Perhaps UFC Vegas 72 doesn’t have a great main event, but it does have an acceptable one in Song Yadong and Ricky Simon. Given it didn’t even have a main event just over a week ago, the UFC should be exceptionally happy with the way things have turned out. That isn’t to say it’s a strong card – it isn’t — but it’s far from an abomination.
Regardless of the strength of the card, there’s enough to produce a quality afternoon/evening of entertainment. Let’s dig into how all the action out of UFC Vegas 72 will play out….
For some audio opinions on UFC Vegas 72, click here.
Song Yadong vs. Ricky Simon | Bantamweight
Originally scheduled to be the co-main for last week’s UFC event, Song Yadong and Ricky Simon over five rounds at UFC Vegas 72 doesn’t change the dynamic too much as opposed to three. Ricky Simon’s insane pace and pursuit of takedowns is unlikely to change and Song Yadong has experience with the championship rounds. It still comes down to whether Song Yadong can keep the fight standing or if Ricky Simon gets the ground fight that he prefers.
Song Yadong has improved his striking craft and hasn’t lost a bit of his power. Ricky Simon has had his chin cracked, but I sense many observers planning too much on that. Not that it couldn’t happen, but Simon has been KO’d just once in 23 professional fights. His striking looks loads better since that KO in 2019 too. Song has struggled with ground-based fighters and he hasn’t faced anyone with nearly the enthusiasm to ground him that Simon will be. Of the two, Song Yadong is more likely to get the stoppage, but I’m not sure that happens. I like Simon’s relentless attack to wear down the Team Alpha Male rep. Simon via decision
Caio Borralho vs. Michal Olekciejczuk | Middleweight
The move to 185 has been phenomenal for Olekciejczuk. He’s no longer being overwhelmed physically at his new home and he’s been finding it easier to close the distance for his aggressive boxing. Borralho is easily the biggest 185er Olekciejczuk has faced, is excellent at maintaining space, and has the grappling accolades to control Olekciejczuk should he get him to the mat. Given Olekciejczuk was taken down three times in just over half a round in his last outing, it isn’t difficult to get him down. Borralho should end up securing another decision short on entertainment value. Borralho via decision
Rodolfo Vieira vs. Cody Brundage | Middleweight
Brundage has proven to be a UFC talent, developing threatening power to go with his wrestling base. However, even in his UFC wins, he’s been losing until he wasn’t. If he can keep the fight standing with Vieira, he stands a chance of securing a major upset over the BJJ specialist. Given Brundage couldn’t stay standing against Nick Maximov, I don’t think he can stop the uber-athletic Vieira from muscling him down, at least not early on. Vieira should get back on track. Vieira via submission of RD1
Julian Erosa vs. Fernando Padilla | Featherweight
Padilla is a mystery. The Mexican native hasn’t fought in two years due to VISA issues. There was no doubting his talent when we last saw him and given his youth, he should only be better… right? While it’s natural to think that, going from no spotlight to the UFC spotlight is a big jump. Erosa isn’t the type of fighter whom you want to be finding your footing against as he’s adept at getting a read on his opponent and exposing holes. This fight is very winnable for Padilla, but I don’t like him stepping in against someone as experienced as Erosa after such a long layoff. Erosa via submission of RD2
Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Waldo Cortes-Acosta | Heavyweight
Cortes-Acosta has some talent to work with, but he’s also early in his career. Granted, that also means he has a lot of room for improvement, but he hasn’t dealt with someone who can strike at the level of de Lima. Given Jared Vanderaa was able to hobble Cortes-Acosta with leg kicks, I can only imagine what the thudding kicks of de Lima might do to him. Provided Cortes-Acosta doesn’t put de Lima on his back, this should be an easy win for the experienced Brazilian. Given Cortes-Acosta hasn’t even attempted a takedown, I wouldn’t count on the youngster pulling this one out. De Lima via TKO of RD1
Josh Quinlan vs. Trey Waters | Welterweight
At 6’5”, Waters is absolutely HUGE for 170. He also fought two weeks prior to this contest and cutting back down to 170 when you’re his size is a big deal. Doing so within two weeks? That sounds like a recipe for disaster, especially against someone who hits as hard Quinlan does. In terms of upside, Waters is the pick all day. But the deck is stacked against him in the immediate. I understand why he took this fight; it gets him on the roster. But it’ll be a tall order – pun intended – for him to avoid Quinlan’s power. Quinlan via KO of RD1
Martin Buday vs. Jake Collier | Heavyweight
While both Buday and Collier push the heavyweight limit, there’s a difference. Collier once plied his trade at 185 while Buday would never be able to dream of that. In other words, Buday is the naturally bigger man. If he can smother Collier against the fence, he could easily wear down the more athletic fighter. However, don’t let Collier’s flabby frame fool you; he’s an athlete under those extra pounds. More importantly, he can rack up the volume. I see Collier outworking Buday with his constant movement. Collier via decision
Cody Durden vs. Charles Johnson | Flyweight
There’s no doubt Durden is going to get Johnson down to the mat. His wrestling is too good and Johnson’s takedown defense is too suspect. The question is when he gasses. Durden has spammed for takedowns so hard and fast that he typically fades before the second round is up. Johnson tends to get stronger later in fights, even in contests he has taken on short notice. He’s had a full camp for this contest. Durden taking the first two rounds is a very strong probability, but I like the chances of Johnson swinging the momentum in his favor early enough to take the decision. Johnson via decision
Stephanie Egger vs. Irina Alekseeva | Women’s Bantamweight
Don’t let Alekseeva’s moniker of the Russian Ronda fool anyone; she’s no ground wizard. That doesn’t mean she’s completely helpless on the mat, but she’s nothing special. Egger may not be flashy, but she is a force on the mat. Plus, she’s much bigger than Alekseeva, her last fight coming at featherweight while Alekseeva is moving up from the opposite direction. Even if Alekseeva’s striking was dangerous, Egger is durable. I don’t think Alekseeva’s striking is anything to worry about. This feels like an easy pick. Egger via submission of RD2
Journey Newson vs. Marcus McGhee | Bantamweight
McGhee is an unknown quantity, taking the fight on very short notice. What is known is he has displayed power against a questionable level of opposition. Newson should be able to beat him handily, but it’s not like Newson’s track record has proven he’s a sure thing against someone as untested as McGhee. Newson doesn’t always seem to pay his opponents the respect he should. I think it will cost him against the larger McGhee. McGhee via TKO of RD1
Hailey Cowan vs. Jamey-Lyn Horth | Women’s Bantamweight
Cowan and Horth have a lot of similarities. Both began their MMA careers somewhat late, their mid-20’s. Neither specialize in any single area. Both are former flyweights. In fact, I anticipate Horth will end up moving back to flyweight. Cowan’s size and physical style has me believing she’s likely to take the W. I admit Horth appears to have a more natural feel for fighting, but Cowan’s the bigger and more athletic fighter. It should be just enough to give her the edge. Cowan via decision
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