UFC 267: Blachowicz vs Teixeira Predictions

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UFC 267: Blachowicz vs Teixeira Predictions & Results

Pintsized Background

An under the weather Pintsized will try his very best to provide coverage of the best UFC card we have received in weeks. UFC 267 not only features two title fights, but it also hosts the return of hot British prospect, Lerone Murphy. A combined eighty years of age for the main event sounds like a joke on paper, but it is more indicative of the state of the division rather than the fighters themselves. Of greatest surprise is the ‘free’ nature of this numbered event, perhaps due to the early start time (Abu Dhabi privilege, baby).

Failed to catch the action from the last UFC? No worries. Peep our preview from las week via UFC Fight Night 195: Ladd vs Dumont Predictions. Prefer a review of the event to jog the memory? Read MAFB: UFC Fight Night 195 Review. Number crunching more your suit? Find all of Pintsized scores for your favourite fighters on MAFB Math: UFC Fight Night 195.

Unconvinced by Pintsized’s mystical predicting powers? Take a look at our prediction success last month detailed in UFC Predictions Results: September 2021.

Oasis, Old Trafford, The Smiths - Lerone Muphy is the next Mancunian Icon | UFC 267 Predictions
Oasis, Old Trafford, The Smiths – Lerone Muphy is the next Mancunian Icon | UFC 267 Predictions

UFC 267: Main Event

Jan Blachowicz (28-8) vs Glover Teixeira (32-7)

Light Heavyweight (205)

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship

Jan Blachowicz

Light Heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz, suddenly turned legitimate overnight after defeating Israel Adesanya. Who would have known? Forget the casuals opinion, Blachowicz has been legit since his defeat to Thiago Santos. Rockhold, Souza, Anderson, and Reyes is the best run at LHW possible aside from Jon Jones (albeit unavailable for external reasons).

The Pole owns a fabulous jab, off which he expertly hooks. With Teixeira’s forward momentum representing a forced lumbering at his ancient age, there will be plenty of opportunities for Blachowicz to sting Teixeira early. Undoubtedly, Jan can land as often as Anthony Smith did, but the Pole’s power will prove far more lethal. Of course, Jan could always fall into the same trap as Lionheart and gas himself out looking for a finish. The patience showcased against Dominick Reyes and Israel Adesanya, however, highlighted Blachowicz’s confidence in his jab and the ability to dictate rounds. Jan has moved on from the past, leaving behind the wild blitzes that characterised his striking.

The Pole’s issue has always been wrestling. Recent improvements to striking defence and far stricter distance management have both proven vital to Blachowicz title run and defence. Since the Patrick Cummins loss, Blachowicz has proven harder to push and control against the cage – but Teixeira represents the best wrestler he has faced since (sorry, Jacare, you were washed). Of course, Teixeira is also one foot into the retirement home and cannot rely on speed to close the distance. Unless Blachowicz is conned by Tex’s durability and closes the distance himself, the Brazilian’s physical deficiencies will stop him from finding the necessary takedowns.

Glove Teixeira

The king of the comeback, Teixeira’s recoveries are filthy smooth. Both Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos were beating the last breath out of the Brazilian before Teixeira flipped the script with wild scrambles, reversals or counter shots. It could only be in Light Heavyweight, however, that Teixeira would be able to out-grit foolish opponents making basic mistakes. Blachowicz 2.0 (post-Santos KO) is a rarely composed fighter at 205, who is capable of trading with Tex in the pocket but will likely frustrate from distance with his jab if we’re going off of recent fight history.

On the mat, Teixeira has continued to prove himself one of the greatest top threats. The scattering of Smith’s teeth over the mat is statement enough that Teixeira in top control would lay down serious damage on the Pole. Jan’s impressive submission defence should effectively rule out Teixeira securing a flash submission unless the champion gasses himself out early.

While Tex’s chin has held up incredibly well since Gus damn near killed him back in 2017, the Brazilian was on wobbly legs against Thiago Santos. With a different referee, Texeira may well have been stopped by Thiago Santos last time out. Jan doesn’t possess the same freak dynamism or explosive power, but his thudding jab and lead hook will continue to break down Tex. With Jan’s greater focus on counter-striking, it could be a shot that an elderly Tex doesn’t see that switches off the lights.

