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Dan Tom

UFC on ESPN 41: 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 on ESPN 41.

UFC on ESPN 41 takes place Saturday at Pechanga Arena in San Diego, Calif. The card airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+.

Last event’s results: 3-2

Overall picks for UFC main cards in 2022: 79-47-1

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…

Gerald Meerschaert (+235) vs. Bruno Silva (-320)

The current UFC matchmakers really love themselves some middleweights as they serve us up yet another main-card opener at 185 pounds.

In their defense, both Gerald Meerschaert and Bruno Silva are fun fighters who should make for an entertaining stylistic affair.

Silva’s sprawl and brawl sensibilities definitely earn him the distinction as the favorite, as I was fully prepared to pick the Brazilian coming into this contest.

However, after going back to watch the tape, I couldn’t help but notice Silva’s propensity to turtle to his base in scrambles – which could serve as a death sentence against an opportunistic submission specialist like Meerschaert. Add in Meerschaert’s camp change to the recently re-branded “Kill Cliff FC,” and I’ll take a flier on the American to score a submission win by the second round.

Ariane Lipski (-210) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (+160)

In a fight that was initially pushed back due to illness, Ariane Lipski and Priscila Cachoeira will finally meet on the main card.

Cachoeira is a come-forward brawler who carries knockout power and a mean streak to boot, while Lipski is a more refined muay Thai practitioner who arguably does her best work off of the counter. Lipski has struggled when things have gotten to the floor in past fights, but I’m not sure how much I can count on Cachoeira to test the 28-year-old’s potential improvements.

I suspect that this fight will be wild from the jump, but I’ll reluctantly take Lipski (who missed weight last week due to illness) to edge out Cachoeira on the feet via clean counters and big moments of her own.

Devin Clark (+120) vs. Azamat Murzakanov (-155)

Serving as a fun offering at light heavyweight is a matchup between Devin Clark and Azamat Murzakanov.

Murzakanov is favored for his solid striking and finishing instincts, showing savvy southpaw stylings and deceptive speed. That said, I suspect that the undefeated Russian could be in trouble if he can’t finish Clark in the first round.

Clark is the more experienced (and arguably more proven) party, displaying solid improvements since switching camps to the Elevation Fight Team. I’ll take Clark to survive the initial storms in order to capitalize on a tiring Murzakanov late, forcing a stoppage in the final round.

Yazmin Jauregui (-220) vs. Iasmin Lucindo (+170)

The UFC matchmakers continue to keep us on our toes as Yazmin Jauregeui and Iasmin Lucindo do battle on the main card.

Although I was admittedly not looking forward to taping this fight, I came away being very excited for Jauregui, who was initially supposed to meet Istela Nunes this Saturday. Stepping in for Nunes is Lucindo, who appears to be a powerful grappler who likes to get the job done from topside.

Jauregui does not appear to be impervious to takedowns, but the Mexican fighter shows solid instincts and transitional savvy, utilizing things like leg locks to create scrambles that get her back to her feet. I’ll pick Jauregui to get it done by the third round, forcing a stoppage via strikes.

David Onama (-320) vs. Nate Landwehr (+235)

In a lightweight fight that has all the feels of a classic Joe Silva-era opener, David Onama and Nate Landwehr are anointed with co-main event honors.

Both men are exciting fighters who aren’t afraid to fight at breakneck speeds, but I suspect that this battle could be a lot closer than what the betting line indicates.

Don’t get me wrong: Onama deserves the favorite distinction and could very easily knock Landwehr out cold in the first frame. That said, I still have reservations about Onama’s defense against a fighter who can competently counter and wrestle.

Couple that with Onama attempting a quick turnaround on short notice, and I gotta take a shot on Landwehr to test the 28-year-old’s defense and make things ugly in the clinch for an upset on the scorecards.

Marlon Vera (-240) vs. Dominick Cruz (+180)

The main attraction on ESPN features a potential crossroads at bantamweight between Marlon Vera and Dominick Cruz.

As stated in my in-depth breakdown, this fight is deceptively closer then what the betting spreads might depict.

Although he is in the advanced stages of his career, Cruz keeps finding ways to get it done (as he quietly carries some stylistic kryptonite here). That said, despite being one of Cruz’s biggest defenders when it comes to his status as the bantamweight GOAT, I have a hard time seeing him consistently stick Vera and hit takedowns for 25 minutes without eventually running into something hard.

I hope I’m wrong, but I’ll pick Vera to intercept Cruz with a corralling shot, sparking off a classic club-n-sub by the fourth round.

Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for audience referrals to betting services. Tipico has no influence over nor are any such revenues in any way dependent on or linked to the newsrooms or news coverage. See for Terms and Conditions. 21+ only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO).

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