UFC Vegas 55 Main Card On ESPN+:Embed from Getty Images
135 lbs.: Holly Holm vs. Ketlen Vieira – The main event comes in the Women’s Bantamweight division, as the former Champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm takes on Ketlen “Fenomeno” Vieira. Returning to the octagon for the first time since October of 2020, Holm will look to continue her trek back to the title, A winner of two straight, which included an impressive performance over Irene Aldana, Holm has proven that her time at the top isn’t over yet. Meanwhile, Vieira is coming off a victory over former Champion Miesha Tate. Having lost two of three heading into that fight, Vieira proved that she still is a contender in the Bantamweight division. With a huge opportunity to defeat another former title challenger and inch closer to a title shot, I’m sure we’ll see the best version of Vieira in this fight.
As for a prediction, I have Holm winning. When Vieira defeated Kelly Faszholz, Ashlee Evans-Smith, Sara McMann and Cat Zingano in her first four UFC fights, I thought she was bound to be a future title contender and maybe even a Champion. However, since then, I’ve been unimpressed. Obviously the Irene Aldana knockout was a setback, but the three fights since have been relatively close. Unable to separate herself from opponents due to her low output and striking accuracy, Vieira has often looked to her wrestling and grappling to lead the way. While it worked in the Sijara Eubanks fight, it did not the Yana Kunitskaya fight – where she was out-landed 47-7 in strikes. Against Holm, who is one of the best strikers in the division, I don’t see Vieira having an answer. Even if she resorts to wrestling, Holm has been tough to not only take down, but hold down. Even adding wrestling to her game, Holm has landed nine takedowns in her last four fights.
A patient and cerebral striker, Holm uses her footwork to get inside and out. With excellent cardio backing her game, Holm isn’t someone who ever slows down. An aspect in which is key in this fight, as I believe due to the pace and the fact that it’s five rounds, Vieira will fade sooner than later. Seeing that Vieira absorbed 122 significant strikes against Tate and Holm tagged Aldana 154 times, I believe we are in for a repeat performance of vintage Holm. So with that said, I predict Holm will win via decision. Although I wouldn’t be surprised to see a late finish!Embed from Getty Images
170 lbs.: Michel Pereira vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio – The co-main event comes in the Welterweight division, as Santiago “Argentine Dagger” Ponzinibbio takes on Michel “Demolidor” Pereira. Coming off a close defeat to Geoff Neal, Ponzinibbio returns to the octagon for the first time in 2022. Once a contender, who had rattled off seven straight, Ponzinibbio now finds himself a loser of two of his last three. At 35 years old and with a litany of lost time due to injuries, the time is now for the former contender to get things going. Meanwhile, Pereira comes into this fight a winner of four straight. Having tempered his wildness, Pereira has molded himself into a well rounded fighter. One who isn’t afraid to blend his striking and wrestling abilities.
As for a prediction, I have Pereira winning. While this is an excellent fight and could possibly be similar to when Ponzinibbio weathered the storm and defeated Miguel Baeza, I feel that Pereira’s game has evolved past fading in fights. No longer as wild as when he entered the UFC, Pereira has vastly improved his energy output in fights. Being technical, yet still showing burst of explosion, Pereira has shown the ability to go toe-to-toe with anyone. Adding wrestling to game, Pereira has landed a takedown in each of his last six fights. The knock on Pereira has always been cardio, something which Ponzinibbio carries plenty of. However, Pereira has vastly improved in that area. In three of his last four fights, the Brazilian has landed 115 of the 287 significant strikes in round three alone. Obviously every fight is different, but Ponzinibbio seems to be on the downswing. Unfortunate too, as his cardio, volume and durability had led him to being in the Welterweight title conversation at one point. With all that said, I predict Pereira to win his fifth straight via decision.Embed from Getty Images
185 lbs.: Chidi Njokuani vs. Dusko Todorovic – We have an exciting fight in the Middleweight division, as Chidi “Bang Bang” Njokuani takes on Dusko “Thunder” Todorovic. Coming off an exhilarating 16-second knockout in his UFC debut, Njokuani returns to the octagon with some buzz. Having fought in several organizations for the past fourteen years, at 33 years old, Njokuani finally will get a chance to prove on the biggest platform. Meanwhile, Todorovic is coming off a much needed victory. One that halted a two-fight losing streak and showed a glimpse of the talent that Todorovic exhibited in his debut back in 2020. With an opportunity to secure a winning streak, Todorovic can put himself in position for a bigger fight next.
