Back on the road, the UFC is making a stop in Long Island New York with some fantastic matchups.

We’ve got two sensational featherweight matchups on the main card. Of course, we’ll see two of the best in the main event with Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez, but we’ll also see two more scrappy strikers in Shane Burgos and Charles Jourdain. The main card also has THREE ranked flyweight bouts. We’ll see Matt Schnell take on Sumudaerji, but we’ll be treated to some high-profile women’s flyweight bouts as well.

Fan-favourite ‘Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson will take on a dangerous Amanda Lemos, while the legendary Miesha Tate will make her move to 125 to compete against top contender, Lauren Murphy.

Somehow not on the main card is another insane matchup, one between two incredibly dangerous bantamweights: Ricky Simón and Jack Shore. We’ll also see the return of the veteran Li Jingliang and promising prospects Bill Algeo, Dustin Jacoby and Punahele Soriano. All of these matchups (plus more) are covered below and feature BLÜ’s predictions along with the Bet99 Sportsbook Odds. As a special bonus, the eleventh episode of The Ultimate Fighter Season 30: Peña vs. Nunes (as seen on UFC Fight Pass) is also covered below.

Main Card (12:00 PM PST)

Lauren Murphy vs. Miesha Tate

BET99 Odds

Murphy:  +154    Tate:  -189

Over 2.5:  -313     Under 2.5:  +233

After getting cancelled twice now, once in May and then at UFC 276, we’ll finally get to see these two veterans square off. After going on a 5 fight win-streak including top contenders like Andrea Lee, Roxanne Modafferi and Joanne Wood, Murphy finally took her shot at the champ. Sadly, it didn’t go her way at all as she was dominated by the champ and was finished in the 4th Round.

Miesha Tate is no stranger to championship bouts either, but that was before she took her extended leave from the sport from 2016 to early 2021. Since returning, she’s grabbed an impressive finish against Marion Reneau and lost a tough battle against Ketlen Vieira.

Just like any other ranked women’s matchup, anything could happen. This is especially true since Tate will be moving down a division against someone fresh off a title fight. Based on their styles though, it seems as though the former champ Tate has a slight edge. Since her return, Tate has been heavy in her grappling, using that to control both of her opponents. This strategy was even effective against Vieira who’s MASSIVE for 135. Murphy, on the other hand, although she’s tough to finish, struggled with the heavy grappling of fighters like Modaferri. With the pressure, striking and grappling of Tate, she could really make a title run down here at 125 and it all starts with a decision win over Murphy.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Tate by Decision

Shane Burgos vs. Charles Jourdain

BET99 Odds

Burgos:  -167    Jourdain:  +136

Over 2.5:  -115     Under 2.5:  -112

In one of the most explosive matchups of the night, two of the toughest featherweights will square off in an all-out brawl. Since joining the UFC in 2016, Burgos has been a force to be reckoned with, going 7-3 with huge wins over Charles Rosa, Cub Swanson and Makwan Amirkhani. Not only have his wins been entertaining, so have his losses. PLUS, all three of his losses have come to ranked contenders: Edson Barboza, Josh Emmett and Calvin Kattar.

Charles Jourdain hasn’t fought anyone like Barboza, Emmett or Kattar, but he’s had his fair share of wars. His UFC journey opened with a rough record of 1-2-1 with a split decision loss to Andre Fili and a split decision draw to Culibao. Since then though, he’s gone 3-1 with dominant wins over Lando Vannata, Marcelo Rojo and Andre Ewell.

There’s no doubt that this is going to be a scrappy, bloody brawl, but it seems like one man will come out of this looking much healthier. Burgos is relentless with his striking, has heavy grappling and is HUGE for the division. He gets hit a lot, but always just walks through it to deal out heavier damage. It’s a strategy that doesn’t work against top tier, powerful strikers like Ige, ‘Volk’, Holloway or Kattar, but that’ll work quite well against someone like Jourdain. With his size, reach, power and skill advantage, it’s looking a long night for Jourdain.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Burgos by Decision

Matt Schnell vs. Sumudaerji

BET99 Odds

Schnell:  +200   Sumudaerji:  -260

Over 2.5:  +120     Under 2.5:  -155

Schnell was looking good on a 4 fight win-streak; sadly, since then, he’s gone 1-3 with brutal losses to Pantoja, Bontorin and Royval and a split decision win over Tyson Nam. Sumudaerji has found himself in the opposite situation, overcoming a loss in his debut with 3 straight wins leading up to this weekend.

Like most fights at 125, any man could lock something up and win at any moment. It’s close, but I’m giving Sumudaerji a slight edge. He uses his length to avoid strikes and land heavy kicks. Plus, when he does get hit, he’s VERY durable. Schnell is much better than people give him credit for; he’s quick and has good striking and grappling. His problem, especially in this matchup, is that he gets too aggressive. He’ll likely get a little too aggressive against a VERY talented Sumudaerji, get dropped and then get finished. Even if he manages to stick to a measured approach, Sumudaerji would likely edge ahead in a decision anyway.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Sumudaerji by Finish

Li Jingliang vs. Muslim Salikhov

BET99 Odds

Jingliang:  +136   Salikhov:  -167

Over 2.5:  -150   Under 2.5:  +116

With 15 fights in the UFC, Li is very much a veteran at this point. Sadly, now that he’s been fighting ranked opponents, his record has started to suffer and he’s gone 1-2 in his last 3 bouts. The most significant matchup was, of course, his last where he was a victim of Chimaev, but before that he grabbed a 1st Round finish over Ponzinibbio and a decision loss to Magny.

Salikhov may have lost his UFC debut in 2017, but has since rebounded with a 5 fight win-streak, most recently beating another veteran in Francisco Trinaldo.

This one really could go either way, they’re both very good and very similar in styles. The only difference is that Li has a massive edge in experience. Even with an 8 inch reach disadvantage against a top contender in Magny, Li avoided most of his strikes, out-grappled him and took him down. Salikhov is fairly quick and fairly large, but his last couple of fights have been very close. In his split decision win against Zaleski, he was hit BAD multiple times and just barely edged the win. It’ll be close, but thanks to Li’s movement and his striking and grappling skills, he should be able to win a tight decision.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Jingliang by Decision

Co-Main Event

Michelle Waterson vs. Amanda Lemos

BET99 Odds

Waterson:  +240   Lemos:  -313

Over 2.5:  -240   Under 2.5:  +180

The ‘Karate Hottie’, Michelle Waterson, is one of the most beloved UFC veterans around. Sadly, she’s had a rough time recently, going 1-3 with losses to Joanna, Esparza and Marina Rodriguez, plus a split decision win over Angela Hill. As you may recognize from the the names, she’s made a move up to flyweight after competing at strawweight for her entire UFC career.

Lemos is also making a move from strawweight to flyweight. She’s got a 5-1 record in the UFC at strawweight with THREE 1st Round finishes and a split decision win over Angela Hill, but lost her last one to the LEGEND Jessica Andrade.

Like most WMMA fans, I’m a huge fan of the ‘Karate Hottie’, but it’s not looking good for her in this matchup. Both of these women thrive at strawweight, but only one of them has been finishing most of their opponents and only one of them almost finished Angela Hill recently. Lemos struggled with Hill later in the fight but absolutely shredded her on the feet early, while Waterson got pieced apart by Hill for most of the fight. Lemos just has too much power, pressure and striking skills for Waterson to last. Sadly, I think Waterson might get finished in this one.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Lemos by Finish

Main Event

Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez

BET99 Odds

Ortega:   -180    Rodriguez:   +142

Over 4.5:  +108    Under 4.5:  -137

This one is set up to be one of the most explosive, entertaining brawls of the month with two insanely tough top contenders. After getting absolutely mangled by Volkanovski for 5 rounds, Ortega is now ranked number 2 in the division. His only career losses have come to two of the best featherweights of all time, ‘Volk’ and Holloway. Other than that, he’s grabbed finishes over Guida, Moicano, Swanson and Frankie Edgar. He also had a dominant decision win over the Korean Zombie that gave him that title shot against ‘Volk’.

Rodriguez has been just about as dominant, also with 2 losses in the Octagon. Since winning his season of TUF in 2014, he’s gone on to grab a record of 7-2 with wins over Hooker, Caceres, BJ Penn, Jeremy Stephens and the Korean Zombie. Like Ortega, he too lost his last bout, but his was to Holloway.

Being that these are basically the 3rd and 4th best featherweights (behind Volk and Holloway), either man could realistically win this fight, especially over 5 rounds. That being said, based on their recent fights it seems like Ortega has a much better shot. It mostly comes down to the fact that Ortega may be the most-well rounded fighter in the division.

Not only did he do some damage on the feet to the champ in his last bout, he also as Volk will tell you himself, was about as close as you can get to submitting him and taking the belt. He’s also one of, if not, THE most durable fighter I’ve ever seen, as proven against Volkanovski. Yair is an incredible striker and landed some great shots on Holloway, but not only was he dropped by Holloway, he was also almost submitted by him… and he’s not a wrestler by any means.

