UFC Vegas 51 Main Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (8:30 p.m. ET):

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170 lbs.: Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad – The Main Event comes in the Welterweight division, as Vicente “The Silent Assassin” Luque takes on Belal Muhammad. A winner of four straight and ten of the last eleven, Luque is closing in on a title shot. Having defeated the last four opponents via stoppage, Luque is proving to be one of the most dangerous Welterweights in the division. Meanwhile, not counting the no contest against Leon Edwards, Muhammad has won six straight and ten of his last eleven. Having most recently defeated Stephen Thompson, Muhammad has proven that he is a legitimate contender at Welterweight.

As for a prediction, I have Luque winning. Different fighters since there first meeting, I am not expecting another first-round stoppage victory by Luque. However, I do believe Luque will eventually get Muhammad out of there. The reason for that, is Luque is exceptionally well rounded. With an ability to finish a fight both on the feet and the mat, which is proven by his eleven knockout and eight submission victories, Luque is perhaps the most dangerous fighter in the Welterweight division. Not that Muhammad isn’t capable of winning this fight, but I can’t see him going toe-to-toe with Luque. I believe his route to winning exist with his wrestling abilities, which are exceptional. Landing seven takedowns in his most recent fight, with nearly twelve minutes of control time in a fifteen minute fight, Muhammad isn’t afraid to grind out a fight. While it’s plausible he can neutralize Luque on the gorund, I don’t think it’s feasible for over twenty-five minutes. The active guard of Luque combined with his submission abilities, is going to have Muhammad working hard to maintain top control. And even though Muhammad is one of the more conditioned fighters, I do think that training and cutting weight through Ramadan may effect his gas tank. So much that, it leaves him vulnerable to being tagged and finished. So with that said, I predict that Luque once again gets the best of Muhammad via TKO.

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185 lbs.: Caio Borralho vs. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev – The Co-Main event comes in the Middleweight division, as newcomers Caio “The Natural” Borralho and Gadzhi Omargadzhiev clash. A winner of nine straight, Borralho comes into this fight with momentum. Having fought twice in less than a month on Dana White Contender’s Series, Borralho proved that he has what it takes to be on the biggest stage. Meanwhile, Omargadzhiev too is a product of Dana White Contender’s Series. A perfect 13-0, Omargadzhiev brings a finishing instinct and winning pedigree to the octagon.

As for a prediction, I have Omargadzhiev winning. While I expect this fight to be a battle, it’s the wrestling of Omargadzhiev in which I believe is the x-factor. There are some concerns though, as Borralho has solid BJJ and could throw up several submissions or simply look to keep the fight standing. If the Brazilian could manage that, I’d favor him on the feet, although he is a bit wild. Omargadzhiev offers volume, but usually sets his strikes up to aid his wrestling. With a solid gas tank and exceptional top control, Omargadzhiev is a handful to deal with. So with that said, I predict Omargadzhiev to win via decision.


170 lbs.: Miguel Baeza vs. Andre Fialho – We have a scrap in the Welterweight division, as Andre Fialho takes on Miguel “Caramel Thunder” Baeza. Coming off an unsuccessful debut defeat to Michel Pereira, Fialho will return to the octagon hoping the second time’s the charm. Prior to the loss, the Portugal native had won four-straight. Meanwhile, Baeza comes into this fight a loser of two straight. Having begun his UFC tenure with three straight wins, one of which was a knockout victory over Matt Brown, Baeza embarks on unknown territory.

As for a prediction, I have Baeza winning. While Fialho has proven to be tough and better than most thought, he is getting shafted in this matchup. Not only is Baeza a talented fighter, but he is coming off losses to Santiago Ponzinibbio and Khaos Williams. Two credible fighters, one who is ranked and the other on the cusp. Regardless, Baeza is a talented striker, who including his Dana White Contender Series, has accumulated five knockdowns in six fights. Armed with power and an ability to land with volume, Baeza can be a tough foe to stand across. That includes this fight. So with that said, I predict that Baeza wins via TKO.


135 lbs.: Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Yanan Wu – The Women’s Bantamweight division takes center stage, as “Sheetara” Mayra Bueno Silva takes on Yanan “Mulan” Wu. Coming off a defeat to Manon Fiorot, Silva will look rebound. Having failed to win since 2020, Silva needs to avoid another defeat or she will further diminish her positioning in the Bantamweight division. Meanwhile, Wu comes into this fight with her back up against the wall. A loser of two straight and three of the last four, Wu’s UFC tenure all but hangs in the balance.

