Tag Archives: UFC Vegas 53

UFC Vegas 53: Font vs Vera – Main card prelims

An absolute banger of a main event headlines the UFC Vegas 53 card live from the UFC Apex centre in Las Vegas this weekend.

Two top ten bantamweights go head-to-head as Rob Font takes on Marlon Vera in a five-round clash, while Andrei Arlovski takes on Jake Collier in a heavyweight co-main event too.

At UFC Vegas 52 last weekend we had a hot and cold night with our picks as we went 7/11 with zero perfect picks (for the first time since UFC Vegas 40) to move us up to 608/940 (64.68%) with 255 perfect picks (41.94%).

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims here and finishing our prelims picks here, we now move on to the main card.


Krzysztof Jotko (23-5) vs Gerald Meerschaert (34-14) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very interesting middleweight scrap opens up the main card between two well known fighters. Jotko has won four of his last five fights, bouncing back from defeat to Sean Strickland at UFC Vegas 25 with a split decision win over Misha Cirkunov at UFC Vegas 38. Meerschaert on the other hand has bounced back from his super-quick KO loss to Khamzat Chimaev at UFC Vegas 17 with three straight submission wins including a late one against Dustin Stoltzfus most recently at UFC Vegas 45.

Jotko is a kickboxer who looks to fight from range using his kicks and long punches and a steady pace that he has shown he is capable of pushing for the entire 15 minutes. Meerschaert on the other hand is an amazing grappler with all of his UFC wins coming by finish, and more submission wins in his career than any other middleweight in UFC history. It’s a real battle of styles, but this one seems to favour Jotko a little bit more.

Meerschaert is by far the more dangerous of the two, but Jotko is so methodical that he tends to just nullify his opponents and win minutes of fights rather than dominate them. It’s either going to be a Meerschaert submission or Jotko decision, but the Polish fighter is all about claiming wins despite it being the most boring fight of the night and he’s likely to do that again.
PICK – Krzysztof Jotko via Decision

Darren Elkins (27-10) vs Tristan Connelly (14-7) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

‘The Damage’ returns to the octagon in a banger of a fight at 145-pounds here. Elkins has lost five of his last seven, including his most recent outing against the returning Cub Swanson at UFC Vegas 45 where he was KO’d by a spinning wheel kick. Connelly saw a near two-year layoff culminate in a defeat against Pat Sabatini in his most recent bout back at UFC 261.

These are two veterans of the sport likely on their way out of the sport sooner rather than later. Elkins is a grinder who tends to walk through flames to score a takedown and really wear down his opponent before taking over from top position, while Connelly is also a ground specialist although he prefers to use his jiu-jitsu skills when down there. That sets up a pretty exciting encounter if the fight hits the mat, and both guys will back themselves to come out on top in that scenario.

The best bet for Connelly to score a submission is to hurt him on the feet first and then latch on to something. His striking isn’t great however and with the relentless wrestling style of Elkins, I expect him to smother Connelly over the course of the 15 minutes and earn a vintage decision win.
PICK – Darren Elkins via Decision

Jared Gordon (18-4) vs Grant Dawson (17-1-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Very exciting lightweight bout up next between two guys looking to burst their way into the rankings. Gordon has won three in a row since getting knocked out by the now-champion Charles Oliveira in 2019, all via decision with the most recent coming against Joe Solecki. Dawson on the other hand is nine undefeated, with a draw against Ricky Glenn most recently snapping his win streak.

Gordon is a grinder of a fighter who just doesn’t stop coming forward. He doesn’t particularly excel in any area but is decent enough to hold his own in most. Dawson on the other hand is a specialist wrestler who has looked to use his new-found kickboxing skills more often in recent bouts. He tends to use the fence to his advantage too, pinning opponents to the mat and looking to push them into submission situations. But his best times came at featherweight and now that physicality isn’t a stand-out attribute anymore.

