Heavyweight Bout: Curtis Blaydes (14-2) vs. Derrick Lewis (24-7)
Luke Irwin: Unless you’re Francis Ngannou, as a Curtis Blaydes opponent, your fate is pretty much sealed. Looking up at the lights while avoiding lunchbox fists raining down on you. Blaydes via R2 TKO.
Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Ketlen Vieira (11-1) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (13-5)
Luke: Vieira is kryptonite against wrestlers, but Kunitskaya is a striker by trade, and Vieira’s only loss was getting her lights turned out by Irene Aldana, who’s hardly a fearsome striker. I’m calling an upset, as Kunitskaya dots her up at distance and scores the win. Kunitskaya via UD.
Featherweight Bout: Charles Rosa (13-4) vs. Darrick Minner (25-11)
Luke: Minner’s MO is pretty wide-open. He lives and dies by the submission. Rosa’s never been submitted professionally, and has the wherewithal to not get suckered in by Minner, while being able to lock in submissions of his own. Look for an armbar, here. Rosa via R2 Submission.
Heavyweight Bout: Alexey Oleynik (59-14-1) vs. Chris Daukaus (10-3)
Luke: The big question to me is whether or not Oleynik can withstand Daukas’s first-round violence party, where many haven’t been able to. I think the wily veteran survives the first, then drags Daukaus to the deep water before drowning him. Oleynik via R3 Submission.
Middleweight Bout: Nassourdine Imavov (9-2) vs. Phil Hawes (9-2)
Luke: In their last eleven combined fights, Imavov and Hawes are 11-0 with NINE first-round finishes. However, both may play it safe. Imavov went to a decision in his UFC debut, and Hawes is on his second chance in the UFC after getting knocked out in the Contender Series once before. But I’m going to lean on the side of power, which tends to ultimately win. Hawes via R1 KO.
Heavyweight Bout: Andrei Arlovski (30-19) vs. Tom Aspinall (9-2)
Luke: Arlovski is never totally out of a fight, but against a much younger, more athletic opponent, his hands won’t be able to do much even if he can uncork them. Aspinall via UD.
-2021 Picks Record: 14-11 (56.0%)