As for a prediction, I have Njokuani winning. Unless Todorovic plans on wrestling, I’m not too keen about his chances on the feet. Njokuani as seen in his debut, has fast hands and legitimate power. With an arsenal that includes knees, leg kicks and elbows, Njokuani is a dangerous man to stand across from. While Todorovic has shown good striking, it comes in bursts and largely within the first round. After that, his gas tank sputters and his overall activity fades. The one area where you’d think Todorovic would have a chance is his wrestling. However, Todorovic sports a 27% takedown accuracy. If he can’t find a way to get this fight to the ground, the distance management and cardio of Njokuani is going to outlast Todorovic. So with that said, I predict that Njokuani wins via TKO.
115 lbs.: Tabatha Ricci vs. Polyana Viana – The main card spotlights a Women’s Strawweight fight, as Polyana “Dama de Ferro” Viana takes on Tabatha “Baby Shark” Ricci. A winner of two straight, Viana seems to have ironed out whatever hiccups that saw her lose three straight. Aiming to get back into the division’s top five, a win here could have Viana on the precipice of doing such. Meanwhile, Ricci is coming off a decision victory over Maria Oliveira. An important win, not only because it was Ricci’s first in the UFC, but a bounce back from her first professional defeat.
As for a prediction, I have Ricci winning. While this fight can go about several ways, it’s the forward movement, takedowns and top control of Ricci that I favor. Obviously Viana has a dangerous guard game and has a plethora of submissions in her arsenal, but Ricci’s ground skills are excellent and should hold up. On the feet, Ricci may not be the best striker, but she wings punches and charges forward. Something in which I believe Viana will have a hard time generating offense because of. In the end, I believe a mix of takedowns and forward pressure by Ricci will aide her to a decision victory.
185 lbs.: Eryk Anders vs. Jun Yong Park – We have a scrap in the Middleweight division, as Eryk “Ya Boi” Anders takes on Jun Yong “The Iron Turtle” Park. Looking to rebound from a submission defeat to Andre Muniz, Anders returns to the octagon for the first time in 2022. Having been through a rough stretch in his last four fights, with one lone win, Anders will need to start finding his stride. Otherwise, it’s possible that Anders may be stuck as a middling Middleweight with no shot at becoming a contender. Meanwhile. Park is coming off a knockout defeat to Gregory Rodrigues. A fight that was hectic throughout, but saw Park end up on the wrong side. Previous to the defeat, Park had won three straight and ten of the last eleven.
As for a prediction, I have Park winning. While this fight could go either way, I’m more confident in Park’s abilities at this stage. Anders has been a mixed bag at times, showing off power in some fights and then wrestling in others. Lacking the necessary volume, Anders has been someone that can be beaten alone on volume. In fact, Anders is 1-5 when absorbing 62 or more significant strikes. The lone win came when Anders landed 64 significant strikes, which is roughly 16.5 more strikes than his average per fifteen minutes. Given this, it’s hard siding with him regardless of his toughness and grit. Park, averaging 4.69 significant strikes per minute offers more volume and throws some solid combinations. With wrestling abilities too, Park, during his three fight win streak, landed eleven takedowns. The only concern I have, is Park’s takedown defense. Which has been problematic at times. However, Anders sports a 31% takedown accuracy and has largely used the cage to control fighters. With that said, I predict that Park will win a hard fought decision.
