UFC Vegas 9: Matchup By Matchup

Alistair Overeem vs Augusto Sakai

Elevation Fight Team’s Alistair Overeem is saddling up for what he calls one last ride for UFC gold. “The Demolition Man” has reached championship status in nearly every promotion that he has fought for — except the UFC. Overeem was able to outlast a Category 5 storm from Walt Harris back in May before reversing the tide and picking up a second round finish.

Sakai has solid Muay Thai skills and, like most heavyweights, hits hard enough to produce a knockout. He can grapple some, but Overeem was a world champion grappler.

Look for a similar game plan from Overeem as he used against Jairzinho Rozenstruik, where he won 24:50 of that fight before getting caught with short time in the round.

The Demolition Man takes one step closer to another title shot.

Ovince St. Preux vs Alonzo Menifield

This is a rescheduled bout, but not much in my thought process from a couple weeks ago has changed. Of course Menifield soul snatching power, but I just don’t know how much of the conditioning gap he was able to bridge with the extra time. With OSP having previously testing positive for COVID-19, there are question marks around how the virus may have impacted his cardiovascular system. Cardio is always a question with these muscle monsters, we will have to see how this element on top of The Rona impacts OSP Saturday night.

OSP is flat out tough. He is also a much better grappler in this matchup, which is where I see the key to victory coming for him. Give me OSP.

Michel Pereira vs Zelim Imadaev

Michel Pereira’s toughest opponent has been himself over the course of his last couple fights. Whether his wild, high-energy movement zapped him, or an overzealous attack saw an illegal knee land, this guy is not a typical coming-off-back-to-back-losses kind of guy. He is must see TV. 

His explosiveness alone gets him the nod from me.

Brain Kelleher vs Kevin Natividad

Boom Kelleher should win this matchup pretty handily. No disrespect to Natividad, there is just a major experience gap here on top of it being a within a couple days short notice matchup. Considering that Kelleher’s last opponent was #12 Cody Stamann and Natividad is making his UFC debut, hammer Kelleher here.

Thiago Moises vs Jalin Turner

I love the “Tarantula” Jalin Turner’s style. He’s entertaining, he’s long for the division and creates issues with his reach. However, Moises is a bad dude and Turner has some long legs for him to grab a hold of. 

I’m taking Moises on the Moneyline for sure, for the bold, think about sinking your teeth into a submission finish wager.

Bartosz Fabinski vs Andre Muniz

Muniz is on a five fight winning streak. It continues.

Montana De La Rosa vs Viviane Araujo

De La Rosa has won four of five and has looked solid in the process. The Elevation Fight Team prospect has her work cut out for her with Viviane Araujo, though. Araujo is a finisher, and she can do it everywhere. She has finishes by heel-hook, armbar, overhand punches, and stoppages due to the damage she inflicted.

The 25-year-old De La Rosa is also a tough test for the 33-year-old Araujo, who is looking to rebound from a decision loss to Jessica Eye last December.

I like De La Rosa in this one, though I must say it was the toughest pick on the card and it can honestly go either way. If you’re looking for a fun line to play, look at either the De La Rosa decision or Araujo finish.

Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs Alexander Romanov

I am excited to see Alexander Romanov make his debut. He’s big, powerful, and nasty. He is undefeated and will finish his opponents in highlight reel fashion with slams or forearm chokes.

Marcos Rogerio de Lima is a solid test for him to cut his teeth with. He’s a solid vet with some finishes who will likely stand and bang with him.

Romanov finishes the fight in his debut, possibly taking home a $50k bonus in his debut.

Cole Smith vs Hunter Azure

Both of these guys are hungry to get back in the winner’s circle after suffering their first career loss. I like the rebound potential from Azure as he comes from a camp, The MMA Lab, that boasts a lot of high-caliber fighters in and around his weight class. Coach John Crouch is world-renowned and has a solid program.

Give me Azure for the Moneyline.

-Jordan Kurtz is a founding member of Comments From The Peanut Gallery and The MMA Plug and can be followed on Instagram at @CommentsFromThePeanutGallery and @TheMMAPlug303

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