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Predicting All Winners at UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Burns – A Few Surprises for Saturday Night?

| May 27, 2020 4:30 am PDT
UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Burns

It’s time to get your picks in for the upcoming UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Burns event this Saturday, May 30.

Another night of fights goes down behind closed doors, with the UFC now moving from its temporary home in Jacksonville, Florida, to the state-of-the-art APEX center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The top UFC betting sites have all the latest odds for Woodley vs. Burns and the rest of the bouts on the card, but not everyone has had the chance to organize their picks. But I have, and I’m going to run through them for you today in this post predicting all winners at UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Burns.

So get nice and comfy wherever you are and I’ll start these UFC Fight Night predictions with the main event — Woodley vs. Burns.

Woodley to Beat Burns by KO/TKO

A win of any kind could see former UFC welterweight kingpin Tyron Woodley handed a shot against the reigning champion, Kamaru Usman.

For Woodley, this is probably the last time he will find himself in the mix for a title shot. Having dropped the belt in a decision loss to the “Nigerian Nightmare” back in March 2019, it’s not a bad position to be in.

But his opponent on the night, Gilbert Burns, will be looking to make life as difficult as possible for “The Chosen One.” Burns has been making a splash in the welterweight waters and currently finds himself on a five-fight winning streak heading into this contest.

A win over Woodley would be his greatest achievement in the Octagon to date. It could also land him with a golden ticket to Usman’s title, which is certainly not something fans would have predicted just a couple years ago. 

Woodley might be 38, but he is still a very dangerous fighter. Just one loss removed from being the king at 170, the hard-hitting, two-time All-American wrestler will be a riddle too strong to break for Burns.

Although the Brazilian has serious power himself, as well as some top-notch jiu-jitsu, he will struggle with a fighter of Woodley’s caliber. If he presents the same opportunities he afforded to Dan Hooker before being KOd by the Kiwi at 155 in July 2018, he could be slept.

In my Woodley vs. Burns fight preview, I predicted a third-round KO/TKO for the former champion. And I’m sticking to that prediction.

Ivanov to Beat Sakai by Decision

Blagoy Ivanov has the chance to rid his resume of a pretty ominous sequence of numbers.

As it stands, he has 6 KO/TKOS, 6 submissions, and 6 decision victories from a total of 18 pro wins. Not that the former WSOF heavyweight champion will be too bothered by that record, of course.

But one fighter who should be cautious heading into this fight is Brazil’s Augusto Sakai. Like his compatriot taking on Woodley in the main, Sakai is currently riding the tail of a five-fight winning streak into this contest.

Ivanov, a Bulgarian sambo specialist, is 2-2 in the UFC. A loss in his promotional debut to former heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos preceded wins over Ben Rothwell and Tai Tuivasa. But in his last appearance inside the cage, Ivanov dropped a split decision to Derrick Lewis. 

Sakai certainly has the momentum behind him in this fight and will be confident of improving on his impressive record. But in order to beat Ivanov, he is going to need more than speed and raw power. Technically, Ivanov is better than anyone he has faced when it comes to his weakness, which is his ground game.

Ivanov does have to find his way inside of Sakai’s three-inch reach advantage to score. What makes things easier for him is the Brazilian’s lack of technical striking.

If he can close the distance, Ivanov can land the clinch and put the hard slog in towards a solid decision win. If he can take Sakai down, he will have things his way, for sure.

Rodriguez to Beat Holland by Submission

Kevin Holland will dance with Daniel Rodriguez just two weeks after blitzing Anthony Hernandez on the UFC on ESPN: Overeem vs. Harris undercard.

It took Holland just 39 seconds to dispatch of Hernandez on the night, and he has some balls to get back in against as dangerous as Rodriguez in such a short space of time. But this decision, as gutsy as it is, could backfire. Especially when Holland has agreed to drop down from middleweight to welterweight, a full 15 pounds, to take on a guy looking to improve on a seven-fight winning streak.

Rodriguez is a fighter with little experience in waiting for the judges to do their thing. He has 11 career wins, with six of them coming by way of KO/TKO and four ending by submission. The Californian has gone the distance just twice in 12 fights, with one ending in a loss.

Anyone looking to bet on Holland vs. Rodriguez cannot ignore the fact that Holland’s weight cut will be a factor. It’s all good and well backing yourself to get the stoppage, but if that does not work out, there is a lot of time on the clock for fatigue. Not exactly the best scenario when facing a guy like “D-Rod,” who has proven stoppage power.

Rodriguez is both smart and tough enough to avoid walking into Holland’s bombs, and I can see him using these smarts to trick the bigger man into emptying his tank in the first round or two. From here, Rodriguez could very well work his way to a submission win.

Roberts to Beat Weaver by Decision

This has all the makings of one of the most watchable fights of the night. 

Roosevelt Roberts is a rangy and very tricky guy who has caught the attention of fans for his looks as well as his style. With two big wins over Darrell Horcher and Thomas Gifford, Roberts’ train fell off the tracks with a loss to Vinc Pichel in June.

But having bounced back with a decision win over Alexander Yakovlev in November, “The Predator” will be looking to make it two from two against Brok Weaver.

Much has been made of Roberts’ height of 6’1″, which is unusual for the lightweight division. And although this has caused some of his previous opponents all kinds of bother, Weaver is just one inch shorter at 6’0,” which means that he should not be overwhelmed by his length.

Tough as a nut, Weaver always brings the fight. There is nothing particularly flashy or outstanding about “Chata Tuska,” but he is very well rounded and capable of getting inside Roberts and causing some chaos.

