Here at FightOdds.io veteran MMA journalist Adam Martin gives his complete picks and breakdowns for each and every UFC fight card. UFC Fight Night 135 takes place Saturday, August 25 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Adam’s picks are below.
Vick (13-1) is 31 and he’s 9-1 in the UFC. The American has really turned himself into a contender in recent years as he’s riding a four-fight win streak since his lone career loss to Beneil Dariush. He is one of the biggest and most well-rounded lightweights in the UFC though we still don’t know how he’ll fare against top-10 talent as most of his wins came against unranked fighters. Gaethje (18-2) is 29 and he’s 1-2 in the UFC. The American has won “Fight of the Night” in all three of his UFC fights which were all all-out wars. He was able to outlast Michael Johnson and knock him out but he suffered late knockout defeats to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. Keep in mind those are two of the best fighters in the world. Although I’m concerned about Gaethje’s busy schedule, I just feel like he’s the better fighter in this matchup. He’s more aggressive, more powerful, and he keeps up a pace few can match. I think Gaethje is going to take it to Vick and knock him out within the five rounds.
Pick: Justin Gaethje
Johnson (17-13) is 32 and he’s 9-9 in the UFC. The American has at times looked like a world beater when he defeated top-ranked fighters like Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier, but he has really fallen on hard times as of late. He’s lost five of his last six bouts and has been finished in his last three fights, and he looked particularly bad in his featherweight debut loss against Darren Elkins. Fili (18-5) is 28 and he’s 6-4 in the UFC. The American has been pretty inconsistent ever since entering the UFC in 2013 but has finally shown signs of turning things around as he’s won three of his last four fights including a decision win over Dennis Bermudez in his last fight. I didn’t like how Johnson looked in his featherweight debut and he looks to be on a major slide. Fili is still looking for that signature win and this could be it. If Fili can survive the first round, I think he has a good shot of taking this fight to deep waters and either winning a decision or possibly even getting a late stoppage over Johnson.
Pick: Andre Fili
Hill (8-4) is 31 and she’s 3-4 in the UFC. The American has struggled with consistency in the UFC but overall has shown good striking and the ability to go a full 15 minutes and at least make her decisions competitive. Casey (7-6) is 31 and she’s 3-5 in the UFC. The American is a well-rounded fighter who has at times looked brilliant such as in her submission win over Randa Markos, but she has hard a hard time convincing the judges she should win her bouts and she’s 1-5 in her six UFC fights that have gone the distance. She’s coming off of back-to-back split decision losses in fights that many fans and media though she won and that’s a concern for me. For whatever reason the judges do not like Casey’s style. She’s a better fighter than what her record shows but I’m going to fade Casey here and take Hill to win a decision.
Pick: Angela Hill
Barberena (13-5) is 29 and he’s 4-3 in the UFC. The American was looking like a darkhorse contender after defeating Sage Northcutt and Warlley Alves, but lopsided losses to Leon Edwards and Colby Covington silenced those thoughts. Still, he’s a grinder who has a really good gas tank and a great chin. Ellenberger (31-14) is 33 and he’s 10-10 in the UFC. The American has really fallen on hard times as of late as he’s been knocked out in his last three fights including a brutal body shot TKO to Ben Saunders in his last bout. Ellenberger’s chin is completely gone at this point and even though Barberena isn’t a true knockout artist, there’s a very good chance he can finish Ellenberger with strikes in this fight, or at least take home the decision.
Pick: Bryan Barberena
Figueiredo (14-0) is 30 and he’s 3-0 in the UFC. The Brazilian is one of the few undefeated flyweights on the UFC roster and he looks like he has the potential to be a contender after his last fight, a vicious TKO win over Joseph Morales. Moraga (19-6) is 34 and he’s 8-5 in the UFC. The American has won three straight fights including a decision win over Wilson Reis in his last fight and a KO win over Magomed Bibulatov before that. However, we can’t forget he had lost three straight fights before his win streak and he’s a guy who has looked very beatable at times, although it’s clear he’s made some improvements. Moraga is a big step up in competition for Figueiredo but I believe this is a winnable fight for him. I’ve been very impressed with the Brazilian and I think he can outwork Moraga and win a decision.
Pick: Deiveson Alcantra
Anders (10-1) is 31 and he’s 2-1 in the UFC. The American was an undefeated prospect and looking like a title contender until losing a split decision to Lyoto Machida in his last fight. He will look to bounce back from that setback with a big win here against Williams in what looks like a mismatch. Williams (15-4) is 32 and he’s 0-1 in the UFC. The American looked good in CFFC before finally making it to the Octagon but was knocked out in his debut and he didn’t look like a UFC-caliber fighter in that bout. Let’s face it, this is a mismatch, and Anders should absolutely get the KO win.
