Expect fireworks on Saturday night when UFC newcomer Andre Fialho steps into the Octagon to face the impossibly flashy Michel Pereira on the main card of UFC 270. Read on for our Pereira-Fialho picks.
Few fighters can uncork a ludicrous, breathtaking strike like Pereira.
Sure, a lot of it is just confusing noise that may only deplete his own gas tank. But there’s a reason for a chef’s kiss when one of those wild strikes lands.
Despite past issues cutting weight and an overabundance of flash (if there is such a thing), Pereira is 4-2 in the UFC after winning three straight bouts. The 28-year-old has crafted a 26-11 record in his MMA career following over a decade of experience.
Meanwhile, although he’s brand new to the Octagon, Fialho has plied his trade all over the world, including stints with Bellator and the PFL. A venomous finisher with 10 first-round stoppages, the Portuguese powerhouse is 14-3 in his MMA career. He heads into Saturday night on a four-fight winning streak.
Here are my picks and predictions for Saturday’s UFC 270 welterweight tilt between Pereira and Fialho (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook, and pick confidence is based on a one-to-five star scale).
Pereira vs. Fialho Fight Info
Date/Time: Saturday, January 22, at 10 p.m. ET (main card)
TV: ESPN+, PPV
Location: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
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Pereira vs. Fialho Odds Analysis
Pereira is rightfully a considerable -250 favorite at DraftKings. He’s logged more UFC experience against higher-caliber opponents.
If you’re betting on the punching power of the underdog, Fialho can be snatched up at +240 at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Michel Pereira Betting Profile
Pereira is starting to combine flash with substance.
MMA’s foremost purveyor of moonsault stomps, flying knees, and a ridiculous array of innovative showtime strikes, Pereira is beginning to gain traction in the Octagon while racking up consecutive victories over Zelim Imadaev, Kalinn Williams, and Niko Price.
Even his most recent loss didn’t really feel like a defeat. “Demolidor” completely dominated an overmatched Diego Sanchez during UFC Fight Night 167 in 2020, but he lost the bout after landing a crushing illegal knee to a downed Sanchez. His opponent claimed he couldn’t continue, and Pereira was disqualified.
Under Pereira’s veneer of video-game like strikes lurks a solid submission game, with seven of the Brazilian’s 26 career wins coming via submission. A rear-naked choke led to the gigantic 170-pounder’s victory over Imadaev.
Andre Fialho Betting Profile
Fialho is making his UFC debut, and he hits hard.
That might sound like an oversimplification, but it’s just a fact. A knockout or TKO has given him 11 of his 14 wins. Fialho posted a perfect 4-0 record in 2021, and all of those bouts ended with a knockout or TKO. There wasn’t a second round in three of those fights, and the only opponent who lasted beyond the first round was longtime UFC veteran James Vick. Fialho bludgeoned Vick with vicious combinations until the referee mercifully stepped in to end the onslaught at 2:21 of the second stanza.
Lack of Octagon experience aside, Fialho’s power makes him a dangerous opponent on Saturday night.
Pereira vs. Fialho Picks
Pereira to win (-280) ★★★★
Pereira to win via KO/TKO (+165) ★★
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Pereira vs. Fialho Predictions
Pereira to win (-280)
Fialho won’t be able to wade through the flash to really touch Pereira’s chin. Instead, Pereira will keep his opponent at a good range with consistent, powerful kicks. If Fialho does try to bully his way inside, Pereira can use his surprisingly effective wrestling to bring the bout to the floor and attempt to earn a submission.
Is there a puncher’s chance for Fialho to win? Sure, but there are too many potential roads to victory for Pereira. The veteran should emerge with his hand raised if he doesn’t get too cute with ridiculous strikes.
Pereira to win via KO/TKO (+165)
Although the largest part of my brain expects Pereira will keep Fialho on the outside and cruise to a decision victory, there’s a smaller, more blood-thirsty part of me that aches for an insane, highlight-reel finish.
I’m not betting on a fight-ending showtime Superman punch. But it wouldn’t be surprising if Fialho started wildly throwing hammers in a vain attempt to score a knockout, with Pereira using a devastating flying knee to counter.
Pereira-Fialho picks made 1/20/2022 at 2:20 p.m. ET