UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval 2 Predictions

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UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Pyfer takes place this weekend at the at Arena CDMX, in Mexico City, Mexico – and we’ve got our UFC predictions for all the fights below, and you can join the action at the best betting sites Australia has to offer!

UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval 2 Predictions


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Brandon Moreno vs. Brandon Royval prediction

Brandon Moreno is coming off a split-decision title loss against his nemesis Alexandre Pantoja last time out and now heads into a rematch with Brandon Royval, who coincidentally also lost to Pantoja in his last Octagon outing.

The 30-year-old Moreno fought Royval back in late 2020 and earned a 1st round TKO victory.  That must seem like a very long time ago for him now given that he’s since been in six title fights, winning and losing the 125lb belt twice in the process. As such, Moreno is a more seasoned fighter now, having become more potent and effective than ever with his boxing, while also smoothly blending his wrestling and grappling ability into the mix and having demonstrated excellent cardio multiple times over five rounds. Despite all the wars he’s now been in he remains very durable and has never been stopped by either strikes or submission, but those damaging encounters could start to catch up with him over time.

The 31-year-old Royval has gone 3-2 since his last fight with Moreno, with both his losses coming against Alexandre Pantoja. That’s something Moreno will be able to sympathize with as he’s lost to the current champ on no less than three occasions during his career. Like Moreno, Royval fights at a very high pace and is entertaining to watch. He’s talented but has a bit of a wild style, throwing everything but the kitchen sink offensively on the feet, while also going all in on submissions and scrambling opportunities on the mat.

As such Royval is a threat regardless of who he goes up against, and given that Moreno is never one to back down from a war that means he’ll have opportunities to be successful. However, I do feel that overall Moreno is the better fighter here overall, and his combination of being the harder hitter, more durable and more effective on the mat too makes me think he can emerge with a 2nd round TKO win here.

Prediction: Brandon Moreno to win by TKO in Rd2.

Yair Rodriguez vs. Brian Ortega prediction

These two featherweight stars first fought at UFC On ABC 3 back in July of 2022, but the fight ended in unfortunate circumstances in the first round when Brian Ortega suffered a freak dislocated shoulder injury that left him unable to continue. Ortega has been sidelined since, while Rodriguez went on to submit Josh Emmett to earn a title shot against Alexander Volkanovski, which he lost via TKO.

Prior to his shoulder injury Ortega had lost two of his previous three fights, but they came in title shots against divisional kingpins Max Holloway and then later Alexander Volkanovski, so there’s no shame in that. Nonetheless, it’s been a disappointing time for a fighter who had been hyped up as the next big thing at 145lbs earlier in his UFC run. He’s now 32-years-old, so window of opportunity hasn’t closed yet, but leading into this fight it’s been concerning to hear him say that struggles with injuries and surgeries in recent years had at one point left him considering retirement.

When Ortega suffered a one-sided beatdown against Max Holloway in 2018 he also had a long hiatus, but returned stronger than ever, having clearly levelled up his striking ability.  By the sounds of things given his injury woes we shouldn’t be expecting another big leap up in his skill-set this time around. Still, I doubt going toe-to-toe with Rodriguez was ever going to be Ortega’s main plan of attack here as he’s always been best known for his high-level BJJ ability and ultra-quick submission attacks, which will remain a big threat for a more striking-orientated fighter like Rodriguez.

To be fair the 31-year-old Rodriguez has actually developed his own ground game over time, particularly offensively. However, his strongest suit by far is his remarkably dynamic striking, delivering all kinds of creative and eye-catching striking techniques in the blink of an eye that are not just for show but actually effective and potentially fight-ending.

Ortega has acquired a reputation for being too tough for his own good at times, so the fact that he has purposely avoided going into details about the surgeries he’s had in the past couple of years rings and considered hanging up his gloves rings alarm bells here. I picked Ortega to win their last encounter by submission, but I’m not convinced this time around. There’s always the problem of how Ortega will get the fight down in the first place as he doesn’t have the best wrestling, and even more so if he’s in any way physically compromised. So, with Rodriguez being more active competitor with some of the best striking in the game I now favor him to force this into a stand-up battle that he’s well equipped for, leading to a third round TKO finish.

Prediction: Yair Rodriguez to win by TKO in Rd3.

Daniel Zellhuber vs. Francisco Prado prediction

Two relatively young prospects face off here, with the 24-year-old Daniel Zellhuber being a Contender Series recruit who lost in his debut but has since claimed back-to-back wins, while the 21-year-old Francisco Prado also lost in his promotional debut, but is coming off a 1st round TKO victory over Ottman Azaitar.

