With Movsar Evloev out of commission and scheduled foe Bryce Mitchell rebooked for UFC 282, women’s Strawweight contenders Marina Rodriguez and Amanda Lemos take center stage when the promotion continues its APEX residency this Saturday (Nov. 5, 2022) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also on tap for the ESPN+-streamed show are a Welterweight bout pitting Neil Magny against Daniel Rodriguez and Josh Parisian versus Chase Sherman up at Heavyweight.
UFC Vegas 64 features seven “Prelims” undercard bouts this time around, split 4/3 for your convenience. Enjoy the first course below ...
115 lbs.: Polyana Viana vs. Jinh Yu Frey
Polyana Viana (12-5) announced her arrival in UFC’s Strawweight decision with a first round submission of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran Maia Kahaunaele. She’s 2-4 since, and most recently saw a two-fight win streak snapped at the hands of Tabatha Ricci.
All of her professional wins have come inside the distance, eight via submission.
Jinh Yu Frey (11-7) followed her winless (0-2) UFC start with consecutive decisions over Gloria de Paula and Ashley Yoder. Then came Vanessa Demopoulos, who defeated Frey via controversial split decision.
She faces two-inch height and reach disadvantages.
Both of these women have underwhelmed in the Octagon, but there’s a key difference. Frey, though she fell back into old habits against Demopoulos, seems to have at least recognized the passivity issues that have dogged her throughout her career. Viana, on the other hand, once again threw away a winnable fight by allowing Ricci to sit in her guard for rounds at a time.
Though I can’t trust either of them to execute to the best of their abilities, Frey seems the likelier of the two to put together and execute a winning gameplan. In the end, she wears down Viana with pressure and racks up top control to claim a decision win.
Prediction: Frey via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Liudvik Sholinian vs. Johnny Munoz Jr.
Liudvik Sholinian (9-2-1) emerged as a Cinderella story on TUF 29, beating top pick Mitch Raposo in the opening round; however, he couldn’t get past eventual winner, Ricky Turcios, his next time out. He ultimately made his Octagon debut opposite Jack Shore, resulting in “Palmeyros’” first professional defeat since 2018.
This marks his first professional fight in almost 14 months and just his second since 2019.
Despite a strong start, Johnny Munoz Jr. (11-2) suffered his first professional defeat in his late-notice UFC debut opposite Nate Maness. He got back on track by tapping Jamey Simmons, but later succumbed to Tony Gravely’s power just 68 seconds into their fight.
He’s scored seven submissions and two knockouts as a professional.
The only way Sholinian wins this is by making it unwatchable. Munoz is by far the more fearsome Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist, and though he’s not known for his striking, it historically hasn’t been difficult to work around Sholinian’s basic pressure. Thus, the one viable approach for Sholinian is grinding Munoz against the fence (and mat) for as long as possible.
I don’t see it happening. So long as Munoz’s cardio holds up, he should have plenty of chances to initiate the grappling on his own terms. In short, he finds Sholinian’s back and polishes him off late in the first.
Prediction: Munoz via first round submission
125 lbs.: Carlos Candelario vs. Jake Hadley
Though he lost a controversial decision to Victor Altamirano in his second Contender Series appearance, the efforts of Carlos Candelario (8-2) earned him a spot in the Octagon. He ultimately debuted in May 2022, falling to top prospect Tatsuro Taira.
He is the taller of the two by one inch.
Despite missing weight on Contender Series, a submission of Mitch Raposo impressed Dana White enough to earn Jake Hadley (8-1) a UFC contract. This set up a May 2022 UFC debut against Allan Nascimento, who out-grappled “White Kong” to hand the Brit his first professional defeat.
His professional finishes are split 4/2 between submissions and knockouts.
This feels like another match up where Candelario’s lack of dynamism will come back to bite him. Though he hypothetically possesses the skills to exploit the same weaknesses in Hadley that Nascimento did, Hadley is the significantly faster of the two and the more well-equipped to turn small openings into fight-ending sequences. If Candelario does possess an overall technical edge, which is far from a sure thing, it’s not significant enough to overcome Hadley’s physical advantages.
I’d like to believe that Hadley’s loss to Nascimento was a learning opportunity, and if he’s taken the right lessons from it, Hadley’s in a good position to earn his first UFC win. He bullies Candelario into an ill-advised level change and snatches up his neck.
Prediction: Hadley via first round submission
135 lbs.: Tamires Vidal vs. Ramona Pascual
Tamires Vidal (6-1) had the misfortune of running into Karol Rosa in just her second professional bout, resulting in her first defeat. Her current five-fight win streak includes two submission wins and a disqualification over Ailin Perez.
She is the shorter of the two by two inches.
Ramona Pascual (6-4) rode a four-fight win streak into her UFC debut, which saw her fall to Josiane Nunes. She was more competitive against Joselyne Edwards her next time out, but still walked away on the wrong end of a controversial decision.
Five of her six wins have come by stoppage, four in the first round.
Pascual is definitely one of the least impressive members of UFC’s Bantamweight division. It was flat-out comedic to watch her eat eight million kicks from Edwards without actually responding. Thing is, Vidal might actually be even more limited. Her stand up is functionally nonexistent outside of an ugly overhand right and she only seems to know one or two takedowns.
Vidal’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu is good enough to win her the day if she ends up on top, but the way Perez rag-dolled her in the clinch suggests that she might not be able to drag down even a poor grappler like Pascual. Pascual’s ability to do damage in the clinch and Vidal’s preference for wading into the pocket should result in a quick, ugly phone booth beatdown by Pascual.
Prediction: Pascual via first round technical knockout
Three more UFC Vegas 64 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict, including the return of Benito Lopez after three years away. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 64 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 64: “Rodriguez vs. Lemos” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.