Wednesday, June 29, 2022

UFC 275 Predictions: Expert Picks by MMA News Staff

UFC 275 is right around the corner, and we’ve got our staff predictions ready for the international affair!

UFC 275 will be available exclusively on ESPN+ pay-per-view on Saturday, June 11, 2022. The main card begins at 10:00 PM ET, and the ESPN preliminary card kicks off at 8:00 PM. The early preliminary card starts at 6:30 PM. The event will take place from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.

The main event will feature Glover Teixeira defending the light heavyweight championship against prolific finisher Jiří Procházka. In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko will look to continue her reign of terror over the flyweight division when she faces the 19-1 Taila Santos.

But it is the last fight before the two championship bouts that may lay claim to the “People’s Main Event” title when the 2020 Fight of the Year rematch between Zhang Weili and Joanna Jędrzejczyk takes place.

Also on the main card will be a welterweight scrap between Jack Della Maddalena and Ramazan Emeev preceded by a flyweight bout between Rogério Bontorin and Manel “Starboy” Kape.

Staff Predictions for UFC 275: Teixeira vs. Procházka

MMA News is the place to be for all the latest UFC 275 updates. Harvey Leonard, Andrew Starc and Drew Beaupré have provided their picks for you below.

Here is the full main card for UFC 275: Teixeira vs. Procházka

  • Light Heavyweight Championship Main Event: Glover Teixeira (c) vs. Jiří Procházka
  • Women’s Flyweight Championship Bout: Valentina Shevchenko (c)vs. Taila Santos
  • Women’s Strawweight: Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk
  • Welterweight: Jack Della Maddalena vs. Ramazan Emeev
  • Flyweight: Rogério Bontorin vs. Manel Kape

Rogério Bontorin vs. Manel Kape

Harvey Leonard: After an underwhelming start, Kape has begun to show why he was so highly touted after making the switch from Rizin to the UFC. When he’s not gun-shy and lets his creative limbs fly, “Starboy” can challenge the best of them.

But while he’s got the edge in form, this could be a rough one for Kape stylistically. Bontorin is clearly the greater grappler, and I don’t trust the Portuguese-Angolan to fight smart to avoid the Brazilian’s level changes. Whether through the scorecards or a submission, I think Bontorin stalls Kape’s surge. (Prediction: Rogério Bontorin)

Andrew Starc: After losing his first two UFC bouts, Manel Kape redeemed himself in the second half of last year, earning back-to-back knockout wins against Ode’ Osbourne and Zhalgas Zhumagulov. #8 ranked flyweight Rogério Bontorin, meanwhile, is winless in his last four, having most recently lost via split decision to Brandon Royval. 

While Bontorin is a big step up in competition for the #13 ranked Kape, I think he has the KO power to earn his third successive stoppage win. (Prediction: Manel Kape)

Drew Beaupré: If Joanna vs. Zhang wasn’t on this card, this flyweight bout would have all the makings of a Fight of the Night favorite. Kape has a ton of momentum right now after consecutive first-round knockouts, while Bontorin has gone 1-3 in his last four bouts.

I think the real question here is going to be how willingly Bontorin goes to his grappling. He’s averaged just under three takedown attempts per fifteen minutes in his UFC career, and he was willing to go for takedowns against a dangerous grappler in Brandon Royval in his last fight. He’s no slouch on the feet, but if these two stand and trade Kape is more likely to land something big and finish the fight.

There might be some dangerous moments for Bontorin in the first few minutes, but I think the Brazilian has a clear edge on the ground that he should take advantage of as the fight goes on. (Prediction: Rogério Bontorin)

Consensus: 2-1 Bontorin

Jack Della Maddalena vs. Ramazan Emeev

Harvey Leonard: This is a pretty clear clash of styles. While, in the words of McGregor, the Aussie will hope to ‘box the bleedin’ head off him’, the Russian will be looking to set up takedowns and establish top position. Della Maddalena is obviously a prospect to watch, but I think this challenge is coming slightly too early for him.

