UFC action heads to the APEX Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada where former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz takes on Aleksandar Rakic in an intriguing bout between two 205-pound contenders. Blachowicz is looking to return to the title picture while Rakic is still searching for his first title fight. Whoever wins this bout will surely move closer to that goal.

Meanwhile, an interesting showdown between finishers Ion Cutelaba and Ryan Spann in the co-main event. Katlyn Chookagian looks to solidify her status as one of the top contenders in the women’s flyweight division when she takes on the dangerous Amanda Ribas while veterans Davey Grant and Louis Smolka exchange blows in the fourth bout of the main card.

Let’s take a look at the UFC Vegas 54 main card bouts and make our Predictions.

“Fighting" Aleksandar Rakic vs Jan Blachowicz

Aleksandar Rakic is the no. 3 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 30-year-old from Vienna, Austria began his career in Europe fighting under the likes of Iron Fist, Rock the Cage, Final Fight Championship, and Australian Fight Challenge. Rakic joined the UFC in 2017 and won his first four Octagon assignments. In December 2019, he suffered his first UFC loss against Volkan Oezdemir via split decision. Rakic has since won back-to-back fights against Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos.

The Rocket has a record of 14-2 with 9 knockouts and one submission win. He stands 6-2 tall with a reach of 78 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Jan Blachowicz is the former UFC light heavyweight champion. The 39-year-old from Warsaw, Poland is the current no. 1 ranked 205-pound contender in the UFC. Blachowicz is a former KSW light heavyweight champion and three-time KSW light heavyweight tournament winner who joined the UFC in 2014. After a rough start that saw him win only two out of his first six UFC fights, Blachowicz won seven of his next eight fights to earn a shot at the vacant light heavyweight title. He defeated Dominick Reyes to win the gold at UFC 253 and then successfully defended it against Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 before losing the belt to Glover Teixeira at UFC 267.

Blachowicz has a record of 28-9 with 8 knockouts and nine submission wins. He is 6-4 tall with a reach of 78 inches and is also an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 05/13/2022

Blachowicz’s strength is his punching power as he finished three opponents during a five-bout win streak before losing the belt. In his last bout, we saw him get controlled on the mat by an older Glover Teixeira before getting submitted. He won’t have the same worries with Rakic, who isn’t as skilled as Teixeira on the ground

Rakic began his career as a fast finisher with six first-round KOs in his first nine fights. However, he’s become a more patient and methodical striker over the years as he climbed the ranks. He’s also not so active as this is only his third bout since his 2019 loss to Volkan Oezdemir.

Without the grappling skills of Teixeira, Rakic will be forced to fight Blachowicz on the feet. Although he will have the advantage if this becomes a purely striking battle, the former champion also has that fight-altering punching power. I don’t think Rakic is tough to hit. Blachowicz lands one big punch that puts Rakic on the back foot.

Prediction: Jan Blachowicz

“Fighting" Ion Cutelaba vs Ryan Spann

Ion Cutelaba is a Moldovan fighter who began his career fighting under promotions like ECSF, GEFC, WWFC, and Cage Warriors. The 28-year-old known as the Hulk is a former European Combat Sambo gold medalist. He joined the UFC in 2016 and has compiled a mediocre 5-5-1 record under the promotion.

Cutelaba has an overall record of 16-6 with 12 knockouts and two submission victories. He is a southpaw who stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 75 inches.

Ryan Spann is the no. 13 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 30-year-old from Memphis, Tennessee is a former Legacy Fighting Alliance light heavyweight champion and Hero FC middleweight champion. Spann joined the Contender Series in 2018 where he submitted Emiliano Sordi to earn his UFC contract. He won his first four UFC assignments but is just 1-2 in his last three bouts.

Spann is 19-7 with 5 wins via knockout and 11 wins via submission. He is 6-5 tall with a reach of 79 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 05/13/2022

Cutelaba is known as the Hulk and his bruising style certainly justifies that. He is a fighter who loves to force the action and has the edge in punching power in this bout between two heavy hitters. He is also a very good wrestler and given Spann’s shaky takedown defense, that should play a huge role in this fight.

Spann won his first five UFC bouts but as the level of opposition got tougher, he’s struggled to pick up wins. He isn’t excellent at something but he knows how to capitalize on his advantages over his opponents and pick up wins. The problem here is that I don’t see him having an edge over Cutelaba anywhere.

I don’t care where this fight goes. I think Cutelaba beats Spann. Spann has struggled against opponents who are more powerful than him and that is the case here. Spann also has the tendency to tire while Cutelaba has shown he can wrestle the entire fight. Give me the Hulk here.

