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UFC Vegas 62 preview: ‘Grasso vs. Araujo’ predictions

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is just one day away from the upcoming UFC Vegas 62 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which is set to go down tomorrow night (Sat., Oct. 15, 2022) from inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a women’s flyweight main event between Top 10 title hopefuls Alexa Grasso and Viviane Araujo, a five-round headliner with serious title implications for late 2022 and beyond.

Before we dive into the main and co-main events, which includes the bantamweight collision between Cub Swanson and Jonathan Martinez, check out Patrick Stumberg’s breakdowns for the UFC Vegas 62 preliminary card — which he wrote on Gisele Bündchen’s iPhone using speech-to-text — by clicking here and here. In addition, in-house pro fighter Andrew Richardson covered the rest of the UFC Vegas 62 main card right here.

For the latest “Grasso vs. Araujo” odds and betting lines courtesy of our fiscal friends over at Draft Kings go here.

Let’s get to work.

125 lbs.: Alexa Grasso vs. Viviane Araujo

Alexa Grasso

Record: 14-3 | Age: 29 | Betting line: -205
Wins: 4 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 9 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 5’5“ | Reach: 66” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.92 | Striking accuracy: 43%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.79 | Striking Defense: 63%
Takedown Average: 0.54 (57% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 60%
Current Ranking: No. 5 | Last fight: Submission win over Joanne Wood

Viviane “Vivi” Araujo

Record: 11-3 | Age: 35 | Betting line: +175
Wins: 3 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 4 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 5’4“ | Reach: 68” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.76 | Striking accuracy: 48%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 5.13 | Striking Defense: 58%
Takedown Average: 2.23 (60% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 90%
Current Ranking: No. 6 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Andrea Lee

Alexa Grasso vs. Viviane Araujo is probably not the main event most fans expected for UFC Vegas 62 but in defense of both flyweights, there isn’t a matchup anywhere else on the ESPN+ fight card that is important enough to replace it. On the plus side, the promotion has a chance to build new stars while providing both women with an opportunity to establish themselves as major players in the 125-pound weight class. Watching Valentina Shevchenko struggle against Taila Santos at UFC 275 was good for business because it proves that Grasso or Araujo also have a chance to pull the sword from the proverbial stone, assuming tomorrow night’s headliner produces fireworks. The only fighters ranked ahead of Grasso and Araujo are Santos, Katlyn Chookagian, Lauren Murphy, and Jessica Andrade, who have already lost to Shevchenko in recent title fights. It also helps that Mackenzie Dern continues to falter when it matters most, losing an important decision to Xiaonan Yan just a few weeks back. Simply put, a victory for Grasso or Araujo could result in the next division title shot, unless Shevchenko and Santos end up running it back for the sake of a more definitive outcome.

Grasso steamrolled the competition under the Invicta FC banner from 2014-16 and rightfully earned a contract with UFC. Unfortunately, the Mexican mauler got off to a shaky start, posting a 3-3 record but has since found her footing to rattle off three straight wins, including her submission finish over Joanne Wood at UFC Columbus back in March. Similarly, Araujo racked up a 6-1 record on the international circuit — with all six wins ending by way of knockout or submission — before making her Octagon debut in early 2019. Since that time, “Vivi” has posted a 5-2 record and is coming off a decision victory over Andrea Lee at UFC Vegas 54 last May. Statistically speaking, both fighters are fairly even across the board, on offense as well as defense, but Araujo is just one fight removed from a decision loss to Katlyn Chookagian. In addition, “Vivi” is turning 36 in just a few weeks whereas Grasso turned 29 back in August. The Brazilian is a dangerous fighter with scary power for a flyweight and her wrestling could be the difference maker here, I just think Grasso will be the fresher fighter in the second half of the fight and technically speaking, a bit more polished where it counts.

Expect a very close fight.

Prediction: Grasso def. Araujo by decision

135 lbs.: Cub Swanson vs. Jonathan Martinez

“Killer” Cub Swanson

Record: 28-12 | Age: 38 | Betting line: +175
Wins: 13 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 11 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 7 SUB, 3 DEC
Height: 5’8“ | Reach: 70” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.66 | Striking accuracy: 50%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.65 | Striking Defense: 60%
Takedown Average: 1.08 (51% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 61%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Darren Elkins

Jonathan “Dragon” Martinez

Record: 16-4 | Age: 28 | Betting line: -205
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 7 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 2 DEC, 1 DQ
Height: 5’8“ | Reach: 70” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.72 | Striking accuracy: 48%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.77 | Striking Defense: 60%
Takedown Average: 0.54 (50% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 73%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Vince Morales

Cub Swanson turns 39 in just a few weeks and has been competing in UFC for well over a decade, not including his run for Reed Harris under the WEC banner. The longtime featherweight, who ranks No. 3 in the division in wins, finishes, and total fights, has done enough over the years to keep himself employed, while also doing too little to maintain a spot in the Top 15 of the official rankings. I think by now most of us know what to expect from a Swanson fight and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but “Killer” is hastily cutting down to the bantamweight division because he — according to his announcement — simply needs a new challenge in his life. It’s not often you see a fighter dropping down in weight on the heels of a sensational first-round knockout, but here we are, and maybe Swanson is thinking that a few big wins gets him right into the 135-pound title picture. I wouldn't mind seeing Swanson battle someone like Song Yadong or Sean O’Malley along the way.

Before any of that becomes reality Swanson will first have to dispose of bantamweight up-and-comer Jonathan Martinez, who crossed over from the regional circuit back in late 2018 and quietly put together a 7-3 record across 10 fights, which includes his current three-fight winning streak. I don’t like to criticize any performance that ends with a “W” but it would be nice to see Martinez score a victory without the help of the judges’ scorecards. Like Swanson at featherweight, “Dragon” remains unranked at 135 pounds mostly because his competition has also been unranked, so don’t expect anything to change with a “Killer” victory this weekend in “Sin City.” That said, laying waste to a veteran with the name value of Swanson is likely to get Martinez a Top 15 opponent his next time out, so there is a lot at stake for both fighters at UFC Vegas 62 (and just three rounds to get it done).

It’s hard to confidently pick a fighter without first seeing them make weight in a new division but Swanson is a seasoned pro and I can’t imagine he would be trying this at 39 if he didn’t have complete confidence he could pull it off. Both fighters have a similar offense-first approach, lots of striking mixed with the occasional takedown, unless they are facing a superior wrestler. What’s not similar is their level of experience, as Swanson has faced just about every big name there is to face at 145 pounds, from Jose Aldo to Max Holloway and beyond, defeating Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier along the way. By contrast, Martinez has beaten the likes of Lijiburen Wu, Pingyuan Liu, and Zviad Lazishvili. No disrespect intended to anyone listed above, but this is not the kind of resume that leaves me feeling confident when it comes time to pick a winner, even with Swanson’s double-digit losses.

Prediction: Swanson def. Martinez by unanimous decision

Remember, the rest of the UFC Vegas 62 main card predictions are RIGHT HERE.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 62 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 62 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Grasso vs. Araujo” fight card and ESPN+ line up click here.

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