UFC Fight Night (UFC Vegas 69): Andrade vs. Blanchfield Predictions, Analysis, and Free Picks
Official Selections: 64% (+4.6 Units) | YTD Premium Picks: 63% (+11.95 units)
Location: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV
Prelims: 4:00 PM EST - ESPN+
Main Card: 7:00 PM EST - ESPN+
We finished the night above deck on Saturday, going 4-2 (+2.05 units) on the night and really only missing largely on Islam ITD. Volk surprised me in every sense, showing a ground game I never would have thought he had him in, while Islam showed some serious flaws I think we see fellow lightweights now cash in on.
Premium subscribers receiving picks for every single fight, we went 8-5 on the night, moving to 31-18 (63%, +11.95 units) on the year following three of four winning weeks.
Our attention now turns back to the UFC Apex, as we look to string together multiple winning weeks, and I believe are in a position to do just that. I’ll be honest though, this card is about as bad as it gets talent-wise, and is filled with UFC journeymen and few debutants worth much.
Let’s take a closer look at a few spots I’m on heading into the weekend.
Nazim Sadykhov vs. Evan Elder
The “Black Wolf” (Sadykov) is just the latest Serra-Longo product to make it into the big leagues, as the 28-year-old earned his spot via DWCS in August over the dangerous Ahmad Suhail Hassanzada (KO). With the 7th win of his career, Sadykov has had all but one of his professional fights end inside the distance.
Though the sample size is small, his striking in his DWCS debut was dialed, landing 4.42 significant strikes per minute and 1.25 knockdowns per 15 minutes.
Evan Elder will step into the octagon to welcome Saykov to the UFC, coming into this fight following the first loss of his career in his UFC debut 300 days ago. Though he lost via decision, Elder was dominated throughout the night, losing the significant striking battle by a differential of -48.
Even prior to the loss, Elder’s resume was trivial at best, with his seven combined professional wins coming against fighters with a combined record of 21-25 at the time of their fight.
As we saw in his DWCS win, it often takes Sadykov a while to get going, so I’m staying away from ITD here. I do think he has a much higher upside, and ultimately leans on his stamina and the Ray Longo coaching advantage to get this one done.
Pick: Nazim Sadykov (-175 at BetUS) to risk 3.5 units
Jamall Emmers vs. Khusein Ashkhabov
Two fighters who haven’t been inside the octagon in more than 530 days (Emmers) and three years (Ashkahbov) will square off in this one, as both will be dealing with extended ring rust.
For Emmers, a vicious heal hook compliments of Pat Sabatini back in August 2021 has had him sidelined with an injury, as the loss moved the 33-year-old to a record of 1-2 in his time with the UFC. It is worth noting his other loss was a razor-sharp split decision to Giga Chikadze, the current #8 featherweight and a proven commodity in the UFC.
Ashkabov, a guy that was considered the future of the featherweight division at one time, comes into this one having not fought since March 2020. In fact, since 2016, Ashkhabov has fought just four times due to injury and then visa issues.
As the line movement from -235 to -125 suggests, Emmers is not going to be an easy out for the 23-0 “prospect”, despite being less talented and naturally gifted in all likelihood. I like for Emmers to rely on his takedown defense throughout the night, pushing for a striking battle while being extra cautious to avoid losing the final fight of his current UFC contract.
All signs point towards this one going the distance.
Pick: Over 2.5 Rounds (-120 at BetUS) to risk 2.4 units
William Knight vs. Marcin Prachnio
A pair of hard striking light heavyweights with questionable chins will square off on the main card Saturday, in a fight I have a hard time seeing goes the distance. This one was originally scheduled for November but called off the week prior, with speculation swirling that Knight’s weight cut was to blame.
The last time we saw Knight in the octagon was an April 2022 TKO loss to Devin Clark, his second straight defeat after going 3-1 through his first four fights in the UFC.
Prachnio also comes into this one following a loss, his a decision in April 2022 as well. Prior to that, he had consecutive wins, in total amassing a record of 2-3 in the UFC, with all three of his defeats coming via KO/TKO in the very first round.
With both of these fighters six fights into their UFC stint and at a combined record of 5-7, all while being in their mid-30s; neither likely has title aspirations. Add in the fact a combined 81% of their professional fights have ended inside the distance, and I think we see both let them fly in this one as both searches for a Fight of the Night bonus performance.
Pick: Fight to go the Distance - No (-160 at BetUS) to risk 3.2 units
Josh Parisian vs. Jamal Pogues
Jamal Pogues makes his UFC debut on Saturday night, following his second DWCS win in the past three years. Going 1-1 in LFA in the time between, his two fights there were against guys with a combined record of 12-2, with his loss coming against Bellator mainstay Alex Polizzi.
His August 2022 win over Paulo Renato Jr., a dominant decision victory, was amongst the best this season at any weight class. With abornmally strong grappling for this weight class, the 27-year-old Pogues will certainly be a problem at heavyweight if he continues to progress.
As for Parisian, simply put, we largely know what we’re getting.
Also a two-time DWCS alum (+ The Ultimate Fighter), Parisian has alternated wins and losses since joining the UFC full-time in November 2020. A striker first, Parisian particularly struggles in defending himself both on the feet (41% striking defense, 5.11 significant strikes absorbed per minute), as well as on the ground (42% takedown defense).
Add in a massive edge in athleticism, and all signs point towards Pogues picking up the win here.
Pick: Jamal Pogues (-220 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 4.4 units
Jessica Andrade vs. Erin Blanchfield
I was on hand in November at Madison Square Garden to see Blanchfield make ground meat out of Molly Meatball, and I think the women’s bantamweight division has a real problem on their hands.
This fight was originally supposed to be the #1 contender in the division Taila Santos getting her crack at Blanchfield, but just last week Santos withdrew putting this bout in jeopardy. Fresh off a new contract, in steps Andrade, who not only takes this fight on a week’s notice but has just fought 27 days ago at UFC 283: Teixeira vs. Hill.
Largely even in striking, Blanchfield is a cut above on the ground, holding significant edges in submission average (4x) and takedown average (2x). Riding a seven-fight win streak coming into this one, Blanchfield submitted her past two opponents inside two rounds.
Make no mistake, Andrade is a savage and in the prime of her career, but styles makes fights, and I think it’s a bad one for the Brazilian striker.
Pick: Erin Blanchfield (+140 at FanDuel Sportsbook) to risk 1 unit
BMP of the Week (Beer Money Parlay) sponsored by BetUS
Nazim Sadykov (-175 at BetUS) to risk 3.5 units
Emmers/Ashkabov Over 2.5 Rounds (-120 at BetUS) to risk 2.4 units
Knight/Prachnio Fight to go the Distance - No (-160 at BetUS) to risk 3.2 units
Jamal Pogues (-220 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 4.4 units
Erin Blanchfield (+140 at FanDuel Sportsbook) to risk 1 unit
All Fights - Picks w/ Confidence Levels & Modeled Odds
YTD Record: 31-18 (63%, +11.95 units)*
*All bets are one unit
All Fights - Dashboards (not found above)
*All odds as of the day of posting.
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