UFC Vegas 62
Alexa Grasso vs Viviane Araujo
Most weren’t thrilled when this fight was announced headliner for this card, but I love seeing the women get chances to headline events, and this should be a good one. Each of these ladies has won 3 of their last 4. Grasso has won 4 of her last 5 overall. This is basically a clash of styles, striker vs wrestler. Grasso averages less than 1 TD per 15mins (0.54), with solid grappling, while Araujo averages north of 2 TDs per 15mins (2.23). Grasso’s TDEF is less than average, she only defends at a 60% clip. Araujo will try to close distance early to look for trips/TDs. She’ll know she’s outmatched on the feet, her striking defense sees her getting hit with just over 5 SS/m (5.13). And if you let someone like Grasso get confidence in their striking, you’ll find yourself behind on the scorecards. If this were a 3 RD affair, I’d be less interested in wanting to have it in LUs, but the extra 2 RDs makes it more appealing on both sides. If Grasso takes it, she’ll have solid enough striking numbers to make her score serviceable. In Araujo’s case, she’ll have anywhere between 4-7 TDs, with solid control time as well as her striking numbers, couldn’t ask for more from a dog at her price. I’m taking the chance on picking Araujo outright here, she’ll be better on the mat when it inevitably gets there, I could see her easily stealing 3 RDs as a result. Would definitely take shots on Grasso too though, a finish not out of the realm of possibility on her side.
PICK: Viviane Araujo $10 FD ($7200 DK)
Alexa Grasso $21 FD ($9000 DK)
Co Main Event
Jonathan Martinez vs Cub Swanson
Swanson decides to drop down to Bantamweight for this one. Results pending for that decision at 39yrs old, but what we do know is Swanson is a very solid well rounded fighter with power in his hands. He has an unorthodox style and can mix it up well. He lands 4.66 SS/m (absorbs 3.65 SS/m), and averages just over 1 TD per 15mins (1.08). Martinez’s TDEF is decent, but I imagine Swanson will have success there if he goes after it. Martinez has won 3 in a row, his last loss was to another veteran in Davey Grant. Similar to Swanson, Grant had solid power on display, and he hurt Martinez a couple times. Martinez’s general best path to victory is utilizing his solid kickboxing skills and trying to stay ahead in his striking numbers. He lands 4.72 SS/m (absorbs 3.77 SS/m). He won’t actively look to offensively wrestle, as he averages less than 1 TD per 15mins (0.54). Martinez also has decent power, and with the weight drop for Swanson, that could play a factor, but wouldn’t bank on it. This fight should be closer to a 50/50 than a near 2 to 1 fav that Martinez once was in this bout. Martinez will be the outright better technical striker here, but that may not be enough. I’m taking the chance on Swanson being the savvy vet he is to find a way to make it a grinding affair and come away with a decision win.
PICK: Cub Swanson $11 FD ($7400 DK)
Jonathan Martinez $20 FD ($8800 DK)
Dusko Todorovic vs Jordan Wright
Loser here almost certainly gets their walking papers. Both men have lost 3 of their last 4 matchups. Jordan Wright has seen the 2nd RD in his UFC tenure to this point just once. He’s kill or be killed, and I don’t see that mindset changing for him. He likes to stand in the pocket and throw punches. He lands 7.37 SS/m (absorbs 7.61 SS/m in return). He keeps his chin high and has terrible head movement, he gets caught a lot because of it, but his power is there. On the flip side, Todorovic is almost nearly similar in the fact that his head movement is awful, but he’s a bit more patient on the feet. His patience won’t matter though because Wright will bring it to him if he doesn’t initiate. Todorovic suffered a bad KO in his last outing vs Njokuani, so will be interesting to see what that’s done to his chin overall if he gets cracked cleanly. Todorovic will probably opt to use his wrestling early to stop the Wright onslaught, similar to what he tried to do vs Njokuani. But Wright has 100% TDEF to this point, so may be tough to manage. Regardless the outcome, I think winner finds themselves in most optimal LU. I favor Wright’s aggressiveness to find Todorovic’s chin in the 1st RD and put him away. If doing ME however, you should definitely play some Todorovic.
