Zhang Mingyang vs. Brendson Ribeiro prediction | UFC 298 1

In a battle of debuting fighters, Zhang “Mountain Tiger” Mingyang, 25, takes on 27-year-old Brendson “The Gorilla” Ribeiro. Both men have eerily similar records. Mingyang is 16-6 while Ribeirio is 15-5.

Mingyang has ten knockout wins, and Ribeiro has nine. Both have six submission wins, and neither man has won via decision. Mingyang has been finished five times- three knockouts and two submissions- while Ribeiro has been finished by knockout and submission twice each.

Betting Odds

With such similarities between the two, the near pick’em odds are not much of a surprise.

  • Zhang Mingyang: -150
  • Brendson Ribeirio: +120

Fight Breakdown

Mingyang is a powerful striker with a decent wrestling game and can find the submission finish when in an advantageous position. But his cardio, speed, technique, experience, and UFC-level ability are all in question.

In the WFL and Road to the UFC, Mingyang dominated his competition, ending all but two fights in the first round. The issue here is we’ve not seen his cardio tested beyond 10 minutes since 2018, and the one time he did enter a 3rd round, Mingyang lost.

More concerning is the level of competition he faced. Yes, he dominated his opponents, but they were of a terribly low level. His last three opponents, in theory, his toughest tests, have a combined record of 16-19. Mingyang’s number of wins and finishes is impressive, but his quality is not.

In the cage, “Mountain Tiger” is a plodding power puncher who blitzes into range, throws wide hooks, and looks to brawl his way to a finish. In the fights where his opponent didn’t drop quickly and Mingyang found himself inside of boxing range, he showed an ability to body lock and use weight-based takedowns to get the fight to the mat.

Once there, his grappling game, much like his striking game, is routed in size, strength, and poor competition. He was able to bully his opponents on the mat with little to no resistance. It’s possible that the power-punching light heavyweight continues to find success in the cage with a heavy right hand and weight distribution takedowns; but, given how poor his competition, we don’t truly know what to expect under the UFC banner.

Ribeiro is an all-offense fighter with very little focus or attention to his defense. “The Gorilla” is big, athletic, and a naturally gifted striker with speed and versatility on the feet. When he’s offensive and flowing, Ribeiro is a dangerous striker who can use his fast and powerful kickboxing to end the fight in an instant. But, Ribeiro takes risks in the cage and puts himself in vulnerable positions.

Because he favors a quick and violent brawl. Ribeiro is willing to sacrifice striking defense in favor of his own offense. This often means opponents who can withstand his barrage of strikes can return their own fire. Ribeiro is available to be hit and his chin has proved crack-able. Moreover, Ribeiro is a subpar grappler who relies on his size and athleticism to keep the fight standing.

But, if an opponent can get him down, Ribeiro is willing to take risks to get back to his feet. He’ll give up his back while trying to get up; and, again, sacrifice defense for offense. Ultimately, Ribeiro is a risk taker in all facets of MMA. He has the offense to win fights emphatically but doesn’t have the defense to win reliably.


Ribeiro is the more interesting prospect simply because of his athletic profile. Both men carry power, both can find submissions against vulnerable opponents, and both like to bring the fight early. But only Ribeiro has the speed and versatility on the feet to match UFC-level light heavyweights. However, Ribeiro takes so many changes in the cage, carries his chin high, and struggled to take non-UFC level shots that his UFC excitement may be a risky bet.

Ultimately, for this fight, I’ll side with the more physically capable fighter in Ribeiro, even though one of these guys is likely to get his lights knocked out quickly.

Best Bet: Ribeiro to win (+125)

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