Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev are crossing paths at simply the appropriate time.
Saturday’s UFC Vegas 58 options not simply two of the most effective lightweights on this planet — “RDA” is No. 7 in MMA Combating’s World Rankings, Fiziev No. 10 — however two contenders who might be knocking on the door of a title shot with a memorable efficiency.
Dos Anjos, a former UFC champion, has lengthy maintained that whilst he approaches his thirty eighth birthday, he has not given up on as soon as once more contending for a belt. After a run at 170 kilos that noticed him compete for interim gold, the Brazilian veteran has gone 2-0 since dropping again down in weight. Ought to he fend off Fiziev, he’ll line himself up for a fair increased ranked problem within the close to future.
The stakes for Fiziev are apparent. His spectacular knockout of Brad Riddell this previous December gave him a signature victory over a prime 15 opponent and high quality names like Bobby Inexperienced and Renato Moicano have additionally been a part of his five-fight win streak, however knocking off a fighter that has really held a title in MMA’s deepest division? You may nearly mark him down for a prime 5 opponent subsequent.
In different important card motion, promising middleweights Caio Borralho and Armen Petrosyan meet in a conflict of types, bantamweight blue-chipper Stated Nurmagomedov takes on his largest problem but in Douglas Silva de Andrade, heavyweights Jared Vanderaa and Chase Sherman look to cease their skids, Cynthia Calvillo welcomes Nina Nunes to the flyweight division, and Michael Johnson makes his twenty sixth UFC look when he fights Jamie Mullarkey in a light-weight bout.
What: UFC Vegas 58
The place: UFC APEX in Las Vegas
When: Saturday, July 9. The six-fight preliminary card begins at 6 pm ET on ESPN and ESPN+, adopted by a six-fight important card at 9 pm on ESPN and ESPN+.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev
Few fighters within the sport are extra well-rounded than Rafael dos Anjos, however will that be sufficient to defuse the harmful Rafael Fiziev?
“RDA” will not draw back from a standup scrap, even given Fiziev’s well-earned status as an endlessly artistic striker. The previous light-weight champion has excellent boxing himself and it is not out of the realm of chance that he beats Fiziev on the ft. That stated, as most have surmised, dos Anjos is greatest served mixing in his top-shelf grappling to stop Fiziev from stepping into his consolation zone.
From what we have seen, Fiziev has the takedown protection to maintain this battle the place he needs it to be, though he is but to face an opponent with dos Anjos’ mix of jiu-jitsu experience and expertise. Not solely does he must show that he can keep upright, however that he can scramble and get again up within the occasion that dos Anjos does take him down.
There’s an eight-year age hole right here, which additionally interprets into an athleticism hole in Fiziev’s favor and that is why I like his probabilities. He is but to be examined in a five-rounder, however the early harm he does on this battle ought to make up for any cardio benefit that dos Anjos might have within the later rounds. It should be an in depth — and probably controversial — set of scorecards, however I’ve Fiziev successful a choice.
Caio Borralho vs. Armen Petrosyan
Let’s not overthink it: This can be a basic grappler vs. striker matchup.
Caio Borralho is a Demian Maia-tested Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with a floor sport that places an equal emphasis on harm and place. Armen Petrosyan is a slick striker (as his title would recommend, though he’s confusingly not really associated to kickboxing’s famed Petrosyan brothers Giorgio and Armen) and he confirmed nice poise in his UFC debut in opposition to Gregory Rodrigues, which was simply his eighth MMA bout.
Ought to this one keep on the ft, it is going to be an entertaining affair as Borralho has a penchant for breaking out showy strikes even when it means deviating from his base self-discipline. It’s important to lean in direction of the extra technical Petrosyan in that state of affairs although.
Petrosyan’s takedown protection did not look nice in opposition to Rodrigues and he was most likely lucky to stroll out of that encounter with a cut up nod. Had Rodrigues combined the martial arts extra, Petrosyan may not have made it to the judges’ determination. Do not anticipate Borralho to make the identical mistake.
Borralho by submission.
Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Stated Nurmagomedov
Stated Nurmagomedov hasn’t proven many vital weaknesses in his UFC profession thus far, however he has had difficulties combating off the again foot. That is one thing the sometimes aggressive Douglas Silva de Andrade can make the most of.
On protection, Nurmagomedov is able to touchdown damaging counters, however as soon as the space is totally closed he might be roughed up inside. Fortuitously for him, he additionally has robust wrestling so he can change the complexion of the battle that manner if Silva de Andrade makes this one messy. And if Nurmagomedov retains Silva de Andrade at vary, he’ll cruise to a choice.
Silva de Andrade has solely misplaced to high quality 135ers, an inventory that features solely Petr Yan and Rob Font. Nurmagomedov’s expertise is on par with these names, however he has to indicate an additional gear to take care of the offensive-minded Silva de Andrade.
My prediction for this compelling bantamweight matchup is that Nurmagomedov exhibits off extra of his grappling to maintain Silva de Andrade in test and tire him out, setting him up for a late submission.
Jared Vanderaa vs. Chase Sherman
Jared Vanderaa and Chase Sherman have their backs to the wall.
In his previous 5 outings, Vanderaa is 1-4. On the opposite facet, Sherman has misplaced 4 straight fights and was really lately launched earlier than being instantly introduced again to function a short-notice opponent for the really terrifying Alexandr Romanov this previous April. In brief, these guys want a win.
Typical knowledge would recommend the extra well-rounded Vanderaa might earn the choice by establishing his jab and threatening Sherman with takedowns. However standard knowledge is boring, so I select chaos. I select Sherman throwing warning to the wind and letting his palms go to show this battle right into a slopfest.
At that time, this being a heavyweight, it is a toss-up, however Sherman is the extra confirmed knockout artist and I anticipate that narrative to be bolstered on Saturday. It might occur 30 seconds into Spherical 1 or with 10 seconds left in Spherical 3, all I do know is I’ve received a sense that Sherman surprises the doubters with a giant KO.
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Nina Nunes
That is primarily a strawweight battle the place the fighters did not put themselves by means of the trials of an excessive weight lower and extra energy to them for that.
Cynthia Calvillo was a reputable contender at 115 kilos, however she was repeatedly tripped up by the size and made the sensible determination to leap as much as 125. Nina Nunes is making her UFC debut at 125 kilos after a powerful strawweight run that included wins over Claudia Gadelha and Angela Hill, plus a aggressive loss to Tatiana Suarez (who hasn’t fought since) in June 2019.
I’ve at all times believed in Calvillo’s potential. She brings an aggressive wrestling fashion to the cage and has respectable pop in her palms even when her hanging approach would not fairly stack as much as the most effective in both of the divisions she’s competed in. That features Nunes, who has at all times been sharp on the ft and troublesome to place away. She’ll frustrate Calvillo along with her distance management and switch up the quantity within the second half of the battle.
Nonetheless, I do not see Nunes stopping Calvillo’s takedowns for 3 rounds. Calvillo is a busy fighter on the bottom too, so she’ll rack up loads of factors on the scorecards en path to a much-needed determination win.
Michael Johnson vs. Jamie Mullarkey
Michael Johnson has fought and crushed the most effective of the most effective. On Saturday, he has a creating brawler standing throughout from him, the sort of problem he hasn’t confronted since he was positioned as Justin Gaethje’s first UFC opponent. Jamie Mullarkey is understood for his constant strain and he’ll attempt to overwhelm Johnson.
The extra skilled Johnson has at all times had quick palms and good knockout energy, however I am curious to see how he reacts if his greatest pictures do not put Mullarkey away early. Mullarkey makes wonderful use of head motion to maneuver the bullseye as he marches ahead, then is aware of when to load up if he smells blood. The longer this battle goes on, the extra I anticipate Mullarkey to realize confidence and draw back.
Search for Mullarkey to beat a strong begin from Johnson and discover the end in Spherical 3.
Ricky Turcios def. Aiemann Zahabi
Courtney Casey def. Antonina Shevchenko
Tresean Gore def. Cody Brundage
David Onama def. Garrett Armfield
Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Karl Roberson
Ronnie Lawrence def. Saidyokub Kakhramonov