The UFC heads to the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina on January 25, 2020, for UFC Fight Night 166.

The event features a heavyweight contest between Top 4 heavyweights Curtis Blaydes and Junior dos Santos in a bout that could have title implications. Blaydes has won back to back fights heading to this matchup while dos Santos is coming off a knockout loss to Francis Ngannou. In the co-main event, Rafael dos Anjos and Michael Chiesa square off in a bout between veteran welterweight contenders.

“Fighting" Curtis Blaydes vs Junior dos Santos

Curtis Blaydes is currently the third-ranked heavyweight contender in the UFC. The 28-year old from Illinois formerly competed for RFA before joining the UFC in 2016. Blaydes stands 6-4 with a reach of 80 inches and fights as an orthodox fighter. He has a record of 12-2 with nine knockouts and one no-contest. His two losses have been knockout defeats to Francis Ngannou. Blaydes has won back to back fights and is coming off a win over Shamil Abdurakhimov.

Junior dos Santos is a former UFC heavyweight champion and the 4th ranked heavyweight in the promotion today. Cigano has wins over five former UFC champions and the 35-year old Brazilian has a record of 21-6 with 15 knockouts and one win by submission. Dos Santos stands 6-4 tall with a reach of 77 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He is 3-1 in his last four bouts but is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Francis Ngannou.

What are the Moneyline Odds?



dos Santos


Odds were taken from as of 01/24/20

No question that this fight could go either way because this is a heavyweight bout. That said, there is good value on Dos Santos going at +210, especially with his punching power and boxing skills. But I think Cigano’s window closed in 2017 when he lost to Stipe Miocic and while he is still a decent gatekeeper, he doesn’t adapt well in poor stylistic matchups. I think that is the case here because Blaydes has momentum and he can push Dos Santos to the fence and take him down to the mat. Sure, Blaydes can be easily hit but he is durable and add the fact that Dos Santos had recent issues with health and I think this fight is tailor-made for Curtis Blaydes to win.

Prediction: Curtis Blaydes

“Fighting" Rafael Dos Anjos vs Michael Chiesa

Rafael Dos Anjos is the former UFC lightweight champion and the 5th ranked welterweight in the promotion right now. The 35-year old Brazilian has wins over three former UFC champions and has a record of 29-12 with five knockouts and 10 submission victories. RDA defeated Anthony Pettis at UFC 185 to win the lightweight title and successfully defended it against Donald Cerrone before losing to Eddie Alvarez. Dos Anjos moved up in weight two fights later and fought for the interim welterweight belt, losing to Colby Covington by decision. RDA has lost three of his last four bouts.

Michael Chiesa has been fighting since 2008. He was the inaugural winner of FX’s The Ultimate Fighter: Live, defeating Al Iaquinta in the finale to earn a UFC spot. Chiesa is 32 years old and he stands 6-1 with a reach of 75 ½ inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He has a record of 16-4 with 11 submission wins but three of his losses were by submission as well. Chiesa moved up to welterweight two fights ago. He defeated Carlos Condit by submission in his 170-pound debut and then he decisioned Diego Sanchez in his last outing.

What are the Moneyline Odds?

Dos Anjos




Odds were taken from as of 01/24/20

This will be the first big test in Chiesa’s new weight class. He applies good pressure and that is one key to beating Rafael Dos Anjos. Chiesa handled Diego Sanchez very well and controlled Diego with his wrestling. But given that he will be able to apply pressure and even get Dos Anjos on his back, I’m not sure what he does with those advantages as I am not a fan of Chiesa finishing fights. Dos Anjos is a different beast and he is at an elite level, even if he is no longer in his prime. There is a probability that Chiesa starts hot and smothers Dos Anjos for the finish but I think RDA brings more to the table, and his experience will help him overcome Chiesa to win on points.

Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos

“Fighting" Hannah Cifers vs Angela Hill

Hannah Cifers fought for several promotions like Next Level Fight Club, Titan FC, and Fight Lab before signing with the UFC in 2018. She was stopped by Maycee Barber in her UFC debut but has picked up a pair of wins over Polyana Viana and Jodie Esquibel, with both victories coming by decision. Cifers has a record of 10-3 with five knockouts. She stands 5-1 tall with a reach of 62 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.

Angela Hill is the former Invicta FC Strawweight champion and former World Kickboxing Association champion. She appeared in the 20th edition of The Ultimate Fighter show and was released by the UFC after suffering consecutive losses to Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas in 2015. She is 4-5 in her second tour of duty with the UFC and is coming off a TKO win over Ariane Carnelossi last September 2019. She is 10-7 with four knockouts and stands 5-3 with a reach of 64 inches and fights as an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from as of 01/24/19

Although she has yet to score a stoppage in the UFC, Cifers has recorded knockouts in half of her victories. She likes to put the pressure on her opponents and swarm them with strikes and I think her punching power will be her edge over Angela Hill. Hill has very good outside kickboxing which should make this match interesting. She throws a variety of shots, landing elbows and knees at a good rate. Hill uses a lot of movement and is a good counter striker. The worry with Hill is that she often tires after a couple of rounds and that has cost her several fights already. I don’t think though that Cifers is at the elite level that could take advantage of Hill’s weaknesses. I like the veteran Hill to pick up the win here.

Prediction: Angela Hill

“Fighting" Jordan Espinosa vs Alex Perez

Jordan Espinosa emerged after a TKO win over Riley Dutro in episode four of season 2 of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series in 2018. Espinosa won his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 148, defeating Eric Shelton by decision. He got submitted by Matt Schnell last August and is 14-6 with two knockouts and seven wins by submission. The 30-year old Espinosa stands 5-6 with a reach of 69 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.

Alex Perez is the 11th ranked flyweight in the UFC. The 27-year old from Hanford, California is the former Tachi Palace Flyweight champion and was also an alumnus of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, appearing in season 1. Perez has a record of 22-5 with four knockouts and six wins by submission. He stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 65 inches and is an orthodox fighter. Perez is coming off a win over Mark De La Rosa in March 2019.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from as of 01/24/20

Espinosa and Perez fight a lot like each other. Both are well-rounded fighters but they like to wrestle and work their way to top position then look for submissions. As far as submission moves are concerned, both like to go for the front choke. With the same techniques and strategies, I think these two will offset each other on the mat. This means that the difference in this fight could be on the feet, where every round starts. When it comes to striking, both are almost the same. Espinosa is the more accurate striker but Perez lands more and has the better strike defense between the two. Perez also has more pop in his punches and he also packs more experience. I have to go with Alex Perez here.

Prediction: Alex Perez

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