I’m not going to dance around it. UFC Vegas 40 isn’t a good card. However, just because something is bad doesn’t mean there aren’t some glimmers of hope on the card. Either there’s fighters that look like they are on their way to having a fun UFC career in Bruno Silva and Ariane Carnelossi or fights that look like FOTN contenders on any card in L’udovit Klein and Nate Landwehr. I’m not crazy about this card, but that doesn’t mean I believe I’ll dreading sitting through the event. I can think of many other things I’d rather not be doing on a Saturday night than sitting through a “meh” UFC card.
- Every time it appears Andrew Sanchez is on the verge of earning a shot at a ranked opponent, he ends up getting knocked down a peg or two. Despite his slip ups, it can’t be denied that Sanchez has improved over the last couple of years. Largely a control grappler when he came into the UFC, he’s made some major strides with his hands, developing some functional power. However, Sanchez still appears to suffer from severe adrenaline dumps as some fights he appears to go 15 minutes comfortably and gassed at some point in the second in others. If that happens against Bruno Silva, he’ll be in a world of hurt. Silva isn’t the most technical striker, but he more than makes up for it with more than enough power to put anyone in the division to sleep. Given Sanchez’s questionable chin, that appears to be the most likely scenario, especially if Silva can end up in the top position on the mat. There is a window for Sanchez to expose as five of Bruno’s six career losses came via submission and Sanchez absolutely has the chops to accomplish that. However, if I’m a betting man, I’m favoring Silva getting the KO. Silva via KO of RD1
- It’s been a while since Danny Roberts was able to make it to a fight, his last three scheduled bouts being scrapped for one reason or another. I’m sure he wishes one of those contests had gone through as they were far more stylistically favorable for the former professional boxer. Never one for wrestling or battling in the clinch, he’d better be prepared to do so against Ramazan Emeev. The Russian employs the type of aesthetic style Uncle Dana loathes. The problem for viewers is he’s very good at it, utilizing excellent leverage against the cage and a persistence that is hard to match. Lacking power, Emeev has needed to rely on control and submissions, but the submissions have completely dried up since he made it to the UFC, every single one of his contests going the distance since joining the organization. In Roberts case, win or lose, the fight tends to end early, meaning something has to give. If Roberts can keep Emeev from closing the distance, he stands and an excellent chance. Roberts has good footwork and a diverse attack, but I don’t think it’s enough to keep Emeev off him enough to avoid dropping the fight. Emeev via decision
- Covid strikes again.... Sijara Eubanks was scheduled to be facing Luana Carolina just a day before this article was posted, but was forced out due to covid protocals. Thus, coming off an impressive performance just one week ago, Lupita Godinez agreed to step in and allow Carolina to remain on the card. While most MMA fans and analysts would agree Godinez appears to have the higher ceiling between the two, she was also fighting at strawweight last week and this is a flyweight contest. Did I mention Godinez is on the small side for strawweight? Her lack of size is going to be very problematic, even if she does appear to be the best wrestler Carolina has faced. Plus, Godinez’s loopy strikes are going to have a hard time finding a home without Carolina landing her jab and counter shots with her much larger frame. For what it’s worth, Carolina’s takedown defense has held up against larger opposition, leading me to stick with the idea the Muay Thai striker is most likely to emerge victorious. Even with that opinion, all it might take is one takedown for Godinez.... Carolina via decision
- It’s hard to believe the clash between L’udovit Klein and Nate Landwehr won’t be entertaining as hell. Klein is a walking highlight reel, all but one of his 17 career victories coming before the sounding of the final bell. The aggressive Landwehr doesn’t have the same track record in regards to finishing fights, but his constant pressure ensures there’s never a shortage of action in his contests. There’s a degree of concern about the durability of Landwehr as he’s been finished in the first round of both of his UFC losses. It’s even more worrisome against someone like Klein who has a knack for landing his foot upside his opponent’s head and inducing a nap. Perhaps this is the fight we see Landwehr put his wrestling pedigree to use, but Klein’s ground game is overlooked due to the flashiness of his standup. Landwehr isn’t lacking for power himself, so it isn’t crazy to think a KO victory is within reason, but no one else has done that to Klein. In addition to Landwehr’s poor defense, there’s just too much working against him against the athletically superior Klein. Klein via KO of RD2
- There weren’t too many people who expected we’d see Brandon Davis work his way back into the UFC after his release in 2019. After four wins in four attempts on the regional scene, he’s making his way back into the picture. Though he’s a limited athlete, Davis is always supremely conditioned, pushing an insane pace and frequently throwing hands. His shaky takedown defense was problematic, but he did show greater success in that department once he dropped to bantamweight. Not that takedown defense should matter all that much as Danaa Batgerel is unlikely to pursue takedowns as the Mongolian representative prefers throwing down. It’s hard to blame him as his power has translated over to the big show far more than anyone thought it would. Of course, those KO’s came against opponents with highly questionable chins and no one has been able to crack Davis’ chin. It’s very difficult to outwork Davis, but it is possible to overwhelm him physically or outslick him. I’m not sure Batgerel can. Davis via decision
- With a couple more performances similar to her showing against Na Liang, Ariane Carnelossi is going to be a major fan favorite. With her hunched shoulders as she marches down her opponents, Carnelossi is akin to the throwback Muay Thai practitioners of yesteryear. While stiff in her movement and prone to her opponent’s return fire, she also has some of the most impressive power in the strawweight division. Carnelossi’s GnP can’t be forgotten about either. There’s a good chance she’ll get the exact fight she wants as Istela Nunes is a Muay Thai practitioner herself. Nunes is more of a range striker and appears to be the more technical of the two, but there’s a lot mystery behind her as she’s coming of a two-year PED suspension. Was it an honest mistake or was it a key to her success in ONE? I won’t offer my two cents there as there is a lot of unknown, but it’s worth noting. I prefer Carnelossi’s aggression and power to make all the difference. Carnelossi via decision