Preview and Predictions for UFC on ESPN+24: Blaydes vs. Dos Santos by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner
This weekend the UFC heads down to Raleigh, North Carolina for UFC on ESPN+24: Blaydes vs. Dos Santos LIVE Saturday from the PNC Arena. The action kickoffs on ESPN+ with the Prelims at 5PM/ET followed by the Main Card at 8PM/ET.
UFC Raleigh Main Card Predictions
Jamahal Hill (-125) vs. Darko Stosic (+115)
In a Light Heavyweight matchup, Contender Series prospect Jamahal “Sweet Dreams” Hill (6-0-0) looks to remain perfect as he faces Serbia’s Darko Stosic (13-3-0) in his promotional debut. Darko Stosic will try to find his way back into the win column after suffering back to back Decision losses to Devin Clark and Kennedy Nzechukwu, which put a halt to Darko’s nine fight win streak. Jamahal Hill earned his UFC contract in July on Season Three of the Contender Series by defeating Alexander Poppeck via Second Round TKO. Both Hill and Stosic were built to fight and compete, but I am interested to see which fighter will be able to rise to the occasion in rhis high pressure situation.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Hill via Third Round TKO
D’Bo’s Picks: Stosic via First Round TKO
Angela Hill (-190) vs. Hannah Cifers (+150)
Once again stepping up on short notice, Angie “Overkill” Hill (10-7-0) takes on Hannah “Shockwave” Cifers (10-3-0) in a Strawweight contest. Having alternated wins and losses over her last four contests, Angela Hill will be looking to string together consecutive wins by following up her First Round TKO stoppage victory over Ariane Carnelossi at UFC Mexico City in September, with another win over Cifers. Originally scheduled to face Brianna Van Buren, Hannah Cifers will be seeking her third straight UFC win this weekend. After losing to Maycee Barber in her promotional debut back in November 2018, Cifers has rattled off wins over Polyanna Viana and Jodie Esquibel and could crack the divisional rankings if she is able to earn a third consecutive win against Hill.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Cifers via Decision
D’Bo’s Picks: Hill via Decision
Alex Perez (-250) vs. Jordan Espinosa (+230)
Alex Perez (22-5-0) meets Jordan Espinosa (14-6-0,1NC) in what should be a competitive matchup between the two Flyweight prospects. After earning a Unanimous Decision win over Eric Shelton in his official UFC debut, Jordan Espinosa was unable to go 2-2 inside the Octagon in 2019, losing to Matt Schnell in August at UFC Newark via First Round Submission and ending a five fight win streak. Alex Perez was able to rebound from a First Round TKO loss at the TUF Season 28 Finale to Joe Benavidez by defeating Mark De La Rosa at UFC Philadelphia in July to improve to 4-1 in the UFC This should be an exciting back and forth between these two talented Flyweights, but I give an edge to the more polished and experienced Perez, who may be able to crack the divisional rankings with another strong performance against Espinosa.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Perez via Second Round Submission
D’Bo’s Picks: Perez via Decision
#5 Rafael Dos Anjos (-245) vs Michael Chiesa (+225)
Former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos (29-12-0) meets another former Lightweight contender in Ultimate Fighter Season 15 Champion Michael “Maverick” Chiesa (16-4-0) as both fighters aim to establish their place as legit contenders at 170 pounds. Now more than three years removed from last competing at Lightweight, RDA has compiled a 4-3 record since moving up in weight, winning his first three fights at Welterweight before faltering to divisional elites and wrestling savants Leon Edwards, Colby Covington and current Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman. While Michael Chiesa is not considered an elite fighters, Maverick does possess above average wrestling skills and the ability to wear out his opponents. Chiesa has earned wins over Diego Sanchez and Carlos Condit in his first two appearances at Welterweight, and could earn the biggest win of his career, if he is able to get past Dos Anjos this weekend.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Chiesa via Decision
D’Bo’s Picks: Chiesa via Second Round Submission
#3 Curtis Blaydes (-250) vs. #4 Junior Dos Santos (+210)
Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (12-2-0,1NC) looks to continue his dominance in the Heavyweight division as he is set to battle former Champion “El Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (21-6-0) in the UFC Raleigh Main Event. After his second loss to “The Predator” Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes has repositioned amongst the top Heavyweight contenders with consecutive wins over Shamil Abdurakhimov and Justin Willis. “Razor” Blaydes is 7-0,1NC against everyone else not named Ngannou in the UFC, including wins over the likes of Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem, and Alexey Oleynik. Junior Dos Santos saw a three fight win streak come to an end, as he suffered a similar fate losing to “The Predator” Francis Ngannou in June via First Round TKO in the UFC Minneapolis Main Event. Even at the age of 35, El Cigano has been able to outbox the majority of the Heavyweights he has faced on the UFC roster only losing to the elites Ngannou, Miocic, Overeem and Velasquez since 2013. While an eye injury to Champ Stipe Miocic, and the presence of Francis Ngannou and Daniel Cormier will continue to cloud the Heavyweight title picture, few can argue that there is another fighter worthy of serious Heavyweight title shot considerations than budding star Curtis Blaydes. With a win over Junior Dos Santos, Curtis Blaydes can prove that he belongs amongst the best of the best and will definitely be in the mix if an Interim Heavyweight title scenario arises.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Blaydes via Second Round TKO
D’Bo’s Picks: Dos Santos via Third Round TKO
In two weeks, the UFC will visit Houston, Texas for UFC 247: Jones vs. Reyes. Share your thoughts and picks with us in the Comments section below and enjoy the fights!