Our double-header weekend rolls onwards with a stacked main card for MMASucka staff picks.
UFC Fight Night 231 will take place later tonight, November 4th from the Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This comes as the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s return to the country’s most populous city for the first time since UFC Fight Night 164 in November of 2019 and for the ninth time in company history. Preliminary fights kick off at 6:00pm ET (3:00pm PT) followed by the main card at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT) with all fights available to ESPN+ subscribers.
Stay tuned to MMASucka for results from all of UFC Fight Night 231: Almeida vs. Lewis.
Also, be sure to recap our staff picks from Friday night’s ONE Fight Night 16 event from Bangkok, Thailand.
Top-heavyweight contenders Jailton Almeida and Derrick Lewis will clash in the night’s main event. Lewis stepped in for Curtis Blaydes who pulled out from the contest in early October.
Brazil’s Almeida earned his shot with the UFC after securing a promotional contract in September of 2021 with his second-round rear-naked choke over Nasrudin Nasrudinov. With five victories since the contract win extending his dominant streak to 14 in-a-row, the well-rounded talent looks for the biggest win of his career to date whilst keeping intact a 100% finishing rate as well as a possible fourth consecutive “Performance of the Night” bonus. Almeida’s opponent, Lewis, snapped a three-fight skid with a first-round flying knee 33 seconds into his July bout over Marcos Rogerio de Lima. The former UFC Heavyweight title challenger and fan-favorite aims for a 23rd win by knockout as he looks to extend his UFC record to 15 knockouts amongst all divisions all-time.
In the co-main event, Gabriel Bonfim and Nicolas Dalby will battle at welterweight. 26-year-old and 2022 Contender Series signee Bonfim puts his undefeated professional run of 15 victories having stopped all of his opponents including twelve by submission and two in 2023 over Mounir Lazzez in January and Trevin Giles in July. Former Cage Warriors FC Welterweight Champion Dalby has made his second UFC tenure count with three straight decisions including Warlley Alves and Muslim Salikhov this year alone.
Additional heavyweights of 2019 Contender Series contract winners Rodrigo Nascimento and Don’Tale Mayes are to rematch on the main card. Nascimento took their May of 2020 meeting with a second-round rear-naked choke over Mayes.
Two fights at 185 pounds will open the ESPN+ main event. The 13-fight win streak of Borralho will be tested against former Superior FC Middleweight Champion Abus Magomedov, and multi-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion Rodolfo Vieira takes on 2021 Contender Series graduate Armen Petrosyan.
One originally-scheduled main card bout between Ismael Bonfim, Gabriel’s older brother, and ten-fight octagon notable, Vinc Pichel, was removed after Bonfim missed the lightweight divisional mark on Friday morning by three and-a-half pounds. See further below for our picks from UFC Fight Night 231: Almeida vs. Lewis.
— UFC (@ufc) November 3, 2023
2023 Staff Picks
MMASucka staff picks are composed of five promotions: the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator MMA, ONE Championship, the Professional Fighters League (PFL), and Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS). UFC and Bellator events feature picks from only main cards. PFL will feature select fights from the main and/or preliminary card while DWCS sees all fights counted from the event. ONE Championship returns to picks for the first time since 2020 and will feature only mixed martial arts (MMA) fights selected from cards with a minimum three matchups.
The WINNER of staff picks at the end of 2023, who picked the most victorious fighters, will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. Staff picks in 2022 was won by Wesley Riddle with a record of 264-135.
Find our staff picks and predictions for UFC Fight Night 231: Almeida vs. Lewis below.
Staff Records after UFC 294:
1. Ben Jamieson: 267-134
2. Michael DeSantis: 259-138
3T. Jeremy Brand: 255-146
3T. Nate Freeman: 255-146
5. Wesley Riddle: 252-149
6. Frazer Krohn: 237-158
7. Julio Monteros Jr.: 217-123
8. Andrew Benjamin: 188-163
9. Jack Goodwillie: 148-83
10. Brian Knight: 140-84
11. Tim Wheaton: 105-60
12. Roemello Reyes: 62-34
13. Jonathan Andrade: 31-24
14. Brandon Joint: 12-9
15. Andrew Harbaugh: 10-7
16. Joshua Yule: 7-6
17. Chris De Santiago: 6-6
18. Antwyn Jackson: 5-6
*Note – not all staff pick for every event*
*Note – ONE Fight Night 16 picks will be added to the above records NEXT weekend*
Rodolfo Vieira (9-2), -118
Armen Petrosyan (9-2), -102
– 185 LBS. ~ 83.9 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Petrosyan via Round 3 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Vieira via Round 2 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Petrosyan via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Vieira via Round 2 SUB
Ben Jamieson: Vieira via Round 2 SUB
Staff picking Vieira: 3
Staff picking Petrosyan: 2
Caio Borralho (14-1, 1 NC), -290
Abus Magomedov (25-5-1), +235
– 185 LBS. ~ 83.9 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Magomedov via Round 2 SUB
Wesley Riddle: Borralho via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Borralho via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Borralho via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Borralho via Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Borralho: 4
Staff picking Magomedov: 1
Rodrigo Nascimento (10-1, 2 NC), -198
Don’Tale Mayes (10-5), +164
– 265 LBS. ~ 120.2 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Nascimento via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Nascimento via Round 3 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Nascimento via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Nascimento via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Nascimento via Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Nascimento: 5
Staff picking Mayes: 0
Gabriel Bonfim (15-0), -600
Nicolas Dalby (22-4-1), +440
– Co-Main Event –
– 170 LBS. ~ 77.1 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Dalby via Round 1 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Bonfim via Round 1 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Bonfim via Round 1 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Dalby via Split Decision
Ben Jamieson: Bonfim via Round 1 TKO
Staff picking Bonfim: 3
Staff picking Dalby: 2
Jailton Almeida (19-2), -485
Derrick Lewis (27-11), +370
– Main Event –
– 265 LBS. ~ 120.2 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Lewis via Round 1 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Almeida via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Almeida via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Almeida via Round 2 SUB
Ben Jamieson: Almeida via Round 1 SUB
Staff picking Almeida: 4
Staff picking Lewis: 1