UFC Vegas 52 Main Card On ESPN+ (9 p.m. ET):Embed from Getty Images
115 lbs.: Amanda Lemos vs. Jessica Andrade – The Main event comes in the Women’s Flyweight division, as Amanda “Amandinha” Lemos and Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade throw down in a pivotal fight. In 2017, Lemos debuted against Leslie Smith. In what was a losing effort, it would be the last time Lemos tasted defeat. Stringing together five consecutive wins, three via stoppage, Lemos has catapulted herself into the top ten. With a main event slot against a former champion, the opportunity for Lemos to make herself known in the title discussion hangs in the balance. Meanwhile, Andrade returns to the Strawweight division after going 2-1 at Flyweight. Looking to re-establish herself in the division where she once was Champion, Andrade will look to use Lemos’ as a stepping stone back to the title.
As for a prediction, I have Andrade winning. To me, this fight comes down to if Lemos can put Andrade out early. With the best knockdown average, shortest fight time average and most knockdowns (five) in the Flyweight division, it’s very plausible to see Lemos doing such. However, none of the fighters that Lemos has faced is in the top ten. They are more less, with the exception of Hill, near the bottom of the division. On the other hand, Andrade has fought only the toughest of foes. Her last four losses alone, have come against former and current champions. With exceptional striking, strength, cardio and good wrestling, Andrade is the complete package. As long as Andrade stays away from brawling with Lemos early, the fight will dramatically shift towards her by round three. Having fought five rounds before, Andrade is fully capable of being in deep water. Lemos however, I don’t believe is. So with that said, I predict that Andrade will win via TKO.Embed from Getty Images
155 lbs.: Clay Guida vs. Claudio Puelles – The Co-Main event comes in the Lightweight division, as Clay “The Carpenter” Guida takes on Claudio “El Nino” Puelles. At 40 years, Guida continues to defy time. Having won his last fight and two of the last three, Guida will seek to win two straight for the first time since 2017. Meanwhile, Puelles has been excellent since his unsuccessful debut in 2016. Rattling off four straight wins, Puelles is starting to make noise in the division. Earning a co-main event slot and fight against Guida is a great opportunity the Peru native.
As for a prediction, I have Puelles winning. While I could be very wrong here, as Guida is grizzled veteran with an endless gas tank, he has been very vulnerable against grapplers with good submission abilities. In fact, Guida has lost by submission in ten of his twenty-one losses. It’s not even something you can say chop up to an early career problem, as he’s been submitted in four of his last seven losses alone. Puelles being a grappling ace, has won seven of his eleven wins via submission. Landing a takedown in each fight, including twelve in five UFC fights, Puelles has had little issues getting the fight to the mat. The only worry I have, is if Puelles fades. Guida being a cardio machine, can present issues should he find himself the fresher foe. However, unlike Leonardo Santos, Guida’s last opponent, Puelles has more than four minutes of cardio. So with that said, I predict that Puelles will win this fight via submission.
125 lbs.: Maycee Barber vs. Montana De La Rosa – The main card features a fun fight in the Women’s Strawweight division, as Maycee “The Future” Barber takes on Montana De La Rosa. Coming off a controversial decision victory over Miranda Maverick, Barber will look to emphatically put a stamp on this fight. Previous to the win, Barber had lost two straight. Meanwhile, De La Rosa is coming an excellent TKO victory over Ariane Lipski. An important victory for De La Rosa, as she had a draw and a loss in her two fights prior.
As for a prediction, I have De La Rosa winning. While I expect this fight to be close, the grittiness and wrestling of De La Rosa has me believing that she can edge this fight out. It won’t be easy though, as Barber packs a punch and is a good wrestler herself. However, Barber of late, has been a slow starter. In fact, in the last two fights, Barber has landed 38 strikes combined in the first two rounds. The same amount she has landed in the last two round three’s combined. Barber also has a 66% takedown defense and will have to stay upright against a notable spam takedown artist in De La Rosa. With all those things said, I do think Barber is the better overall fighter. Yet, De La Rosa has the cardio and ability to dig deep and keep going forward. Something which I believe will aid her in getting her handed raised via decision.
