This weekend (Sat., Feb. 10, 2024), Final Preventing Championship (UFC) stays inside UFC Apex (alas) in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 86. This upcoming card is equivalent in nature to final week’s occasion, which was … bad! It’s the same old suspects: a mediocre main event (why extra Middleweights?!?), an intriguing and enjoyable co-main, after which an entire bunch of names who haven’t but earned the popularity of a Wikipedia web page.
On the plus aspect, there are at the very least a handful of well-liked veterans snuck via the cardboard. Let’s dig into all the principle card fights main as much as the main- and co-main occasions:
Middleweight: Robert Bryczek vs. Ihor Potieria
Finest Win for Bryczek? Samuel Kristofic For Potieria? Mauricio Rua
Present Streak: Bryczek debuts having gained his 5 fights, whereas Potieria has misplaced two straight
X-Issue: Potieria is stepping up on very brief discover AND making his Middleweight debut
How these two match up: A technique or one other, it in all probability gained’t final lengthy.
Bryczek has a little bit of hype behind him. The Polish veteran has a great deal of expertise and did not signal via Contenders Sequence, making him a rarity at the moment. Extra importantly, he’s an aggressive mixture puncher with good energy in his pictures, in addition to a jiu-jitsu black belt to again him up.
Potieria is chaos within the cage. He’s all about his offensive and may undoubtedly deal harm, having stopped 16 opponents through strikes or submission. Sadly, his wildness places him within the fireplace too, and he’s been stopped in 4 of his defeats.
I just like the 185-pound transfer for Potieria, who regarded just like the smaller man by a big margin. I can not say I prefer it as a lot with one week of preparation, nonetheless, and significantly not towards a sensible and skilled fighter. Bryczek will discover the chance in his opponents assaults to land heavy counters and even takedowns, and it possible gained’t take lengthy for the punishment so as to add up.
After a pair delays, the Polish fighter makes a profitable debut.
Prediction: Bryczek through knockout
Middleweight: Brad Tavares vs. Gregory Rodrigues
Finest Win for Tavares? Thales Leites For Rodrigues? Chidi Njokuani
Present Streak: Each males gained their final bout
X-Issue: Can Tavares’ chin maintain as much as Rodrigues’ energy?
How these two match up: This appears like a kickboxing battle.
Tavares is now a 14-year UFC veteran, a long-time Middleweight stalwart who presents some fascinating challenges. The Hawaiian has a few of the division’s greatest takedown protection, and he pairs that asset with a nasty calf kicking sport that may shortly debilitate his opposition.
Rodrigues has proved himself probably the most thrilling fighters within the sport in the previous few years. “Robocop” has critical energy in his palms and is all the time down for a brawl, however he additionally confirmed off his floor abilities final day trip, effortlessly mounting and ending his opponent inside a spherical.
It is a powerful one.
Tavares might be the cleaner striker on paper, however he’s significantly much less sturdy, and I haven’t see Rodrigues fail to get to his opponent in some unspecified time in the future. The Brazilian’s jiu-jitsu edge is a wash, nonetheless, as a result of taking down Tavares is pretty unattainable.
The query is whether or not or not Tavares can break down the lead leg earlier than Rodrigues begins to attach. I’m anticipating some early success from Tavares, however that tide will flip when Rodrigues toughs it out and begins connecting anyway.
Prediction: Rodrigues through resolution
Light-weight: Michael Johnson vs. Darrius Flowers
Finest Win for Johnson? Dustin Poirier For Flowers? Amiran Gogoladze
Present Streak: Each males misplaced their final bout
X-Issue: Flowers is chopping to Light-weight for the primary time
How these two match up: This one must be enjoyable for nonetheless lengthy it lasts.
“The Menace” is probably the most famously unpredictable fighter in blended martial arts (MMA). It is a man who defeated Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier within the midst of fantastic runs, however he additionally obtained submitted by a straight footlock by Thiago Moises. He’s misplaced numerous fights out of the blue after trying sharp early, and he’s additionally flattened many wonderful fighters.
Even this deep in his profession, Johnson is critically fast and has main energy.
Flowers is a relative newcomer, a 5’9” powerhouse who has fought as excessive as 185 kilos. He likes to shut distance (clearly) and fireplace massive hooks in combos. He’s additionally pretty tough to take down, although I doubt that talent comes into play right here.
There are three paths this combat can possible go. On one hand, Johnson is the sharper vary technician and is aware of learn how to punish his opponent’s offense violently. He knocked out Poirier on the counter, in any case. On the identical time, Johnson is coming off a brutal knockout loss at 37 years of age, so a youthful and hungry up-and-comer simply sparking him is distinctly potential.
Lastly, the third, MJ-specific choice: Johnson picks aside his foe for a spherical or two then will get slept.
Regardless of two of the three choices going towards him, I nonetheless like Johnson right here. His velocity, timing and energy stay in spades, and Flowers offers his opponents loads to work with throughout his blitzes ahead. Flowers goes to cost at Johnson, and I count on the veteran occasions his entrances with a nasty left hand in some unspecified time in the future.
Prediction: Johnson through knockout
Middleweight: Rodolfo Vieira vs. Armen Petrosyan
Finest Win for Vieira? Cody Brundage For Petrosyan? Gregory Rodrigues
Present Streak: Vieira rebounded final day trip, whereas Petrosyan has gained two in a row
X-Issue: Each are nonetheless pretty inexperienced in MMA
How these two match up: That is one more Middleweight combat, however it’s additionally a enjoyable fashion conflict that feels prone to produce a end.
Vieira obtained stomped by Anthony Hernandez in 2021’s “Upset of the Year,” however he took the best classes away. Since then, he’s proven improved rise up and conditioning, although his capability to arrange pictures nonetheless leaves one thing to be desired. Happily, if he does get his man down, Vieira is likely to be the most effective grappler on the roster.
As for Petrosyan, he’s very clearly an excellent kickboxer. He strikes effectively, hits laborious, and may strike from all distances. His takedown protection failed him badly towards Caio Borralho in his sole UFC loss, nonetheless, and most different opponents who’ve tried to tug him down have succeeded.
That is all the time going to be a type of fights the place the prediction goes to make you seem like a genius or moron. If Vieira drags his foe to the ground, he pummels and strangles him briefly style. If not, Petrosyan picks him aside and certain scores the knockout. All of it hinges on the takedown!
I’m going to guess Vieira will get it. His blast double is not any joke, and his general physicality looks as if it’ll be an issue for Petrosyan. “Superman” has traditionally achieved effectively to scramble to his ft, however that’s a tall process reverse “The Black Belt Hunter.”
Do not forget that MMAmania.com will ship LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow protection of your entire UFC Vegas 86 combat card proper here, beginning with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, that are scheduled to start at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining most important card stability (additionally on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.
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