After a rare week off, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back at it again to stage another action-packed night of fights. UFC Vegas 23 will go down later today (Sat., April 10, 2021) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the event will be a Middleweight bout between Marvin Vettori and Kevin Holland. In the co-main event, Arnold Allen takes on Sodiq Yusuff in Featherweight action.
Holland’s hype train was derailed by Derek Brunson a few weeks ago after what UFC President, Dana White, called a “mental breakdown” by “Trailblazer.” It wasn’t. What it was, though, was a great performance by Brunson. No fret, Holland has a chance to right his ship rather quickly after he stepped in for an injured Darren Till against Vettori. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for Holland, who competed a whopping six times in the span of 10 months from May 2020 to March 2021, going 5-1 in the span. Taking a fight against Vettori on short notice isn’t ideal, but it can pay big dividends for “Big Mouth” if he can get the job done.
Vettori has been on an absolute tear since mid-2019, winning four in a row, which includes a big win over Jack Hermansson (see it again here). Other than Kelvin Gastelum, Vettori gave current Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya his toughest test to date, losing to him via razor-thin split decision in April 2018. “The Italian Dream” has proven his worth, but a big win over Holland could be just what he needs to score his much-desired rematch against “The Last Stylebender,” this time for all of the marbles. While Holland has proven to be legit, I just don’t see him bouncing back in this fight. Vettori has a bit more power and snap in his strikes, and if he catches “Trailblazer,” it could be an early trip to the showers.
There’s not much to complain about here. It’s a solid card for some mid-day action. And all things considered, the event turned out okay despite losing its original main event and a couple of fights because of COVID-19.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
The main event was originally set to feature a showdown between Vettori and Darren Till. But after “The Gorilla” suffered a collarbone injury, he was forced out of the fight and replaced by Kevin Holland. Julian Marquez agreed to step in to face Sam Alvey after Zak Cummings withdrew from the bout for undisclosed reasons.
Also, William Knight stepped in on short notice to face off against Da Un Jung after Shamil Gamzatov — Jung’s original opponent — ran into visa issues that forced him to bow out of the contest. A main card fight between Kyle Daukaus vs Aliaskhab Khizriev was pulled from the line up on April 7 because of COVID-19 protocols. A fight between UFC newcomer Elain Blanchfield and Norma Dumont Viana was canceled after Dumont missed weight by 3.5 pounds. Blanchfield was stepping in short notice for Bea Malecki, who withdrew from the bout for undisclosed reasons.
Other than Till’s broken collarbone, no other injuries were reported for this event.
Ignacio Bahamondes will make his Octagon debut when he takes on John Makdessi. Bahamondes earned his way to the Octagon with a blistering knockout win via front kick over Edson Gomez on “Contender Series.” Winning seven of his last eight, Bahamondes is in for a tough challenge in his first UFC fight because “The Bull” — though coming off a loss to Francisco Trinaldo — is a tough draw for anyone, let alone a UFC newbie.
Luis Saldana has won four straight fights, including a big win on Dana White’s “Contender Series,” which earned him a contract on the biggest stage. He will lock horns with Jordan Griffin, a Featherweight who hasn’t exactly made the most of his UFC opportunity, going just 1-3 so far.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Long-time veteran Jim Miller will take part in UFC fight number 37 when he faces off against Joe Solecki, winner of five in a row. In further action, Scott Holtzman looks to get back into the winner’s circle when he faces off against Mateusz Gamrot, who threw up a dud in his UFC debut in Oct. 2020. Prior to losing to Guram Kutateladze, Gamrot had won 17 in a row with one “No Contest” sandwiched between.
Heavy hitter Yorgan de Castro is hoping to break his two-fight skid and keep his spot on the UFC roster when he faces Jarjis Danho — who has yet to pick up a win inside the Octagon in two tries — in Heavyweight action. Also, undefeated Bantamweight prospect, Jack Shore, looks to add to his 13-0 record (2-0 UFC) as he battles Hunter Azure, winner of two of three inside the Octagon.
Light Heavyweight sensation Da Un Jung will look to keep the momentum of his 12-fight win streak going against William Knight, winner of nine of his first 10 fights. In his last outing, Jung fought to a draw against Sam Alvey, which hit the pause button on his win streak. As for Knight, eight of his nine wins have come by way of technical knockout.
