Only three fights will feature on the preliminary card of UFC 260 this Saturday, ensuring a short-but-sweet transition from the evening’s opening entertainment to the main events.
You’ll be able to watch the prelim fixtures starting from 7 p.m. ET, with predictions for each fight outlined below, complete with best-bet selections and odds provided by William Hill USA. Get free bet promo credits as well. Also, with Unibet in NJ, PA, IN.
William Knight vs. Alonzo Menifield Prediction
The odds are paper-thin as Alonzo Menifield and William Knight are matched up for UFC 260, a clash that was originally meant to be played out at UFC Vegas 20 last month.
The reason for that bout being postponed is one potential reason to favor Knight considering it was Menifield who flagged up a positive COVID-19 test:
Menifield and Knight pose so many similarities (except physically) that there’s a fine chance the two cancel each other out. The 32-year-old “Knightmare” (9-1) makes his second UFC light heavyweight appearance against 9-2 Menifield, one year the senior boasting advantages in reach (three inches) and height (two inches).
With one decision win apiece so far in their respective careers, the script says we’ll see a devastating finish on one side or the other, and both Menifield and Knight are priced level at -110 each.
Menfiield is under pressure to get a result following successive losses against Devin Clark (decision) and Ovince Saint-Preux (KO), while Knight is desperate to extend a three-win streak. Bearing those factors in mind, it’s very possible caution will play too heavy a role in restricting the usual risk in striking, and +190 odds for the fight just to go the distance are hugely tempting.
That doesn’t mean a finish isn’t still a very realistic outcome—when is it not for either of these combatants? But Knight’s lower center of gravity and upper hand in wrestling could be the keys to victory, as they were in his UFC debut against Aleksa Camur. The jury is still out on Camur’s quality and what that win means moving forward, but it showed nothing if not his ability to last over the 15 minutes.
A second straight decision win for Knight is a valuable pick at +425, although Menifield could well prove his toughest test to date.
Prediction: Knight via decision (+425)
Hannah Goldy vs. Jessica Penne Prediction
Jessica Penne long-overdue return to the UFC comes just short of four years after her last fight, with strawweight prospect Hannah Goldy hoping to ensure it’s not a victorious comeback.
Arguably the toughest-to-call matchup on the entire card, the fact Penne (12-5) hasn’t fought since April 2017 could go one of two ways against the scrappy decision machine that is Goldy (5-1). Now 38, Penne’s absence came thanks to USADA suspensions due to drug violations, though the veteran has always maintained her innocence this was due to a tainted supplement.
On one hand, there are obvious concerns regarding ring rust and how that sort of hiatus affects a fighter, though it also means a lower risk of injury and a serious hunger to impress in the chances to come.
To the delight of “24k”, Penne has emerged on the losing side in her last three bouts, though that list of superiors is something of a who’s who of superb strawweight talent. She lost a title fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk via third-round TKO before being finished by Jessica Andrade, then lost via decision to Danielle Taylor in 2017.
Goldy is 10 years her opponent’s junior and brings the more muscular frame to Vegas, but Penne’s black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu may mean she refrains from wrestling to the same extent.
Absence or not, the advantage lies with the elder combatant if it comes down to a striking battle, particularly as Penne boasts a six-inch edge in reach. It’s often the case that taller opponents also struggle to lock in submission versus shorter, stockier opponents, encouraging the thought that Penne could be turned back to the stand-up, with head kicks a major threat against shorter foes.
The moneyline only just reads in favor of -120 frontrunner Goldy, and the narrow margins mean all the more reason to believe motivated Penne is capable of winning on return. She’s a wild +1200 long shot to collect her third career win via KO/TKO, sprialling up to +3300 if you back that outcome in the third round, when Goldy’s bulkier frame could be more hindrance than help.
Prediction: Penne via KO/TKO (+1200) in Rd 3 (+4000)
Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. Jared Gooden Prediction
Recovery will be on the mind for both Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Jared Gooden ahead of their Saturday clash, with both fighters having suffered losses in their UFC debuts last time out.
The forecasts are vey much against +180 underdog Gooden (17-5) after he lost his UFC curtain-raiser to Alan Jouban, but the fact he even made it to a decision speaks very well of his stand-up defense.
Nurmagomedov (15-3-1)—cousin of former undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib and the -220 favorite—failed to last even three minutes in a shock loss to David Zawada in his own debut:
Both he and Gooden are strikers by trade and each boast seven victories via KO/TKO, but Nurmagomedov has been finished three times in his career (one KO, two submissions), while Gooden’s sole stoppage loss came at the hands of Bruno Oliveira in June 2019 (TKO).
A one-year suspension for the part he played in the brawl that shrouded UFC 229 means Nurmagomedov, 31, has fought only once since November 2018. He’s 1-2-1 in his last four fights after running through his early opposition in the World Series of Fighting, indicating he’s hit some sort of ceiling in the calibre of his opposition.
The same argument could be made for Gooden, 27, but then Jouban is no small threat to make one’s debut against. The fact Nurmagomedov has two submission losses in his last four outings is sure to be of interest to Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt Gooden, who has six submissions to his name, two of which came in his last four fights.
The Nurmagomedov name carries with it a certain expectation regarding grappling talent, but Abubakar has shown he’s no Khabib in that department. The underdog returns +1200 odds to exploit that apparent weakness, with a finish looking likely between this particular pairing.
Prediction: Gooden via submission (+1200) in Rd 3 (+2000)