UFC Fight Night- Thompson vs Neal: Preliminary Card: Prediction and Analysis

Published 12/19/2020, 5:00 AM EST


The last fight card for the year, UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Neal will emanate from the UFC Apex this Saturday. It will be the last event of the year before the UFC returns on January 16. The card will be headlined by the welterweight fight between Stephen Thompson and Geoff Neal. However, the rest of the card is stacked with some extremely interesting fights. 

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As we head closer to the fights, we inspect the preliminary card and offer our prediction and analysis for the same.

Read: UFC Fight Night- Stephen Thompson vs Geoff Neal: prediction and analysis 

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UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Neal- Preliminary card

Christos Giagos vs Carlton Minus 

Christos Giagos takes on Carlton Minus as the first fight on the prelim card at catchweight. ‘The Spartan’ made his UFC debut in September 2018 when he succumbed to a loss against Charles Oliveira. He is currently 2-2 in the UFC and lost his last fight via unanimous decision in August 2019. 

Clutch’ made his UFC debut this August and succumbed to a loss against Matthew Semelsberger. He will be looking to bounce back and secure his first win in the UFC. 

‘The Spartan’ has secured an equal number of wins via T/KO and decision at 41%. He has landed an impressive 3.05 significant strikes per minute in his UFC career thus far. He has averaged 2.74 takedowns per 15 minutes and 0.4 submission attempts in the same time frame. 

Minus, has secured an impressive 60% of his wins thus far via T/KO. He has landed an impressive 5.13 significant strikes in his sole UFC fight. However, he has absorbed a concerning 7.87 significant strikes per minute, which can be his downfall. 

Given recent results and performances, a much more experienced Christos Giagos should be able to secure a win over Minus. 

Prediction: Christos Giagos via decision 

Jimmy Flick vs Cody Durden 

Jimmy Flick takes on Cody Durden as the second fight on the preliminary card in the flyweight division. ‘The Brick’ made his UFC debut in September with an impressive submission win on Dana White’s Contender Series. He will be aiming to continue his good run and secure a first UFC win.

Durden made his UFC debut this year in August with a draw against Chris Gutierrez. He will be aiming to secure his first win with the promotion this Saturday. 

‘The Brick’ has secured a mind-boggling 87% of his wins via submission. He has averaged 2.26 takedowns per 15 minutes and a mind-boggling 7.9 submissions attempted per 15 minutes. Flick does not lag behind in the striking department and has landed 2.04 significant strikes per minute in his UFC career. 

Durden has secured an equal number of his wins via submission and T/KO at 45% each. His takedown defense will be put to the test against Flick. So far Cody has a takedown defense of 0% in the UFC. However, since he has fought only once in the promotion, it is not a fair assessment. Durden has landed an impressive 2.40 significant strikes per minute. 

Given recent form and performances and his prowess on the ground, Flick should be able to secure another win in the UFC. 

Prediction: Jimmy Flick via submission. 

Tafon Nchukwi vs Jamie Pickett 

Tafon Nchukwi takes on Jamie Pickett in the middleweight division at UFC Vegas 17. ‘Cameroon Express’ made his UFC debut in September on Dana White’s Contender Series and secured an impressive KO win over Al Matavao. 

Pickett also made his UFC debut on Dana White’s Contender Series this August. He secured a TKO win over Jhonoven Pati. Both men will be looking to secure their second win in the UFC. 

Nchukwi has secured a 100% of his wins via T/KO. He has landed a mind-boggling 6.70 significant strikes per minute in his sole UFC fight. However, he absorbed a concerning 7.84 significant strikes per minute. 

The Nightwolf‘ is also a heavy hitter and has secured 73% of his wins via T/KO. He has landed an impressive 2.95 significant strikes per minute while absorbing only 2.98 in return in his sole UFC fight. 

Given the recent performances and wins, a much more elusive and experienced Pickett should be able to hand Nchukwi his first loss as a professional fighter 

Prediction: Jamie Picket via TKO

Gillian Robertson vs Taila Santos 

Gillian Robertson takes on Taila Santos in the women’s flyweight division. ‘The Savage’ made her debut in the UFC in December 2017 with a win over Emily Whitmire. She is currently 2-1 in her last three fights and most recently secured a unanimous decision win over Poliana Botelho in October. 

Santos made her UFC debut on Dana White’s Contender Series with a win over Estefani Almeida in August 2018. Most recently, she secured a unanimous decision win over Molly McCann in July. 

‘The Savage’ has secured 67% of her wins via submission. She has averaged 3.25 takedowns per 15 minutes and 0.9 submission attempts in the same time frame. Robertson’s route to victory will be to get the fight to the ground. However, it will not be easy against Santos who has an 83% takedown defense.

Taila Santos has secured 63% of her wins via T/KO. She has landed an impressive 4.09 significant strikes per minute and has a five-inch reach advantage going into this fight, which will help her tremendously. 

Given the recent performances and results, Santos should be able to use her skillset to secure a win over Robertson

Prediction: Talia Santos via TKO

Deron Winn vs Antonio Arroyo

Deron Winn takes on Antonio Arroyo at catchweight at UFC Vegas 17. Winn made his UFC debut in June 2019 with a win over Eric Spicely. He is currently 0-2 in his last two fights in the UFC. 

Arroyo made his UFC debut in August 2018 with a win over Diego Henrique da Silva. He is 2-1 in the UFC and lost his last fight to Andre Muniz. 

Winn has secured 67% of his wins via T/KO. He has landed an impressive 5.95 significant strikes per minute in his UFC career. However, he has absorbed a concerning 5.95 significant strikes per minute as well. 

Arroyo on the other hand has secured an equal number of his wins via T/KO and submission at 44%. He has landed an impressive 3.12 significant strikes per minute in his UFC career his far. He has averaged 1.95 takedowns per 15 minutes and 0.4 submission attempts in the same time period. 

Given recent performances and victories and good takedown defense score, Arroyo should be able to secure a win over Deron Winn.

Prediction: Antonio Arroyo via decision

Sijara Eubanks vs Pannie Kianzad 

Sijara Eubanks takes on Pannie Kianzad in the bantamweight division at UFC Vegas 17. ‘SarJ’ made her UFC debut in June 2018 with a win over Lauren Murphy. She is currently 2-1 in her last three fights and succumbed to a loss against Ketlen Vieira most recently. 

Banzai’ on the other hand made her UFC debut in July 2019 and succumbed to a loss against Julia Avila. She is currently on a two-fight win streak and most recently secured a unanimous decision win over Bethe Correia. 

‘SarJ’ has secured most of her wins via decision at 67%. She has landed an impressive 4.70 significant strikes per minute in her UFC career and has absorbed just 3.34 in return. She also averaged 1.86 takedowns per 15 minutes and 0.4 submissions in the same time frame. 

‘Banzai’ on the other hand has secured 77% of her wins via decision. She has landed an impressive 4.85 significant strikes per minute in the UFC and has absorbed just 3.72 in return. 

Given recent form and performances, Kianzad should be able to secure a win against ‘SarJ’.

Prediction: Pannie Kianzad via decision 

Anthony Pettis vs Alex Morono 

Anthony Pettis takes on Alex Morono in the welterweight division in the final fight on the preliminary card. ‘Showtime’ has been in the UFC for nine years now. He is 1-2 in his last three fights and will be aiming to win a second fight on the trot for the first time since 2014.

The Great White’ made his debut in January 2016 with a win over Kyle Noke. He is 2-1 in his last three fights and secured an impressive win over Rhys McKee last month. 

‘Showtime’ has secured 48% of his wins via T/KO. He has landed an impressive 3.04 significant strikes per minute in the UFC. He has averaged 0.64 takedowns per 15 minutes and 1.1 submission attempts in the same time frame. 

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Morono has landed an impressive 5.32 significant strikes per minute and has absorbed just 3.74 in return. He is split in between submissions and decisions with 33% wins each. 

Given recent form and wins, Anthony Pettis should be able to secure back-to-back wins for the first time since 2014. 

Prediction: Anthony Pettis via decision 

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Kevin Binoy

940 articles

Kevin Binoy is an MMA author at EssentiallySports. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Fergusson College and has been covering sports professionally for over two years. Besides working with the MMA writing team, Kevin is a core member of the organization's web stories team and is responsible for delivering engaging MMA web stories.

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