UFC Vegas 57
Arman Tsarukyan vs Mateusz Gamrot
Here we go, 2 of the Lightweight divisions most promising prospects getting to square off. The winner, likely that much closer to getting a shot at the title, especially for Tsarukyan. Tsarukyan is 5-1 in the UFC so far, his only L being to the soon to be title contender Islam Makhachev via decision in a short notice debut. That’s saying something. Gamrot is 3-1 in the UFC so far, with 3 finishes. In terms of styles, this is pretty much grappler vs grappler, which benefits Tsarukyan in this particular matchup because he’s faced much stiffer competition, and will be a pretty nice step up for Gamrot, not to say he can’t be effective, it’s just been extremely hard to control Tsarukyan for any length of time in an offensive position. On the feet, they share similar numbers in terms of output, Tsarukyan lands 3.75 SS/m, Gamrot 3.79 SS/m. I think Tsarukyan is a bit more technical, while Gamrot has just a touch more power. But in terms of striking defense, Tsarukyan is much more equipped to avoid shots, largely due to his grappling heavy approach, but he only absorbs 1.36 SS/m, while Gamrot sits at 2.69 SS/m. Gamrot will no doubt shoot for TDs, he averages nearly 6 TDs per 15mins (5.83), I just think Tsarukyan will be able to reverse position, or get back up in short order from most of them. On the flip, Tsarukyan averages 3.47 TDs per 15mins. His number is lower due to his more effective nature in terms of control etc when he gets positions. I see this going to a decision, and I favor Tsarukyan in most cases. Gamrot is a nice flier to take a shot on, though. Tsarukyan is much more of a play on DK for me as opposed to FD due to the control time/sweeps aspects to take advantage of.
PICK: Arman Tsarukyan $23 FD ($9100 DK)
Mateusz Gamrot $12 FD ($7100 DK)
Co Main Event
Shavkat Rakhmonov vs Neil Magny
The welterweight division has another bright prospect on its hands in Rakhmonov. He’s started his UFC tenure off 3-0, all finishes, and is 15-0 overall as a professional. Gets to face UFC vet Magny, whose won 4 of his last 5, and is 19-7 in his UFC career. Magny has made his career off the back of being tough and seemingly impossible to finish, but he’s had his moments in fights where he’s had to recover and was able to bounce back. In his win over Max Griffin, he was dropped in the 1st, didn’t really seem out of it though, but he did enough the rest of the way to get the win. He’s usually able to use his length to frustrate some of the shorter fighters in the division. He won’t have that luxury here, Magny stand 6’2, while Rakhmonov is 6’1. Magny usually doesn’t mind a wrestling approach as a means to wear on his opponents, but he’ll be wise to try and not go that route so early in this one, as Rakhmonov is more than formidable on the mat with several submission wins on his record. On the feet, Rakhmonov will be more effective in terms of accuracy (53%), vs Magny’s (45%), but Magny has been sub 40% in his last 2 bouts, and he also hasn’t been as effective as his 40% TD accuracy would suggest, and even that’s not a great number. He’s landed 3/19 TDs over his last 2 fights, and to this point, Rakhmonov has 100% TDEF. Rakhmonov pressures well, and should dictate how this plays out. For as tough as Magny has always been, eventually you start to not hold up as well, and it’s been inching itself into his last couple bouts. Magny could make this interesting for a RD, but eventually I see Rakhmonov getting it to the mat, and either submitting him, or gets another GNP stoppage. I’m not making this one hard. I’d play 100% of Rakhmonov in however many LUs you do and just let Magny make you mad with an unforeseen upset. Rakhmonov via 2nd RD finish.
PICK: S. Rakhmonov $22 FD ($9300 DK)
Neil Magny $9 FD ($6900 DK)
Alan Baudot vs Josh Parisian
I have no idea why this fight is as high up on the card as it is, but here we are. These are two guys who need a win badly, especially Baudot, who’s 0-3 to start his UFC career, and is likely fighting for his job Saturday. Parisian isn’t much better and sits at 1-2. Both guys thrive off of volume on the feet, so this should play out there for the most part. Parisian lands 4.93 SS/m, but absorbs 4.95 in return, so he’s essentially taking one to get one. On the other side, Baudot lands 5.12 SS/m, and absorbs 4.68 SS/m in return, so almost similar situation. One thing that has plagued both these guys is their cardio down the stretch. By RD 3, each should be considerably slower than what you’ll see RD 1. However, one thing that will help Baudot out a ton in this matchup is the lack of a wrestling threat from Parisian, which should in turn give him more juice to outlast the cardio dump after about 6mins. And if that the case, I side with Baudot. He’ll have more power too, so if anyone has a shot at a KO in this one, it’s him. Parisian relies on his volume without much stopping power. As close as this one should play out, I like Baudot to pick up his first UFC win, likely via decision. He could see north of 85+ SS landed, so could turn in a decent score for his price tag, and with other spots on this card having low upside, that could be enough to be in optimal LU.
