Tiger Muay Thai’s terrifying young gun and Poland’s finest Lightweight lock horns at the APEX tomorrow evening (Sat., June 25, 2022) when Arman Tsarukyan and Mateusz Gamrot look to stake their claims as Top 10 155-pounders atop UFC’s return to Las Vegas.
Our usual main card guy stole an F-14 after a 24-hour Top Gun binge and is still at large, so this solemn duty falls to me once again. As always, you can find our UFC Vegas 57 “Prelims” analysis here and here, our “Tsarukyan vs. Gamrot betting guide and odds breakdown here, and Andrew Richardson’s professional appraisal of the remaining main card bouts here.
155 lbs.: Arman Tsarukyan vs. Mateusz Gamrot
Arman “Ahalkalakets” Tsarukyan
Record: 18-2 | Age: 25 | Betting line: -285
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 6 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 5’7” | Reach: 72” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.75 | Striking accuracy: 48%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 1.36 | Striking Defense: 61%
Takedown Average: 3.47 (37% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 78%
Current Ranking: No. 11 | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Joel Alvarez
Mateusz “Gamer” Gamrot
Record: 20-1 | Age: | Betting line: +240
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 8 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 5’10” | Reach: 70” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.79 | Striking accuracy: 47%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.69 | Striking Defense: 64%
Takedown Average: 5.83 (40%) | Takedown Defense: 100%
Current Ranking: No. 12 | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Diego Ferreira
Do you know the fun part about doing these breakdowns, besides besmirching Jesse Holland’s good name? I don’t keep a public tally of my main card picks, meaning I can indulge my weird gut picks without seeing my all-important percentages go down. And so I say, no trace of hesitation in my heart, that Mateusz Gamrot beats Arman Tsarukyan.
And no, this isn’t me trying to be the sort of hipster “true fan” asshole that looks down on people for having never seen “Gamer’s” work in KSW.
I’ve got my reasons.
I’ve been singing Tsarukyan’s praises since he was a fresh-faced 22-year-old gearing up to challenge Islam Makhachev in his UFC debut, and he’s more than lived up to the lofty expectations I had back then. That said, he hasn’t been flawless in the Octagon; Davi Ramos stuffed four of his five takedowns, Matt Frevola constantly found his way back to his feet, and even Christos Giagos stopped his double-leg in its tracks before Tsarukyan rendered the whole thing moot by knocking his block off.
He put Joel Alvarez through the wood chipper, sure, but “El Fenomeno” has literally never stopped a takedown in his UFC life and regularly insists on working from his back instead of getting the hell out of Dodge.
None of those guys outside of Makhachev hold a candle to Gamrot in terms of overall grappling prowess, both in terms of his wrestling and in terms of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) game that carried him to Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) before he had an unfortunate run-in with Garry Tonon in the opening round. Gamrot’s also got the advantage of five-round experience, having twice gone the full 25 minutes in KSW.
Tsarukyan’s probably the better overall kickboxer, but Gamrot’s no slouch on the feet, as Scott Holtzman discovered and then promptly forgot after Gamrot knocked the memory clean out of his skull.
I see this going a lot like Gamrot’s fight with Diego Ferreira. While Tsarukyan will likely be the bigger man on fight night and will more than hold his own early, Gamrot’s scrambling ability and experience in deep water figures to turn the tide before the championship rounds roll around.
Prediction: Gamrot def. Tsarukyan via split decision
170 lbs.: Neil Magny vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
Neil “Haitian Sensation” Magny
Record: 26-8 | Age: 34 | Betting line: +320
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 3 SUB, 16 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 6’3” | Reach: 80” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.67 | Striking accuracy: 45%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.17 | Striking Defense: 55%
Takedown Average: 2.37 (40% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 58%
Current Ranking: No. 10 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Max Griffin
Shavkat “Nomad” Rakhmonov
Record: 15-0 | Age: 27 | Betting line: -390
Wins: 8 KO/TKO, 7 SUB, 0 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 6’1” | Reach: 77” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 2.94 | Striking accuracy: 53%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 1.56 | Striking Defense: 57%
Takedown Average: 1.88 | Takedown Defense: 100%
Current Ranking: No. 15 | Last fight: Knockout win over Carlston Harris
Neil Magny has been here before. He was the underdog against Erick Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Carlos Condit, Li Jingliang, and Geoff Neal before beating the lot of them. He’s the division’s “Mr. Reliable,” an incredibly consistent cardio machine with basic-but-effective striking and a wrestling game that always seems to be just a bit better than you expected. If Rakhmonov isn’t something special, Magny’s exactly the sort of tried-and-true roadblock that could snap him back to reality.
Unfortunately, “Nomad” is something special. He’s too destructive on the feet for Magny to overwhelm with volume, too good a defensive wrestler for Magny to overwhelm on the mat, and so appallingly dangerous with his ground-and-pound that he only needs one stretch of top control to put Magny’s lights out.
This isn’t to say Magny doesn’t have a chance, of course. While Rakhmonov’s gone into the third round before, he’s never faced anyone this well-equipped to tax his cardio, and his brief issues with Carlston Harris showed a vulnerability to the sort of grinding clinch that Magny has successfully employed in the past. Plus, Rakhmonov has been rocked in the past, so it’s not out of the question that Magny could clip him.
Still, Rakhmonov’s stopping power and myriad ways to win are too much for me to overlook. He puts Magny away with punches midway through the second.
Prediction: Rakhmonov def. Magny via second round technical knockout
Remember to check out the rest of the UFC Vegas 57 main card predictions HERE.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 57 fight card right 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.