Miles “Chapo” Johns, 3-1 in the UFC since earning a contract from Dana White’s Contender Series in 2019, is half of the featured preliminary bout on Saturday night. His opponent will be John “Sexi Mexi” Castaneda, currently 1-1 in the UFC. Johns, 27, has six finishes and six professional wins by decision. Castaneda, 30, has 13 finishes and five decision wins.
Miles Johns will enter this fight as the largest favorite he’s been since entering the UFC at odds of -220.
- Johns: -220
- Castaneda: +180
Johns has the skilled game needed to enter and climb the bantamweight rankings. He has crisp striking, mainly a boxing style, with fundamental combos. He is a dedicated and pressure-heavy wrestler who combines athleticism and technique while grappling. And, possibly his best attribute, he has excellent cardio and pushes a consistent pace. Statistically, Johns has a 1.5x positive strike differential, an impressive 71% striking defense, averages nearly one takedown per fight, and stops 92% of takedowns himself. Overall, Johns is a well-rounded mixed martial artist; who, in his last fight, finally put it all together in an impactful way by getting the finish. Johns has the talent to be a ranked fighter, the technique to climb the rankings, and is the right age to make that climb count. He will, however, have to work through the deepest division in the UFC and will likely have to combine his sometimes disjointed talents into a complete game.
Castaneda also has some talent but a disjointed game. He primarily fights southpaw and favors a solid counter straight left. When he lands, he lands with some real pop. However, his striking differential is negative; he is hit more often than he lands because Castaneda is a binary fighter. When he moves forward, he throws in combination and abandons his defense for an all-out but still controlled, offensive attack. Then, he’ll switch to defense, get pushed back, abandon offense for a time, and focus on defense. When Castaneda decides it’s time for offense again, he’ll unload his counter left and move back on the offensive path. Thus far, because his striking is crisp and has pop, this seesaw style has proved successful. But, unless he can more fluidly transition, pressure fighters should be able to force Castaneda into a more defensive game plan, while intelligent fighters should be able to time Castaneda’s transitions.
Castaneda is a tough and solid UFC fighter who can catch people with his hands and threaten submissions from his back. But, his kryptonite is pressure and intelligent fighters who can expose the openings in his game. Johns is a pressure-heavy and competent fighter who should be tailor-made to beat Castaneda pillar to post. So long as Johns isn’t caught coming in and keeps up the pressure, he should walk away with a wrestle-heavy dominant win.
Prediction: Miles Johns to win by decision
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.