A reeling contender meets a resurgent former champion this Saturday (Nov. 20, 2021) when Ketlen Vieira looks to end her current funk against the always-dangerous Miesha Tate inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC Vegas 43’s co-feature sees Michael Chiesa look to hand Sean Brady the first defeat of his professional career, while the rest of the main card features intriguing match ups like Kyung Ho Kang vs. Rani Yahya and Adrian Yanez vs. Davey Grant.
It’s November’s final event, and with the holiday season coming up, the time is now to save up for shopping. Let’s get cracking ...
What Went Wrong at UFC Vegas 42?
Put simply, it was not my finest hour. Two fighters that I expected to survive early adversity (Kennedy Nzechukwu and Ben Rothwell) didn’t, and another, Miguel Baeza, was firmly in control of his fight before making an idiotic mistake. The funniest, however, was Marc Diakiese. I said before the fight that he’d be fine as long as he didn’t shoot directly into Rafael Alves’ guillotine. Three guesses what “Bonecrusher” ended up doing? Ugh ...
Still, it didn’t quite undo all the good work from UFC 268, so we can still bounce back.
Pat Sabatini (-140) vs. Tucker Lutz (+120)
Rafa Garcia (-120) vs. Natan Levy (EVEN)
Lupita Godinez (-160) vs. Loma Lookboonmee (+140)
Farez Ziam (-110) vs. Terrance McKinney (-110)
Cody Durden (-150) vs. Aoriqileng (+130)
Sean Soriano (-275) vs. Shayilan Nuerdanbieke (+220)
Luana Pinheiro (-425) vs. Sam Hughes (+320)
Thoughts: Honestly, there’s more to work with here than those razor-thin margins would suggest. Tucker Lutz, Terrance McKinney, Cody Durden and Sean Soriano are all worthwhile investments.
Pat Sabatini may be perfect (2-0) in the Octagon, but he’s been far from flawless. He was profoundly ineffective in the third round of his debut bout against Tristan Connelly and was inches from defeat against Jamall Emmers before the latter initiated a doomed leglock battle. Lutz is every bit his match in the wrestling and is the more potent boxer, giving him the tools to dictate the fight without the mental lapses that doomed Emmers.
He’s definitely an underdog worth banking on.
On the one hand, McKinney is still extremely green and more reliant on explosive improvisation than consistent game planning. On the other, Fares Ziam barely lands two significant strikes per minute and has had very mixed results when trying to stop takedowns. McKinney’s potent wrestling looks like a highly effective weapon in this match up, and Ziam’s so damn inactive on the feet that “T. Wrecks” should have little issue closing the distance.
It’s a tad risky considering McKinney’s inexperience, but it should pay off.
As strong as Aoriqileng looked in his fight with Jacob Silva, he’s still a fairly one-note slugger, and he’s never dealt with a wrestler as potent as Durden. Without the size and distance management to defuse Durden the way Chris Gutierrez did or the submission skills to stun him like Jimmy Flick, “The Mongolian Murderer” is going to find himself taken down and stuck in back mount before long. Durden’s no slouch on the feet, either, so we can safely bank on him to overpower Aoriqileng without too much trouble.
Sean Soriano’s career has been one long cautionary tale about the need for takedown defense. He suffered his first professional defeat in 2014 when an aging Tatsuya Kawajiri mauled him on the mat and he’s lost six more fights on the ground since. While Shayilan Nuerdanbieke is a potent wrestler, the rest of his game is nonexistent, and he won’t enjoy the size advantage afforded to Christos Giagos in Soriano’s most recent defeat.
In the end, I like Soriano to take him apart on the feet.
Ketlen Vieira (-125) vs. Miesha Tate (+105)
Sean Brady (-155) vs. Michael Chiesa (+135)
Kyung Ho Kang (-115) vs. Rani Yahya (-105)
Taila Santos (-335) vs. Joanne Wood (+260)
Adrian Yanez (-300) vs. Davey Grant (+235)
Thoughts: Sean Brady and Adrian Yanez are the favorites of choice.
There’s no question that Michael Chiesa has fully acclimated to the Welterweight division (the guy was barely a Lightweight to begin with). That said, he’ll find it difficult to physically overwhelm a tank like Brady, and Chiesa’s shaky submission defense looks like a prime target for a ground artist of Brady’s caliber. Plus, even if Brady can’t find Chiesa’s neck, he’s the more seasoned striker of the two and has never been taken down in the Octagon, making sprawl-and-brawl a valid strategy.
Chiesa has surprised me before, but Brady looks like a safe bet.
I genuinely wish all the best for Davey Grant. Injuries screwed him out of most of his prime, but rather than play it safe, he’s become one of the most entertaining fighters in the Bantamweight division. However, I just don’t see this working out for him ... at all. That’s because Yanez’s jaw is made of concrete and his counter-punching makes Grant’s all-action slugging a death sentence. The only real concern for Yanez is Grant’s wrestling, which hasn’t always held up at the highest level.
In short, expect another dramatic finish for Yanez.
UFC Vegas 43 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Tucker Lutz and Adrian Yanez: Bet $150 to make $289.50
- Parlay — Terrance McKinney and Sean Soriano: Bet $120 to make $190
- Parlay — Cody Durden and Sean Brady: Bet $120 to make $208.80
UFC Vegas 43 features pivotal division match ups and some generally solid matchmaking to combine for a solid card ... hope you’ll join us for it. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Initial (Boosted) Investment For 2021: $600
Current Total For 2021: $2,034.93
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 43 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 43: “Tate vs. Vieira” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.