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UFC Fight Night: Allen v Curtis 2 Predictions

Surging middleweight contender Brendan Allen aims to continue his purple patch and get some payback when he battles Chris Curtis in the main event of UFC Vegas 90 on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.


Surging middleweight contender Brendan Allen aims to continue his purple patch and get some payback when he battles Chris Curtis in the main event of UFC Vegas 90 on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

The co-headliner at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas will see Alexander Hernandez and Damon Jackson duke it out in one of two featherweight fights on the main card, the other pitting Morgan Charriere against Chepe Mariscal.

The lightweight division is also prominently featured with Ignacio Bahamondes battling Christos Giagos and Trevor Peek taking on Charlie Campbell, while heavyweights Valter Walker and Lucasz Brzeski will bring the fury.

MAIN CARD (from 12 AM Sunday SA time):

Brendan Allen (1.48) v Chris Curtis (2.70) (Middleweight)

On a run second only to champion Dricus du Plessis in the middleweight division, Allen (23-5) was originally set to face his most high-profile opponent to date in Marvin Vettori before “The Italian Dream” was forced to withdraw due to injury.

Enter Curtis (31-10), an ever-game veteran who steps in on short notice looking to steal all of his surging opponent’s momentum in a rematch over two years in the making. Their maiden meeting is particularly significant as it’s the last time Allen tasted defeat, with Curtis claiming a second-round TKO win.

“All In” has been on fire since that clash at UFC Vegas 44 in December 2021, putting together a six-fight win streak and blazing a trail up to sixth place in the rankings. He’s always been dangerous but has been putting it all together in his current career-best hot streak to emerge as the most improved fighter in the 185-pound division.

Athletic and highly skilled, Allen lives up to his moniker with an all-action, kill-or-be-killed style and has five knockouts and 14 submissions to his name. Remarkably, all four of his last wins have come by submission, including his most recent triumph over Paul Craig last November.

A good friend and training partner of former middleweight champion Sean Strickland, Curtis is a power puncher with 17 knockouts, strong fundamentals and a plethora of experience, however, this is his first time in the main event.

Unlike Allen, “The Action Man” isn’t on the best of runs. Last year saw him lose on points to Kelvin Gastelum before his UFC 289 fight with Nassourdine Imavov was stopped due to a nasty cut opened by an accidental clash of heads.

He started 2024 on the right note by edging out Marc-Andre Barriault by split decision at UFC 297 to preserve his place in the top 15 (14th) and hopes to find the consistency he’s been lacking in the last couple of years.

All told, Allen has improved in leaps and bounds since the first fight against Curtis and is in his prime at 28 years of age, whereas Curtis – at 36 – has plateaued and is at a disadvantage not having had a full training camp.

Therefore, expect Allen to get his revenge and continue his red-hot run.

Prediction: Allen by stoppage.

Best Bet: Allen by KO/TKO/Submission/DQ at 2.30.

Alternative Bet: Allen by submission at 2.75.

Alexander Hernandez (1.50) v Damon Jackson (2.64) (Featherweight)

Featherweights looking to get back on track face off in the co-main event.

Once a highly touted prospect, Hernandez (14-7) hasn’t lived up to those lofty expectations at 31 and finds himself in a jam having lost three of his last four fights. He broke even in 2023, starting the year with a win over veteran Jim Miller before being outpointed by Bill Algeo in October.

“The Great Ape” has good, fast hands and wicked combinations and will look to keep the fight standing.

A stalwart who’s never made any serious waves in the UFC, Jackson (22-6-1) is on a two-fight losing skid. He had a four-fight win streak halted by Dan Ige via knockout and then dropped a decision to Billy Quarantillo last August.

The 35-year-old known as “The Leech” is a grappling specialist with 15 wins by submission. Only three of those were in the UFC, though.

Speed kills and that should be the story of this scrap where the younger and more athletic Hernandez’s fast hands and footwork should see him light up Jackson.

Prediction: Hernandez by knockout.

Best Bet: Hernandez at 1.50.

Alternative Bet: Hernandez by KO/TKO/DQ at 2.20.

Morgan Charriere (1.86) v Chepe Mariscal (1.95) (Featherweight)

The featured bout is another fun featherweight tilt that could be the Fight of the Night. It took both men a long time to get to the UFC and they are eager to continue to impress in the early stages of their careers in the world’s leading MMA promotion.

Charriere (19-9-1) arrived in the big leagues with a bang, stopping Manolo Zecchini last September to register his 11th career knockout and third KO win in a row. “The Last Pirate” is purposeful with everything he does and is a crisp striker with good technique.

Mariscal (15-6) is 2-0 inside the Octagon, following up his short-notice debut win over Trevor Peek last June with a victory over Jack Jenkins three months later. A fearless brawler on a four-fight win streak, “Machine Gun” has 10 finishes to his name, including seven knockouts.

In a fight that could go either way, the gritty Mariscal is a good underdog sleeper option as I see him outworking Charriere.

Prediction: Mariscal by decision.

Best Bet: Mariscal at 1.95.

Alternative Bet: Mariscal by decision at 2.65.

Ignacio Bahamondes (1.29) v Christos Giagos (3.70) (Lightweight)

This is a classic striker versus grappler battle between a pair of lightweights looking to bounce back from defeats last time out.

At 6’3″, Bahamondes (14-5) is an absolutely towering 155-pounder whose lankiness and assortment of strikes at range make him a tricky customer to deal with. Landing just about seven significant strikes per minute, he’s a high-volume sniper.

Giagos (20-11) is a good if not great grappler. Likewise, he’s not the best athlete you’ll find, so closing the distance (he faces a four-inch reach disadvantage) is probably going to be a problem for him. He also tends to gas out after the opening round, so I’m backing Bahamondes to get him out of there. 

Prediction: Bahamondes by TKO.

Best Bet: Bahamondes by KO/TKO/DQ at 2.40.

Alternative Bet: Under 2.5 rounds at 1.66.

Valter Walker (1.35) v Lucasz Brzeski (3.25) (Heavyweight)

The younger brother of ranked light heavyweight Johnny, Walker enters his UFC debut with a perfect record of 11-0 with seven finishes. The “Clean Monster” has won each of his last four fights by knockout and he’s favoured to continue that streak in his first Octagon appearance.

Brzeski (8-4-1) has yet to prove he belongs in the UFC. The Polish heavyweight is 0-3 in the promotion and was knocked out by Waldo Cortes Acosta in his last appearance, leaving him in desperate need of a win if he wants to stick around.

Walker can be a bit too wild at times, but he has the pedigree and dynamism to pack up “The Bull.”

Prediction: Walker by knockout.

Best Bet: Walker by KO/TKO/DQ at 2.20.

Alternative Bet: Under 1.5 rounds at 2.35.

Trevor Peek (2.50) v Charlie Campbell (1.55) (Lightweight)

The main card gets underway with a lightweight banger. These two are heavy-handed and throw caution to the wind, so expect a slugfest.

Peek (9-1) got the better of Mohammad Yahya last October, marking the first time in his career that he’d won by decision. A stocky brawler, all eight of his other wins are by knockout.

Campbell (8-2) delivered in his UFC debut, knocking out Alex Reyes in the first round to notch up his sixth career KO. “The Cannibal” is a technical kickboxer who throws at an incredibly high pace.

Peek could pull off an upset if he’s able to coax Campbell into a wild brawl. Conversely, Campbell’s superior technique, accuracy and pace will see him prevail if he stays cool and disciplined and he’s smart enough to do just that. 

Prediction: Campbell by decision.

Best Bet: Campbell at 1.55.

Alternative Bet: Campbell by decision (check markets).

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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