Welcome to the fourth edition of Rami’s Recommendations. It’s August and we have two exciting fights to bet on from UFC 292 where in the main event Aljamain Sterling will defend his UFC Bantamweight gold vs. Sean O’Malley. Plus co-main and main event bouts from PFL 8 and KSW 85. Let’s take a closer look at all the chaos that’ll go down this weekend.
KSW 85 Co-Main Event: Ibragim Chuzhigaev vs. Bogdan Knidko – KSW Light Heavyweight Championship bout.
Ukrainian fighter Bogdan Gnidko has dominated his opponents with a ten-fight winning streak, propelling him to the biggest fight of his career. He is determined to remain undefeated and claim the gold, fulfilling his dream of becoming a world champion in MMA. Gnidko has obliterated his opponents in just 142 seconds during his KSW career, finishing all three: Damian Piwowarczyk, Madalin Pirvulescu, and Rafal Kijanczuk. At only 18 years old, he made his professional debut, he has never gone the distance and instead has relied on the knockout and submission skills he uses to gain his victories, showcasing his fierce determination to make history.
PFL 8, KSW 85, and UFC 292
Ibragim Chuzhigaev, the reigning KSW Light Heavyweight champion, will defend his title for the second time, having won it a year ago. He will be facing off against an undefeated warrior who will be looking to bring the gold to Ukraine. Chuzhigaev has been on a roll, having started and ended 2022 as the KSW Light Heavyweight champion with a victory over Tomasz Narkun and Ivan Erslan by unanimous decision. It’s worth noting that the 32-year-old has not lost a bout since 2017 and has won eight fights in a row, with the majority of those wins coming via unanimous decision. With a record of 17-5, Chuzhigaev has a chance to become the first man to give Gnidko a reality check and his first loss.
The champion Chuzhigaev comes into this as the favourite (-210) for the second time in a row as his opponent, the undefeated Gnidko will be the underdog for the first time in his career (+160) in his first attempt to achieve gold. I’m running firmly behind the champion and I expect him to walk out of this with the gold still around his waist.
KSW 85 MAIN EVENT: Salahdine Parnasse vs Robert Ruchala – KSW Featherweight Championship bout.
Salahdine Parnasse reigns supreme as the KSW lightweight and featherweight champion – undeniable proof of his status as one of the world’s top prospects today. Holding the 145-lb strap since KSW 65 at the end of 2021, the 25-year-old has proven himself to be an unstoppable force in the cage. The only loss on Parnasse’s record was to Daniel Torres, whom Parnasse defeated eleven months after their first bout. Parnasse is in his second reign as the KSW Featherweight champion, and in his recent win, he became the Lightweight King following a submission win over Sebastian Rajewski at KSW 76. The current king of the division will look to become the undisputed king again as he attempts to knock off an undefeated prospect who has dominated the last three years in the KSW.
Despite being the same age, Robert Ruchala did not make his debut until four years after his opponent this weekend. By his third fight, the KSW was knocking on his door with a contract ready for him to make an impact on a big stage. At KSW 56 in 2020, Ruchala made his debut by defeating Michal Domin in the final second of the first round with a verbal armbar submission, which he would execute again in his second KSW fight when he defeated Daniel Bazant in the third round. Ruchala would spend the next two years racking up four more wins before knocking out Lom-Ali Eskiev in the fifth and final round to become the interim KSW featherweight champion. Ruchala has been able to go the distance and finish a fight by knockout or submission, but so has his opponent. Ruchala looks to be the new face of the division, remain undefeated, and become the undisputed KSW Featherweight king against a dominant opponent who won’t give up the gold so easily.
The champion Parnasse (-310) will make this 11 in a row where he is the favourite to win the fight against the interim champion Ruchala who will make the walk for the second time as the underdog heading into the big fight feel (+230). I’ll go with Parasse to come into this and walk out as the one behind nine and one as he remains the undisputed king of the KSW Featherweight division.
PFL 8 CO-MAIN EVENT: Larissa Pacheco Vs. Olena Kolesnyk
Larissa Pacheco, the reigning lightweight champion, eagerly awaits her upcoming bout against the formidable Olena Kolesnyk at PFL 8. With her sights set on the championship, Pacheco is determined to give it her all and emerge victorious. This highly anticipated match promises to be a thrilling display of skill and athleticism from two of the top fighters in the division. Pacheco took this opportunity to compete at a new weight class and ran with it, defeating Julia Budd and Leibrock on her way to the semifinals. Overall, she is 21- 4 and riding an eight-fight win streak, which includes her 2022 win over Kayla Harrison in the lightweight finals. Of her four career defeats, two have come at the hands of Harrison, while the other two are against former UFC champions Germaine de Randamie and Jessica Andrade.
Without a doubt, Olena Kolesnyk is on the verge of the most significant challenge of her career coming back into her life. With an overall record of 9- 5, she has achieved impressive victories against Yoko Higashi and Aspen Ladd this year, which have led her to this point. Nevertheless, her upcoming opponent, Larissa Pacheco, is not an easy opponent to defeat. In the previous year’s PFL playoffs, Pacheco finished Kolesnyk in the first round. In 2021, the two met again, and Pacheco emerged victorious once more. Kolesnyk, also known as the “Cannon,” is recognized for her relentless grappling abilities, which have enabled her to maintain a two-fight winning streak. Despite facing a formidable opponent in Pacheco, Kolesnyk’s determination to fight until the judges’ scorecards brought her to this moment. She aims to accomplish the impossible: defeat the only woman who has dealt her two significant losses in recent years.
Pacheco is a massive favourite heading into this fight (-1200) against Kolesnyk whom she has already defeated twice in her career who will come into this as a big underdog (+800). It would be a big payout if someone had the luck of the Irish on their side for Kolesnyk. You should definitely go with Pacheco to be the one who walks out with the win.
