The UFC returns to action this weekend to its APEX Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 50 featuring light heavyweight contenders Thiago Santos and Magomed Ankalaev in the main event.

Santos will try attempting to win his second straight fight after a three-bout losing skid that began with a loss to Jon Jones. In his last bout, Maretta outpointed Johnny Walker in a boring unanimous decision last October. Meanwhile, Ankalaev has won seven consecutive bouts since losing to Paul Craig in his UFC debut. The 6th ranked 205-pounder in the promotion will be looking to move up the rankings by beating the 5th ranked Santos.

Let’s take a look at the UFC Vegas 50 main card and make our predictions.

“Fighting" Thiago Santos vs Magomed Ankalaev

Thiago Santos is the no. 5 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 38-year old from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil challenged Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 239 and lost on points. Santos would suffer back-to-back losses to Glover Teixeira and Aleksandr Rakic after the Jones defeat. He bounced back in his last fight, beating Johnny Walker in an uninspiring contest.

Santos is 22-9 with 15 knockouts and one submission win. He is 6-2 tall with a reach of 76 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Magomed Ankalaev is the no. 6 ranked 205-pound fighter in the UFC. The 29-year old from Dagestan, Russia is a former World Fighting Championship Akhmat light heavyweight champion who joined the UFC in 2018. Ankalaev lost via decision to Paul Craig in his UFC debut but has since won seven in a row, including a unanimous decision win over Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 267 in his most recent bout.

Ankalaev is 16-1 with nine knockouts. He is 6-3 tall with a reach of 75 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 03/11/2022

Santos ended his losing skid against Johnny Walker but let’s be honest, he didn’t look impressive in that bout where it appeared to like both fighters were way about the other’s punching power. In fact, Santos has not looked great since the Jon Jones bout and it could very well be the injuries that he suffered during that bout that has limited his explosiveness and effectiveness.

Ankalaev is the younger and more well-rounded fighter between the two. He is precise and powerful with his strikes and he also has excellent wrestling which he can always turn to if things don’t go his way on the feet. Ankalaev has a tendency to coast late in the fights and if he does that here, it could be costly.

All things considered, however, including their current career trajectory, all signs point to Ankalaev beating his more prominent opponent. I agree that the odds may be too wide but in the end, I think that the up-and-coming fighter beats the battle-scarred veteran here.

Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev

“Fighting" Sodiq Yusuff vs Alex Caceres

Sodiq Yusuff is the no. 12 ranked featherweight in the UFC. The 28-year old from Lagos, Nigeria competed for Shogun Fights, VFC, Brave FC, and Titan FC where he once challenged for the featherweight title. Yusuff joined the UFC via the Contender Series where he defeated Mike Davis to earn a UFC contract. Yusuff won his first four UFC assignments before losing to Arnold Allen via decision in his most recent fight at UFC Vegas 23 last April 10, 2021.

He is 11-2 with 6 knockouts and five submission wins. Yusuff is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-9 tall with a reach of 71 inches.

Alex Caceres is the no. 15 ranked featherweight in the UFC. The 33-year old from Miami, Florida made his name in the regional circuits, fighting for promotions like G-Force Fights, KOTC, XFN, and WFC. He was a competitor in the TUF 12 tournament where he lost to Michael Johnson. Caceres has been in the UFC since 2011 and his current run of five straight wins is the best of his career.

Caceres is 19-12 with three knockouts and seven submission wins. He is 5-10 tall with a reach of 73 inches and is a southpaw fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 03/11/2022

Yusuff has good technique but it’s his ability to put away his opponents with his power shots on the feet or overwhelm them with heavy shots on the mat that make him dangerous as a fighter. Caceres meanwhile, does not have the same heavy hands as Yusuff but he is a dynamic striker who makes up for his lack of power with volume and precision. He also has excellent jiu-jitsu background which could come in handy late in fights when scrambles get wild.

No question, Caceres is having his best run in the UFC right now. Despite being here for such a long time now, he’s looked more consistent lately and his return to the featherweight division had reaped rewards. Now he gets a step up in level of opposition and has a chance to move inside the rankings.

However, Yusuff isn’t the guy to go it against. He is just too strong and too physical for Caceres to dominate. I think Yusuff catches Caceres with something big in the second round.

Prediction: Sodiq Yusuff

“Fighting" Khalil Rountree vs Karl Roberson

Khalil Rountree was a mainstay at RFA before joining the TUF 23 light heavyweight tournament where he was runner-up to Andrew Sanchez. The 32-year old from Los Angeles, California is is just 5-5 with one no-contest under the UFC and is coming off a TKO win over Modestas Bukauskas last September 4, 2021.

Rountree is 9-5 with six knockouts. He is 6-1 tall with a reach of 76 inches and is a southpaw fighter.

Karl Roberson is a veteran of Ring of Combat, CFFC, and Shogun Fights. The 31-year old from Neptune, New Jersey joined the Contender Series in 2017 where he knocked out Ryan Spann to earn a UFC contract. Roberson has struggled with the top-notch opposition in the UFC as he has gone 4-4 in eight bouts. Roberson is coming off back-to-back losses to Marvin Vettori and Brendan Allen.

Roberson has a record of 9-4 with two knockouts and four submission wins. He is 6-1 tall with a reach of 74 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 03/11/2022

Rountree took up MMA late but has caught up well because of his excellent athleticism. He trained in Thailand, which is the reason why his style leans towards kickboxing. The issue with Rountree however is his inconsistency as he sometimes gets tentative and lets his opponent dictate the pace of the fight.

Roberson is a former kickboxer who is good at striking from any range and has knockout power. He, however, has a habit of diving into grappling exchanges with an opponent trying to wrestle him. Again, it’s less likely that Rountree will grapple here.

