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UFC Vegas 59

(Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

UFC Vegas 59 Preview and Predictions

UFC Vegas 59
(Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

UFC Vegas 59 Preview and Predictions

The UFC is back in Las Vegas after taking UFC 277 to Texas. UFC Vegas 59 is an interesting night of UFC fights that includes a handful of ranked bouts and the finale fights from The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Season 30. The card will air on ESPN and ESPN+ on Saturday, Aug. 6. The prelims will start at 7 p.m. EST followed by the main card at 10 p.m. EST. I am with Garrett Burroughs to break down and predict each fight on the main card. Below are our prediction records up to date.

James: 15-11

Garrett: 16-10

Ariane Lipski vs Priscila Cachoeira- Women’s Flyweight

James: Ariane Lipski and Priscila Cachoeira will open the main card of UFC Vegas 59. Lipski is one of the more well-known unranked fighters in the flyweight division, but she is 3-4 in the UFC. This is an example of good matchmaking as Cachoeira has the same record. This bout will greatly affect the career of each fighter, with the winner having a chance at fighting back into the ranking while the loser inches closer to getting cut.

From a stylistic standpoint, Lipski will be the more technical striker as she has tremendous Muay Thai. She will also strike at a higher volume. On the other side, Cachoeira will be the more powerful striker. This fight will come down to whether or not Lipski can stay away from the powerful hands of Cachoeira. Thankfully, she should be able to utilize her front kicks to help manage the distance. With those aspects in mind, I will take Lipski by decision.

Garrett: Lipski via decision

#14 Augusto Sakai vs Serghei Spivak- Heavyweight

James: Our first ranked matchup on UFC Vegas 59 comes in the form of Augusto Sakai looking to defend his No. 14 ranking against the unranked Serghei Spivak. Sakai has been on a slide going 0-3 in his last three. The trio of bouts were against Tai Tuivasa, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Alistair Overeem, who are all elite or were elite when they fought. Before this three-fight slide, he was 4-0 in the UFC. Spivak on the other hand has been on the best streak of his career. He is 4-1 in his last five with his only loss coming to Tom Aspinall.

Projecting this fight is fairly simple. Spivak will look to consistently work to get this fight to the ground. Sakai has shown weaknesses in the grappling department before too. Most notably, he lost to Overeem after being out grappled. I think Spivak will employ the same game plan. Plus, Spivak has shown the intelligence to outwrestle his opponent when he has that advantage. I will take Spivak by decision.

Garrett: Spivak via decision

Brogan Walker vs Juliana Miller- Women’s Flyweight

James: Brogan Walker and Juliana Miller will be the first pair competing in a TUF finale. From their time in the TUF house, Walker and Miller both proved to be the best fighters in their division. Coming into the show, Walker had far more experience. She was 7-2 on the regional scene with several bouts against eventual UFC fighters. Meanwhile, Miller was 2-1 on the regional scene but 5-0 as an amateur. From an age perspective, Walker is the elder as she is 33 and Miller is 26.

In this fight, Walker will have an edge on the feet. Her best tool is by far her jab. She can fight behind the jab and get a decision victory. Outside of her jab, she has solid hooks too. Miller is by far a better grappler in this matchup though. With that being said, Miller does like to strike. On the feet, she uses her length to throw jabs and straight shots. However, I think that could result in her getting countered. Because of that, I think Walker will win via decision.

Garrett: Miller via decision

Mohammed Usman vs Zac Pauga- Heavyweight

James: Mohammed Usman and Zac Pauga are competing in the other TUF finale matchup. This one should draw interest from fans as Usman is the younger brother of welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Usman has been able to make a name for himself in MMA as he has a record of 7-2. To reach the TUF finale, he had to go through Mitchell Sipe and Eduardo Perez. This is probably the toughest path out of all the fighters competing in the finals. During Pauga’s time on the show, he displayed some serious skills. Pauga is 5-0 in MMA with wins in Cage Warriors and LFA.

I am going to be brutally honest; this fight does not excite me all too much. Usman and Pauga are both fairly inactive on the feet. Meanwhile, Usman is a good wrestler, but he does not use that aspect of his game as much as you would expect. Instead, he stands and trades as he looks to land knockout blows. With that in mind, I think this fight will take place mostly on the feet. In that scenario, Pauga will likely be slightly more active. That activity should lead to a Pauga decision victory.

Garrett: Pauga via TKO

#6 Vicente Luque vs #13 Geoff Neal- Welterweight

James: Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal has fight of the night all over it. Luque and Neal have both been in their fair share of scraps and they both enter the cage ready and willing to fight. Coming in, Luque was on a career-defining hot streak before losing to Belal Muhammed in March. For Neal, he is 1-2 in his last three, but he has fought well enough to maintain his spot in the ranks.

I think this fight will take place entirely on the feet. I do not think either fighter will attempt a takedown unless Luque can stun Neal. If that happens, he could look for a submission. On the feet, Luque has a little more power and is slightly more diverse than Neal. Luque is also more active. Luque’s biggest flaw is that he can be controlled by good wrestlers, but that should not come into play as that is not Neal’s forte. In addition, I doubt we see a finish as both fighters are quite durable. I will take Luque by decision.

Garrett: Neal by decision

#6 Thiago Santos vs #10 Jamahal Hill- Light Heavyweight

James: I love me some Jamahal Hill. I have done my absolute best to throw him into every title discussion I have. It does not matter if I am discussing Jiri Prochazka or Jan Blachowicz. Why? It is because I truly believe he is a top talent that is not being discussed enough. At 10-1 with one no contest, Hill has established himself as one of the biggest power punchers in the division. For Hill, Santos will be his biggest test and most experienced opponent. Santos has fought in the UFC since 2013 and has established a 14-9 UFC record. At 38 though, Santos has begun to slide. He currently sits at 1-4 in his last five. This fight against Hill will provide Santos the opportunity to prove he is still an elite member of the light heavyweight rankings.

The X’s and O’s are interesting in this one. Hill and Santos are two of the biggest power punchers in this division. In theory, this will come down to who can land the knockout blow first. That is an oversimplification though. First off, the two attack much differently. Santos relies on elite explosiveness to land his power shots. That works quite well at times. In contrast, Hill lands power shots, in part, by using his fight IQ and technique. He has a good chin too. This allows him to take a shot while landing a bigger one. Meanwhile, Santos has underrated grappling and good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If Santos wants to win, he will have to lean on his grappling and experience. For Hill, I think he can use his technique and crisp boxing to land a knockout blow. I will take Hill by second-round knockout.

Garrett: Hill by decision

*All records and fighter information via Tapology*


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