UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Vieira Predictions
Holly Holm vs. Ketlen Vieira
Injuries and illness have kept Holm out of the Octagon for the past year-and-a-half since compiling back-to-back wins and she now returns to fight the 30-year-old Vieira, who has gone 2-2 in her last four fights, but is coming off a confidence-boosting decision win against Miesha Tate.
Long layoffs are always a concern, but even though she’s now 40-years-old Holm is a fighter who has always been a very good athlete with exceptional cardio, so I don’t think that will be a problem here. Holm’s style does lean on that as she utilizes a lot of movement on the outside and likes to stay active, though despite her decorated boxing background and kickboxing ability she’s not always the most effective with her output, with flurries of kicks and punches too often being launched while out of range. Nevertheless, her work rate does help her win rounds.
Vieira has far less comfort on the feet than Holm and will struggle to keep up with her fast footwork, which will make life difficult for her as she looks to clinch up and try to bring the fight to the mat. If she can get Holm down then things could swing heavily in her favor though as Holm isn’t comfortable fighting off her back and Vieira has dangerous submission ability.
Still, I feel Holm’s range management and takedown defense will enable her to keep this one standing, and her cardio-kickboxing style activity on the feet will see her coast to a relatively uneventful decision victory.
Prediction: Holly Holm to win by decision.
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Michel Pereira
Ponzinibbio was on a 7-fight winning streak in the UFC before a series of health issues kept him out of action for over two years, and since returning in 2021 his form has suffered, losing two of his last three fights. Meanwhile, Pereira is currently riding a four-fight unbeaten run over the past couple of years.
At 35, there may be some questions as to whether Ponzinibbio is now past his best, but it would be unwise to right him off as he remains a real threat, with very assured striking, particularly with regards to his boxing, offering up solid combinations and having the ability to push a good pace all-fight long.
Pereira is a bit younger at 28, and we have seen some maturity in his striking game over time. Earlier in his career, Pereira was something of an acrobatic wildman in the cage, drawing on his capoeira background to throw all sorts of flashy striking techniques, which could lead to impressive highlight-reel finishes, but often felt rather disjointed, a case of style over substance that also burned out his cardio long before the final bell.
However, now we’re starting to see signs that Pereira is trying to reign in that all-action style and offer up a more grounded, cohesive striking strategy, but it’s still a work in progress at this stage.
This will be a great test to see if Pereira really can harness his athletic potential in a more effective manner, but he still likes times and space to operate and that’s something Ponzinibbio won’t give him, and his crisper boxing and more fluid combination work will enable him to get the better of the exchanges on his way to a decision win.
Prediction: Santiago Ponzinibbio to win by decision.
Chidi Njokuani vs. Dusko Todorovic
Njokuani made an immediate impression in his UFC debut with a 16 second KO stoppage of Marc-Andre Barriault back in February and now goes up against Todorovic, who entered the UFC with an unbeaten 9-0 record, but has since compiled a 2-2 run in the UFC.
Nicknamed ‘Bang bang’, Njokuani’s big finish was no freak occurrence, as he’s got a proven record as a fight-finisher via his very fast and powerful striking style that incorporates all aspects of muay thai effectively, and he’ll enjoy a 2″ height and significant 6″ reach advantage here too. On the downside though, the 33-year-old is more vulnerable when the fight hits the floor.
Todorovic is a robust boxer with solid punching power and he keeps a good pace, but he may have issues with Njokuani’s reach and speed on the feet, particularly as there are significant holes in his striking defense, which has led to him being rocked at times. However, Todorovic does have the ability to mix things up more than his opponent here as he’s the better wrestler and grappler of the two.
It’s likely that the two will stand and trade early though and I think that really favors Njokuani here as Todorovic leaves his chin exposed and pays the price by suffering a first round KO loss.
Prediction: Chidi Njokuani to win by KO in Rd1.
Polyana Viana vs. Tabatha Ricci
After three losses in a row, Viana has managed to turn things around in the last couple of years with two victories in a row by first-round armbar submission, while Ricci was TKO’d in her UFC debut, but has since picked up a decision win.
Viana has 4″ in height and 5″ in reach over Ricci here, but truth be told she’s not a particularly potent threat on the feet, with there not really much being much steam behind her punches. Ricci will pressure more, but her blitzing attacks are often designed more to get into range and initiate takedown attempts more than anything else.
These two fighters are at their best on the mat, and while Viana has more submission wins to her name, Ricci is a black belt, while she is a brown belt.
Ricci’s willingness to press forward in pursuit of getting the fight to the mat and Viana’s less than stellar takedown defense and willingness to fight off her back leads me to believe that it could well be Ricci who gains the upper-hand here and controls the action enough to earn a decision win.
Prediction: Tabatha Ricci to win by decision.
Eryk Anders vs. Jun Yong Park
Anders has experienced a real mixed-bag of results over the course of his UFC run, as can be seen from his last five fights which has resulted in a two wins, two losses and a no-contest, while Park was on a three-fight winning streak not so long ago, but has since suffered a KO defeat last time out against Gregory Rodrigues.
Anders is a strong, athletic competitor, but despite certainly carrying good power in his punches, he’s always been a fighter who seems to be unwilling or unable to really step up the gears, instead competing at a somewhat plodding pace on the feet and not really putting together the kind of combination striking that you’d like to see, and not always having the best defense either.
Anders does also have some wrestling and grappling ability too when he chooses to use it, but Park does too, and while he may not be as physically strong as his opponent he’s been more willing to call upon his wrestling and it’s paid off for him at times when he’s not outmatched on the mat.
Park is also a good striker who will go for more of a volume approach rather than just looking for one big punch, but will have to be careful not to get drawn into a slug-fest where he could could off second-best.
It’s a fight that certainly could go either way, but I feel Park’s busier work on the feet and being more pro-active in initiating the wrestling exchanges can lead him to a decision win here.
Prediction: Jun Yong Park to win by decision.
UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Vieira Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Joseph Holmes vs. Alen Amedovski
Jailton Almeida vs. Parker Porter
Omar Morales vs. Uros Medic
Jonathan Martinez vs. Vince Morales
Chase Hooper vs. Felipe Colares
Elise Reed vs. Sam Hughes
Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process.
You can read more of Ross’s work at MMAInsight.com.