The 25-year-old has showed some vulnerability to takedowns in his career and given up some rounds on the ground. Although not a Khabib-esque pressure wrestler, Emeev is a talented grappler, and there aren’t many tougher tests for a young striker than a Dagestani. I expect Della Maddalena to take risks on the feet, opening up chances for the Russian to change levels. From there, the veteran wins on the scorecards.  (Prediction: Ramazan Emeev)

Andrew Starc: Aussie Jack Della Maddalena put on a showcase of clinical, measured striking in his first-round demolition of Pete Rodriguez in January. While Rodriguez had just four fights to his name, Della Maddalena is riding an 11-fight win streak and looks ready to test himself against a veteran grappler like Ramazan Emeev.

Emeev hasn’t finished an opponent in nearly six years, while Della Maddalena has only gone to the judges once in his career. This is a classic “KO artist versus grappler” battle that I think will see Della Maddalena emerge victorious with yet another stoppage win. (Prediction: Jack Della Maddalena)

Drew Beaupré: The main card of UFC 275 opens with what could work out as a classic striker vs. grappler matchup. The UFC are clearly pretty high on Maddalena, as he’s opening a Pay-Per-View after just one UFC win and a win on Contender Series. His striking looked great on Contender Series and he scored a big first-round finish in his debut, but this fight with Emeev should answer some questions about the depth of his skill set.

As impressive as Maddalena’s debut was, he was facing another debuting fighter that only had four pro fights. That being said, Emeev’s ability to execute his grappling didn’t exactly look all that convincing his last time out against Danny Roberts. Emeev could definitely play spoiler here, but I’ll take the 25-year-old Aussie to continue gaining momentum and pick up his second UFC win with a comprehensive striking performance. (Prediction: Jack Della Maddalena)

Consensus: 2-1 Della Maddalena

Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Zhang Weili

Harvey Leonard: There’s so much to consider here. Will three rounds affect two fighters used to five? Will there be a psychological impact based on the damage sustained in the first fight? Will Jędrzejczyk’s two-year layoff play into it? I feel like all of it comes together to form a pick’em.

While on paper, Zhang is entering this bout on a two-fight skid, I believe she did enough to beat Namajunas last November. With that in mind, aside from being caught at UFC 261 by a vicious head kick, there’s not much of a blemish on the Chinese star’s record. I believe Zhang is the most talented strawweight in the UFC right now, and although Jędrzejczyk will likely come close to matching her strike-for-strike, I narrowly give the edge to “Magnum.” (Prediction: Zhang Weili)

Andrew Starc: It’s the sequel to the widely regarded greatest women’s MMA fight of all time and a potential strawweight title eliminator. In their first epic encounter, Weili Zhang defended her title against Joanna Jędrzejczyk by the narrowest of margins, but since then, she’s racked up back-to-back losses to Rose Namajunas

Jędrzejczyk, meanwhile, has been on the sidelines this entire time. Zhang came close to defeating Namajunas in their second meeting in November, and I think she’ll get it done against Jędrzejczyk. (Prediction: Zhang Weili)

Drew Beaupré: Both of these women have a new lease on life in the strawweight division now that Carla Esparza is champion. Zhang and Jędrzejczyk both have two losses to Rose Namajunas, and for Joanna especially seeing Esparza as champion must be extremely encouraging for any hopes of regaining the title. It’s a shame that this fight is only three rounds after the five-round war these ladies had the first time out, but I think it being shorter will favor Zhang.

Joanna’s best round in terms of strikes landed from the first fight was the fifth, and Zhang was at her strongest in the second fight with Namajunas through the first three rounds. I think “Magnum” will be able to get enough done early to win two rounds, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this bout ends up as another controversial split-decision.  (Prediction: Zhang Weili)

Consensus: 3-0 Zhang

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Taila Santos

Valentina Shevchenko, Taila Santos
Image Credits: Jeff Bottari/Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Harvey Leonard: The last time a female champion defended the belt as a massive favorite, I fell on the same side as most. At UFC 269, I dismissed Julianna Peña’s chances owing to Amanda Nunes’ dominance, completely avoiding legitimate arguments like “styles win fights,” for which I’ve learned my lesson.

Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that lesson here.

Shevchenko is simply levels above every flyweight on the current roster, and while Santos has an impressive record, she’s not close to “Bullet” in any area right now. Barring any freak injuries or unlikely drama on the scale, Shevchenko adds a seventh defense to her résumé. (Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko)

Andrew Starc: Heavy-handed and extremely athletic, Taila Santos could cause problems for Valentina Shevchenko. The 28-year-old entered the UFC via the Contender Series in 2019, losing her debut bout to Mara Romero Borella. But she’s since gone on a four-fight win streak, having finished Joanne Wood via first-round submission in her last bout in November.

