UFC Fight Night 220: 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 220.
UFC Fight Night 220 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+.
Last event’s results: 2-3
Overall picks for UFC main cards in 2023: 11-12-2
Welcome to MMA Junkie’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 …
Mike Malott (-220) vs. Yohan Lianesse (+175)
Kicking off the main card is a potential welterweight war between [autotag]Mike Malott[/autotag] and [autotag]Yohan Lianesse[/autotag].
Despite Canadian representation in the UFC running a bit thin these days, the matchmakers have managed to pair together the lone two Canadians at 170 pounds. That aside, this fight should be fun for as long as it lasts.
Lianesse is a competent power puncher who is dangerous early, while Malott is the more well-rounded and technically refined fighter.
Given that Lianesse’s past reactions to pressure have involved changing his level for shots, I’ll pick the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in Malott to snatch up his neck in transition by the second round.
Tatiana Suarez (-800) vs. Montana De La Rosa (+550)
Filling out the main card is an anticipated flyweight fight between [auotag]Tatiana Suarez[/autotag] and [autotag]Montana De La Rosa[/autotag].
Returning from a three-plus-year layoff due to injury, Suarez will be making an important pitstop at 125 pounds before going back to the strawweight division.
Standing in Suarez’s way is De La Rosa, who is and well-rounded fighter with solid skills and fundamentals.
That said, I suspect that Suarez’s strengths and potential improvements will still be too much for De La Rosa down the stretch. I’ll take Suarez to either force a stoppage by strikes or squeeze out a submission on the ground by the third round.
Augusto Sakai (-125) vs. Don'Tale Mayes (+105)
Death, taxes, and the UFC matchmakers’ obsession with force-feeding us unranked heavyweights on Fight Night main cards.
[autotag]Augusto Sakai[/autotag] and [autotag]Don’Tale Mayes[/autotag] move deceptively well for big men, but don’t be surprised if there’s a decent amount of time spent in closed quarters during this contest.
Mayes has had the propensity to wrestle more as of late, I’m just not sure that his takedowns are good enough to meaningfully ground Sakai (who is quietly a decent clinch striker).
Couple that with the past kick defense of Mayes, and I’ll side with Sakai to land the more impactful offense en route to a competitive but clear decision win.
Andre Muniz (-240) vs. Brendan Allen (+190)
The co-main event on ESPN+ is a solid middleweight matchup that has a decent argument for top billing.
Even though I believe that [autotag]Andre Muniz[/autotag] deserves a fight that’s higher up in the rankings, [autotag]Brendan Allen[/autotag] serves as a stern test for the rising Brazilian.
Allen has an excellent record opposite UFC-level southpaws (officially standing at 6-2), but his ground-giving grappling habits and cage positioning could be extra costly against a submission specialist in the small cage.
I’ve been warning anyone who would listen about Muniz’s submissions since he stepped onto the scene, so I’ll stick with the third-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to get it done here with an armbar in round two.
Nikita Krylov (-170) vs. Ryan Spann (+148)
The main event in Las Vegas features a light-heavyweight encounter between [autotag]Nikita Krylov[/autotag] and [autotag]Ryan Spann[/autotag].
Both fighters are offensive dynamos who are do-or-die by nature, but I find myself siding with the experience and skills of Krylov.
Although Krylov also makes suspect in-fight decisions, the Ukrainian appears to have more reliable grappling skills and stamina to boot. Krylov has also shown the ability to recover when things get turbulent (as I suspect that will serve him well in this fight).
I’ll be happy for Spann and coach Sayif Saud if the American is able to upset the odds, but I’ll reluctantly pick Krylov to force a stoppage via strikes by the end of the second 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 Tipico.com for Terms and Conditions. 21+ only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO).