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UFC 265: Prelims Preview

Another UFC pay-per-view has arrived, which is headlined by a huge interim heavyweight championship bout. Derrick Lewis will fight in his hometown of Houston for UFC gold when he takes on Cyril Gane.

The co-main event was due to have Amanda Nunes defending her bantamweight title against Julianna Pena, but the champion was forced out of the bout. The co-main event will now see two Brazilian bantamweights lock horns, where former featherweight champion Jose Aldo will take on Pedro Munoz. The card is stacked from top to bottom, with some very exciting matchups taking place in the prelims.

Rafael Fiziev (9-1) vs Bobby Green (27-11-1)

Rafael Fiziev is one of the hottest prospects in the UFC at the moment, coming off a violent knockout victory over Renata Moicano. His aggressive stand-up caught the eye of many fans and many have been eagerly awaiting his next outing. He takes on a tough opponent in UFC veteran Bobby Green, who is coming off a disappointing loss against Thiago Moises after winning three in a row.

Fiziev has voiced his frustrations about not being able to get a fight, so he will be raring to go. I do not think Green will be able to withstand the Kyrgyzstani’s power. It will be a tough fight for both men, but I see the Fiziev hype train rolling on, and I am picking Rafael Fiziev by knockout.

Drako Rodriguez (7-2) vs Vince Morales (9-5)

The bantamweight division is up next, where Drako Rodriguez takes on Vince Morales. Both men are coming off losses and will be looking to correct mistakes in their last outings. This could very well be a must-win for either fighter as the UFC has not held back in cutting fighters on two or three losing streaks.

Both are very early into their careers with the UFC. Although Morales has more experience, I do not see him getting a victory here. Rodriguez showed very promising signs in his Contender Series win and I think he will rise to the occasion on the night. My pick is Drako Rodriguez by decision.

Ed Herman (25-14) vs Alonzo Menifield (10-2)

After an up and down career so far, UFC veteran Ed Herman finds himself on a three-fight winning streak, with two of those wins coming by way of finish. He faces Alonzo Menifield who has also had mixed results since bursting onto the scene after being signed from the Contender Series.

After suffering two losses he got back to winning ways when he defeated a late replacement in Fabio Cherant by way of the very rare ‘Von Flue’ choke. The potential is definitely there for Menifield and after losing his undefeated record, a win like his last one was definitely exactly what he needed to get some momentum back. I think he will continue this momentum, and my pick is Alonzo Meinfeld by knockout.

Jessica Penne (13-5) vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz (12-6)

Two top strawweights open the ESPN prelims section of the card. Karolina Kowalkiewicz fought her way to a title shot against fellow Polish UFC fighter Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 205. She fell short and has never quite looked the same since. After suffering a vicious knockout loss to Jessica Andrade, Kowalkiewicz lost another three in a row, bringing her run of losses to four. After losing three in a row and taking a lengthy lay-off, Jessica Penne got herself back to winning ways when she defeated Lupita Godinez. I think this a perfect fight for Kowalkiewicz to get back to winning ways, I see her being too much for Penna on the feet and I am picking Kowalkiewicz by decison.

Manel Kape (15-6) vs Ode Osbourne (9-3)

The early prelims section of the card is headlined by which should be a very tightly contested fight between two hot prospects. Manel Kape entered the UFC with high expectations which he has struggled to meet. That being said, he has looked impressive in his losses with signs of class in periods, he just hasn’t been able to put it together. This could very well be make or break for the Portuguese man when he takes on Ode Osbourne. Osbourne is 1-1 in the UFC since being signed from the Contender Series, with his last fight being a devastating knockout win against Jerome Rivera. Expect fireworks in this one, I am picking Manel Kape by Knockout.

Miles Johns (11-1) vs Anderson Dos Santos (21-8)

Miles Johns makes another UFC walk when he takes on Anderson Dos Santos in the early prelims section of the evening. Both men are coming off impressive wins, especially Johns who defeated Kevin Natividad with a beautiful uppercut in the final round of their bout. If Dos Santos lost his last fight he very well may have been cut, but he got the victory against Martin Day and will look to build some momentum after suffering two losses on the bounce starting out his UFC career. Johns has looked very impressive ever since being signed from the Contender Series, and I think he will be too much for the Brazilian on the night. My pick is Miles Johns by decision.

Victoria Leonardo (8-4) vs Melissa Gatto (6-0-2)

This bout features another two fighters who are in search of a first UFC win. Victoria Leonardo looking very impressive in Dana White’s Contender Series, where she finished Chelsea Hackett in the second round. She made her debut against a very tough opponent in Manon Fiorot, who looks likely to shoot to the top of the women’s flyweight division. Standing in Leonardo’s way is a UFC debutant looking to make a name for herself in Melissa Gatto. The undefeated Brazilian has not fought since 2018 so it will be interesting to see if she suffers from ring rust. My pick for this fight is Victoria Leonardo by decision.

Johnny Munoz (10-1) vs Jamey Simmons (7-3)

The opening bout of the evening features two men who are looking to achieve their first win in the UFC. Both Johnny Munoz and Jamey Simmons are coming off losses in their debuts for the promotion. Munoz was coming on a very impressive streak of thirteen wins combined in amateur and professional fights and will be looking to right the wrongs of his loss to Nate Maness. Simmons was given as tough an opponent as ever when he took on Giga Chikadze, who made light work of the American, finishing him in the first. This will be an exciting opener to the card, and my pick is Johnny Munoz by decision.

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