Zellhuber is a huge lightweight and will hold a 3″ height and whopping 8″ reach advantage over his younger opponent here. With those stats it’s no surprise that he does his best work from range, working off a long jab while looking to land his punches both the head and body.  His kicking game is on point too and he’s comfortable in the clinch,  while he also has good ground-and-pound and a few submission wins to his name too. Despite his frame he’s a bit too open to getting hit and as such he still has work to do defensively as he continues to develop as a fighter.

Prado is at an age where he’s still likely to be adding to his skill-set from fight-to-fight, and the stoppage win over Azaitar was a big confidence boost for him. I don’t feel he’s as technically sound as Zellhuber on the feet yet and he will have to navigate past his opponent’s long reach, but the Argentinian will apply pressure nicely and has demonstrated good power and speed. All 12 of Prado’s career wins so far have ended inside the distance and six of them came by way of submission, though it remains to be seen how he’ll fair doing so as his level of competition increases.

My feeling is that Zellheber is just a bit more developed at this stage in their careers, and together with his size advantage and what appears to be better cardio too, I’ll take him to outstrike Prado from range to earn a decision win.

Prediction: Daniel Zellhuber to win by decision.

Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Ricky Turcios prediction

Still only 19-years-old, Raul Rosas Jr holds a 2-1 record in the UFC so far, including a 54 second TKO finish of Terrence Mitchell last time out. Now he goes up against the 30-year-old TUF season 29 winner Ricky Turcios, who has also gone 2-1 in the Octagon and earned a split-decision victory over Kevin Natividad in his last appearance more than a year ago.

Rosas Jr is still rough around the edges at this early stage in his career, but his potential is clear to see. 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, and though he may struggle with against more seasoned opponents there it does feel like an area he can make significant improvements in. His striking is also clearly a work-in-progress, but he appears to have good power and can be dynamic with his offense. One thing Rosas lacks is composure in his approach as all-too-often he prefers to lean into offense over defense, 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 wildman who pushes a hard pace and has a quirky, unorthodox striking style that’s quite unpredictable. 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.

Yazmin Jauregui vs. Sam Hughes prediction

Yazmin Jauregi suffered the first loss of her 11-fight career last time out after being TKO’d in just 20 seconds, but she had won her previous two fights in the  Octagon. Now she’ll go up against Sam Hughes who had a terrible start to her UFC run with three losses in a row, but has since gone on to win three of her last four bouts.

A promising prospect out of Mexico, Jauregi’s ultra-quick TKO loss to Denise Gomes was somewhat of a surprise, though given that she doesn’t do the best job of keeping her head out of harm’s way at times it was always a risk. Still, at 24-years-old this was a loss she can learn from and come back stronger. Defensive lapses aside, she is a good technical striker who has speed on her side, attacks with high-volume combinations and has surprising power for her size.

The 31-year-old Hughes doesn’t really stand out from the crowd technically in any regard, but she is a rugged, durable fighter with good cardio who will apply pressure with her boxing and does look to work in some wrestling too, even if she’s not the most effective there.

Jauregui should be considerably lighter on her feet and together with her fast combinations I see her taking control of this fight, though given Hughes toughness she may have to settle for a win on the scorecards.

Prediction: Yazmin Jauregui to win by decision.

Manuel Torres vs. Chris Duncan prediction

These two entered the UFC via the Contender Series, with Manuel Torres getting off to a fast start since with two 1st round victories via strikes, while Chris Duncan also has back-to-back wins, but had to go to the scorecards to do so.

The 28-year-old Torres is 16 fights into his MMA career and yet has only been out of the 1st round on one occasion. So he’s a proven finisher, but of course the caveat is that he hasn’t faced much in the way of stiff opposition yet. He has quite an aggressive striking style with a good kicking game in particular and nice hand-speed. We’ve not seen too much of his wrestling but he is a threat on the mat with 6 of his 14 victories coming by way of submission.

The 30-year-old Duncan is a tall lightweight at 6ft who has a gritty style, looking to close the distance and trade punches, demonstrating respectable power and a willingness to fight through adversity, though he will also work in some decent wrestling into the mix too.

Duncan is the more proven fighter here if it goes beyond the first round, but Torres is fighting on home soil and I feel has the edge in the striking department, so with his opponent being a bit too willing to eat punches I’ll say Torres wins via TKO in the opening round.

Prediction: Manuel Torres wins by TKO in Rd1.

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UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval 2 Prelims

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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.