UFC Fight Night 144: Assuncao vs. Moraes 2 Predictions & Betting Tips

Main Card (ESPN+)

Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes

These two fought to a split decision verdict back in 2017, with Assuncao emerging with his hand raised on that occasion and there’s no reason to suggest that this is going to be anything other than another close fight between two leading contenders in the bantamweight division.

That being said, Moraes is in sparkling form, coming off two big KO victories over Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera in less than two minutes combined.

It won’t be easy to replicate that kind of lightning quick finish against Assuncao though as he’s very sound defensively and has only ever been stopped by strikes once in his entire 33-fight career, but he is the more creative, dangerous striker of the two.

Truth be told this is just a very evenly matched fight all round. Moraes may be more settled this time since their first meeting was his UFC debut, but still I feel that Assuncao’s more cautious but still effective counter-striking may just be enough to edge out another win on the scorecards here.

Prediction: Raphael Assuncao to win by decision – BET NOW

Jose Aldo vs. Renato Moicano

Aldo’s recent win over Jeremy Stephens suggests he is still one of the best featherweight around despite tough losses against Conor McGregor and Max Holloway, though the fact that he seems intent on retiring by the end of the year doesn’t inspire confidence.

Now he’s heading into a tough fight with a rising Brazilian contender in Moicano, who he’s only a few years older than, but seems to be fresher, hungrier and more confident at this stage in their careers.

Moicano is a good, calculating striker despite lacking serious knockout power and will enjoy a height and reach advantage here, while also being a very talented grappler who tends to finish his opponents by submission.

Of course Aldo is still an excellent striker in his own right and has worked even more on rounding out his boxing skills in recent years, together with being a very well-versed MMA fighter all-round.

So this is a really close fight and certainly one that Aldo can emerge victorious in, but Moicano has taken less damage, has more momentum behind him and will prove to be a little faster and a little busier here as he edges out a close decision to continue on the path to title contention.

Prediction: Renato Moicano to win by decision – BET NOW

Demian Maia vs. Lyman Good

Maia’s coming off three losses in a row heading into this fight, and at 41 that could lead to questions as to whether he’s just getting past his sell-by date.

Don’t be too quick to rule him out though as he’s faced three of not only the best fighters, but the strongest, most talented wrestlers into the equation, and that has undoubtedly been a weak point for him.

Good is a capable wrestler, but not on the same level as the others and I don’t expect Maia to be looking to give him much opportunity to strike with him.

Instead, I think this could be a fight that enables Maia to get back to successfully completing takedowns and once he’s cleared that hurdle and brings Good into his world then I’d expect him to dominate the action and produce a submission finish within the first ten minutes.

Prediction: Demian Maia to win by submission in Rd2 – BET NOW

Charles Oliveira vs. David Teymur

This should be a fun fight to watch, with both men having the ability to cause each other trouble in different ways.

Of course it’s widly accepted at this stage in the game that Oliveira is one of the UFC’s best submission finishers and that kind of relentless and creative pursuit of a tapout is not something that Teymur has come across yet in his nine-fight career.

Teymur does have very solid kickboxing though and if he can keep the fight standing he may well find success against Oliveira, who can hold his own but is more reckless and more vulnerable to getting caught with something that could get him into trouble.

Still, I think overall Oliveira is the more dangerous fighter and I’m going to tip him to come out of the blocks fast and manage to work his way to a submission finish in the opening round.

Prediction: Charles Oliveira to win by submission in Rd1 – BET NOW

Johnny Walker vs. Justin Ledet

In his first Octagon outing Walker made a good impression with a first round elbow KO against Khalil Rountree, but it seems like the UFC aren’t going to just rush him up the light-heavyweight ranks just yet.

Instead he’ll face Ledet, who hasn’t exactly lit up the 205lb division since dropping down from heavyweight last year.

However, it does mean he matches up fairly well size wise with Walker, who is used to being the considerably fighter, standing 6ft 6” with an 80” reach, but on this occasion only has 2” of height and reach over Ledet.

Nevertheless, I still favor Walker here as he’s the more aggressive, hard-hitting and unpredictable fighter on the feet here, leading to a second round TKO stoppage.

Prediction: Johnny Walker to win by TKO in Rd2 – BET NOW

Livia Renata Souza vs. Sarah Frota

This is an interesting one.  Souza is already settling into life in the UFC as a notable strawweight prospect, but the debuting Frota showed promise in her appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series in Brazil and is undefeat in her 9 pro-bouts to date.

Souza is somewhat reckless on her feet, but her speed is a real asset and she’s got some sting in her strikes.  Frota is the stronger of the two and also throws caution to the wind, so this could be a risky one for both fighters on the feet if they don’t pay attention to their defense.

Both ladies are a threat from submission on the mat, so it figures to be competitive wherever the fight goes, but overall I feel Souza is more polished and technical, which will help her to edge out a decision victory.

Prediction: Livia Renata Souza to win by decision – BET NOW

Prelims (ESPN+)

(Predicted winners in bold)

Markus Perez vs. Anthony Hernandez
Thiago Alves vs. Max Griffin
Mara Romero Borella vs. Talia Santos
Junior Albini vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Ricardo Ramos vs. Said Nurmagomedov
Rogério Bontorin vs. Magomed Bibulatov
Geraldo de Freitas vs. Felipe Colares



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