‘Flash’ is definitely the more heavy-handed striker on the feet, but Dawson has the edge in the wrestling and should be able to keep Gordon down if he does get the fight down. Gordon’s cardio will still be there at the end of the fight regardless of how the rest of the fight has gone, while Dawson could struggle deeper into the bout. It will be close for the judges, but I think wrestling wins out and earns him a tight decision.
PICK – Grant Dawson via Decision



Andre Fili (21-8) vs Joanderson Brito (12-3-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

This should be a very fun featherweight scrap between two very exciting fighters. Fili is coming off a ‘no contest’ bout against Daniel Pineda back at UFC Vegas 30, while Brito suffered a unanimous decision defeat in his UFC debut to Bill Algeo back at UFC Vegas 46 at the start of the year.

Fili is a very technical kickboxer with some reactive takedowns and good grappling skills on the mat too, while Brito is a very standard Muay Thai fighter but with excellent power in his strikes and nasty clinch work culminating in ten finishes from his 12 victories. Brito was beaten by Algeo last time out, and Fili is a better version of Algeo with more strings to his bow. Obviously, that’s a problem for the Brazilian prospect.

Brito has got huge power and has always got it in him to land one big shot and end the fight there and then. But ultimately Fili is the better fighter here. His kickboxing is sharper, his wrestling is a way for him to be able mix it up and he’s the more experienced guy too. It won’t be easy, but I think Fili takes him all the way and earns the nod from the judges.
PICK – Andre Fili via Decision

Andrei Arlovski (33-20) vs Jake Collier (13-6) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweight collision in the co-main event between two men at different ends of their UFC career. Former champion Arlovski has won five of his last six, with the only defeat coming against Tom Aspinall, including each of his last three via decision. Collier on the other hand is a former middleweight who has alternated wins and losses since 2014 going back 11 fights. His most recent was a win against Chase Sherman via submission back in January at UFC Vegas 46.

Arlovski is a traditional heavyweight with some good boxing and a lethal left high kick just like the famous Mirko Cro Cop once upon a time. He uses good movement and volume well rather than power punches, but seems to be excellent at avoiding damage and doing well. Collier is a very similar fighter, just ten years younger and he has got a good grappling background in his arsenal too.

This is a strange fight to be the co-main event in all honesty, but I can’t go against the 50-50 record over the last eight years. Arlovski looks as good as he’s looked in a long while recently and has the experience to make his momentum and moments count. Collier likes to throw leg kicks and that could leave him open to a straight right hand counter down the pipe but most likely this looks like a pretty comfortable Collier decision win.
PICK – Jake Collier via Decision

Rob Font (19-5) vs Marlon Vera (18-7-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolute banger of a main event and comfortably the fight of the night on this card. Font saw a four-fight win streak snapped last time out by Jose Aldo in a great fight at UFC Vegas 44, while Vera earned a highlight reel front-kick-to-the-face knockout against Frankie Edgar in his most recent outing at UFC 268.

Font is one of the best pure boxers in the UFC, with incredible hand speed and solid power in his hands as well as some good takedowns as shown against Cody Garbrandt in his most recent win. Vera on the other hand is a really tidy all-round fighter with crisp striking and great technique with his leg kicks and punches, while he also has excellent jiu-jitsu skills and grappling on the mat. Vera has never been finished in his career, but his lack of output early on in fights could see Font have a lot of early success with his boxing to the body.

It’s unlikely that Font will look to grapple at all in this fight, because that is entering Vera’s world. His boxing and speed is where he can win this fight, but Vera is good at applying pressure and forcing his opponents to fight on the back foot. It should be a terrific fight overall, but I think Font’s early work will be enough to edge him a judge’s decision for the bout.
PICK – Rob Font via Decision

UFC Vegas 53: Font vs Vera – Prelims predictions

An absolute banger of a main event headlines the UFC Vegas 53 card live from the UFC Apex centre in Las Vegas this weekend.

