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UFC Vegas 58 predictions: Early ‘Prelims’ undercard preview | dos Anjos vs. Fiziev

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing more “Prelims” fights to ESPN/ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., July 9, 2022) when UFC Vegas 58: “dos Anjos vs. Fiziev” returns to UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Vegas 58 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Smith vs Teixeira Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, this Saturday (July 9, 2022) for its latest “Fight Night”-themed event on ESPN+/ESPN, this one helmed by a transplanted main event between Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev. Also on tap for UFC Vegas 58 are a clash of Middleweight prospects pitting Caio Borralho against Armen Petrosyan and a potentially explosive Bantamweight battle in Said Nurmagomedov vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade.

We’re sitting at six “Prelims” undercard bouts at the moment, as UFC brass has yet to find a replacement foe for David Onama at time of writing. Let’s get that first batch looked at ...

LIVE! Stream UFC San Diego On ESPN+

PIVOTAL BANTAMWEIGHT CLASH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to San Diego, Calif., on Sat., Aug. 13, 2022, for the first time since 2015 with a pivotal battle between top-ranked Bantamweight contenders that will see No. 5-ranked Marlon Vera take on former champion and No. 8-seeded Dominick Cruz. In San Diego’s co-main event, Nate Landwehr and David Onama will collide in a Featherweight showdown between dynamic 145-pound hopefuls.

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

185 lbs.: Cody Brundage vs. Tresean Gore

Cody Brundage (7-2) didn’t have the smoothest entry into UFC, falling to William Knight on the Contender Series and subsequently dropping a decision to Nick Maximov in his short-notice debut. With his back against the wall, he survived an early onslaught to dispatch Dalcha Lungiambula via bonus-winning guillotine.

Six of his seven pro wins have come inside the distance, split evenly between knockouts and submissions.

Tresean Gore (3-1) first made his name on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28 by beating Ryder Newman, then established himself as a genuine threat with a violent knockout of Gilbert Urbina. Though injury kept him from facing Bryan Battle at TUF 28 Finale, he ultimately got the chance to settle the score in early 2022, only to drop a unanimous decision.

He boasts a three-inch reach advantage over Brundage.

This is a tall ask for Gore in just his fifth professional fight, and some of his struggles with Battle suggest that it may be too tall. Brundage won’t be picking him apart with mobile, long-distance kickboxing, of course; however, Battle found a lot of success keeping him against the cage and constantly threatening takedowns. Brundage’s wrestling outstrips Battle’s, and he’s experienced enough that Battle’s power shouldn’t scare him off.

It can, admittedly, still shut him off. Brundage is nobody’s idea of a defensive wizard. He did, however, show the durability and composure to both withstand Lungiambula’s best shots and come back with a guillotine. So long as he stays on the front foot, he’s dangerous enough to wear down Gore with wrestling and eventually find his neck.

Prediction: Brundage via third round submission

205 lbs.: Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Karl Roberson

Two wins on Contender Series carried Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-3) to the Octagon, where he bounced back from a debut loss to Paul Craig by winning three straight. He now finds himself in the midst of a career-first losing streak, suffering a knockout defeat to Da Un Jung and a bogus decision defeat to Nicolae Negumereanu.

He’s the taller of the two by four inches and sports a nine-inch reach advantage.

Karl Roberson (9-5) started his UFC career 4-2, the only losses coming to TUF: Brazil winner, Cezar “Mutante,” and future Light Heavyweight champion, Glover Teixeira. The success wasn’t to last, as “Baby K” went on to suffer three consecutive stoppage defeats.

His professional stoppages are split 4/3 between submissions and knockouts.

Roberson really feels like he should be better than he actually is. He’s got an excellent striking pedigree and has steadily developed a functional ground game during his Octagon tenure, but he seems dead-set on making things difficult for himself. Willingly grappling with Wellington Turman, trying to play footsies with a superior jiu-jitsu player in Brendan Allen ... he just can’t seem to actually wrangle his various skills into a cohesive offense.

That’s what has me picking Nzechukwu. Roberson has the skills to get inside of Nzechukwu’s reach and get to work with takedowns or power shots, just not the game-planning to execute while getting peppered by a much larger man. In the end, Nzechukwu’s volume edges out Roberson’s sporadic bursts of success.

Prediction: Nzechukwu via split decision

135 lbs.: Ronnie Lawrence vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov

Despite entering as an underdog, Ronnie Lawrence (8-1) dominated Jose Johnson on Contender Series to secure a UFC contract. He was similarly dominant in his Octagon debut against Vince Cachero, though he had to survive some late trouble to defeat Mana Martinez in his sophomore effort.

“The Heat” will have a 1.5-inch reach advantage on fight night.

Team Oyama’s Saidyokub Kakhramonov (9-2) claimed the CFFC Bantamweight title in March 2021 with a vicious knockout of Tycen Lynn. Five months later, he successfully debuted in the Octagon by choking out Trevin Jones late in the third frame.

His last four wins have come inside the distance (as did his first three).

It’s honestly baffling that they buried this fight so far down the “Prelims,” while putting the likes of Jamie Pickett vs. Denis Tiuliulin and Jared Vanderaa vs. Chase Sherman on ESPN’s main card. It’s an excellent match up between highly promising prospects who, though grapplers by trade, regularly put on entertaining and fast-paced battles.

As well-matched as it is, though, Lawrence should have a comfortable edge. Kakhramonov showed a vulnerability to getting controlled against the fence and taken down during his blitzes against Jones, and while you could chalk that up to the short notice, Lawrence’s movement and combination striking give him an edge on the feet as well. Kakhramonov could clip him with one of his usual haymakers, but Lawrence survived the genuinely horrific power of Martinez, so I wouldn’t bank on that possibility.

In short, Lawrence picks him apart at range and mixes in regular takedowns for the win.

Prediction: Lawrence via unanimous decision

Three more UFC Vegas 58 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict, including the return of TUF winner, Ricky Turcios. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs.


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 58 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ESPN/ESPN+) at 9 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 58: “dos Anjos vs. Fiziev” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.