Dateline Vegas, fight fans we’re thrilled as we await the biggest PPV of the year full of exciting matchups. The King of Las Vegas headlines the first card at the iconic T-Mobile arena since the pandemic and we are set for nothing short of greatness this week. We’ve got a special edition of our predictions this week as our picks come straight from UFC Bantamweight contender and Stake Ambassador Marlon “Chito” Vera. We back Chito’s expertise and hence we are paying out double winnings on a multi of his picks, make sure to click the link at the end to back his picks. As always let’s dive right in!
Irene Aldana vs Yana Kunitskaya
We kick things off on the main card where an exciting bout takes place in the women’s Bantamweight division. With the top of the division already having gotten their crack at gold, that makes this bout between Rank 4 Irene Aldana and rank 4 Yana Kunitskaya a potential title eliminator bout. A classic striker vs striker setup makes this bout even more interesting and worth tuning in.
Aldana has been a top prospect since 2016 when she transitioned from Invicta Fc to the UFC. She had a rocky start in the UFC with 2 straight losses, but she did not let this affect her aspirations of holding UFC gold as she bounced back with 6 wins out of her next 7 bouts to earn a well-deserved headliner spot with Holly Holm. Aldana came up short on the scorecards after a hard-fought 5 round bout with Holm but a win over Yana will bring her back to the title picture.
She has always kept fight fans interested with her fun-filled boxing fighting style and she has been rewarded with multiple performance bonuses for it. Aldana will look to improve on her already dominant 75% finish rate as she will look to knockout Yana to make the statement needed for that title shot.
Yana Kunitskaya had a similar pathway to Aldana as she transitioned her career to the UFC through her success at Invicta Fc. Yana is primarily a Muay Thai fighter with 7 knockouts under her name which inflicts fear in her opponents. Yana has found her way to the top of the rankings by winning 4 out of her last 5 bouts against top contenders and her striking is a real threat for this division.
This is a pick-em fight according to the odds and it is a key bout for both ladies as the winner gets to be in the title fight picture. Both of them are great strikers but we believe Aldana’s tight boxing range will edge her a close decision win this weekend. Her knockout threat is real, and she might even be able to get the late finish, but we are leaning towards a decision win as Yana is as tough as they come.
Prediction – Irene Aldana by Decision
Stake Odds- 2.70 (*Odds are Subject to Change).
Gilbert Burns vs Stephen Thompson
We’ve got ourselves an amazing co-main event of the evening in the Welterweight division which is a potential title-eliminating bout. The Jiu-jitsu practitioner rank 2 Gilbert “Durinho” Burns will take on one of the best Karate fighters in the UFC in rank 4 Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Both these men had a great run until they got their title shots and came up short, this common factor brings these men back to the Octagon as they put their numbers on the line to pursue their dream of holding the Welterweight title.
Durinho entered the UFC as a 7-0 unbeaten fighter and a multiple-time Gi World champion. He started his UFC career in the Lightweight division as one of the brightest talents on the roster. Durinho showcased his world-class Jiu-jitsu skills and knockout power which helped him win multiple bouts in the UFC. Durinho was at a crossroads in his career in 2019 where he was questioning fighting at lightweight and contemplating a potential move up to the Welterweight division.
He made the bold decision of going up in weight class which proved to be his best decision as he went on a 4-fight win streak which earned him a title shot against his former teammate and Welterweight King Kamaru Usman. Durinho hurt Usman early but lacked championship experience which caused him to gas out and lose his title fight.
Durinho believes that he has learned his lesson from this fight, and he will look to prove to the world that he is the best. Durinho has a dangerous 74% finish rate in the UFC involving 6 Knockout and 8 Submission wins. Durinho is dangerous wherever a fight goes, and he will look to bounce back with a win over the veteran this weekend.
Wonderboy is one of the rare fighters who has captured the hearts and minds of every fight fan in the world through his nature outside the Octagon and his Karate inside the Octagon. Wonderboy has been a true Karate practitioner with an intriguing striking style which is to date a puzzle for his opponents. Wonderboy is all about his kicks and his constant movement which makes it so difficult for opponents to cover the distance or wrestle.
Wonderboy has had only 4 losses in the UFC out of which 2 of them came via close decisions and 1 via a freak knockout against Pettis where he was dominating the fight. Despite some of his recent losses, this 38-year young man has not lost his spirit to hold that belt one day. Wonderboy has shown his true ability in his recent wins over contenders such as Luque and Neal. A win over recent title challenger Durinho can get Wonderboy the well-deserved and long-awaited shot at gold.
This fight could be looked at as a simple Striker vs Grappler matchup, but it is much more than that. The pathway to victory for Durinho is throwing hard shots which stun Wonderboy or at least back him up so he can get a successful takedown. Contrarily, Wonderboy is a hit and don’t get hit kind of a fighter with a high striking/takedown defense.