PICK: Jordan Wright $13 FD ($7500 DK)
Dusko Todorovic $18 FD ($8700 DK)
Victor Henry vs Raphael Assuncao
Henry surprised in a big way in his UFC debut, he was a near 4 to 1 underdog to Raoni Barcelos and looked as if he’d been a UFC vet himself with a unanimous decision win. Due to it being his first UFC affair, his striking numbers will be skewed and will certainly regress, but as it stands, he lands 12.07 SS/m (absorbs 8.93 SS/m). Assuncao on paper would be the more well rounded fighter with his wrestling/grappling prowess, but fact of the matter is he’s 40yrs old now, and hasn’t looked his best at all in his last several outings. He’s lost 4 straight fights, and this could be his farewell. Grant it, the losses have come to Cory Sandhagen, Ricky Simon, & Gabrandt, nonetheless not a good look. Henry will be the much crisper, technical striker, and I think he’ll have more impact when he lands. He should dictate how this fight plays out before Assuncao starts trying to shoot for TDs. Definitely a tough opponent for Henry, but I definitely think it’s a step down than what he faced in his debut vs Barcelos. Henry has an opportunity to find Assuncao’s chin, and eventually I think he will. Just a matter of when it happens, I call a 2nd RD KO/TKO for Henry. Making him a solid pay up option today.
PICK: Victor Henry $22 FD ($9300 DK)
Raphael Assuncao $9 FD ($6900 DK)
Alonzo Menifield vs Misha Cirkunov
Cirkunov has lost 3 straight fights, and 4 of his last 5. He’s definitely fighting for his job Saturday evening. He’s most successful when he can get his wrestling/grappling going. He averages 4.25 TDs per 15mins with nearly 2 submissions (1.8) as well. Menifield defends TDs at a pretty high clip though (83%), so will be interesting dynamic of this fight. Menifield starting to turn things around and show why he was so highly touted coming into the organization. He’s won 3 of his last 4. Menifield lands just 3.88 SS/m (absorbs 3.2 SS/m), but his power makes up for the lack of high numbers. Cirkunov has shown recently his chin is a liability (vs Spann & Walker), and it’s obvious if he doesn’t get his grappling going early that it could be a problem again here. It might be interesting for the first 5mins, but I eventually see Menifield finding the chin and putting Cirkunov out. Just a matter of scoring for him essentially. I’ve got Menifield via 2nd RD KO/TKO.
PICK: Alonzo Menifield $19 FD ($8900 DK)
Misha Cirkunov $12 FD ($7300 DK)
Mana Martinez vs Brandon Davis
This should be a fun scrap. Davis in need of a win badly, as he’s lost 3 straight, and 4 of 5, so a loss here certainly gets him cut. He’s a pressure style fighter that likes to get after it and put together combinations. He lands 4.63 SS/m (absorbs 4.46 SS/m), but only lands 35% of his strikes, and that’s his biggest issue. Martinez will be much better in terms of his technical striking, as he’s landing 50% of his total strikes. 3.8 SS/m (absorbing 3.55 SS/m). Neither guy will look to engage in wrestling early on, as both average less than 1 TD per 15mins (0.93 for Martinez, 0.70 for Davis). So should be a standup affair for as long as it last. Martinez has the better chin, so fear of a KO from Davis is low here, but on the flip, Martinez can crack, and has a chance to wear down on Davis as the fight goes long. As a result of that, I think we get a 3rd RD KO/TKO win for him after Davis starts to fade.
PICK: Mana Martinez $17 FD ($8500 DK)
Brandon Davis $14 FD ($7700 DK)
Nick Maximov vs Jacob Malkoun
These are the matchups some love to see. Wrestler vs grappler. Maximov had won his first 2 UFC fights, then got submitted in short order by another solid grappler in Petroski his last time out. Had been undefeated as a professional MMA fighter prior to that. He gets matched with a tough out in Malkoun, who’s a relentless wrestler that averages nearly 7 TDs per 15mins (6.95), with just under 1 submission attempt (0.7). He’s got solid striking that basically sets everything up, but he’s looking to grab a single leg and work to get his opponents to the mat. Maximov almost exclusively goes after his wrestling/grappling as well. He averages just north of 5.5 TDs per 15mins (5.51), with less than a submission attempt per 15mins as well (0.3). Both opt for position over submission, so this chess match will be interesting to see. I favor Malkoun’s striking, if both are able to defend TDs consistently, but eventually they’ll both find success in getting TDs. This’ll come down to cardio late, and I favor Malkoun in that department slightly. On DK this is a great matchup to target, especially at their prices with the ground control, sweeps, TDs etc each could have. I’m taking the slight dog in Malkoun to get it done via decision though.
