The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns with a massive UFC Fight Night that will be held in Paris – the first event of the promotion in France. Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa will clash in the main event for a chance for a title fight later this year while the UFC Fight Night 209 Full Card is full of exciting fights between rising stars and promising prospects. Here are our predictions for the best fights in the card.
UFC Fight Night 209 Predictions – Prelims and Main Card
Before we get to the main event of the UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ 67, which includes Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa, we have a wild card of promising bouts to look at.
Fares Ziam vs Michal Figlak (Lightweight Bout)
Fares Ziam Preview
Fares is a 25-year-old fighter from France. He joined the UFC in 2019 and lost via unanimous decision in his debut. After that, the Frenchman took a year off and returned to the octagon in October 2020 in a duel against Jamie Mullarkey, whom he defeated by a unanimous decision.
In June 2021, Ziam defeated Luigi Vendramini by a unanimous decision, but he did not manage to reach a long winning streak. In the last fight, which took place in February 2021, he was submitted by Terrance McKinney in the 1st round.
Fares is a kickboxer. In this discipline, he was the European Champion under K-1 rules. He has fast and powerful punches and good footwork. I note a good takedown defense from the Frenchman. He stops 75% of the attempts.
But if Ziam is transferred to the ground, then he starts having problems. Once on the bottom, he lets himself be controlled and loses positions.
Michal Figlak Preview
Michal is a 26-year-old fighter from Poland. He started his professional career in 2018. A year after his debut as a pro, Figlak moved to Cage Warriors, the leading league in Britain, where he had 6 fights and won all of them.
Michal is a generalist with an emphasis on wrestling. In the standing position, he throws powerful single blows and aims at the opponent's chin, trying to demolish the opponent. But Figlak's problem is that he does not work in combination and it is difficult for him to develop his attacking potential because of this.
On the ground, the Pole demonstrates good positional work and tenacious control, thanks to which he effectively scores points.
Ziam vs Figlak Prediction
Michal Figlak has a good chance of an early victory if he manages to impose a fight and gain a foothold on the ground and focus there on causing damage and aggression, and not on scoring. Fares Ziam has almost no wrestling and grappling skills. So Figlak can either get on top of his opponent, where he will begin to hammer the Frenchman with ground and pound, or go behind his back and try to submit him. In order to win, he will have to resort to wrestling.
Charles Jourdain vs Nathaniel Wood (Featherweight Bout)
Charles Jourdain Preview
Charles is a 26-year-old fighter from Canada. He joined the UFC in May 2019, agreeing to go on short notice to face Des Green, and he lost via unanimous decision.
In total, Jourdain had 9 fights in the UFC: 4 won, 4 lost, and 1 fight ended in a draw. Charles last fought in July 2022. His opponent was Shane Burgos. Jourdain lost by decision.
Jourdain prefers to fight in a standing position. He throws a lot of punches and aims for the finish line in every fight. The Canadian has a black belt in BJJ, once on the ground, he is constantly looking for an opportunity for submission.
But all the pluses of Charles overlap with one significant minus: he has poor cardio.
Nathaniel Wood Preview
Nathaniel is a 29-year-old fighter from England. He came to the UFC in 2018 as the Cage Warriors champion and made his debut against Johnny Eduardo, who was choked out in the 2nd round.
In total, Wood had 7 fights: 5 won, and 2 lost. The Englishman had his last fight in July 2022. His opponent was Charles Rosa. Wood won by unanimous decision.
Wood is a versatile fighter with a good BJJ background. He defends well on the ground, turns over from the position from below, and performs submissions.
Wood's stand is top-notch. He has good head movement and footwork, thanks to which he not only successfully defends against opponents’ attacks but also strikes from an unexpected angle and counterattacks well.
However, Wood has no knockout power in his hands. In addition, sometimes he is hindered by an aggressive manner of fighting.
