UFC Vegas 56: Volkov vs Rozenstruik Predictions

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UFC Vegas 56: Volkov vs Rozenstruik Predictions & Results

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A proper shocker of a card. UFC Vegas 56 features unknown debutants in the main card, a Heavyweight snoozer top billing and hopefully a double retirement between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

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An Uncle Dana special for the early card this weekend | UFC Vegas 56 Predictions
An Uncle Dana special for the early card this weekend | UFC Vegas 56 Predictions

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UFC Vegas 56: Main Event

Alexander Volkov vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Heavyweight (265)

Alexander Volkov (34-10)

Has Volkov started to fall apart after a long, bruising career? Or is Tom Aspinall really that damn good? Either way, the Russian’s first-round demise was embarrassingly one-sided. Volkov’s TDD has always been a problem, yet his defensive grappling and ability to get back to his feet is what has kept him afloat at the top of the division. It isn’t like Rozenstruik is going to be deadset on taking this to the mat anyway.

Although Volkov only has a 2″ reach advantage over Bigi Boy, Volkov will make it visibly count on the night. Rozenstruik has shown time and time again that he will sit on the back-foot and left hook anyone who looks to close the distance. Volkov will oblige with a kickboxing affair on the outside.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-3)

For all the power that Rozenstruik carries, his lack of tempo is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the majority of Heavyweights are so poor that they are physically or technically incapable of raising a fight’s pace. On the other, when Rozenstruik does meet a fighter capable of leading the fight (i.e. Ciryl Gane), the Suriname fighter is left looking clueless.

Volkov has looked like a shadow of the fighter that flirted with potential championship hype pre-Lewis. While Volkov has never likely held the power to put away the durable Rozenstruik at any point in his career, a younger Volkov would have picked apart Rozenstruik on the outside. There’s a real worry that the drop of pace that Volkov has suffered will be enough for Rozenstruik’s concussive power to make the critical difference.

Predicted Result: Volkov Decision

Volkov has looked like a shadow of the fighter that flirted with potential championship hype pre-Lewis. While Volkov has never likely held the power to put away the durable Rozenstruik at any point in his career, a younger Volkov would have picked apart Rozenstruik on the outside. There’s a real worry that the drop of pace that Volkov has suffered will be enough for Rozenstruik’s concussive power to make the critical difference.

Still, Rozenstruik is dead-set on a counter-punching affair. Volkov’s leaky TDD doesn’t mean much, especially as it is his canny knack to get back to his feet that has kept the Russian around the top of the division. Rozenstruik’s inability to lead the pace of a fight and lack of volume seems like a solid path for Volkov to grow into confidence.

Result: Volkov def. Rozenstruik // TKO (punches) Round 1 2:12

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Volkov just hasn't been the same fighter since losing the stingray ink | UFC Vegas 56 Predictions
Volkov just hasn’t been the same fighter since losing the stingray ink | UFC Vegas 56 Predictions

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UFC Vegas 56: Co-Main Event

Dan Ige vs Movsar Evloev

Featherweight (145)

Dan Ige (15-5)

This could be a sad end to Dan Ige’s time with the UFC. I love me some 50K, but he has regularly failed at climbing to the next level of the division. Ige’s best win remains a heavily disputed split decision over an ancient Edson Barboza back in 2020. Evloev hasn’t proven himself an elite prospect just yet, despite his 15-0 undefeated record. Ige could well assume the role of a top-level gatekeeper, but it feels insulting for a fighter that carries such talent. Either way, Ige is a very underrated grappler who could limit the control time that Evloev seeks on the mat. With a sprinkle of power in the hands and the ability to grind out huge volume in the pocket, Evloev’s crackable chin could be a soft spot.

Movsar Evloev (15-0)

Evloev is carrying out his UFC career the correct way, slowly working his way up in opposition quality. Neither man is an athletic beast, but Evloev can dig deep and seems to come on strong in the later rounds after he has neutralised the opponent’s best weapons early. Ige is an adaptive fighter who regularly fights terrible gameplans, ironically meaning Evloev may be surprised with a new look Ige every round. A coming of age fight for Evloev, who could well surprise with his underrated savvy striking,

Predicted Result: Evloev Decision

Ige is a very underrated grappler who could limit the control time that Evloev seeks on the mat. With a sprinkle of power in the hands and the ability to grind out huge volume in the pocket, Evloev’s crackable chin could be a soft spot. More likely is that we experience a coming of age fight for Evloev. The Russian owns a thoroughly well-rounded skillset, while Ige lacks the vastly superior athleticism or consistent game-planning to punish Evloev and his questionable high pace.