UFC Vegas 55 ‘Prelims’ On ESPN+:Embed from Getty Images
265 lbs.: Jailton Almeida vs. Parker Porter – We have a showdown in the Heavyweight division, as Parker Porter takes on Jailton “Malhadinho” Almeida. Coming into this fight on a three-fight win streak, Porter appears to be catching his stride inside the octagon. With another victory, it’s possible that Porter, at 37 year old, could crack the division’s top fifteen. Meanwhile, Almeida comes into this fight a winner of ten straight. Filling for Maxim Grishin, Almeida makes the jump up to Heavyweight. A division in which he has flirted with during his career. A pure finisher, Almeida has yet to see the scorecards in all fifteen of his victories.
As for a prediction, I have Almeida winning. Despite having to overcome a weight disadvantage in this fight, Almeida has excellent size and holds many advantages himself. While striking isn’t an area where Almeida thrives in, he has quickness, explosion and a pretty dangerous front kick. Physically strong, Almeida has little issues getting the fight to the mat. An area in which Almeida is elite, as his grappling can be overwhelming. With nine submission victories, all within the first two rounds, it is advised that opponents do everything possible to keep the fight standing against Almeida. Something which I don’t see Porter doing, even with the weight advantage. However, should Porter surprise me, he has the cardio and volume-based striking to give Almeida fits on the feet. I just don’t see that coming to fruition. So with that said, I predict that Almeida will win via TKO.
185 lbs.: Alen Amedovski vs. Joseph Holmes – We have a clash in the Middleweight division, as Joseph “Ugly Man” Holmes takes on Alen Amedovski. Coming off an unsuccessful debut, Holmes returns to the octagon looking for better results in his second fight. With a full training camp in hand, it’s likely we see the version of Holmes that rattled off seven straight wins previous to the defeat. Meanwhile, Amedovski comes into this fight with some urgency. Having scuffled in back-to-back fights, Amedovski’s is searching for that illustrious first UFC victory. A defeat, could put his UFC tenure in jeopardy.
As for a prediction, I have Holmes winning. Essentially a crapshoot of a fight, Amedovski has barely showed me anything in his two appearances inside the octagon. A power striker, with an array of highlight reel knockouts, Amedovski entered the UFC with legitimate question marks. All of which have been brought to light, as his takedown defense, ground game and cardio aren’t viable enough of to fend off anyone with remotely decent wrestling. Obviously Krzysztof Jotko isn’t an easy guy to face, but in sixteen UFC fights, Amedovski is the only fighter he’s controlled for more than nine minutes. Now, Holmes being decently well rounded has shown some wrestling abilities. Especially in his fight on Dana White’s Contender series where he landed two takedowns and secured a submission finish. Something I envision happening in this fight. so with that said, I predict that Holmes will win via submission.
155 lbs.: Uros Medic vs. Omar Morales – We have a scrap in the Lightweight division, as Omar “Venezuelan Fighter” Morales takes on Uros “The Doctor” Medic. After a 1-2 stint at Featherweight, Morales returns to the Lightweight division. A smart move, considering Morales is 10-0 at 155 pounds. Meanwhile, Medic aims to bounce back after suffering his first professional defeat to Jalin Turner. A fight that Medic was simply outclassed in. Despite the defeat, Medic remains an exciting fighter worth keeping an eye on.
As for a prediction, I have Morales winning. While Medic has proven himself to be a finisher, it has largely come within the first two rounds. Landing nearly nine strikes per minute, Medic has been one to swarm opponents with sheer volume. However, there are certainly cardio concerns that follow Medic should his fight enter the second round. Seeing that Morales has only been finished once via submission to Jonathan Pearce, I’m not certain that Medic can replicate such. Especially considering that Medic doesn’t have the wrestling that Pearce stifled Morales with. What I believe happens in this fight, is that Medic will look strong in the opening round. Then, as the fight wanes, he will tire and Morales will takeover. With sharp striking and better cardio at Lightweight, I believe a finish is very possible. Let’s say Morales via TKO.Embed from Getty Images
135 lbs.: Jonathan Martinez vs. Vince Morales – We have a clash in the Bantamweight division, as Jonathan “Dragon” Martinez takes on Vince “Vandetta” Morales. Having recorded seven wins since debuting with the UFC in 2018, Martinez has quietly been building himself up. A winner of two straight and four of the last five, Martinez seemingly is inching closer to finally cracking the division’s top fifteen. Meanwhile, Morales has rattled off two straight wins. Starting his UFC tenure 1-3, this win streak was much needed for Morales to progress in this gauntlet of a division.