Predicted Result: Blachowicz TKO Round 3

Blachowicz is a rarely composed fighter at 205, who is capable of trading with Tex in the pocket but will likely frustrate from distance with his jab. While Tex’s chin has held up incredibly well since Gus damn near killed him back in 2017, the Brazilian was on wobbly legs against Thiago Santos. With Jan’s greater focus on counter-striking, it could be a shot that an elderly Tex doesn’t see that switches off the lights.

On the mat, there is an interesting dynamic. Teixeira has continued to prove himself one of the greatest top threats. The scattering of Smith’s teeth over the mat is statement enough. It wasn’t that long ago that Jan was rag-dolled by Patrick Cummins with a gameplan that Tex could technically replicate. Unfortunately, Teixeira is also one foot into the retirement home and cannot rely on speed to close the distance. Unless Blachowicz is conned by Tex’s durability and closes the distance himself, the Brazilian’s physical deficiencies will stop him from finding the necessary takedowns.

Result: Teixeira def. Blachowicz // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2 3:02

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

If old man Texeira gets on top of you, the end is nigh | UFC 267 Predictions
If old man Texeira gets on top of you, the end is nigh | UFC 267 Predictions

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UFC 267: Co-Main Event

Petr Yan (15-2) vs Cory Sandhagen (14-3)

Bantamweight (135)

UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship

Petr Yan

The true Bantamweight champion, Petr Yan returns to the octagon without managing to coax Sterling back into a rematch. It makes sense, Sterling was dominated after the first couple of rounds. Out-struck, out-wrestled and out-smarted, the general agreement is that Yan was the better fighter on the night – even if the DQ was the correct result.

To beat Yan, an opponent must break Yan’s rhythm. The Russian is an exceptional striker, but he works through the gears and ideally takes his time before assuming control over the pace of a fight. That isn’t to say that Yan enters the octagon looking to gauge distance from the outset every time. Yan bowled over John Dodson with all-out pressure when he realised his opponent was steadfastly cementing himself on the back-foot. Power will prove king in this match. In almost every fight during his UFC tenure, Yan has stunned his opponent. When combined with consistent low kicks, fired against an opponent notorious for switching stances, Sandhagen needs to earn Yan’s respect early.

Wrestling may well prove the difference on the night. Aljo Sterling failed epically at attempting to out-wrestle Yan. Against an opponent like Sandhagen, who gives up his back to work back to the feet, Yan will find frequent opportunities to snatch a submission or at least fire in a few significant strikes. Yan’s incredible durability can also be relied upon to wade into harm’s way to take the fight a different direction if the Russian feels he is losing the striking affair.

Cory Sandhagen

If Sandhagen can keep himself standing through the opening rounds, the striking war between both men will prove immensely interesting. Sandhagen’s skill on the front foot has never been in dispute, his defensive movement and counter-striking has been, however. That was until the Dillashaw fight. The former champion’s drop shifts and freakish hand speed regularly catch opponents sleeping on the back-foot. Sandhagen showcased far greater awareness of positioning (keeping himself off the cage) and utilised his awkwardly long frame to keep himself out of danger for the initial layers of Dillashaw’s offence.

With a penchant for body work, it would be foolhardy to write off Sandhagen just yet. Yan’s high guard and lower output in the early rounds provide the opportunity for Sandhagen to nestle his liver punches in. Moreover, Sterling’s success with the flying knee will bolster Sandhagen – a regular strike for the American throughout his career. If Sandhagen pours out a constant stream of volume, his creativity creates a huge hurdle for Yan to close the distance.

Frustratingly, Sandhagen’s decision making may also play a part. Giving up on the low kicks against Dillashaw, despite nuking his ACL/knee, was a major part behind his decision loss. Sandhagen tendency to offer up his back and neck on the mat will also bite him late into the contest. Mentally, however, Sandhagen isn’t likely to be broken in the same manner as Sterling. The ‘current champ’ was visibly drained of confidence over the bout against Yan. Sandhagen’s total confidence in his striking will create a far more competitive bout as long as the American can keep himself standing.

