UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs. Perez Predictions

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UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs. Perez Predictions

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UFC On ESPN 55  takes place on Sunday (AEDT) at the APEX Arena in Las Vegas, 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 Fight Night: Nicolau vs. Perez Predictions

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Matheus Nicolau vs. Alex Perez Prediction

Matheus Nicolau racked up a four-fight winning streak upon his return to the UFC in 2021, but then suffered a KO loss to Brandon Royval last time out.  Now a year later he returns to action against Alex Perez, who comes in on a few weeks notice to replace Manel Kape as he looks to break out of a three-fight losing slump.

The 31-year-old Nicolau is a patient striker who moves well and picks his moments to strike with both speed and accuracy.  He has respectable defense for the most part, but has been KO’d twice in the opening round during his time in the UFC, which leaves some concerns as to the quality of his chin.  Meanwhile Nicolau has good takedown defense, is a capable wrestler and presents a submission threat on the mat.

The 32-year-old Perez has had long spells of inactivity over the past few years, fighting only twice since 2020.  While three losses in a row is never a good look it’s worth keeping in mind he was being beaten by Deiveson Figueiredo, Alexandre Pantoja and Muhammad Mokaev.  Perez likes to apply pressure with his rugged mix of boxing and wrestling, but has had issues with his submission defense on the mat at times during his career.

This fight should be competitive, but I think Nicolau will use his movement and sharper striking to frustrate Perez and emerge with a decision victory.

Prediction: Matheus Nicolau to win by decision.

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Ryan Spann vs. Bogdan Guskov  Prediction

Ryan Spann is coming off back-to-back losses but is still ranked No.11 at 205lbs as he now prepares to fight Bogdan Guskov, who is 1-1 in the UFC so far.

The 32-year-old Spann is a big, athletic light-heavyweight who will have a 2″ height and 3″ reach advantage over Guskov on Saturday night.  His physicality is his best asset on the feet, with his reach and power being a threat, but he can be prone to blunders defensively that put him at risk.  Spann is perhaps better on the mat with his offensive wrestling and good submission ability having led to a good number of finishes, though again he can make mistakes and been tapped out himself.

The 31-year-old Guskov has less strings to his bow, being more of a heavy-handed striker without much in the way of finesse but a notable finishing rate, while his ground game is quite limited, though he does have solid ground-and-pound.

Spann’s inconsistency and poor decision making is a concern every time he fights, but I think this is a fight where he’ll find a clear advantage on the mat and I’ll say he submits Guskov in the opening round.

Prediction: Ryan Spann to win by Submission in Rd1.

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Ariane Lipski vs. Karine Silva  Prediction

Ariane Lipski makes her first appearance of 2024 after going on a three-fight winning streak last year.  Now she faces Karine Silva, who also has three wins under her belt since joining the UFC from the contender series in 2022.

The 30-year-old Lipski entered into the UFC with some hype after doing well as a champ in KSW, but failed to meet expectations as she went just 3-5 in her first few years in the Octagon.  However, she’s managed to turn things around since and put together a solid series of victories.  Lipski has a muay thai background and likes to be on the offensive, staying active and piecing together her combinations of punches and kicks well.  Despite her ‘Queen Of Violence’ nickname and offensive focus she’s actually not finished a fight via strikes since 2016. while defensive lapses have led to three of her UFC losses coming via TKO.  Lipski will also look for the occasional takedown and  actively seeks out ground-and-pound and submission opportunities on the mat.

Also 30-years-old, Silva has looked good in her UFC run so far.  She’s a well-rounded fighter who isn’t as aggressive as Lipski on the feet, but is a solid kickboxer with good technique.  She’s a more convincing wrestler than Lipski and has had proven success with submissions during her time in the UFC with all four of her wins coming in that fashion, and more often than not in the opening round.

It’s been good to see Lipski starting to at least partially live up to her potential, but I think this is a fight where Silva matches up very well with her and I see her getting the better of the wrestling and grappling, while also being more durable on the feet on her way to a decision victory.

Prediction: Karine Silva to win by decision.

