Blake Bilder vs. Kyle Nelson prediction | UFC 289 1

Blake “El Animal” Bilder made his UFC debut in February at 32 years old. He flew halfway around the world to Australia to earn his first UFC win, a unanimous decision. That brought his professional record to 8-0 with 4 wins by submission and another 3 by decision.

Kyle “The Monster” Nelson, also 32, is a native Canadian who has struggled during his UFC tenure. Nelson is 1-4-1 with the draw being controversial. His sole win, in the UFC, was a 96-second knockout back in 2019. 2 of his losses have come via knockout, 1 submission, and the final by decision.

Bilder vs. Nelson is a preliminary bout on this weekend’s UFC 289 fight card. Catch all of the action live this Saturday night after ordering the PPV on ESPN+ here.

And remember, if you’re looking to place a bet on the fights this weekend, click here to sign up to BetUS using our special link and you’ll get a sign-up bonus worth up to $2,500.

Betting Odds

Bilder opened as a 2:1 favorite but has grown throughout the week.

  • Blake Bilder: -250 (BetUS)
  • Kyle Nelson: +200 (BetUS)

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Fight Breakdown

Bilder is an interesting and entertaining fighter who, I believe, can be compared to another UFC fighter: Clay Guida. Outside of their caveman hairstyle and propensity for violence, their fighting styles are eerily similar.

Bilder is a high-volume striker whose output escalates as the fight progresses. He’s also a pressure wrestler who frequently shoots for takedowns, similarly increasing his volume as the bout goes on. Once on the mat, Bilder is an aggressive grappler who immediately hunts for submissions, even if it means risking giving up his position for the finish. His cardio, pressure, striking output, and grappling are all reminiscent of Guida.

However, like his counterpart, Bilder can sometimes find himself in risky situations when he begins to fight too rapidly. His game plan, often used to compensate for a skill disparity, requires him to fight continuously for 15 minutes.

As a result, he can sometimes get caught by more patient counter-strikers who let him walk into their shots. While he has never been finished, Bilder has been on the receiving end of a few hard hits when he’s zigged when he should have zagged.

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

If you only listened to Nelson’s scouting report of himself, Volkanovski better watch out. Nelson is one of the most confident fighters on the roster and he tends to fight with that ill-advised confidence in the cage.

He has heavy hands but tends to lead with his head when striking. He aims to set a fast pace, especially early in the fight, but leaves his chin exposed when throwing his overhand right, and can start to show signs of fatigue if the fight extends into the second round.

When he settles in, Nelson incorporates solid kicks into his attack, especially calf kicks, which help slow down opponents and make it easier for him to land his shots. However, Nelson still only averages a 44% accuracy rate with significant strikes.

Recently, “The Monster” showed a new aspect of his game, offensive wrestling, which he used effectively in his last fight. Because of his all-action style on his feet, opponents must be wary of his powerful strikes, which often means they fight on the back foot and can leave their hips exposed. Nelson used his natural strength, athleticism, and momentum to land takedowns in his previous bout.

However, he didn’t do much from the top position, and a below-average wrestler was able to reverse the position. Nelson is a brawler who wants to trade blows toe-to-toe until someone drops. While he possesses the power for this style, he doesn’t have the chin, and opponents with a more varied or technical striking game and a more complete MMA skillset have consistently given Nelson problems.


The outcome of this fight comes down to which version of Bilder we see. If we get the pre-UFC Bilder who brawls with little regard for defense, Nelson has the stopping power to cause an upset, especially early on. However, if we see the Bilder who effectively uses his cardio and mixes in his grappling with aggressive yet intelligent striking, then Bilder should be able to impose a relentless pace on Nelson, exhaust him, and win rounds.

It’s always a risky proposition to put your faith in a fighter who made his UFC debut later in life, seemed to level up after only one fight, and is now a -250 favorite. However, I trust that Bilder figured something out last time, and we’ll see an even better performance this time. Bilder will use his cardio, pressure, and grappling to find a late-round finish over an exhausted Nelson.

Best Bets: Bilder to win in Round 2 (+500) or Round 3 (+600)

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *