UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Imavov Predictions

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UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Imavov Predictions

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UFC On ESPN 57 takes place on Sunday (AEDT) at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, United States  and we’ve got our UFC predictions for all the fights below and you can place your bets with the best betting sites Australia has to offer!

UFC On ESPN 57 Predictions

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Jared Cannonier vs. Nassourdine Imavov Prediction

The No.4 ranked middleweight Jared Cannonier comes in off back-to-back victories to take on Nassourdine Imavov, who holds the No.8 spot after a win and a no-contest in the past year.

Since Cannonier’s latest win over Marvin Vettori in May of last year he’s turned 40 and suffered a torn MCL in training that kept him out of action for half-a-year  Hopefully he’s healed fully from that as at his best Cannonier’s kicking game is an important element of his muay thai striking, with his leg kicks being a punishing weapon for his opponents to deal with. Cannonier’s punches and elbows are also a real threat, but for all his offensive options he can sometimes be drawn into an overly cautious, tit-for-tat style fight. Cannonier can also go for the occasional takedown and has heavy ground-and-pound, but not much of a submission game.

The 29-year-old Imavov was born in Dagestan but now lives in France. He’s a well-rounded fighter with versatile striking and respectable defense who operates well on the counter, but despite having a 3″ height advantage here, he will concede 2.5″ in reach. Imavov can also wrestle offensively or use it to keep the fight upright, while he’s comfortable landing strikes or working for submissions on the mat.

This has the potential to be a very competitive fight. The fact that Cannonier’s getting up there in years and is coming off a serious injury is a concern here, so with Imavov being over a decade younger and being better on the mat I’ll take him to be more active and versatile in his approach to eek out a decision victory.

Prediction: Nassourdine Imavov to win by decision.

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Dominick Reyes vs. Dustin Jacoby Prediction

A former 205lb title contender who gave Jon Jones one of his toughest tests, Dominick Reyes has fallen on tough times since, having now gone winless in his last four Octagon appearances. Now he’ll try to rediscover his form against Dustin Jacoby, who is in a similar spot with three losses in his last four bouts.

At his best the 34-year-old Reyes was a talented striker who utilized his athleticism well with fast footwork, good kicks and quick hands too, finishing the likes of Jared Cannonier and Chris Weidman during his initial six-fight winning streak in the promotion. Those skills helped him give Jones a tough fight too which raised his stock greatly, but surprisingly he’s not come close to replicating that since  Instead he’s looked slower, less sharp and more fragile in his fights since, finding himself outgunned in a TKO loss against Jan Blachowicz, a brutal KO loss to Jiri Prochazka and a 80 second knockout defeat last time out to Ryan Spann.

The 36-year-old Jacoby has had a curious career of ups and downs. His initial UFC stint back in 2011 ended after back-to-back defeats, a losing run that was replicated in Bellator a few years later. By that stage he was also competing regularly for Glory kickboxing, gaining valuable experience but mixed results. In 2020 he returned to the UFC and things seemed to finally click, picking up six wins and a draw, but his form has started to slide again since the standard of his opposition has increased.

Still, Jacoby remains a fairly robust kickboxer with respectable power, and with Reyes seemingly out-of-sorts and his durability now a big concern I think we see a 2nd round TKO finish here.

Prediction: Dustin Jacoby to win by TKO in Rd2.

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 Raul Rosas jr. vs. Ricky Turcios Prediction

The youngest fighter ever to compete in the UFC when he joined from the Contender Series in 2022, Rosas Jr is still only 19-years-old and coming off A TKO victory last time out. He was scheduled to fight Ricky Turcios in March but illness saw the bout canceled at the last minute and will now take place on Saturday night instead.

As such the prediction here is unchanged from a few months ago. Rosas Jr is still rough around the edges at this early stage in his career, but he has potential. He’s a strong, athletic 135lb’er who is particularly assured in the grappling department, showing good technique for his age. He’s also quite a capable wrestler too, though he can have struggles against more seasoned opponents. His striking is also clearly a work-in-progress, but he appears to have good power and can be dynamic with his offense. He lacks composure though, often going for low-percentage attacks on the feet and risky submissions, or simply expending too much energy trying to overcome his opponents quickly. Against lower level fighters he’s good enough to get by like this, but he’d do well to adopt a more mature, calculated approach sooner rather than later.

In Turcios he’s facing a bit of a wild-man who pushes a hard pace and has a quirky, unorthodox and unpredictable striking style.. He’s not known for his finishing ability, particularly on the feet, but he looks to make up for that with pressure, volume and he has a 4″ reach advantage here to work with. Meanwhile he’s a respectable offensive wrestler and is tricky to deal with on the mat, but has weak takedown defense.

Turcios has the better cardio of the two and can keep pushing the pace for the full three rounds, so playing the long game seems a potential path to victory here. However, I do feel that Rosas Jr is more skilled even at this stage in his career, and being the physically stronger grappler and harder-hitting striker I’ll say he gets the better of the first two rounds and survives the third to eek out a win on the scorecards.

Prediction:  Raul Rosas Jr to win by decision.

