliarenko is likely the bigger of the two and has grit for days, Davis’ struggles against high-level competition belie her impressive technical base. Stoliarenko doesn’t hit hard enough to exploit Davis’ poor striking defense, doesn’t wrestle well enough to put her on her back, and doesn’t offer anywhere near as much output. In the end, Davis out-works her over 15 minutes.

Prediction: Davis via unanimous decision

205 lbs.: Jailton Almeida vs. Danilo Marques

Jailton Almeida (14-2) rode an eight-fight win streak into Contender Series, where he squared off with unbeaten Russian standout Nasrudin Nasrudinov. Despite entering as the underdog, “Malhadinho” used surprisingly dominant wrestling to set up a second-round submission and secure a UFC contract.

All of his professional wins have come inside the distance, nine of them via submission.

Though he came up short in his one and only LFA main event, Danilo Marques (11-3) started his UFC career strong with dominant wins over Khadis Ibragimov and Mike Rodriguez. He looked poised to do the same to Kennedy Nzechukwu, but faded down the stretch on his way to a third round technical knockout loss.

He is the taller of the two by three inches.

I need to see more of Almeida’s striking before labeling him a contender in the making, but he won’t need it here. Marques’ gameplan begins and ends with trying to get it to the ground, where Almeida looks to hold a clear edge. Grinding out the likes of Ibragimov and Rodriguez is much less impressive than Almeida’s success against Nasrudinov; Almeida’s wrestling and submission skills are both a step above Marques, leaving the latter desperately short on avenues of victory.

My only real concern is Almeida’s unproven cardio, but seeing as Marques’ failed him despite a slow-paced fight, it’s not nearly enough to overshadow everything going the newcomer’s way. In short, Almeida finds Marques’ neck sometime around the second round.

Prediction: Almeida via second-round submission

170 lbs.: Jason Witt vs. Philip Rowe

Jason Witt (19-7) worked his way into the world’s largest fight promotion by winning nine of 10, four of them via stoppage. “The Vanilla Gorilla” currently sits at 2-2 in the Octagon, including a “Fight of the Night” majority decision over Bryan Barberena in July 2021.

He gives up five inches of height and a whopping 10.5 inches of reach to “The Fresh Prince.”

Philip Rowe (8-3) — who hadn’t tasted defeat since starting his professional career 0-2 — beat down the favored Leon Shahbazyan to earn a contract on Contender Series. Though he fell just short against Gabe Green in his promotion debut, his sophomore effort saw him maul the favored Orion Cosce late in the second round.

He has knocked out and submitted four professional foes apiece.

This is one of those fun fights where each man has the skill set to exploit the other’s biggest weakness. Witt is a sufficiently capable wrestler and top control artist to punish Rowe’s overconfidence in his ground game and tendency to back himself to the fence, but Rowe’s gas tank and willingness to trade heat pose a major threat to Witt’s fragile chin.

While it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Witt grind Rowe out, it just feels like Rowe will clip him eventually, especially since “The Fresh Prince” is durable enough to withstand the blows that dropped Barberena. Rowe bounces back from a rough first round to bury Witt with a flurry.

Prediction: Rowe via second-round technical knockout

125 lbs.: Malcolm Gordon vs. Denys Bondar

Malcolm Gordon (13-5) got tossed right into UFC’s deep end, facing and falling to standouts Amir Albazi and Sumudaerji in his first two Octagon appearances. He came up big with his back against the wall, however, outlasting Francisco Figueiredo in July 2021.

His professional finishes are split 6/4 between submissions and knockouts.

Denys Bondar (16-3) put a two-fight skid behind him to win 10 straight, racking up nine fights in 2018-2019 alone. Then came a nearly 18-month layoff, as he withdrew from three previously planned UFC debuts.

“Psycho” has ended all 16 of his victories inside the distance.

Even acknowledging that Bondar’s best work came against suboptimal competition, he’s rightly favored here. Gordon’s nonexistent takedown defense ostensibly makes him easy pickings for Bondar, a relentless grinder with a deep gas tank and a deceptively smooth top game. While he’s definitely the more technical of the two on the feet, his inability to keep it there against even a totally gassed Figueiredo bodes ill for his chances.

Gordon’s best chance lies in either tapping Bondar off of his back or playing keep-away for all 15 minutes, neither of which strikes me as particularly feasible. So long as Bondar’s conditioning holds up after his time away, he beats down Gordon from the top for either a wide decision or late rear-naked choke.

Prediction: Bondar via unanimous decision

Three more UFC Vegas 47 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict, including the debut of a striking-savvy Contender Series graduate and a potential Featherweight firefight between Hakeem Dawodu and Mike Trizano. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 47 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 47: “Hermansson vs. Strickland” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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