After two mediocre weeks, I think I am now officially in a slump. But the good thing about the UFC is there is always another event just around the corner to get back on the horse and back into the winnings. This week the action returns to the UFC Apex for a Fight Night event featuring two top light heavyweights. Here are my winning (hopefully) UFC Vegas 54 predictions.
UFC Vegas 54 Predictions
All odds courtesy of PointsBet
Aleksandar Rakic (-190) vs Jan Blachowicz
Jan Blachowicz lost his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship last October to veteran Glover Teixeira, in a fight that he did not look good in. Since then he was temporarily paralyzed due to hernias near his spine and has turned 39 years old. I’ll be fading him and taking the much younger (nine years) Aleksandar Rakic, winner of six of his last seven, who also has much better knockout power than the former champ.
Ion Cutelaba (-220) vs Ryan Spann
We get 205-pounders in the co-main event as well, with ‘The Hulk’ going up against ‘Superman’. I’ll be siding with the chalk, ‘The Hulk’ Ion Cutelaba. Cutelaba is the far more aggressive and powerful striker, scoring 12 knockouts in 16 pro wins, and he also has superior grappling stats.
Davey Grant (-300) vs Louis Smolka
Now we jump down 70 pounds to the bantamweight division. Both these guys are finishers, so this fight may not go the distance. Both men also have very similar statistics, but I’ll throw my hat in with Davey Grant, as Louis Smolka is just too maddeningly inconsistent.
Amanda Ribas (+145) vs Katlyn Chookagian
Let’s go get some dog money with Amanda Ribas in her women’s flyweight bout. She’s five years younger than Katlyn Chookagian, is the more powerful striker (there’s that term again), and a better grappler. While ‘Blonde Fighter’ has been near the top for a long time, I think the young upstart has what it takes to beat her.
Manuel Torres (-130) vs Frank Camacho
Frank ‘The Crank’ Camacho was having a tough go at this UFC thing, going 2-5, before he got in a car accident last summer, injuring his back and neck. Now Camacho is back for the first time since June of 2020. I’ll go with the debuting Manuel Torres, six years his junior and possesser of a 12-2 pro record.
Jack Hadley (-220) vs Allan Nascimento
I’ll go with another debuting fighter, and graduate of Dana White’s Contender Series, in Jack Hadley. ‘White Kong’ had such an impressive performance on the show that he got a contract despite missing weight. That shows how highly thought of the 8-0 prospect is. I think he gets past inconsistent veteran Allan Nascimento in his official UFC debut on Saturday.
Andrea Lee (-115) vs Viviane Araujo
Andrea ‘KGB’ Lee came into the UFC with a lot of hype, and might finally be living up to it, finishing off her last two opponents. In a shallow weight class like women’s flyweight, a win on Saturday could have her up next for a title shot. I think she gets her hand raised for a third time in a row this weekend, on the strength of her striking.
Michael Johnson (-145) vs Alan Patrick
I really don’t know what to do with this lightweight fight. In fact, I just changed my pick once again and had to edit this. Michael Johnson hasn’t won a fight since October 2018, but Alan Patrick hasn’t won since February of the same year. Johnson is the better striker and younger, so I’ll take him. I guess.
Virna Jandiroba (-175) vs Angela Hill
I’m much more sure of this pick – Vira Jandiroba. I expect the grappling ace to take down Angela Hill at will and hopefully get a submission win (Hill has been tapped out a couple of times in her career; Jandiroba has 13 submissions in 17 pro wins).
Tatsuro Taira (-250) vs Carlos Candelario
These two debuting flyweights were supposed to hook up a couple of weeks ago before Carlos Candelario got ill a few hours before fight time. Here’s what I wrote then, which is still applicable:
Once again, I’m leaning on the books to be right here as I haven’t seen the debuting Tatsuro Taira fight before. He is 10-0 and the Shooto champ, and I like his resume a bit better than Carlos Candelario’s. Plus, being nine years younger is a huge age gap, especially in a light weight class like flyweight.
Andre Petroski (+300) vs Nick Maximov
This line baffles me. In my eyes, this is basically a pick ’em fight, as both these young middleweight prospects are very similar. Nick Maximov probably has better cardio, and maybe is a better grappler, but not enough for a line this huge. Let’s got get some massive plus money with Andre Petroski.
Overall Record: 728-518
Return on Investment: 2.6%