This weekend (Sat., June 25, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will return to UFC Apex and Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 57. The top two fights of the night are true quality, a collision of Lightweight dark horses in Mateusz Gamrot vs. Arman Tsarukyan alongside Welterweight’s top gate keeper, Neil Magny, locking horns with ultra-hot prospect, Shavkat Rakhmonov. Before those bouts, however, there are some quality up-and-comers look to take another step up the ladder.
Let’s take a closer look at these main card match ups:
Heavyweight Josh Parisian vs. Alan Baudot
Best Win for Parisian? Roque Martinez For Baudot? Yuto Nakajima
Current Streak: Parisian lost his last bout, while Baudot is winless in three trips to the Octagon
X-Factor: This is low-level Heavyweight MMA
How these two match up: This should be on the “Prelims,” but UFC Apex seems to demand at least one crappy Heavyweight bout per main card.
Parisian is a flashy striker who definitely has big power in his hands. Unfortunately, his wrestling hasn’t exactly held up at the UFC level, leaving Parisian struggling to show off the more dangerous aspects of his game. Baudot, meanwhile, has some good technical and rangy Muay Thai, but he’s also struggled with getting stuck on bottom and battered.
Thankfully, neither of these strikers seems all that likely to hold the other down.
Parisian is a big ole’ Heavyweight at 6’4” and 265 pounds, and with 10 knockout wins to his credit, he could definitely end this one early. However, I actually was mildly impressed with what Baudot brought to the table on his feet last time out vs. Parker Porter. He looked genuinely slick and was landing some tricky shots — a technical notch above most random undercard Heavyweights.
Against a more straightforward striker, I expect that technical edge to make the difference.
Prediction: Baudot via decision
Lightweight: Thiago Moises vs. Christos Giagos
Best Win for Moises? Bobby Green For Giagos? Damir Hadzovic
Current Streak: Moises has lost two in a row, and Giagos lost last time out
X-Factor: Can Giagos stop the shot?
How these two match up: This is a quality scrap between skilled 155 pounders.
Moises broke into the rankings briefly on the strength of his jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai. Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite handle the Sambo prowess of Islam Makhachev (can anyone?) nor the size and power of Joel Alvarez, and those to defeats ejected him from that position near the top of the division.
Giagos hasn’t quite been able to string together a win streak bold enough to carry him up the ladder, but he’s proven himself a worthy member of the roster. A skilled wrestler with crafty boxing and footwork, Giagos is a rather tough out for most Lightweights, even if he’s not an overwhelming athlete.
The odds are high this is a competitive, back-and-forth fight, as both men have definite advantages. Moises is the better Muay Thai fighter, but Giagos puts together combinations more effectively. The Brazilian is the slicker submission fighter, but Giagos just might be the better wrestler ...
Since I don’t expect Giagos to be able to hold down his opponent for long periods of time, the deciding factor comes back to athleticism for me. Moises is a few years younger and seems to be the quicker man. If the two are going tit-for-tat, Moises is likely to pull ahead late.
Prediction: Moises via decision
Bantamweight: Nate Maness vs. Umar Nurmagomedov
Best Win for Maness? Tony Gravely For Nurmagomedov? Sergey Morozov
Current Streak: Manness has won three in a row to start his UFC career, while Nurmagomedov is 14-0 with two wins inside the Octagon
X-Factor: Maness sets a really high pace
How these two match up: Bantamweight always provides the scraps.
Maness has been all action throughout three UFC fights. His toughness and ability to push a hard pace proved the deciding factor in his recent bout versus Gravely, taking heavy damage before overwhelming his opponent in the second. Russia’s Nurmagomedov is — surprise! — an excellent wrestler with a smothering top game. He’s finished his last three opponents via rear naked choke, which should give you an indication of his overall fight style.
I really respect Manness’ guts and approach to fighting. Unfortunately, it’s going to be hard to force a pace from bottom position. Nurmagomedov is damn good at shutting down movement and locking in position, which largely eliminates the advantage of a deep gas tank. It’s highly difficult to exhaust an opponent when you’re stuck on bottom, and it doesn’t seem like Manness has the wrestling to deny the initial shots.
Nurmagomedov continues his undefeated run with another strangulation.
Prediction: Nurmagomedov via submission
Welterweight: Chris Curtis vs. Rodolfo Vieira
Best Win for Curtis? Brendan Allen For Vieira? Dustin Stoltzfus
Current Streak: Curtis has won two UFC bouts in a row, while Vieira rebounded last time out
X-Factor: Vieira’s gas tank is not to be trusted
How these two match up: This is the night’s purest striker vs. grappler match up.
“The Action Man” fought many excellent opponents for top promotions prior to his UFC debut. Fortunately, all that experience has served him well, as the counter puncher has really thrived since finally joining the roster. He’s comfortable in the cage and plenty powerful, and he seems to have found his home at 185 pounds.
Vieira, meanwhile, is an incredible grappler. He’s legitimately one of the best jiu-jitsu guys on the planet, but he’s still undergoing mixed martial arts (MMA) growing pains. Still, his last fight was a promising development, as the Brazilian showed some improved boxing and three rounds worth of cardio.
Curtis is going to need an absolutely incredible performance to win this fight. Vieira is the far larger and stronger man, and Curtis has always struggled with opponents determined to take him down. In short, Vieira is going to get him down early, and when that happens, Vieira typically dominates.
Curtis’ path to victory is to survive long stretches in miserable positions, eventually get back up, and then capitalize upon his opponent’s fatigue ... if Vieira’s gas tank indeed remains a liability. The situation would have to align perfectly, and the odds of an earlier submission just seem more likely.
Though, keep in mind, I’ve been wrong about Curtis’ last two outcomes as well.
Prediction: Vieira via submission
‘X-Factor’ Picks for 2022: 29-17
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 57 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN2/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ESPN/ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 57: “Tsarukyan vs. Gamrot” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.