Returning to Vegas once again, this weekend’s UFC card may not have a bunch of huge names, but it will feature a couple of the best matchups of the month. The night will be headlined by two of the most skilled contenders in the lightweight division… and they both have the same name: Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev!
There are quite a few recent Contender Series and TUF alum. in this card, including both men in the co-main, Caio Borralho and Armen Petrosyan. Other recent alum include Jared Vanderaa, Ricky Turcios, Tresean Gore and Ronnie Lawrence. Other incredible matchups include Said Nurmagomedov vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade and Michael Johnson vs. Jamie Mullarkey. We’ll also see a ranked women’s bout at flyweight between Cynthia Calvillo and Nina Nunes. All of these matchups (plus more) are covered below and feature BLÜ’s predictions along with the Bet99 Sportsbook Odds. As a special bonus, the tenth episode of The Ultimate Fighter Season 30: Peña vs. Nunes (as seen on UFC Fight Pass) is also covered below.
Main Card (7:00 PM PST)
Michael Johnson vs. Jamie Mullarkey
Johnson: +190 Mullarkey: -240
Over 2.5: +140 Under 2.5: -180
After finally breaking his losing streak with a win over Alan Patrick in May, Michael Johnson is already back, trying to grab another win. Before that win, he went 0-4 since 2018 with losses to Emmett, Stevie Ray, Moises and Guida. Mullarkey is in the opposite situation. He had won two in a row over Khama Worthy and Devonte Smith, but then lost to Jalin Turner in his last appearance.
Johnson looked great in his last one, but it was nowhere near solid enough to challenge Mullarkey. Johnson was quick but still got hit pretty bad by Patrick, plus he tends to get kicked a lot and wasn’t all that effective in the clinch. Mullarkey is much more well-rounded and dangerous. He’s got fantastic striking, lots of kicks and elbows, plus he’s got the power to back it up. Not only that, he’s also got some pretty strong takedowns. With all of that power and skill, it seems likely that Mullarkey is going to get a finish.
Mullarkey by Finish
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Nina Nunes
Calvillo: -155 Nunes: +125
Over 2.5: -234 Under 2.5: +180
In the lone ranked women’s bout of the night, number 7 strawweight Nina Nunes, will move up to flyweight to take on 11th ranked Cynthia Calvillo. Calvillo had an incredible start to her career with a record of 9-1-1. Sadly, she’s now dropped to 9-4-1 with three straight losses to top contenders Chookagian, Andrade and Andrea Lee. Nunes hasn’t quite reached the same level of success, going 4-4 in her UFC career. She’s beaten impressive contenders like Angela Hill, Markos and Gadelha, but dropped her last two fights to Tatiana Suarez and Mackenzie Dern.
Unlike most women’s fights, it seems like there’s a clear favourite in this one. Calvillo brings a huge size advantage into this fight and she’s only really lost to women that were much longer, more powerful or way more skilled than her. Nunes doesn’t fit into any of those categories, so it seems pretty likely that Calvillo will win a clear decision.
Calvillo by Decision
Jared Vanderaa vs. Chase Sherman
Vanderaa: -209 Sherman: +162
Over 2.5: +133 Under 2.5: -172
This one reminds me of the matchup recently between Josh Parisian and Alan Baudot, being that neither of these men has done well in the UFC and it’s probably their last shot at staying in the UFC. Vanderaa grabbed his contract from DWCS in 2020, but has since gone 1-4 with a win over Justin Tafa and losses to Spivak, Romanov, Arlovski and Oleinik. Interestingly, Sherman has had the exact same record going 1-4 with a win over Ike Villanueva in his debut and losses to Arlovski, Porter, Collier and Romanov.
As you may have noticed, not only have they got the same UFC record, they’ve also lost to some of the same people. After watching those matchups, it’s pretty clear that Vanderaa was doing a lot better than Sherman. Even though Vanderaa will carry about a 20 pound advantage into this matchup, they’re actually both fairly quick for heavyweights. The difference is that Vanderaa is VERY durable and has a more well-rounded skillset. Vanderaa will likely get some clinchwork and grappling going, shredding Sherman every time they get close. That being said, because neither man has a whole lot of power, this is one of the rare occasions I believe a heavyweight fight will go the distance.