PICK: Alan Baudot $16 FD ($8400 DK)
Josh Parisian $15 FD ($7800 DK)
Thiago Moises vs Christos Giagos
Sort of a contrast in styles in this one, grappler vs wrestler. Giagos definitely wants to look for submissions, but more so spends time chasing positions when he’s on the mat. He averages 3.3 TDs per 15mins. On the other side, Moises only averages 1 TD per 15mins, and that’s usually because people are taking him down due to his lackluster TDEF (60%). He does average 1 submission attempt per 15mins too. On the feet, Moises is a bit more technical, and lands just 2.52 SS/m, while Giagos lands 2.88 SS/m. So neither will overwhelm there. Giagos will be the one to dictate things early, but cardio has always been a concern for him, and that could be a factor here, because nothing will come easy for him in this bout. Moises is pretty sound defensively in terms of his grappling, so I think he’ll stay safe of being submitted, it’s actually more likely that Moises submits Giagos due to his over aggressiveness at times. It’s just extremely hard to call an outright submission win for someone. This fight has a low floor, with minimal upside if it sees a decision. So I’m inclined to pass on it for the most part on FD. On DK, this’ll be in play for me, as this could spend a lot of time on the ground. I think Moises is just better anywhere it goes, and he should come away with the decision victory at the least.
PICK: Thiago Moises $21 FD ($9000 DK)
Christos Giagos $9 FD ($7200 DK)
Umar Nurmagomedov vs Nate Maness
You’ve seen this last name before. He’s the cousin of former UFC Champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, and he’s here to probably terrorize the UFC for years to come. He’s a perfect 14-0 as a professional, and has started 2-0 in this UFC tenure. He’s facing the 14-1 Nate Maness, who’s also perfect in his UFC stint so far at 3-0. Maness is known for the action, and mostly all his fights have some sort of drama, in fact, in just about all his UFC fights to this point, he’s had to fight through adversity to stage a big come back. He’s fine to sit back and be a counter striker, but in this particular matchup he needs to press the issue to have a shot, and he only lands 2.87 SS/m, that number will need to climb drastically, because it would seem the only real path to victory would be to draw Umar into a brawl and get a KO, which doesn’t seem likely. Umar lands at a higher clip on the feet than Nate, at 3.61 SS/m, and absorbs just 0.67 SS/m, that’s due to his effectiveness with getting in and out of the pocket in time, and also his relentlessness with TDs. He’s averaged 7.5 TDs per 15mins so far. Nate has solid TDEF (86%), but that’s likely to not be a factor in this one with such a high pace set by Umar. Maness is pretty scrappy on the mat, and could certainly find an opportunity for a sub himself, but that doesn’t seem nearly as likely as finding a KO on the feet. This is surely to play out primarily on the mat though, and for that reason I side with Umar again. I’m fine with some fliers throwing Nate in some LUs if doing ME, but other than that he’s a stay away. Umar via 2nd RD submission.
PICK: Umar Nurmagomedov $22 FD ($9500 DK)
Nate Maness $8 FD ($6700 DK)
Chris Curtis vs Rodolfo Vieira
I’m really excited for this matchup. Grappler vs striker. Vieira is one of the best BJJ practitioners in the world, and if he gets anyone to the mat, it’s trouble. He’s 8-1 professionally (3-1 in the UFC). In his bout vs Anthony Hernandez in February 2021, he went for broke in RD 1 with TDs/wrestling and absolutely killed his cardio, and as a result, he got finished in the 2nd RD. That fight had a huge psychological impact on him, and in his next bout vs Dustin Stoltzfus last July, you could see it, he was scared to shoot too early, so he sat back and relied on his striking for the better part of 2 RDs, then in the 3rd, he decided to shoot more often, finding success, and eventually the submission win. He has a decision to make in this one, because he likely won’t be afforded the luxury of a striking match for 10mins+ without getting caught with something, so he’ll likely need to shoot early, and I’m not sure he’s in a mental space yet that he will, but time will tell. Curtis got a late start to his UFC career, he’s 28-8 professionally (2-0 UFC). And has impressed in big ways with 2 finishes against solid comp (Allen & Hawes). He wants to pressure forward, hopefully drawing out a brawl where he can catch you on the feet. He’s pretty sound in his defensive wrestling, and has only been submitted once (2011). He’s shown an ability to get back to his feet, so if Vieira does opt to go after the TDs early without much success, his cardio will be an issue again. If I could trust Vieira’s game plan, I’d be a lot more confident taking him outright, but I can’t. I think Curtis catches him in RD 2 after Vieira is timid to go after his grappling early. I would advise taking shots on Vieira though if doing ME’s.
