The UFC is back to invade homes worldwide as Dana White and company bring to us UFC 250, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main event features two women featherweights ready to do battle for the belt. The remainder of the main card highlights the bantamweight division as 4 of the top 10 fighters are ready to go to war for supremacy in the division. The Prelims have 4 exciting bouts on the card as 20 year old Chase Hooper hopes to make a name for himself against Alex Caceres in the feature bout. The prelims start at 8 PM on ESPN, and the main card can be seen on PPV or ESPN+ starting at 10 PM est. Let’s settle in and break down each fight. We’ll check the spreads on each fight, provided by Points Bet. Finally, I’ll provide my predictions for tonight’s festivities.
Main Card (10 PM est, PPV, ESPN +)
Women’s Featherweight Championship Bout
(C) “The Lioness” Amanda Nunes vs. “Feenom” Felicia Spencer
Odds: Nunes (-650) Spencer (+450)
The main event of the evening features the women of the featherweight division. Seriously though, is there any other women in this division? There’s no rankings at all for the women’s featherweights. <End Rant> Anyways, let’s get to the fight, shall we? The Lioness, The Champ, The Goat, however you want to refer to her, is looking for a challenge among the women of the UFC. Next up for Nunes is Felicia Spencer. The “Feenom” is ready to shock the world as she’s a MASSIVE underdog in this fight. The former Invicta FC featherweight champ is no slouch though. She holds an 8-1 professional record. The only loss on her resume comes from the dominant Cris Cyborg. Felicia stood in there with Cyborg and took some nasty shots. She was tough in the octagon, and was able to go the distance with Cyborg.
|G. de Randamie||LAST FIGHT||Zarah Faim|
Amanda Nunes is riding a 10 fight win streak into the octagon on Saturday night. She holds impressive wins over the likes of Ronda Rousey, Meisha Tate, Cyborg, and Holly Holm in convincing fashion. The Lioness is the number 1, pound for pound, women’s fighter in the world. She could go down as the best ever. Now, how can Felicia Spencer pull off the upset you ask? Simple, just take Nunes to the ground. The problem is the task really is not that simple. Spencer has a helluva chin, can absorb some tough shots, and is just a flat out strong woman. However, I don’t think it’ll be enough to take down the Lioness. The fight won’t be quick, but will not go the distance.
Prediction: Nunes by KO, Round 3
Raphael Assuncao vs. Cody “No Love” Garbrandt
Odds: Garbrandt (-155) Assuncao (+125)
The co-main event highlights the bantamweight division as Cody “No Love” returns to the octagon against seasoned veteran Raphael Assuncao. This bout is important for both fighters. They’re both riding losing streaks, and need a win to maintain their top 10 ranking in the division. Garbrandt, the former bantamweight champ, is in the midst of a 3 fight KO streak. This is not the good kind either. Cody’s been knocked out in every loss, three in a row, and another convincing loss could be devastating for his future in the UFC. Cody vows that he’s improved in his extended absence from the octagon, and hopes to turn those previous flaws into strengths. If Cody can find the guy who beat Dominick Cruz for the belt, then he can make a run towards another title run in the near future.
|(L) Sandhagen||LAST FIGHT||(L) Munhoz|
Raphael is looking to rebound after 2 consecutive losses in the octagon. While he’s still maintaining a #5 ranking in the bantamweight division, a loss tonight could slam the door on any shot of ever competing for the belt. Father time may bolt that door shut for Assuncao’s title chances. This fight will come down to who wants it more. Will Cody’s quickness and heavy hands prevail? Can Raphael get Garbrandt to the ground where he can dominate his opponent for a submission victory? This will be an interesting fight watching the exchange of different styles for 15 minutes. This one is too close to call for me. Should I go youth over experience??
