UFC Vegas 52 Preview
The UFC is in Vegas for another night of fights at UFC Vegas 52. The main event will be a great fight between a streaking strawweight and a former strawweight champion making her return to the division. But before UFC Vegas 52 reaches its apex fight there are 11 other fights that include a number of exciting matchups but only one ranked fighter. UFC Vegas 52 will get underway from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday with the preliminary card starting at 6:00 PM ET and the five-fight main card getting underway at 9:00 PM ET with all 12 fights being shown live on ESPN+.
Amanda Lemos (10) vs Jéssica Andrade – Women’s Strawweight
Riding a hot streak #10 ranked Amanda Lemos looks to establish herself as a title contender in the strawweight division when she faces the former UFC strawweight champion, Jéssica Andrade.
Lemos had an extremely successful 2021 winning all three of her fights including two TKO wins over Lívia Renata Souza and Montserrat Ruiz. Her third win of the year came by decision against Angela Hill and extended Lemos’s winning streak to five. The win streak came after she lost her UFC debut to Leslie Smith by TKO. The Brazilian is now 11-1-1 and can establish herself at the top of the division with a win against Andrade.
In May of 2019, Andrade fought for the UFC title for a second time and achieved her goal when she beat Rose Namajunas by knockout to win the belt. However, after two straight losses to Zhang Weili and Namajunas, Andrade decided to move up to the flyweight division where she earned a title fight with Valentina Shevchenko. Just like every opponent that faces Shevchenko, Andrade was no match and lost by TKO in the second round. Andrade bounced back after that loss by getting a first-round TKO victory over Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 266.
Now after a short three-fight spell in the flyweight division, Andrade has moved back down to 115 pounds and looks to return to the top of the division she once championed. A lot is going on in the strawweight division with the champion Namajunas set to face #2 ranked Carla Esparza for the title at UFC 274 and former champions Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Weili in talks to fight at UFC 275. This means that a win for either Lemos or Andrade at UFC Vegas 52 could very well propel them into the title conversation.
With a spot in the title contention on the line, it will be a hard-fought fight between two Brazilians that likely won’t need the judges’ scorecards as both fighters combined have gone to a decision in just three of their last 13 UFC fights. I have Andrade winning by knockout.
Clay Guida vs Claudio Puelles – Lightweight
40-year-old Clay Guida looks to win back-to-back fights for the first time since 2017 when he takes on 26-year-old Claudio Puelles at UFC Vegas 52. Guida is one of the UFC’s longest-tenured fighters currently as he made his UFC debut all the way back in 2007. Last time out Guida turned back the clock and submitted Leonardo Santos to get his 37th career win. Guida has won two of his last three fights and will look to keep the momentum going into UFC Vegas 52.
Across from him will be Puelles. Puelles lost his UFC debut in the final of the Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 to Martin Bravo by TKO but has since been on a roll. Since that loss in 2016, Puelles has won four straight with a pair of submission wins to go with a pair of decision wins. His last fight was a submission win over Chris Gruetzemacher in December of 2021. That win was his second of 2021 and has him riding a wave of momentum ahead of UFC Vegas 52.
Puelles celebrated his 26th birthday on April 21st and will be looking to continue the celebrations on Saturday when he steps into the octagon with the veteran Guida.
Two fighters at very different stages of their careers both with something to prove could lead to an exciting fight. The youth will get the better of the experience as I have Puelles winning by submission.
Maycee Barber (14) vs Montana De La Rosa – Women’s Flyweight
Two young fighters looking to kick 2022 off with a win will face off at UFC Vegas 52. At 23 years old Maycee Barber has had quite the UFC career already having gone 4-2 with a split decision win over Miranda Maverick in her last fight. Following a year off due to injury Barber returned to the octagon against Alexa Grasso but lost via unanimous decision. The loss was her second straight and the second of her career, but a bounceback win over Maverick put her record to 9-2 with seven wins coming by stoppage.
Montana De La Rosa started out hot in the UFC winning her first three fights, but since then she has gone 2-2-1. After winning one of three fights from the middle of 2019 to the end of 2020 De La Rosa had a successful 2021 in which she went unbeaten getting a majority draw with Mayra Bueno Silva before beating Ariane Lipski by TKO last time out.