Two top ten bantamweights go head-to-head as Rob Font takes on Marlon Vera in a five-round clash, while Andrei Arlovski takes on Jake Collier in a heavyweight co-main event too.

At UFC Vegas 52 last weekend we had a hot and cold night with our picks as we went 7/11 with zero perfect picks (for the first time since UFC Vegas 40) to move us up to 608/940 (64.68%) with 255 perfect picks (41.94%).

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims here, we finish off our prelims picks now.


Gabe Green (10-3) vs Yohan Lainesse (8-0) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A very interesting welterweight bout up next between two excellent prospects. Green lost his UFC debut to Daniel Rodriguez before returning nine months later and defeating Phil Rowe back at UFC 258 last time out. Lainesse is an undefeated prospect with a 97 second knockout on Dana White’s Contender Series earning him a contract.

Green is a solid all-round fighter with some decent striking on the feet and decent grappling defensively, but he is also regularly hittable and that’s not great news. Lainesse is a very explosive fighter who starts fights at 100mph. He has six knockout wins in his career, with five of them coming in the first round while his superior wrestling usually helps him as his cardio starts to fail him in the second round. In the second round though, that will allow Green to move forward and start applying his own pressure to pick Lainesse off with leg kicks and body attacks.

Defensively, Green is absolutely a hittable target. Lainesse has the power and the aggression to walk forward and cause a lot of trouble for Green in the first round, but beyond that he tends to slow and that gives Green a big opportunity. It’ll be very close, and very entertaining, but I think Lainesse will be able to use his wrestling in the later rounds to eek out a fun decision.
PICK – Yohan Lainesse via Decision

Alexandr Romanov (15-0) vs Chase Sherman (15-9) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Big heavyweight bout up next, as Sherman returns to the organisation just days after initially being released by the company. Romanov is an undefeated monster with relentless grappling skills, beating Jared Vanderaa most recently via knockout back in October. Sherman is on a three-fight losing streak, getting submitted by Jake Collier at UFC Vegas 46 most recently in January. This fight was scheduled for last week, but illness to Sherman saw it moved.

Romanov is an exciting grappling machine, who uses amazing suplexes and takedowns to get the fight down before using a suffocating top game to blast his opponents with ground-and-pound as well as submissions. Sherman on the other hand is an old school heavyweight fighter, who stands quite flat footed and throws out jabs and low kicks one at a time before looping hooks as he looks to land a killer blow.

This is a shocking stylistic match up for Sherman and shy of landing a stunning one-punch KO there is only one direction that this fight is going in. Romanov will put him on his back and absolutely light him up until the referee pulls him off or the opportunity for a choke shows itself and he takes it. This won’t be a warm welcome back for Sherman and I’d be shocked if it gets out of the first round.
PICK – Alexandr Romanov via Submission, Round 1



Daniel Lacerda (11-2) vs Francisco Figueiredo (12-4-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Flyweight never die in the featured prelim bout of the card in a very fun fight. Lacerda suffered a knockout defeat in his UFC debut back in October when Jeff Molina put him out in the second round, while Figueiredo is the brother of the champion and has gone 1-1 in the UFC so far. He claimed a debut win over Jerome Rivera at UFC Fight Island 8 before Malcolm Gordon toppled him via a unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 31.

Lacerda is a very exciting fighter, using his kickboxing skills to push forward and do as much damage as possible. He uses his kicks well usually and is a decent grappler too, with six submission wins in his career. Figueiredo is a very steady fighter, using kicks from range and punches in short combinations, but he doesn’t have great output and that could cost him here.