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Brunno Ferreira vs. Dustin Stoltzfus Prediction

A KO win last time out took Brunno Ferreira’s UFC record to 2-1 so far and now he fights Dustin Stoltzfus, who has won two of his last three fights, but is only 2-4 overall in the UFC.

The 31-year-old Ferreira was a proven finisher on the regional circuit before getting into the UFC and ‘The Hulk’ has so far shown he can replicate that in the Octagon with 1st round KO finishes over both Gregory Rodrigues and Phil Hawes, though he was also KO’d himself by Nursulton Ruziboev last year. He’s shredded physically and is an aggressive striker who puts everything into his punishing punches and kicks, while he can also switch things up by using his judo to go for takedowns and is a capable grappler  As is often the case with aggressive fighters his striking defense is suspect though and his reputation as a fast finisher means we’ve never really seen how he’d compete in a fight that goes beyond the first round-and-a-half.

The 32-year-old Stoltzfus also had a good record on the regional scene, but he was perhaps a little fortunate to enter into the UFC via the Contender Series when his opponent Joe Pyfer suffered a freak dislocated elbow injury.  He then went on to have a rough start in the promotion with a trio of defeats, but has turned things around to an extent since then, proving to be decently well-rounded. He’s got respectable striking technique, though he hasn’t showcased much in the way of finishing power. He can also wrestle and has found significant success via submissions, including in his last fight and even a rare ‘twister’ sub a year prior to joining the UFC. That being said, he has also been submitted twice in the Octagon, while his chin is a concern after suffering a TKO loss in just 19 seconds in-between his latest wins.

Stoltzfus is no stranger to winning on the scorecards so if he can survive the early storm here it’s possible the fight could swing in his favor later on, but I think Ferreira’s more ferocious, hard-hitting approach on the feet early wins out here via a first round TKO stoppage.

Prediction: Brunno Ferreira to win by TKO in Rd1.

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Julian Marquez vs. Zachary Reese Prediction

Julian Marquez is coming off two losses in a row from strikes as he gets ready to take on Zachary Reese, who was KO’d in his promotional debut last December.

The 34-year-old Marquez has always had a swashbuckling style, taking the fight to his opponents and showing a willingness to throw down at close quarters with heavy punches while leaning on his own durability as his first line of defense. He’s not much of a wrestler but has shown his submission ability when fights have spilled onto the mat, accounting for his three finishes in the UFC so far. The problem for Marquez is that his lack of defense has started to catch up with him in his last couple of fights, with Gregory Rodrigues KO’ing him in less than a round, while Marc-Andre Barriault TKO’d him last year.

In contrast to Marquez, the 30-year-old Reese prefers to keep his opponents at the end of his kicks and straight punches from range and as such will appreciate his 2″ height and 4″ reach advantage here.  Like Marquez he’s also comfortable hunting for submissions on the mat too.  Win or lose, Reese has yet to make it out the first round in his 6-1 career to date, so he doesn’t have a great deal of in-cage experience.

Marquez’s chin is a real concern now given the way he fights, but at the same time we also have to see how Reese will rebound after suffering that KO loss in his UFC debut.  As such, with Marquez being the more willing striker of the two I’ll say he makes Reese uncomfortable with his  close-range striking and delivers a 2nd round TKO finish.

Prediction: Julian Marquez to win by TKO in Rd2.

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Miguel Baeza vs. Punahale Soriano Prediction

Two fighters currently struggling in the UFC open up the main card on Saturday night with Miguel Baeza trying to bounce back from a three-fight losing slump, while Punahele Soriano’s place on the roster could also be under threat after losing four of his last five bouts.

The 31-year-old Baeza is quite tall for the weight class but is comfortable on his feet and has solid kickboxing ability at range, delivered with notable power. His defense is flimsy though and taking strikes to land his own is becoming a real problem now that he’s been TKO’d in his last two visits to the Octagon.

Soriano is 31-year-old and moving down to 170lbs for the first time due to his poor form at middleweight. He’s a stocky fighter who will be at a 3″ height and 2″ reach disadvantage and favors a brawling style of boxing. Like Baeza he gets hit too often for his own good, but he’s generally been quite durable.

There’s some real unknowns here as Baeza’s been out of action for two years, while Soriano has never fought at 170lbs before. I could see Baeza’s punch resistance being tested, but he is the more skilled and versatile striker of the two overall and so I’ll take him to win the stand-up battle and claim a third round TKO finish.

Prediction: Miguel Baeza to win by TKO in Rd3.

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UFC On ESPN 57 Prelims

(Predicted winners in bold)

Thiago Moises vs. Ludovit Klein

Charles Radtke vs. Carlos Prates

Andrea Lee vs. Montana De La Rosa

Brad Katona vs. Jesse Butler

John Castaneda vs. Daniel Marcos

Eduarda Moura vs. Denise Gomes

Cody Stamann vs. Taylor Lapilus

Rayanne dos Santos vs. Puja Tomar

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About Ross Cole

Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process. You can read more of Ross's work at MMAInsight.com.