265 lbs.: Alexandr Romanov vs. Chase Sherman – The main card features a clash in the Heavyweight division, as Alexandr “King Kong” Romanov takes on Chase “The Vanilla Gorilla” Sherman. Returning to the octagon for the first time in 2022, Romanov will look to continue his climb up the Heavyweight division. Undefeated and 4-0 in the UFC, Romanov continues to prove that he is a force to be reckon with. Meanwhile, Sherman steps into this fight on short notice. Having been recently cut for the second time by the UFC, Sherman answered the call to get a third chance to make things right. A loser of three straight, the time is now for Sherman to make a statement.
As for a prediction, I have Romanov winning. While I give Sherman props for stepping up, I don’t think he stands much of a chance in this fight. Having lost to Parker Porter and Jake Collier in back-to-back fights, Sherman just doesn’t exude UFC quality. With good striking abilities, if Sherman can’t hurt his opponent, he becomes a human punching bag as the wades on. Something in which he may not have to worry about, as Romanov should finish this fight relatively quickly. Landing thirteen takedowns in four fights, Romanov is going to get this fight down to mat early and ground-and-pound his way to a quick TKO victory.Embed from Getty Images
145 lbs.: Charles Jourdain vs. Lando Vannata – We have an early frontrunner for “Fight of the Night” in the Featherweight division, as Charles “Air” Jourdain takes on Lando “Groovy” Vannata. Coming off a decision victory over Andre Ewell, Jourdain will look to capture his first winning streak since 2018/2019. Having gone 3-3-1 in seven fights in the UFC, Jourdain will need to start winning if he has any aspirations of UFC gold. Meanwhile, Vannata comes into this fight off a split decision victory over Mike Grundy. Like Jourdain, Vannata too has struggled to string together a two-fight win streak. Not only has Vannata failed to do such since 2015/2016, but he has a salty 4-5-2 record.
As for a prediction, I have Vannata winning. While he may hard to trust, especially considering his salty record, Vannata is at his best when he faces pure strikers. In eleven fights in the UFC, Vannata is 3-1 when he isn’t taken down. On the flip side, when taken down, Vannata is a mere 1-4-2. Seeing that Jourdain has failed to land a single takedown in seven fights, I’d say we can expect to see the best version of Vannata. However, I’m not counting Jourdain out of this fight by any means. He himself is a solid striker, who in seven fights, has accumulated six knockdowns. Interestingly enough though, Jourdain is only 2-2 when recording a knockdown. While I could see Jourdain adding onto that here, Vannata has proven that his durability is excellent. The real reason though I’m siding with Vannata, is that he in addition to being a striker, has good offensive wrestling. Something which I believe he will utilize and Jourdain’s 48% takedown defense. So with all that said, I predict Vannata to win via decision.
UFC Vegas 52 ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET):Embed from Getty Images
190 lbs.: Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Jordan Wright – We have a Catchweight at 190 pounds, as Jordan “The Beverly Hills Ninja” Wright takes on Marc-Andre “Powerbar” Barriault. Coming off a tough loss to Bruno Silva, Wright will look to get back in the win column. Having traded wins and losses for the past four fights, Wright will need to find some consistency if he ever wants to progress in the Middleweight division. Meanwhile, Barriault is coming off a devastating sixteen second knockout defeat. One in which is surprising, given Barriault hadn’t been stopped once in his eighteen professional and seven amateur fights. Prior to the loss, Barriault had won two straight and saw another victory overturned due a positive drug test.
