clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jim Miller vs. Alexander Hernandez full fight preview | UFC Vegas 69

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight standouts Jim Miller and Alexander Hernandez will throw down this weekend (Sat., Feb. 18, 2023) at UFC Vegas 69 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In his last bout, Miller spoiled Donald Cerrone’s ride off into the sunset, rallying in the second round to snatch up a guillotine win. In addition to earning his revenge against “Cowboy,” Miller snatched up the records for most UFC wins, most Lightweight wins, and most bouts in UFC history — not too shabby! Hernandez, meanwhile, enters on a two-fight losing streak. “The Great Ape” hasn’t been losing to scrubs by any means, but between his inconsistent results and failed Featherweight bid, it’s safe to say things haven’t been going to plan for Hernandez as of late. He stepped up on short-notice here in the hopes of changing his fortunes.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

LIVE! Stream UFC San Antonio On ESPN+

BLOCKBUSTER BANTAMWEIGHT CONTENDERS’ BOUT! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) departs APEX for a special “Fight Night” extravaganza at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, on Sat., March 25, 2023, featuring a pair of thrilling 135-pound bouts. Surging No. 4-ranked contender Marlon Vera goes for his fifth consecutive win when he takes on exciting finisher and No. 5-seeded Cory Sandhagen. In UFC San Antonio’s ESPN+-streamed co-main event, former women’s 135-pound champion and current No. 3-ranked Holly Holm battles Yana Santos (No. 4).

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

Jim Miller

Record: 35-16 (1)
Key Wins: Joe Lauzon (UFC on FOX 21, UFC 155), Donald Cerrone (UFC 276), Thiago Alves (UFC 205), Danny Castillo (UFC Fight Night 45), Yancy Medeiros (UFC 172), Clay Guida (UFC on ESPN 6)
Key Losses: Dustin Poirier (UFC 206), Charles Oliveira (UFC on FOX 31), Beneil Dariush (UFC on FOX 15), Donald Cerrone (UFC Fight Night 45), Joe Solecki (UFC Vegas 26)
Keys to Victory: Miller is a crafty Southpaw and excellent Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He’s always dangerous, able to suddenly snatch up a submission out of nowhere or club his opponent on the counter with surprising consistency.

In this bout, I’d like to see Miller press Hernandez early. His opponent may be the younger and more athletic talent, but he’s still coming in on short-notice. If Miller can get him feeling a little uncomfortable, the odds of Hernandez playing into his hands increases.

Miller’s left hand can still stop opponents in their tracks. If he backs Hernandez into the cage and fires, he’s essentially forcing Hernandez to either trade with him on Miller’s terms or duck into a predictable takedown. The first situation is favorable, and the latter could well lead into Miller’s top-notch submission game.

Even if the early finish doesn’t materialize — which is typically how Miller wins fights in this latter stage of his career — Hernandez’s gas tank isn’t great, and he’s fighting on short-notice. Pressuring him will cause exhaustion, potentially opening up an avenue for a later finish as well.

Alexander Hernandez

Record: 13-6
Key Wins: Beneil Dariush (UFC 222), Francisco Trinaldo (UFC on ESPN 4), Olivier Aubin-Mercier (UFC on FOX 30)
Key Losses: Renato Moicano (UFC 271), Billy Quarantillo (UFC 282), Thiago Moises (UFC Vegas 20), Drew Dober (UFC Fight Night 171)
Keys to Victory: Hernandez may be struggling, but he’s still faster and more powerful than the majority of his peers. He’s got some nice tricks on his feet too, and Hernandez’s wrestling remains a strong point. In short, he has the tools for a better UFC record than his current 5-5 run.

There are two potential paths here for Hernandez. On one hand, he can just try to demolish Miller early on the strength of his, well, strength. His two most recent victories came via first-round knockout, and the athleticism gap was simply massive.

Alternatively, Hernandez can wrestle. Miller is a 39 years old, and his battle with Lyme disease is a major story of his career. Historically, the best way to defeat Miller is via takedowns. Hell, even Dustin Poirier shot some double legs!

The latter path just makes way more sense. If Hernandez can drag Miller down, he can rest from top position. He’ll have to mind his limbs while in the guard, but that still seems a safer bet than trading with “A-10.”

Bottom Line

This should be a fun Lightweight scrap.

Jim Miller’s setting records with every fight, which is pretty cool. Riding into this bout on a three-fight win streak, his roster position isn’t at risk, nor is Miller going to break into the rankings again. He’s seemingly set in his current position until he opts to retire, potentially after UFC 300 sometime (next year?).

The stakes are far higher for Hernandez, who looked like a top contender in his first couple UFC fights. Since then, the cracks in his game have really been made apparent, and there’s been little progress in closing them. If Hernandez is stopped here by an older veteran to make it three defeats in a row, his spot on the roster is less than guaranteed.

At UFC Vegas 69, Jim Miller and Alexander Hernandez will go to war. Which man earns the victory?

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 69 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 69: “Andrade vs. Blanchfield” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania