New-school meets old-school inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, this Saturday (Aug. 6, 2022) when Jamahal Hill attempts to continue his rise through the Light Heavyweight ranks at Thiago Silva’s expense. The evening also hosts the two The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 30 Finale matches, which see Zac Pauga take on Team Pena teammate Mohammed Usman at Heavyweight and Brogan Walker attempt to keep Team Nunes’ dream alive in her Flyweight clash with Juliana Miller.
We’ve got three more UFC Vegas 59 “Prelims” undercard bouts to explore (check out the first batch here), so get scrollin’ ...
185 lbs.: Sam Alvey vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
It has now been more than four years since the last Sam Alvey (33-17-1) victory, a split decision over Gian Villante in 2018. His current 0-7-1 run includes four stoppage losses, the most recent coming to Brendan Allen in Feb. 2022.
He is the taller man by two inches and sports a 1.5-inch reach advantage.
Poland’s Michal Oleksiejczuk (16-5) rebounded from consecutive submission losses with two straight wins, including a knockout of previously unbeaten Shamil Gamzatov. This set up a clash with Dustin Jacoby, who edged out “Hussar” at UFC 272.
This will be his Middleweight debut.
What’s left to say about Alvey at this point? He’s the same plodding, low-output striker he’s always been, only with far less durability than before. Even his power appears to have left him, notching just one knockout in his past 15 fights, and that was against the notoriously fragile Marcin Prachnio. There was a time when you could reasonably argue that his counter-punching could carry the day against a flat-footed slugger like Oleksiejczuk, but that time’s long past.
The only way Alvey wins this is if Oleksiejczuk flubs the weight cut badly enough to compromise his chin and cardio. Otherwise, “Hussar” bludgeons him into oblivion in the early going.
Prediction: Oleksiejczuk via first round technical knockout
170 lbs.: Bryan Battle vs. Takashi Sato
Bryan Battle (7-1) toppled Kemran Lachinov and Andre Petroski en route to TUF 29 Finale, where he choked out teammate and late replacement, Gilbert Urbina, to claim victory. “Pooh Bear” then took on original foe, Tresean Gore, out-working the Team Ortega standout to a unanimous decision win.
His five professional finishes include four via submission.
Takashi Sato (16-5) — a former Pancrase title challenger — showed off his finishing skills with a brutal knockout of Ben Saunders in his UFC debut. He’s 1-3 since, most recently dropping a decision to division standout Gunnar Nelson in London.
He gives up three inches of height and four inches of reach to Battle.
As fun and destructive as Sato is, there’s not a lot going his way in this match up. Beyond Battle’s height and reach, which he knows how to utilize, “Pooh Bear” is by far the more active striker of the two, not to mention durable enough that Sato can’t turn things around with one big shot. Plus, while Battle isn’t a great offensive wrestler, he can at least threaten Sato’s shaky takedown defense and further open up his striking.
The gameplan Battle used to neutralize Gore figures to work a treat here. While I’m not convinced the drop to 170 pounds is a great idea for Battle — who relies heavily on his movement and successfully shut down a very physically strong Middleweight in Petroski — but the clash of styles is sufficiently tilted in his favor to override my concerns. In the end, he out-works Sato for the full 15 minutes.
Prediction: Battle via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Terrance McKinney vs. Erick Gonzalez
Two years after an unsuccessful Contender Series bid against Sean Woodson, Terrance McKinney (12-4) announced his Octagon arrival by stopping Matt Frevola and Fares Ziam in a combined 2:18. He looked poised for another quick finish against Drew Dober, but ultimately succumbed to a crazy comeback knockout (watch it).
All but one of his victories have come in the first round.
Erick Gonzalez (14-6) made his UFC debut on a two-month turnaround, stepping up to face resurgent veteran Jim Miller. It wasn’t quite the Octagon introduction he would have liked, suffering a vicious one-punch knockout seconds into the second round.
“The Ghost Pepper” will enjoy one inch of height and 1.5 inches of reach on “T. Wrecks.”
Outside of Alexandr Romanov’s demolition of Chase Sherman, you’d be hard-pressed to find a recent men’s UFC bout with more lopsided odds than this, and they’re entirely justified. On one side, we’ve got a ludicrously destructive striker with a powerful wrestling game in his back pocket. On the other, we’ve got a man with no striking defense or takedown defense who relies on trying to out-slug opponents.
The math seems clear.
McKinney’s so aggressive that Gonzalez could, hypothetically, catch him cold, but that’s as slim a puncher’s chance as they come. In short, McKinney bombs him out in less than two minutes.
Prediction: McKinney via first round knockout
UFC Vegas 59 features some violent-looking, main- and co-main events, and the fact that they’re on standard ESPN is icing on the cake. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Prediction Record for 2022: 113-56
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 59 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/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 59: “Hill vs. Santos” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.