Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns later TONIGHT (Sat., June 17, 2023) to stage UFC Vegas 75 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, live on ESPN/ESPN+. Headlining the event will be a Middleweight bout between Marvin Vettori and Jared Cannonier. In the co-main event, Arman Tsarukyan battles Joaquim Silva in a Lightweight affair.
The Middleweight division is currently wide open seeing as how Alex Pereira has taken his talents to the Light Heavyweight division. Israel Adesanya once again reigns supreme, but his dance card is currently empty, though the winner of Robert Whittaker and Dricus du Plessis, which is set for UFC 290 next month, will be getting the next crack at the title. Enter Vettori and Cannonier, who could be next in line with an impressive win ... emphasis on impressive. That’s because both men have already gone up against (and lost to) Adesanya, which means a rematch for either of them would be a hard sell should “The Last Stylebender” still be champion. But, that’s putting the cart before the horse because there are several moving pieces in play. They have to worry about the immediate task at hand.
This, to me, is an old fashioned clash of styles because Cannonier has the advantage on the feet with 10 knockouts to his credit, while Vettori has nine submissions on his resume. The key here is simply who will be able to put the pressure on first. Vettori is aggressive, but he does tend to get a bit sloppy. That won’t bode well for him against Cannonier because he hits like a truck and one clean laser-like strike is all he needs. That said, Vettori has never been stopped in any form throughout his career, so “The Killa Gorilla” will have to be on his “A” game if he wants to become the first. I don’t anticipate this fight being a finish, and I am leaning toward a five-round scrap that will come down to the judges.
We get that UFC pretty much takes down anyone when it decides to put on a stellar pay-per-view (PPV) event, but let’s be honest, even those have been scarce in 2023. These fight night cards are obviously a bit weaker, so it’s a good thing the promotion doesn’t have head-to-head competition to worry about for views. Take last night, for example, had UFC gone up against PFL and Bellator MMA (results here and here), it would have probably lost the ratings race with a lineup such as this one.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Josh Emmett and Ilia Topuria were originally set to spearhead this event before it was rescheduled to go down next weekend at UFC Jacksonville. Also, Felipe Bunes pulled out of his scheduled fight against Zhalgas Zhumagulov for undisclosed reasons. As a result, Zhumagulov was paired up with Octagon newcomer, Joshua Vanna, which will also go down at UFC Jacksonville.
Miles Johns suffered a last-minute undisclosed injury and was forced to bow out of his fight against Raoni Barcelos. UFC matchmakers did not find a suitable and timely replacement and Barcelos was removed from the event altogether.
No newcomers at this event.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Modestas Bukauskas had a horrid start to his UFC career, going 1-3 to kick things off, which led to his promotional exit. But, he has since turned things around by winning his last three fights, including his return to the Octagon against Tyson Pedro in February of this year. He eyes his first four-fight win streak in three years when he takes on Zac Pauga, who is just two fights deep into his UFC career, going 1-1 in his first pair of fights inside the Octagon.
In men’s Bantamweight action, Dan Argueta and Ronnie Lawrence collide in a battle of two up-and-coming contenders. Argueta boasts a 9-1 record and picked up his first win inside the Octagon by defeating Nick Aguirre after coming up short in his debut bout against Damon Jackson. As for Lawrence, he looks to bounce back after dropping a unanimous decision to Saidyokub Kakhramonov (say that five times fast) one year ago.
After earning her spot with an impressive win on Contender Series, Tereza Bleda came up short in her official UFC debut against Natalia Silva, losing via third round technical knockout, the first loss of her career. Her opponent, Gabriella Fernandes, also came up short in her debut bout against Jasmine Jasudavicius.
Both Denys Bondar and Carlos Hernandez came up short in their respective debuts against Malcom Gordon and Allan Nascimento, and will look to get back in the win column Saturday night, though it means one man will be the not-so proud owner of a two-fight losing streak. In the Bantamweight division, Cristian Quinonez is out to earn his sixth straight win — second under the UFC banner — when he battles Kyung Ho Kang, who has quietly built up a 7-3-1 record inside the Octagon.
Jimmy Flick started his UFC career off on the right foot by submitting Cody Durden with a highly-impressive flying triangle choke (see it here), but came up short in his sophomore effort against Charles Johnson, who blasted him via first-round technical knockout. He will try to get back on track when he takes on Alessandro Costa, who also came up short in his previous bout after suffering a third-round knockout defeat at the hands of Amir Albazi.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
In what is likely a first in a long while, no fighter on this card is coming off consecutive losses, so no one is really on the chopping block, which is something we haven’t said in quite some time.
Interest Level: 5/10
The co-main event will feature a Lightweight battle between Arman Tsarukyan and Joaquim Silva. Tsarukyan bounced back nicely after suffering just the second loss of his UFC career at the hands of Mateusz Gamrot by defeating Damir Ismagulov via unanimous decision at the tail end of Dec. 2022. He wants to ride that wave of momentum as he takes on Silva, who picked up a much-needed win against Jesse Ronson in his previous bout, which snapped his two-fight losing streak and earned him a new lease on his combat life. This fight didn’t get a lot of buzz when it was first announced, and rightfully so because the pairing was downright confusing. Nevertheless, Tsarukyan can’t take it easy because that is when upsets happen.
In the Middleweight division, Armen Petrosyan looks to move to 3-1 under the UFC banner when he steps to Christian Leroy Duncan, who can best be described as a walking highlight reel. Indeed, Duncan is all about the business when the cage door slams shut behind him, racking up a perfect 8-0 record which includes seven stoppage wins. The former Cage Warriors 185-pound champion looks to remain unbeaten, though he will have to grind it out against Petrosyan.
Pat Sabatini suffered the first loss of his UFC career and had his six-fight win streak snapped after coming up short against Damon Jackson in Sept. 2022. That usually makes a man a bit hungrier next time inside the cage, so Lucas Almeida will have to keep his head on a swivel all night. But Almeida has the confidence of winning his UFC debut going into this fight, though that bout was one year ago.
In the Lightweight division, Manuel Torres puts his four-fight win streak on the line against Nikolas Motta, who picked up his first win inside the eight-sided cage in his previous bout after Jim Miller spoiled his UFC debut. Both of these men love to bang it out on the feet, so don’t be too surprised if this one is in the running for “Fight of the Night” when it’s all said and done.
Kicking things off on the main card is a Welterweight showdown between Nicolas Dalby and Muslim Salikhov. Dalby has quietly racked up a 4-1-1 (2 NC) record in his second stint with UFC and is on a two-fight win streak. But as it’s been the case at 170 pounds for a long time, cracking the Top 15 is a tough task. And that is something Salikhov can attest to, as well, because his 6-2 record is still not good enough to help him crack the rankings. A win for either man helps their cause.
UFC Vegas 75 Main Event On ESPN/ESPN+:
185 lbs.: Marvin Vettori vs. Jared Cannonier
UFC Vegas 75 Main Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Arman Tsarukyan vs. Joaquim Silva
185 lbs.: Christian Leroy Duncan vs. Armen Petrosyan
145 lbs.: Lucas Almeida vs. Pat Sabatini
155 lbs.: Nikolas Motta vs. Manuel Torres
170 lbs.: Nicolas Dalby vs. Muslim Salikhov
UFC Vegas 75 Prelims Card on ESPN/ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Raoni Barcelos vs. Miles Johns— SCRATCHED (details here)
125 lbs.: Alessandro Costa vs. Jimmy Flick
135 lbs.: Kyung Ho Kang vs. Cristian Quiñonez
125 lbs.: Denys Bondar vs. Carlos Hernandez
125 lbs.: Felipe Bunes vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov— POSTPONED
125 lbs.: Tereza Bleda vs. Gabriella Fernandes
135 lbs.: Dan Argueta vs. Ronnie Lawrence
205 lbs.: Modestas Bukauskas vs. Zac Pauga
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*
Remember that MMAmania.com 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+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN/ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.
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