Result: Evloev def. Ige // Decision (UD – 30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Ask Gavin Tucker, Dan Ige can slam pretty damn hard sometimes | UFC Vegas 56 Predictions
Ask Gavin Tucker, Dan Ige can slam pretty damn hard sometimes | UFC Vegas 56 Predictions

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UFC Vegas 56: Main Card

Mike Trizano vs Lucas Almeida

Featherweight (145)

Mike Trizano (9-2)

Fair play to Mike Trizano, he doesn’t excel in any area but is a hugely durable fighter who is happy to eat a ton of damage to assume jabbing supremacy. Off that, Trizano can settle into a more comfortable pace and will expose Almedia’s first-round explosiveness. Whether Trizano owns the TDD to stay away from Almedia’s hyped BJJ is another question, but it is more likely that the American walks into a guillotine rather than Almedia laying down a wrestling gauntlet.

Lucas Almeida (13-1)

Almeida is a fighter that is easy to get behind. A massive frame at Featherweight, Almeida is a ferocious early-round striker who will latch on to any opportunity of a finish. As seen on DWCS, Almeida can fall apart over the latter rounds if he cannot secure early successes, but it only takes a couple of highlight reels for the UFC match-makers to start plotting favourable paths up the ladder.

Predicted Result: Trizano Decision

A massive frame at Featherweight, Almeida is a ferocious early-round striker who will latch on to any opportunity of a finish. As seen on DWCS, Almeida can fall apart over the latter rounds if he cannot secure early successes. Trizano’s chin is disgustingly durable. More importantly, Trizano uses his toughness to establish his jab and dominate the pace. Outside of an early Almeida flurry catching Trizano cold, this could be slow dismantling.

Result: Almeida def. Trizano // TKO (punches) Round 3 0:55

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Poliana Botelho vs Karine Silva

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Poliana Botelho (8-4)

Botelho’s hype train had long fallen apart before Saturday’s event, but the Brazilian looks a mess in the octagon these days. Despite her imposing size and power, Botelho gasses herself out reacting hard to every sniff of offence from her opponent. Botelho is durable, however, and does look to grapple once her speed advantage on the feet is lost due to gas tank issues.

Karine Silva (14-4)

Eh. An impressive record but there aren’t many scalps to write home about for Karine Silva. Sure, the finishing rate is an easy sell for the UFC in a pretty dull division outside of the elite, but there are big holes in the Brazilian’s game. Not least that Silva seems to have a touch of the Derrick Lewis, losing contests before suddenly finding the hail mary. I guess that is a skill in itself, though.

Predicted Result: Botelho Decision

Despite her imposing size and power, Botelho gasses herself out reacting hard to every sniff of offence from her opponent. Botelho is durable, however, and does look to grapple once her speed advantage on the feet is lost due to gas tank issues. Silva may have a freakish finishing rate, but the Brazilian seems to have a touch of the Derrick Lewis – losing contests before suddenly finding the hail mary. I guess that is a skill in itself, though.

Result: Silva def. Botelho // Submission (D’Arce choke) Round 1 4:55

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Ode Osbourne vs Zarrukh Adashev

Flyweight (125)

Ode Osbourne (10-4)

If not for Osbourne’s flakey chin, the Jamaican would be one of the hottest names at Flyweight. Freakishly athletic, Osbourne is a fast-twitch striker who often beats his opponent in 50/50 trades. If Osbourne can find a way to deny Adashev’s low kicks, Osbourne should regularly find Adashev’s chin which sits on the centre line.

