UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Allen
April 15, 2023
Emrick’s 2023 UFC Fighter Pick Record (83-49-3)
Main Events (4-7)
Lock of the Week (7-4)
Dawg of the Week (3-8)
Lifetime Fighter Pick Record (381-211-6)
WBW: Joselyne Edwards (12-4) vs. Lucie Pudilova (14-7)
- Pick: Joselyne Edwards *Dawg of the Week*
BW: Aaron Phillips (12-4) vs. Gaston Bolanos (6-3)
- Pick: Gaston Bolanos
WSTRAW: Bruna Brasil (8-2-1) vs. Denise Gomes (6-2)
- Pick: Bruna Brasil
LW: Lando Vannata (12-6-2) vs. Daniel Zellhuber (12-1)
- Pick: Daniel Zellhuber
WSTRAW: Gillian Robertson (11-7) vs. Piera Rodriguez (9-0)
- Pick: Gillian Robertson
LHW: Zak Cummings (24-7) vs. Ed Herman (27-15, 1 NC)
- Pick: Ed Herman
FLY: #4 Brandon Royval (14-6) vs. #5 Matheus Nicolau (19-3-1)
- Pick: Matheus Nicolau
FW: Bill Algeo (16-7) vs. TJ Brown (17-9)
- Pick: Bill Algeo
Main Card Predictions:
LW: Clay Guida (38-19) vs. Rafa Garcia (15-3)
- Pick: Rafa Garcia (-270)
- Quick Reasoning: 41 year-old Clay Guida has an opportunity to get back-to-back victories for the first time in six years against Rafa Garcia. However, I don’t like his chances to accomplish that. Garcia can match, or have the opportunity to outmatch, Guida on the ground, as well as pose a greater striking threat to his opponent. Other than a past-prime Michael Johnson in 2019, Guida has had issues with those with good ground game, such as in losses to Mark Madsen, Jim Miller, and Claudio Puelles. The younger fighter in Garcia has won three of his past four, and should be able to match up as the slightly better striker if the ground games are nullified. Garcia has also remained very active since 2021, fighting six times since 2021 and facing challenging competition in Maheshate, Drakkar Klose, and Nasrat Haqparast. I’m going with Garcia by decision, but don’t be surprised if Guida turns back the clock.
BW: #9 Pedro Munhoz (19-7, 2 NC) vs. #13 Chris Gutierrez (19-3-2)
- Pick: Chris Gutierrez (-210)
- Quick Reasoning: Gutierrez is better in every metric and volume perspective other than strikes landed per minute, takedowns per fifteen-minutes, and takedown defense. The good news is that two of those stats shouldn’t matter, as neither fighter prefers to work on the ground. Although Munhoz looked good early on with leg kicks against Sean O’Malley, the tide was quickly changing after the first round. Gutierrez is also very good at handling and dishing out kicks, so that is another area covered favoring the 31 year-old. Munhoz has the experience and quality of opponent advantage, and the Brazilian may be able to drag Gutierrez into a brawl. Overall, I see both mens’ chins holding up and Gutierrez picking apart Munhoz in the later rounds en route to a 29-28 UD.
LHW: Tanner Boser (20-9-1) vs. Ion Cutelaba (16-9-1, 1 NC)
- Pick: Tanner Boser (+105)
- Quick Reasoning: Flip a coin for these next three fights, as you’ll probably outdo many cappers and pundits in a handful of 50/50 bouts. I’m going with Boser here because his cut down to LHW should provide him with good opportunities to have a size and striking advantage. Cutelaba has also dropped six of his last seven fights with a sub-par gas tank. I believe Boser is the much better striker and, if able to get Cutelaba to expel some energy early, he should be able to take over in the second and third rounds. As long as Boser can withstand a few takedown attempts and work his way back to his feet, I’m going to side with Boser here. There is a chance Boser is exhausted from the cut from HW to LHW, but he was already lighter for the 265 pound division so I doubt he’ll gas out early. I’ll go with Boser by KO in the second or third round.
LHW: #13 Dustin Jacoby (18-6-1) vs. #15 Azamat Murzakanov (12-0)
- Pick: Dustin Jacoby (-155)
- Quick Reasoning: Prepare for a technical kickboxing match between Jacoby and Murzakanov. I’ve been wrong in my last two Jacoby picks and picked Devin Clark to beat Murzakanov, so it’s safe to say I can’t figure these guys out. Jacoby should have won against Khalil Rountree Jr., but unfortunately the judges didn’t agree. We may not need judges by the end of this one, as these men have combined to win via finish in over ⅔ of their fights. I don’t take much from Jacoby in his loss against Rountree and Murzakanov has only fought twice so far in the UFC, so I like the MMA/promotional experience from Jacoby entering this one. I’m going with Jacoby via decision in a low output performance.
FW: #14 Edson Barboza (22-11) vs. Billy Quarantillo (17-4)
- Pick: Billy Quarantillo (-180)
- Quick Reasoning: The game plan is out on Barboza: Quarantillo needs to suffocate and wrestle. If Quarantillo can do this early to drain out Barboza’s power and tick off rounds, then he can have similar success to what Bryce Mitchell saw in his fight with Edson. Barboza’s striking is still great, but his miles are starting to add up and Quarantillo’s cardio should be able to outlast his opponent’s come Saturday. As long as Quarantillo doesn’t suffer the same fate as Shane Burgos – who also beat Quarantillo – did against Barboza by making it a striking battle, then Billy Q should be able to pull this one out. Quarantillo is 5-0 when landing a takedown and 0-2 when he doesn’t land at least one in the UFC. Make of that as you will, but I believe this is the x-factor and route for Quarantillo to claim victory Saturday evening. I’m going with Billy Q via decision.
FW: #2 Max Holloway (23-7) vs. #4 Arnold Allen (19-1)
- Pick: Max Holloway (-180) *Lock of the Week*
- Quick Reasoning: Holloway hasn’t fought in a non-five round fight since mid-2016, so it’s safe to say his cardio is up to snuff. However, there are some question marks regarding Allen’s cardio. He’s had tough showings in third rounds, such as when he battled Sodiq Yusuff, and has yet to fight past the third round in the UFC. Allen’s main event with Calvin Kattar was unfortunately cut short due to an opponent injury, but he looked great in the first round. Allen is very technical from what he’s shown, but isn’t especially superb in any area outside of a 67% striking defense and 2 strikes absorbed per minute. For most of the past ten years, Holloway has been able to bully anyone not named Volkanovski or Poirier, staking his claim right below the top of the FW division. While Allen’s victory over Kattar was impressive, how can we forget the twenty-five minute battering Holloway delivered against Kattar two years ago? Yes, Max has taken a bit of a step back from Volkanovski after their trilogy bout. But, until Holloway is knocked off his perch by someone else in the division, I will continue to believe he’ll mow through competition. Absorbing the amount of strikes Holloway has in his career is unfathomable and his chin will catch up with him at some point, but I don’t believe Arnold Allen is the opponent for that. I’m going with Max via UD or late-round TKO as he builds separation in the second round.