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X-Factor! Check out some UFC Vegas 64 main card predictions

UFC Fight Night: Salikhov v Staropoli Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

This weekend (Sat., Nov. 5, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will remain inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 64. Though Drakkar Klose’s knee injury last week did affect the card, for the most part, our portion of the main card has held up quite well. More to the point, these are actually some solid fights. The main event of Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Lemos doesn’t provide much “wow” factor, but fortunately, the rest of the night might actually make up for it.

In short, add UFC Vegas 64 to the list of prospective “under the radar” fun nights at the Apex. Let’s take a closer look at the match ups that lead up the to main event:

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 79 On ESPN+

HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Flyweight: Tagir Ulanbekov vs. Nate Maness

Best Win for Ulanbekov? Allan Nascimento For Maness? Tony Gravely
Current Streak: Both men lost their last bout
X-Factor: This is Maness’ Flyweight debut
How these two match up: This is quite the introduction for Maness to the Flyweight division.

Ulanbekov is a decorated Sambo champion, and he’s looked the part inside the cage. He’s actually a more capable striker than one might expect, but still, the Southpaw absolutely does his best work when chaining together takedowns and working from top position.

That’s precisely the style that saw Maness lost his first UFC bout last time out opposite Umar Nurmagomedov. Prior to that, Maness built a nice three-fight win streak that showed off his well-rounded skill set, physical gifts, and general toughness.

If Maness can make Flyweight successfully and without sacrificing performance, he’s in good position. It’s very difficult to consistently out-wrestle a larger and stronger opponent, especially when that foe has a kickboxing edge and more natural power. This could be an instant entrance to the rankings for Maness — a far shorter journey than the Bantamweight ladder would have been.

Unfortunately, I know a bit about what it takes to make 125 pounds. Maness stands 5’10,” and while he’s not exceptionally muscular for a UFC fighter, he’s also no beanpole. My money is on Maness struggling like heck to make weight, and even if he does beat the scale, he’s still got 15 grueling minutes of wrestling ahead of him.

Sounds like a bad time.

Prediction: Ulanbekov via decision

Heavyweight: Chase Sherman vs. Josh Parisian

Best Win for Sherman? Damian Grabowski For Parisian? Alan Baudot
Current Streak: Both men won their last bout
X-Factor: It’s low-level Heavyweight MMA
How these two match up: This fight doesn’t deserve a main card slot, no, but both men are good for a brawl.

At this point, the mixed martial arts (MMA) world has pretty much given up on Sherman ever developing into a fighter who consistently wins inside the Octagon. Fortunately, he’s tough as all hell and will fight to the bitter end, which has proven enough to stick around for a good while anyway.

The verdict isn’t quite in on Parisian, but it’s hard to be overly impressed so far. He’s alternated wins and losses through four fights, doing his best work on the canvas, but often struggling to get the fight there.

This is a pretty classic Heavyweight contest in which there’s a clear striker vs. grappler, but that doesn’t mean all that much. Parisian could still ding Sherman with an overhand and end the fight, while Sherman could reverse a crappy shot and finish from top position.

It will always be something of a toss up for those reasons.

Still, I feel mildly confident in “The Vanilla Gorilla.” He’s the better striker by a fair margin, and he’s historically got some reasonably solid takedown defense against opposition of this level. Unless Parisian shows some real improvement, Sherman should win more often than not.

Prediction: Sherman via knockout

Featherweight: Grant Dawson vs. Mark Madsen

Best Win for Dawson? Leonardo Santos For Madsen? Vinc Pichel
Current Streak: Dawson is unbeaten in seven UFC fights, while Madsen is 12-0 with four UFC wins
X-Factor: Dawson’s cardio is a bit unpredictable
How these two match up: This is a fun fight between would-be Lightweight contenders.

Dawson has shown some real promise in his unbeaten run. He has great jiu-jitsu, power in his hands, and excellent chain wrestling. However, his momentum has been limited because he’s jumped between weight classes, and on a couple occasions, looked rather vulnerable late in fights.

Still, his results cannot be questioned.

As for Madsen, the Olympian is gunning for the title. I wouldn’t personally predict on such a high rise for the 38 year old. Though his wrestling is obviously strong, he’s had some trouble implementing it in fights, and his kickboxing is fairly average by Lightweight standards.

I would have picked Klose over Madsen without a second thought. Dawson doesn’t match up quite as well stylistically, and the short-notice nature of the booking is concerning given his conditioning flaws (most notably against Rick Glenn). Even so, it’s hard to overlook that Dawson is simply better everywhere. Even in wrestling, he’s the more functionally effective takedown artist inside the cage — Olympic accomplishments be damned.

Being a decade younger doesn’t hurt his odds either. This is Madsen’s first time in the cage with a young, rising UFC Lightweight, and I don’t expect it to go all that well.

Prediction: Dawson via decision

‘X-Factor’ Picks for 2022: 43-28

Remember that 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.

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