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UFC Vegas 47 predictions, late ‘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 continues the UFC Vegas 47 “Prelims” party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

MMA: NOV 06 UFC 268 Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight division’s stretch in the spotlight kicks off this Saturday (Feb. 5, 2022) when Jack Hermansson looks to put an end to Sean Strickland’s winning streak atop UFC Vegas 47, which will take place inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The co-feature sees Contender Series veteran, Punahele Soriano, look to bounce back from his first-ever defeat against unbeaten Nick Maximov, while Shavkat Rakhmonov tries to keep his own spotless record intact against lethal finisher Carlston Harris one fight prior.

Three UFC Vegas 47 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to be examined (check out the first batch here), so let’s skip the padding and get to it ...

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.: Miles Johns vs. John Castaneda

Miles Johns (12-1) followed his successful Contender Series appearance with a decision win in his UFC debut, only to suffer a knockout loss to Mario Bautista one fight later. He’s since scored a pair of knockout wins, most recently flattening Anderson dos Santos in Aug. 2021.

He stands one inch taller than “Sexi Mexi,” but gives up three inches of reach.

After choking out Marcelo Rojo in the Combate Jaula to snap a two-fight losing streak, John Castaneda (18-5) stepped up on short notice to face Nathaniel Wood, who out-worked him en route to a unanimous decision. Then came Eddie Wineland, whom Castaneda knocked out in the waning seconds of the first round.

That win marked his seventh (technical) knockout win and his 13th professional finish overall.

Passivity and some questionable decision-making often make Johns’ fights harder than they have to be, and this is definitely a match up that could get away from him. If he sets the pace and stays active behind his stabbing jab, he wins, but he can’t sit back and do just enough to stay ahead as he’s done in prior efforts. Castaneda’s too effective on the front foot for Johns to stay in second gear.

Between that jab and Johns’ superior wrestling, though, he’s got enough tools for me to overlook his penchant for self-sabotage. Solid boxing and the occasional takedown seal the deal for “Chapo.”

Prediction: Johns via unanimous decision

145 lbs.: Hakeem Dawodu vs. Mike Trizano

“Mean” Hakeem Dawodu (12-2-1) rebounded from a UFC debut loss to Danny Henry by winning five straight, including a bonus-winning knockout of Yoshinori Horie. This set up a clash with top prospect Movsar Evloev, who used suffocating wrestling to snap Dawodu’s streak despite a late surge from the Canadian.

He’s ended seven professional fights via knockout.

Mike Trizano (9-1) cruised through The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 27 as Stipe Miocic’s first Lightweight pick, ultimately defeating Joe Giannetti in the tournament finals. He currently sits a 3-1 in the Octagon, a run that last saw him upset Ludovit Klein after a two-year layoff.

He’ll enjoy a three-inch height advantage and face a 2.5-inch reach disadvantage.

I’ll admit that I’ve got rose-tinted glasses when it comes to Dawodu. His pre-UFC efforts were enormously impressive, and while that Henry loss seems to have sapped a lot of his venom, he’s still capable of some eye-catching feats of violence. With that disclaimer out of the way, I can now safely declare that he’ll win this comfortably.

Without the threat of takedowns to neutralize Dawodu’s Muay Thai, Trizano’s out-gunned on the feet. Straightforward pressure isn’t sufficient to overcome the gap in versatility and striking power. In the end, Dawodu pieces him up for a wide decision win.

Prediction: Dawodu via unanimous decision

185 lbs.: Chidi Njokuani vs. Marc-Andre Barriault

Chidi Njokuani (20-7) started his Bellator career undefeated (4-0), but a series of scale fails and a 1-3 skid marked the end of his run in the promotion. He bounced back with a knockout win in an LFA main event, then stopped Mario Sousa on Contender Series to punch his ticket to the Octagon.

He sports two inches of height and six inches of reach on “Powerbar.”

Former TKO champion Marc Andre-Barriault (13-4) struggled out of the UFC gate, dropping his first three bouts and losing a knockout win over Oskar Piechota to a failed drug test. Undaunted, he returned to form with solid wins over Abu Azaitar and Dalcha Lungiambula.

All nine of his professional stoppages have come by knockout.

In terms of odds, this is the closest fight on the card at time of writing. Njokuani has a massive technical striking edge over the one-note Barriault, but “Powerbar’s” durability and relentlessness could pay dividends against a man in Njokuani who’s been out-muscled by true Middleweights in the past. It boils down to whether Njokuani can keep Barriault honest; if Barriault can get inside and wear him down against the fence, he has a real chance of snowballing.

Still, Njokuani’s just too sharp for me to pick against him. Tough as Barriault is, the guy got touched up by Abu Azaitar in the early going. In short, Njokuani’s front kicks and counters neuter Barriault’s pressure and allow him to cruise to victory.

Prediction: Njokuani via unanimous decision

Yeah, I can’t defend UFC Vegas 47 at all, but at least we’re getting closer to UFC 271. See you Saturday, Maniacs.

Current UFC “Prelims” Prediction Record for 2022: 4-5

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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