On November 21st, the newly crowned champion of the men’s flyweight division -Deiveson Figueiredo- will defend his belt for the first time. The ever-dominant female flyweight champion -Valentina Shevchenko- will also defend her title in the co-main event of UFC 255. The main card is full of veterans and will certainly be exciting and I can guarantee the same for the prelims. Headlined by a potential title eliminator in the men’s flyweight division, the prelims feature seven fights and without further ado, here are my predictions.
Louis Cosce vs Sasha Palatnikov
My Pick: Louis Cosce via Knockout
Kyle Daukus vs Dustin Stoltzfus
My Pick: Kyle Daukus via Decision
Alan Jouban vs Jared Gooden
My Pick: Alan Jouban via Decision
Nicolas Dalby vs Daniel Rodriguez
Following the early prelims is a welterweight bout between Nicolas Dalby (1-1 UFC) and Daniel Rodriguez (3-0 UFC). Dalby is an MMA veteran and most famous for his war with Ross Houston at Cage Warriors 106 in 2019. Rodriguez is also a veteran of the sport and is currently rampant on a nine-fight win streak, three of those in the UFC. Dalby and Rodriguez both have mixed styles with an emphasis on boxing. Dalby being an orthodox fighter averages just over three significant strikes landed per minute. Rodrigues, a southpaw, more than doubles that number with over eight significant strikes landed per minute on average. Based on those stats I believe Rodriguez has the advantage, but if Dalby can make the fight a brawl, he could secure a victory.
My Pick: Rodriguez by Decision
Antonina Shevchenko vs Ariane Lipski
The fifth fight of the night is in the women’s flyweight division between the older sister of Valentina Shevchenko -Antonina (2-2 UFC)- and Brazilian Ariane Lipski. Shevchenko is a slight favorite in this bout and has demonstrated that she has a strong Muay Thai style. Lipski is a BJJ specialist and is coming off of a potential submission of the year victory in July. In Antonina’s last fight her lackluster ground game was taken advantage of by Kaitlyn Chookagian, who is a solid grappler, but it is not her specialty. If Lipski can take the fight to the ground, I don’t see this going well for Shevchenko.
My Pick: Lipski via Submission
Joaquin Buckley vs Jordan Wright
The sixth bout of the night will be between rising middleweights Joaquin Buckley (1-1 UFC) and Jordan Wright (1-0 UFC). Buckley won his last fight with what I personally believe to be one of the greatest knockouts in the history of the UFC and a win on Saturday could move him exponentially closer to the top. His opponent, Jordan Wright is an undefeated fighter who made his UFC debut in August and has won all of his professional fights by stoppage. Joaquin has shown that he has more than enough knockout potential but looking back at his fight against Kevin Holland he showed that he has a tendency to fish for it even if it’s not there. This could give some trouble to Buckley given Jordan Wright’s durability and rounded style.
My Pick: Wright via Decision
Brandon Moreno vs Brandon Royval
The final prelim of the night is a flyweight bout between the number one contender Brandon Moreno (5-2-1 UFC) and the sixth ranked flyweight Brandon Royval (2-0 UFC). This fight is almost certain to be a banger as both fighters have shown they push an incredibly high pace on the ground and stand up. Moreno has been in the UFC for four years now and in that time, he has showed that he Is not scared of a fight regardless of the caliber. Royval has only been in the UFC since May but in that time, he has already defeated top contenders in Tim Elliot and Kai-Kara France. Moreno and Royval are similar in their styles with strong focuses on Muay Thai and submission grappling. With the similarity in mind, I think the advantage will go to whoever can push a faster pace and avoid the power counter shots from their opponent.
My Pick: Royval via Decision