Zarrukh Adashev (4-3)

A decent kickboxer, Adashev regularly struggles against longer opponents as his chin is touched before he can unleash his kicks. Stylistically, Adashev is hampered by his 5’5″ stature and T-Rex-esque 65″ reach. The Uzbeki has shown decent footwork and ability to strike off angles, but Osbourne hits like a truck and should catch Adeshev mid-kick off balance.

Predicted Result: Osbourne TKO Round 2

A decent kickboxer, Adashev regularly struggles against longer opponents as his chin is touched before he can unleash his kicks. Stylistically, Adashev is hampered by his 5’5″ stature and T-Rex-esque 65″ reach. Osbourne fights long and his vastly superior hand speed should regularly find Adeshev’s chin stuck on the centre line.

Result: Osbourne def. Adashev // KO (punches) Round 1 1:01

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌

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Alonzo Menifield vs Askar Mozharov

Light Heavyweight (205)

Alonzo Menifield (11-3)

Alonzo Menifield has transformed from a first-round bruiser to a BTEC grappling tactician. The holes in Menifield’s game are vast, least not his total lack of striking defence, but Mozaharov is the definition of a regional fighter. This fight wouldn’t look amiss on Cage Warriors.

Askar Mozharov (19-12)

Much of the pre-fight talk has revolved around Askar Mozharov’s ever-changing record, with question marks now surrounding a majority of the Ukranian’s victories. Based on the tape, Mozharov is a first-round can crusher. Many fighters have managed to carve respectable UFC careers off the back of that. Typically those fighters haven’t dropped 12 losses en route. Owing to Menifield’s discomfort with incoming damage, Mozharov carries enough power to crack Menifield early, but it isn’t a gameplan to be backed.

Predicted Result: Menifield TKO Round 1

Much of the pre-fight talk has revolved around Askar Mozharov’s ever-changing record, with question marks now surrounding a majority of the Ukranian’s victories. Owing to Menifield’s discomfort with incoming damage, Mozharov carries enough power to crack Menifield early, but it isn’t a gameplan to be backed. Menifield remains as flawed as the day of his UFC debut, but his athletic and experience (lol) edge is far superior.

Result: Menifield def. Mozharov // TKO (elbows) Round 1 4:40

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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UFC Vegas 56: Preliminary Card

Felice Herrig vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Women’s Strawweight (115)

Felice Herrig (14-9)

Instagram foot merchant, Felice Herrig, returns to extend her losing streak to four on the trot. Apologies, if it sounds harsh, especially as fighting the shadow of KK, is a real winning possibility, but why must we suffer through this affair? A long string of injuries has hampered Herrig’s bulldozing pace, but Karolina has fallen so hard athletically that this might be a whitewash.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz (12-7)

Continuing to chase former glory, Karolina has struggled to eat a shot in her five-fight slide. Karolina’s past success was built off stringing combinations through controlled aggression, a facet of her game that can no longer be relied upon. Win or lose, this should be the end of Karolina’s chapter in the octagon.

Predicted Result: Herrig Decision

A long string of injuries has hampered Herrig’s bulldozing pace, but Karolina has fallen so hard athletically that this might be a whitewash. Karolina’s past success was stringing combinations off of controlled aggression, a facet of her game that can no longer be relied upon.

Result: Kowalkiewicz def. Herrig // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2 4:01

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Joe Solecki vs Alex da Silva

Lightweight (155)

Joe Solecki (11-3)

A sleeper banger that really deserves to be on the main card. After a solid learning loss to Jared Gordon, it will be interesting to see the changes that Solecki has made to his game over the past year and a half. There isn’t much that can be done about Solecki’s lack of speed, but his polished grappling still has room to grow into a real threat.

Alex da Silva (21-3)

Alex da Silva is a hard-hitting kickboxer with a very underrated wrestling game. Now, Brad Riddell is a notoriously slow starter, but da Silva was piecing apart and out-wrestling the Kiwi for the first half of their fight. Da Silva tends to always fall back on his wrestling, drawing Solecki’s submission chops into play.

Predicted Result: Solecki Submission Round 2

Alex da Silva is a hard-hitting kickboxer with a very underrated wrestling game. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he tends to always fall back on his wrestling, drawing Solecki’s submission chops into play. Solecki isn’t athletically gifted, but he can play safe long enough on the feet to eventually find his preferred fight on the mat.

