UFC Vegas 90 predictions – MMA Fighting

Brendan Allen has little to gain and a lot to lose tonight.

When the UFC Vegas 90 main event was initially drawn up, Allen had the opportunity to climb up the rankings with a win over originally scheduled opponent Marvin Vettori. Currently, Vettori is No. 7 at middleweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, two spots higher than No. 9 Allen.

An injury forced Vettori out and in walked the unranked Chris Curtis, who just so happens to be the last fighter to hand Allen a loss. Allen has won six straight fights since Curtis finished him with strikes in December 2021, a run that has him closing in on a title shot at 185 pounds. A second loss to Curtis wouldn’t bar Allen from ever challenging for UFC gold, but it would harshly derail the most promising run of his career.

As for Curtis, he has a habit of causing disruption when it’s least expected, so stuffing Allen’s championship dreams would be perfectly on brand for him.

What: UFC Vegas 90

Where: UFC APEX in Las Vegas

When: Saturday, April 6. The seven-fight preliminary card begins at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+, followed by a five-fight main card at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

Brendan Allen vs. Chris Curtis

Obviously, Brendan Allen and Chris Curtis aren’t the same fighters they were when they first fought. The question is how much have they changed. More importantly, has Allen improved in a meaningful way to avoid Curtis clipping him again?

Having fought Curtis once already can only be beneficial to Allen because much like Curtis’ training partner Sean Strickland, “The Action Man” is a difficult puzzle to figure out at first. He had Allen completely befuddled in their first meeting and once Allen’s grappling was neutralized, it was only matter of time until Curtis lit him up.

Unsurprisingly, given his recent run of finishes, Allen is at his best when he’s pressuring and finding openings for takedowns and power punches. A traditional striking battle favors Curtis, a veteran with a reputation for out-thinking his foes in the standup. Allen can’t bully Curtis, so he has to find the right balance between aggression and patience. Too aggressive, Curtis can hurt him with counters; too patient, Curtis picks him apart.

The rematch being 25 minutes adds an important wrinkle. Both fighters shouldn’t have an issue going the distance having both completed several five-rounders in their pre-UFC days, but Allen’s grappling-heavy style could be difficult to maintain as the fight wears on. Allen can make a statement by excelling in the championship rounds.

That’s what I expect to happen in this rematch. Allen again scores with his grappling early and makes it a point to stay in the shorter Curtis’ face at all times. It’s going to be a grueling, punishing five rounds for Allen, but he’ll give better than he gets to earn a decision.

Pick: Allen

Alexander Hernandez vs. Damon Jackson

Readers, you’re smarter than me. Answer me this: What exactly is Alexander Hernandez doing at featherweight? Let me know in the comments below, please.

I ask because he hasn’t looked great in two appearances at 145 pounds (a TKO loss to Billy Quarantillo and a decision loss to Bill Algeo), and on Friday he made a mess of things at the scale, first weighing in at 150 pounds and then coming in at 147.5 pounds on his second attempt. At least he tried.

Damon Jackson is known for getting into dogfights, which aren’t always to Hernandez’s liking. We know Hernandez can reach down deep to gut out wins, but he’s at his best when he has room to flow and utilize his athleticism. On paper, Jackson is tailor-made to outpace and out-ugly Hernandez.

It’s amazing to think Hernandez is just over a year removed from winning a thrilling decision over Jim Miller. Just stay at lightweight! I don’t get it.

Pick: Jackson

Morgan Charriere vs. Chepe Mariscal

Morgan Charriere is an absolute assassin when he gets going. The Frenchman came over from Cage Warriors with a healthy amount of hype behind him and for good reason. He’s a readymade featherweight contender, with plenty of quality experience and an entertaining striking style.

On the other side, Chepe Mariscal has already earned the reputation of a wild man after 15 minutes of chaos in his UFC debut against Trevor Peek, but that evaluation does him a disservice. He’s highly technical and well-rounded and he’s faced a comparable level of competition to that of Charriere.

Charriere gets the edge in my book due to his superior defense and movement. Mariscal might be able to walk Charriere down, but it’s more likely that Charriere’s evasiveness frustrates Marichal into making a mistake. After feeling him out in the first round, Charriere turns it up in Round 2 for the finish.

Pick: Charriere

Ignacio Bahamondes vs. Christos Giagos

Like a lot of tall fighters, Ignacio Bahamondes has a herky-jerky style that can be both exhilarating and confounding to watch. When it works, it’s plenty effective though, and I don’t see Christos Giagos slowing him down.

Giagos has taken on a glass cannon quality over the past few years, which is great for fans, not so great for his career prospects. He’s a threat to finish on the feet or on the ground if he can get on the offensive, which is a big if in this matchup. Bahamondes’ reach advantage is tough to get past and Giagos doesn’t have the speed or agility to navigate it.

I have Bahamondes stinging Giagos with his striking and finishing via submission.

Pick: Bahamondes

Trevor Peek vs. Charlie Campbell

Trevor Peek and Charlie Campbell have barely been in the game for five years, but it feels like we know what to expect from them already, doesn’t it?

Campbell has the makings of a legit prospect at 155 pounds. He has impressive physical tools and is light on his feet, plus he hits like a truck once he lets his hands go. There’s a lot of seasoning to be added before he’s anywhere close to a finished product, but he’s being put in a position to succeed.

I’m probably underselling Peek when I say that he has the potential to be a consistent bonus collector for years to come. Maybe there’s more to meets the eye with his fighting style, but it’s hard to look past the wild lunges and home-run swings when judging his technique. He could be Lyoto Machida in the gym. It’s impossible to tell based on what we see on fight night.

So give me Campbell via knockout after surviving a rabid rush from Peek to open the contest.

Pick: Campbell


Alex Morono def. Court McGee

Valter Walker def. Lukasz Brzeski

Germaine de Randamie def. Norma Dumont

Victor Hugo def. Pedro Falcao

Dan Argueta def. Jean Matsumoto

Cesar Almeida def. Dylan Budka

Nora Cornolle def. Melissa Mullins

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