UFC Vegas 83’s main event sees Bantamweight destroyer Song Yadong battle the always-dangerous Chris Gutierrez, while Anthony Smith steps up on short notice to battle Khalil Rountree Jr. in the co-feature. In addition, Flyweight knockout artist Sumudaerji makes his cage return against another last-minute replacement, Tim Elliott (not Allan Nascimento).
135 lbs.: Luana Santos vs. Stephanie Egger
Luana Santos (5-1) went undefeated as an amateur (3-0) and was perfect as a professional (3-0) before dropping a decision to Jena Bishop in Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA). She returned to form with two straight wins, then started her UFC run strong with a first round knockout of Juliana Miller.
She gives up one inch of reach to Stephanie Egger (8-4).
Egger’s short-notice UFC debut saw her drop a unanimous decision to Tracy Cortez for her first loss in nearly four years. She’s 3-2 since, most recently suffering a kneebar defeat to the debuting Irina Alekseeva in April 2023.
Her seven professional finishes include four via submission.
The 23-year-old Santos looks to have a notably higher ceiling than Egger, but this feels like a potential speed bump. Santos came up short the last time she faced a similarly credentialed grappler in Bishop, thanks in no small part to questionable decision-making. On top of that, she’s moving back up to Bantamweight against someone strong enough to throw Ailin Perez around.
Though I could easily see Santos swarming her way to another finish, she seems destined to come up short against a bigger and more experienced Judoka. In the end, Egger proves too much, too soon, out-muscling Santos down the stretch en route to a late finish.
Prediction: Egger via third round submission
135 lbs.: Daniel Marcos vs. Carlos Vera - UPDATE - Fight Scrapped
Daniel Marcos (15-0) followed his dominant Contender Series victory over Brandon Lewis by knocking out Saimon Oliveira in his UFC debut. His next fight pitted him against Davey Grant, who “Soncora” narrowly edged out to claim a split decision victory.
He stands one inch taller than Carlos Vera (11-3), but faces a slight reach disadvantage.
Vera followed a 1-2 skid with four straight wins under the Fury FC banner. His efforts earned him a spot on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31, where a decision loss to became one of seven Team McGregor members to fall short in the opening round.
Five of his six professional finishes have come via submission.
The good news for Vera is that Marcos isn’t a noteworthy takedown artist, so Vera won’t have to worry about getting thrown around and controlled again. The bad news is that Marcos will just tear him up on the feet instead. Vera has decent movement and flashes the occasional slick counter to go along with the flashy kicks, but if Marcos keeps his foot on the gas, there’s not much stopping him from walking Vera down and battering him against the fence like he did the similarly spin-happy Oliveira.
Vera does have some decent Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but considering he tried a head-and-arm throw three fights back and had no answer for Katona’s takedowns, he doesn’t have the wrestling to actually utilize it. In short, Marcos walks down a decreasingly elusive Vera and overpowers him for a mid-round finish.
Prediction: Marcos via second round technical knockout
115 lbs.: Rayanne Amanda vs. Talita Alencar
The 2022 Contender Series bid for Rayanne Amanda (14-6) saw her overpowered by Denise Gomes en route to a one-sided decision loss. After scoring a get-well win in her native Brazil, she took her talents to Invicta, ultimately claiming its Atomweight title in May 2023.
Amanda has ended 10 professional fights inside the distance, eight of them via submission.
Talita Alencar (4-0-1) kicked off her professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career with three straight submission wins before beating Kelsey Arnesen by decision in her LFA debut. Then came Contender Series, where she dominated Stephanie Luciano for two rounds before gassing out and narrowly escaping with a draw.
Despite her opponent coming up from 105 pounds, Alencar gives up one inch of height and 3.5 inches of reach.
Though Amanda’s lack of size will be a significant obstacle to reaching contention, I like her chances here against a similarly diminutive opponent. Her light footwork and solid takedown defense will make it prohibitively difficult for Alencar to set up any takedowns, while her boxing out-classes Alencar’s by a decent margin.
And that’s not even bringing Alencar’s cardio issues into account. Amanda was still fresh after five rounds with Invicta champion, Jillian DeCoursey, so she should have little trouble putting the pace on Alencar. Alencar admittedly has the stronger grappling pedigree and could ruin Amanda’s day if she winds up on top, but there’s too much going Amanda’s way everywhere else. Indeed, Amanda sprawls-and-brawls to an increasingly dominant victory.
Prediction: dos Santos via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Steve Garcia vs. Melquizael Costa
These two were supposed to fight last week before Garcia withdrew ahead of Friday’s weigh-ins, so I’ll just re-use what I already had ...
Steve Garcia (14-5) bounced back from a 1-3 skid by winning four straight, only to fall to Luis Pena in his short notice UFC debut. Undaunted, he went on to win three of his next four inside the distance and earn his first post-fight bonus in the process.
Eleven of his professional wins, including all of them in the last five years, have come by knockout.
Melquizael Costa (20-6) likewise stepped up on short notice for his UFC debut, which saw him succumb to Thiago Moises’ rear-naked choke midway through the second. He was quite a bit more successful in his second bout, a one-sided mauling of Austin Lingo that earned Costa his eighth win in 10 fights.
“Melk” stands two inches shorter than “Mean Machine” and gives up two inches of reach.
Garcia has proven himself a fearsome glass cannon, but while the “cannon” part has been more prominent of late, we’re about due for a reminder on the “glass” bit. Beyond being a far sharper technical kickboxer than Garcia, Costa is exceedingly durable; his only (technical) knockout loss was a 2017 corner stoppage between rounds. With how few opportunities Garcia will have to land clean punches, an inability to put Costa down for the count with those shots seems like a death sentence.
This will look a lot like Costa’s fight with Lingo, with “Melk” dissecting his super-aggressive opponent with cleaner technique. The difference is that instead of getting cowed to the point of barely fighting back, Garcia will be reckless enough to run headlong into a fight-ending bomb.
Prediction: Costa via first round technical knockout
Three more UFC Vegas 83 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict, including the latest from top prospect, Tatsuro Taira. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 83 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.
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