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UFC Vegas 75 preview: ‘Vettori vs. Cannonier’ predictions

UFC 263 Press Conference Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is just one day away from the upcoming UFC Vegas 75 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which is set to go down tomorrow night (Sat., June 17, 2023) on ESPN and ESPN+ from inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a middleweight main event between Top 5 title hopefuls Marvin Vettori and Jared Cannonier, a five-round headliner with major title implications for late 2023 and beyond.

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 79 On ESPN+

HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

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

Before we dive into the main and co-main events, which includes the lightweight scrap between Arman Tsarukyan and Joaquim Silva, check out Patrick Stumberg’s breakdowns for the UFC Vegas 75 preliminary card — which he wrote with a feather quill ripped from wings of Pegasus — by clicking here and here. For the latest “Vettori vs. Cannonier” odds and betting lines courtesy of our fiscal friends over at Draft Kings go here.

For the rest of the UFC Vegas 75 main card predictions click here.

185 lbs.: Marvin Vettori vs. Jared Cannonier

Marvin “The Italian Dream” Vettori

Record: 19-6-1 | Age: 29 | Betting line: -110
Wins: 2 KO/TKO, 9 SUB, 8 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 6 DEC | Draw: 1
Height: 6’0“ | Reach: 74” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.38 | Striking accuracy: 44%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.65 | Striking Defense: 59%
Takedown Average: 1.77 (44% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 75%
Current Ranking: No. 3 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Roman Dolidze

Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier

Record: 16-6 | Age: 39 | Betting line: -110
Wins: 10 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 4 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 4 DEC
Height: 5’11“ | Reach: 77” | Stance: Switch
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.00 | Striking accuracy: 50%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.86 | Striking Defense: 61%
Takedown Average: 0.17 (25% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 64%
Current Ranking: No. 4 | Last fight: Split decision win over Sean Strickland

Marvin Vettori nearly upset Israel Adesanya in battle of middleweight up-and-comers as part of the UFC on FOX 29 card back in early 2018, falling by way of close split decision. In the five years following that performance, “The Italian Dream” has put together an impressive 7-2 record, with his two defeats coming in a rematch against “The Last Stylebender” and a three-round affair opposite Robert Whittaker at UFC Paris. All six of his losses have come by way of decision and his durability is part of the reason why Vettori is so successful inside the cage. Let’s face it, he’s not the world’s flashiest striker and he doesn’t have any power, having failed to score a single knockout under the UFC banner across a span of 14 fights. As far as his ground game; well, that consists of spamming takedowns until one of them lands. Despite his Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robot approach to offense, we did see a couple of new wrinkles in his game when paired against Roman Dolidze at UFC 286. Vettori took his foot off the gas, stuck to a gamelan, and outworked a seemingly befuddled “Caucasian.” It will be interesting to see if “The Italian Dream” replicates that strategy for what could end up being a five-round fight, assuming his opponent does not land the kill shot beforehand.

Much like Vettori, who depends on aggression and resilience to get him across the finish line, Cannonier relies on patience and power. Judging by his incredible physique it would be hard to guess he’s less than a year away from turning 40 years old. Sooner or later Father Time is going to intervene. Cannonier has scored four knockouts since getting chased from the light heavyweight division back in late 2018 but only one over the last four years. Superior strikers have exposed the limitations in Cannonier’s offense, most notably Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker. It's also worth mentioning that for all the talk about “The Killa Gorilla’s” power, the knockout is not a foregone conclusion. Kelvin Gastelum and Sean Strickland — both former welterweights — went the distance against Cannonier in losing efforts, though judges were split in the fight against “Tarzan.” Those performances are why I’m taking Vettori for tomorrow night’s affair. Cannonier has been outwrestled seven times in his UFC career and has been known to play the waiting game a little too much in some of his previous fights. I just don’t think the occasional burst of punches is going to be enough to stop a high-intensity gamer like Vettori, unless a KO-conscious “Italian Dream” shows him too much respect and we get a 25-minute staring contest.

Prediction: Vettori def. Cannonier by unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Arman Tsarukyan vs. Joaquim Silva

Arman “Ahalkalakets“ Tsarukyan

Record: 19-3 | Age: 26 | Betting line: -1000
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 7 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 5’7“ | Reach: 72” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.56 | Striking accuracy: 45%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 1.93 | Striking Defense: 54%
Takedown Average: 3.30 (33% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 75%
Current Ranking: No. 8 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Damir Ismagulov

Joaquim “Netto BJJ” Silva

Record: 12-3 | Age: 34 | Betting line: +650
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 3 SUB, 2 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 5’8“ | Reach: 69” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.08 | Striking accuracy: 39%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.58 | Striking Defense: 55%
Takedown Average: 0.21 (50% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 65%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Jesse Ronson

Arman Tsarukyan is back in action against an opponent that has many fans scratching their heads. The Armenian-Russian is currently ranked No. 8 at 155 pounds and Joaquim Silva is not ranked at all. We can’t blame “Ahalkalakets“ for that since he was previously booked to face Renato Carneiro at UFC Vegas 72 but “Moicano” bailed at the last minute due to injury. In the weeks that followed, matchmakers tried to book him against Dan Hooker, Drew Dober, Bobby Green, and Grant Dawson, but all four fighters turned him down. That should give you an idea of how the rest of the division sees Tsarukyan, a punishing wrestler with a murderous top game (just ask Joel Alvarez). In addition, we saw some of his power on display when he wrecked Christos Giagos at UFC Vegas 37. His only two losses under the UFC banner came against superior wrestlers: current lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and No. 7-ranked contender Mateusz Gamrot. Both of those contests resulted in “Fight of the Night” honors to complement the two performance bonuses Tsarukyan already bagged for his snuff films starring Alvarez and Giagos. I usually sneer at any fighter who captures a -1000 betting line, simply because MMA is so unpredictable, but here it somehow feels appropriate.

Joaquim Silva is eight years older than Tsarukyan at age 34 and came to UFC after a sold run on Season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) “Brazil” back in 2015. “Neto BJJ” has only competed eight times over the last seven-plus years and 2018 was the only time he fought twice in the same calendar year. After a red-hot start to his UFC career, bagging three straight wins, Silva dropped three of his next four, with two of those losses ending by way of knockout. The hard-hitting southpaw has since rebounded with a knockout finish of his own, stopping the unheralded Jesse Ronson at UFC Vegas 61 last fall. An upset win over Tsarukyan would no doubt turn the division on its head and land Silva a spot in the Top 15, it’s just hard to make a case for the Brazilian when you consider he was taken down five times by Reza Madadi and three times by Jared Gordon. Neither of those opponents were thwarted by his jiu jitsu and I don’t expect it to be a factor against “Ahalkalakets,” who is likely to score a takedown whenever he wants one. I don’t want to overlook Silva’s power and Tsarukyan could get too comfortable on his feet, leading to a surprise knockout like the one Alexander Belikh landed on the international circuit. Possible, but not plausible. The more likely scenario is Tsarukyan scores a takedown and starts punchin’ Silva like Bushwick Bill was punchin’ on the concrete.

Prediction: Tsarukyan def. Silva by technical knockout

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the UFC Vegas 75 main card predictions RIGHT HERE. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 75 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN/ESPN+ main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 75 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archives here and here. For the updated and finalized “Vettori vs. Cannonier” fight card and ESPN/ESPN+ line up click here.

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