UFC Vegas 62 Preview and Predictions
The UFC returns with UFC Vegas 62 after a week off from the traditional weekly event. UFC Vegas 62 will be a one-week stay at the UFC Apex before the organization goes on the road for UFC 280 next week. The card will be headlined by a women’s flyweight bout between Alexa Grasso and Viviane Araujo. There is also a competitive flyweight bout between Askar Askarov and Brandon Royval that had a strong case to headline the card. Regardless, this card has some interesting fights that are worth discussion. I am joined by Garrett Burroughs, Chris Chick, and Jerry Walker as we break down and predict each fight on the main card. Here are our prediction records thus far.
- James: 36-26
- Garrett: 40-22
- Chris: 15-10
- Jerry: 6-6
Misha Cirkunov vs Alonzo Menifield — Light Heavyweight
James: Misha Cirkunov and Alonzo Menifield will open UFC Vegas 62. Both of these fighters have had solid UFC tenures. Cirkunov is 6-6 in the promotion while Menifield is 5-3. The difference between the two is that Menifield has been more successful of late, going 3-1 in his last four. With that being said, the quartet of fights have all come against low-level fighters. His last fight was against Askar Mozharov, who was not a UFC-caliber fighter. Meanwhile, Cirkunov is 1-4 in his last five. Unlike Menifield, his opponents have been of higher quality. Another important aspect of this fight is that Cirkunov is making his return to light heavyweight after testing the waters at middleweight.
As far as skills go, Cirkunov will be the better grappler and should have a better chance of landing a submission. Menifield will be the better striker and is far more likely to land a knockout finish. At the end of the day, this fight will come down to who is better on fight night. That seems obvious, but both fighters have been inconsistent at moments in their career. Whoever is closer to their peak form will be the one to win this fight. With that in mind, Menifield is younger, has been fighting at light heavyweight, and has been finding ways to win as of late. I will take Menifield by second-round TKO.
Garrett: Menifield via decision
Chris: Menifield via first-round KO
Jerry: Menifield via KO/TKO
Jordan Wright vs Dusko Todorovic — Middleweight
James: The UFC matchmakers did a great job making this fight. Jordan Wright and Dusko Todorovic are not tremendous UFC fighters; however, this bout should be entertaining. The brawling style of each fighter should result in a quick finish. Plus, neither fighter has a great, or even average, striking defense. In the UFC, both fighters have an identical record of 2-3. Todorovic is the only one that has had a fight go to the judges’ scorecards and that only happened on one occasion.
As I alluded to, Wright and Todorovic will likely exchange heavy punches until one of the two hits ends up unconscious. In that aspect, this fight seems like a coin flip. At the same time, Todorovic also has quality grappling skills that he neglects, and he has gone three rounds in the UFC. Those details make me lean in his favor as he is the fighter that would be more successful if either fighter needs to deviate from their brawling style. I still think he gets it done with a finish, though. I will take Todorovic by second-round TKO.
Garrett: Wright via TKO
Chris: Todorovic via second-round TKO
Jerry: Todorovic via TKO/KO
No. 4 Askar Askarov vs No. 5 Brandon Royval
*There is talk this fight has been canceled, but the UFC has yet to confirm the news*
James: We have an amazing fight sandwiched in the middle of the UFC Vegas 62 main card. There is a strong case that this should be the main event. I am not too passionate about either side of that debate, but if you forced me to pick, this would be my choice for the main event. Regardless, Askar Askarov and Brandon Royval, the No. 4 and No. 5 ranked flyweights, respectively, find themselves in a prime position to re-enter their name into the flyweight title talks. The title is held up at the moment as Alexandre Pantoja seems to be in line to fight the winner of the Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno quadrilogy. Despite that, the winner of this fight will likely find themselves in a number one contender’s bout.