Vanderaa by Decision
Said Nurmagomedov vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
Nurmagomedov: -334 Silva de Andrade: +250
Over 2.5: +100 Under 2.5: -132
This is where the card starts to get VERY interesting. Since debuting in 2018, Said has gone 4-1, grabbing THREE 1st Round finishes along the way over Ricardo Ramos, Mark Striegl and, most recently, Cody Stamann. Silva de Andrade doesn’t have the most impressive UFC record, sitting at 6-4, but he’s competed against some of the best bantamweights in the UFC. He’s beaten ‘Chito’ Vera, Renan Barao and Sergey Morozov, but has lost to Petr Yan, Rob Font and Lerone Murphy.
Despite the odds, this is actually a fairly even matchup. Douglas is HUGE for the division and is one of heaviest hitters at 135. He’s also not too bad on the ground, but he was outwrestled by Lerone Murphy in their fight. The problem for him is that “not too bad” isn’t good enough against Said. Douglas can do some damage on the feet, but once Said takes the fight to the canvas, it’s all over. Even though I think this fight is going to be explosive and VERY entertaining, Said will be able to take this fight to the ground where he’ll probably get a finish.
Nurmagomedov by Finish
Caio Borralho vs. Armen Petrosyan
Borralho: -234 Petrosyan: +183
Over 1.5: -163 Under 1.5: +125
Borralho had a rocky start to his UFC journey, failing to grab a contract in his first DWCS, but turned it around with a sensational performance in his second. He then made his debut, absolutely dominating his undefeated opponent: Gadzhi Omargadzhiev. Also hailing from the Contender Series, Petrosyan made his debut this year, winning a narrow, split decision win over Gregory Rodrigues.
Both of these men are just starting their UFC careers, but one man has been making the much bigger statements so far. Caio is fast, has pretty solid striking and absolutely sensational wrestling. The only problem is that he gets hit a lot. This would favour the striker, Petrosyan, but he was taken down fairly easily in both of his fights. Thanks to that huge wrestling advantage, Borralho should be able to dominate this fight on the ground and probably grab another finish.
Borralho by Finish
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev
dos Anjos: +180 Fiziev: -225
Over 4.5: -148 Under 4.5: +116
Saving the best for last, RDA will attempt to shut down the rise of one of the best strikers in the division: Rafael Fiziev.
Dos Anjos has been a staple of both the welterweight and lightweight divisions of the UFC for over a decade, joining all the way back in 2008. Being ranked for a lot of that time, he’s beaten some of the best fighters in UFC history like Felder, Lawler, Magny, Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz. He’s also lost to some of the best, including Khabib, Ferguson, Covington, Usman and Edwards.
Fiziev is MUCH newer to the UFC, but comes into this week with an incredible 11-1 record. He lost his UFC debut to Magomed Mustafaev from an insane, 1st Round spinning back kick, but bounced back with 5 straight wins. His most recent wins were sensational striking performances over Bobby Green, Brad Riddell and, RDA’s last opponent, Renato Moicano.
Once again, the odds aren’t telling the whole story. It’s clear that Fiziev is the better striker here; he’s pretty big, as some of the best kicks in the UFC, is FAST and has great fight IQ. But, RDA is a former champ and is one of the best at both lightweight AND welterweight. He’s also very much known for his relentless cardio and his grappling. Not to mention, he’s also got one of the best chins in the UFC. If the fight reaches the 4th and 5th Rounds, that’s where RDA would have a CLEAR advantage and possibly pull ahead on the cards. The thing is, he gets hit a lot when he faces great strikers and you can’t afford to do that with Fiziev. That’s why I’m picking Fiziev to grab a finish, most likely in the second half of the fight.
Fiziev by Finish
BLU’s Prelim Pick (Prelims begin at 3:00 PM PST)
Ronnie Lawrence vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov
Lawrence: -134 Kakhramonov: +110
Over 2.5: -193 Under 2.5: +150
Both of these men are fairly new to the UFC and haven’t lost since joining. Lawrence earned his contract on the Contender Series and has opened up his journey with two wins. Kakhramonov is only one fight into his UFC career, but made a statement, grabbing a finish over Trevin Jones.