Pick: Eryk Anders
Alves (12-2) is 27 and he’s 6-2 in the UFC. The Brazilian won TUF Brazil 3 and has since gone on to have a solid career in the UFC, albeit not being able to break into the top-15 yet. He is on a two-fight win streak right now and looks to finally have some momentum again. Krause (25-7) is 32 and he’s 6-3 in the UFC. The American has won four straight fights but the majority of those bouts have come against guys no longer on the UFC roster, as well as at lightweight. Moving up to welterweight I’m not sure if Krause is going to have the strength to compete with bigger guys like Alves. I think Alves bullies Krause with his size advantage and uses takedowns to grind out a decision.
Pick: Warlley Alves
Sandhagen (8-1) is 26 and he’s 1-0 in the UFC. The American was a top prospect coming out of LFA and lived up to the billing with a KO win over Austin Arnett in his debut. Alcantara (36-9, 1 NC) is 38 and he’s 10-6, 1 NC in the UFC. The Brazilian has long been a gatekeeper to the top-10 in the bantamweight division and at times he has looked amazing but has suffered from inconsistency and durability issues. As an older fighter in a lighter weight class, he probably doesn’t have much time left as one of the top-15 fighters in the division. Sandhagen is the young buck and although this is a big step up in competition I think he can win this fight. Alcantara is hard to finish but Sandhagen should be able to at least outwork him and take home a decision.
Pick: Cory Sandhagen
Perez (10-1) is 28 and he’s 1-1 in the UFC. The Brazilian lost to Eryk Anders in his debut and there’s no shame in that, and he bounced back nicely with a submission win over James Bochnovic in his last fight. Keep in mind he’s the former LFA middleweight champion and beat new UFC fighter Ian Heinisch for the title there. Sanchez (9-4) is 30 and he’s 2-2 in the UFC. The American won TUF 23 as a light heavyweight but has struggled in his last few fights, getting finished by Ryan Janes and Anthony Smith late in the third round. He has serious issues with his cardio and chin that could be the result of a big weight cut. I haven’t liked what I’ve seen out of Sanchez lately and I think you have to fade him here and take Perez to get the win by another late stoppage.
Pick: Markus Perez Echeimberg
Gall (4-1) is 26 and he’s 3-1 in the UFC. The American picked up submission wins over Sage Northcutt, Mike Jackson and CM Punk in his first three UFC bouts but was exposed by Randy Brown in his last fight in a lopsided decision loss. Sullivan (17-6, 1 NC) is 37 and he’s 3-3 in the UFC. The American looked good at first in the Octagon but has really struggled in his last few bouts, getting finished in three of his last four fights overall. He has not been very active in recent years and his durability is a concern. Although I don’t believe Gall is as great a prospect as some believe he is, I think you have to fade Sullivan in this spot considering his age and layoff. Gall is still green, but I think this is a good matchup for him style-wise and I see him winning by sub.
Pick: Mickey Gall
Calderwood (11-3) is 31 and she’s 3-3 in the UFC. The Scot came into the UFC as a favorite to win the strawweight title and while she did look good at times, generally she struggled with cutting weight and ended up losing when she stepped up in competition. She is currently riding a two-fight losing streak and hasn’t fought in over a year. Faria (18-7-1) is 32 and she’s 0-2 in the UFC. The Brazilian was a champion in Titan FC and a title contender in WSOF but hasn’t lived up to her potential in the UFC and really hasn’t shown any reason to stick around the roster. I think Calderwood moving up to flyweight is going to do wonders for her, and I see her outstriking Faria here for a decision win.
Pick: Joanne Calderwood
Dober (19-8, 1 NC) is 29 and he’s 5-4, 1 NC in the UFC. The American really struggled at the beginning of his UFC career but has picked it up as of late and has won four of his last five fights overall with a couple of knockout wins during that span. Tuck (10-4) is 33 and he’s 4-4 in the UFC. The Guam native has been really inconsistent in the UFC and hasn’t been able to put together a win streak, though he did look good in defeating Takanori Gomi in his last fight. Dober has at least been active and fighting often unlike Tuck, who fights maybe once a year. I think Dober is the more well-rounded fighter and with the hometown advantage should help carry him to a hard-fought decision win.
Pick: Drew Dober
Yahya (25-9, 1 NC) is 33 and he’s 10-3, 1 NC in the UFC. The Brazilian is one of the most underrated bantamweights in the UFC as he’s won six of his last seven bouts but never gets talked about as a contender. He is one of the best submission artists in the UFC and has a ton of experience fighting high-level competition. Sanders (12-2) is 32 and he’s 2-2 in the UFC. The American has struggled so far in the UFC as he hasn’t been able to put together a win streak and he was stopped in both of his losses. I just feel like Sanders makes too many mistakes on the ground and an elite BJJ artist like Yahya will take advantage of that. I’m taking Yahya to pull off the submission win here.
Pick: Rani Yahya
Last event: 8-4
2018 picks year-to-date: 179-107 (63%)
Final 2017 tally: 282-171, 3 No Contest (64%)