As for a prediction, I have Martinez winning. While Morales seems to be settling in, Martinez appears to truly honing in his skills. Having won six of his last eight fights, Martinez has often been overlooked. A skilled striker, who features power and an array of leg attacks, Martinez has done an excellent job imposing his game upon his foes. Perhaps credit though to his takedown defense, which has vastly improved – seeing Martinez shrug off sixteen of the last seventeen attempts. However, he likely won’t need to worry about being taken down, as Morales is mainly a striker. One who is active and has the cardio to go a hard fifteen minutes. The concerns though that arise when Morales step inside the octagon are his takedown defense and slow starts. In fact, only once in four UFC fights that went the distance, has Morales won the first round. Seeing that Martinez isn’t someone that goes away easily or necessarily fades, I believe he should outlast Morales in a decision victory.
145 lbs.: Chase Hooper vs. Felipe Colares – We have a clash in the Featherweight division, as Chase “The Dream” Hooper takes on Felipe “Cabocao” Colares. Having had a hard time finding consistency since joining the UFC in 2019, Hooper will look to rebound from a recent defeat to Steven Peterson. Showing off improved striking, Hooper will need to continue that growth in order to right the ship. Meanwhile, Colares is coming off a split decision loss to Chris Gutierrez. A loss that continued a pattern of wins and losses for the past six fights. Seeking to end that narrative, Colares will need to bounce back here first.
As for a prediction, I have Colares winning. Debuting in the UFC at 20 years old, Hooper has done as well he can. Leaning on his grappling abilities, he has won two of his four fights. However, when his grappling abilities have been met with resistance, he has largely been forced to strike. An area where he isn’t polished and has largely been vulnerable. While Colares isn’t an expert on the feet, he isn’t afraid to trade. Having an excellent ground game at his disposal, Colares has often tended to lean on getting the fight to the mat. However, in this fight, I don’t see that as necessary. With heavy leg kicks and a willingness to push forward, Colares has the necessary tools to take out Hooper. Something which I believe happens, as I predict Colares to win via TKO.
115 lbs.: Elise Reed vs. Sam Hughes – The curtain jerker comes in the Women’s Strawweight division, as Elise Reed takes on Sam “Sampage” Hughes. Coming off a victory over Cory McKenna, which was her first in the UFC, Reed returns to the octagon two months later. Looking to remain undefeated at Strawweight, Reed will look to secure her first winning streak inside the octagon. Meanwhile, Hughes snapped a three-fight skid, defeating Istela Nunes by a majority decision. The win was Hughes’ first inside the octagon, and a much needed one, as her UFC tenure likely hung in the balance. Returning a month later to build upon the victory, Hughes will seek her first UFC winning streak.
As for a prediction, I have Reed winning. Returning to the Strawweight division, after fighting up at Flyweight in her UFC debut, Reed looked much better at her more natural weight class. While taken down three times, Reed did a good job getting back to her feet, and getting off her offense on the feet. Showing off quick hands and good leg kicks, Reed fired off 76 significant strikes, Against Hughes, I expect that number to rise. Absorbing 5.7 significant strikes, Hughes has notably lacked striking defense. Where she gets credit though, is her toughness and willingness to win. While those are two important traits, unless Hughes plans on wrestling in this fight, I don’t see her outpointing Reed. So with that said, I predict that Reed wins via decision.