Result: Solecki def. Da Silva // Decision (majority – 28-28, 28-27, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Damon Jackson vs Daniel Argueta

Featherweight (145)

Damon Jackson (20-4-1)

The (American) Leech continues to carve a streak for himself in the shadows. Perhaps the image of a lanky balding man isn’t the easiest sell for the UFC, but Jackson is an experienced grappler who is willing to dig extremely deep to find the finishing submission. Absolutely massive at 145, Jackson uses his size well to take opponents down against the cage and make their life hell on the mat.

Daniel Argueta (8-0)

After losing to Ricky Turcios in TUF, Argueta has gathered a 3-fight streak in LFA against respectable opposition. The Jackson Wink prospect is a strong wrestler who combines striking and control with decent balance. The short notice nature of the call-up and stylistic clash could see Argueta walk head-first into a submission.

Predicted Result: Jackson Submission Round 3

After losing to Ricky Turcios in TUF, Argueta has gathered a 3-fight streak in LFA against respectable opposition. The Jackson Wink prospect is a strong wrestler who combines striking and control with decent balance. Damon Jackson, however, is absolutely massive at 145, regularly digs freakishly deep to find a finishing sub, and will only benefit from Argueta searching to fight on the mat.

Result: Jackson def. Argueta // Decision (UD – 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Benoit Saint-Denis vs Niklas Stolze

Lightweight (155)

Benoit Saint-Denis (8-1)

Ridiculously durable, the Frenchman is moving down to Lightweight to better out-muscle opposition. Saint-Denis ate a ridiculous amount of punishment at the hands of Elizeu Zaleski, but his career has been carved out of being a tough as old boots scrapper. Darren Elkins forged a solid career off of his durability, albeit, with a vicious submission game to prop it up.

Niklas Stolze (12-5)

The German was a weight bully on the regional scene, out-wrestling opponents off the back of superior athleticism. Since arriving at the UFC, Stolze has learnt the hard way that he requires weapons on the feet to mask his wrestling intent. Also moving down in weight, most are favouring Saint-Denis due to his titanium chin, but Stolze has a far more proven track record of leading fights.

Predicted Result: Stolze Decision

Saint-Denis ate a ridiculous amount of punishment at the hands of Elizeu Zaleski, but his career has been carved out of being a tough as old boots scrapper. Saint-Denis could embark on a similar run as Darren Elkins, but his submission chops are yet to be seen against proven operators. Stolze has struggled in the UFC after physically bullying regional opponents, but the German has a far more proven track record of controlling fights.

Result: Saint-Denis def. Stolze // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2 1:32

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Tony Gravely vs Johnny Munoz Jr.

Bantamweight (135)

Tony Gravely (22-7)

A strong wrestle-boxer, the chips just haven’t fallen quite right for Tony Gravely yet. Part of the issue is Gravely’s success in the pocket, throwing decent volume, but his lack of awareness for incoming strikes primes him for counters. Chain wrestling tends to wear opponents down, but he equally throws his head into submissions.

Johnny Munoz Jr. (11-1)

Sharing a loss to Nate Maness with Tony Gravely, Munoz Jr is a far more threatening grappler than the latter but is at risk of being blasted apart on the feet. Gravely is hardly the second coming of Frazier on the feet, but Munoz Jr is a barely functional striker who doesn’t seem to have the tools to stay safe when starved of space against the cage. Gravely’s mistakes could see him submitted on the mat, especially if he manages to find his way to Gravely’s back, but it is too situational to back.

Predicted Result: Gravely Decision

Sharing a loss to Nate Maness with Tony Gravely, Munoz Jr is a far more threatening grappler than the latter but is at risk of being blasted apart on the feet. Munoz Jr could well submit Gravely late, the latter frequently makes mistakes as he chain wrestles opponents. Gravely’s success in the pocket, however, will catch the scorecards and I’m just about backing Gravely not to walk himself into a choke.

