Christian Leroy Duncan vs. Claudio Ribeiro prediction | UFC Fight Night 238 1

Middleweight prospects Christian Leroy Duncan and Claudio Ribeiro face off in a prelim bout this weekend at UFC Vegas 87.

CLD had a lot of hype surrounding him when he made his UFC debut. After a TKO win due to injury, he took on Armen Petrosyan who gave him his first loss of his career and stifled his hype. He rebounded well in a knockout win over Denis Tiuliulin and is looking to earn another stoppage against Ribeiro.

Claudio Ribeiro is looking to avoid two losses in a row after a knockout loss to Roman Kopylov back in July of 2023. The dangerous power puncher is never out of it and only needs one shot to end the fight and will be looking for his second UFC finish this weekend.

Betting Odds

CLD has never been an underdog in the UFC and that won’t change this weekend as he comes in as a sizeable favorite:

  • Christian Leroy Duncan: -310 (BetUS)
  • Claudio Ribeiro: +235 (BetUS)

Fight Breakdown

Christian Leroy Duncan is 9-1 and only 28 years old. The Gloucester product has a kick-heavy approach to his striking. He has the Taekwondo style stance and a diverse arsenal of dangerous kicks that come from every angle imaginable. His hands have been a work in progress since coming into the UFC but have been making noticeable improvement to round out his striking profile.

In Duncan’s first career loss to Armen Petrosyan, we saw him struggle to land flush with his kicks. He was forced to engage with his hands which exposed his problems with closing distance. Duncan has built his game around keeping distance and it was obvious he wasn’t comfortable when he was forced into boxing exchanges. He looks much more comfortable in the fire against Tiuliulin however. He’s developed a more effective check hook and even showed some good dirt boxing mixed with elbows from the clinch. I hope we do see him continue to develop his striking because his ceiling is sky high on the feet.

While we haven’t seen him find much success in the wrestling department since joining the UFC, he’s not shied away from engaging in clinches along the cage to look for trips and sweeps. In his last fight against Tiuliulin, he spent the vast majority of the first round jockeying for position to take the fight to the mat. We saw some promising signs on the regional scene with his defensive wrestling and even his submission game but shooting for takedowns will likely be more of a useful wrinkle to his game than a core part of his plan.

As I touched on earlier, the biggest flaw I’ve seen from Duncan is his striking during entries and after. Both offensively and defensively, he’s shown to struggle when the fight gets into punching range. Petrosyan was able to put together combos where Duncan was looking for one punch at a time and it added up over the course of each round. He didn’t develop a consistent rhythm with his jab even though it was his best strike and when he threw the right, he was often overthrowing it and leaving himself off-balance and in position to be countered.

His opponent will be fellow three-fight veteran of the UFC Claudio Ribeiro. Ribeiro’s a frustrating matchup for anyone who draws his name with his one-shot knockout power but otherwise pretty limited skill set. He’s found success in cornering his opponents to unleash a flurry of powerful, wild strikes that are hard to avoid even for high-level strikers. Even though he isn’t a technical fighter, he forces his opponents to be or else they run the risk of getting tagged by a haymaker.

Ribeiro’s striking is simple: use a heavy lead calf kick to force his opponent to rush in. When they do, Ribeiro takes a small step back, leans out of range and throws the left hand from the hip while he loads up the right to come in wild as well. He relies a lot on these wild hooks even though he’s found success with the straight right hand as he comes forward. It’s rare, but when he does throw his strikes down the center, he’s still able to generate a ton of power and it often opens up the best opportunities for him to push his opponent to the cage and unleash his reckless combos.

We’ve seen some wrestling from Ribeiro but it hasn’t been the most effective. He spends a lot of time in the clinch along the cage similar to Duncan and is very rarely able to do anything with it unless his opponent is already rocked. He’s very strong in these grappling scenarios along the fence and isn’t easy to takedown himself. However, with the problems he has with his gas tank, I would advise him to spend as little time along the cage as possible.

This matchup is interesting because I feel that both guys bring the offensive tools that can knock the other out. For Duncan, he struggles with chaos and when Ribeiro chooses to come forward, he brings just that. Ribeiro can’t afford to sit back and wait for the counter opportunities because they may not come against someone who keeps range so well like Duncan does. Claudio’s best option will be to come forward immediately and put Duncan on the cage where he will have the advantage when the strikes start flying.

If Ribeiro’s unable to land that big shot in round 1, it’ll become more and more of Duncan’s fight. Ribeiro’s gas tank depletes very quickly while Duncan’s will last usually through two rounds. It could be part of Duncan’s gameplan to tie him up early and not take risks until later in the fight when Ribeiro’s movements become much more labored.


I highly doubt this one makes it to the scorecards. If it does, it’ll be because one or both guys begin to gas and start grabbing for the clinch, milking time off the clock. I really hope that isn’t the case because this one has a good shot at ending in an exciting manner.

Duncan’s mission defensively will be a simple one: keep himself at range while staying off the cage. He can’t get off-balance in the pocket and leave himself open to get tagged by Ribeiro’s counters. He needs to be cautious about when he throws his hands and make sure to be light on his feet when he does. If he’s able to stay off the fence, his striking arsenal will likely be overwhelming for Ribeiro. Ribeiro can struggle when his opponent occupies his hands with high kicks and Duncan throws them quite often. If Ribeiro is sitting back waiting to counter, there will be plenty of opportunities to land his rangy techniques while avoiding the big swinging shots in return. Given the one-dimensional route to victory for Ribeiro, I’m confident in taking Duncan on the moneyline but regardless of the victor, I see it ending inside the distance.

  • Prediction: Christian Leroy Duncan to win inside the distance (-145 on BetUS)
  • Best Bet: Fight does not go the distance (-370 on BetUS)

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