As for a prediction, I have Silva winning. While this fight could be close, mainly due to Silva’s antics, I ultimately believe the Brazilian will land the more significant strikes of the fight. Yanan offers volume, but there’s no pop on her strikes and she’s already lost three of her four UFC fights. On the other hand, Silva has excellent grappling, but she prefers to fight on the feet. With some pop, an iron chin and a real knack for egging on her opponent, Silva is as game as they come. The only worry I have, is Silva antics outweighing her ability to throw down. Either way, Silva is a talent and I believe she’ll showcase in this fight. So with that said, I predict Silva wins via decision.


145 lbs.: Pat Sabatini vs. T.J. Laramie – We have an intriguing fight in the Featherweight division, as Pat Sabatini takes on T.J. “The Truth” Laramie. Coming into this fight on a five-fight win streak, three of which have comes inside the octagon, Sabatini will look to continue his rise up the ranks. Having most recently defeated Tucker Lutz, Sabatini is slowly proving that he is a name to watch. Meanwhile, Laramie will return to the octagon for first time in over a year and a half. Looking to not only get back in the win column, but pick up his first UFC victory, Laramie will need to shake off and be sharp in this one.

As for a prediction, I have Sabatini winning. Not to dismiss Laramie, but how and why did he take this fight? Sabatini has won five straight and three have come inside the octagon. The TKO victory over Jamall Emmers and domination of Tucker Lutz only proved that Sabatini is ready for the upper echelon of the division. Armed with excellent wrestling and grappling, Sabatini is a nightmare to face if you are vulnerable to being taken down. With evolving striking, it’s only a matter of time, although the Emmers fight may say differently, that Sabatini is a force on the feet too. Seeing that Laramie was just submitted by a fellow grappler in Darrick Minner and he’s of a smaller stature in this weight class, I just don’t see how he fares well in this fight. So with that said, I predict that Sabatini wins via submission.

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170 lbs.: Mounir Lazzez vs. Ange Loosa – We have a scrap in the Welterweight division, as Mounir “The Sniper” Lazzez takes on newcomer Ange “The Last Ninja” Loosa. Coming off a defeat to Warlley Alves, Lazzez will look to rebound. Previous to the defeat, Lazzez had built up a buzz after dominating Abdul Razak Alhassan. Meanwhile, Lossa steps into his UFC debut on short notice. Having traded wins and losses in the past five fights, as well as fought in a different promotion each fight, Lossa has an excellent opportunity to call the UFC home should he have a great performance.

As for a prediction, I have Lazzez winning. While Lossa looks to be a fun addition to the UFC, the short notice nature of the fight just seems like a tough hill to climb. The fact that he fought two weeks ago, and will be cutting weight again – only reconfirms those beliefs. A pressure striker, with good wrestling and an iron chin, Lossa has proven that he is a tough out for anyone. However his cardio, especially in the third round has been at times, suspect. Throw in two weight cuts in two weeks, and I expect Lazzez to take over this fight in the later rounds. So with that said, I predict Lazzez, who has been in a training camp, to outlast and outstrike Lossa in a decision victory.


UFC Vegas 51 ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (5:30 p.m. ET):

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265 lbs.: Devin Clark vs. William Knight – We have a clash in the Heavyweight division, as Devin “Brown Bear” Clark takes on William “Knightmare” Knight. Looking to halt a two-fight skid, Brown will need fight like his job is on the line. Having already fought at Middleweight and Light Heavyweight, Brown will go up to Heavyweight in an attempt to rejuvenate his career. Meanwhile, Knight too is moving up to the Heavyweight division after missing weight in his most recent fight. A fight that saw Knight lose, ending a two-fight winning streak.

As for a prediction, I have Knight winning. While this fight is essentially a crapshoot, I believe that Knight is the more natural Heavyweight of the two. The fact that Clark fought as low as Middleweight and has always been a smaller Light Heavyweight, doesn’t make me believe he bodes well at Heavyweight. Now, Knight isn’t world class. He’s powerful, strong and has good wrestling. However, his cardio and hesitancy on the feet have been red flags for much of his career. Luckily in this fight, Clark isn’t much of a striker and doesn’t possess fight ending power. Clark is a wrestler, who has had durability issues much of his UFC tenure. In fact, in his six UFC losses, he has been finished five times. Make it six, as I’m predicting that Knight lands a clean shot, knockings Clark out.