But Santos is facing a fighter who’s finished four of her last six opponents, and other than being taken down briefly by Jennifer Maia, has looked virtually untouchable. I’m predicting Shevchenko to earn a decision win here. (Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko) 

Drew Beaupré: Talia Santos has put together a nice little win streak through her last four fights to earn this title shot. Unfortunately, it does feel like this is a case of her being rushed into a title fight because Shevchenko needs a challenger. Santos’ only opponent during that streak currently in the UFC’s Top 15 is #10-ranked Joanne Wood, who has historically struggled against grapplers.

I’m interested to see if Santos is able to take away Shevchenko’s space to strike and work for takedowns against the fence, but even if she gets the champion down, I don’t think she’ll be able to keep her there. “Bullet” has finished her last two opponents from top position, but this has the makings of a unanimous decision where Shevchenko is comfortably out landing the Brazilian for most of the fight. (Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko)

Consensus: 3-0 Shevchenko

Glover Teixeira (c) vs. Jiří Procházka

Glover Teixeira, Jiří Procházka
Image Credits: Chris Unger/Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Harvey Leonard: It’s always hard to predict fights that seemingly boil down to where the bout will be fought, on the ground or on the feet. The champion’s BJJ skills are clear, and we saw Procházka show some vulnerability to takedowns when he faced Bellator titleholder Vadim Nemkov back in 2015.

But in that fight, and aside from a 2013 submission loss, the Czech’s defense seemed sound and the offense from his back effective, and he’s certainly got the power to explode to his feet. With that in mind, I’m going to back “Denisa” to create a ‘moment’ on the feet with his unique and powerful striking and become the latest European champ. (Prediction: Jiří Procházka)

Andrew Starc: Jiří Procházka’s MMA record is something to behold. 25 of his 28 career wins have come via knockout, including his last 10. And he’s already fighting for the title just three fights into his UFC stint. In his last fight against Dominick Reyes, however, Procházka was tested and at one point even lost consciousness briefly.

It almost seems inevitable that Procházka will do to Teixeira what he’s done to most of his opponents. The question is whether the Brazilian can take the fight to the ground like he did against Jan Blachowicz. But before he can do that, can Teixeira withstand the juggernaut that is Procházka? I don’t think so. I’m predicting another knockout for the Czech samurai. (Prediction: Jiří Procházka)

Drew Beaupré: Teixeira winning the belt at age 42 over seven years removed from his first UFC title shot is still one of the best feel-good MMA stories in recent memory. The dynamic here should be pretty similar to the Brazilian’s run to the title, as Teixeira made a habit of weathering an early storm before coming on later and using his grappling to get the win. Procházka is a dynamic finisher, but also a very experienced fighter with nearly thirty pro bouts prior to joining the UFC.

Without having seem him dragged into deep waters, there’s obviously a question of how his cardio would hold up if Teixeira is smothering him in the later rounds. This fight favors the Brazilian the longer it goes, but I think “Denisa” will put it on Teixeira early and won’t give him the chance to utilize his grappling. (Prediction: Jiří Procházka)

Consensus: 3-0 Procházka

That’ll do it for our UFC 275 staff picks! What do you think? Do your picks look similar? Let us know in the comments section! Also, you can check out the UFC 275 undercard below.

Preliminary Card (ESPN2/ESPN+, 8:00 PM ET)

Featherweight Seung Woo Choi vs. Joshua Culibao
Middleweight Jacob Malkoun vs. Brendan Allen
Lightweight: Steve Garcia vs. Hayisaer Maheshate
Bantamweight: Kang Kyung-ho vs. Danaa Batgerel

Early Preliminary Card (ESPN+, 6:30 PM ET)

Welterweight Jake Matthews vs. André Fialho
Women’s Strawweight: Liang Na vs. Silvana Gómez Juárez
Women’s Bantamweight: Ramona Pascual vs. Joselyne Edwards

Be sure to keep it right here on Saturday for all the results, highlights, and updates on UFC 275!

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