Result: Gravely def. Munoz Jr // KO (punches) Round 1 1:08

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Jeff Molina vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov

Flyweight (125)

Jeff Molina (10-2)

A fun ‘balls to the walls’ type of fighter that has somehow fallen into a three-fight streak. Molina lacks the freakish athleticism that seems to dominate the Flyweight top-15, but he is durable and consistently makes good decisions. Against Zhumagulov’s deathly pace, Molina will have even more time to adapt and take the fight away from the Kazakh.

Zhalgas Zhumagulov (14-6)

Zhumagulov certainly carries the physicality to expose Molina’s lacklustre athleticism. Despite the knockout to Manel Kape, Zhumagulov is a durable gritty fighter who will continue to push at a comfortable pace. Molina could well gas late after being forced to fight off the back-foot for fifteen minutes, but the cleaner work will stem from Molina.

Predicted Result: Molina Decision

Zhumagulov certainly carries the physicality to expose Molina’s lacklustre athleticism. Despite the knockout to Manel Kape, Zhumagulov is a durable gritty fighter who will continue to push at a comfortable pace. Outside of gassing from continued work off the back-foot, Molina’s cleaner work and consistently good decision-making should see the American wash the scorecards.

Result: Molina def. Zhumagulov // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Andreas Michailidis vs Rinat Fakhretdinov

Welterweight (170)

Andreas Michailidis (13-5)

The Spartan has hardly been given the kindest run in the UFC. The Greek is gritty, with a well-rounded skill set in regards to kickboxing and wrestling. Michailidis dominated Alex Pereira on the mat for the first round of their affair but was caught clean by a flying knee at the start of the second. Can Michailidis employ a similar wrestling threat? Unlikely for a fighter who prefers to let an opponent lead the fight.

Rinat Fakhretdinov (20-2)

A powerful overhand slugger, Fakhretdinov employs the ‘overhand into takedown’ mindset. I mean, it’s worked against an OK level of competition, but Michailidis possesses slightly more polished credentials. The Greek is snappy enough to touch Fakhretdinov’s open chin on his loopy overhands, but without scary power, Fakhretdinov is unlikely to feel threatened enough to change his gameplan.

Predicted Result: Fakhretdinov TKO Round 1

Fakhretdinov’s consistent overhand gameplan has worked against laughable opponents, but Michailidis possesses slightly more polished credentials. The Greek is snappy enough to touch Fakhretdinov’s open chin on his loopy overhands, but without scary power, Fakhretdinov is unlikely to feel threatened enough to change his gameplan. The Russian could easily gas himself chasing a finish early, Michailidis owns a solid chin and has some wrestling foundation that will excel against a gassed Fakhretdinov. The likelihood is a highlight reel sparking, however.

Result: Fakhretdinov def. Michailidis // Decision (UD – 30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Erin Blanchfield vs JJ Aldrich

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Erin Blanchfield (8-1)

A fantastic wrestler, Blanchfield’s ceiling on the mat was blown wide open after she dominated the likes of Sarah Alpar and Miranda Maverick on the mat. There will be a striking differential on Saturday, but Blanchfield continually surprises with the developments to her game across each fight. Don’t be surprised if Blanchfield holds her own on the feet.

JJ Aldrich (11-4)

Aldrich is a gritty scrapper who has been slowly refining her striking base around fundamentals. No longer the brute force striker of old, Aldrich has started to time educated combinations in her recent affairs. Whether Aldrich can keep herself standing against Blanchfield is very difficult to say after the latter’s dismantling of Miranda Maverick.

Predicted Result: Blanchfield Decision

No longer the brute force striker of old, Aldrich has started to time educated combinations in her recent affairs. Whether Aldrich can keep herself standing against Blanchfield is very difficult to say after the latter’s dismantling of Miranda Maverick. Moreover, Blanchfield continually surprises with the developments to her game across each fight. Don’t be surprised if Blanchfield holds her own on the feet.

Result: Blanchfield def. Aldrich // Submission (guillotine choke) Round 2 2:38

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Prediction Accuracy

UFC Vegas 56

Winner: 10/14

Method: 4/14

Round: 3/14

2022 MMA Season

Winner: 147/217

Method: 109/217

Round: 98/217

MMA Overall

Winner: 643/1009

Method: 472/1009

Round: 422/1009

Takeaway comments: Evloev continues to impress – get Arnold Allen signed up!


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