This weekend (Sat., June 3, 2023), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) remains inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, with UFC Vegas 74. For the first time in several years, Flyweights are headlining the show, as long-time contender, Kai Kara-France, squares off opposite top prospect Amir Albazi. Prior to that 125-pound showdown, several fan-friendly veterans like Jim Miller, Tim Elliott and Alex Caceres, among others, will prove quality entertainment. It’s not a star-studded show necessarily, but it should be a lot of fun.
Let’s dig in and take a closer look at the main card matches that lead up to the co-main event:
Lightweight: Jim Miller vs. Jared Gordon
Best Win for Miller? Charles Oliveira For Gordon? Hacran Dias
Current Streak: Miller lost his last bout, whereas Gordon was most recently involved in a “No Contest” with Bobby Green
X-Factor: Gordon was knocked unconscious six weeks ago
How these two match up: Two members of the Lightweight veterans circuit will throw down.
Miller is a UFC legend. He holds multiple records for longevity, and even at 39 years of age, he proved in February that he can fight hard for three full rounds. A Southpaw jiu-jitsu ace, Miller has good power and is always a threat with sudden submissions. Historically, Gordon is a grinder, a straightforward wrestler that looks to wear opponents down and win the battle of wills. However, his last few fights have seen Gordon really refine his boxing and counter punching, which has increasingly become a strength for “Flash.”
This is an interesting match up, and it has me torn. On one hand, Gordon’s boxing and wrestling seem poised to outwork Miller, who tends to struggle on the scorecards when the finish doesn’t materialize. Gordon isn’t the easiest to submit, either, as top-tier grappler Joe Solecki discovered in their three round scrap.
Conversely, Gordon was KNOCKED THE F—K OUT less than two months ago. I don’t care that the loss of consciousness came from a head butt, that’s still major damage! It doesn’t seem possible to me that Gordon fully recovered from that incident and had time to train for this fight.
So, he either trained through some nasty brain trauma or enters this fight unprepared — two bad options. Maybe his performance is unaffected, but Miller cracks hard enough to test him.
Prediction: Miller via submission
Flyweight: Tim Elliott vs. Victor Altamirano
Best Win for Elliott? Tagir Ulanbekov For Altamirano? Vinicius Salvador
Current Streak: Altamirano won his last two bouts, while Elliott returned to the win column last time out
X-Factor: They’re both weirdos
How these two match up: Not one, but TWO Flyweight fights on the main card?!? How progressive.
Altamirano wins fights by being off-kilter with his offense. He’s got that awkward Keith Jardine shuffle timing thing going on, but more to the point, he’s able to out-scramble and outlast his opposition. Elliott does the exact same thing, but his pace is kicked up to 11. There’s no one odder than Elliott, who occasionally shows his brilliance with multi-level combinations and absolutely frustrating top control.
This feels like pitting the original vs. the offshoot. Elliott’s bizarro style has seen him defeat excellent fighters and earn a UFC title shot, and its aided by his significant size at 125 lbs. Altamirano, meanwhile, is going to life-and-death decisions with opponents who most fight fans cannot remember, and at 32 years of age, it’s not like he’s a young prospect we should be expecting to suddenly elevate his game.
Now, the caveats that Elliott is 36 himself and does occasionally just fall into submissions should be considered. It’s not a lock by any means, but I expect Elliott to soundly outwrestle his Kirkland Signature variant.
Prediction: Elliott via decision
Women’s Flyweight: Karine Silva vs. Ketlen Souza
Best Win for Silva? Poliana Botelho For Souza? Gisele Moreira
Current Streak: Silva won her UFC debut one year ago, while Souza debuts having won five in a row
X-Factor: Potential UFC jitters for Souza
How these two match up: For a pair of relatively unknown 125-pounder, this is a great match up.
Silva is a real deal finisher. She’s athletic on the feet and clearly has big power in her punches, two factors that are uncommon in her division. Better yet, she’s an excellent and aggressive grappler once on top, which has scored her several finishes on the floor to boot. Souza cannot quite match her foe’s athleticism, but she’s a slick striker and solid finisher herself. The former Invicta FC champion moves well, shifting stances and blasting powerful kicks from either side.
This reads like a fun kickboxing match, but Silva is simply the more dangerous woman. She appears to hit significantly harder, and if this one hits the canvas, she should be favored to lock up a limb. The path to victory for Souza involves sprawl-and-brawling her way to a 15-minute decision win, but she has to avoid being taken down or clipped somewhere along the way.
That’s a tall ask. Likely, “Killer” remains perfect inside the Octagon and picks up a second stoppage win.
Prediction: Silva via submission
‘X-Factor’ Picks for 2023: 15-13-1 (1)
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 74 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 9 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 74: “Kara-France vs. Albazi” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.