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Dan Tom

UFC Fight Night 222: Quick picks and prognostications

MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the UFC’s top bouts. Today, we look at the main card for UFC Fight Night 222.

UFC Fight Night 222 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+.

Last event’s results: 3-3

Overall picks for UFC main cards in 2023: 33-27-2

Welcome to MMAJunkie’s Quick Picks and Prognostications, where I’ll be giving brief, fight-day breakdowns for UFC main cards.

With that in mind, I hope these write-ups don’t come off as curt or dismissive, as my goal here is to offer quick picks and analysis in a digestible format. All odds listed are provided by Tipico Sportsbook.

If you’d like more detailed analysis from me, then feel free to check out my weekly show, The Protect Ya’ Neck Podcast.

So, without further ado…

Jeremiah Wells (-115) vs. Matthew Semelsberger (-105)

The main card in Las Vegas kicks off with a potential welterweight war between Jermiah Wells and Matthew Semelsberger.

Both men have been rounding out their games and fighting at their best lately, which makes this match especially hard to call.

Semelsberger looks to have a slightly more consistent offense from round to round, I just find it difficult to ignore the power and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt on the Wells side of the equation.

I’ll take Wells to pull off a submission in round two, but this could very well be a nip-and-tuck affair that goes the distance.

Brogan Walker (+275) vs. Iasmin Lucindo (-350)

Filling out the main card is a women’s flyweight bout between Brogan Walker and Iasmin Lucindo.

Both women are coming off of defeats, but Lucindo’s loss was an impressive effort opposite an up-and-coming fighter.

Walker’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt should give her a slight grappling edge on paper, but she was just out-grappled by another purple belt in her last fight.

Lucindo may be slightly smaller, but I’ll side with her potent strikes and killer instinct to win the day via a third-round finish.

Bobby Green (-275) vs. Jared Gordon (+210)

Coming in as the lone lightweight offering on the main card is a matchup between Bobby Green and Jared Gordon.

Although it’s nice to see the UFC treating Gordon as if were coming off of a win (as anyone who saw his fight with Paddy Pimblett knows what the result should’ve been), I also feel bad for “Flash” given the stylistic matchup at hand.

Don’t get me wrong: Gordon is an incredibly gritty fighter who is more than capable of pulling off the upset, I just believe that Green’s criminally underrated takedown defense and striking will probably end up winning the day.

The pick is for Green to force a stoppage by strikes in the third round.

Brad Tavares (-160) vs. Bruno Silva (+130)

The co-main event on ESPN+ features a middleweight matchup between Brad Tavares and Bruno Silva.

Despite Tavares typically being underrated by the pundits and the public alike, the 16-year pro finds himself as the betting favorite opposite Silva.

I obviously have to state my bias for my fellow Hawaiian from Xtreme Couture, but I don’t deny that Silva’s potent counter-punching makes him a live dog in this spot.

That said, I suspect that Silva’s defense hurts him in the scoring department, as I see Tavares taking this one by unanimous decision.

Curtis Blaydes (-165) vs. Sergei Pavlovich (+140)


Sergei Pavlovich vs. Curtis Blaydes UFC Fight Night 222 faceoff 2

The main event in Las Vegas features an important heavyweight affair between Curits Blaydes and Sergei Pavlovich.

As stated in my in-depth breakdown, I’m hoping that – win or lose – Blaydes provides us with some solid samples of Pavlovich having to defend takedowns.

Pavlovich comes from a Greco-Roman base, but we really haven’t gotten to see him have to use it in a meaningful way, defensively or offensively.

For that reason, I’ll side with Blaydes to finally break through to a title shot and remind the masses that he’s the most dominant wrestler in the division by forcing a stoppage by strikes in the first round.

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