Predicted Result: Yan Submission Round 4

Power will prove king in this match. In almost every fight during his UFC tenure, Yan has stunned his opponent. When combined with consistent low kicks, fired against an opponent notorious for switching stances, Sandhagen needs to earn Yan’s respect early. Of course, Sandhagen’s penchant for bodywork (liver shots/intercepting knees) creates an interesting dynamic considering Yan’s high guard. If Sandhagen pours out a constant stream of volume, his creativity creates a huge hurdle for Yan to close the distance.

The wrestling differential will likely prove the difference, however. Even if Sandhagen pours out an insane volume to maintain distance against Yan, the Russian’s incredibly durability can be relied upon in dire circumstances. By the later rounds, Yan’s wrestling will emerge with Sandhagen’s tendency to offer his back and neck eventually stinging him.

Result: Yan def. Sandhagen // Decision (unanimous – 49-46, 49-46, 49-46)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Did the knee even land? ;) | UFC 267 Predictions
Did the knee even land? 😉 | UFC 267 Predictions

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UFC 267: Main Card

Islam Makhachev (20-1) vs Dan Hooker (21-10)

Lightweight (155)

Islam Makhachev

All Makhachev has needed to do over his UFC tenure is to protect himself on the feet while waiting for the perfect takedown. The Russian doesn’t panic wrestle, nor wade into danger to secure takedowns early. While this has served him well against the striking ‘threats’ of Thiago Moises and Drew Dober, Hooker is a different animal. If Makhachev allows Hooker to dictate the early pace of the fight, the Kiwi will have no trouble settling into an oppressive pace.

Sadly for Hooker, Makhachev is as direct a counter as he will find. His takedown defence isn’t on the level necessary to stop Makhachev from taking this to mat. While the Russian does attempt submissions, he will likely be more than happy to control Hooker on the mat and deny the Kiwi any time standing.

Dan Hooker

Hooker is yet to have faced elite wrestling in the same vein as Makhachev. The Chandler fight obviously doesn’t count due to the lack of wrestling. Decent TDD but does it matter when he faces such an elite threat? Again, Hooker’s grappling is thoroughly underrated – but is it at the level to survive against the viper-like chokes of Makhachev?

Hooker’s early-round threat remains a huge threat to Makhachev, regardless of the stylistic nightmare he finds himself in. Makhachev’s cautious approach on the feet could open the slightest opening for the Kiwi to build momentum early and lay down serious damage on the inside. On the flip side, Hooker’s extended combinations and powerful yet loose knees create opportunities for the Dagestani to shoot on the hips. Also, the timid nature of Hooker’s approach against Chandler could well re-appear against Makhachev. The threat of wrestling alone kept Hooker cemented on the outside and unwilling to explode into combinations.

Predicted Result: Makhachev Decision

As much as I would love a Hooker win, Makhachev is as direct a counter as he will find. Hooker’s extended combinations and powerful yet loose knees create opportunities for the Dagestani to shoot on the hips. Additionally, Hooker’s timid approach on the feet against Chandler could well re-appear against a similar wrestling threat in Makhachev. There is the possibility that the ultra-defensive, risk-averse Makhachev allows Hooker to immediately set a furious early pace – but it wouldn’t be a safe backing.

Result: Makhachev def. Hooker // Submission (kimura) Round 1 2:25

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Alexander Volkov (33-9) vs Marcin Tybura (22-6)

Heavyweight (265)

Alexander Volkov

Volkov’s takedown defence isn’t perfect, but the Russian has consistently proven his ability to get back to his feet. Curtis Blaydes is a freakish wrestling threat, but even Blaydes couldn’t keep the Volkov’s 6’7″ frame on the ground. Against a grinder like Tybura who looks to run out the clock laying in top control, Volkov can effectively deny the Pole his main path to victory. On the feet, the quality is stark. Volkov’s crisp jab and chipping low kick will eventually set up the big head kick that finishes the fight.

