Here at veteran MMA journalist Adam Martin gives his complete picks and breakdowns for each and every UFC fight card. UFC 229 takes place Saturday, October 6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Adam’s picks are below.

Lightweight bout: Conor McGregor (+160) vs Khabib Nurmagomedov (-170)

Nurmagomedov (26-0) is 30 and he’s 10-0 in the UFC. The Russian won the vacant UFC lightweight title over Al Iaquinta in his last fight and he deserves it as he’s the most dominant lightweight in the sport right now. His wrestling is the best in the division and he’s improved his ability to finish the fight on the ground. Now that he’s gotten his weight cut in check, he’s going to be a hard man to dethrone. McGregor (21-3) is 30 and he’s 9-1 in the UFC. The Irishman is the former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion and never lost his belts, instead having them stripped due to inactivity. He hasn’t fought in MMA since knocking out Eddie Alvarez in late 2016 but did compete against Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match last summer. Before trying his hand at boxing, McGregor was one of the most dominant and exciting fighters in the UFC as he knocked out seven of his opponents with his lone loss coming to Nate Diaz in 2016. Seriously, what a fight. I’ve been going back-and-forth on this one since it was announced. I like Nurmagomedov’s wrestling and think he can exploit McGregor on the ground, but I also like McGregor’s striking and think he can expose Nurmagomedov’s poor striking defense. It’s a really tough fight to call but I’m going with McGregor. I just think he’s such a special talent and I think once he connects with Nurmagomedov on the chin he’s going to put him to sleep. In one of the best fights of the year, I’ll take McGregor to defeat Nurmagomedov by TKO.

Pick: Conor McGregor

Lightweight bout: Tony Ferguson (-350) vs Anthony Pettis (+318)

Ferguson (23-3) is 34 and he’s 13-1 in the UFC. The American is one of the top lightweights on the planet and is currently riding a 10-fight win streak. He’s beaten the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Kevin Lee and Edson Barboza and his only loss in the UFC came to Michael Johnson in a fight where he broke his arm. He’s incredibly well-rounded and dangerous anywhere the fight goes. We know Ferguson is coming back from a major knee injury and that’s something to keep in mind, but Ferguson is like Wolverine and tends to heal faster than most MMA fighters. Pettis (21-7) is 31 and he’s 8-6 in the UFC. The American is the former UFC lightweight champion but has really struggled in recent years to find consistency and he hasn’t won back-to-back fights in four years. He is coming off of a great submission win over Michael Chiesa but prior to that had been finished in two of three fights. As good as Pettis looked against Chiesa, I can’t pick him against Ferguson. Truthfully, I would take Ferguson almost every lightweight on the roster and I think this is a good matchup for him in his return. I think Ferguson takes it to Pettis and finishes him by TKO.

Pick: Tony Ferguson

Heavyweight bout: Derrick Lewis (+150) vs Alexander Volkov (-160)

Volkov (30-6) is 29 and hse’s 4-0 in the UFC. The Russian is on a six-fight win streak right now and has gone undefeated so far in the UFC including knocking out Fabricio Werdum in his last fight. He is finally showing the potential we all though he had back when he was the Bellator heavyweight champion, only this time he’s going for the UFC title. Lewis (20-5, 1 NC) is 33 and he’s 11-3 in the UFC. The American is coming off of back-to-back wins over Marcin Tybura and Francis Ngannou and his only loss in the last three years came against Mark Hunt. He’s one of the most powerful punchers in the heavyweight division and has proven to have good cardio as many of his wins have come in the last round. This is another really tough fight to call on a card full of them but I slightly lean towards Volkov. I like his length in this fight and think he can pick apart Lewis from the outside and take home a decision or possibly even knock Lewis out if he catches him on the right spot.

