UFC Vegas 57 Preview And Predictions
UFC Vegas 57 will see the UFC return to the UFC Apex tomorrow, June 25th, after taking Fight Night to Austin last week. The six-fight main card will see four ranked fighters in the main and co-main events. This card is stacked with interesting fights and some top UFC prospects. The main card will start at 10 P.M. EST on ESPN and ESPN+ while the prelims start at 7 P.M. EST on ESPN2 and ESPN+. Here are a few things to expect in each main card fight. I will also give predictions for each fight. If you are interested in seeing my previous predictions, here are my thoughts from last week.
Chris Curtis vs Rodolfo Vieira- Middleweight
Chris Curtis and Rodolfo Vieira opening UFC Vegas 57 will be an interesting stylistically matchup. Vieira is one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the world. That is not an exaggeration. He has placed first in the IBJJF and ADCC World Championships, and has also developed solid wrestling takedowns, which helps him get into positions to utilize his Jiu-Jitsu.
Across the octagon from Vieira will be one most interesting fighters in the UFC, Chris Curtis. Curtis is welterweight, but was given a short-notice UFC opportunity against Phil Hawes at middleweight. In that fight, Curtis was able to get a knockout victory. In his second UFC bout, Curtis knocked out Brendan Allen. Now, Curtis finds himself 2-0 in the UFC while fighting a weight class above his natural weight.
The biggest factor in this fight will be Vieira’s cardio. In the past, Vieira got gassed and essentially quit. If cardio is a problem for Vieira, he will need to find a submission early. I would not be surprised if he gets a first-round submission victory. However, I do not think that is the most probable outcome. I think it is more likely that Curtis can avoid early submission while landing good strikes on Vieira. I think Vieira will wear out and Curtis will win via second-round knockout.
Nathan Maness vs Umar Nurmagomedov- Bantamweight
Nathan Maness is one of the top prospects in the bantamweight division. However, Umar Nurmagomedov is the best prospect in the division. Nurmagomedov is the cousin of UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov, and he looks to have the skills to follow in his footsteps. Nurmagomedov is an elite grappler that excels and landing takedowns and finding submissions quickly. He is more than capable of fighting on the feet too. If the fight does stay standing, the Russian will look to utilize his array of kicks to land powerful strikes from the outside.
Maness may not have the same level of hype as Nurmagomedov, but he is a quality fighter too. He has won four fights in a row, with three coming by finish. Maness has strong boxing and has good power in his hands. He also has solid takedown defense that should come in handy against Nurmagomedov.
Despite having good takedown defense, I struggle to see Maness keeping this fight standing. Nurmagomedov’s grappling is on a different level than all of Maness’ previous opponents. Once this bout gets to the ground, Nurmagomedov will find a submission. I will take Nurmagomedov by first-round submission.
Thiago Moises vs Christos Giagos- Lightweight
Thiago Moises and Christos Giagos are two lightweights that are just outside the rankings at lightweight. Both guys have fought elite competition, but neither has been able to get a ranked win. Moises has dropped two straight to Islam Makhachev and Joel Alvarez, while Giagos is coming off a loss to Arman Tsarukyan.
Moises and Giagos are both solid grapplers, but Moises will have better Jiu-Jitsu while Giagos will be the better wrestler. While neither fighter excels on the feet, they are not bad either. This fight seems to be very close. At the end of the day, Moises has better wins on his resume, and he has a deeper gas tank. For those reasons, I will take Moises by decision.
Josh Parisian vs Alan Baudot- Heavyweight
This heavyweight bout between Josh Parisian and Alan Baudot will be paramount for each fighter’s career. Parisian is 1-2 in the UFC, while Baudot is 0-2 with one no contest. I imagine that the loser of this fight will be cut from the UFC. In all honesty, I cannot explain to you why this fight is on the UFC Vegas 57 main card. To be fair, the stakes of one fighter getting cut should make this fight interesting to watch.
As far as the fight itself goes, Parisian seems to have a slight advantage. He has solid boxing, while Baudot does not fare well in striking exchanges. Parisian could also enter the clinch if he needs control time to edge out a round. Ultimately, I think Baudot will fold under the strikes of Parisian. However, as I mentioned, Parisian is not great either, so he may lay an egg in this one. I will take Parisian by knockout in round three.
#10 Neil Magny vs #15 Shavkat Rakhmonov- Welterweight
Shavkat Rakhmonov is one of the best prospects in the UFC. At 27 years old, he is 14-0 in his career and 3-0 in the UFC. In these three wins, Rakhmonov finished all three fights. These came off the back of two submission wins and one knockout that was started with a spinning hook kick.
Magny will be the best fighter that Rakhmonov has ever fought. Magny is a UFC veteran that has been in the promotion since 2013. His biggest strength is that he is well-rounded. Magny is great at finding his opponents’ weakness and exploiting it. However, Rakhmonov has displayed that he does not have many flaws. If Magny wants to win this fight, he will have to utilize his clinch work, which could be the only area that he has an advantage.
Even though Magny is well-rounded, there is a solid argument that Rakhmonov will be the better striker and grappler in this match. Rakhmonov is incredibly talented, and I think he gets this win. I just do not know how he does it. Realistically, I think he could knock Magny out or submit him. Both options are possible. Since every fight starts on the feet, I will take Rakhmonov by knockout in round two.
#11 Arman Tsarukyan vs #12 Mateusz Gamrot- Lightweight
Arman Tsarukyan and Mateusz Gamrot appear to be the next generation of lightweights. Tsarukyan is 18-2 in his career and is 5-1 in the UFC. That one loss in the UFC came to Islam Makhachev in his UFC debut. In his last fight, Tsarukyan brutalized Joel Alvarez with brutal elbows from the top as he earned a second-round TKO. On the other hand, Gamrot is 20-1 with a 3-1 UFC record. This one loss was a close decision loss to Guram Kutateladze. Although, he does have strong wins against Diego Ferreira and Jeremy Stephens.
Both of these fighters are tremendous grapplers and decent strikers. However, Tsarukyan will have a slight edge on the ground, while Gamrot will have a slight edge on the feet. This is interesting, as Gamrot usually does not rely on his striking to win fights, but it may be beneficial for him to try and keep this fight standing.
In this fight, I expect there to be a lot of grappling. Tsarukyan will likely look to take this fight to the ground early. Despite having the striking advantage, Gamrot may look to utilize his grappling background as well. These grappling exchanges should be competitive as two high-level grapplers jockey for position. I think Tsarukyan will come out on top in these scenarios. Plus, he can cause damage on the ground with his great ground and pound. I think this fight will be close, so I will take Tsarukyan by decision.