This weekend (Sat., Nov. 13, 2021), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will return to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 42. After two of the best pay-per-view (PPV) events of the year, the promotion is returning home with an action-heavy mix of fights. In the main event, Max Holloway will look to earn another title shot opposite high-flying kickboxer Yair Rodriguez, but there’s a lot to look forward to prior to that Featherweight showdown.
Let’s take a closer look at these main card donnybrooks:
Women’s Featherweight: Felicia Spencer vs. Leah Watson
Best Win for Spencer? Megan Anderson For Watson? Julija Stoliarenko
Current Streak: Spencer has lost two straight, while Watson won her UFC debut last time out
X-Factor: Watson hasn’t fought November 2018
How these two match up: Oh look, it’s a rare women’s Featherweight bout that doesn’t involve Amanda Nunes!
Spencer rose to the title mix following her submission victory over Anderson, and it’s generally her Brazilian jiu-jitsu that gets the job done. She’s a reasonably competent striker and ultra tough, but she has struggled when unable to secure the takedown in her last two bouts. Watson, meanwhile, is a product of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), and her last victory came at the show’s finale event. The Invicta veteran is primarily a kickboxer, and she’s won three of her bouts via knockout.
This is a classic striker vs. grappler match up that breaks down to whether or not Spencer can land the takedown. Admittedly, top position has been hard to come by as of late for Spencer, but it’s important to remember the caliber of her competition.
Amanda Nunes is “The Lioness,” plain and simple. Then, Norma Dumont is the division’s hottest up-and-comer and likely next title challenger, and that fight was competitive! Watson has yet to show she’s anywhere near that level, so this bout reads like a return to form for the Canadian.
Prediction: Spencer via decision
Middleweight: Roman Dolidze vs. Kyle Daukaus
Best Win for Dolidze? John Allan For Daukaus? Dustin Stoltzfus
Current Streak: Dolidze won his last bout, whereas Daukaus enters off his “No Contest” vs. Kevin Holland
X-Factor: Which man is the better wrestler?
How these two match up: With a bit of luck, this could be a really fun Middleweight contest rather than a slow-paced mess.
Dolidze has given us several looks inside the Octagon. He debuted with a slick head kick knockout, but since then, Dolidze has relied far more on his wrestling to control opponents to fairly uneventful victories.
Meanwhile, Daukaus has shown a lot of skill and talent in his UFC career, but that has yet to produce consistent victories. Still, the younger brother to top Heavyweight prospect Chris Daukaus has shown excellent jiu-jitsu, quality wrestling and an aggressive kickboxing game.
I think, finally, it produces a second UFC victory here.
Daukaus is five years younger than Dolidze, and he seems to have a technical advantage everywhere. Dolidze might be the stronger pure wrestler, but between the two, Daukaus is much more effective at hiding his takedown attempts. Once on the mat, Dolidze makes weird decisions like diving for leg locks, which will likely give Daukaus opportunities to advance position and do damage.
If this one stays standing, Daukaus puts together better combinations at a higher volume. He should consistently outwork the Georgian for a decision nod.
Prediction: Daukaus via decision
Bantamweight: Yadong Song vs. Julio Arce
Best Win for Song? Marlon Vera For Arce? Dan Ige
Current Streak: Both men won their last bout
X-Factor: Will one of these boxers mix in a takedown?
How these two match up: Bantamweight excellence will once again be on display.
Song pretty quickly dove into the deep end of Bantamweight competition, facing some really tough, experienced competitors in his last four contests to pretty solid results. The Chinese athlete has extraordinarily fast hands and genuine knockout power, but he’s proven himself a well-rounded fighter and capable finisher everywhere.
Arce is a really technical boxer. Now that he’s relocated to 135 pounds, Arce is facing less of a size disadvantage, which has seemingly resulted in a relative increase of punching power. He’s only lost via split-decision to tough opponents inside the Octagon, and thus far, his takedown defense has been excellent.
This is very likely to be a highly competitive kickboxing match. However, Yadong’s pure speed is likely to be the deciding factor. In addition to the athleticism edge, he showed great smarts in his last bout vs. Casey, targeting the body and picking his shots well. If he can mix it up and replicate that success here, he’s likely to stay a step ahead of Arce.
Prediction: Song via decision
‘X-Factor’ Picks for 2021: 29-21-2 (1)
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 42 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 42: “Holloway vs. Rodriguez” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.