Being that Ortega is likely the best submission artist in the division AND he’s got good hands, Yair is in some trouble here. I think Ortega will get the finish here, but even if he doesn’t, Yair will slow down as the fight goes on and Ortega will then dominate the decision.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Ortega by Finish

BLU’s Prelim Picks (Prelims begin at 9:00 AM PST)

Bill Algeo vs. Herbert Burns

BET99 Odds

Algeo:  -200     Burns:  +160

Over 2.5:  +105    Under 2.5:   -134

Algeo’s UFC journey hasn’t been the smoothest, he missed out on his Contender Series contract in 2019 but he made it and he’s gone 2-2 against some tough guys. After a win over Spike Carlyle, he had a tough, close bout against one of the best unranked fighters in Ricardo Ramos. Most recently, he won against a TOUGH debuting fighter in Joanderson Brito.

Burns was a bit luckier in 2019 on the Contender Series, grabbing a HUGE 1st Round win over Darrick Minner. He then followed that up with two 1st Round wins in the UFC. Sadly, that winning streak came to an end and he was dominated by Daniel Pineda in his last fight, back in 2020.

If you just look at their records, Burns looks to have an edge with the 1st Round finishes but that doesn’t tell you the whole story. Algeo has been fighting the stronger competition by FAR. He ended up losing to Ramos because Ramos used his size and his insane grappling skills to control the fight early. That being said, even though he was controlled as the smaller fighter, the submission artist Ramos was never even close to submitting Algeo. He wins his fights by picking apart people on the feet and shutting down the grappling of his opponents.

Burns is another one of those grapplers that Algeo will have to shut down. Pineda, just like Algeo in his fights, shut down the grappling of Burns and hit him quite a bit on the feet. Not only that, even though Burns ended up grabbing a 1st Round finish, Dunham wobbled him BAD and even dropped him within the first minute. With those holes in his striking, plus Algeo’s well-rounded skillset, it seems like Algeo will win another hard-fought decision.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Algeo by Decision

Ricky Simón vs. Jack Shore

BET99 Odds

Simón:  +136    Shore:  -167

Over 2.5:  -240    Under 2.5:   +185

It’s an absolute mystery as to why this matchup isn’t featured on the main card; both men are extremely talented and VERY entertaining. Simón may not have a household name quite yet, but he’s grabbed his number 11 ranking with a 7-2 record in the UFC. He’s got some very impressive wins over Montel Jackson, Merab, Kelleher and Assuncao and his only losses came to Faber and Font.

Shore is a much newer addition to the UFC, but he’s kept his undefeated record intact with a 16-0 record. Since joining the UFC he’s beaten some other young talent including Hunter Azure, Liudvik Sholinian and Timur Valiev.

This may be the toughest matchup to predict. Both men have great grappling, decent striking and truly deserve to be in the top 15. The difference here is their size; Simón is always the MUCH bigger man and uses that to his advantage VERY well. He uses his unbelievable strength and power to land HEAVY kicks and takedowns, as well as out-grapple everyone. Shore may be undefeated, but his wins in the UFC recently have been VERY close.

In his split decision win over Azure, who’s similar to Simón, he was out-grappled. Then, most recently against Valiev, he was eventually taken down, controlled and almost submitted. Valiev and Azure are good, but Simón is bigger, faster and more skilled than both of them. It’s because of that size and skill that I think Shore will experience his first loss here.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Simón by Decision

Punahele Soriano vs. Dalcha Lungiambula

BET99 Odds

Soriano:   -240     Lungiambula:   +190

Over 1.5:  -175    Under 1.5:  +137

Here we’ve got a matchup with two HUGE middleweights who are gonna be looking for an early finish. Soriano was undefeated up until recently with a record of 8-0 and SEVEN 1st Round finishes. Sadly, after two 1st Round wins in the UFC, he’s fallen with losses to Brendan Allen and Nick Maximov.

Lungiambula has also lost his last two fights, falling to Brundage and Barriault. Other than that, he’s got 2 wins in the UFC and a huge loss to Magomed Ankalaev.

This one’s unpredictable for a very different reason than the Simón/Shore matchup. Mainly because they’re newer to the UFC. That means this fight will be less predictable and less consistent. The difference to me is Lungiambula’s cardio and size. They’re both stupidly huge for the division, but Dalcha is bigger and somehow faster and wilder with his striking. He may have lost his last two, but he was destroying Brundage before the submission came out of nowhere.

