The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas for a women’s bantamweight main event bout between Ketlen Vieira and former champion Miesha Tate.
Tate will be looking to keep the UFC’s dreams of a potential rematch with Amanda Nunes alive with a win in the main event, while Vieira is hopeful of killing off her comeback plans.
In the co-main event, Michael Chiesa will be looking to fight off gatekeeper claims in the welterweight division when he takes on the undefeated prospect Sean Brady.
Last week at UFC Vegas 42 we had a poor showing with our picks, earning jut 5/11 correct with three perfect picks to move to 476/741 (64.24%) with 200 perfect picks (42.02%) since June 2020.
We’ll look to improve on that this week with this 12 fight card, starting with the early prelims here.
Luana Pinheiro (9-1) vs Sam Hughes (5-3) – (Strawweight/115lbs)
A fun strawweight bout to open the card this week at the Apex. Pinheiro returns to the octagon on a seven-fight win streak, with a win via disqualification against Randa Markos last time out after she was hit with an illegal upkick at UFC Vegas 25. Sam Hughes on the other hand has lost both of her UFC bouts to date, with doctors stopping her debut defeat to Tecia Torres at UFC 256 before a decision loss to Loma Lookboonmee.
Pinheiro is a solid grappler with great submission skills and pretty average striking, using her jiu-jitsu black belt to earn seven submission wins in her career. Hughes on the other hand is a fairly decent striker, looking to use pressure to get on the inside and grind her way to victories. The issue for Hughes in this one is that she’s just not at the UFC level yet.
Hughes got taken down regularly by Lookboonmee, who is an undersized striker, so a judo specialist like Pinheiro should find it relatively easy to take this fight to the ground where she’ll have a huge edge and likely be able to use her jiu-jitsu to earn yet another submission win.
PICK – Luana Pinheiro via Submission, Round 1
Shayilan Nuerdanbieke (19-7) vs Sean Soriano (14-7) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
An interesting featherweight bout between two unranked guys up next. Nuerdanbieke was beaten in his UFC debut by Josh Culibao back in May and will look to bounce back here, while Soriano suffered a submission loss in his own debut at UFC 262 to Christos Giagos.
Nuerdanbieke is an incredibly wrestle-heavy fighter with his plan A, B and C always to take his opponent to the mat and grind out victories or pound his way to a TKO victory. Soriano is a solid striker on the feet who is notorious for having problems with his grappling, succumbing to submissions five times in his professional career. The difference this time though, is that Nuerdanbieke is as predictable as they come.
Soriano has a huge edge on the feet and in his most recent fight with Giagos he did show some improved takedown defence. If he is able to stuff the takedowns that he should know are coming, then the fight is his to lose on the feet. Because of that, I think he could be able to secure a big knee or a nice counter-strike to drop Nuerdanbieke and earn a victory.
PICK – Sean Soriano via Knockout, Round 2
Cody Durden (11-3-1) vs Aoriqileng (18-8) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
A very fun flyweight bout in the UFC up next. Durden is winless in his two UFC outings, earning a draw against Chris Gutierrez back at UFC Vegas 5 before being tapped out by Jimmy Flick at UFC Vegas 17. Aoriqileng came to the UFC with a big reputation, but suffered a decision defeat to Jeff Molina at UFC 261.
Durden is an excellent fighter, with brilliant wrestling skills and some great ground and pound to go with his submission skills. Aoriqileng on the other hand is a relentless pressure fighter, with great striking and brilliant cardio to go with it. For Durden however, this fight is right up his wheel house.
He is a powerful striker on the feet, has good footwork to evade pressure and brilliant wrestling to get the fight down to the mat. Once he gets it there, he’s a demon with a great nose for a finish and Aoriqileng is likely to find himself in a lot of trouble. Durden’s nasty low kicks set up an eventual takedown and then he pummels Aoriqileng for a ground and pound schooling.
PICK – Cody Durden via Decision