Weaver won his debut in February against Rodrigo Vargas when an illegal knee saw his opponent DQ’d. He will be hoping for a more commanding performance this time around, given that he was looking a little shaky.

Although he is on a four-fight winning streak, I can’t see Weaver finding a way to beat Roberts. It might be a frustrating night for the 28-year-old, who doesn’t really have the all-round skillset — or brute, raw strength — capable of shooting down “The Predator.”

Dern to Beat Cifers by Submission

All eyes will be on BJJ icon Mackenzie Dern as she… well, let’s be honest — all eyes will be on Dern trying to make weight for this strawweight bout.

Despite being only eight fights into her MMA career, Dern has missed weight before three of them. In her last fight but one at UFC 244, Amanda Cooper was rightfully pissed when Dern weighed in at eight pounds over the limit. 

That night, she submitted Cooper in the first round of their fight. However, in October, Amanda Ribas handed the 27-year-old the first loss of her career, getting the nod from all three judges at cageside. 

Dern was one of the promotion’s big hopes for the future, but she has failed to really cause much of a splash to date. Having taken some time out to start a family, she returns to try and make a case for a title shot. Against Hannah Cifers, she should get back to winning ways.

Cifers, although a solid mixed martial artist, is far from star quality. Losses to Maycee Barber and Angela Hill sandwich two wins over Jodie Esquibel and Polyana Viana, and she is expected to fall to Dern’s superior ability on the floor.

Although she will back herself on the feet against Dern, I don’t think she has the power to prevent her opponent from earning the takedown and forcing the tap. 

Chookagian to Beat Shevchenko by Decision

Katlyn Chookagian will become the first UFC fighter to take on two sisters when she steps in against Antonina Shevchenko.

Chookagian was stopped in three rounds by the incumbent women’s flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko, in February. Now, she will have the opportunity to get something resembling revenge by beating the younger sister.

And Chookagian will do just that. While Valentina is just behind Amanda Nunes as the greatest female mixed martial artist on the planet, Antonina is nowhere near that level. Being ranked a full ten places behind Chookagian at 12th on the official UFC women’s flyweight standings says it all.

Chookagian should outwork “Shevchenko Light” to a decision win.

Quarantillo to Beat Carlyle by KO/TKO

Billy Quarantillo earned a superb submission win over Jason Kilburn in December, showing off his grappling skills to all watching. This was the first appearance for Quarantillo under the UFC banner since losing to Saul Rogers on TUF 22 in 2015.

Spike Carlyle made his debut in style against Aalon Cruz, by stopping Cruz in just one round back in February. Known for his flashy striking and serious power, Carlyle will be keen to get this one finished on the feet, but Quarantillo will have other ideas.

I can see Quarantillo taking Carlyle down and ending the fight with strikes from the top.

Abreu to Beat Hill by Decision

Jamahal Hill could push Kildson Abreu closer to the chopping block with a win on the night.

Abreu has one win and two losses in his UFC career to date and will be hoping that his grappling prowess will make the difference when all is done. With more experience inside the cage, Abreu will back himself.

Hill is a solid fighter who should have the advantage on the feet. However, I’m not sure that his takedown defense is going to be strong enough to keep Abreu off him for the full three rounds.

I’ll take Abreu by decision.

Elliott to Beat Royval by Decision

Tim Elliott makes his return to the cage against Brandon Royval in a matchup where the experience levels are pretty wide.

Elliott is an eleven-year pro-veteran who took on former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in an unsuccessful title shot in 2016. Having made his UFC debut all the way back in 2012, he is no stranger to the game.

Royval is making his UFC debut and will be hoping to add Elliott’s name to his resume. Although his opponent on the night is a less than impressive 2-3, Royval might struggle with containing the older man.

Elliott should scrape a decision here.

Kenney to Beat Smolka by Decision

Up and coming bantamweight Casey Kenney will be hoping for a solid performance on the night against 135-pound stalwart Louis Smolka. 

Kenney has wins over Ray Borg and Manny Bermudez in the UFC and so far lost only to Merab Dvalishvili in the promotion. Prior to that loss, Kenney was on a six-fight win streak and will be desperate to get back into the winning column.

Smolka hasn’t really fulfilled his promise in the UFC but is 1-2 in his return since being cut from the promotion in 2018. Having lost four fights in a row from October 2016 to December 2017, that was no surprise.

If he is to guarantee his place under the UFC banner for a little while longer, Smolka needs big wins. Unfortunately, I’m not sure he will get them over guys like Kenney.

I’ll take Kenney by decision.

Gutierrez to Beat Morales by Decision

Chris Gutierrez enters his fight with Vince Morales as the betting favorite, and for good reason.

“El Guapo” is 5-1 in his last six, while Morales has a less impressive record of 3-3. But more than this, Gutierrez has the right style to handle “Vandetta” on the opening bout of the evening.

I expect Gutierrez to close his down his opponent down from the get-go before dragging him to the judges’ scorecards. If Morales is to win, he will need to find a way to bag a stoppage. But against a guy as tough as Gutierrez, that will be a tough ask.

Wrapping It Up

And that’s it from me on my UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Burns winners picks.

I’m going for Woodley to take care of business with a third-round KO in the main event, and Ivanov to be too powerful for Sakai in the co-main. Elsewhere, there are wins for the likes of Daniel Rodriguez, Roosevelt Roberts, and Makenzie Dern.

If you are betting on Woodley vs. Burns — or any of the fights set to hit our screens this coming Saturday, May 30 — make sure to check out the UFC section of our blog for the latest odds, bets, news, and updates ahead of the fights!

Good luck with your bets!

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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