This is Lacerda’s fight to lose in reality. He’s more powerful, he’s faster, he’s a better grappler and he’s far more aggressive. His cardio has been an issue in the past but even if it does start to fail him, the lack of output from Figueiredo is a problem and I struggle to see how he can avoid trouble. So long as Lacerda doesn’t get carried away and does his job smartly, he should win this comfortably.
PICK – Daniel Lacerda via Knockout, Round 2

UFC Vegas 53: Font vs Vera – Early prelims predictions

An absolute banger of a main event headlines the UFC Vegas 53 card live from the UFC Apex centre in Las Vegas this weekend.

Two top ten bantamweights go head-to-head as Rob Font takes on Marlon Vera in a five-round clash, while Andrei Arlovski takes on Jake Collier in a heavyweight co-main event too.

At UFC Vegas 52 last weekend we had a hot and cold night with our picks as we went 7/11 with zero perfect picks (for the first time since UFC Vegas 40) to move us up to 608/940 (64.68%) with 255 perfect picks (41.94%).

We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.


Tatsuro Taira (10-0) vs Carlos Candelario (8-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A fun fight between two debutants in the UFC opens up the card for us in this one. Taira is a perfect 10-0 at just 22-years-old, while Candelario was 8-0 before a defeat on Dana White’s Contender Series that the boss disagreed with and signed him because of anyway.

Taira is an excellent grappler with some solid grappling skills and excellent top pressure, where he works for submissions regularly. Candelario is an experienced fighter himself with some decent ground game too, although he looks more for ground and pound rather than submissions. On the feet Candelario is also a more active striker than Taira and technically is good enough to cause problems.

With that said though, Taira is so quick to latch on to any sort of mistake and if he gets an advantageous position on the mat he rarely lets it slip. Candelario tends to leave limbs hanging and uses his knees to get back to his feet which could allow Taira to take his back and sink in a nasty choke for a big win.
PICK – Tatsuro Taira via Submission, Round 2

Gina Mazany (7-5) vs Shanna Young (8-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Two women’s flyweight veterans go toe-to-toe in this one. Mazany is on a 3-5 fun, with a knockout defeat to Priscilla Cachoeira back at UFC 262 her last outing. Young on the other hand has lost her only two UFC bouts, dropping a decision to Macy Chiasson back in 2020 before getting KO’d by Stephanie Eggar at UFC Vegas 13 in her most recent bout.

Mazany is a striker who likes to use the clinch game to take her opponents down to the mat so she can change their face with vicious ground and pound, but has had issues in the past with her cardio skills. Young alternatively is also a striker, but she lacks power in her attacks and has little-to-no takedown defence. Her fight IQ is questionable too, considering she waltzed into clinches against talented judoka Eggar last time out.

This is Mazany’s fight to lose stylistically. She has the power advantage, is the better grappler and has got a good size advantage. She is however moving down to flyweight for the fight and that’s a problem considering her cardio problems. Young needs to avoid being taken down at all costs because she can hold her own on the feet, but I expect Mazany to get this down quickly and call it a night with a statement.
PICK – Gina Mazany via Knockout, Round 2



Natan Levy (6-1) vs Mike Breeden (10-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Two men looking for their first ever UFC win after defeats in their debuts last year. Levy was beaten up by Rafa Garcia en route to a unanimous decision loss at UFC Vegas 43, while Breeden got KO’d viciously by Alexander Hernandez in the first round at UFC Vegas 38.

Levy is a stand-up fighter who tends to use kicking range as his preferred distance, and has some good wrestling to lean on also. Breeden is more of a boxer who likes to pressure forward and get into the pocket before firing off powerful shots, which have earned him eight knockout wins so far in his career. With that said, Levy will be confident of being able to replicate Breeden’s defeat to Anthony Romero.

Using a karate stance he should be able to keep out of that pocket and with Breeden very heavy on his lead leg, he will allow Levy the opportunity to kick the crap out of it like Romero did on the Contender Series. If Breeden gets past that distance he certainly has the power advantage, but Levy is a dangerous counter striker and his takedown offense is a good way to mix it up and claim a decision win.
PICK – Natan Levy via Decision