PICK: Chris Curtis $17 FD ($8600 DK)
Rodolfo Vieira $14 FD ($7600 DK)
Tafon Nchukwi vs Carlos Ulberg
Two DWCS alums face off, and should provide a pretty solid outcome for whoever comes out on top in this one. The striking numbers for both is pretty insane for LHW; Nchukwi lands 6.12 SS/m (absorbs 3.87 SS/m), while Ulberg lands 8.76 SS/m (absorbs 4.02 SS/m). Ulberg’s number is a bit inflated due to the brawl he had with Nzechukwu that ended in the 2nd RD after a cardio dump, but he was still able to land 146 SS in 8mins, which breaks down to 18 SS/m if just looking at that fight, he mellowed out in his follow up fight vs Fabio Cherant, trying to control his pace, and he coasted to a decision win. So hard to know which version of Ulberg we’ll get, but Nchukwi will definitely force the issue. He sets a pretty good pace, and will have wrestling to fall back on. Both men sport 100% TDEF to this point, so the first exchange in the clinch will tell us a lot, and I figure that’ll be Nchukwi. Ulberg will likely try to use his advantage in length to keep Nchukwi at bay with his kickboxing, and we’ve seen Nchukwi get hurt with strikes, so he’ll be wise to not try to outright brawl. The power edge sides with Nchukwi here too, slightly. Ulberg is tough, but he started eating shots from Nzechukwu when his cardio faded and it left him open to get cracked with his hands dropping low, he managed that much better vs Fabio. There’s definitely a possibility this fight finishes either way, if it does, I think it comes in the later RDs (2/3). I’m taking Ulberg by a hair to get it done, he has the speed/kickboxing advantage on the feet, and I don’t want to rest my thoughts on Tafon taking advantage solely in the wrestling.
PICK: Carlos Ulberg $14 FD ($8300 DK)
Tafon Nchukwi $17 FD ($7900 DK)
TJ Brown vs Sha Yilan
This is really a grappler vs grappler matchup, Brown just has more tools on the feet and is much more capable as a kickboxer. To this point, Yilan is 1-1 in the UFC, he picked up his first win vs Sean Soriano (who got cut for a 2nd time after that L). Yilan doesn’t want to exchange much on the feet at all, any attempts he does is to close distance and shoot for TDs relentlessly to try and grind out decisions. We’ll likely see another 15 attempts or so from Yilan in this one. And he’ll maybe get 3-4. Brown should be able to find his way back to his feet though. Brown will also have moments where he’ll initiate his own grappling, and should find success. He averages 4.5 TDs per 15mins, Yilan averages 3 TDs per 15mins (just 27% accuracy). This fight basically comes down to if Brown or Yilan can lock up a submission. Yilan doesn’t really look for moments to submit, he’s just looking to grind his opponents and wear them down. Brown at least averages 1 submission attempt per 15mins, and he’ll likely have more opportunities in this one to lock one up. But if he doesn’t, I think his overall peripheral stats (total SS, TDs), will be limited just due to how Yilan will approach this fight, so a decision likely results in an underwhelming score. Brown seems like a safer play on DK as opposed to FD. But I’ll play him on both and hope he can lock up a late finish when Yilan starts to fade a bit.
PICK: TJ Brown $20 FD ($8900 DK)
Sha Yilan $10 FD ($7300 DK)
Sergey Morozov vs Raulian Paiva
This is such a close fight on paper. Morozov is just 1-2 to start his UFC career, but has solid tools, backed by his ability to chain together TDs and grapple looking for submissions. His striking output is minimal, only lands 2.78 SS/m (absorbs 2.96 SS/m). He averages 3.28 TDs per 15mins. On the other side, Paiva has won 3 of his last 4, the most recent being the KO loss to O’Malley, which is why I think Morozov came in favored in this bout, without that, it may have been flipped. Paiva’s most impressive win came vs Kyler Phillips, his cardio stayed strong and it allowed him to have more activity down the stretch to steal a RD on a couple of the judges score cards. He’ll have more activity on the feet, he lands 4.13 SS/m (absorbs 5.11 SS/m), so an obvious deficiency in his gm is his striking defense. He’ll have to improve drastically in that department if he wants to really take the next step, he’s just 26yrs old though, and seems to have a want to get better time in and time out. He won’t face anywhere near the speed O’Malley presented in terms of striking from Morozov, but Morozov does have some power. Paiva’s TDEF is pretty solid (75%), and Morozov’s TD accuracy isn’t great (33%), so if Paiva is able to stuff a few TDs early on, it’ll help him tremendously because Morozov will start to have a cardio dump with so much wasted energy. It’s hard to see this fight ending early, and I ultimately think Paiva has more tools to get it done in terms of activity. This has split decision written all over it though, so beware. I like Paiva via decision.