PFL 8 MAIN EVENT: Renan Ferreira vs. Maurice Greene
Renan Ferreira, a promising Brazilian fighter affectionately known as “Problema”, is currently on the brink of a life-changing moment. As he prepares to face Maurice Greene in the heavyweight semifinals at PFL 8, held on Friday night at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, Ferreira is undoubtedly feeling the pressure. Prior to his upcoming fight, Ferreira had endured a year-long losing streak, having suffered defeat in all three of his previous fights. However, he bounced back with a resounding knockout victory against Matheus Scheffel in June, earning him a well-deserved spot in the semifinals. Originally, Ferreira was slated to fight Marcelo Nunes in the bracket, but a twist of fate saw Greene step in as a replacement after Nunes suffered an injury. Despite the change in opponent, Ferreira remains confident in his abilities and is determined to give it his all in the upcoming fight. With so much at stake and the pressure mounting, all eyes will be on Ferreira as he takes to the ring and gives it his all in the hopes of securing a successful outcome.
When conducting a comparison between Maurice Greene and Ferreira, it is essential to take into account Greene’s considerable experience in UFC 292. Throughout his tenure in the UFC, he faced formidable opponents such as Sergei Pavlovich, Aleksei Oleinik, and Marcos Rogério de Lima in the heavyweight division, demonstrating his adeptness and resilience. Despite a mixed record of 1-2 since joining the PFL, with both losses occurring by decision, Greene’s victory against Marcelo Nunes in April 2021 should not be underestimated. While Ferreira’s record may appear more impressive, Greene’s proficiency and background in the UFC add a distinct level of expertise to his skillset.
Ferreira comes into this as the favourite for the second fight in a row (-600) against Greene, who has been an underdog for the last five fights in his career. This time, he’ll be the +425 underdog as he looks to stay alive in this playoffs.
UFC 292 CO-MAIN EVENT: Weili Zhang vs. Amanda Lemos – UFC Strawweight Championship
Zhang Weili is an incredibly skilled martial artist who has proven herself to be a true champion in the UFC strawweight division. Her immense power and talent have exceeded all expectations, making her a formidable force in the sport. Prior to joining the UFC, Zhang boasted an impressive winning streak of 16 consecutive fights, showcasing her unparalleled dedication and expertise in the field. Since then, she has continued to dominate, securing five consecutive victories against some of the most formidable opponents in the division, including Danielle Taylor, Jessica Aguilar, and Tecia Torres. Zhang’s first championship victory was nothing short of remarkable, as she defeated Jessica Andrade in a stunning display of skill and strength. Now, she is preparing for her first title defence since regaining the championship from Carla Esparza at UFC 281. With a two-win streak under her belt, Zhang continues to amaze fans and solidify herself as the face of the division.
Amanda Lemos, a remarkable fighter in the women’s strawweight division, is currently on an impressive two-win streak. She has secured her spot as the No.4 ranked contender and is highly regarded in the UFC. In her last fight, she displayed her exceptional skills by TKO’ing Marina Rodriguez in the third round at UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Lemos. Despite her only loss coming at the hands of Andrade last year, which interrupted her five-fight winning streak since joining the UFC, she made a remarkable comeback with a guillotine win over Michelle Waterson-Gomez three months later. Her impressive performance continued with a TKO win over Rodriguez, which earned her a championship bout against the formidable fighter known as Magnum.
The champion, Zhang comes into this as the betting favourite (-330) against the rising contender in Lemos who will walk into her second bout in a row as the underdog (+270) as she looks to become the new queen of the Strawweight division. I’ll be going with the champion to retain their gold by any means necessary.
UFC 292 MAIN EVENT: Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley – UFC Bantamweight Championship
The year 2021 witnessed the rise of Aljamain Sterling, who emerged victorious following an illegal knee from Petr Yan for the bantamweight championship. Since then, he successfully defended his belt three times, solidifying his status as a formidable force in the world of UFC. In addition to defeating Yan once again, Sterling went on to dominate T.J. Dillashaw and narrowly triumph over Henry Cejudo in May. It is worth noting that Sterling holds the record for the most victories in UFC bantamweight history, with an impressive 14 wins to his name. Furthermore, he has spent the longest amount of time in the octagon in this division, clocking in at a staggering 3 hours, 49 minutes, and 49 seconds. Sterling’s achievements are a testament to his skill, dedication, and unwavering determination to succeed.
O’Malley (16-1, one no-contest) is a skilled striker who left a lasting impression on Dana White’s Contender Series with his unique personality and quick KO power. He goes by the nickname “Suga” and has earned the title of top contender after a contentious battle against Yan. A close fight which was undoubtedly his most challenging one to date, and Sterling, who has taken on multiple fierce opponents in the past, wants to emphasize this fact. Prior to his significant victory over Yan, O’Malley had only suffered one defeat in his MMA career, at the hands of Marlon Vera. However, O’Malley has since refined his skills, particularly his precise striking, and improved his surroundings to avoid being overpowered on the ground – a significant concern when facing off against the champion, Sterling.
Sterling will walk into this as the champion and the betting favourite (-255) against his rival and the strong contender in O’Malley who will once again be the underdog (+215) as he looks to dethrone the champion and become the new face of the Bantamweight division. My pick will be on Sterling, however, you can never tell what might happen in the main event and that’s why you should make sure to check your strongest picks before fight night.
Thank you for reading the latest edition of Rami’s Recommendations. If you decide to use these bets, please gamble responsibly and avoid spending all your money in one weekend. I will return next month in September for the fifth edition. Meanwhile, stay safe and enjoy the thrilling events this weekend.– Rami Hanna Jr.