Pick: Alexander Volkov

Light Heavyweight bout: Ovince St. Preux (+210) vs Dominick Reyes (-230)

Reyes (9-0) is 28 and he’s 3-0 in the UFC. The American has finished all but one of his pro fights in the first round and has quickly turned into one of the top light heavyweight prospects in the UFC. He has huge knockout power as well as submissions on the ground and looks like he could be a title contender at 205lbs within a few more fights. OSP (23-11) is 35 and he’s 11-6 in the UFC. The American is essentially a gatekeeper at 205lbs as he beats everyone in the mid and lower-tier but loses to the elite fighters. He’s coming off of a submission win over Tyson Pedro where he looked great but prior to that was choked out by Ilir Latifi. This is a great fight as Reyes looks like he could be a star but getting by a guy like OSP would prove that. Although this is the toughest test of Reyes’ career to date, I think it’s a fight he can win. In a breakthrough performance, I think Reyes catches OSP and knocks him out.

Pick: Dominick Reyes

Strawweight bout: Michelle Waterson (+100) vs Felice Herrig (-120)

Herrig (14-7) is 34 and she’s 5-2 in the UFC. The American has looked pretty good overall in the UFC and was on a four-fight win streak before losing a split decision to top contender Karolina Kowalkiewicz in her last fight. She’s a scrappy fighter with a good chin and has proven tough to beat. Waterson (15-6) is 32 and she’s 3-2 in the UFC. The American is the former Invicta atomweight champion but has been a bit of a disappointment in the UFC so far as she’s beaten lower and mid-tier competition but has lost to top fighters. I feel like Waterson is on the decline and even though she’s younger than Herrig I think Herrig has more left in the tank. I’m going with Herrig to outstrike and grind on Waterson against the fence to take home a decision.

Pick: Felice Herrig

Flyweight bout: Sergio Pettis (-150) vs Jussier Formiga (+140)

Pettis (17-3) is 25 and he’s 8-3 in the UFC. The American struggled a bit earlier in his UFC career but has really come on strong as of late with a 5-1 record in his last six bouts, including a win over Joseph Benavidez in his last fight and his only loss in the last three years coming to the current champion Henry Cejudo. His striking is excellent and his wrestling has improved, making him a dangerous fighter at 125lbs. It would be nice to see him get a finish sometime, though. Formiga (21-5) is 33 and he’s 7-4 in the UFC. The Brazilian has been essentially a gatekeeper since coming to the UFC as he hasn’t been able to get that big win to put him in title contention, though he’s beaten all the mid-tier competition he’s fought. Formiga is currently on a two-fight win streak and with a win over Pettis could get his title shot. However, I think Pettis wins this fight. He’s the younger fighter by a considerable margin and he’s the superior striker. With Pettis’ improvements in his wrestling, I think he can keep this fight on the feet and outstrike Formiga to take home a decision and maybe earn a title shot of his own.

Pick: Sergio Pettis

Welterweight bout: Vicente Luque (-705) vs Jalin Turner (+570)

Luque (13-6-1) is 26 and he’s 6-2 in the UFC. The American has been low-key one of the most exciting welterweights in the UFC for a few years now as all of his wins in the UFC have come by stoppage, including back-to-back finishes over Chad Laprise and Niko Price in his last two bouts. In fact, all but one of his pro wins have come by stoppage, making him an incredibly-dangerous fighter both on the feet and on the ground. Turner (7-3) is 23 and he’s making his UFC debut. The American is on a three-fight win streak right now with a TKO win on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series getting him a chance to compete in the Octagon. However, this is a really tough matchup for his UFC debut against one of the fastest-rising fighters at 170lbs in Luque. I think Luque dominates this fight and earns another knockout win.

Pick: Vicente Luque

Bantamweight bout: Tonya Evinger (+155) vs Aspen Ladd (-165)

Ladd (6-0) is 23 and he’s 1-0 in the UFC. The American is undefeated in her career so far and is one of the top bantamweight prospects in the UFC as five of her six wins have come by stoppage, including a TKO over Lina Lansberg in her UFC debut. She hasn’t fought in almost a year and has struggled with cutting weight, so those are some things to keep in mind. Evinger (19-6, 1 NC) is 37 and he’s 0-1 in the UFC. The American is a long-time veteran of the sport and was the Invicta FC bantamweight champion before joining the UFC and getting knocked out by Cris Cyborg on short notice last summer. She hasn’t fought in over a year since the Cyborg loss, but prior to that was on an 11-fight unbeaten streak. This is a tough one to call as Ladd looks like she has a ton of potential but Evinger is just so battle tested and savvy. However, I don’t like the layoff and she’s one of the oldest fighters in the division. I wouldn’t be on this fight, but I’ll take Ladd to finish Evinger by strikes.