As for a prediction, I have Wright winning. While I have zero confidence in this prediction, nor have been one to pick Wright, I can’t help but to question Barriault returning less than three months since being knocked out. Even though it was the first time in his career, it just seem like a quick turnaround. Especially for a guy who’s known for his durability and ability to thrive in a brawl. Something which is quite the opposite of his counterpart Wright, who is a dynamic striker, but has very little in the durability department. I expect this fight to be a crowd pleaser, but not one where I’d be looking to place a wager on. With that said, if you believe Barriault should be fine returning so soon after a knockout defeat, side with him. He’s the better fighter. However, I’m in the belief it’s a quick turnaround and am siding with the Beverly Hills Ninja to win via TKO.
170 lbs.: Dwight Grant vs. Sergey Khandozhko – We have a showdown in the Welterweight division, as Dwight “The Body Snatcher” Grant takes on Sergey “Honda” Khandozhko. Coming off a split decision loss to Francisco Trinaldo, Grant will look to get back in the win column. Having gone 3-3 in the UFC thus far, Grant will need to find some consistency if he wants to stand out in a stacked Welterweight division. Meanwhile, Khandozhko returns to the octagon for the first time since November of 2019. Having seen two fights cancelled due to an injury and testing positive for COVID, Khandozhko is probably chomping at the bit to get back inside the octagon.
As for a prediction, I have Khandozhko winning. While I expect this fight to be close and could even see Grant winning via knockout early, I ultimately can’t trust the American. He’s a powerful striker, but is often held back by his hesitancy to throw his hands. In fact, Grant’s highest significant strike total in a fight is 49. Throw in his four split decisions in six fights, and it’s evident why he hasn’t had much success thus far inside the octagon. Now, Khandozhko has been out for awhile and could be rusty. An advantage for Grant, should he come out swinging. However, Khandozhko is the more dynamic and volume-based striker. Featuring snappy leg kicks and a patented spinning back kick, Khandozhko has stopped ten foes via knockout. Also not out of his element on the mat, Khandozhko has submitted seven opponents. In the end, I believe Khandozhko will be the more active of the two. Something in which will aid the karate-based fighter to a decision victory.
205 lbs.: Tyson Pedro vs. Ike Villanueva – The Light Heavyweight division features a bout that likely won’t go long, as Tyson Pedro takes on Ike “Hurricane” Villanueva. Returning to the octagon for the first time in over three years, Pedro will look to shake off the rust and put a halt to a two-fight skid. Still only 30 years old and with wins over Paul Craig and Khalil Rountree, Pedro still has legs at 205 pounds. He just needs to win and stay healthy. Meanwhile, Villanueva comes into this fight desperately needing a victory. Having lost two straight and with a 1-4 record in the UFC, Villanueva’s time could be up should he lose. Then again, Sam Alvey has lost seven straight and is still in the UFC.
As for a prediction, I have Pedro winning. While the layoff is worrisome, Villanueva’s durability is more so. Having been stopped in all four of his losses in the UFC, not once making it past six minutes, Villanueva is a kill or be killed fighter. Unfortunately for him, he’s been the nail way more than the hammer. And quite frankly, I don’t see that changing in this fight. Absorbing a staggering 7.91 significant strikes per minute, it’s only a matter of time before Pedro, who has a six inch reach advantage, connects with a fight ending blow on Villanueva. So with that said, I predict that Pedro wins this fight via TKO.Embed from Getty Images
125 lbs.: Cameron Else vs. Aoriqileng – We have a scrap in the Bantamweight division, as the “Mongolian Murderer” Aoriqileng takes on Cameron “Camchida” Else. Still yet to taste UFC victory in two fights, Aoriqileng will hope that the third time’s the charm. Prior to joining the UFC, Aoriqileng had won six straight, four of which came via stoppage. Meanwhile, Else too comes into this fight seeking his first UFC victory. Having not fought since debuting back in October of 2020, Else will need to shake off the rust quickly in what is likely to be a fight that won’t go to the judges scorecards.
