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UFC Vegas 41 preview, ‘Costa vs Vettori’ predictions

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Former UFC middleweight title contenders Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori, who are both coming off championship losses to reigning division kingpin Israel Adesanya, will fight for the right to stay alive in the 185-pound title chase courtesy of the UFC Vegas 41 main event on Sat. night (Oct. 23, 2021) inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. And like every UFC fight card — both good and bad — we’re here to help decide who wins and who loses tomorrow night in “Sin City.”

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 44 On ESPN+

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., Dec 4, 2021, with a thrilling Bantamweight contenders’ bout that will see No. 4-ranked Rob Font battle No. 5-seeded Jose Aldo. In UFC Vegas 44’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Lightweight contender, Brad Riddell, squares off with No. 14-seeded Rafael Fiziev in a striking fan’s dream fight.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Before we dive into the main and co-main events, which includes the lightweight throw down between Grant Dawson and Ricky Glenn, head over to the UFC Vegas 41 preliminary card breakdown casually deconstructed by black market booster shot peddler Patrick Stumberg here and here. Resident MMA hero Andrew Richardson did most of the heavy lifting for the rest of the UFC Vegas 41 main card right here. For the latest “Costa vs. Vettori” odds and betting lines make sure to check out the sports handicapper rankings before getting in on the action.

Let’s break it down ...

185 lbs.: Paulo Costa vs. Marvin Vettori

Paulo “The Eraser” Costa

Record: 13-1 | Age: 30 | Betting line: +120
Wins: 11 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 1 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 6’1“ | Reach: 72” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 7.03 | Striking accuracy: 57%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 6.70 | Striking Defense: 50%
Takedown Average: 0.00 (0% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 80%
Current Ranking: No. 2 | Last fight: Technical knockout loss to Israel Adesanya

Marvin “The Italian Dream” Vettori

Record: 17-5-1 | Age: 28 | Betting line: -140
Wins: 2 KO/TKO, 9 SUB, 6 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 5 DEC
Height: 6’0“ | Reach: 74” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.88 | Striking accuracy: 43%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.04 | Striking Defense: 63%
Takedown Average: 2.24 (47% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 78%
Current Ranking: No. 5 | Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Israel Adesanya

Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori are coming off championship losses to reigning 185-pound titleholder Israel Adesanya and unfortunately for both “The Eraser” and “The Italian Dream,” their five-round headliner won’t even land them at second best in the division. That distinction goes to former champion Robert Whittaker, who will look to reclaim his crown against “The Last Stylebender” at UFC 270 in January. Third best? You could make an argument for the winner of Derek Brunson vs. Jared Cannonier, who also collide at UFC 270, because Costa — despite his 13-1 record — had the easiest schedule of all the aforementioned combatants. In fact, “The Eraser” only holds one victory over a fighter currently employed by UFC, and that’s the hot-and-cold Uriah Hall, who sports double-digit losses and never cracked the Top 5 in his eight years as a UFC middleweight. Not that anyone should be gushing for Vettori’s accomplishments, but Jack Hermansson is a legitimate tough out and Vettori took Adesanya to the cards in two separate fights, which is a lot more than Brunson and Costa can say.

I don’t want to dismiss Costa simply because he got clowned by Adesanya, but at the same time, I’m not going to give him a free pass or entertain his goofy “I drank wine” excuse. He’s still a hulking brute with big power and a punishing, go-for-broke style. That works against washed-up welterweights like Johny Hendricks, or panicked strikers who tend to get caught on their heels like Hall. Vettori will not be afraid to get hit and in many ways rises to the occasion when the fists start flying. Any middleweight with the chin to go eight rounds against Adesanya across two fights is a formidable foe and part of me wonders what will happen to Costa once he realizes “The Italian Dream” is not going to close up shop at the first sign of danger. I also think it’s worth noting that “The Eraser” has not seen action in over a year and has never gone past a third round. Conversely, Vettori has already racked up three five-round fights in the last 10 months, so I would expect his conditioning to be superior.

Costa lands over seven significant strikes per minute, one of the highest percentages in the division, but he also eats just as many in return. That kind of activity looks great in the eyes of the judges and let’s face it, Vettori strikes like Soda Popinski gallops, which is why he’s never scored a knockout in UFC (yet). Fortunately his head is built like an Italian coconut so he can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. If this was a three-round battle, I might be more inclined to pick Costa, who will land early and often. But as the fight drags on and the beefy Brazilian punches himself out, Vettori will take over and slug the exhausted “Eraser” until the referee takes pity and intervenes.

Prediction: Vettori def. Costa by technical knockout

155 lbs.: Grant Dawson vs. Ricky Glenn

Grant “KGD” Dawson

Record: 17-1 | Age: 27 | Betting line: -350
Wins: 4 KO/TKO, 11 SUB, 2 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 5’10“ | Reach: 72” | Stance: Switch
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.40 | Striking accuracy: 48%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.10 | Striking Defense: 51%
Takedown Average: 3.44 (34% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 40%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Knockout win over Leonardo Santos

Ricky “The Gladiator” Glenn

Record: 22-6-1 | Age: 32 | Betting line: +270
Wins: 12 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 6 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 4 DEC
Height: 6’0“ | Reach: 70” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.39 | Striking accuracy: 42%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.27 | Striking Defense: 53%
Takedown Average: 0.66 (13% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 66%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Knockout win over Joaquim Silva

Grant Dawson was originally booked to fight No. 11-ranked lightweight veteran Diego Ferreira; however, the Brazilian was bounced due to injury and the promotion opted to keep Dawson on the card, so Ricky Glenn was summoned for the UFC Vegas 41 co-main event. A lot of pundits consider “The Gladiator” to be a step down from Ferreira but keep in mind the Brazilian is coming off back-to-back losses — including a knockout to Gregor Gillespie — and turns 37 in just a few weeks, whereas Glenn, 32, pasted Joaquim Silva to get back into the win column at UFC Vegas 29 last June. I guess the biggest knock against the Iowan is his consistency, or lack thereof, going 4-3 in seven trips to the Octagon. On the flip side, all three losses have come by way of decision and Glenn has continually proved he’s a tough nut to crack. He’s also easy to take down, getting dragged to the floor six times by Dennis Bermudez in their summer 2018 affair. That’s a worrisome stat when you consider that Dawson — an accomplished high school wrestler — has scored 14 takedowns in five bouts under the UFC banner. Coupled with his brown belt in jiu-jitsu, “KGD” was able to rack up 11 submissions in 17 pro wins, along with another eight submissions on the regional circuit.

There’s a lot to like about the future of Dawson, who is still just 27. He’s well rounded and comes from a great camp. If you haven’t been paying attention to the headlines over the last year, former UFC welterweight James Krause is quickly becoming one of the most respected and sought-after coaches in the game. At the same time, I don’t want to get too carried away because Dawson has yet to show what he can do against a Top 15 fighter and yes, part of that blames falls on Ferreira. Glenn may not have a name that’s as recognizable as the Brazilian’s, but he’s just as dangerous and perhaps even more so with such a lopsided betting line because he’s got nothing to lose. All the pressure is on Dawson and that can break some fighters, but Dawson looks like the kind of athlete who thrives in those situations. I would expect a competitive, back-and-forth round to kick things off, but eventually Dawson is going to take over the fight. A late finish would not surprise me.

Prediction: Dawson def. Glenn by submission

Remember, the rest of the UFC Vegas 41 main card predictions are RIGHT HERE.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 41 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 1 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 4 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 41 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archives here. For the updated and finalized “Costa vs. Vettori” fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.