This month's pay-per-view event is upon us and we are ready with an analyzed list of UFC 290 predictions. There is a lot to expect and there is a lot to be excited about. Two title fights, a bunch of debutants, and a number of unbeaten fighters. Here are our UFC 290 picks.
UFC 290 Predictions: What An Incredible Main Card
Brandon Moreno vs Alexandre Pentoja Prediction
Moreno is one of the most telling examples of how ultimate motivation changes a fighter. After his debut fight, he repeated over and over again that sooner or later he would receive a belt, and also promised to train day and night.
Apparently, he did not deviate from his plan a single step. Brandon made his debut with the promotion back in 2016 when he lost to Pentoja in the final of The Ultimate Fighter 24. In 2023, he is a completely different fighter and is beating the strongest champions.
Moreno has already shown us his resilience and fighting spirit – there are no questions about this.
Alexandre Pentoja made his UFC debut in 2017 against Eric Shelton, whom he defeated via unanimous decision. In total, Pentoja had 12 fights in the UFC: 9 won, 3 lost.
In July 2020, Pantoja lost on points to Askar Askarov and was excluded from the title race for 2 years. He closed this defeat with a series of 3 victories in a row: in February 2021, he defeated Manel Kape by unanimous decision, and in August of the same year, he submitted Brandon Royval in the 2nd round. His last fight was one year ago in 2022 when he beat Alex Perez. He has not fought since then.
Alexandre is a versatile fighter. In the stand, he has good footwork, a thorough game plan, and good combinations. In wrestling, he is dangerous due to his wide arsenal of techniques and good positional wrestling skills. Pantoja leads the fight measuredly and does not allow himself unnecessary fuss in the octagon. This allows the fighter to save cardio for the final rounds.
Pantoja has no knockout power. He can't end a fight that's going against him with one hard punch. I note that the Brazilian has problems in fights with good grapplers. So, he allowed Askar Askarov to control him for 2 rounds. Alexandre has poor takedown scoring. Only 35% of his attempts to transfer the opponent to the ground are successful.
There are multiple UFC 290 predictions one can make about this fight. We believe that Moreno will win against Pentoja but also, it should happen before the end of the fifth round.
• Fight to end ahead of schedule
Robert Whittaker vs Dricus du Plessis Prediction
Robert is the greatest counterpuncher, who every year becomes more technical and dangerous. The last time, Robert literally took Vettori back to the karate school.
Now, Whittaker has to face the insanely similar du Plessis. The advantage is that Robert is too experienced, technical, and accurate.
And as soon as the South African drops even a little in speed, Rob will turn on his divine counterattack skills and jab on the jump, with the help of which he will methodically disassemble the opponent at a distance.
Rob is a former UFC Middleweight Champion and has a Black belt in 3 disciplines: Hapkido, Karate, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Dricus' problems, like a dozen similar ambitious newcomers, are self-confidence and excess aggression. All of them have no doubts about their uniqueness, and after several successful fights, taken at the expense of pressure, they decide that it is thanks to this tactic that they can achieve victory in any match.
Ironically, Rob was once also such a pressing aggressor, but he quickly worked on the mistakes and returned a much more cold-blooded and reasonable fighter.
And of course, the main problem of Dricus is his endurance. After only one round on the ground with Brunson, he could hardly move on his feet and could not carry out a single high-speed attack. Now imagine that Rob makes him race around the octagon for 15 minutes, alternating between clinches, takedowns, and quick exchanges in the rack.
Rob will hit faster and if the fight gets stuck in a clinch near the net, he will kill the enemy with his hooks. Therefore, you should already understand the next of our UFC 290 predictions.
• Whittaker to Win
— UFC (@ufc) July 6, 2023
UFC 290 Prelims Predictions: Two Incredible Fights From The Early Hours
Vitor Petrino vs Marcin Prachnio Prediction
Petrino's professional record is 8–0, so he is unbeaten. He won six out of eight bouts by knockout and trains at the CM System in Curitiba. Vitor entered the UFC in 2022 via the Contender Series by knocking out Rodolfo Bellato in the second round.
In his debut against Anton Turkal, Petrino surprised us. Before Vitor had serious gaps with cardio and takedown defense, but the fight against Turkal (a good grappler) showed that Petrino was hard at work on his minuses.
Petrino is a physically strong kickboxer, capable of one-punch knockouts.
Marcin is 34 years old and trains in Utrecht, the Netherlands at Duncan's Training Center. His professional record is 16–6 with 11 wins by knockout and 11 wins in the first round. Prachnio is a has a karate background. Few imagined that the Pole would last in the UFC for so long.
In his first three appearances in the UFC, Prachnio lost three times by knockout in the first round. It is surprising that after that he was not fired. But now his record is 3-1 in his last four fights.
With this said, here is the first of our UFC 290 predictions for the prelims. We expect a quick fight. If Vitor Petrino gets Prachnio with the same blows that he hit Turkal, then the fight will end with a knockout in the first round. In our opinion, 15 minutes in a cage for this duo is too much, no one is going to wrestle.
Petrino is 9 years younger and hits like a truck, and the Pole is the perfect opponent for him to record a beautiful highlight and pick up a 50K bonus.
• Under 2.5 Rounds
Jimmy Crute vs Alonzo Menifield Prediction
Jimmy is a 27-year-old fighter from Australia. In 2018, he took part in Dana White's Contender Series show, where he knocked out Chris Brichler in the 1st round and signed a contract with the UFC. Jim's debut in the UFC took place in December of the same year in a duel with Paul Craig, whom he successfully took by submission at the end of the 3rd round.
In total in the UFC, Jimmy had 8 fights: 4 won, 3 lost, and 1 draw. He last fought in February this year against this exact opponent – Alonzo Menifield.
Crute is a versatile fighter. In the standing position, he throws a lot of accurate punches, uses footwork and head movement to evade opponents' attacks, and has impressive knockout power.
Alonzo is a 35-year-old American fighter. He joined the UFC in 2019 after his success at Dana White's Contender Series. The career of the American in the UFC is not impressive. He had 10 fights: 6 won, 3 lost, 1 draw.
Menifield doesn't have a fighting background. He came to MMA from American football. The athlete prefers to work in a standing position, likes to get involved in exchanges, and hunts for a knockout. In addition, thanks to his impressive physical strength, he can KO anyone.
Menifield pays for physical strength with cardio drawdowns. His muscles require a lot of oxygen, which is why Alonzo is a 1-round fighter. Devin Clark showed that Menifield is easy to wear out in a passive clinch, and the lack of a martial arts background affects the quality of his performance.
The two fighters met earlier this year in a shocking display that was declared a draw. It was an incredible fight and we have the same expectations here. After the first fight, one would normally stray away from any UFC 290 predictions for this fight. But we think that over 1.5 rounds is a good pick here.
• Over 1.5 Rounds
UFC 290 Full Card Predictions: The Best of the Rest
Now that you have our main UFC 290 predictions, we have to say that there is a lot more on this card that should make you excited. The problem is that most bouts are hard to predict because they involve debutants and other very inexperienced fighters.
The fight between Bo Nickal and Val Woodburn from the main event, for example. What makes this a main event fight, we do not know. Bo Nickal has a record of 4-0-0 and is literally one of the least experienced fighters in the entire promotion. His opponent, Val Woodburn is a debutant in the UFC and also unbeaten. This fight should be interesting to watch and the safest bet is an under.
Tatsuro Taira vs Edgar Chairez is another curious one. Tatsuro Taira is exceptional and with a record of 13-0-0, he has a clear advantage in this fight. Plus, he will face a debutant. We decided to keep this one out of our UFC 290 predictions but overall, you can bet on Taira to win here.
This should be an incredible event. There is a good chance that we will see a huge number of early finishes, which is the best part about mixed martial arts.