UFC Fight Night: Vicente Luque vs. Rafael dos Anjos takes place at the UFC APEX this Saturday. And this card ain’t half bad.

The main event is an intriguing all-Brazilian battler with Vicente Luque taking on former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. The co-main is a potential banger with the vet Cub Swanson going against the is-he-or-isn’t-he-a-prospect Hakeem Dawodu. There’s also Khalil Rountree vs. Chris Daukaus. I know, it’s not exactly UFC 200, but given some of the cards we’ve had this year, there’s some stuff to be excited about here.

UFC Fight Night Vicente Luque vs Rafael dos Anjos staff picks
Vicente Luque. IMAGO/USA TODAY

As always we’ve gone through this UFC fight night card with a fine tooth comb and picked who we think will get their hands raised.

In the main event we are pretty divided, with dos Anjos getting just one more vote than Luque. For the rest of the card there is a frightening amount of unity with all of us (or all but one) picking the same fighter in most instances. Let’s see if the BE Curse will raise it’s ugly head for this UFC fight night.

Scroll down for all those picks below and don’t forget to tell us yours in the comment section!

UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos picks and predictions

Vicente Luque vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Anton Tabuena: RDA is really getting up in age, but he’s still won three out of his last four and have only lost to top contenders. That longevity is pretty insane considering that his lightweight title reign was already 8 years ago. There will be some questions about a potential drop off being that he’s 38, but that’s less worrying to me than someone who supposedly sustained a brain bleed on his last fight. Rafael dos Anjos by decision.

Dayne: My first instinct is to write off dos Anjos for this UFC Fight Night main event. He’s now 38 with a LOT of hard miles on his body. Plus, he’s undersized for welterweight, an important factor given his best avenue to victory in this contest is via the mat. Luque isn’t massive for the division, but he isn’t undersized either. Throw in that Luque is a tireless striker who seemed indestructible for so long that it felt academic at first glance.

UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos headliner Vicente Luque when he fought Mike Perry.

That said, we knew there was going to be a caveat. Luque may only be 31, but his style has made for him eating a lot of damage. It adds up. There’s a reason in the previous paragraph that I said he seemed indestructible as he endured one of the beatdowns of the year at the hands of Geoff Neal a year ago. It was bad enough that Luque suffered a brain bleed. Those type of losses can break a person. Granted that doesn’t always happen, but it is something to consider.

Luque’s takedown defense has improved over his UFC run, but he has also avoided ground fighters for the most part. Dos Anjos may be the best all-around grappler he has faced in his career. Plus, dos Anjos has looked much better since he slowed down his schedule. No more two or three month turnarounds. It was just a year ago he hung tough into the fifth round with Rafael Fiziev.

Now, he doesn’t need to worry about cutting the extra 15 pounds in this contest. Perhaps the time off for Luque will be good as well, but dos Anjos’ fight IQ tends to be underrated. I think he’ll have a good enough game plan to squeak by a potentially compromised Luque. Dos Anjos via decision

Victor: Nah, I got some problems with this one. Luque coming off a medical layoff. dos Anjos is older, but still has a complete game and excellent instincts. His striking is way more polished and could weather the storm that Luque brings with his power, using patience and volume to get ahead and stay ahead. Rafael dos Anjos by decision.

Zane: I guess I’ll just echo everyone else here, and say that I don’t love this fight, and I’m not all that sure what to expect from it. I have a sneaking suspicion that Luque won’t look any worse coming off his medical layoff than he did before. But, he wasn’t looking all that great lately anyway.

A heavy pressuring Luque has the power and the combinations to hurt RDA and keep him on his heels, and to keep him defensive for long stretches of the fight. But if he’s lost some speed, as he seems to have, and if he can’t find a comfortable rhythm against another southpaw, then RDA also has all the tools to put Luque on the fence and on the mat and just put a grind on him for 5 rounds. RDA by decision, because I trust him to show up with his A game more.

Staff picking Luque: Lucas, Eddie, Stephie, Bissell, Jack, Chris
Staff picking Dos Anjos: Dayne, Kristen, Anton, Victor, Zane

Cub Swanson vs. Hakeem Dawodu

Anton: I’m not too high on Dawodu, but Swanson seems to be slowing down a bit too much for my liking. I would’ve had a completely different pick if this happened a few years ago, but at UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos, I have to go with Hakeem Dawodu by TKO.

Dayne: It might be unfair to call Dawodu a bust, but he certainly hasn’t lived up to expectations. Touted as an exciting striker with serious power, Dawodu’s lone UFC finish came against the one-and-done Yoshinori Horie. That said, I don’t think Dawodu is pillow-fisted. More important for this contest, the 39-year-old Swanson doesn’t have the durability he used to. That he fell to leg kicks to Jonathan Martinez is very telling. Say what you will about Dawodu, but he does have heavy leg kicks.

