UFC Vegas 19 Main Card Predictions
Adam Martin reviews UFC Vegas 19 and makes his fight picks in the Fanatics Fantasy MMA app. Who ya got?
With 15 fights on deck, UFC Vegas 19 promises to be an action-packed card for MMA fans. Saturday’s event features a number of high-quality matchups including a heavyweight main event between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis. In addition, there are four other outstanding matchups on the five-fight main card. Below are my picks for UFC Vegas 19. Good luck!
Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis
I’m picking Curtis Blaydes to defeat Derrick Lewis in the main event of UFC Vegas 19, though there is some danger here. Blaydes is one of the most dominant wrestlers we have ever seen in the UFC heavyweight division. In his last fight, he took down Alexander Volkov 14 times, and though he didn’t get the stoppage, he asserted his dominance for nearly 25 minutes. He has had numerous fights in the UFC where he has landed double-digit takedowns, and once he’s on the mat, he just rains down heavy ground-and-pound on his opponents and makes them break. Blaydes is a finishing machine and highly motivated to get a devastating stoppage in this fight against Lewis. All signs are point to Blaydes winning this fight, but there is some caution.
While I am backing Blaydes in this fight, it’s fair to at least give Lewis a puncher’s chance in this contest. We have seen Lewis come back from the brink of defeat with late-round knockouts on several occasions throughout his UFC career. In his last fight, for instance, he survived the ground attack of veteran Aleksei Oleinik only to come back and finish him. That’s something he’s done many times throughout his career, including against Volkov, a common opponent.
The odds are really heavy on Blaydes here, and I completely understand it given his dominant wrestling advantage. I’m going to back Blaydes too, but given Lewis’ power, I can’t really blame anyone for taking an underdog shot on Lewis at these huge odds. The two outcomes for this fight are either Blaydes by TKO with ground-and-pound or Lewis lands a swinging bomb on the feet for a KO. I favor Blaydes about 80 to 20 in this matchup to get the job done. So I’m going to take Curtis Blaydes in this one in the app and I will also take him by TKO as the multiplier.
Ketlen Vieira vs. Yana Kunitskaya
I really like Ketlen Vieira in this fight against Yana Kunitskaya. I feel like she has the advantage whether this fight takes place standing or if it goes to the mat as she is very well rounded. The Brazilian has an excellent ground game and also very capable striking skills. I believe she could be fighting Amanda Nunes for the belt one day, so a win here is key for her title aspirations. Her opponent Kunitskaya is a very good wrestler offensively, but she can be taken down and I think that’s going to be the key to this fight. Vieira is the bigger fighter, the younger fighter, and the more experienced fighter. You go up and down the list of strengths and weaknesses on this card and Vieira has Kunitskaya beat everywhere. Kunitskaya is very tough and I can see her making this a gritty fight that Vieira has to really work for, so I will go with Ketlen Vieira by decision.
Charles Rosa vs. Darrick Minner
This featherweight fight between Charles Rosa is a toss-up for me, but I’m going to back the underdog in Darrick Minner here. I can definitely see why Rosa is the favorite here. After all, He has more UFC experience and has proven to be a high-level grappler inside the Octagon. At the same time, Minner presents an extreme level of danger in the first round of his fights. He has 25 wins and almost every one of them has come by first-round submission. He is deadly in the first round. Just ask TJ Laramie, who Minner upset in his last fight. Rosa has excellent submission defense but he left his neck out so many times against Bryce Mitchell in his last fight. I think if he does the same thing with Minner that he gets him out of there. There will be a couple of underdogs on this card who win, and I think Darrick Minner can do it by first-round submission.
Aleksei Oleinik vs. Chris Daukaus
I really like Chris Daukaus in this heavyweight fight, and I can see him winning by knockout. Daukaus has looked outstanding in the UFC, finishing Rodrigo Nascimento and Parker Porter with brutal first-round knockouts. Daukaus really shines with his striking as his boxing is very precise and powerful, not to mention he also mixes in his knees. In addition, he has a black belt in BJJ on the mat. He’s a very tough fighter and also only 31 years old, right in the prime of his career. The UFC is testing him here against Oleinik and I think he can pass the test. I have a lot of respect for Oleineik and he does have some advantages in this fight including his elite submission skills and 75 fights as a professional MMA fighter. But he’s 43 years old and coming off a brutal KO loss to Derrick Lewis in his last fight, so I can’t trust him here. Between Daukaus’ power and Oleinik’s chin, this seems like a recipe for disaster. Back Chris Daukaus here.
Phil Hawes vs. Nassourdine Imavov
This is a really competitive middleweight fight that I could honestly see either guy winning. Phil Hawes is extremely dangerous in the first round, and he’s on a hot streak right now with five-straight first-round finishes. In addition to powerful striking, he has great wrestling, too, making him a very dangerous fighter. The problem is he’s kind of a glass cannon and can be finished if the fight gets out of the first round. He doesn’t have a gas tank here, and that could spell trouble for him here if he can’t finish Imanov early in this first. Nassourdine Imavov is an underrated middleweight who has won six straight fights, including a win over Jordan Williams in his UFC debut. I’ll take another underdog and pick Nassourdine Imavov to win this one.