UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, once more plays host to mixed martial arts (MMA) action this Saturday (Oct. 31, 2020) when Uriah Hall dukes it out with Anderson Silva on ESPN+. UFC Vegas 12 will also see Bryce Mitchell attempt to keep his undefeated record intact against Andre Fili and fast-rising Middleweight Makhmud Muradov square off against the ever-tricky Kevin Holland.
Three UFC Vegas 12 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict (check out the first batch here), all of them just a scroll away ...
155 lbs.: Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Alexander Hernandez
Chris Gruetzemacher (14-3) reached The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 22 quarterfinals before falling to Artem Lobov, then claimed his first Octagon victory with a decision over Abner Lloveras at the Finale. “Gritz” then suffered consecutive submission losses to Chas Skelly and Davi Ramos, but bounced back by battering Joe Lauzon into submission at UFC 223.
This will be his first fight in 2.5 years because of a torn ACL.
Alexander Hernandez (11-3) looked poised for, well, greatness after dominant Octagon victories over Beneil Dariush and Olivier Aubin-Mercier, but has recently struggled to regain his early form. Knockout losses to Donald Cerrone and Drew Dober sandwich a hugely controversial decision win over Francisco Trinaldo, leaving Hernandez’s UFC prospects teetering on the brink.
This is a clear-cut do-or-die fight for Hernandez. The Cerrone loss appears to have beaten his confidence into mush, leaving him to awkwardly cosplay as a technician when he’s at his best marching forward and imposing his strength. Luckily for him, even that version of him should be sufficient to overpower Gruetzemacher, who offers little besides forward pressure and decent wrestling.
Assuming there’s anything left of the spark that made Hernandez a must-watch prospect, he’s got the edge everywhere. Harder punches and superior takedowns carry him to a wide decision win.
Prediction: Hernandez via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Adrian Yanez vs. Victor Rodriguez
Though his two biggest LFA bouts saw him drop split decisions to Domingo Pilarte and Miles Johns, Adrian Yanez (11-3) punched his ticket to “Contender Series” with three consecutive wins. Once there, he made the most of his opportunity by flattening Brady Huang in just 39 seconds.
His eight professional stoppage wins include six by form of knockout.
Victor Rodriguez (7-2) dropped consecutive bouts in 2014 before spending 3.5 years on the sidelines. Upon his return, he scored four consecutive knockouts and claimed the Alaska FC Bantamweight belt in the process.
“Vicious” steps in for the injured Aaron Phillips on less than two weeks’ notice.
Not to disparage Rodriguez’s abilities, but Yanez should demolish him in short order. Yanez is by far the better boxer, and while Rodriguez can dish out some damage if he ends up on top, Yanez has held his own against superior wrestlers in the past. Rodriguez is simply too easy to hit to survive against a puncher of this caliber, especially one with the iron chin needed to walk through Rodriguez’s own haymakers.
Long story short, this is a mismatch. Yanez blows him up with a right hand sometime in the first round.
Prediction: Yanez via first-round knockout
185 lbs.: Sean Strickland vs. Jack Marshman
Sean Strickland (20-3) came out of the UFC gate strong, racking up five wins in his first six Octagon appearances. “Tarzan” now finds himself in the midst of a 2-2 stretch, wins over Court McGee and Elizeu Zaleski sitting alongside losses to Kamaru Usman and Elizeu Zaleski.
This will be both his first Middleweight appearance since 2014 and his first fight period in almost exactly two years.
Jack Marshman (23-9) extended his win streak to seven with an upset knockout of Magnus Cedenblad in his Octagon debut, only to fall into a 2-4 slump afterwards. His most recent bouts have seen him narrowly edge out fellow Welshman John Phillips and subsequently fall short against top prospect Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC 239.
He steps in for Wellington Turman — who tested positive for COVID — on short notice.
“Hammer” boasts grit for days and some genuine pop in his hands, but he’s effectively out-classed everywhere. It’s a complete wash on the mat, where Strickland’s wrestling and submission chops reign supreme, and Strickland’s jab combines with his three-inch reach advantage to make the stand up equally perilous.
Marshman’s one ray of hope lies in simply outworking Strickland, who can be hesitant to actually let his power punches go. Considering Strickland’s monumental edge on the ground, though, the likelier outcome sees him lean on his wrestling for an early takedown and quick submission.
Prediction: Strickland via first-round submission
Eh, they can’t all be UFC 254, but UFC Vegas 12 has the potential to be sneaky fun. See you Saturday, 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.