MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the UFC’s top bouts. Today, we look at the main card for UFC Fight Night 236.
UFC Fight Night 236 (ESPN+) takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Last event’s results: 3-2-1
Overall picks for UFC main cards in 2024: 7-7-1
Welcome to MMA Junkie’s Quick Picks and Prognostications, where I’ll be giving brief, fight-day breakdowns for UFC main cards.
With that in mind, I hope these write-ups don’t come off as curt or dismissive, as my goal here is to offer quick picks and analysis in a digestible format. All odds listed are provided by FanDuel.
If you’d like more detailed analysis from me, then feel free to check out my weekly show, The Protect Ya’ Neck Podcast.
So, without further ado…
Rodolfo Vieira (-122) vs. Armen Petrosyan (+100)
Kicking off the main card on ESPN+ is a middleweight matchup between Rodolfo Vieira and Armen Petrosyan.
Despite the smaller octagon typically giving a slight edge to superior submission grapplers from a stylistic standpoint, I somewhat surprisingly find myself siding with the striker here.
Vieira certainly has the credentials for a “game over” grappling game, but I don’t think he’s been able to translate his game as reliably when it comes to mixed martial arts.
Add in Vieira’s suspect gas tank, and I’ll take a flier on Petrosyan to survive the early storms and for a stoppage by strikes in round 3.
Michael Johnson (-134) vs. Darrius Flowers (+110)
In a fight that probably should’ve opened up the main card, Michael Johnson meets Darrius Flowers.
Although it will be nice to see Flowers finally fighting at a weight class that better suits his frame, I’m still not ready to put a veteran like Johnson out to pasture.
Johnson may tend to fall apart in tough fights, but the southpaw is still a dangerous out who knows how to punish the body (which I think will serve him well here given Flowers’ defense).
This should be fun for as long as it lasts, but I’ll take Johnson to get back on track with a first-round knockout.
Brad Tavares (+186) vs. Gregory Rodrigues (-235)
In a fight that should be more competitive than the odds let on, Brad Tavares will finally do battle with Gregory Rodrigues.
Although I don’t disagree with Rodrigues being the designated favorite, I believe that the betting market tends to disrespect Tavares.
My bais for Tavares and his camp aside, the 36-year-old Hawaiian is one of the more proven and durable products at 185 pounds for the past decade. His durability may not be what it once was, but I still suspect that Tavares’s chin is more reliable than Rodrigues (who appears to come with a clear “off switch” in tow).
Add in Tavares’ leg-kicking ability and stellar takedown defense, and I find myself siding with the Xtreme Couture product to pick up a late stoppage win in round 3.
Ihor Potieria (+140) vs. Robert Bryczek (-172)
As if the matchmakers haven’t already shoved enough middleweights down our throats in 2024, Ihor Potieria will welcome Robert Bryczek.
With Albert Duraev being forced to withdraw from this fight, Potieria will now be stepping in to fight Bryczek – – and at a new weight class, no less.
Bryczek, on the other hand, looks to be an exciting action fighter with impressive hands in tow. We still haven’t seen much out of Bryczek past the first round, and hope to see more from him here.
However, considering Potieria’s lackadaisical defense and propensity to put his back to the cage, I can’t help but Bryczek to continue his streak with another first-round knockout here.
Dan Ige (142) vs. Andre Fili (+176)
The co-main event for UFC Fight Night 235 features potential fireworks at featherweight between Dan Ige and Andre Fili.
Despite this being a fight that deserves five-round status, we’ll unfortunately have to settle for a fun fifteen minutes of action – which is what I think we get here.
Although Fili is taking this fight on short notice, the Team Alpha Male product is fresh off a first-round finish over Lucas Almeida at UFC 296.
It’s a tough fight to call considering how game and well-rounded both men are, but I’ll side with Ige (with admitted bias in tow) to edge out a competitive win on the scorecards.