Prediction: Garbrandt by split decision
“Funk Master” Aljamain Sterling vs. “The Sandman” Cory Sandhagen
Odds: Sterling (-125) Sandhagen (-105)
Another Bantamweight bout? Hell Yeah! There are tremendous stakes involved in this fight. With the sudden “retirement” of Henry Cejudo, that leaves a vacancy at the throne of the bantamweight division. Dana White has already said that Petr Yan will be competing for the prize. However, he needs an opponent. Here’s where this fight come into play. The #2 and #4 ranked fighters are likely fighting for an interim belt tonight. The “Funk Master” is well aware of the stakes in this fight.
“It’s an exciting time to be in this division right now with the belt up for grabs for anybody.”
Both fighters are riding lengthy win streaks into the octagon this evening. Sterling has put down his last 4 opponents while Sandhagen is undefeated in the UFC at 5-0. Sterling hopes to use his black belt in BJJ to get Sandhagen on the mat for a submission. On the other side of the octagon, Sandhagen hopes to land strikes at a fast pace, and knock him out. The Sandman averages 7.14 significant strikes per minute, which ranks among the highest in the UFC, all weight classes combined. Impressive! Are we going to see a tap out or a TKO? Maybe this goes the distance? I doubt it, but I can guarantee this bout will be a F.O.T.N. nominee.
Prediction: Sandhagen via KO, Round 2
“Haitian Sensation” Neil Magny vs. Anthony Rocco Martin
Odds: Magny (-145) Martin (+115)
The lone welterweight contest on the card features Neil Magny vs. Anthony Rocco Martin. Both fighters are coming off unanimous decision victories their last time in the octagon. For Anthony Rocco Martin, the pressure seems to be on in this fight. He’ll be entering the UFC octagon for possibly the final time as his contract expires after this fight. Usually, negotiations start before the final bout of a fighter’s deal, but no conversation was held with Rocco.
“Everything is on the line for this fight!”
Neil Magny is a UFC veteran and part of the Ultimate fighter alumni. He’s finished 7 opponents via KO while registering 12 decision wins in his career. Rocco has a black belt in BJJ. He’s forced 9 of his opponents to tap out in the octagon. This will be a very interesting fight. The battle of fighting styles will be very prevalent. Can Neil Magny’s terrific take down defense (59%) cause frustration in Rocco’s game plan? Will Rocco get the take down and essentially takeover on the ground? I can see a chess match happening in the UFC Apex, and both fighters go the distance.
|Jiliang Li||LAST FIGHT||Ramazan Emeev|
Prediction: Magny via Unanimous decision
Eddie Wineland vs. “Sugar” Sean O’Malley
Odds: O’Malley (-556) Wineland (+350)
After a break, we are back to the bantamweights! This fight will be fun! They were getting feisty at the weigh ins. The battle of the seasoned veteran not wanting to see his shine fade, and the up and comer trying to make a name for himself to show he’ll be a UFC mainstay for years to come. Sean O’Malley is the young gun ready to step in the spotlight announce his presence in the bantamweight division. He’s undefeated in 11 fights with 7 wins by way of knockout. O’Malley is ready to make the leap to prominence.
“I’m in this sport to be the greatest bantamweight of all time.”
That’s a bold statement Mr. O’Malley. Let’s see if you can back up that confidence in the octagon starting tonight. For Eddie Wineland, this could be his final swan song. He hasn’t fought since last June, but is used to fighting only once a year over the last few years. The former WEC Bantamweight champion hopes to bring confidence and experience to the octagon beating a reality check into his opponent across the cage tonight.
Prediction: O’Malley by TKO, Round 1
Prelims (8 PM , ESPN)
Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres vs. “The Dream” Chase Hooper
Odds: Hooper (-195) Caceres (+155)
The feature bout on the prelims involves a duel between a TUF alumni, and the youngest fighter in the UFC. The Southpaw UFC mainstay has been on a roller coaster of wins and losses lately. Caceres will step into the octagon for the first time in nearly a year after breaking his hand, and got some well deserved rest as well.
“I just felt like I needed time off to recapture myself.”
Chase Hooper enters the octagon as the youngest fighter in the promotion. Hooper won his UFC debut in December via strikes vs. Daniel Teymur. The kid is undefeated professionally at 9-0-1. Chase is ready to make an impact on the grand stage of the UFC.
“For him, it’s just another fight, but I’m trying to make a statement here and prove myself.”
The Dream hopes to showcase his talents on the feature bout of the prelims this evening. Hooper has finished 7 of his 9 opponents. The smaller cage should help Hooper push the pace and attempt to secure the victory. For Caceres, tonight will be an attempt to get his name out there as a formidable opponent in the featherweight division.
|15-12-0 (1 NC)||RECORD||(9-0-1)|
Prediction: Hooper via Strikes, Round 2
“The Hurricane” Ian Heinisch vs. “GM3” Gerald Meerschaert
Odds: Heinisch (-135) Meerschaert (+108)
The fight is on. The fight is off. The fight is on. The fight is off. Well, what is it? Two days ago, an unfortunate occurrence happened as one of Ian Heinisch’s coaches tested positive for COVID-19. They pulled Ian from the fight as a safety measure. After research, it was later revealed that the coach had a false positive diagnosis and was deemed healthy of the COVID-19. Moving onto the fight in front of us, we have a battle as Ian Heinisch looks to catapult into the top 10 rankings with a win. Meanwhile, Gerald Meerschaert is attempting to put together a winning streak after losing 3 of his last 5 fights in the octagon. He’ll look to take him down to the mat as 23 of GM3’s wins came via submission.
|(L) Akhmedov||LAST FIGHT||Winn|
Ian Heinisch is currently on a 2 fight losing streak after dropping a unanimous decision to Omari Akhmedov. The Hurricane will attempt to get back in the win column with a victory tonight.
Prediction: Heinisch via unanimous decision
Cody “Spartan” Stamann vs. Brian “Boom” Kelleher
Odds: Stamann (-270) Kelleher (+205)
Cody Stamann will enter the octagon tonight with a heavy heart tonight as he received tragic news last week. His 18 year old brother unexpectedly passed away. While his brother is heavy on the mind, Stamann vowed to compete this evening in memory of his younger brother.
“It’s fuel for the fire.”
Cody’s brother was one of his biggest fans, and would want nothing other than for Cody to carry on business as usual and fight in his honor.
|(Draw) Yadong||LAST FIGHT||Azure|
Brian Kelleher enters tonight on a 2 fight win streak. This fight will be a quick turnaround for Kelleher as he recently fought on May 13th defeating Hunter Azure via strikes. Cody will look to continue his impressive display of fighting in the octagon. He went to a decision draw with Song Yadong last time in the cage. The only blemish on his UFC record is a loss to current #2 bantamweight, Aljamain Sterling.
Both fighters are natural bantamweights, and will move up to featherweight for this contest. This will be an exciting fight, and could go either way in victory.
Prediction: Stamann via Split Decision
“Kid Dynamite” Charles Byrd vs. “Coconut Bombz” Maki Pitolo
Odds: Byrd (-180) Pitolo (+142)
This battle will feature 2 fighters who earned UFC contracts on Dana White’s Contender series program. Second time was a charm for Charles Byrd after earning 2 victories on the show. However, since entering the UFC, Charles has put together some lackluster performances in the octagon. The cards seem to be stacked against Byrd entering tonight. He’s on the wrong side of 35 years old. He’s returning to the cage nearly a year after a car accident which gave him a lingering neck injury. Finally, his last 2 fights ended in TKO. It’s definitely not a good resume to stay in the UFC. This is a MUST WIN for Charles Byrd.
|(L) Shahbazyan||LAST FIGHT||(L) Porter|
Maki Pitolo comes into this fight after losing his UFC debut to Callan Porter via unanimous decision. Pitolo does have a 3 fight win streak prior to his UFC debut with wins on contender series, Bellator, and CFFC. Maki has some power behind those hands. Just ask the 6 opponents he’s KO’d in his career. If Maki connects on a big hitter tonight, he could send Byrd to dreamland.
Prediction: Pitolo via TKO, Round 1
Thanks to PointsBet for the odds on tonight’s fights, and enjoy the show!