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Austen Lane vs. Jhonata Diniz Prediction

Austen Lane joined from the Contender Series in 2022 and has since had back-to-back fights with Justin Tafa, with the first ending in a no-contest after just 29 seconds due to an eye-poke, while he was KO’d 82 seconds into the rematch.  He’ll try to bounce back from that on Saturday night when he faces fellow Contender Series recruit Jhonata Diniz, who will be making his UFC debut after going 6-0 in his career so far.

Many years ago the now 36-year-old Lane secured a place the NFL, but struggled to make his mark there and retired in 2015 before going on to transition to MMA.  Quite early on he got an opportunity on the Contender Series against another ex-NFL player Greg Hardy and lost by TKO in just 57 seconds. Six years on from that Lane continues to be an athletic heavyweight with good height and reach, but despite having 17 fights under his belt he still feels like a fighter who is relying on power rather than assured technique, is poor defensively and doesn’t have a great deal to offer on the mat.

The 32-year-old Diniz is a former kickboxer who competed in Glory among other promotions.  Since focusing his attention on MMA his striking skill-set has paid off, having racked up six finishes in a row via strikes.  We’ve yet to see the Brazilian tested against anyone of note though and it remains to be seen if he’s spent time developing other aspects of his MMA game beyond just the stand-up game.

Diniz is certainly the more technical striker here and having gone the distance with kickboxing stars like Rico Verhoeven and Daniel Ghita in the past I don’t expect him to be overawed by either making his UFC debut or what Lane brings to the table here.  Given his opponent’s defensive flaws I’ll say he emerges with a 1st round TKO finish.

Prediction: Jhonata Diniz to win by TKO in Rd1.

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Jonathan Pearce vs. David Onama Prediction

A submission loss to Joanderson Brito last time out ended Jonathan Pearce’s five-fight winning streak and so he’ll now attempt to wipe the slate clean and start again against David Onama, who has won three of his last four fights in the promotion and is coming off a KO victory.

The 31-year-old Pearce is a tall featherweight with a hard-working, grinding style.  He will apply pressure on the feet and is willing to risk being hit to close the distance and work for clinch and wrestling opportunities.  He does a good job of wearing down his opponents from there and then gradually moving towards a finish later on the in the fight.

The 29-year-old Onama is also a big 145lb’er and actually has a 3″ reach advantage here despite giving up an inch in height.  he’s a powerful, athletic striker with good speed and explosive power in his hands, while he can also be a threat with grappling too.  However he’s better offensively than defensively as a striker and both his takedown defense and cardio are potential concerns.

Onama will certainly be a threat here, particularly early in the fight, but I think Pearce’s constant pressure and wrestling will work fairly well against him, though he might have to settle for a win on the scorecards on this occasion.

Prediction:  Jonathan Pearce to win by decision.

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Tim Means vs. Uros Medic Prediction

Tim Means shook off a three-fight losing streak last time out when he TKO’d Andre Fialho and now he’ll go up against Uros Medic, who lost by submission in his last fight, but had won back-to-back fights via TKO before that.

With 50 fights under his belt and having turned 40 just a couple of months ago, Means is a true grizzled veteran of the sport.  And he’s still a tough, gritty battler who welcomes a war of attrition on the feet, offering up good kicks and solid punches on the outside backed up by nasty knees and slicing elbows on the inside that can wilt opponents over time.  Means can also seek out an occasional takedown and look for submissions, but has also been tapped out at times too.

The 30-year-old Medic is an aggressive striker who will mix in spinning attacks along with more fundamental techniques.  Whether at 155lbs, 170lbs or even 185lbs in his pro-debut, Medic has consistently demonstrated finishing power in his punches, but he’s not much of a wrestler and isn’t the best at getting back to his feet or defending submissions.

I expect this one to be a back-and-forth battle on the feet, and as tough as Means is, given his age and all the prior wars he’s been in it’s inevitable that cracks are starting to show and I think Medic hits hard enough to cause him problems, leading to a 2nd round TKO victory.

Prediction:  Uros Medic to win by TKO in Rd2.

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UFC On ESPN 55 Prelims

(Predicted winners in bold)

Rani Yahya vs. Victor Henry
Austin Hubbard vs. Michal Figlak
Gabriel Benitez vs. Maheshate
Don’Tale Mayes vs. Caio Machado
Marnic Mann vs. Ketlen Souza
Ivana Petrovic vs. Liang Na

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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.