One of the very last still active from the WEC, Swanson showed in his victory over Darren Elkins he can still pull a rabbit out of his hat. However, Elkins might have been one of the few with more wear than Swanson. Plus, I don’t see the defensively conscious Dawodu walking into Swanson’s attack the way Elkins did. There are matchups out there I like Swanson’s chances. This isn’t one of them. Dawodu via TKO of RD3

September 10, 2022, Las Vegas, NV, LAS VEGAS, NV, United States: LAS VEGAS, NV - September 10: Hakeem Dawodu and Julian Erosameet in the octagon for a 3-round bout at T-Mobile Arena for UFC 279 event on September 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, NV, United States. Las Vegas, NV United States - ZUMAp175 20220910_zsa_p175_175 Copyright: xLouisxGrassex
UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos co-main eventer Hakeem Dawodu. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Victor: Love Cub, but can you blame me for worrying about where he’s at in this stage of his career? Against a technical and heavy striker that can be slick with his setups and a lovely, complete Muay Thai-based arsenal? I can’t trust it. Hakeem Dawodu by decision.

Zane: I don’t love the way Dawodu struggles with tough strikers capable of pushing back against him and not getting overwhelmed by feints and volume. That certainly could be Cub Swanson, and probably would have been him 5 years ago. But at this point, at UFC Fight Night Luque vs. Dos Anjos, and with Swanson’s problems with kicking games? Hakeem Dawodu via decision.

Staff picking Swanson: Bissell
Staff picking Dawodu: Dayne, Kristen, Lucas, Eddie, Anton, Victor, Stephie, Zane, Jack, Chris

Khalil Rountree vs. Chris Daukaus

Dayne: Much like Tanner Boser, I’m not a fan of Daukaus dropping down to light heavyweight. He had excellent hand speed at heavyweight and typically had an athletic advantage against most of the division. His hand speed will still be solid, but he’s probably going to be the lesser athlete in most fights at 205. Just like he is against Rountree.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a road to victory for him. If he can avoid Rountree’s loaded shots, Daukaus is the superior boxer technically, meaning he can easily outpoint the heavy handed Rountree. Plus, Rountree is one of the bigger head cases on the roster. When focused, he’s a killer. When he’s not, his opponent has an easy night ahead of them. Rountree has shown more consistency than ever in his last three fights. Either he’s figured out how to put it together regularly or he’s overdue for a flat performance. I’m biting my nails, but I’ll say it’s the former. Rountree via KO of RD2

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Copenhagen-Cutelaba vs Rountree Jr., Sep 28, 2019; Copenhagen, DEN; Ion Cutelaba (red gloves) fights Khalil Rountree Jr. (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Royal Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports, 28.09.2019 21:27:58, 13430654, UFC Fight Night, Khalil Rountree Jr, Ion Cutelaba, MMA PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xPerxHaljestamx 13430654
Khalil Rountree when he fought Ion Cutelaba at a UFC Fight Night in Copenhagen. IMAGO/USA TODAY

Victor: Daukaus dropping to 205 is going to be a problem because he’s going to be facing guys that are way better athletes and explosive strikers like Rountree. That doesn’t sound like a great equation here for Chris. Khalil Rountree by KO.

Zane: I don’t trust HWs going down to LHW, even if—as in Daukaus’ case—that’s probably where they should have been all along. Add in that Rountree is terribly violent and Daukaus has been getting finished regularly when he doesn’t have a clear speed edge (which he likely will have a lot less of at 205), and I have to take Khalil Rountree via KO, round 1.

Staff picking Rountree: Dayne, Kristen, Lucas, Eddie, Anton, Victor, Stephie, Zane, Bissell, Chris
Staff picking Daukaus: Jack

Polyana Viana vs. Iasmin Lucindo

Dayne: Viana has one career victory outside the first round. In the UFC, her wins have come over opponents who have been more comfortable on the mat than standing. Lucindo prefers to throw fisticuffs. Perhaps it’s an overly simple breakdown, especially given more than half of Lucindo’s career losses have come by submission. However, despite being just 21, Lucindo appears to have picked up a lot of veteran lessons. It would be foolish for me to trust in Lucindo enough to throw money on her, but I say she survives the first round and does what she wants from there. Lucindo via decision

Victor: I think I picked Viana on the podcast, and that’s because I’m dumb as hell. Viana has some cool finishes against better known opposition, but they’re not great opposition. Lucindo has the upside, potential, and skill level at this stage already to take this. Iasmin Lucindo by submission.

August 13, 2022, San Diego, California, San Diego, CA, United States: SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 13: (R-L) Iasmin Lucindo punches Yazmin Jauregui in their Women s Strawweight bout during the UFC Fight Night: Vera v Cruz event at Pechanga Arena on August 13, 2022, in San Diego, California, United States. San Diego, California United States - ZUMAp175 20220813_zsa_p175_024 Copyright: xLouisxGrassex
Iasmin Lucindo when she fought Yasmin Jauregui at UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Zane: Lucindo has a much, much more functional, dependable game, even if it seems very worryingly lacking in any real power or aggression. When someone brings the fight to her, she responds well. When they don’t, she just kinda hangs back and lets the fight drift by. Fortunately for her, Viana is a hyper-aggressive wild woman who makes all kinds of errors. Iasmin Lucindo via decision.