PICK: Jacob Malkoun $15 FD ($7900 DK)
Nick Maximov $16 FD ($8300 DK)
Joanderson Brito vs Lucas Alexander
Brito gets a late replacement after Baghdasaryan had to fall out. To put this simply, Alexander is a layup matchup for Brito. He’s extremely green still, has solid power, but doesn’t set his striking up very well and is wild most times as a result. Brito impressed with his power in his last outing vs Andre Fili, scoring the 1st RD KO. But even if Brito decides to prolong it, he’ll have the advantage everywhere. He lands nearly 3 TDs per 15mins (2.9). On the feet, he’s landing just shy of 4 SS/m ( absorbing 3.28 SS/m). He’s very accurate, and lands 49% of his total strikes. All that adds up to a quick efficient night for Brito. He’s priced 2nd highest fighter on the card today, so need a 60 second bonus for him to likely payoff his price tag. But give me Brito via 1st RD KO/TKO.
PICK: Joanderson Brito $21 FD ($9400 DK)
Lucas Alexander $10 FD ($6800 DK)
Piera Rodriguez vs Sam Hughes
Rodriguez debuted against Kay Hansen and came away with a unanimous decision win. She has solid tools, and would probably like to rely on her wrestling. Not very high volume on the feet, lands just 3.1 SS/m (absorbs 2.23 SS/m). On the other side, Hughes has won back to back matchups. And has gotten better each time out. She doesn’t quit, and you absolutely need that in a fighter. She starts slow, so she’ll most likely drop the 1st RD, but after which she adjust well. She’ll have slightly more volume on the feet, landing 3.77 SS/m (but absorbs 4.73 SS/m), so her striking defense needs to improve. Her bread & butter is gaining top control in the wrestling, from there she tries to break her opponents. She averages 1.4 TDs per 15mins. As this fight goes on, I think she’ll be able to get a few TDs that’ll count down the stretch. Give me Hughes to win a close, possibly even a split decision. And as a dog, I’ll take that.
PICK: Sam Hughes $14 FD ($7600 DK)
Piera Rodriguez $17 FD ($8600 DK)
Tatsuro Taira vs CJ Vergara
Tiara’s debut was highly anticipated because of his talent, and he didn’t disappoint. He won via decision. But showcased his all around skills, highlighted by his wrestling/grappling. He’s got solid striking to back everything up, though his power isn’t much of a concern. Vergara is a tough task for anyone not in the top 15 of this division. He’s got excellent pressure, and will look to back his opponent up against the cage and put combinations together. He lands 5.67 SS/m ( absorbs 5.3 SS/m). Taira will be the better technical striker, landing 65% of his total strikes, while Vergara lands 55%. So it’ll be interesting on the feet because Taira has good movement. Tiara’s overall ability should shine through again here. Unless Vergara lands an unexpected KO/TKO, Tiara’s ground gm will be too much, and he’ll have solid control time even though Vergara will scramble pretty well. I’m not confident he finds a submission, but could come close. He’s much better play on DK than FD.
PICK: Tatsuro Taira $20 FD ($9100 DK)
CJ Vergara $11 FD ($7100 DK)
Pete Rodriguez vs Mike Jackson
I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Jackson is an awful MMA fighter, and he looks for ways out if he can as we saw in his debut. He stands tall on his feet, and tries to use kicks to keep his distance. He does a ton of running away. Rodriguez carry’s power in his hands, and that shows with quick finishes in all of his wins. At some point, I think he’ll close the distance on Jackson and land something meaningful. Need it to be 60 second bonus for him to have a shot at being in optimal on DK though. Give me Rodriguez via 1st RD KO/TKO.
PICK: Pete Rodriguez $23 FD ($9500 DK)
Mike Jackson $8 FD ($6700 DK)
By: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)