This weekend (Sat., Oct. 31, 2020), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will return to the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 12. How does a promotion follow up a mega event like UFC 254? Apparently, it holds an event on Halloween (is this a first?) and has the corpse of Anderson Silva keep it afloat. Quick joke aside, Saturday night’s event is actually pretty fun, featuring several of the staples who have kept UFC going during this quarantine era.
Let’s take a closer look at some main card fights:
Middleweight: Kevin Holland vs. Makhmud Muradov
Best Win for Holland? Darren Stewart For Muradov? Alessio di Chirico
Current Streak: Holland has won three straight bouts in the last five months, whereas Muradov has won two straight inside the Octagon and 13 total
X-Factor: Will Holland’s activity catch up to him?
How these two match up: Two rangy Middleweight kickboxers will throw down.
Holland is in the midst of a run for mayor of the UFC APEX. He’s competing against Bobby Green, as both men look to earn their fourth win inside that silent arena. All this experience inside the Octagon seems to be really benefitting “Trailblazer,” who appears to have turned a corner and grown more effective than ever.
Alternatively, Muradov has proven his talent in his first two Octagon appearances. The sole MMA fighter on “The Money Team” has appropriately slick range boxing and smooth movement, and his takedown defense has held up tremendously so far.
This is an interesting one. Holland has looked really sharp as of late, but it’s worth noting that each of his three recent wins came against opponents who were looking to close the distance. Holland found great counters as a result, but in Muradov, he’s facing an opponent who will be happy to trade range shots.
With neither man particularly active with takedown attempts, this will likely be a range kickboxing match, one where Holland’s dangerous clinch work is not going to come into play. Instead, Muradov has the better jab between the two, and I cannot help but consider how badly Stewart beat up Holland just one month ago.
In a fight likely to be close, wear-and-tear can be the deciding factor.
Prediction: Muradov via decision
Heavyweight: Greg Hardy vs. Maurice Greene
Best Win for Hardy? Yorgan de Castro For Greene? Junior Albini
Current Streak: Both men have won their last bout
X-Factor: Hardy’s athleticism edge
How these two match up: My expectations for excitement are low.
Greg Hardy is neither the fearsome knockout artist UFC was hoping for nor the washout his detractors would prefer. He’s a thoroughly okay Heavyweight prospect — Hardy can seemingly hit really hard or maintain a reasonable output for three rounds, though mixing the two is still beyond him.
Oddly enough, Greene is in somewhat of a similar position! He routinely fails to sit on his punches, which takes away his power, but he’s then able to fight at a higher pace. Admittedly, “Crotchet Boss” is also surprisingly dangerous on the mat, where he’s finished five of his foes via tapout.
Most likely, these two trade low kicks, jabs, and occasional flurries at one another for three rounds. Hardy is the more likely of the two to land a takedown, but that seems a poor idea given Greene’s submission edge. Maybe he tries to blow Greene out of the water immediately, but that’s less and less his style recently, and Greene is nothing if not tough.
Bleh. It’ll probably be reasonably close and slightly ugly, but Hardy hits with so much more speed and impact that Greene will have to seriously outpace him to win.
Prediction: Hardy via decision
Lightweight: Bobby Green vs. Thiago Moises
Best Win for Green? Josh Thomson For Moises? Michael Johnson
Current Streak: Green has won three straight in 2020 after years of relative inactivity, while Moises won his last bout
X-Factor: Moises’ leg lock game
How these two match up: Quality Lightweight action!
As mentioned above, Green has also picked up three quality wins inside the UFC APEX over the last few months. It sounds cliché to say that Green is better than ever, but well, he’s maintaining a higher pace, his boxing and timing are sharp, and his wrestling has consistently been on point.
The veteran has looked really, really good, and it’s great to see.
Moises is a talented up-and-comer who pretty much jumped in the deep end of 155-pound competition, and he’s survived! The former RFA champ has some quality jiu-jitsu, and he’s shown power on his feet as well.
Green is the better fighter here. He’s the much sharper kickboxer, and historically, Green’s a difficult man to take down and even more difficult to keep there. Issues with volume are historically the only thing holding him back, and those seem to be a thing of the past. It’s not quite a Jorge Masvidal-esque career revival, but the comparison makes sense on a few levels.
To win this bout, Moises has to pull off something extraordinary, like he did by pulling guard into an ankle lock opposite Michael Johnson. Unless lightning strikes twice, “King” takes home his fourth victory of 2020.
Prediction: Green via decision
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 12 fight card this weekend right here, 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.