Jourdain vs Wood Prediction
I think that we are in for a close and competitive fight with a denouement either in the last round or on the scorecards. Jourdain is most dangerous in the early rounds. As long as he is fresh, he will be able to fight on equal terms with Nathaniel in the stand and will look good in grappling exchanges.
Yes, in the first half of the fight, Jourdain will have a chance to knock out the opponent after a powerful combo. But if he gives everything right away, then he will not have enough strength for the final segment and the Englishman will grind him down.
John Makdessi vs Nasrat Haqparast (Lightweight Bout)
John Makdessi Preview
John is a 37-year-old fighter from Canada. He joined the UFC in 2010. In his debut, Makdessi fought against Pat Audinwood, whom he defeated by unanimous decision. In total, John spent 18 fights in the UFC: 11 won, 7 lost. With mediocre opponents, Makdessi had no problems, but with an increase in the level of opposition, the athlete regularly lost.
Makdessi is a pronounced boxer. He hits skillfully, and has a good sense of distance and a powerful shot. The fighter works well on different levels and pulls the opponent's defense with tricks, which increases the effectiveness of his attacks.
John is weak on the ground. He has a good defense against takedowns, but once on the canvas, the American becomes passive, makes mistakes, loses positions and surrenders to submissions.
Nasrat Haqparast Preview
Nasrat is a 27-year-old fighter from Germany. He made his UFC debut in 2017 against Marcin Held, whom he lost to via unanimous decision. After that, Hakparast went on a series of 3 victories in a row. In September 2021, he was defeated by a unanimous decision by Dan Hooker. And in the last fight, which took place in February 2022, Nasrat lost on points to Bobby Green.
Nasrat prefers to stand up. He has good speed, which he uses during explosive attacks to quickly close the distance and deal massive damage to the opponent.
He works aggressively throughout the fight and throws out about 6 hits per minute. Thanks to the footwork, Haqparast quickly breaks the distance and cuts corners.
Makdessi vs Haqparast Prediction
I do not believe that the fight will go to distance. John Makdessi is an old fighter for the lightweight division, a broken fighter who comes out after a 1.5 year downtime.
If Haqparast catches Makdessi with a powerful punch and sends him to the canvas, then he will finish him off. He needs to keep his contract with the UFC and a spectacular knockout victory will help him in this.
Alessio Di Chirico vs Roman Kopylov (Middleweight Bout)
Alessio Di Chirico Preview
Alessio is a 32-year-old fighter from Italy. He made his UFC debut in April 2016 against Bojan Velickovic, whom he lost to via unanimous decision.
In total, the Italian had 10 fights in the UFC: 4 won, 6 lost. He last fought in August 2021. His opponent was Abdul Razak Alhassan. Di Chirico was knocked out in the 17th second of the fight.
Di Chirico is a versatile fighter who prefers to bet on wrestling. He is good with takedowns, controlling opponents and hammering them with ground and pound. In the standing position, the fighter is not afraid to enter exchanges where he relies on physical strength.
Roman Kopylov Preview
Roman is a 31-year-old fighter from Russia. In November 2019, Kapylov made his UFC debut with a perfect record at a tournament in Moscow. His opponent was Karl Roberson. Kopylov lost by submission in the 3rd round.
After the defeat in the debut, Roman was out for 2 years and returned in October 2021 in a duel against Albert Duraev, whom he lost to by unanimous decision. This was Kopylov's last performance.
Roman is most effective in the standing position. He competently mixes attacks on different levels, breaking the opponent's head and body in turns and prefers to work at medium and long distances. 7 out of 8 victories he got by KO/TKO.
Di Chirico vs Kopylov Prediction
Alessio is on a serious decline and the fight with him is a lifeline that Roman must grab onto. In the stand, Di Chirico will not compete with the technical Kopylov. He will go on a frontal attack and the Russian will simply counter him. Due to the advantage in arm span and greater mobility, Roman will confidently control the distance and dictate the course of the fight in the stand.