135 lbs.: Pannie Kianzad vs. Lina Lansberg – We have a showdown in the Women’s Bantamweight division, as Lina “Elbow Queen” Lansberg takes on Pannie “Banzai” Kianzad. Returning to the octagon for the first time in twenty-six months, Lansberg will look to cleanse the long lasting sour taste of a loss to Sara McMann. Prior to the defeat, Lansberg had won three of the last four. Meanwhile, Kianzad most recently saw a four-fight win streak halted by Raquel Pennington. A fight where Kianzad just seemed a step behind. With a chance to get back in good standings in the Bantamweight division, look for Kianzad to be at her best here.

As for a prediction, I have Kianzad winning. While Lansberg can be a tough out, she lacks the necessary volume and wrestling to edge out Kianzad. In eight fights inside the octagon, Lansberg has landed five takedowns and been taken down fourteen times. She has also landed a mere 2.76 significant strikes per minute, which is nearly doubled by the 5.34 Kianzad lands. Also, seeing that Lansberg has only once eclipsed more than 51 strikes, and Kianzad had landed 92 or more during her four-fight win streak, leads me to believe that the Swede is going to dominate this fight. So with that said, I predict that Kianzad wins via decision.


155 lbs.: Brandon Jenkins vs. Drakkar Klose – We have a showdown in the Lightweight division, as Drakkar Klose takes on Brandon “The Human Highlight Reel” Jenkins. Returning to the octagon for the first time in a little over twenty-four months, Klose will look to shake off the rust and get back in the win column. Having won three straight prior to losing to Beneil Dariush, Klose was in a good position in the Lightweight division. Given it’s depth, he’s got some work to do. Meanwhile, Jenkins gets a second crack to taste a UFC victory. Having lost in his debut, one in which took place on short notice, Jenkins will look to a full camp being the difference this time around.

As for a prediction, I have Klose winning. While the layoff may be concerning, I believe this fight really fits Klose’s wheelhouse. Jenkins is a pure striker, who is dynamic on the feet. What he lacks however, is takedown defense and the grappling necessary to avoid being controlled. Given Klose is a wrestler, who looks to grind foes against the cage, I see this fight going exceptionally well for him. Especially considering Jenkins is coming off a debut defeat in which he was taken down six times and controlled for a little over nine minutes. So with that said, I predict that Klose will win via decision.

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155 lbs.: Rafa Garcia vs. Jesse Ronson – We have a showdown in the Lightweight division, as Rafa “Gifted” Garcia takes on Jesse “The Body Snatcher” Ronson. Having most recently halted a two-fight skid with his first UFC victory, Garcia will look to make winning a habit. A loss however could spell the end for Garcia, so this is a crucial fight for the Mexican. Meanwhile, Ronson will return to the octagon for the first time in nearly two years. Having loss time due to a suspension, which stemmed from a failed drug test and subsequently overturned his submission victory over Nicholas Dalby, Ronson will once again seek his first UFC victory.

As for a prediction, I have Ronson winning. While this fight is essentially a toss-up, I liken Ronson’s striking and cardio to be the difference. Obviously the concern for Ronson in this fight is Garcia’s wrestling. Something that the Canadian has struggled with in the past. However, Ronson is a big Lightweight and should have a sizable strength advantage. A key factor in why I believe Ronson will be able to keep this standing, get the better of Garcia on the feet and eventually finish the fight. So with that said, I predict that Ronson will win via TKO.


265 lbs.: Chris Barnett vs. Martin Buday – We have an intriguing fight in the Heavyweight division, as Chris “Beast Boy” Barnett takes on UFC debutant Martin “Badys” Buday. Coming off an amazing performance, in which Barnett wheel kicked Villante and lit up Madison Square Garden with his celebration, Beast Boy returns to the octagon with some added buzz. The only odd thing is, it won’t be in front of an audience. Which is a miss by the UFC. Meanwhile, Buday comes into his UFC debut on an eight-fight win streak. Having stopped all eight of those opponents, including most recently Lorenzo Hood on Dana White’s Contender Series, Buday has the looks of an excellent addition to the Heavyweight division.