Marcin Tybura

Tybura has experienced a slight career resurgence, yet this has come at the expense of quality opposition. At Heavyweight, however, this is understandable. The Pole’s durability and consistency ensure that he is a live body until the end, but his main path to victory (grinding top control) is effectively countered by Volkov’s increased size and ability to get back to his feet.

Predicted Result: Volkov TKO Round 3

Volkov’s takedown defence isn’t perfect, but the Russian has consistently proven his ability to get back to his feet. Against a grinder like Tybura who looks to run out the clock laying in top control, Volkov can effectively deny the Pole his main path to victory. On the back of Volkov’s crisp jab and chipping low kick, the Russian will eventually set up the big head kick that finishes the fight against a rugged Tybura.

Result: Volkov def. Tybura // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Jingliang Li (18-6) vs Khamzat Chimaev (9-0)

Welterweight (170)

Jingliang Li

Since the eye-gouging of Jake Matthews, I have cared little about Jingliang’s career – so analysis of The Leech will always be tainted. Still, Jingliang is too easily bullied by average athletes. Chimaev is a powerhouse who on paper should just rag-doll The Leech. Jingliang always has the late-round comeback in his locker, ask Zaleski dos Santos. If Chimaev is still feeling the effects of COVID, and after what appeared a horrendous weight cut, Jingliang could pull a huge surprise deep into the fight.

Khamzat Chimaev

Hm. I don’t know where to stand on Chimaev. After a terrible bout of COVID and considering retirement (only to be resolved by a certain dictator), Chimaev’s physical and mental health have huge question marks. This was further exacerbated by a poor showing on the scales. Questions still remain over Chimaev’s extended striking quality, but his power was undeniable in his lightning-fast finish over Gerald Meerschaert. If Chimaev is fully fit, aside from a bit of ring rust, the Swede should smesh Jingliang early on the basis of physicality, aggression and a mauling ground and pound.

Predicted Result: Chimaev TKO Round 3

Despite all the warning signs, I am admittedly fully aboard the Chimaev hype train for the time being. BEWARE, however. After a terrible bout of COVID, attempts to retire and troubles on the scales – Chimaev may be physically and mentally unprepared for Saturday’s fight. Still, Jingliang’s tendency to be bullied by bigger fighters is too difficult to overlook. Chimaev is a powerhouse at the weight and if fully fit (aside from ring rust) should crush this match-up.

Result: Chimaev def. Jingliang // Technical Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1 3:16

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Magomed Ankalaev (15-1) vs Volkan Oezdemir (17-5)

Light Heavyweight (205)

Magomed Ankalaev

This isn’t a clear-cut result just yet, Ankalaev’s low output and lack of dynamism could be quickly read by Oezdemir – but the Russian’s technical superiority should offer him the edge. The wrestling outlet and disgustingly oppressive top game are perfect weapons if Oezdemir wins the battle on the feet. Ankalaev’s chin may receive the greatest test throughout his career. With more fluid striking masking his takedowns, however, Ankalaev is too strong not to back.

Volkan Oezdemir

The patient, calculated striker is one of my favourites, but his chances are limited in this fight. Pre-Prochazka knockout, Oezdemir had a real chance to create an awkward striking affair with Ankalaev. Unfortunately, Oezdemir has been out of the octagon for a year and likely still wears the mental scars after such a vicious knockout loss. It would take Oezdemir to frustrate from the outside, forcing Ankalaev to test himself on the feet (ala Khabib/Al Iaquinta), if the Swiss fighter is to have his hand raised. If Oezdemir ends up on his back, a beating will be delivered similar to DC’s whoopin’ back in 2018.

Predicted Result: Ankalaev Decision

This isn’t a clear-cut result just yet, Ankalaev’s low output and lack of dynamism could be quickly read by Oezdemir – but the Russian’s technical superiority should offer him the edge. It would take Oezdemir to frustrate from the outside, forcing Ankalaev to test himself on the feet, if the Swiss fighter is to have his hand raised. If Oezdemir ends up on his back, a beating will be delivered similar to DC’s whoopin’ back in 2018.