In spite of his size, he also didn’t really slow down much in the 3rd Round against Barriault. Meanwhile, Soriano’s got good wrestling and decent striking, but he slows down quite a bit as the fight goes on. It’s those slight differences in power, size and stamina that gives Lungiambula the edge in the decision.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Lungiambula by Decision

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Here I highlight some betting lines that you might want to take advantage of for UFC Long Island. These are odds that favour the bettor. Although some of them may conflict with my picks, they offer a fair reward for a slight bit of risk.

The Underdog: Lungiambula at +190

Soriano is a decent young prospect, but he’s shown some huge gaps in his game in his past few matchups. Lungiambula is bigger, has a LOT more power and better cardio. Soriano has a chance to overcome these disadvantages, but Dalcha is looking like quite the dangerous underdog here.

The Underdog: Li Jingliang at +136

These odds are really just a reflection of their recent records. That doesn’t consider the fact that Li has been fighting top contenders while Salikhov has been having close fights with much less experienced and skilled opponents. Considering Li’s well-established skills, cardio and experience, he has a much better shot of winning this fight.

The Underdog: Ricky Simón at +136

This is VERY similar to Li’s matchup. Shore is undefeated, but he’s struggled against some of his UFC opponents and none of them are even CLOSE to being as dangerous as Simón. Simón has the edge in size, power and speed, making him the most dangerous underdog of the night.

Parlay Opportunities

The Short Run

Tate + Burgos + Lemos

The Long Run

Algeo + Tate + Burgos + Lemos + Ortega

TUF 30: Episode 11 Recap

For the milestone 30th season of the The Ultimate Fighter, we’re following coaches Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes as they lead teams of heavyweights and flyweight women to find the next UFC superstars. In the last episode we saw the first flyweight semifinal of the season: a fairly dominant decision win by Brogan Walker (Team Nunes) over Laura Gallardo (Team Peña). In this episode we saw the LAST heavyweight semi-final: an incredible matchup between both of the number one picks of the season: Eduardo Perez (Team Nunes) and Mohammed Usman (Team Peña).

If you missed the earlier episodes, Team Peña’s number 1 pick, Mohammed Usman, clinched his spot in the semis after he slowly picked apart a mouthy Mitchell Sipe (Team Nunes) in a tight decision. After that, the other number 1 pick, Eduardo Perez (Team Nunes), grabbed his spot after he completely dominated Bobby Maximus (Team Peña) with an impressive 1st Round finish.

Luckily for Usman, he had the special privilege of having his brother, the champ, Kamaru Usman, visit the house for pep talk. He was also given his one phone call to talk to his parents, where we were really reminded of what the Usmans came from.

They came from Africa very early in their lives, had to fight for everything and sometimes didn’t even have food or water. On the other side, Nunes talked about how similar her story is to Perez. They dedicate a lot of their success to their family; they know they couldn’t have done it without them, especially financially. This was especially evident in his phone call with his family and their outpouring of love and support. As expected, Perez tipped the scale at 265 pounds while Usman came in MUCH lighter at 238.

Usman was the one pushing activity early, landing a couple of clean, crisp combos. From there he shot in for a clinch along the fence but was quickly backed up by a HUGE knee and some punches. Perez wasn’t landing too many of his punches, but was doing pretty well with some HEAVY leg kicks. As the round went on it was clear that Usman was winning the stand-up battle, picking Perez apart slowly and backing him up.

This continued into the 2nd Round with Usman picking Perez apart at a distance, backing him up into the fence. A couple minutes into the round and Usman landed the first takedown of the fight. He couldn’t keep Perez down, but it sent a message. Finally, Perez had a moment of his own, lighting Usman up with a wild combo but couldn’t quite keep that momentum going. Every time Eduardo threw something, Usman was back in, landing a couple of big shots of his own. That round was MUCH closer with Eduardo’s extra offence, but it could have gone either way on the cards.

Knowing he needed to make a big move in the final round, Perez really started to push the pace. Sadly for him, Usman was still countering him VERY well and backing him up. Halfway through the round and both men were starting to slow down significantly. That being said, Usman still seemed to have the heavier output and landed the heavier shots. After the 3 rounds were up, the judges came back with a SPLIT decision in favour of Usman. I figured it was a close fight, but it seemed like a pretty clear 29-28 (at least) for Usman.

I’ve said this with most of the fighters this season, Perez is a VERY talented fighter and I’m sure we’ll see him again in the UFC. With Usman winning that fight, we’ve officially got an all-Peña heavyweight final between him and Zac Pauga. Next week we’ll see who grabs the final spot for the flyweight. It’s the last matchup of the season before we go to the LIVE finale: Juliana Miller (Team Peña) vs. Kaitlyn Neil (Team Nunes).