After a lengthy stint on “Fight Island,” Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, this Saturday (Oct. 31, 20200 for its latest card on ESPN+. UFC Vegas 12’s main event sees Uriah Hall face the legendary Anderson Silva, while Bryce Mitchell attempts to continue his rapid ascent up the Featherweight ranks at Andre Fili’s expense.
UFC Vegas 12 features seven “Prelims” undercard bouts this time around, split 4:3 for your perusal. Let’s begin ...
170 lbs.: Cole Williams vs. Jason Witt
Cole Williams (11-2) entered the Octagon last year on a nine-fight win streak, unbeaten since a 2009 decision loss to veteran Eric Spicely. Though he showed some bravery in stepping up on short notice to face Claudio Silva, it wasn’t enough to save him from a first-round submission defeat.
He has knocked out and submitted four professional foes apiece.
Jason Witt (17-6) went from starting his pro career 8-4 to joining the UFC in June with a 17-5 record. He replaced Ramiz Brahimaj at the last minute and was rewarded for his efforts with a 48-second knockout loss to Takashi Sato.
He gives up two inches of height and three inches of reach to Williams.
There’s a nice bit of symmetry here, as both men are generalists who got crushed by specialists in their short-notice debuts. The oddsmakers list this as the closest match up on the card and I’m inclined to agree.
I do, however, favor Williams. He just seems to be a slightly sharper striker and, critically, has enough pop to floor the historically fragile Witt. There’s plenty of potential for surprises thanks to the pair getting stomped before they got a chance to show their skillsets, but the height, reach and durability discrepancies have me picking Williams.
Prediction: Williams via first-round technical knockout
205 lbs.: Dustin Jacoby vs. Justin Ledet
Dustin Jacoby (12-5) washed out of UFC in 2012 after consecutive losses to Clifford Starks and Chris Camozzi, and after a run on the regional circuit, found impressive amounts of success kickboxing under the Glory banner. After returning to MMA with a decision over Cody East in 2019, he put an absolute beating on Ty Flores in an August “Contender Series” clash to once again earn a spot in the Octagon.
He has knocked out eight professional foes and submitted one other.
Despite scoring victories over Chase Sherman, Mark Godbeer and Azunna Anyanwu in his first three UFC appearances, Justin Ledet (9-3) elected to drop to Light Heavyweight in 2018. This move has failed to pay dividends, and he enters the cage this Saturday on a three-fight losing streak.
He’ll enjoy a two-inch reach advantage over Jacoby.
As impressive as Jacoby was in the first half of his Contender Series bout, his cardio proved a point of concern. If he’s shored that up in these last couple months, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t win this. Ledet’s genuinely impressive boxing chops are let down by his nonexistent output and poor ground game, and while Jacoby might not be able to do much with the latter, he can definitely exploit the former.
Jacoby just has too many weapons for Ledet, especially considering the latter’s penchant for self-sabotage. Kickboxing triumphs over boxing as he outworks Ledet for a comfortable decision win.
Prediction: Jacoby via unanimous decision
125 lbs.: Cortney Casey vs. Priscila Cachoeira
It’s now been four years since Cortney Casey (9-8) last won consecutive bouts, a stretch that at one point featured three consecutive split decisions. She scored her first finish since 2016 this past May, tapping Mara Romero Borella with a bonus-winning armbar, but could not overcome Gillian Robertson on short notice a month later.
She sports a two-inch reach advantage over the Brazilian.
Priscila Cachoeira (9-3) — who infamously debuted against Valentina Shevchenko back in 2018 — came up short in her first three Octagon bouts. With her back against the wall, she scored a much-needed one-punch finish of Shana Dobson in February to earn Performance of the Night.
The victory marked her fifth professional knockout.
Casey is honestly fascinating in her own way, simultaneously overachieving and underachieving. She finds far more success than her limited skillset should allow, but also seems unable to make the final push necessary to secure a decisive victory. That still puts her a step above Cachoeira, who has a solid punch and practically nothing else.
With a clear edge on the ground and enough striking acumen to hold her own against the free-swinging Brazilian, Casey has the tools to win this without issue. Knowing her, she’ll probably end up making it more difficult on herself than necessary.
Prediction: Casey via split decision
135 lbs.: Miles Johns vs. Kevin Natividad
Miles Johns (10-1) claimed the LFA Bantamweight title with a split decision over Adrian Yanez in 2018, then claimed a UFC contract by beating Richie Santiago on the Contender Series. Though he successfully outlasted Cole Smith in his inaugural Octagon appearance, his sophomore effort saw him fall victim to a flying knee from Mario Bautista.
He stands one inch taller than Kevin Natividad (9-1) at 5’7.”
Natividad went 13-1 as an amateur, beating future UFC competitor Kai Kamaka III along the way, before debuting professionally in 2016. He currently rides a five-fight winning streak, including a knockout of Kyle Estrada in July. He was slated to debut against Brian Kelleher in September, but withdrew at the last minute due to COVID.
On the one hand, Johns is the better boxer and wrestler, giving him the advantage essentially wherever the fight goes. On the other hand, he badly underperformed against Bautista, neglecting his takedowns in favor of standing with a striking specialist and ultimately paying the price. Doing the same here is not advised, as Natividad can definitely thump.
If Johns fights with even a modicum of proper gameplanning, he shouldn’t have too much trouble. If he doesn’t, Natividad will knock his block off. I’m picking the former on the off-chance that Johns’ last fight was a learning experience.
Prediction: Johns via unanimous decision
Three more UFC Vegas 12 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict, including the return of Sean Strickland and “Contender Series” standout Adrian Yanez’s Octagon debut. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 12 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 12: “Silva vs. Hall” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.