Predicting every main card fight from this weekend's UFC Kansas City.
For just the second time in the promotion's history, the UFC will host an action-packed card in Kansas City, Missouri. Live from the T-Mobile Center this Saturday, Apil 15, MMA's leading promotion will return to Kansas City for the first time since 2017, when Demetrius Johnson defended his flyweight title against Wilson Reis in the main event.
Although they were relatively unknown back in the day, the likes of Rose Namajunas, Robert Whittaker, and Renato Mocaino all competed in the main card of the 2017 event. Even current UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling picked up a victory, although that took place in the prelims.
Many fighters will be looking to replicate the success of those stars when they head to Missouri this weekend. With a likely title shot on the line in the main event and many ranked vs. ranked matchups, UFC Kansas City could leave us with many new storylines when the show wraps up. I'll attempt to predict the stacked event, although the only certainty I can give you is that this will be entertaining from top to bottom.
*All odds are from DraftKings.com.
Predictions & odds for UFC Kansas City
Clay Guida (+210) vs. Rafa Garcia (-250)
A man who even time cannot seem to defeat, Clay Guida (38-19) will make his walk towards the UFC Octagon for the 35th time in his career, placing him at third all-time in the company's history. The 41 year-old former Strikeforce champion might seem out of his depth at his age, however, nothing suggests that Guida will slow down anytime soon.
He's 3-2 in his last five, and while no one sees him competing for a title or even a ranking anytime soon, you cannot deny that watching Guida perform still brings a smile to the face of every MMA fan. His opponent, Rafa Garcia (14-3), would really benefit from a win over the UFC Hall of Famer (he's in the fight wing!).
Garcia came into the UFC with a perfect 11-0 record but has struggled to find momentum, going 3-3 during his UFC tenure. A win here would give him the biggest victory of his career, however, I cannot pick against Guida. The wrestling legend picks up an entertaining unanimous decision victory to start the show.
Prediction: Clay Guida by decision (+330)
Pedro Munhoz (+175) vs. Chris Gutierrez (-205)
One of the hottest names of the insanely deep bantamweight division is non-other than 'El Guapo' Chris Gutierrez (19-3-2). Undefeated in the UFC at 7-0-1, Gutierrez definitely made a splash when he landed a vicious flying knee KO over Frankie Edgar at UFC 281 and will look to do the same against another UFC veteran.
Pedro Munhoz (19-7) was once in the position that Gutierrez finds himself but could never put it all together. He's now 1-4 with one no-contest in his last six fights yet somehow still finds himself ranked no. 9 in the 135-pound division.
Whilst I do think that Gutierrez picks up another victory to continue his ascend, we are likely to have a banger of a fight. Despite all of Munhoz's recent losses, he's still been incredibly entertaining to watch and durable. I expect nothing less from two men who love to engage in the center of the Octagon.
Prediction: Chris Gutierrez by decision (+110)
Tanner Boser (+105) vs. Ion Cutelaba (-125)
This feels like a last chance for both of these fighters. Tanner Boser (20-9-1) has had a solid but unspectacular run through the UFC, going 4-4 in total, although he is coming off a split-decision victory. His opponent would much rather prefer to be in Boser's shoes considering the run he is on.
Ion Cutelaba (16-9-1, 1 NC) was supposed to be pushing towards the top of the light heavyweight division by now but he's instead on the risk of being cut from the promotion. He's dropped his last three straight, where he was finished in all of them, and has not won in two years.
Both men will be extremely eager to prove a point as even a victory may not guarantee their spot in the UFC roster. With Boser making his 205-pound UFC debut, cutting from heavyweight, I can see him physically overpower Cutelaba and finish him for the Moldovan's fourth straight loss inside the distance.
Prediction: Tanner Boser by KO/TKO (+240)
Dustin Jacoby (-165) vs. Azamat Murzakanov (+140)
Another light heavyweight clash features on the main card but this one has more on the line. The no.13 ranked 205-pounder Dustin Jacoby (18-6-1) will be looking to put his name back on the winning column when he takes on the undefeated and no.15 ranked Azamat Murzakanov (12-0)
A win for either man means a small leap in the rankings and I expect this fight to be an absolute barn burner. Jacoby is a former kickboxer, winning a total of three Glory tournaments, which has seen him use his superior striking to his advantage, winning 11 of his fights by KO.
Murzakanov on the other hand has a background in boxing and has shown his deadly hands throughout his MMA career. From his 12 wins, nine have come by way of knockout and he is currently on a four-fight KO streak. It's a close fight to call but give me Jacoby's kicks to make a difference in this MMA-standup fight.
Prediction: Dustin Jacoby by KO/TKO (+225)
Co-main event: Edson Barboza (+155) vs. Billy Quarantillo (-180)
This is a fight that easily could have been the headliner for a fight night inside the UFC APEX but we will thankfully get to hear the crowds' 'oohs and aaahs' when this one gets underway. No.14 ranked and master of 'spinning stuff' Edson Barboza (22-11) takes on the extremely violent Billy Quarantillo (17-4).
Whilst a spot in the rankings is on the line, it feels like both fighters are mostly looking to make a statement rather than an ascend the featherweight division. Barboza is a single performance bonus away from holding the all-time UFC record and Quarantillo is looking to build on his impressive KO win over Alex Hernandez at UFC 282.
These two easily make most people's 'All-Violence' teams and if it weren't for the colossal main event, I'd pick this one as my fight to watch. It is very hard to call but I'm going with the man on better form in Quarantillo in a thrilling contest.
Prediction: Billy Quarantillo by KO/TKO (+225)
Main event: Max Holloway (-180) vs. Arnold Allen (+155)
The disrespect on one of the greatest featherweight of all-time has to be stopped. Sure, Max Holloway (23-7) cannot seem to figure out champion Alex Volkanovski and looked miles off when the two concluded their trilogy. However, making Holloway only a -180 favorite seems to disregard all he has done at 145 pounds, which include three title defenses and an interim championship.
His opponent is no slouch. Arnold Allen (19-1) is a perfect 10-0 in the UFC and holds the no.4 ranking for a reason. A win against Holloway guarantees a title shot if Volkanovski remains champion following UFC 290, yet, I still believe Holloway to be ahead of his opponent in every aspect of MMA.
This is easily Allen's biggest test so far since his fight against Calvin Kattar was stopped when his opponent blew his knee out towards the end of the second round and we've all seen what Holloway has been doing to the up and comers of the featherweight division. He just sends them packing away.
I don't expect a super-saiyan level performance from Holloway like the one he had against Kattar in 2021 but he should still pick up the win and send Allen back to reality. All Holloway can do after is pray that Yair Rodriguez dethrones the champion so he can get the next shot at the belt.
Prediction: Max Holloway by decision (+165)