UFC Vegas 69 Picks: Andrade vs Blanchfield, Wright vs Pauga, Parisian vs Pogues, Miller vs Hernandez, more
After a reshuffled main event UFC Vegas 69 is officially set, featuring two of the most dangerous women in the world this Saturday, Feb. 18.
Jessica Andrade fought just a month ago but is stepping in on days notice after Taila Santos withdrew to face rising contender Erin Blanchfield in the main event. Accompanying these two women on the card will be UFC record holder Jim Miller, veteran Ovince Saint Preux, and rising challengers alike.
Continue reading for picks and a preview of the first women’s main event of the year. So far, my picks are 9-3-2.
UFC Vegas 69 Main Card
Jessica Andrade vs. Erin Blanchfield
Jordan Wright vs. Zac Pauga
Josh Parisian vs. Jamal Pogues
William Knight vs. Marcin Prachnio
Jim Miller vs. Alexander Hernandez
UFC Vegas 69 Prelims
Lina Lansberg vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
Jamall Emmers vs. Khusein Askhabov
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Philipe Lins
Nazim Sadykhov vs. Evan Elder
AJ Fletcher vs. Themba Gorimbo
Clayton Carpenter vs. Juancamilo Ronderos
Jessica Andrade (24-9) vs. Erin Blanchfield (10-1)
The former UFC women’s strawweight champion, Jessica Andrade, is ready to fight again in what’s likely to be a competitive matchup with the 23-year-old Erin Blanchfield.
Andrade is coming off a dominant victory less than a month ago, battering Lauren Murphy with 231 significant strikes in a lopsided unanimous decision. Although Andrade’s best moments have come at 115 pounds, she’s already shown she can make a run at 125 pounds.
Blanchfield enters the fight undefeated in the UFC with a perfect 4-0 record. Her last fight marked the end of the Molly “Meatball” McCann freight train, where Blanchfield locked in a deadly crucifix, eventually transitioning to a kimura submission forcing McCann to tap in the first round.
Both women are incredibly talented and have phenomenal wrestling, but the experience factor goes to Andrade. Andrade has fought champions Valentina Shevchenko, Rose Namajunas, Zhang Weili, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
The winner of this fight will presumably fight for a championship next, so everything is on the line.
My pick: Jessica Andrade
Jordan Wright (12-4) vs. Zac Pauga (6-1)
The co-main event features two light heavyweights, each trying to augment their names in the UFC in Jordan Wright and Zac Pauga.
Wright, a Dana White Contender Series graduate, is moving up to 205 pounds for this fight but is coming off a three-fight losing streak, getting finished all three times. In his last two fights, he’s shown a willingness to go to the ground, landing five takedowns in the process, yet, to no avail.
Pauga last fought in April in The Ultimate Fighter Championship, when he would eventually get knocked out by Mohammed Usman, the younger brother of former champion Kamaru Usman. In Pauga’s last fight, he squared off against Usman at heavyweight. This is only Pauga’s second fight in the UFC, and given that none of Wright’s fights have entered the third round, this one could be a doozy
My pick: Zac Pauga
William Knight (11-4) vs. Marcin Prachnio (15-6)
This fight was scheduled to take place three months ago before being postponed for undisclosed reasoning.
A two-time victor on Dana White’s Contender Series, William Knight - the loser of back-to-back bouts - could be fighting for his job in the UFC. The 34-year-old Knight had a promising start to his UFC career, winning three of his first four fights, including a decision victory over Alonzo Menifield. Knight then went on to fight Maxim Grishin in February, ultimately losing and missing weight by 12 pounds, the largest mark in company history.
Marcin Prachnio hasn’t been much better, getting knocked out in his first three fights. He’s dropped four of his first six UFC fights but put together a two-fight win streak in 2021.
Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook of the UFC, this is the closest fight of the entire card.
We’ll see if Knight can hit weight on the scale, but he’ll already be dealing with a sizable height disadvantage, surrendering five inches.
My pick: Marcin Prachnio
Jim Miller (35-16) vs. Alexander Hernandez (13-6)
Jim Miller is a UFC legend.
Miller was originally scheduled to fight Gabriel Benitez, but he withdrew for undisclosed reasons, and Alexander Hernandez accepted the fight with a little over a week’s notice.
Now 39, Miller is riding a three-fight win streak, including a guillotine choke capping off Donald Cerrone’s career. Miller claims the record for the most fights (40) and wins (24) of any fighter in UFC history and is looking to build on his already-established resume.
Hernandez has yet to put up back-to-back victories since his first fights entering the UFC in 2018, where he miraculously knocked out contender Beneil Dariush in only 42 seconds. On the helm of two straight losses, a victory for Miller here could force Hernandez out of the UFC.
Hernandez has the advantage in power and youthfulness, but Miller has the wits and experience.
My pick: Alexander Hernandez
Ovince Saint Preux (26-16) vs. Philipe Lins (15-5)
This fight was originally for December, but Ovince Saint Preux withdrew, pitting Alexander Gustafsson against Philipe Lins, thus forcing Lins to withdraw. Now back to square one.
Saint Preux is set to turn 40 years of age in April but has been trending in the wrong direction for the last few years. He’s 4-6 in his last ten bouts, with his most recent victory coming off legend Shogun Rua in a split decision.
Lins, a former PFL Heavyweight Tournament winner, made his UFC debut against Andrei Arlovski in May 2020. He dropped a unanimous decision in that fight before losing again in June. After a two-year layoff, Lins returned and beat Marcin Prachnio in April.
This will be a tough fight for Lins as OSP’s experience and sheer power could provide quite the punch.
My pick: Philipe Lins
You can watch both the prelims (4 PM EST) and main card (7 PM EST) on ESPN+.