UFC 289 takes place tonight at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC, with Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana for the bantamweight title main eventing the show. The highly anticipated Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush lightweight clash will also take place after many delays.
The preliminaries happen to have the more competitive fights on the card according to UFC odds, with several motivated fighters hoping to turn in a strong performance in pursuit of bigger fights down the line.
Here are our free picks and predictions for the UFC 289 preliminaries on June 10.
UFC 289 prelim picks and predictions
Miranda Maverick vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius
• Prediction: Maverick ML (-295)
• Best Bet: Maverick by decision (-135)
Kyle Nelson vs Blake Bilder
• Prediction: Bilder ML (-240)
• Best Bet: Bilder by KO/TKO/DQ or decison (+125)
David Dvorak vs. Steve Erceg
• Prediction: Dvorak ML (-265)
• Best Bet: Over 2.5 rounds (-180)
Click on each fight to jump to the full analysis.
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I believe Maverick is one of the most underrated fighters in the flyweight division, and that chip on her shoulder will carry her to a big win over Jasudavicius. Maverick is 7-2 in the UFC with her losses being a questionable decision loss to Maycee Barber, then a short notice loss to division phenom Erin Blanchfield. Jasudavicius is taking a step up in class against a fighter almost a decade younger than her.
Jasudavicius has the wrestling style that has beguiled Maverick in the past. However, she’s nowhere near as versatile as Maverick’s previous opponents, and has no striking game to speak of. Ultimately, Maverick will prove to be too big a pill for Jasudavicius to swallow en route to a dominating decision win for Miranda.
Blake Bilder looked great against Shane Burgos, and I see no reason why he won't against his Saturday opponent. Kyle Nelson is a wild striker with legitimate stopping power, though he’s struggled with his conditioning in the past. If Bilder applies the same kind of smart pressure he did against Burgos — mixing in his striking with submissions and pacing himself — he could disarm Nelson and blow him up instead.
Nelson is 1-4-1 over his last six bouts, while Bilder has won six straight and continues to show signs of development. As long as Bilder avoids becoming stationary, he’ll find an opening to send the skidding Nelson home with another loss. I see Bilder outpacing Nelson and turning the heat up late, but he might not stop him, so I’m going with the double chance with a KO or decision.
David Dvorak hopes to change his fortunes against the debuting Steve Erceg. Regional standout Erceg fights at a torrid pace, and could be catching Dvorak at a good time as he’s on a two fight losing streak. That said, Dvorak has shown that while not elite, his durability and experience remain troublesome for uninitiated fighters like Erceg.
Erceg fights loose, utilizing a lot of lateral movement and keeping his hands low, then fires off heavy shots. If he can’t get Dvorak out early, the Pole will prove too resourceful to get caught late. Expect this to be a nice tussle, with Dvorak weathering an early storm and making strides late in the fight. I think the best bet here is the fight going Over 2.5 rounds.