Wonderboy will look to use his kicks, maintain distance and keep damaging Durinho from the outside. Considering that Durinho lost his last fight due to poor striking defense and difficulty in covering the distance, Wonderboy is a bad matchup for him. We are siding with the veteran here to maintain the distance and stop the takedowns to get his hand raised once the final horn is blown.
Prediction- Stephen Thompson by Decision
Stake Odds- 2.70 (*Odds are Subject to Change)
Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor
Main event time, this card is being headlined by one of the biggest fights in UFC history if not the biggest fight ever. The most awaited Trilogy between the Pride of Ireland and the Champion of Lafayette, Louisiana. The stakes are set high as the biggest star of the sport is back to prove that he is still the champion he once was, and in front of him is the former Interim champion with the best resume on the roster. There is going to be tension in the air as the former Interim Champion Rank 1 Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier will take on the former double champ “The Notorious” Conor McGregor.
If a man’s ability is judged by his resume, then Dustin Poirier has to be one of the best fighters in the UFC currently. Dustin was the hottest prospect on the UFC featherweight roster in 2014 with a lot of hype riding on him. The pressure got to Poirier when he faced then rising contender Conor McGregor and he faced a massive loss via round 1 knockout.
This led Dustin to move up to Lightweight which revived his career as he went on a tear, taking out contenders back-to-back. Poirier faced another knockout loss to Michael Johnson in 2016 which helped him in learning and making the adjustments needed to become the best. Dustin never looked back, he finished former champions in Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez, and Justin Gaethje which gave him a shot at Interim Gold.
Poirier was a sizeable underdog against Max Holloway as he shocked the world by beating the cardio machine Holloway over 5 rounds. Poirier’s only recent loss coming to the unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov which again led him to make adjustments which saw him make a quick turnaround to beat Dan Hooker and knock out Conor McGregor in a rematch.
Dustin has earned his way to the top and he learned from each loss which made him hungrier to come back stronger. Poirier is an amazing boxer with a reliable wrestling and submission game to lean on when he needs it. Dustin can do it all, he has the cardio to push 5 rounds, the power to knock you out, and the acumen to submit you on the mat. Poirier is yet to capture undisputed gold and a win over Conor McGregor in this rubber match will give him the attention and support needed to go capture gold.
Conor McGregor is the biggest name in combat sports and the man who has made history by doing it all. Conor is the first man in UFC history to capture 2 belts simultaneously and doing so in dominant fashion against high-level fighters. The man who not only achieved all that he set out to for, but he called his shots before doing so hence being given the title of Mystic Mac.
Conor has had one of the most unbelievable runs in the UFC which saw him knockout Dustin Poirier, Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, Eddie Alvarez, and Donald Cerrone. Conor has been a man to break records, he is the holder of the highest sold PPV in UFC and Combat sports, the man with the fastest knockout in a title fight, the first man to hold 2 belts.
Conor is primarily a striker and a dangerous knockout artist, 19 of his 22 wins are via knockout which speaks highly of his power. Conor took a layoff after winning his belts and dragged Floyd Mayweather out of retirement to box him. On his return to the UFC Conor faced adversity as he lost 2 out of his 3 bouts against Khabib and Dustin Poirier.
At this point, Conor is fighting for his pride and to prove the naysayers wrong once again that he is still the King. Conor has faced adversity before when he lost to Nate Diaz, but he made a quick turnaround to beat Diaz in the rematch. Conor is a man who does not accept defeat and he backs himself to beat anyone in the world. Conor has yet again accepted a quick turnaround against Dustin as he envisions knocking him out and yelling “Surprise, Surprise the King is back”.
The tension is palpable amongst fight fans and the fighters for this Trilogy as it will entail who is the better fighter and settle the scores for both men for good. Dustin Poirier came in with a smart game plan in the rematch, he kept hurting Conor with low calf kicks when he was at distance and threatened takedowns when Conor covered the distance. Dustin is a cardio machine, and he does not chase the finish, the pathway to victory for him again is through his wrestling and cardio. Dustin will look to slow things down as Conor thrives in a fast-paced environment.
Contrarily, Conor will look to keep moving so he can avoid/check leg kicks and he will have to throw leg kicks of his own. Conor will have to implement a similar game plan he had against Nate Diaz in their rematch as he found success with leg kicks and making it a longer fight instead of knocking his opponent’s head off in round 1.
If Conor paces himself and mixes in kicks along with his heavy hands then he can shock the world. Ultimately, we are siding with the more active fighter in Dustin Poirier as we believe he has evolved a lot and he has the skills to beat Conor McGregor. We think Dustin can take Conor’s best shots so he will look to take this to the later rounds by tiring Conor and eventually finish him by round 4.
We are paying out double winnings on a multi including Dustin Poirier, Stephen Thompson, and Irene Aldana. If you like Chito and our picks then get around this insane promotion now.
Prediction- Dustin Poirier by Knockout
Stake Odds- 2.80 (*Odds are Subject to Change)
Multi Odds- 19.68*
*Odds subject to change
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