Result: Ankalaev def. Oezdemir // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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UFC 267: Preliminary Card

Amanda Ribas (10-2) vs Virna jandiroba (17-2)

Women’s Strawweight (115)

Amanda Ribas

Ribas’ knockout loss to Marina Rodreguez is slowly losing its sting every time Rodriguez continues to climb the ladder. A well-rounded fighter, Ribas’ could simply opt to close the distance with her furious hooks before body-locking Jandiroba to the mat. Ribas has proven her ability to control opponents from the top, but is it worth the risk with the knowledge that Jandiroba snapped Kanako Murata’s arm off her back? Alternatively, Ribas would have to watch out for Jandiroba’s underrated power, but the prospect could win rounds off the jab alone.

Virna Jandiroba

Long gone are the days where Jandiroba allows herself to be out-struck by Mackenzie Dern. Against Kanako Murata, Jandiroba showcased newly refined boxing and put on a clinic. Moreover, off of her back, Jandiroba was a huge submission threat. The Brazilian has secured several subs over her career, but Jandiroba is now lethal anywhere on the mat. Ribas’ superior physicality may well prove the difference in an even affair.

Predicted Result: Ribas Decision

A well-rounded fighter, Ribas’ could simply opt to close the distance with her furious hooks before body-locking Jandiroba to the mat. Ribas has proven her ability to control opponents from the top, but is it worth the risk after Jandiroba proved her submission chops after snapping Kanako Murata’s arm off her back? Ribas’ superior physicality and crisp jab may well prove the difference in an even affair.

Result: Ribas def. Jandiroba // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Zubaira Tukhugov (19-5-1) vs Ricardo Ramos (15-3)

Featherweight (145)

Zubaira Tukhagov

Ah, Zubaira Tukhugov, the fighter who almost lost to McGregor in the post-Khabib/McGregor melee. It’s always a pleasure to see Tukhugov fail epically. Coasting against Hakeen Dawodu, having proven himself the far savvier technician, his late-round showboating allowed Dawodu enough room to claim a split decision. A freakish athlete to be sure, but his lack of game-plan in the octagon leaves his power punching and wrestling threat aimlessly employed in spurts throughout a fight.

Ricardo Ramos

Both fighters share a loss to the previously unknown Brit, Lerone Murphy. Moving up from Bantamweight, Ramos may find himself unable to showcase his scary grappling threat against the larger Featherweights. It is highly unlikely that Ramos can consistently stuff Tukhugov’s takedowns, which largely leaves Ramos to either hail mary a submission off his back or land an unorthodox shot. Tukhugov’s superior defensive grappling and notorious durability will likely shut off these avenues for Ramos.

Predicted Result: Tukhugov Decision

Tukhugov is a freakish athlete with heavy hands and an exceptional wrestling threat, but his aimless direction in the octagon leaves opponents with opportunities to get back into the fight. Ramos hasn’t yet shown the ability to employ a consistent game plan. Worse yet for Ramos, it is unlikely he can deal with the larger Featherweights. Not only will Ramos struggle to showcase his dangerous offensive grappling, he will also fail to stuff Tukhugov’s takedowns.

Result: Tukhugov def. Ramos // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Albert Duraev (14-3) vs Roman Kopylov (8-1)

Middleweight (185)

Albert Duraev

A true smesher, Duraev is the typical drag opponents down and beat them slowly and methodically with short shots up close. Against Kopylov, a fighter who appears somewhat lost on the back-foot, if Duraev starts fast early he could break Kopylov before he has even warmed up. There may well be an athletic or skill ceiling that Duraev hits further down the line, but he’s an enjoyable watch until then.

Roman Kopylov

The question resides over whether Kopylov can stuff Duraev’s takedowns. If Kopylov can keep his fellow Russian off the mat, Kopylov’s voluminous power-punching will expose Duraev’s luke-warm boxing. We are yet to see how Duraev reacts when unable to dictate the pace of a fight, and I’m banking that he panics. Unfortunately, Duraev’s power wrestling will likely prove too much.

