UFC 249 is stacked to the gills with high-level fights. It is full of up and comers like Bryce Mitchell and Greg Hardy to veterans of the sport including Cowboy and Dominick Cruz. I'm going to take an inside look at each fight from the Prelims and give my predictions of exactly how these fights will go. A list of the exact predictions will be at the bottom. Let us dive into it!
Bryce Mitchell vs Charles Rosa: Bryce Mitchell has quickly come onto the scene by having back to back bonus fights and following those fights up with charismatic post-fight interviews. Whether it was his post-fight interview about Arkansas or the fact that he performed the 2nd twister in UFC history you like have heard of this kid and for good reason! Charles Rosa may not be on everyone's radar as much but he should be! He is 12-3 and all of his losses have come from well-established fighters (Dennis Siver UD, Yair Rodríguez SD, and Shane Burgos 3rd round TKO). So my prediction for the fight is Charles Rosa by 2nd round submission. Although Bryce has shown to be well rounded in his ground game, he has been submitted before on The Ultimate Fighter and I feel Rosa's experience will get the best of him.
Vicente Luque vs Niko Price: Luque vs Price is a rematch in which Luque got his hand raised the first time around. Luque is coming off a loss in a fight of the night fight vs Wonderboy. Before that, he was on a 6 fight winning streak including Niko Price in 2017 where Niko was submitted by D'Arce choke in the 2nd round. Niko Price has had a rocky last few fights going 5-3 in his last 8 but has shown insane power having his last 3 victories end in KO's and performance of the night bonuses! I see this fight ending with the same hand being raised as the first time but this time ending in TKO. Luque has proven to have an iron chin and has the power to put away Niko.
Jacaré vs Uriah Hall: This fight is one that has very high potential to be FOTN! Both fighters are well established in the UFC with explosive power and great Jiu-Jitsu. Hall has finished 80% of his wins via TKO while Jacaré wins via submission 54% of the time. This one could go either way but I am picking Jacaré. Jacaré although on a two-fight skid had tough fights with Jack Hermansson and Jan Blachowicz (Split Decision Loss) and I believe is more well rounded. With 14 submissions and 8 KO victories, Jacaré has more ways to win.
Carla Esparza vs Michelle Waterson: The first-ever Straw-weight Champ Carla Esparza faces off against The Karate Hottie. Waterson is coming off a 5 round war with former champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk where she was defeated by unanimous decision. Carla, on the other hand, has won her last two defeating Alexa Grasso and Virna Jandiroba. Waterson is who I predict to take this one via decision. She has been improving fight by fight taking tougher and tougher opponents where I feel Carla has been being used more as a gatekeeper in the division.
Aleksei Oleinik vs Fabricio Werdum: These two men have a lot of experience in the octagon totaling over 100 professional fights between the two of them! Aleksei has his work cut out for him. He has won 46 of his 58 victories via submission which will be a difficult task to repeat seeing as Werdum has never been submitted and is recognized as one of the best heavyweight Jiu-Jitsu fighters of all time. Coming off a suspension for trenbolone, I see Werdum putting away Aleksei early into the fight.
Anthony Pettis vs Donald Cerrone: What a fight! Both fighters have set records and moments in the sport that will always be remembered. This is a rematch of a bout in 2013 where Anthony was able to put Cowboy away via kick to the body in the first round. Since then both have had ups and downs. Cowboy is coming off a three-fight losing streak including both fighters in the main event and Conor McGregor earlier this year. Anthony also has had a recent loss to Tony Ferguson and is currently on a two-fight skid. Cowboy takes this fight via decision is a fight that is full of fireworks. Neither guy is known to back up during fights and will likely lead to a barn burner where I predict Cerrone comes out victorious.
Charles Rosa via 2nd round submission
Vincent Luque via 2nd round TKO
Jacaré via decision
Michelle Waterson via decision
Fabricio Werdum via 1st round TKO
Cowboy via decision