This fight is a very interesting stylistic clash. Askarov is a dominant wrestler who has found success by taking his opponent down and controlling them. His striking is very basic, but that works well with his style as he has a good grasp of the fundamentals. On the other hand, Royval is a finisher. He looks to finish fights in any way possible. Royal’s unorthodox striking results in him landing a lot of heavy shots. At the same time, he usually finishes fights with submissions as all three of his UFC finishes have come from a submission. The issue in this matchup is that Royval is susceptible to being taken down. That is a terrible flaw to have heading into a fight with Askarov. I think Askarov will take Royval down with ease. As long as he can avoid the submissions from Royval while he is on top, he should win. I will take Askarov by decision.
Garrett: Askarov via submission
Chris: Askarov via decision
Jerry: Askarov via submission
Cub Swanson vs Jonathan Martinez- Bantamweight
James: UFC legend Cub Swanson is making the move from featherweight to bantamweight at UFC Vegas 62. Welcoming him to the division will be Jonathan Martinez, a quality bantamweight. At this point in Swanson’s career, he is a hard fighter to analyze. He seemed to be on his way out of the sport as he went on a four-fight skid that began in 2017. However, he has climbed out of that hole by going 3-1 in his last four. The issue with Swanson is that he is cutting to 135 pounds for the first time at 38 years old. On top of that, Martinez is one of the biggest bantamweights on the UFC roster so Swanson will not be rewarded with a size advantage either. Plus, Martinez is good. He is only 28 and has won his last three fights.
This fight should be an entertaining scrap. Martinez is a lengthy kickboxer that is willing to attack all three levels. He has power, but it is not devastating fight-ending power. Martinez will cause damage if he is able to consistently land though. On the flip side, Swanson excels in close boxing range. In the ladder portion of his career, he has added wrinkles to his game by improving his kicks and entering the clinch more frequently. The winner of this big will be whoever maintains range more effectively. If Martinez can stay on the outside, he will pick Swanson apart. If Swanson crowds the kicks and gets inside, he will come out on top. I will say, this will be closer than the betting lines suggest, however, I just cannot pick a 38-year-old that is cutting an extra ten pounds for the first time in his career. The red flag is right in my face, and I will not ignore it. I will take Martinez by decision.
Garrett: Swanson via TKO
Chris: Martinez via second-round TKO
Jerry: Swanson via decision
No.5 Alex Grasso vs No. 6 Viviane Araujo
James: The No. 5 ranked women’s flyweight Alexa Grasso will meet the No. 6 ranked Viviane Araujo in the main event of UFC Vegas 62. This fight will certainly have an impact on the women’s flyweight title picture. If one of these fighters gets an impressive win, they could be fast-tracked to a title shot as the UFC desperately looks for challengers for Valentina Shevchenko. At the same time, the title picture could not be more confusing. Taila Santos could get a rematch with Shevchenko after nearly beating her in their first bout. Manon Fiorot could get a title shot if she beats Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 280. I could keep going with hypothetical scenarios that affect who gets the title shot, but I think you get what I am saying. At a minimum, the winner will be knocking on the door of a title shot.
Grasso and Araujo are both in good spots in their careers. Grasso has hit a stride as she has won her last three bouts. At 29 years old she seems to be putting her skills together and reaching her potential. In total, she is 6-3 in the UFC with her last loss coming to Carla Esparza in 2019. Araujo is the elder fighter at 35 years old. That is not terrible in this case as she is still young in her fight years as she only has 14 professional MMA bouts. In the UFC, Araujo is 5-2. Her last loss came against Chookagian in 2021. She has since bounced back with a win over Andrea Lee.
In this bout, it is not a secret that Grasso is the better striker while Araujo is the better grappler. Grasso is a terrific boxer that should find consistent success on the feet. While this fight is at range Grasso should be quicker and will look to land shots while minimizing damage coming back her way. Araujo is not a terrible striker. She has heavy hands and can do damage. She just is not at the level of Grasso. For Araujo, she will need to take Grasso down and grind out a win. That is plausible as she has good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and good takedowns. This is another close fight. The difference maker here will be Araujo’s commitment to grappling. If she is willing to strike with Grasso, she will lose rounds. I will take the optimistic approach and believe the better grappler will look to get the fight to the ground. I will take Araujo by decision.
Garrett: Grasso via decision
Chris: Grasso via decision
Jerry: Grasso via decision