Predicted Result: Duraev Submission Round 2

If Kopylov can keep his fellow Russian off the mat, Kopylov’s voluminous power-punching will expose Duraev’s luke-warm boxing. We are yet to see how Duraev reacts when unable to dictate the pace of a fight, and I’m banking that he panics. Unfortunately, Duraev’s power wrestling will likely prove too much.

Result: Duraev def. Kopylov // Decision (unanimous – 29-27, 29-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Elizeu Zaleski (22-7) vs Benoit Saint-Denis (8-0)

Welterweight (170)

Elizeu Zaleski

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Brazilian since his beatdown at the hands of Jingliang Li, back at the end of 2019. The split decision loss to Muslim Salikhov was fairly debatable, but Zaleski has reigned in much of the explosiveness that made him such a threat on his seven-fight streak throughout 2016-2019. Patient single-shots, however, still carry the freakish power that made Zaleski’s name. With Saint-Denis never having faced power on such a scale, it will more likely than not halt the aggressive pursuit of takedowns that served him well on the regionals.

Benoit Saint-Denis

Wrestling reigns king for Saint-Denis. Grinding grappling is a solid base for UFC newcomers, but it is highly unlikely that Saint-Denis has the skillset to take down Zaleski. More unlikely would be Saint-Denis’ ability to out-grapple Zaleski. A youthful, natural athlete, Saint-Denis could beat an out-of-form Zaleski – but this ultimately feels like a squash match. Zaleski’s lower volume and unwillingness to drag himself into deep waters since the Jingliang Li fight keep a sliver of hope for Saint-Denis’ consistent game planning.

Predicted Result: Zaleski TKO Round 1

Zaleski has reigned in much of the explosiveness that made him such a threat on his seven-fight streak throughout 2016-2019. Patient single-shots, however, still carry the freakish power that made Zaleski’s name. With Saint-Denis never having faced power on such a scale, it will likely halt the Frenchman’s aggressive pursuit of takedowns that served him well on the regionals.

Result: Zaleski def. Saint-Denis // Decision (unanimous – 29-26, 29-26, 29-26)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Michal Oleksiejczuk (15-4) vs Shamil Gamzatov (14-0)

Light Heavyweight (205)

Michal Oleksiejczuk

The pocket-sized Light Heavyweight has seen substantial career development over his six-fight UFC career. Moving on from the fast, power-puncher relying on his granite chin, Oleksiejczuk’s awful conditioning and porous ground game have seen him apply a more calculated striking approach. Granted, Oleksiejczuk’s stamina problems stemmed mostly from the freakish pace he tended to set. If, as expected, Oleksiejczuk can pick himself off the mat throughout a torrid first round – the Pole can overwhelm a flailing Gamzatov deeper down the line.

Shamil Gamzatov

Almost two years on since his UFC debut against Klidson Abreu back in 2019, Gamzatov represents an unknown entity. Gamzatov has notoriously struggled with his gas tank, which will be severely drained if Gamzatov opts to ground and grind out the Pole as Crute/OSP successfully managed. Oleksiejczuk isn’t woeful off his back, being submitted largely due to size differential. Gamzatov doesn’t represent the same submission threat as Crute, though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Russian cannot keep his opponent tied to the mat.

Predicted Result: Oleksiejczuk Decision

Damn, this could be either be a barn-burner or the ugliest fight in recent memory. I’m opting for the latter. Gamzatov has notoriously struggled with his gas tank, which will be severely drained if Gamzatov opts to ground and grind out the Pole. The pocket-sized power puncher isn’t woeful off his back and should be able to take control of the fight if he gets through a torrid first round.

Result: Oleksiejczuk def. Gamzatov // TKO (punches) Round 1 3:31

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Makwan Amirkhani (16-6) vs Lerone Murphy (10-0-1)

Featherweight (145)

Makwan Amirkhani

It seems like the UFC has given up prepping Amirkhani for another run up the rankings. Disgustingly difficult match-ups against Shane Burgos, Edson Barboza and Kamuela Kirk over the past two years, Amirkhani has been handed one of the brighter prospects on the roster. The Finn’s power hasn’t left him and is always a HUGE submission threat during the early rounds, but he will struggle against Murphy. The Brit is a spirited wrestler and it will be an even (and vital) battle for Amirkhani to get Murphy to the mat. Having watched Amirkhani employ some of the worst gameplans in MMA history over the past couple of years, I wouldn’t be surprised if John Kavanagh hasn’t instructed Amirkhani to try and out-box Murphy or some BS.

Lerone Murphy

Now gaining the attention he deserves, Murphy acclimatised to the UFC level immediately on his debut against Tukhagov. Athletically superb, Murphy possesses a real killer instinct that was on show against Ricardo Ramos. Defying Ramos’ fearsome grappling, Murphy dove into the Brazilian’s guard and switched off his lights with brutal ground and pound. He would be best advised to avoid such decision making against Amirkhani, a more established submission threat, but the Brit’s high-risk high reward style will pay dividends when the Finn tires in the later rounds.

Predicted Result: Murphy Decision

Amirkhani may find himself on a poor run of form, but his power and early-round submission threat remain lethal weapons. Murphy is a hot prospect, especially considering his high-risk high reward style, but his leaky TDD leaves this fight a little closer than comfort for the Brit. Thankfully, John Kavanagh’s awful game-planning for the Finn over the past couple of years will likely prove the difference.

Result: Murphy def. Amirkhani // KO (knee) Round 2 0:14

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Yaozong HU (3-2) vs Andre Petroski (6-1)

Middleweight (185)

Yaozong Hu

Unathletic, a career weight ballooner, and having fought last in 2018 – Yaozong is literally just a number to fill Dana’s Chinese quota for future events in Asia. Aside from decent durability and the potential to last until the later rounds against an opponent who flags by the third, there isn’t much hope for Yaozong.

Andre Petroski

A top wrestler who is slowly moulding his skillset into a more fluid MMA game, Petroski still has a long way to go refining his tepid striking. The gas tank will likely prove a career issue, which is especially weird considering his short stature at Middleweight, and there is the possibility that a durable Yaozong raises questions in Round 3. I just cannot pick Yaozong, though.

Predicted Result: Petroski Submission Round 1

Unathletic, a career weight ballooner, and having fought last in 2018 – Yaozong’s only real hope is to wait out Petroski’s short gas tank. The American’s wrestling superiority and submission game should be more than enough for the TUF competitor to continue building against the dregs of the roster.

Result: Petroski def. Hu // Submission (arm-triangle choke) Round 3 4:46

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌

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Tagir Ulanbekov (12-1) vs Allan Nascimento (18-5)

Flyweight (125)

Tagir Ulanbekov

A relentless wrestler, Ulanbekov perhaps defeated Bruno Silva at a time of peak mental boom for the Brazilian. While it does take away from Ulanbekov’s debut victory – the fast-paced, grinding Russian is still a fighter to deserve considerable hype.

Allan Nascimento

A fearsome grappling threat, Nascimento will struggle to get into a position to find the ideal opportunities for submissions. Ulanbekov controls position well on the mat and is more than willing to rest on top of Nascimento to bank rounds and limit the Brazilian’s grappling game. Of course, Ulanbekov did make mistakes against Bruno Silva that could have been exploited by a grappler of quality like Nascimento – I am assuming we will see a different approach by Nascimento.

Predicted Result: Ulanbekov Decision

Ulanbekov’s fast-paced, relentless grinding deserves the considerable hype it drew when he debuted last year. While Nascimento’s grappling threat will test Ulanbekov’s top game, especially considering the mistakes Ulanbekov made against Bruno Silva, the Russian should still coast to victory.

Result: Ulanbekov def. Nascimento // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Prediction Accuracy

UFC 267

Winner: 13/14

Method: 5/14

Round: 4/14

2021 MMA Season

Winner: 259/416

Method: 195/416

Round: 180/416

MMA Overall

Winner: 450/720

Method: 332/720

Round: 306/720

Takeaway comments: Go on Glover lad, show them kids how it is done!


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