The UFC main event starts at 10:00pm EST with a fight in the men’s light heavyweight division between Jiri Prochazka and Alex Pereira for the interim light heavyweight championship. Pereira is currently favored at -122 on the moneyline with a -5.5 point spread at -105 odds. Read on for more UFC 295 predictions and best bets for both this fight and the co-main event of Sergei Pavlovich vs Tom Aspinall for the interim heavyweight championship.
UFC 295 Best Bets
Like UFC 294, UFC 295 has experienced its fair share of turbulence heading to the opening bell. This PPV was originally supposed to feature a bout between current heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic, having to cancel due to Jones getting injured. He has since relinquished the belt, now making the co-main event a battle for the interim belt between two heavyweight sluggers in Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich. As for the new main event, the former co-main event takes that slot as Alex Pereira faces off against Jiri Prochazka.
Jiri Prochazka Vs. Alex Pereira Prediction
The last time we saw Jiri Prochazka in the octagon was when he faced off against Glover Teixeira in one of the most entertaining fights in UFC history. He fought from behind for most of the fight as Glover put together a masterpiece, lucked into a last-minute submission win after an ill-advised Glover ground transition. The submission was much needed as two of the three judges had Jiri losing the bout should it have gone the distance.
While it leans towards a fluke result, a win is a win at the end of the day. While that may be beneficial towards Jiri’s fight record, it’s more beneficial for us bettors as it shades some value towards Pereira who grades out as the far more dangerous threat when on their feet. Pereira throws just a tad less in Significant Strikes per Minute but connects at a better percentage at 62% in comparison to Jiri’s 55% and absorbs less per minute as well.
Submission (rear naked choke) against Glover Teixeira pic.twitter.com/N2iEVORFpv
— jiri prochazka’s hair antenna (RETURN) (@josi_bwc) November 7, 2023
Better yet in Pereira’s favor, he is a far superior striker in terms of versatility and technicality. He boasts an elite kickboxing background and can throw an array of different strikes at Jiri who is prone to absorbing them as he tries to close the distance. Pereira’s power may be negated early on by Jiri’s iron like chin, yet Alex should have no issue with wearing him down early on with a flurry of quick strikes and kicks.
Speaking of closing the distance, it will be intriguing to see if Jiri opts into that same bull rush style of offense as he could find himself in serious danger of getting caught on the move. The issue is that playing a range style of attack leaves him exposed to Pereira’s leg kicks, getting weakened in that department as well. Leg kicks may get overlooked by some, but they can seriously negate Jiri’s sporadic movements and make him vulnerable.
With takedown and ground numbers grading out at breakeven, I give the edge to Pereira who is a far superior striker and can make Jiri uncomfortable with his range and quick hands when up close. Pereira’s regressing chin may pose an issue to the powerful Jiri, but Alex can slow him down with his leg kicks to the exposed calf to help negate the flash knockout opportunity.
Pick: Alex Pereira Moneyline
Sergei Pavlovich Vs. Tom Aspinall Prediction
Tom Aspinall looks to be in elite form since coming back from his injury, making quick work of Marcin Tybura and showing why he is one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC. Aspinall is a rare well-rounded heavyweight who can stay on his feet with the best of them while also possessing a takedown and submission ability.
Tom Aspinall makes it look easy and finishes Marcin Tybura in the 1st
— The Octagon Obsessed (@octagonobsessed) July 22, 2023
His wrestling and submission talent will be on full display against the vulnerable Sergei Pavlovich who is prone to getting abused in that department. While Sergei is steadily improving in his takedown defense with a Takedown Defense of 75%, he has yet to face a talent like Aspinall who has explosive speed and a high IQ of when to shoot. Expect Aspinall to match hands with Pavlovich and bring it in close before trying to take this to the mat.
When on the ground, Aspinall will be in a position to secure a quick submission. While Sergei has yet to be submitted in his UFC career, it’s known that he has little to no ground game. His knack for wanting to keep this standing to his advantage will only last so long before Aspinall picks his spot and puts him in a dangerous situation on his back.
Pick: Tom Aspinall Moneyline