Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will be back in action this weekend to stage UFC Vegas 58 on July 9, 2022, live on ESPN+ from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main event of the evening will feature an important Lightweight clash between former division champion, Rafael dos Anjos, and streaking contender, Rafael Fiziev. The co-headliner will feature an interesting middleweight battle between rising upstarts Caio Borralho and Armen Petrosyan.
But, before the UFC Vegas 58 main attractions play out a collection of scraps will spark the ESPN/ESPN+ main card. Let’s take a closer look at these main card match ups and how they are likely to unfold:
Bantamweight: Said Nurmagomedov vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
Best Win for Nurmagomedov? Cody Stamann For Silva de Andrade? Marlon Vera
Current Streak: Nurmagomedov and Silva de Andrade have both won their last two trips to the Octagon
X-Factor: Will Silva de Andrade’s power outlast Nurmagomedov’s pressure?
How these two match up: This is one of the more exciting match ups on the card and a true measuring stick for Nurmagomedov.
Having already fought the likes of Cody Stamann and Ricardo Ramos, Said Nurmagomedov’s upcoming Bantamweight showdown with Douglas Silva de Andrade is not his biggest to date. However, it may the most dangerous.
Silva de Andrade — who has been competing in UFC for more than eight years — is one of the most explosive and powerful fighters Nurmagomedov has ever faced. The Brazilian veteran has devastating one-punch knockout power and the strength to defend takedowns or get back to his feet when he hits his back. Silva de Andrade has already fought some of the best fighters in the division in Petr Yan, Marlon Vera, and Rob Font so he’s bringing a ton of experience into this main card bout, too.
However, Nurmagomedov is a persistent fighter who pressures his opponents from the opening bell. He offers a beautiful combination of striking and wrestling that makes him dangerous wherever the fight goes, which is why the Russian contender has already scored a guillotine choke and spinning back kick knockout through just four UFC wins. Look for Nurmagomedov to rely on his motor, high output and durable chin to wear down Silva de Andrade and escape with a dominant decision.
Prediction: Nurmagomedov via unanimous decision
Heavyweight Jared Vanderaa vs. Chase Sherman
Best Win for Vanderaa? Justin Tafa For Sherman? Ike Villanueva
Current Streak: Both fighters have combined to lose their last seven trips to the Octagon
X-Factor: This is low-level heavyweight MMA
How these two match up: These two share a lot of UFC experience, but this isn’t a great main card Heavyweight pairing.
Every week, UFC seems to showcase a Heavyweight fight that has no business being featured on a main card. While we respect Jared Vanderaa and Chase Sherman and appreciate what they do this week, they are the Heavyweight fillers.
After beginning his UFC career with a 2-1 record, Vanderaa has gone on to drop his last three trips to the cage. Sherman, on the other hand, has turned in a 1-4 record since re-joining the promotion back in 2020 following a stint in bare knuckle boxing. Neither fighter has shown an improvement over the past few years and are simply placeholders in UFC at this point in their careers.
On paper, Vanderaa’s mixture of striking and grappling should allow him to dictate this fight and control Sherman from the opening bell. Sherman does have the better knockout ability and overall athleticism, but he tends to overextend himself and typically finds himself battling back on the scorecards. While this could result in a finish for Vanderaa in the later rounds, it’s likely to go the distance.
Prediction: Vanderaa via unanimous decision
Lightweight Michael Johnson vs. Jamie Mullarkey
Best Win for Johnson? Dustin Poirier For Mullarkey? Devonte Smith
Current Streak: Johnson snapped a four-fight losing streak his last time out, while Mullarkey is coming off a technical knockout loss to Jalin Turner
X-Factor: What Michael Johnson will we get?
How these two match up: This was one of the last match ups added to the card, but an intriguing one as Johnson is coming off his first win since 2018.
This is one of the more difficult fights to predict on UFC Vegas 58’s main card because we just don’t know what Michael Johnson we’re going to get come Saturday night. It could be the struggling veteran on his last legs or the powerful knockout artist who uses speed and athleticism to out-duel his opponent.
We just don’t know.
Mullarkey, on the other hand, is as consistent and predictable as they come. He’s one of the tougher fighters in the 155-pound division and someone who is going to bite down on his mouthpiece and exchange in close quarters. He also has the ability of mixing in a variety of takedowns as he’s currently averaging over three per 15 minutes inside of the Octagon.
While Johnson recently snapped a four-fight losing streak with a blistering knockout finish over Alan Patrick this past May it’s probably not wise to count on a repeat performance this weekend in Las Vegas. Mullarkey should be able to wear down “Menace” with his attacks and open up a finish in the second or third round.
Prediction: Mullarkey via technical knockout
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.