This may be the closest matchup of the night. Both men move a lot, have great wrestling and decent striking. It’s close and either of them could edge ahead in a close decision, but Lawrence seems to hold a slight edge with his wrestling. Although Kakhramonov’s wrestling is fantastic, he was taken down fairly easily and controlled by Trevin Jones. His movement will also be slowed down thanks to the kicks of Lawrence. With those slight edges, Lawrence should be able to pull ahead.
Lawrence by Decision
BLÜ’s Best Bets
Here I highlight some betting lines that you might want to take advantage of for UFC Vegas 58. These are odds that favour the bettor. Although some of them may conflict with my picks, they offer a fair reward for a slight bit of risk.
Jared Vanderaa vs. Chase Sherman Over 2.5 at +133
Although rare for heavyweight, neither of these two guys has very many finishes on their record. There’s always a chance for a knockout in this division, but this is one of the best opportunities to bet on a heavyweight decision.
Caio Borralho vs. Armen Petrosyan Under 1.5 at +125
This is one of the riskier lines, but considering the finishing ability of both of the guys, there’s a distinct possibility that this fight will end in the opening round. This is especially true when you look at the power and wrestling ability of Borralho. At +125 it’s definitely worth sprinkling a few dollars on it.
The Underdog Rafael dos Anjos at +180
He may not be my main pick, but RDA is never out of the fight. He’s got the grappling advantage and an endless reservoir of cardio and experience. If you’re looking to be a bit risky for more profit, this is one of the better looking opportunities on the card.
The Short Run
Onama + Mullarkey + Borralho
The Long Run
Onama + Mullarkey + Nurmagomedov + Borralho + Fiziev
TUF 30: Episode 10 Recap
For the milestone 30th season of the Ultimate Fighter, we’re following coaches Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes as they lead teams of heavyweights and flyweight women to find the next UFC superstars. In the last episode we saw the very first semifinal of the season: a dominant win by Zac Pauga (Team Peña) over Jordan Heiderman (Team Peña). Pauga used his crisp, powerful striking to pick Jordan apart, grab a 2nd Round TKO and take the first spot in the live finals on a future card. In this episode we saw the first flyweight semi-final of the season: a matchup between Brogan Walker (Team Nunes) and the alternate, Laura Gallardo (Team Peña).
If you missed the earlier episodes, Gallardo joined Team Peña after Coates was forced to leave due to weight-cutting issues. She ended up having a fantastic performance against Kathryn Paprocki, winning by majority decision. After getting switched out of the fight that Gallardo was brought into, Brogan Walker overcame her knee injury and beat Hannah Guy in a somewhat controversial 2 round decision. Sadly, she admitted in training that she was still struggling with her knee and that it was still very sore. There was no coach’s challenge this week, instead the teams watched UFC 272.
Gallardo (Team Peña) stole the momentum early in the fight, running in and pinning Walker (Team Nunes) along the fence. Walker pushed her off, but Gallardo came back in and did it again. After that, Brogan seemed to catch on to Gallardo’s rhythm and started to some great work with her striking. It was a dead even round with both women having their moments of control, but I probably would’ve given it to Walker with a bit of extra damage.
Brogan kept that forward pressure going in the 2nd Round, walking Gallardo down the whole time. With a minute left in the round, Gallardo finally got some action going again with her grappling, but it still seemed like Walker took the round with her pressure and striking. Gallardo came in hot at the start of the final round, but as the round went on, Walker started to land some HEAVY combos. Thanks to those heavy shots, I’d have scored the final round for Walker as well. The judges agreed and gave Walker the unanimous decision. Dana also agreed, saying she clearly won the fight and also scored it 30-27.
Gallardo is a great fighter and I’m sure we’ll see her again, she just REALLY struggled with Walker’s size. Considering the fact that Walker still had knee issues and performed that well, she’s got a VERY good chance of winning the finals. In the next episode we’ll see the last heavyweight matchup of the season between the two number 1 picks: Eduardo Perez (Team Nunes) and Mohammed Usman (Team Peña).