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UFC Vegas 78 predictions: Late ‘Prelims’ undercard preview | dos Anjos vs. Luque

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing more “Prelims” fights to ESPN/ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., Aug. 12, 2023) when UFC Vegas 78: “dos Anjos vs. Luque” returns to UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.’s Patrick Stumberg continues the UFC Vegas 78 “Prelims” party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

Two of the most consistent Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) action fighters, Rafael Dos Anjos and Vicente Luque, lock horns this Saturday (Aug. 12, 2023) atop the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion’s return to its APEX venue in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also on tap for UFC Vegas 78: Hakeem Dawodu’s battles the inimitable Cub Swanson and a Strawweight crossroads battle pitting Polyana Viana against Iasmin Lucindo.

Three UFC Vegas 78 “Prelims” undercard bouts remain to preview and predict (check out the first batch here), so let’s no rest on our laurels ...

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 80 On ESPN+

NEW SCHOOL VS. OLD SCHOOL LIGHTWEIGHT SHOWDOWN! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Oct. 7, 2023, with surging 155-pound contender, Grant Dawson, taking on inimitable Octagon veteran, Bobby Green, in the ESPN+-streamed main event. In UFC Vegas 80’s co-main event, Joe Pyfer looks to continue his meteoric Middleweight rise at the expense of Abdul Razak Alhassan’s expense.

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

135 lbs.: JP Buys vs. Marcus McGhee

The triumphant return of J.P. Buys (9-5) — about 2.5 years after imploding against Joby Sanchez on Contender Series — saw him finish Jacob Silva to earn a UFC contract. He’s still chasing his first Octagon victory, having dropped three straight and suffered two stoppage losses along the way.

He steps in for Gaston Bolanos on around 1.5 months’ notice.

Marcus McGhee (7-1) suffered his first professional loss in his fifth fight, but swiftly bounced back with a pair of finishes. He then stepped up on three days’ notice to battle Journey Newsom in his UFC debut, clubbing-and-subbing the Octagon veteran in the second round to claim “Performance of the Night.

Six of his seven professional stoppages have come via knockout.

What’s so frustrating about Buys is that he has the skills to be a genuine threat. His chain wrestling is downright beautiful, but he just seems to mentally disintegrate at the first sign of adversity. Even if he’s physically durable enough to survive a beating from the gigantic Montel Jackson, he’s shown no ability to turn a bad situation around.

It’s not the best issue to have against a truly vicious body puncher, especially one who’s bigger than him and has shown off stout takedown defense. In short, McGhee beats him into submission before the halfway point.

Prediction: McGhee via first round technical knockout

155 lbs.: Terrance McKinney vs. Mike Breeden

Terrance McKinney (13-6) smashed his way to a 3-1 UFC start, all three wins by first-round stoppage. He now finds himself in the midst of a winless (0-2) slump, suffering a flying knee knockout from Ismael Bonfim and a submission defeat to Nazim Sadykhov.

“T. Wrecks” replaces Lando Vannata on little more than one week’s notice for a sub-month turnaround.

Despite a late surge, Mike Breeden (10-5) failed to overcome Anthony Romero on Contender Series. After picking up a pair of wins in Fighting Alliance Championship (FAC), he got his shot in the Octagon proper, where he was knocked out by Alexander Hernandez and decisioned by Natan Levy.

He fights for the first time in 16 months.

This is a more dangerous fight for McKinney than it might look on paper. Breeden has holes in his game you could drive a truck through, but good takedown defense and a tendency to improve as fights go on present issues for a frontrunner like McKinney.

That said, Breeden starts so darn slow that he likely won’t last long enough to turn things around. I’ve seen him sleepwalk through two straight rounds before finally switching on, which you can’t afford against an explosive finisher. In the end, McKinney bulldozes him in the first few minutes.

Prediction: McKinney via first round submission

145 lbs.: Francis Marshall vs. Isaac Dulgarian

Francis Marshall (7-1) followed his impressive Contender Series victory with an even more eye-catching knockout of Marcelo Rojo in his Octagon debut. Then came William Gomis, who out-struck Marshall for two rounds and turned aside a late comeback attempt to hand Marshall his first defeat.

“Fire” stands two inches taller than Isaac Dulgarian (5-0) at 5’9.”

Glory MMA’s Dulgarian has yet to go past 3:10 as an amateur or a professional. His last appearance came in front of Dana White on Lookin’ for a Fight, where he stopped TeeJay Britton in 73 seconds to claim FAC’s Featherweight title.

This marks his first fight in 18 months, as he withdrew from a January debut against Dan Argueta.

Dulgarian has a lot to prove here. Though he looked like the goods against limited opposition and has a strong wrestling pedigree, it’s anyone’s guess how he’ll hold up if the quick finish isn’t there. Marshall is well-rounded and experienced in deep waters, and while he did struggle with Gomis, he won’t have to hunt down the more direct Dulgarian.

I’m siding with Marshall by dint of being more proven. Dulgarian could theoretically overwhelm him as he does so many others, but it seems likelier that Marshall weathers the blitz and steadily breaks him down for a late finish.

Prediction: Marshall via third round technical knockout

135 lbs.: Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Jose Johnson

Blackshear (13-5-1) struggled his way to an 0-1-1 UFC start, drawing with Youssef Zalal in his debut before falling short against top prospect Farid Basharat. He entered his third bout against Luan Lacerda as an underdog, only to pound the Brazilian out late in the second.

He’s submitted eight professional opponents and knocked out two others.

Johnson (15-7) failed to overcome Ronnie Lawrence’s wrestling on the Contender Series, then suffered a knockout loss to Mana Martinez two fights later. After a pair of imrpessive finishes in Fury FC, he returned to DWCS to edge out undefeated Jack Cartwright and claim a UFC contract. He steps in for Brady Hiestand on four days’ notice for his third attempt at a UFC debut.

“Lobo Solitario” has a number of significant flaws that his strengths can often compensate for, but this isn’t one of those cases. After giving up 12 takedowns to Lawrence, he surrendered another six to Jack Cartwright, and unlike Cartwright, Blackshear both works from the top and is an actual threat on the feet.

Blackshear just seems to have fewer holes in his game than Johnson. Johnson will need to either clip him with an out-of-nowhere punch or submit him off of his back. The latter is hypothetically feasible, but Blackshear’s submission defense held up well enough against Lacerda that he should be fine. Blackshear grinds his way to his first UFC win.

Prediction: Blackshear via unanimous decision

We can always trust “RDA” and “The Silent Assassin” to put on a show. See you Saturday, Maniacs.

Current Prediction Record for 2023: 110-70-1 (2 NC)

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 78 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.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 78: “dos Anjos vs. Luque” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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