Adjust those calendars as the UFC is back this Saturday with one of its early-afternoon cards. Former middleweight title challengers #2 Paulo Costa (13-1) takes on #5 Marvin Vettori (17-4-1) in the main event, live from the Apex in Vegas.
The card’s co-main event should be a good one too, as Grant Dawson (17-1) takes on Rick Glenn (22-6-1). Both fighters are coming off impressive wins in their last outings.
The entire card is slated for 14 fights, and the prelims get rolling at 1 p.m. ET and will be followed by the main card at 4 p.m. ET with the entire event broadcast on ESPN+.
You know the drill. Let’s dive in.
DATE: Saturday, Oct. 23
VENUE: UFC APEX
LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nev.
THE MAIN CARD
What a mess this fight has turned into.
Paulo Costa stated there would be no way he’d make weight for this fight during the fight week media scrum, and somewhat pulled a jedi mind trick and got Marvin Vettori to agree without hesitation to fight at a catchweight of 195lbs.
Now, it sounds like they just might fight at 205. Costa will forfeit 20 percent of his purse to Vettori, and the two will still square off.
Regardless of the catchweight situation, Vettori was always the right pick. Both fighters were outmatched against the current champ Israel Adesanya, though Vettori looked much better against Adesanya compared to Costa for numerous reasons.
The first is Vettori’s well-rounded technical abilities, which are leaps and bounds better than Costa’s one-dimensional power striking. The second is his fighting IQ. Vettori has a solid chin and cardio for days, but he stays composed and adjust no matter where the fight goes, while typically getting the fight where he’d like it to be.
Vettori should be able to out-grapple Costa here if he gets in a pickle while attempting to trade with Costa, and this will be the difference-maker. Although Vettori should cruise, the fact that this fight is now taking place potentially two weight classes above the original agreed weight of 185, I’ll pass betting wise and just enjoy the fiasco.
Prediction: Marvin Vettori
Bet: Pass (due to weight debacle)
Grant Dawson is on a tear, winning all five of his fights under the UFC banner since earning his contract on the contender series back in 2017.
Ricky Glenn (4-3 UFC) enters this fight riding an impressive 37-second knockout of Joaquim Silva, and a new four-fight contract.
Although Glenn could care less about being a decent underdog here again, I believe the odds are right. Dawson’s grappling is going to be a big part of this fight and—as he’s done in all of his UFC fights—he will get the fight to the mat and control, looking to sneak a submission along the way. Dawson has successfully landed a takedown or more in all five of his UFC fights, and has attempted a submission in four of the five. Glenn has yet to lose by submission in UFC, but he’s very susceptible to takedowns.
I like Dawson’s chances here and I will bite on the +300 prop line available.
Prediction: Grant Dawson
Bet: Dawson (look via SUB +300)
Fan favorite Jessica-Rose Clark is back after a year away and will take on a tough opponent in Joselyne Edwards. I expect Edwards to win more of the distance exchanges, which will eventually force Clark to clinch, where she will do some phone booth work and eventually shoot for some takedowns and top control.
I don’t see Clark having any issues with getting the bigger fighter down if she’s able to close. Edwards has been taken down in both of her UFC fights, and has a lackluster 37% takedown defense along the way.
Clark by decision seems likely but not a lock by any means. he’s gotta get this fight down.
Prediction: Jessica-Rose Clark
It amazes me just how long Alex "Bruce Leeroy" Caceras has been able to hang around in UFC. He’s 13-10 under the banner (18-12 as a pro) and is riding a four-fight win streak against some decent names. The run ends here against a much faster and bigger fighter in Seung Woo Choi. Choi is riding a three-fight win streak, and stylistically will pose some problems for Caceres on the feet.
Choi will connect cleaner along the way, and while Caceres is tough to finish, Choi will just have more volume and go first, which will throw Caceres off his game.
Prediction: Seung Woo Choi
Bet: Choi (look via DEC +100)
A couple older fighters here with the young buck Dwight Grant (37) taking on the 43-year-old Francisco Trinaldo, who just won’t tap to father time quite yet.
This should be an interesting matchup as Trinaldo usually goes first, and Grant is a fighter that leans on his counters. Both have some power but I give the edge to Grant, whose resume backs it up with seven of his 11 wins coming by way of knockout.
Coupled with his power will be his six-inch reach advantage and southpaw stance, which could come into play and force Trinaldo to eventually close, looking to fight against the cage while forcing some takedowns and control. Trinaldo has never been knocked out in 34 fights and though Grant may have his moments, I see Trinaldo adjusting and taking this fight where he needs it to go in order to get the nod.
Prediction: Francisco Trinaldo
Bet: Trinaldo -125
Nick Negumereanu has a chin on him. If you have any doubts, go back and check out his fight against Aleksa Camur last June where he absorbed 102 significant strikes and still was able to edge out a split decision. Ike Villanueva packs some power and should be the better striker in this spot, landing clean early and often. His back is against the wall here too after dropping three of his last four fights, so I expect a heavily motivated vet here. This is still going to be a sloppy fight. Expect Villanueva to start fast as he does, looking to end this fight as early as possible. He’s a prime example of a fighter that visibly fades the longer the fight goes. I could see him take the first, with Negumereanu eventually taking over after getting beat up on for a bit.
Prediction: Nick Negumereanu
Bet: Negumereanu/Villanueva: Fight starts round 2: -150
JUN YONG PARK defeats GREGORY RODRIGUES
MASON JONES defeats DAVID ONAMA
TABATHA RICCI defeats MARIA OLIVEIRA
LAUREANO STAROPOLI defeats JAMIE PICKETT
JAI HERBERT defeats KHAMA WORTHY
JEFF MOLINA defeats DANIEL LACERDA
LIVINHA SOUZA defeats RANDA MARKOS
JONATHAN MARTINEZ defeats ZVIAD LAZISHVILI
Dawson (look via SUB +300)
Choi (look via DEC +100)
Negumereanu/Villanueva: Fight starts round 2: -150
Ricci (look via SUB +240)
Add Ricci +130
Add Jones +185
2021 predictions: 227-146-7 (61%)
2021 wagers: 123-97-2 (56%)
Predictions: 608-345-18 (64%)
Wagers: 333-184-8 (64%)
Good luck everyone and I hope to see some of you cashing after Saturday night! Follow me on Twitter @@Y2CASEY.
More Betting & MMA:
Get fantasy and betting analysis in your inbox by signing up for the Winners Club newsletter: SI.com/newsletters