As for a prediction, I’m going with Buday. While I’ve noticed that Buday gets hit way too often and is rather slow, he makes up for with an excellent jab and power. Seeing that he has stopped eight straight fights backs that notion up. Armed with good wrestling and grappling, Buday is capable of making some noise at 265 pounds. At times, Buday may stall out, but when he gets going, it’s tough to survive his onslaught. Obviously Barnett will be a tough challenge though. With vast experience, athleticism and power, Barnett has proved himself at each stop of his journey. However, before the wheel kick, Villante was kind of handling Barnett on the feet. Something that surprised me and swung me in favor of Buday in this fight. So with that said, I’ll take Buday and his seven inch height advantage, iron chin and power to get it done via knockout over Barnett.


155 lbs.: Jordan Leavitt vs. Trey Ogden – The Lightweight division is set to feature a grappling affair, as newcomer Trey Ogden takes on Jordan “The Monkey King” Leavitt. Currently riding a four-fight win streak, Ogden comes into his UFC debut with momentum. With nineteen fights, and having fought in LFA, Ogden comes into the UFC with experience. Meanwhile, Leavitt will look to replicate his last performance. One in which saw Leavitt show off his exceptional grappling abilities, submitting Matt Sayles. With two victories inside the octagon, the time is now for Leavitt to make a name for himself in a stacked Lightweight division.

As for a prediction, I have Leavitt winning. While I expect to see back-and-forth grappling, Leavitt just seems to be the safer play in as fight that could end in submission. The reason being, in four losses, Ogden has been submitted three times. Even in some of his victories, Ogden has been in some disadvantageous positions before working his way out of them. Against someone like Leavitt, I don’t believe Ogden will be afforded such opportunity. On the feet, I favor Ogden. Not by much given his lack of technique, but because Leavitt really only has a jab. One that is utilized to set up takedowns. In the end, I don’t expect this fight to be a lackluster kickboxing fight. I expect it to hit the mat and while competitive, eventually Leavitt will lock in a submission.

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115 lbs.: Sam Hughes vs. Istela Nunes – We have a showdown in the Women’s Strawweight division, as Sam “Sampage” Hughes takes on Istela Nunes. Looking to halt a three-fight skid, Hughes will enter the octagon with her back up against the wall. Seeing that Hughes is being given a fourth chance, is fortunate, and one she can’t afford to not cashing in on. Meanwhile, Nunes too is seeking her first UFC victory. Having unsuccessfully won in her debut six months ago, Nunes will look for 2022 to be her shining moment inside the octagon.

As for a prediction, I have Nunes winning. While Hughes has fought some tough competition, it’s clear that she may have been brought into the UFC a little too soon. Surprisingly though, the UFC must think favorable of Hughes given this fourth crack. I however, am not on the same page as them, especially against Nunes. A Muay Thai Specialist who has a 50-4 record in that discipline. With a victory over Mei Yamaguchi on the regional scene, Nunes has the ability to make some noise at Strawweight. In my opinion, it starts here. So with that said, I predict that Nunes wins via decision.


135 lbs.: Heili Alateng vs. Kevin Croom – The curtain jerker comes in the Bantamweight division, as Heili “The Mongolian Knight” Alateng takes on Kevin “Crash” Croom. Making his first appearance in 2022, Alateng will seek his first victory since 2019. Having fought to a draw in his most recent fight, Alateng has now gone 2-1-1 in his four UFC fights. Meanwhile, Croom will look to halt a two-fight losing streak and technically, win his first UFC fight. Having seen a victory over Roosevelt Roberts overturned due to Marijuana, Croom is winless and potentially on the cutting block should he drop three straight.

As for a prediction, I have Croom winning. While I expect this fight to be close, I believe that Croom offers the necessary activity in this particular fight. Alateng has often shown to be well rounded, yet hesitant to throw his hands. In fact, in four UFC fights, Alateng has landed a high of 47 significant strikes. One to wrestle too, Alateng has landed seven takedowns. However, given Croom’s grappling and submission abilities, It would be unlikely to see Alateng look to get this to the mat. On the feet, Croom may not be the best, but he offers aggression and activity. Something in which I favor and I believe the judges will in this fight. So with that said, I predict that Croom will win via decision.

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