Overall I think Rountree has the edge when this turns to a striking battle. He has been the more active fighter and has been the more established fighter at 205 pounds. Rountree’s kicking game will help him score points and slow down Roberson. For as long as Rountree doesn’t get passive, he should get the win here.

Prediction: Khalil Rountree

“Fighting" Drew Dober vs Terrance McKinney

Drew Dober has been fighting since 2009 and has competed for promotions like Bellator MMA and Titan Fighting Championship. The 33-year old from Omaha, Nebraska also fought for Victory Fighting Championship and Centurion Fights before joining TUF 15 where he lost in the opening round. Dober won 8 of 10 bouts from 2016-2020 but last year he went 0-2 with losses to Islam Makhachev and Brad Riddell.

Dober has a record of 23-11 with 10 knockouts and six submission wins. He is 5-8 tall with a reach of 70 inches and is a southpaw fighter.

Terrance McKinney is a veteran of CageSport, ExciteFight, Front Street Fights, Strike Hard Productions, and LFA. He also made an appearance at the Contender Series where he lost to Sean Woodson. The 27-year old from Spokane, Washington is 2-0 with two first-round stoppages in the UFC. In his most recent bout, McKinney choked out Fares Ziam at UFC Fight Night 202 just last February 26, 2022.

McKinney has a record of 12-3 with five knockouts and seven submission wins. He is 5-10 tall with a reach of 73 inches and fights as a switch hitter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 03/11/2022

Although he hasn’t won all of his bouts, Drew Dober has been inside the Octagon with the best fighters in the promotion so fighting McKinney wouldn’t be a big issue. His striking has also developed over the years as he’s gone from a volume striker to a legit KO threat.

McKinney has built some hype behind his name with a 2-0 with two knockouts record in the UFC. He possesses dynamic wrestling skills and has legit knockout power in both hands. McKinney is always looking for that quick finish.

Dober however has a granite chin so I am not worried that he will get sparked early on. I think Dober survives McKinney’s opening onslaught and then settles down to connect with his big punches. I see a KO here and for all his struggles, Dober is going to emerge victorious.

Prediction: Drew Dober

“Fighting" Alex Pereira vs Bruno Silva

Alex Pereira is a former GLORY kickboxing champion and SUPERKOMBAT Fighting champion. The 34-year old from Sao Paulo, Brazil owns a win over Israel Adesanya when the two fought at GLOY. Silva fought three times inside an MMA cage until 2016 and resumed his MMA career in 2020 for LFA. After one fight there, he joined the UFC where he knocked out Andrea Michailidis in his UFC debut at UFC 268.

Pereira is 4-1 with four knockouts in MMA. He is an orthodox fighter who is 6-4 tall with a reach of 79 inches.

Bruno Silva is a former M-1 Global middleweight champion who joined the UFC in 2018 but did not fight until last June after serving a two-year USADA suspension. The 32-year old Brazilian knocked out Wellington Turman in his UFC debut and has won his last seven bouts via knockout, including five in the first round.

Silva is 20-6 with 17 knockouts and fights out of the orthodox stance. He is six feet tall and has a reach of 74 inches.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 03/11/2022

These are two world-class kickboxers who have transitioned to MMA and have been successful in their new combat sports venture. Pereira is known for his knockout power and he is best remembered for putting Israel Adesanya to sleep in a kickboxing match.

Silva meanwhile is more of a straight-forward brawler who also hits very hard. Silva is also a threat on the ground as he has one of the nastiest ground and pound at this weight class.

This is a risky fight for Pereira as Silva is no fluke.

This is a much more difficult fight than Pereira’s UFC debut. Silva hits back and he hits hard. If he decides to mix his power striking with takedowns, then Pereira could be in trouble. However, Silva can be wild and that is trouble against a killer like Pereira who knows well how to take advantage of his opponent’s weaknesses.

Prediction: Alex Pereira

“Fighting" Marlon Moraes vs Song Yadong

Marlon Moraes is the former WSOF bantamweight champion and the no. 10 ranked bantamweight in the UFC. The 33-year old from Nova Friburgo, Brazil joined the UFC in 2017 and won five out of his first seven UFC bouts. Moraes however has lost three straight bouts to Cory Sandhagen, Rob Font, and Merab Dvlashvili.

Moraes has a record of 23-9 with 10 knockouts and six submission wins. He is 5-6 tall with a reach of 67 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Song Yadong is the no. 14 ranked bantamweight in the UFC. The 24-yea old from Harbin, China started his career at WLF and RUFF before joining the UFC in 2017. He won his first four UFC bouts before drawing with Cody Stamann. Since then, Song is 3-1 and is coming off back-to-back wins over Casey Kenney and Julio Arce.

Song is 18-5 with seven knockouts and three submission victories. He is 5-8 tall with a reach of 67 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 03/11/2022

Moraes is an excellent tactician on the feet. However, his defense failed him against Sandhagen and Font while his cardio did him against Dvalishvili. Of course, these three are elite fighters so there is no shame in losing to them. However, losses in his last three fights could affect Moraes confidence heading to this bout.

Song is only 24-years old but with his composure at a young age coupled with his punching power, he is a difficult opponent to beat. In his young UFC career, Song has established himself as one of the toughest fighters in a division that is loaded with killers.

Moraes may be the better striker here but these are fighters trending in opposite directions. If his recent losses have made him tentative, Moraes will be easy prey for Song’s haymakers. Should Moraes decide to rely on takedowns, he will have to get near Song and that’s going to get him to hit on the way in. Song catches Moraes with something big and it’s bye-bye time.

Prediction: Song Yadong

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