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Grant Emrick Breakdowns UFC Fight Night Andrade vs. Blanchfield

UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs. Blanchfield

February 18, 2023

Emrick’s 2023 UFC Fighter Pick Record (35-13-2)

Main Events (3-1)

Lock of the Week (4-0)

Dawg of the Week (2-2)

Lifetime Fighter Pick Record (333-175-5)

Prelim Predictions:

FLY: Clayton Carpenter (6-0) vs. Juancamilo Ronderos (4-1)

  • Pick: Clayton Carpenter

WW: AJ Fletcher (9-2) vs. Themba Gorimbo (10-3)

  • Pick: AJ Fletcher

LHW: Ovince Saint Preux (26-16) vs. Philipe Lins (15-5)

  • Pick: Ovince Saint Preux

FW: Jamall Emmers (18-6) vs. Khusein Askhabov (23-0)

  • Pick: Khusein Askhabov

WBW: #12 Lina Lansberg (10-7) vs. #14 Mayra Bueno Silva (9-2-1)

  • Pick: Mayra Bueno Silva

LW: Nazim Sadykhov (7-1) vs. Evan Elder (7-1)

  • Pick: Nazim Sadykhov

Main Card Predictions:

LW: Jim Miller (35-16, 1 NC) vs. Alexander Hernandez (13-6)

  • Pick: Jim Miller (+190) *Dawg of the Week*
  • Quick Reasoning: Like many other people this week, I’m not trusting in Hernandez’ gas tank. Both fighters have a negative striking differential and somewhat questionable chins, but I know that I can trust Miller down the stretch when energy is key in the later rounds. He has the experience and fight IQ to avoid much of the storm early on from Hernandez, but if a few big shots land early then it could be game over for Miller before he gets out of the gate. Hernandez gave Billy Quarantillo a rough go in the first round but has continued his trend of expending all of his energy during that span. With both fighter metrics other than volume of punches landed and absorbed, which Hernandez has the greater number of, near the same I have to go with a more trustworthy gas tank and experience of the UFC win record holder in Miller. Give me Miller by round two or three TKO or submission at these favorable odds.  

LHW: William Knight (11-4) vs. Marcin Prachnio (15-6)

  • Pick: William Knight (-115)
  • Quick Reasoning: Knight does have a slight negative striking differential, but this opponent is a step down in competition compared to recent fights against Devin Clark, Maxim Grishin, and Alonzo Menifield. Prachnio has a mere 53% takedown defense, which is dangerously low for Knight’s two-plus takedowns per fifteen-minutes of fight time. I expect the level of competition and competitiveness of Knight to prepare him well, along with the favorable lacking ground defense of Prachnio, to get this win. I’m going with Knight by late finish or UD, but both fighters have been inconsistent in their UFC tenures. 

HW: Josh Parisian (15-5) vs. Jamal Pogues (9-3)

  • Pick: Jamal Pogues (-240) *Lock of the Week*
  • Quick Reasoning: One of my more confident picks, I’m siding with Pogues due to his work on the ground and Parisian’s lack of ground defense at only 42%. Parisian has struggled mightily against Don’Tale Mayes and Parker Porter’s threats of takedowns and has yet to win a UFC fight where he’s been taken down at least once. He was also dropped by an 0-4 in the UFC by Alan Baudot until a miraculous comeback in the second round to secure victory. I don’t have much to praise in terms of Pogues’ striking, but he is pretty decent on the ground and can take advantage of the weaknesses Parisian possesses in this aspect. If Pogues plays this smart, he may be able to secure a ground and pound finish en route to a debut victory. I’m going with Pogues here, but I don’t think either man is fighting towards the rankings any time soon. 

LHW: Jordan Wright (12-4, 1 NC) vs. Zac Pauga (6-1)

  • Pick: Zac Pauga (-275)
  • Quick Reasoning: This may be a win or go home fight for both men. Wright has been finished in his past three fights, his cardio is not great, but he starts off fights at a kill or be killed pace. He’s also moving up a weight class from MW while Pauga is dropping down one from HW. I think the pacing could benefit Wright here if his body benefits from the reduced weight cut, but I don’t think it will appreciate the harder punches and strength of attack within the division. Pauga looked pretty good in his debut against Mohammed Usman until he was KO’d out of nowhere, so his chin may be the x-factor early on in this fight. Assuming Pauga weathers an early storm, this fight should be smooth sailing and Pauga’s to lose. Give me Pauga by late first or second round TKO. 

WFLY: #3 Jessica Andrade (24-9) vs. #10 Erin Blanchfield (10-1)

  • Pick: Jessica Andrade (-130)
  • Quick Reasoning: I want to feel super confident on Andrade, but the short notice aspect has hampered that feeling a bit. However, it’s short notice for both fighters in devising a game plan for this matchup. Blanchfield is great on the ground, averaging four takedowns per fifteen minutes at a near 70% accuracy, while landing nearly six strikes per minute and absorbing less than three in that span. Andrade is a monster in terms of her finishing mentality, high volume of nearly seven strikes landed per minute, and endless motor to work on the feet or attempt a takedown if necessary. In the past seven years, Andrade has only lost to those who had become champions with names such as Shevchenko, Namajunas, Weili, and Jedrzejczyk. Blanchfield absolutely has the promise to reach these heights one day, but is it too soon? Has she faced the competition that would prepare her for a fight with Andrade? I’m not sold yet on Blanchfield claiming victory over Andrade at this point, but if she does then she certainly has a case for a title shot. I believe both fighters will leave everything on the line in this one, which is why I expect this to end within the distance as well. Give me Andrade via finish, but a title shot is most certainly on the line in this main event. 

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