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UFC Fight Night: Andrade v Blanchfield main card picks – 18/2/23

UFC betting

The main card for UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs Blanchfield features a mixture of hardened veterans and promising prospects in need of a career-boosting win. Many of the combatants have earned their ticket via Dana White’s Contender Series and must now step up their game to compete against the next level of MMA talent.

Jordan Wright (12-4-0) v Zac Pauga (6-1-0)

Jordan Wright (-114.94) looks like a fighter — not a street brawler, but a clean-cut, athletic, former high school wrestler type of fighter. Up until August 2020 it was all going to plan for Wright; he was 11-0 and riding an unstoppable upward trajectory. Unfortunately, the fight game is cruel, and the Texan has now suffered three straight defeats — two via knockout and one by submission. Another bad loss here might spell the end of the road for Wright. Having suffered the recent early finishes, he might be susceptible to another knockout.

Zac Pauga (-106.38) entered the UFC in August 2022 via The Ultimate Fighter with a clean 5-0 record but came up short on his debut in the big league. Pauga was knocked out in the second round by Mohammed Usman and will be looking to chalk up his first UFC win here. That fight was held at heavyweight, so we can expect a slimmer, more chiselled Pauga to show up for this light heavyweight clash. A lighter physique should assist his mobility and stamina, which both let Pauga down in against Usman. If he can bring the power with him and comfortably make weight, Pauga might have a bright future.

Zac Pauga by KO/TKO


Josh Parisian (15-5-0) v Jamal Pogues (9-3-0)

Josh Parisian (+195) entered the UFC after two winning appearances on Dana White’s Contender Series, both of which concluded via first-round knockout. The first victory in 2018 was not enough to land a contract, so Parisian was forced back into the provincial MMA circuit. A five-fight win streak earned him another shot in front of the UFC big boss, and a second impressive showing earned him the paperwork. The 33-year-old is not blessed with natural athletic ability, but he knows how to throw a hard punch and is rugged and durable.

Jamal Pogues (-250) is another graduate of the Contender Series, earning his stripes with a tough three-round showing against Paulo Renato Jr. The Californian has only been knocked out once in his professional career, his other losses coming via submission. He is a stand-and-trade type of fighter and this looks like a favourable matchup for his skillset. This will not be the most technical bout on the card, but fans generally love to watch the big men in action and their styles point toward an early finish.

Fight will not go the distance


William Knight (11-4-0) v Marcin Prachnio (15-6-0)

William Knight (-114.94) needs to find a win after dropping his last two fights. He was most recently stopped by Devin Clark’s flurry of punches in the third round in April 2022, after being beaten on points by Maxim Grishin in February 2022. Prior to these losses, Knight had looked like a potential contender with five wins from six trips to the octagon. It is time to see if he has the fortitude required to overcome recent disappointment and produce his best performance.

Marcin Prachnio (-106.38) is a Polish former karate champion who has recorded 11 wins via knockout as a professional. He tends to be a little wild and careless in the opening round of his fights and suffered three straight first-round losses from 2018 to 2020. Once he has navigated the opening five minutes, Prachnio looks much more controlled and assured and his chances of winning appreciate accordingly. He throws knees and punches with great power and can produce a knockout blow from both long and short range, so we are leaning his way.

Marcin Prachnio to win


Jim Miller (35-16-0) v Alexander Hernandez (13-6-0)

Jim Miller (+190) has been fighting in the UFC since 2008. The 39-year-old warrior has shared the octagon with some of the sport’s biggest names and his record includes a win over Charles Oliveira, a loss to Nate Diaz, and a loss to Duston Poirier. Miller refuses to go quietly into the night and has won his last three bouts as he completes the final lap of a long and storied career. He is a specialist on the mat, with 19 victories coming by way of submission. Miller choked out fellow UFC legend Donald Cerrone at his most recent outing to send ‘Cowboy’ into retirement.

Alexander Hernandez (-238.1) is another MMA fighter who looks the part. His record has been patchy of late, though, with five losses from his last eight appearances. He has jumped between the lightweight and featherweight divisions during this rough patch in the hope of arresting the slide. Hernandez is nine years younger than Miller with 32 less fights to his name, so should enjoy freshness advantage. He also holds a BJJ black belt, so this fight will get very interesting if it goes to the ground. Hernandez should have a striking advantage and might be inclined to avoid the potential traps on the mat and keep the battle upright, where he can work behind a stiff jab.

Fight will go the distance


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