UFC Vegas 38 is set to go down later tonight (Sat., Oct. 2, 2021) live from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, streaming live online exclusively via ESPN+. Headlining the event will be a hard-hitting Light Heavyweight affair between Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker. In UFC Vegas 38’s co-main event, Kevin Holland returns to face Kyle Daukaus.
Santos was at one point in time on the verge of winning the 205-pound title, but a bum knee definitely affected his performance against former division kingpin, Jon Jones, when they collided at UFC 239. Despite the multiple injuries “Marreta” suffered during the fight, he took the former champ to the edge, ultimately coming up short via split decision. Unfortunately for the hard-hitting Brazilian, things only went downhill from there, losing back-to-back fights to Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic (both stoppages). The losses slowed his roll and showed the chinks in his armor for all his future foes to take advantage of. But, Santos is still as dangerous as they come because one well-placed punch or two can be an early night for his opponents.
Walker, meanwhile, was at one time was considered a legit title contender after starting off his UFC career with three straight first round technical knockout wins. He hit a speed bump in his journey in the form of Corey Anderson, who knocked him out at UFC 244. Walker went on to lose his next fight via decision to Nikita Krylov before he was able to get back on track with a win over Ryan Spann, knocking him out in the first round. The towering Brazilian striker is not short on confidence despite his recent woes, claiming that he will be the next UFC “champ-champ” once he disposes of Santos. While you can’t hate on the confidence, Walker has a tough task ahead in his way to achieving his goals. Santos has him in the power advantage but Walker has the size and reach that he can use to control the pace. If he can survive Santo’s bursts of violence in the beginning, he has a good shot at sending him home with his fourth straight defeat.
It’s not a bad a card, actually. We’re now in the final quarter of a very busy and interesting year for UFC and the promotion is looking to end the year with a bang. Aside from several big pay-per-view (PPV) events coming up, the rest of the “Fight Night” slate looks somewhat decent (except this).
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Jimmy Crute and Jamahal Hill were briefly linked to this event before it was ultimately moved to a fight card in December. Leonardo Santos was pulled from his fight against Alexander Hernandez for undisclosed reasons and replaced by Mike Breeden.
There were no injuries reported for this event, however, a fight between Aspen Ladd and Macy Chiason was scratched after Ladd missed weight in what was truly a scary sight to see at the weigh-in show. As you can see in this video, Ladd was shaking on the scale so bad that a proper reading could not be obtained. After she eventually weighed in — coming in at 137 pounds — Ladd was helped off the stage only to have the fight canceled a few hours later. The right move.
Breeden got the late call up to face Hernandez after Santos was pulled from the event. Breeden is currently riding a two-fight win streak and has competed in several organizations throughout his career, including his professional debut under the Bellator banner in 2017. Going 5-1 over his last six was good enough to earn him the call up to the big leagues after he failed to impress on “Contender Series.” He is in for a tough fight against Hernandez, who — despite his setbacks — is still a formidable foe. His is coming off a loss to Thiago Moises so he will be extra motivated to pick up a win and spoil the UFC rookie’s debut.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Antonina Shevchenko just can’t seem to find her groove. Since making her UFC debut in 2017, the older sister of current women’s Flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko, Antonina has alternated wins and losses to the tune of earning a 3-3 record. She is coming off a loss to Andrea Lee so if history tells us anything is that she’s due for a win. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. She is in for another tough outing against Casey O’ Neill, who is undefeated (7-0), including winning her first two UFC fights.
Alejandro Perez will look to avoid his third straight defeat when he battles Johnny Eduardo — who has also lost his last two fights — in the opening bout of the evening. Stephanie Egger threw up a dud in her UFC debut by losing to Tracy Cortez via unanimous decision. Prior to the loss, Egger was on a two-fight win streak and had won five of her last six fights. She will face Shanna Young who also failed to impress in her UFC debut opposite Macy Chiasson.
Douglas Silva de Andrade and Gaetano Pirrello are also in search of wins after losing their last bouts inside the Octagon to Lerone Murphy and Ricky Simon, respectively. In the Welterweight division, Devonte Smith will look to make it two straight when he tangos with Jamie Mullarkey, who is coming off a big win over Khama Worthy, which stopped the bleeding of his two-fight skid.
Bethe Correira plans to call it a day in her combat career and it would be nice to go out with a win if that is indeed the case. She will face Karol Rosa, who is on fire right now with five straight wins. Rosa hasn’t lost in three years and she has shown no signs of slowing down. A win over a former UFC title contender would be huge for her resume.
Joe Solecki will look to extend his win streak to seven after racking up six straight victories dating all the way back to 2018. He is undefeated (3-0) inside the Octagon and is fresh off a huge win over long-time UFC veteran, Jim Miller. He will face Jared Gordon, winner of two in a row in what will be the headlining undercard bout.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Santos clearly needs a win here after suffering three straight losses in a row. Coughing up his fourth straight against Walker could be a disaster and possibly lead to him getting the pink slip. If he does lose again, perhaps a trip back down to Middleweight is in order if he gets another opportunity. For now, though, “Marreta” needs to focus all his energy on getting a win to prevent digging himself a deeper hold he can’t climb out of.
Interest Level: 7/10
The card is pretty decent to be honest. The main event should be fire and the co-main between Kevin Holland and Kyle Daukaus could steal the show. Holland has already solidified himself as a fan-favorite and his fighting style always makes for must-see television. But, after losing two in a row, “Trail Blazer” decided to hit the lab and brush up on his wrestling. Naturally, six months of extensive training in one area is not nearly enough, but Holland has been putting in the work, though his opponent doesn’t seem to think he’ll be able to show off anything new. That’s why Daukaus is confident he can hand Holland his third straight defeat.
Alex Oliveira and Niko Price are two of the most exciting fighters on the roster who always bring it night-in, night-out. Both men are in search of win because Oliveira has dropped his last two, while Price is coming off a loss and is just 1-3-1 in his last five UFC fights. While the bout will be entertaining, it could spell the end for one of their careers if they don’t put up a good show in defeat.
Two fighters who are also looking to get a place back in the winner’s circle are Misha Cirkunov and Krzysztof Jotko, who are coming off losses to Ryan Spann and Sean Strickland, respectively. Neither man wants to go 0-2, so the motivation will be there for both 185-pound combatants who are trying to break into the Top 15.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Vegas 38 Main Event On ESPN+:
205 lbs.: Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker
UFC Vegas 38 Main Card On ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Kyle Daukaus vs. Kevin Holland
170 lbs.: Alex Oliveira vs. Niko Price
205 lbs.: Misha Cirkunov vs. Krzysztof Jotko
135 lbs.: Macy Chiasson vs. Aspen Ladd(CANCELED)
155 lbs.: Alexander Hernandez vs. Mike Breeden
UFC Vegas 38 ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Jared Gordon vs. Joe Solecki
125 lbs.: Casey O’Neill vs. Antonina Shevchenko
135 lbs.: Bethe Correia vs. Karol Rosa
155 lbs.: Jamie Mullarkey vs. Devonte Smith
135 lbs.: Gaetano Pirrello vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
135 lbs.: Johnny Eduardo vs. Alejandro Perez
135 lbs.: Stephanie Egger vs. Shanna Young
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change due to COVID-19.*