Staff picking Viana: Kristen, Lucas, Bissell, Chris
Staff picking Lucindo: Dayne, Eddie, Anton, Victor, Stephie, Zane, Jack

Tafon Nchukwi vs. AJ Dobson

Dayne: While Nate Diaz would benefit from a weight class between lightweight and welterweight, Dobson would benefit from one between welterweight and middleweight. He’s got good wrestling, but he’s smaller than most 185ers and it wears on him if he takes that approach for a full 15 minutes. Nchukwi is an absolute tank at 185, enough so that Jun Yong Park struggled to get him down at times. Plus, Dobson may try to strike with Nchukwi. I wouldn’t say that would go in his favor. Nchukwi via TKO of RD2

Victor: This appears to be a clear attempt at keeping Tafon moving along. Dobson will struggle with the size and strength of Nchukwi, but it’s also the speed he’ll have to worry about. It’s a bad combo and a bad matchup for him. Tafon Nchukwi by TKO.

MMA: UFC Fight Night, May 8, 2021; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tafon Nchukwi of Cameroon kicks Junyong Park of South Korea in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 08, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Chris Unger Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports, 08.05.2021 15:21:36, 16052881, UFC Fight Night, Las Vegas, MMA, South Korea PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xChrisxUngerx 16052881
Tafon Nchukwi vs. Junyong Park at a UFC Fight Night in 2021. IMAGO/USA TODAY

Zane: Both these guys just need a lot more time and work to iron out their games. For Dobson, his style seems to be a mild wild and an inch deep. He’s got speed and power, wrestling and striking form, but anyone who can go past the first layer with him finds him lacking any real sense of direction or control. For Nchukwi, his footslow power style means he has to stay on his opponent constantly, or risk giving up initiative to faster, rangier strikers. I trust Nchukwi to find gaps in scrambles and pocket exchanges more regularly, but he might also get plunked a few times out at distance. Tafon Nchukwi via decision.

Staff picking Nchukwi: Dayne,Lucas, Eddie, Anton, Victor, Stephie, Zane, Bissell, Jack
Staff picking Dobson: Kristen, Chris

Josh Fremd vs. Jamie Pickett

Anton: Jamie Pickett was never my fremd. Josh Fremd by TKO.

Dayne: I remember being high on Fremd when he first entered the UFC. I should have maintained that opinion after he fell to Tresean Gore. As for Pickett, I’ve always recognized his physical talents, but he has never put it together consistently. He’ll turn 35 at the end of the month, a point where it’s dumb to bet on it ever happening. Fremd may not have as many physical tools as Pickett, but he’s got his fair share and knows how to put everything together far more effectively than Pickett. Fremd via TKO of RD3

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Dumas vs Fremd Mar 11, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Sedriques Dumas (red gloves) fights Josh Fremd (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Virgin Hotel. Las Vegas Virgin Hotel Nevada USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xRonxChenoyx 20230311_szo_ac4_0063
Josh Fremd when he fought Sedrique Dumas at a UFC Fight Night in March.

Zane: Pickett just doesn’t seem like he enjoys fighting very much. He’s always tense, always on the back foot, and has to psych himself up to engage. Fremd is slower and less powerful, but way more aggressive and confident. Josh Fremd via submission, round 2.

Staff picking Fremd: Dayne, Kristen, Eddie, Anton, Victor, Stephie, Zane, Bissell, Jack, Chris
Staff picking Pickett:

Marcus McGhee vs. JP Buys

Dayne: McGhee doesn’t have a lot of cage experience, but he comes across as being someone who has seen more than their share of shit. That type of life experience can translate into the cage and the impression I get from the limited footage on him is McGhee. He has a killer instinct, but…

To read the rest of our UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos staff picks head on over to Substack. Now that Bloody Elbow is a fully independent site the best way to support us, so that we can continue fearless coverage of combat sports, is to pick up a paid subscription. Paid subscribers help fund other exclusive content like editorials from Karim Zidan and Jonathan Snowden and investigations by John S. Nash.


We have some separation at the top of our little board, just by a smidge, though. After what went down at UFC Fight Night: Cory Sandhagen vs. Rob Font, Dayne has opened up a one pick lead on Eddie. For the third week in a row I actually had the best record (shocker), but this time around I have to share that honour with Zane and our wonderful BE Community. Let’s see what happens to this table after UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos is said and done!

PositionStafferCorrectIncorrectTotal Picks%Picks BackWeek 25 Record
1 (-)Dayne1931323250.5947-4
2 (▼)Eddie1921333250.59116-5
3 (-)Anton1911343250.58827-4
4 (-)Zane1881373250.57858-3
5 (-)Kristen1851403250.56986-5
6 (-)Stephie1811313120.580126-5
7 (▲)Tim1741513250.535198-3
8 (▼)Lucas1731403130.553207-4
9 (-)Chris1491643130.476456-5
10 (-)BE Community1281322600.492658-3
11 (-)Victor1201052250.533736-5
12 (-)Jack114872010.567785-6
Staff standings heading into UFC Fight Night: Vicente Luque vs. Rafael dos Anjos

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

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