clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC 293 predictions: Late ‘Prelims’ undercard preview | Adesanya vs. Strickland

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing more “Prelims” fights to ESPNN/ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., Sept. 9, 2023) when UFC 293: “Adesanya vs. Strickland” storms Qudos Arena in Sydney, Australia.’s Patrick Stumberg continues the UFC 293 “Prelims” party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

With top-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight contender, Dricus Du Plessis, unable to make a sufficiently quick turnaround, Sean Strickland gets a crack at 185-pound gold this Saturday (Sept. 9, 2023) when he battles Israel Adesanya atop UFC 293, which will take place inside Qudos Arena. The Sydney, Australia, crowd also get to see Tai Tuivasa try to snap a two-fight skid against Alexander Volkov and Justin Tafa settle some unfinished business with Austen Lane.

Before the pay-per-view (PPV) main card can begin, though, come along and have a look at UFC 293’s last four “Prelims” undercard matches (checkout the first batch here).

LIVE! Watch UFC 293 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

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

205 lbs.: Carlos Ulberg vs. Da Un Jung (15-4-1)

After smashing his way past Bruno Oliveira on Contender Series, Carlos Ulberg (9-1) crashed back to Earth in his “Fight of the Night”-winning Octagon debut, which saw Kennedy Nzechukwu survive early trouble to stop “Black Jag” in the second. He’s since found his stride with four straight wins, the most recent of which earned him “Performance of the Night.”

He’s knocked out three opponents in a row and six overall.

Da Un Jung (15-4-1) capped off his 4-0-1 UFC start with a violent knockout of the aforementioned Nzechukwu. That proved to be his last win since 2021, as he subsequently suffered back-to-back losses to Dustin Jacoby and Devin Clark.

He’ll enjoy a 1.5-inch reach advantage.

Ulberg has violently knocked out three consecutive lumbering sluggers and all signs point to finish No. 4. Jung has never been a technical wiz on the feet, as seen when he struggled with Sam Alvey of all people. He’s made up for it with power and sheer physicality, but Ulberg has seemingly advanced past the point where that combination poses a threat.

All Jung has going for him in this matchup is reach, which Ulberg has admittedly struggled with before. Again, though, Ulberg’s growth in the Octagon makes it hard to imagine him falling victim to a rudimentary slugger. In the end, that check hook claims yet another victim in the opening minutes.

Prediction: Ulberg via first round knockout

145 lbs.: Jack Jenkins vs. Jose Mariscal

Jack Jenkins (12-2) — a former Eternal MMA champ — secured his Octagon berth by beating down Freddy Emiliano Linares on Contender Series. “Phar” currently sits at 2-0 in the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion after warring his way past Don Shainis and narrowly edging out Jamall Emmers.

His professional stoppage wins are split 5:3 between knockouts and submissions.

Jose Mariscal (14-6) bounced back from a 1-3 skid with three consecutive knockouts. His success carried him to the Octagon, where he overpowered Trevor Peek in a “Fight of the Night”-worthy slugfest.

Though both men stand 5’7”, Mariscal boasts a 1.5-inch reach advantage.

As someone who sang Jenkins’ praises ahead of his UFC debut, he did not win that Emmers fight. Luckily for him, “Chepe” doesn’t have the length or wrestling skills that “Pretty Boy” used to give Jenkins hell. Mariscal’s takedowns aren’t sufficiently stout to get through Jenkins’ defensive grappling and his striking, though powerful, pales in comparison to Jenkins’ razor-sharp boxing.

I definitely underestimated Mariscal going into the Peek fight, but Jenkins’ technical supremacy will be a much tougher puzzle to solve than Peek’s raw brutality. In short, Jenkins pieces him up in a “Fight of the Night” candidate.

Prediction: Jenkins via unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Jamie Mullarkey vs. John Makdessi (18-8)

Jamie Mullarkey (16-6) started his UFC career winless (0-2) before winning four of his next five, including a “Fight of the Night” battle with Michael Johnson. Then came late replacement Muhammad Naimov, whom Mullarkey seemingly had on the ropes before running headlong into a fight-ending counter.

His 13 professional finishes include 10 by knockout.

John Makdessi (18-8) — reeling from a 2-4 skid — quietly worked his way back into the Lightweight discussion with three straight victories. He’s since dropped two of three, an upset of Ignacio Bahamondes sandwiched between losses to Francisco Trinaldo and Nasrat Haqparast.

“The Bull” fights for the first time in one year and for just the second time in the last 2.5.

I’m more conflicted on this than I expected to be. This should be a clear Mullarkey win on paper. That’s because the last time Makdessi fought a physical pressure fighter, Francisco Trinaldo bullied him from bell-to-bell. Thing is, Mullarkey just can’t seem to find his footing. He came off as a versatile and indestructible stalker, but he’s been knocked out twice in his last four fights and was extremely fortunate to walk away with the decision against Michael Johnson, who seemed like easy pickings for Mullarkey’s style.

I recognize that Makdessi has one win over a current member of UFC’s roster and hasn’t scored a knockout since the Obama administration. He still acquitted himself well against Haqparast, while Mullarkey got slumped by a Featherweight. In other words, I have a gut feeling Makdessi’s sharper hands eke out a decision.

Prediction: Makdessi via split decision

155 lbs.: Nasrat Haqparast vs. Landon Quinones

The 5-1 run for Nasrat Haqparast(14-5) came to a screeching halt thanks to back-to-back losses against Dan Hooker and Bobby Green. He managed to get back on track last time out against John Makdessi, ending a five-fight knockdown drought in the process.

This marks his first bout in one year.

Landon Quinones (7-1-1) returned from injury to win and defend Titan FC’s Lightweight title with back-to-back knockouts. His success earned him a spot on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31, where he succumbed to a Jason Knight triangle less than one minute into the first round.

He takes this fight on less than three weeks’ notice, as Haqparast was slated to meet Sam Patterson in Paris last Saturday.

I genuinely think Quinones is much better than he showed against Knight. He’s a lethal pressure fighter with clean hands, sharp kicks and a ridiculous gas tank. Haqparast has had his share of duds since the Drew Dober debacle and has struggled with high-output strikers before.

In short, if Haqparast is still stuck in his rut, Quinones has the skills to win this.

I just keep circling back to the range issue. Quinones doesn’t manage distance as well as Green does. For example, he’ll linger inside at times, which got him clipped two fights back. Even if Haqparast isn’t the bulldozer he was at the start of his UFC tenure, he’s still a venomous puncher who’s sharp on the counter. Expect him to put Quinones on his seat at least once, neutralizing Quinones’ pressure with consistent and powerful counter lefts en route to either an early stoppage or a decision win.

Prediction Haqparast via unanimous decision

UFC 293 features one dire PPV lineup, but hey, at least the fights look fun? See you Saturday, Maniacs.

Current Prediction Record for 2023: 126-79-1 (2 NC)

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 293 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 on ESPNN/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 293: “Adesanya vs. Strickalnd” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania