UFC 259

UFC 259: Early Prelims Guide and Picks

Saturday brings us the third PPV event of the year. UFC 259 sees three championship fights take place in Las Vegas. Jan Blachowicz vs Israel Adesanya, Amanda Nunes vs Megan Anderson and Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling. From the very start, the card delivers amazing fights.

We’ve ran through everything you should know for this weekends early prelims. From form to fighter background, you won’t miss a beat at UFC 259.

Tim Elliott (17-11) Vs Jordan Espinosa (15-8) – Flyweight 

 

In their last 5:

Elliott: WLLLW

Espinosa: 

 

Betting odds: 

Elliott: +105

Espinosa: -125

 

Elliott background: Former Titan FC champion Elliott returns to the octagon coming off a win. In July, Elliott overcame Ryan Benoit to end a three-fight losing streak. His fight against Espinosa will be his 15th UFC appearance. 

Elliott has a great ground game and is a threat from submissions. Both on the feet and in grappling exchanges, he is unpredictable and active. 

 

Espinosa background: In July 2018, Espinosa was awarded his UFC contract after a second appearance on DWCS. Since then, he has gone 2-3 in the organization. He has 7 wins by submission, all of which coming in the first round. 

Espinosa is also a threat from the ground with his excellent submission skills. He has good boxing that he mixes up with leg kicks. He is very light on the feet and has good footwork.

 

My pick: Espinosa

 

Kennedy Nzechukwu (7-1) Vs Carlos Ulberg (5-0) – Light Heavyweight 

 

In their last 5:

Nzechukwu: WLWWW

Ulberg: WWWWW

 

Betting odds: 

Nzechukwu: +240

Ulberg: -240

 

Nzechukwu background:  It’s been just over 18 months since we last saw Nigerian Nzechukwu in the octagon. Earning his contract on DWCS, he faced Paul Craig in his UFC debut, being submitted late into the fight. He then made a quick turn around in August 2019 as he got the nod on the judges scorecards against Darko Stosic. 

Nzechukwu is a massive 6”5 with an 83” reach. He uses his length well and does a great job of keeping distance and backing up opponents. He often throws his rear knee from the southpaw stance when entering range. 

 

Ulberg background: One of three City Kickboxing fighters on this card, Ulberg is making his UFC debut. He was awarded his contract on DWCS thanks to a first round KO. In his MMA career, he’s only seen the third round once. 

Ulberg is a long, powerful kickboxer. He has excellent timing and is very explosive when striking. He displays some similarities to training partner Israel Adesanya with his use of feints. 

 

My pick: Ulberg 

 

Sean Brady (13-0) Vs Jake Matthews (17-4) – Welterweight

 

In their last 5:

Brady: WWWWW

Matthews: WWWLW

 

Betting odds: 

Brady: -210

Matthews: +175

 

Brady background: Former Cage Fury champion Brady is coming off the back of the back of a second round submission over Christian Aguilera back in August. He’ll look to extend his unbeaten career on Saturday with a win over Matthews. He has 3 (T)KOs and 3 submissions to his name. 

Brady is a jiu-jitsu black and has an excellent ground game with strong wrestling. His takedowns are excellent as well as his takedown defense. He has good boxing and works well in the close range with a great check-hook. 

 

Matthews background: Australian Matthews is looking to build on his current three-fight win streak. His latest fight saw him victorious on the judges scorecards against Diego Sanchez at UFC 253. He made his introduction to the UFC back in 2014 and has gone 10-4 in the organization. 

Matthews is also a jiu-jitsu black. He keeps good range and is patient with his strikes. He has very solid traditional boxing as well as a good wrestling background. 

 

My pick:  Brady

 

Livinha Souza (14-2) Vs Amanda Lemos (8-1-1 NC) – Strawweight 

 

In their last 5:

Souza: WLWWW

Lemos: WWLWD

 

Betting odds: 

Souza: +180

Lemos: -220

 

Souza background: Former Invicta FC champion Souza will be making her fifth walk to the octagon on Saturday. Last time we saw the Brazilian n was at UFC 252. She got the unanimous decision victory over Ashley Yoder. Out of her 14 wins, 10 have been stoppages. 

Formerly on the Brazilian Olympic Judo team, and with her excellent submission skills, Souza’s best work is on the ground. With very threatening Jiu-Jitsu and her excellent transitions, opponents tend to struggle with Souza on the canvas. She also has a very fast and hard right hand that she will look to land in striking exchanges. 

 

Lemos background: After a disappointing debut and a two-year lay off, Lemos returned to the octagon in style. Picking up back-to-back wins in her last two fights, she’ll look to continue on this good path of momentum. With seven finishes in eight wins, she managed 5 (T)KO’s and two submissions. 

Lemos is an excellent counter striker and has excellent timing and power. Her Muay Thai background is very apparent and she mixes up her kicks to head, body and legs. When called upon however she has a good ground game and is strong in clinch scenarios. 

 

My pick: Lemos 

 

Uros Medic (6-0) Vs Aalon Cruz (8-3) – Lightweight

 

In their last 5:

Medic: WWWWW

Cruz: LWWWW

 

Betting odds: 

Medic: -170

Cruz: +145

 

Medic background: Serbian fighter Medic is set to make his UFC debut on Saturday. He was awarded a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series season 4, week 1. In the outing he earned a first round KO over Mikey Gonzalez. Medic has a 100% finish record with 4 (T)KO’s and 2 submissions. 

Medic is a former kickboxing champion and proves why in his style. Being tall and long at 6”1, he uses his range effectively. The Serbian manages distance very well with kicks and has powerful hands. He also has a good set of submission skills, earning two submissions by triangle choke. 

 

Cruz background: Cruz is also a graduate of Dana White’s contender series after a flying knee in the final seconds of the fight. He earned his contract in July 2019 before making debut just over a year ago, which is his latest outing. He lost to Spike Carlyle in his last bout but will look to get back into the win column on Saturday. Cruz moves up to lightweight after a featherweight debut. 

Cruz is a very kick heavy striker who likes to be patient with his strikes. His kicks are fast and a great tool as he looks to mix up where he throws his strikes. He is also a long distance fighter standing 6 foot tall with a massive 78” reach. 

 

My pick: Medic

 

Mario Bautista (8-1) Vs Trevin Jones (12-6) – Bantamweight 

 

In their last 5:

Bautista: WWLWW

Jones: 

 

Betting odds: 

Bautista: -230

Jones: +190

 

Bautista background: Fighting out of the MMA LAB, Bautista is set to make his fourth appearance in the octagon on Saturday. His only professional loss came against Cory Sandhagen in his UFC debut in January 2019. He has since achieved back to back wins, most recently finishing Miles Johns at UFC 247. Bautista has three wins by (T)KO and three by submission. 

Bautista is an aggressive and active fighter. He has great output, always pushing the pace on his opponent. He works a lot of feints into his movement and tends to be slightly unorthodox. His angle changes help him to set up a nasty right head kick. Bautista has proven to have great cardio. 

 

Jones background: Trevin Jones will be looking to get his first UFC win on Saturday. The fighter from Guam had his UFC debut against Timur Valiev declared a no contest as he tested positive for marijuana. In the fight however Jones remarkably came back and got a knockout finish over massive favorite Valiev. 

Jones’ background is mostly that of a jiu-jitsu one. Being the first martial art Jones perused, he now trains at Vida BJJ. He is a good boxer also who is patient and looks for counters. Takedowns and trips are also a strongpoint of Jones. 

My pick: Bautista 

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