Contender Series Week 6: James Llontop vs. Malik Lewis continues on the fight card with a bout in the heavyweight division between Jhonata Diniz and Eduardo Neves. Diniz is an undefeated prospect coming into the biggest opportunity of his career with five straight victories meanwhile, Neves comes into her second appearance on the Contender Series winning two consecutive fights after his last loss on the show. That said, check out our UFC odds series for our Diniz-Neves prediction and pick.
Jhonata Diniz (5-0) is another Glory Kicboxer who has made the transition to MMA and has been flawless with a perfect record in his short time as an MMA fighter. He certainly hasn't fought the best competition just yet and he will be taking on a Contender Series veteran who has been there before Diniz will be looking for the early knockout over Neves that will get him that coveted UFC contract that he has been searching for.
Eduardo Neves (7-1)
Here are the UFC Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
Contender Series Week 6 Odds: Jhonata Diniz-Eduardo Neves Odds
Jhonata Diniz: -156
Eduardo Neves: +122
How to Watch Jhonata Diniz vs. Eduardo Neves
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT
Why Jhonata Diniz Will Win
Jhonata Diniz is a former professional kickboxer with a record of 22-7 with 15 knockouts. He has won his last 11 fights which are combined between MMA and kickboxing with nine of those victories coming by knockout. He has been an absolute force since his transition to MMA in 2022 as he has won all five of his fights with each coming by first-round knockout.
Diniz has yet to be tested against high-level competition during his time as a professional MMA fighter and he will certainly be pushed here in this matchup against aggressive Eduardo Neves. Luckily for Diniz, Neves is a striker that will be giving him the fight that he wants which is to stand and bang until one of them falls. He has some next-level power for the heavyweight division and if he lands flush on Neves it can be an easy and early night at the office for Jhonata Diniz.
Why Eduardo Neves Will Win
Eduardo Neves got his first crack on the Contender Series when he took on current UFC heavyweight fighter Mick Parkin. He eventually lost that fight by first-round submission but he had some early success on the feet until Parkin took over with his grappling. Neves is a very aggressive striker who will give his opponents no breathing him and will definitely be doing the same when he takes on the inexperienced Jhonata Diniz.
Diniz will have the technical advantages on the feet but Neves has the ability to push a pace that can wear out Diniz if he can't get the early first-round knockout. No one has been able to make Diniz work in his short time as a professional MMA fighter and has yet to see a round two so if Neves can weather that early storm and take a punch his chances of scoring the upset increase dramatically.
Final Jhonata Diniz-Eduardo Neves Prediction & Pick
This is going to be a banger between these two heavyweight prospects. Both are going to be looking to go in there and land heavy hands to score the big knockout and secure their UFC contract. Diniz has the chance to become a good addition to the UFC's heavyweight division if he can keep his composure and fights like you would expect looking at his fights in both MMA and kickboxing.
Eduardo Neves is going to be a big test for Diniz and one that is going to attempt to push him to the brink of exhaustion. The thing about Neves is that he is a bit reckless as we saw in his last fight on the Contender Series which ultimately led to Parkins getting the takedown and easily finding the submission. The way that Neves gassed out badly just moments into his first appearance on the Contender Series leads me to believe that he doesn't possess the cardio to push a pace on Diniz that will break him in this matchup. Ultimately, these big boys come out slugging early with Neves being the aggressor attempting to get in the face of Jhonata Diniz but Diniz will be there waiting to counter Neves until he lands something flush on Neves' chin putting him out midway through the first round and securing him a UFC contract and a prospect to watch out for in the heavyweight division.
Final Jhonata Diniz-Eduardo Neves Prediction & Pick: Jhonata Diniz (-156)