Pick: Aspen Ladd

Lightweight bout: Allan Patrick (-260) vs Scott Holtzman (+240)

Patrick (15-1) is 35 and he’s 5-1 in the UFC. The Brazilian is a strong wrestler and has had a solid run in the UFC save for a TKO loss to Mairbek Taisumov, but his lack of activity has hurt him as he generally fights once a year. He is currently on a three-fight win streak and beat Damir Hadzovic earlier this year so he finally has some momentum behind him. Holtzman (11-2) is 34 and he’s 4-2 in the UFC. The American has been inconsistent in the UFC while fighting mostly lower-tiered competition but he’s currently on a two-fight win streak and has been looking better. Having said that, I don’t like this matchup for Holtzman. Patrick is a strong wrestler and we’ve seen Holtzman get taken down before, and I see Patrick outgrappling Holtzman for a decision.

Pick: Allan Patrick

Bantamweight bout: Yana Kunitskaya (-220) vs Lina Akhtar Lansberg (+180)

Kunitskaya (10-4, 1 NC) is 28 and she’s 0-1 in the UFC. The Russian showed some promise in Invicta and was the bantamweight champion there but was knocked out by Cris Cyborg in her UFC debut earlier this year. She has quite a bit of finishing ability but hasn’t really put it together when she’s stepped up in competition. Lansberg (8-3) is 36 and she’s 2-2 in the UFC. The Swede was also knocked out by Cyborg in her UFC debut has has bounced back with two wins since. She has quite a bit of experience and has looked like a decent gatekeeper in the UFC so far. Tough fight to call here as both women are well-matched and I’ve been going back-and-forth on who to pick, but I slightly lean towards Lansberg to edge out a tight decision.

Pick: Lina Akhtar Lansberg

Lightweight bout: Gray Maynard (+215) vs Nik Lentz (-235)

Lentz (28-9-2, 1 NC) is 34 and he’s 12-6-1, 1 NC in the UFC. The American has long been one of the top grinders at both 155lbs and 145lbs but has settled on lightweight at this point of his career. He’s been inconsistent as of late but pretty much beats the fighters he should and loses to elite talent. Maynard (13-6-1, 1 NC) is 39 and he’s 11-6-1, 1 NC in the UFC. The American was once one of the top lightweights in the sport but has really tailed off in recent years. After losing four straight fights he has looked a bit better as of late going 2-1 over his last three fights, all contested at featherweight. He’s moving back up to lightweight for this fight and that’s probably not a great move at this point of his career. I just think you have to continue fading Maynard, and I’ll take Lentz to grind out a decision.

Pick: Nik Lentz

Welterweight bout: Ryan LaFlare (-130) vs Tony Martin (+120)

LaFlare (14-2) is 34 and he’s 7-2 overall in the UFC. The American has been one of the most successful wrestlers in the welterweight division as he’s been able to grind out all of his opponents save for top-ranked fighters in Demian Maia and Alex Oliveira. However, while his wrestling game is strong he has shown no ability to finish a fight as all of his fights have gone the distance. Martin (13-4) is 28 and he’s 5-4 in the UFC. The American has been inconsistent in the UFC but has looked better since moving up to welterweight as he defeated Keita Nakamura in his debut at 170lbs. He has a solid ground game and his striking has gotten better too. This should be a really close fight but I side with Martin. I think he can stop LaFlare’s takedowns and I think he has the better striking, so I see him edging out a competitive decision.

Pick: Tony Martin

Last event: 10-3-1

2018 picks year-to-date: 213-124-1 (63%)

Final 2017 tally: 282-171, 3 No Contest (64%)