UFC 261 Prelims Predictions: Usman vs. Masvidal 2

by João Mendes Coelho

Hi guys, exciting prelims in this event with some really interesting fights to look forward. I’ll leave three fast picks for the first fights and a more detailed breakdown of the remaining.

Fast picks:
Ariane Carnelossi to Win 
Jeff Molina to Win 
Zhu Rong to Win

(Danaa “Storm” Batgerel #63 vs. Kevin “Quicksand” Natividad #105)

Danaa “Storm” Batgerel is Mongolian, fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico with a PR (personal record) of 8-2-0 and a UFCR (UFC record) of 1-1. He’s currently ranked #63 bantamweight worldwide.

Batgerel comes out of win against Guido Cannetti (#103) but I wouldn’t attribute much value to this, since Cannetti isn’t really at a UFC level. Earlier, he lost his debut UFC fight against Heili Alateng (#60) in a close fight and didn’t looked bad. 
If his opponent can take him down and explore those positions, I think he’ll be in trouble. But on his feet, he’s arguably the superior fighter out of the two, having shown some poweragainst Cannetti.

Kevin “Quicksand” Natividad 
is an American, fighting out of Tempe, Arizona with a PR of 9-2-0 and UFCR of 0-1. He’s currently ranked #105 bantamweight worldwide.

Natividad was knocked out on his UFC debut by Miles Johns (#45) and will try to take his first win in the UFC in this event. In theory, he’s facing a weaker opponent in comparison to the last time and that could boost his confidence. He’s also younger and more activethan his opponent. Although, his last fight really didn’t look good. It seemed like he has a weak chin. He also doesn’t seem the kind of fighter that would explore Batgerel’s weaknesses and take him down. 

Pick: Danaa “Storm” Batgerel to Win

(Tristan “Boondock” Connelly vs. Pat Sabatini)

Tristan “Boondock” Connelly is a Canadian, fighting out of Vancouver, British Columbia with a PR of 14-6-0 of and UFCR of 1-0. He’ll moving to the featherweight division in this fight.
Tristan got a win on his UFC debut against Michel Pereira (#28) by unanimous decision in the welterweight division. He’s the most experienced with 35 years old and reportedly coming out of a neck surgery. Doesn’t fight since September 2019. Being fit must be considered, but the fact is… Tristan is taking the fight and certainly has to be given credit for winning against a very strong opponent in his debut.

Coming out weight classes could influence the fight negatively but also positively. Tristan has both reach and height advantage and will definitely be the strongest fighter… but there are a lot of questions marks about his fitness to back him trustingly here. Nonetheless, covering him might have some value considering it’s a very even matchup and the odds discrepancy.

Pat Sabatini is an American fighting out of Pennsylvania with a PR of 13-3-0. He’ll be making his debut in the UFC in this event. Sabatini is currently ranked #11 pro-featherweight nationally.

He will be youngest fighter in this bout with 30 years old and seems like a nice prospect coming in the UFC’s featherweight division. Sabatini is much more active than is opponent. 3 bouts in the last year and won his last two. His last fight was in September 2020.

It will be Sabatini’s first time in the world’s stage so he could struggle with that a bit. However, his opponent doesn’t fight in a while. He’ll be taking advantage of that also. 
He’s a very well-rounded fighter and I think it’s a very even matchup. I have to back Sabatini here just because he’s the youngest and fittest fighter. Also, the more active. Connelly will have to show some vulnerability due to his weight cut and surgery.

Pick: Pat Sabatini to Win

(Brendan “All In” Allen #21 vs. Karl “Baby K” Roberson #27)

Brendan “All In” Allen is an American, fighting out of Slidell, Louisiana with a PR of 15-4-0 and UFCR of 3-1. He is currently ranked #21 middleweight worldwide.

Allen comes out of a loss against Sean Strickland (#18). Apart from that, only wins in the UFC. One of them against Kevin Holland in October 2019.

He has both reach and height advantage and he’s also the youngest fighter. He’s, arguably, the best grappler out of the two and should be able to take this fight to the ground. His opponent seems to have a lack of power to hurt him and punish takedown attempts and Allen should be able to finish this fight on the ground. If his opponent keeps this fight on the feet and takes advantage of some clinch positions it could mean problems for Allen.

Karl “Baby K” Roberson is an American, fighting out of Neptune, New Jersey with a PR of 9-3-0 and UFCR of 4-3. He is currently ranked #27 middleweight worldwide.

Robertson lost his last fight against Marvin Vettori (#4) coming out of two straight wins.

Robertson is pretty well-rounded, good striker and has a good run in the UFC but clearly struggles against better grapplers. Brendan Allen is the better grappler.

Pick: Brendan “All In” Allen to Win

(Dwight “The Body Snatcher” Grant #63 vs. Stefan Sekulić #190)

Dwight “The Body Snatcher” Grant is an American, fighting out of New York City with a PR of 10-3-0 and a UFCR of 2-2. He is currently ranked #63 welterweight worldwide.

Grant comes out of a loss against Daniel Rodríguez (#25) in August 2020. Apart from that loss, his path on the UFC has been very respectable only losing to Zack Ottow, by split decision, in a fight that could’ve gone either way.

Dwight Grant he’s definitely the most experienced and active fighter of the two. Also, arguably, the one with more knockout power

Grant has a slight advantage in both height and reach. And should not have problems against Sekulić’s wrestling, which is his opponent’s best weapon. Grant has proven much more than his opponent in the UFC and he’s the favorite to win this fight, but I do not think there is much value in this bet

Stefan Sekulić is a Serbian, fighting out of Novi Sad, Serbia with a PR of 12-3-0 and a UFCR of 0-1. He is currently ranked #190 welterweight worldwide.
Sekulić only has 1 fight in the UFC. He lost that fight against Ramazan Emeev (#43) by unanimous decision in September 2018He hasn’t fought since.  Sekulić might come back as stronger and improved, but he’ll face an opponent with a lot knockout power and much more experience in the UFC. He can look very different and get the surprising win against his opponent, but Dwight Grant still has to be considered the favorite to win due to his power and experience.

Stefan is younger than his opponent with 29 years old vs. Grant’s 36.

Pick: Dwight “The Body Snatcher” Grant to Win

(Randy “Rude Boy” Brown #23 vs. Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira #31)

Randy “Rude Boy” Brown is a Jamaican fighting out of Queens, New York with a professional record (PR) of 12-4-0 and a UFC record (UFCR) of 6-4. He is currently ranked #23 welterweight worldwide.

Rude Boy comes out of a loss against Vicent Luque (#7). Which certainly isn’t something to be ashamed off. Most of his losses were against top competitors in the UFC’S welterweight division (Vicente Luque, Niko Price, Belal Muhammad).  Brown comes to this fight with both reach and height advantage and he’s also the younger fighter.

Randy Brown has always bounced back after a loss. So, that’s also interesting data to consider. After clashing against clearly superior fighters, Randy Brown should get the stoppage in this fight. He has almost all the advantages and he’s the freshest and more well-rounded fighter in general. Considering the level of his past opponents “Cowboy” should be an easier target.

Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira is a Brazilian fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with a PR of 22-9-1 and a UFCR of 11-7. He is currently ranked #31 welterweight worldwide.

Oliveira came out of a horrible streak of 3 losses in 2019. He bounced back in 2020 with 2 wins but lost his last fight (October 2020) against a strong and undefeated prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov.

“Cowboy” might be superior in Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu but I just don’t see him getting a submission here, nor being better than his opponent on his feet. Randy Brown also has excellent ground and pound skills and I think it’ll be the best opponent Cowboy faces in some time. The matchup is more favorable to his opponent. As in theory, he’ll be one of the best opponents “Cowboy” will face.

Pick: Randy “Rude Boy” Brown to Win

Be sure to enjoy the fights and bet responsibly! Check out the main card predictions, and I’ll see you!

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