UFC Vegas 31 Main Card Previews and Predictions
UFC Vegas 31 is this Saturday night, and the card is flat-out stacked. From former champions to future contenders, UFC Vegas 31 should be full of exciting moments.
Gabriel Benítez vs. Billy Quarantillo (Featherweight)
UFC Vegas kicks off with a featherweight bout between Gabriel Benítez and Billy Quarantillo. Benítez has had a somewhat up and down 48 months, going 2-2 in that time. Benítez is the definition of a submission artist, with 10 submission victories in his professional career. He also has some real power in both hands, and he is always a threat on the feet. Billy Quarantillo is a striking machine. In his time in the UFC, he has landed 81% of his significant strikes (123/152). In addition to his ridiculous striking and power, he also has legit wrestling skills. This fight will be a battle of styles. Quarantillo will want to keep the fight on the feet, and Benítez will no doubt want to get the fight on the ground and look for a submission. Solely because of his experience in the UFC, I have Benítez by second-round submission.
Rodolfo Vieira vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (Middleweight)
The second fight on the UFC Vegas 31 main card is a middleweight bout between two aspiring contenders. Rodolfo Vieira comes into the fight 1-1 in the UFC, both fights ending by submission. He most recently fought at UFC 258, where he lost to Anthony Hernandez. Vieira is a wrestler who loves to try and submit his opponents, so look for plenty of grappling on Saturday night. Dustin Stoltzfus enters Saturday 0-1 in the UFC, with his only fight coming against Kyle Daukaus at UFC 255. Throughout his professional career, Stoltzfus has been a submission artist, with 5 wins by submission so far. I would expect this fight to be on the ground for the majority of the 15 minutes. Both fighters are relatively new to the UFC, so I think this fight is dead even. I have Stoltzfus by split decision.
Jeremy Stephens vs. Mateusz Gamrot (Lightweight)
Jeremy Stephens has not won a fight in nearly 3 years, but he still has the power to get the job done. He is a flat-out striker who loves a firefight. He thrives when the fight is fast-paced and inside of the pocket. His power is plenty to knock out many of the fighters in the lightweight division, and I would expect him to push the pace on Saturday night and look for that one-shot knockout. Mateusz Gamrot, a relatively new addition to the UFC roster, is much more of a complete fighter. He has knockout power while also being a threat in the wrestling department, and he has cardio for days. I would expect Gamrot to try to get the fight to the ground, where he has a clear advantage, and tire out Stephens. I have Mateusz Gamrot winning this fight in the third and final round by submission.
Marion Reneau vs. Miesha Tate (Bantamweight)
Miesha Tate, former UFC champion, makes her return to the octagon on Saturday night after nearly 5 years of inactivity in the promotion. Tate is extremely well-rounded and can win fights in a plethora of different ways. She has knockout power, tremendous wrestling, and has fought to the distance plenty of times. I believe that Tate will try to strike with Reneau to start the fight, and if she cannot get the knockout, she will look for takedowns and submissions. Marion Reneau is a knockout artist. She loves to keep the pace high and land huge shots to get her opponents out of there. That being said, she has lost her last 4 fights and has not looked like her old self as of late. I do still think she has the power to win this fight, but she needs to avoid over-extending because Miesha Tate will make her pay if she does. I have this fight ending in a unanimous decision victory for Meisha Tate.
Islam Makhachev vs. Thiago Moisés (Lightweight)
UFC Vegas 31 ends with a highly-anticipated lightweight bout between two ranked fighters. Islam Makhachev, the #9 ranked lightweight contender, looks to get a signature win and move up the standings. Honestly, I do not know how Makhachev is not higher in the division, considering he has not lost in his last 7 fights, but that is for another day. Makhachev, a training partner of Khabib Nurmagamedov, is an absolute animal on the mat. I do not think any active lightweight even touches this man’s wrestling skills. I would be shocked if he does not shoot for a takedown inside the first minute of the fight and dominate for the remaining 24 minutes. Thiago Moisés is also a wrestler, but he tends to try and strike more than Makhachev. Unfortunately for Moisés, he has to try and defend takedowns for 25 minutes on Saturday night, and I do not think he will be able to do it. Expect a 25-minute wrestling match in the main event of UFC Vegas 31. I have Makhachev by unanimous decision.
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