As for a prediction, I have Aoriqileng winning. While Else may have a grappling edge and a surprising victory over Paddy Pimblett early in his career, the rest of his abilities and resume aren’t exactly great. In fact, Else’s ten victories have come over fighters with a combined record of 18-17. The last regional scene victory for Else before debuting in the UFC was over a 3-14 opponent. Having been stopped in four of his five losses, Else doesn’t exactly exude durability. Something in which is a strength of Aoriqileng’s. As long as the Mongolian Murderer can keep this fight upright or pop back up when taken down, it will only be a matter of time before his volume and power swarm Else. So with that said, I predict that Aoriqileng wins via TKO.
170 lbs.: Preston Parsons vs. Evan Elder – We have an intriguing fight in the Welterweight division, as Preston “Pressure” Parsons takes on newcomer Evan “The Phenom” Elder. Coming off an unsuccessful UFC debut seven months ago, Parsons returns to the octagon looking to capture his first UFC victory. Prior to the loss, Parsons had won four straight and seven of his last eight. Meanwhile, Elder steps into his UFC debut on short notice. Undefeated and with five stoppages in seven fights, Elder will look to keep his 0 under the brightest lights.
As for a prediction, I’m siding with Parsons. Despite Elder being undefeated, his strength of schedule isn’t exactly a tell-tale sign. It’s to be expected though, as Elder is still relatively green with only seven professional fights. However, from the little tape I’ve seen, Elder seems to have a grasp everywhere. He’s just not a specialist in any one area yet. On the other hand, Parsons is very talented on the mat. In fact, he has won all nine of his fights via submission, including one against fellow UFC fighter Ignacio Bahamondes. Parson also didn’t look out of his element against Daniel Rodriguez on the feet, landing several big shots before succumbing to “D-Rod”. With all that said, I predict Parsons will win via submission.
205 lbs.: Philipe Lins vs. Marcin Prachnio – We have a clash in the Light Heavyweight division, as Marcin Prachnio takes on Philipe “Monstro” Lins. Having come over from One Championship in 2018, expectations were high for Prachnio. Unfortunately, Prachnio dropped his first three fights in the UFC and could have very well been cut. Given another shot, Prachnio has made the most of it, winning back-to-back fights. Meanwhile, Lins too entered the UFC with high expectations. A winner of the PFL’s Heavyweight tournament, Lins was thought to be a potential contender. Unfortunately, Lins dropped two straight and now will look to the Light Heavyweight division to be the turning point.
As for a prediction, I have Prachnio winning. While this fight is a crapshoot, I favor the momentum of the Pole. That and the fact that Lins, is making the cut back down to Light Heavyweight. A division where he began his career and went 1-3 in his last four, prompting a move up to Heavyweight. Also, given that Lins has been through a litany of injuries and visa issues since his last bout, causing six fight cancellations, I’m not really sure what to expect from the Brazilian. What I do know, is that both have durability issues. However, Prachnio has not only shown a better chin of late, but an ability to weather the storm and continue to push forward with strikes. So with that said, I predict Prachnio wins via knockout.
170 lbs.: Dean Barry vs. Mike Jackson – The curtain jerker comes in the Welterweight division, as newcomer Dean “The Sniper” Barry takes on Mike “The Truth” Jackson. Coming into this fight on a three-fight win streak, Barry is set to show off his striking under the bright lights. Being relatively inexperienced, Barry will need to learn fast if he wants to survive in the UFC. Meanwhile, Jackson returns the octagon for the first time in nearly four years. Having seen a victory over CM Punk overturned, Jackson will seek his first professional victory.
Never did I believe in 2022, we’d see a fight in the UFC between a 4-1 debuting fighter who’s coming off a victory over a 6-30 fighter against a journalist/fighter who fought CM Punk and Mickey Gall and has no professional MMA victories. But here we are. While I’d like to think Jackson has a chance, it’s hard to believe a win over CM Punk and as an amateur ten years ago is something that bodes confidence. And while Barry is coming off a win over someone with a 6-30 record, he has three other victories, including one over someone who was 7-1. With a striking background, Barry should realistically have little issues in this fight. So with that said, I predict that Barry wins via TKO.