Islam Makhachev was originally supposed to take on Beneil Dariush in this weekend’s main event, but an injury forced Dariush off the card. Bobby Green has stepped in to fight Makhachev instead. This is a quick turnaround for Green who just defeated Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 271 on February 12th. This will be a 14-day turnaround for Green. From his entrance to the fight itself, and to the post-fight speech, Bobby Green oozed charisma at UFC 271. The crowd in Houston embraced Green like he was a hometown hero. If Green manages to defeat Makhachev, this would be the win that would propel him to stardom. However, that’s not going to be an easy task. Islam Makhachev has won 9 consecutive fights in the UFC and has finished his last 3 opponents. The majority of the Verdict Community is predicting that Green will face the same fate with 59% picking Makhachev to submit Green.
Misha Cirkunov is a big favorite heading into this fight, with 79% of the Verdict Community predicting him to defeat Wellington Turman. After competing for his entire career in the Light Heavyweight division, Cirkunov moved down to Middleweight in his last fight. He lost a close split decision to Krzysztof Jotko in his Middleweight debut and is looking for his first win in the division this Saturday. It’s surprising that 46% of the Verdict Community is predicting Cirkunov to win by decision when you consider that 13 out of his 15 wins have come by stoppage.
Both Kim and Cachoeira are coming off losses and are looking to get back into the win column this weekend. Prior to entering the UFC, Kim was an undefeated fighter. She’s now 3-3 in the UFC and is in danger of losing her 3rd consecutive fight. This is an important fight for both women, as the loser could lose her spot in the UFC.
Aside from the main event, this is perhaps the most interesting fight on the card. Both Tsarukyan and Alvarez are both young prospects in their 20s and are coming into this fight on a 4 fight winning streak. Tsarukyan’s last loss came against Islam Makhachev in April of 2019. Even in that loss, Tsarukyan looked impressive and earned fight of the night honors. Makhachev is currently the gold standard in the Lightweight division when it comes to grappling. Tsarukyan was competitive against Makhachev in the grappling department and was only 22 years old when that fight took place. On the other hand, Joel Alvarez has been incredibly impressive during his UFC run. Not only has he won 4 consecutive fights, he’s finished all of them with the last 3 ending in the 1st round. This is a showcase of 2 rising contenders.
Armen Petrosyan literally brought Dana White out of his seat when he finished Kaloyan Kolev with a head kick knockout at the Dana White Contender Series. This performance earned Petrosyan a UFC contract and he’ll now make his debut against Gregory Rodrigues this weekend. All 6 of Petrosyan’s professional wins have come by knockout. Though he looks promising, Petrosyan is still an underdog on Verdict headed into his fight against Rodrigues. Gregory Rodrigues has won 4 consecutive fights with 3 of them ending by knockout. As it stands, 61% of the Verdict Community are predicting Rodrigues to defeat Petrosyan.
This fight is the featured prelim and will be kicking off the action on Verdict this Saturday. Ignacio Bahamondes is coming off of a highlight-reel knockout win against Roosevelt Roberts. Bahamondes finished Roberts with a spinning wheel kick. Zhu is also coming off of a stoppage win, where he finished Brandon Jenkins by TKO this past September. Bahamondes is the biggest favorite on the card, with 81% of the Verdict Community predicting him to defeat Zhu. The community remembers Bahamondes last knockout well, as 48% predict that he’ll also finish Zhu by knockout.