My hot streak has reached 13 weeks. I don’t even think it can be called a hot streak any longer – it’s just the new normal. I’m really good at picking fights. Pride goeth before a fall, they say. We’ll see. Here are my UFC Vegas 43 predictions, set to go down Saturday from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
UFC Vegas 43 Predictions
All odds courtesy of PointsBet
Ketlen Vieira (-120) vs Miesha Tate
The main event sees top women’s bantamweights Ketlen Vieira and Miesha Tate duke it out in a fight that’s close to a pick ’em on the board currently. Former champ Tate made her triumphant return this past July after a five-year retirement, but that was against a fighter on a losing skid who had announced her own impending retirement. I’ll bet against the unknown here and take the younger, bigger, more active fighter in Vieira. There are too many questions with Tate at this point.
Sean Brady (-176) vs Michael Chiesa
The welterweight co-main event could very easily top this card – it’s my favorite matchup of the night. These are two guys who rely on their grappling, with the difference being I think Sean Brady is the better striker and he definitely is physically stronger than Michael Chiesa. I’m counting on the top prospect to improve his pro record to 15-0 and continue his rise up the rankings.
Kyung Ho Kang (-115) vs Rani Yahya
This one is a true pick ’em on the board, with both guys listed at -115 currently. Kyung Ho Kang is my pick, as he’s a bit younger, much bigger (three inches taller and a half a foot of reach), and the better and more active striker of the two. He also has a slick submission game, which is Rani Yahya’s strong suit, so hopefully he can hold his own if the fight goes to the ground.
Taila Santos (-350) vs Joanne Wood
Taila Santos vs the fighter formerly known as Joanne Calderwood. The Brazilian has three inches of reach, is eight years younger than Wood, and has better striking and grappling stats. Wood’s five-fight streak of swapping wins with losses ends here, as this makes it two straight L’s for her.
Adrian Yanez (-334) vs Davey Grant
A classic striker vs grappler battle here (although Davey Grant has won his last two fights via knockout), I’ll always go with the striker. So Adrian Yanez is the pick. It also helps that he’s eight years younger than Grant, and lands 1.5 times more strikes per minute.
Tucker Lutz (+112) vs Pat Sabatini
On to the prelims, where I’m finally taking a plus money pick in ‘Top Gun’ Tucker Lutz. The dude is on a 12-fight win streak, including his UFC debut and two fights on Dana White’s Contender Series. While he is taking this fight on short notice, he’s three times more active striking than Pat Sabatini, and has better grappling stats, which is where Sabatini butters his bread.
Rafa Garcia (-122) vs Natan Levy
After dropping his first two UFC fights, I’m counting on Rafa Garcia to finally get into the win column against newcomer Natan Levy. I like his resume better than Levy’s, and he should be more active in the striking department on Saturday.
Lupita Godinez (-162) vs Loma Lookboonme
Loopy is back again, taking another fight on short notice this week, making it three fights for her in the UFC since October 9th (and four UFC fights in 2021). Back down to her natural 115-pound weight class, I think Lupita Godinez can ride her strong grappling for a W over Muay Thai specialist Looma Lookboonme.
Terrance McKinney (-115) vs Fares Ziam
‘T.Wrecks’ says ‘hold my beer, Loopy’, as this is his fifth fight in 2021 (after having none in 2020). Exploding onto the UFC scene with a knockout in his debut last summer, I’m counting on Terrance McKinney’s explosive striking to best Fares Ziam this week.
Qileng Aori (+130) vs Cody Durden
In this flyweight matchup, I’ll take the slightly bigger, slightly younger, far more active striker in Qileng Aori to keep Cody Durden out of the win column in his UFC career.
Sean Soriano (-280) vs Shayilan Nuerdanbieke
I don’t have much faith in either guy, but I have to make a pick so I’ll go with the better and more active striker in Sean Soriano over Shayilan Nuerdanbieke.
Luana Pinheiro (-450) vs Sam Hughes
The biggest favorite on the card, Luana Pinheiro’s superior all-around skills and finishing ability will get the job done against late replacement Sam Hughes in our opener.
Overall Record: 578-435
Return on Investment: -(3.9)%
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