This fight is a must-win for both fighters if they are going to make any moves toward the flyweight rankings. There is a slight contrast in style as Barber is a 2nd-degree karate black belt with five knockout wins while De La Rosa is more of a jiu-jitsu fighter with only one knockout but eight submission victories.
In this clash of styles, it will be another step closer to the record books for Barber as she is tied in second for the most knockout wins in UFC women’s flyweight history with two. I have Barber winning by knockout.
Alexander Romanov vs Chase Sherman – Heavyweight
Two fighters with very different results as of late square off at UFC Vegas 52. Alexander Romanov enters with an undefeated record of 15-0 and is 4-0 in the UFC with three wins coming by stoppage. His last fight came against Jared Vanderaa in early October and the Moldovan came away with a TKO win. He was scheduled to make his first appearance in 2022 in February against Ilir Latifi, but the fight was canceled.
While Romanov has yet to lose it has been a while since Chase Sherman has won a fight. His last win came in May 2020 against Ike Villanueva by TKO to extend his winning streak to four. Since that win in his return to the UFC Sherman has lost three straight in the UFC for the second time. Decision losses to Andrei Arlovski and Parker Porter led to a disappointing 2021 for the American. However, 2022 has not gotten off to a great start for Sherman as he lost his first fight in January to Jake Collier by submission. Sherman is stepping in to replace Tanner Boser.
After being released from the UFC after his last fight but resigning Sherman enters this fight with nothing to lose which makes him a dangerous opponent. However, Romanov is undefeated for a reason and enters as a massive -1375 favorite. I have Romanov winning by knockout.
Lando Vannata vs Charles Jourdain – Featherweight
Both Lando Vannata and Charles Jourdain look to win their second straight fight when they meet to open the UFC Vegas 52 main card. In his last fight, Vannata beat Mike Grundy by split decision in what was his featherweight debut. Vannata has been alternating results over his last five fights with three wins and two losses. His most recent loss came at the hands of Bobby Green in August 2020. It has been nearly a year since that fight with Grundy though so it will be interesting to see which version of Vannata shows up in Vegas.
Jourdain will enter UFC Vegas 52 coming off a win at the last UFC event of 2021 when he beat Andre Ewell by decision. With the win, the Canadian moved to 3-3-1 since joining the UFC. The win over Ewell was his second of 2021 following a TKO win over Marcelo Rojo and only a submission loss to Julian Erosa denied him a winning streak.
This should be an entertaining fight between two guys looking to keep the winning ways going in one of the UFC’s more open divisions. I have Vannata making it two straight at featherweight and winning by decision.
Prelim to Watch
Tyson Pedro vs Ike Villanueva – Light Heavyweight
When Tyson Pedro steps in the octagon it will be the first time he has done so since December of 2018 when he lost to Shogun Rua. The last few years have been full of injuries for Pedro and now that he is healthy he will be returning to action. The loss to Rua was the third in four fights for Pedro after he started 6-0 in professional MMA and 2-0 in the UFC with wins over Khalil Roundtree Jr. and current #8 ranked Paul Craig.
It has not been any easier for Ike Villanueva since he joined the UFC in 2020. After winning four straight in Fury FC, Villanueva received the call to the UFC but has had a rough time in MMA’s premier promotion. The Houston native has one win in his five UFC fights with a pair of losses sandwiching either side of the knockout win over Vinicius Moreira. In all four of his UFC losses, Villanueva has been knocked out with the most recent loss coming to Nicolae Negumereanu.
While Pedro is a more well-rounded fighter with five submissions and two knockouts, Villanueva lives and dies by the knockout. He has had 22 fights end by knockout going 15-7 but has never won by submission going 0-5 if fights ending that way.
A fighter with recent struggles vs one coming off a long layoff sets us up for an intriguing battle between Pedro and Villanueva at UFC Vegas 52. Both fighters could use a win to get moving in the right direction. I have Pedro winning by decision.
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