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UFC Fight Night: Allen vs. Craig Predictions and Analysis

Lucie Pudilova (+154) vs. Ailin Perez (-185)

We saw Lucie first come through the UFC from 2017-2020, starting off 2-1 before losing four straight to end her time with the company in 2020. After racking up a 5-2 record in another promotion, OKTAGON, Lucie returned to the UFC in 2022 and has gone 2-1 in the time since. A closer look shows those two wins were over fighters who were just 2-4 in their proceeding six fights, and I think the real Lucie was displayed in a recent split decision loss to Joselyne Edwards.

Ailin Perez, on the other hand, comes into this fight having won three of her past four, with her only loss coming against Stephanie Egger via submission, an area where she has a huge advantage over Lucie in this one. Coming into Saturday, Perez is averaging 6.63 takedowns per 15 minutes (vs .62) and a takedown accuracy of 61% (vs. 27%).

With the numbers and pedigree on the feet about equal, I think Perez has a much clearer path to victory in this one.

Pick: Ailin Perez (-185 at BetMGM Sportsbook)

Jonathan Pearce (-130) vs. Joanderson Brito (+110)

Two red-hot featherweight prospects collide in this one, as Jonathan Pearce takes on Joanderson Brito in a fight all in the division will be watching closely. 

For Brito, a win over Diego Lopes in the 2021 DWCS got him in the UFC, losing his debut to Bill Algeo via first-round decision. Since then, he’s made a habit of quick work, picking up three straight wins all in the first round. 

Pearce is also a DWCS alum, joining the UFC in 2019 with a loss to Joe Lauzon in the first round. Similarly, Pearce has been a menace in the division since, picking up five straight wins with three coming inside the distance. Picking up a big win vs. Darren Elkins in December, Pearce was scheduled to fight Bryce Mitchell before the fight got scratched. 

On paper, Pearce is better everywhere, with 6.11 significant strikes landed per minute (4.02) and 5.74 takedowns averaged per 15 minutes (vs. 3.89). Add in the experience factor of going deep with some of the best talent in the division, and if Peace can avoid an early onslaught thanks to that experience, I think he cruises to victory.

Pick: Jonathan Pearce (-130 at DraftKings Sportsbook)

Brendan Allen (-425) vs. Paul Craig (+325)

Simply put, I have this one much closer to even than the odds currently suggest. 

Despite being just 27 years old, Allen has run a gauntlet at middleweight, joining the UFC in 2019 and fighting the likes of Kevin Holland (W), Sean Strickland (L), and most recently  Bruno Silva (W). He comes into this one now on a five-fight win streak since losing to Chris Curis in January of 2021.

Craig is another guy who has been hanging around the middleweight division for some time now, joining the promotion in 2016 and since picking up some big wins against the likes of Magomed Ankalaev (2018), Jamahal Hill (2021), Nikita Kyrlov (2022), and most recently Andre Muniz (July 2023). His sights are now set on Allen, who with a win over, would propel him into the top of the division. 

While Allen does have the slight edge on the feet, he also absorbs more shots per minute by 36%, something that won’t bode well for him against a guy who loves to exchange. Craig also takes the edge here on the ground, with 1.67 submissions and 1.91 takedowns per 15 minutes. 

I do have Allen, as the slight favorite, but at more than 3/1 odds, Craig is too good to pass up at this number. 

Pick: Paul Craig (+325 at DraftKings Sportsbook)

Get the rest of my UFC selections, including a pick on every fight on Saturday’s card via my UFC Prediction newsletter on Substack.

Johnny Covers

Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping UFC for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as Oddschecker, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, Yardbarker, and many more. Johnny runs giving out free UFC analysis and picks on every card, going 56% in 2021, 65% in 2022, and trending at 60% for 2023. He has also made multiple appearances on UFC's official betting show "On the Line" along side head MMA oddsmaker at Circa Sportsbooks Nick Kalikas and professional sports bettor Gianni the Greek .