After suffering the first loss of his pro MMA career at the hands of Joaquin Buckley, Impa Kasanganay eyes the start of a new win streak as he battles Sasha Palatnikov in the opening fight of the night. Palatnikov won his UFC debut by taking out Louis Cosce in Nov. 2020, improving his young MMA record to 6-2 as a Welterweight.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Alvey is currently in the worst slump of his MMA career, having lost four of his last five fights. In his previous bout, he fought to a draw against Da Un Jung. “Smilin’ Sam” needs a win here against Julian Marquez to hold onto his spot on the bloated roster. Because while he may be a long-time UFC veteran, he doesn’t have the appeal that let’s say a Mike Perry has. I say Perry because he also needs a win after going a horrid 3-7 since 2016. But Dana White loves him some “Platinum,” so he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
For Alvey, getting a win over Marquez will be a tough task to say the least because he has won six of his last seven ... excluding the big “L” he took with Miley Cyrus, of course. “The Cuban Missile Crisis” is as tough and hard-nosed as they come with all eight of his MMA wins come by way of stoppage. He is 2-1 so far in his young UFC career and was last seen defeating Maki Pitolo via anaconda choke at UFC 258 in Feb. 2021.
Interest Level: 6.5/10
It’s a pretty decent line up with some rather intriguing matchups to compliment a revamped main event that may just be better than the original one. Co-headlining the event will be a Featherweight scrap between Arnold Allen and Sodiq Yusuff. Allen is riding a highly-impressive nine-fight win streak and has won 16 of his first 17 pro MMA fights. He is perfect inside the Octagon (7-0), good enough to put him in the Top 10. But Allen wants more, as in Top 5 competition. Yusuff is currently ranked No. 11, so taking him out is another good step in the right direction. Yusuff is also undefeated inside the Octagon, winning his first four contests to increase his win streak to six. This is a banger of a matchup that could set up the winner for bigger and better things in a stacked 145-pound division.
Mike Perry is still chugging along and still has a secure spot in the UFC roster despite a less-than stellar run inside the Octagon. Losing three of his last four, Perry has a 7-7 record inside the Octagon, but is just 3-6 since 2017. So while he embodies the “Just Bleed” attitude, he needs to string together a few impressive wins. His next matchup is a tough one against rising prospect Daniel Rodriguez.
Prior to having his nine fight win streak snapped in his last outing by Nicolas Dalby at UFC 255, Rodriguez was 3-0 inside the Octagon. Rodriguez has the intensity and striking to match Perry’s pace and is just a bit crisper on the feet. That doesn’t bode well for “Platinum,” who tends to get a bit wild at times. If Rodriguez can get a win over Perry here, Dana White and Co. are going to have a tough time trying to justify keeping “Platinum” around when making their next round of cuts.
Nina Ansaroff returns after a lengthy layoff, which saw her take time off to welcome her first child into the world with her partner and current women’s “champ-champ,” Amanda Nunes. Ansaroff last competed at UFC 238 in June 2019, losing to Tatiana Suarez via unanimous decision, ending her four fight win streak in the process. She will be facing off against Mackenzie Dern, who is looking for her fourth straight win, bouncing back nicely from her first loss against Amanda Ribas in Oct. 2019. While Dern has cemented herself as an elite grappler, her striking is improving, and she will need that against Ansaroff, who trains daily with the best female striker in the game.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Vegas 23 Full Fight Card:
UFC Vegas 23 Main Event on ABC/ESPN+:
185 lbs.: Marvin Vettori vs. Kevin Holland
UFC Vegas 23 Main Card on ABC/ESPN+ (3 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Arnold Allen vs. Sodiq Yusuff
185 lbs.: Sam Alvey vs. Julian Marquez
115 lbs.: Nina Ansaroff vs. Mackenzie Dern
170 lbs.: Mike Perry vs. Daniel Rodriguez
UFC Vegas 23 Prelims Card on ESPN/ESPN+ (12 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Jim Miller vs. Joe Solecki
155 lbs.: Mateusz Gamrot vs. Scott Holtzman
135 lbs.: Norma Dumont vs. Erin Blanchfield- CANCELED
155 lbs.: Ignacio Bahamondes vs. John Makdessi
265 lbs.: Jarjis Danho vs. Yorgan De Castro
135 lbs.: Hunter Azure vs. Jack Shore
145 lbs.: Jordan Griffin vs. Luis Saldana
205 lbs.: William Knight vs. Da Un Jung
185 lbs.: Impa Kasanganay vs. Sasha Palatnikov
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change due to COVID-19.*
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 23 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN / ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ABC / ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 23: “Vettori vs. Holland” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.