PICK: Raulian Paiva $13 FD ($7700 DK)
Sergey Morozov $18 FD ($8500 DK)
JP Buys vs Cody Durden
To say Buys has had a rough go of things personally would be an understatement. He reportedly lost his wife to current UFC fighter Roman Dolidze, they debuted together and both took an L. Behind the scenes stuff happened and it was reported later that that’s what had happened. On top of that, he’s 0-2 to start his UFC career via KO, and has been knocked down SEVEN times (7), that’s not good, especially at the UFC level. His best path to victory is through his wrestling and trying to lock in a submission, he’ll offer little to no threat on the feet unless he’s made significant strides. At some point this’ll get to the mat just due to how wrestle heavy Durden is, he averages 4.38 TDs per 15mins. Buys averages 2.5 submission attempts per 15mins. Durden’s submission defense is questionable, and we saw that in his most recent bout. He’ll have more volume on the feet than Buys, and certainly has the power advantage. His strikes aren’t very technical though, so he could leave himself open to getting taken down if he swings big and misses. I feel like Durden will look to chain wrestle though, which’ll make this fight interesting, because neither one of these guys should be in the UFC, and if Buys’ loses, he likely won’t be much longer. This is a coin flip for me, but I’m siding with the more skilled wrestler in Durden. This find has an opportunity to end in a very silly manner, and that’s what I’m expecting. Will take shots on Buys because Durden hasn’t beaten anyone that tells me “hey, he’ll run through this guy”, and the price just makes sense on both ends.
PICK: Cody Durden $15 FD ($8000 DK)
JP Buys $16 FD ($8200 DK)
Mario Bautista vs Brian Kelleher
This could be a fun scrap. Kelleher is coming off of that submission loss to Umar Nurmagomedov, but prior to that, he had won 3 of his last 4. He’s got the nickname ‘boom’ because he packs a punch in his striking when he loads up and can get the kill shot. He thrives best when he can get his wrestling going, and he’ll certainly look to do that here, being the shorter fighter. Against longer opponents, he has a tendency to want to try and get the fight grounded earlier as opposed to later, because he has a tough time effectively getting into range landing shots. He averages 1.82 TDs per 15mins. Bautista has holes in his TDEF, but he’s an improving young prospect, and has looked much better defending them than his 66% rating would indicate. Bautista averages 1.62 TDs per 15mins hisself, and has looked good when being an offensive wrestler. On the feet, Bautista is the much cleaner/technical kickboxer, and his volume will be much better. He lands 5.42 SS/m (absorbs 4.13 SS/m), while Kelleher lands 3.41 SS/m (absorbs 4.66 SS/m). Kelleher will be an easy target for Bautista to key on in the striking. He’ll also mix in low leg kicks to maintain his distance. I know Bautista got cracked against Trevin Jones, I just don’t see Kelleher as fluid in his striking to make a difference. Unless he does something stupid, Bautista shouldn’t get cracked with the big right hand from Kelleher. This has an opportunity to see nice peripheral stats if Bautista is able to mix in his own TDs throughout, because I could see him landing around 80 SS if if stays on the feet primarily. Should be a fun fight, but I’m siding with Bautista via decision.
PICK: Mario Bautista $19 FD ($8700 DK)
Brian Kelleher $11 FD ($7500 DK)
Jinh Yu Frey vs Vanessa Demopoulos
Frey is looking to keep the streak going, she’s won 2 in a row, sits 2-2 in the UFC so far. While Demopoulos is looking to build off of her first UFC win over Silvana Gomez. This one is ugly to look at on paper, neither woman does anything spectacular, but I would give overall advantage to Frey as being the one with more tools to win. On the feet, I’d say it’s fairly even, Frey will have more power, but in terms of volume it’s basically the same, Demopoulos may even be slightly more technical. Frey usually uses her physicality to slow opponents in the clinch and working her wrestling. Demopoulos would welcome a wrestling/grappling affair, as she has really solid skills and looks to get arm bars mostly. Frey will dictate the fight on the feet, and she’s likely fine with a kickboxing match on the feet. She’ll be more impactful, but may be down in terms of total striking numbers. I envision Frey trying to keep good control against the cage when it gets there, where she’ll likely land some good shots in the clinch. I think Frey gets an ugly decision here, not excited to include her in any DFS LUs though. Her ceiling is extremely limited and not known as a finisher. Would be a dog or pass situation for me here.
PICK: Jinh Yu Frey $21 FD ($9200 DK)
Vanessa Demopoulos $10 FD ($7000 DK)
by: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)