Prediction: Ion Cutelaba

“Fighting" Katlyn Chookagian vs Amanda Ribas

Katlyn Chookagian is the no. 1 ranked women’s flyweight contender in the UFC. The 33-year-old from Quakertown, Pennsylvania is a former CFFC women’s flyweight and bantamweight champion who also fought under WSOF and PMMAL Hungarian Fighting Championship. She joined the UFC in 2016 and has posted a UFC record of 10-4 with wins in her last three bouts.

Chookagian is 17-4 with two knockouts and one submission victory. She is 5-9 tall with a reach of 68 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Amanda Ribas is the no. 9 ranked strawweight in the UFC. The 28-year-old from Minas Gerais, Brazil is a former strawweight champion at the Jungle Fight and Max Fight promotions. She joined the UFC in 2019 and won her first four Octagon assignments. After losing to Marina Rodriguez at UFC 257, she defeated Virna Jandiroba at UFC 267 in her last outing.

Ribas has a record of 11-2 with three knockout and four submission victories. She is 5-3 tall with a reach of 66 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 05/13/2022

Chookagian is the more established fighter in this weight class. She is also the naturally bigger fighter and has the advantage in striking with better kickboxing. Chookagian is also an excellent point-fighter and is good at taking decision wins.

On the other hand, Ribas is a younger and more athletic fighter. She also has the advantage when it comes to grappling. Having said those, the key to winning this fight for Ribas is completing her takedowns against a 125-pound fighter who is also a very good wrestler.

It won’t be an easy win but unless Ribas turns this into a wrestling contest, I think Chookagian’s size and experience in taking decisions will get her the victory here.

Prediction: Katlyn Chookagian

“Fighting" Davey Grant vs Louis Smolka

Davey Grant is a former Shock N Awe bantamweight champion. The 36-year-old from England was a contestant at TUF 18 where he lost to Chris Holdsworth in the finale. Grant was subsequently signed by the UFC and he won four out of his first six bouts before losing his most recent two.

Grant is 13-6 with 3 knockouts and eight submission wins. He stands 5-8 tall with a reach of 69 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Louis Smolka is a former Pacific Xtreme Combat and California Xtreme Fighting flyweight champion. The 30-year-old from Kapolei, Hawaii is in his second stint with the UFC. Smolka first signed with the UFC in 2016 but lost his first four bouts and was released. He returned in 2018 but is only just 3-3 in six bouts.

Smolka has a record of 17-8 with 8 knockouts and seven submission wins. He is 5-9 tall with a reach of 68 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 05/13/2022

Smolka was once considered a title contender. However, a losing streak saw him get released. He worked his way back to the UFC and since coming back, he’s been more of a fan-friendly action fighter than a contender. Smolka likes to fight at a fast pace and throws punches in bunches while also looking for his opponent’s neck and the choke.

Grant is the bigger fighter and harder puncher between the two. Given his size and durability, he’ll likely be unfazed by Smolka’s volume striking. We saw Grant take Chito Vera’s punches without slowing down.

I think Grant is too big and too strong in this matchup. I think Smolka tries to beat Grant with his voluminous striking but gets caught with a big punch that ends his night.

Prediction: Davey Grant

“Fighting" Manuel Torres vs Frank Camacho

Manuel Torres is a newcomer who began his fighting career at World Best Gladiators, Red Cage, Club Hardcore Fighting, Beat Down MMA, and most recently UWC Mexico. Torres entered the Contender Series where he knocked out Kolton Englund last year to earn a UFC contract.

Torres has a record of 12-2 with five knockouts and six submission wins. He stands 5-10 tall and has a reach of 73 inches.

Frank Camacho is a former Blue Belt BJJ world champion in 2010 and a Micronesian Games wrestling gold medalist. The 32-year-old from Guam was a competitor at TUF 16 where he lost in the opening round. A former PXC lightweight champion, Camacho joined the UFC in 2017 and is just 2-5 under the promotion.

He has a record of 22-9 with 17 knockouts and two submission wins. Camacho is 5-10 tall with a reach of 73 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 05/13/2022

Torres is an excellent athlete who has an aggressive fighting style. He has stopping power in both hands and is also comfortable fighting from a distance or scoring from top control. Torres is also a decent submission fighter.

Meanwhile, Camacho is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt but with his brawling style, you wouldn’t know it. Overall, he is a durable slugger but we’ve seen him get stopped before. Camacho however, has not fought in two years and has been in many wars before so it’s unclear what the 2022 version of him will be.

Despite his long layoff, I think Camacho has not forgotten how to fight and his experience will help him against Torres. If he can mix his attack and stick to his game plan without getting lured into a slugfest, he’s got this. Camacho takes this to the mat and uses his superior grappling skills.

Prediction: Frank Camacho

“Fighting" Jake Hadley vs Allan Nascimento

Jake Hadley fought under Golden Ticket Fight Promotions, EFC, Bellator, and Cage Warriors before joining the Contender Series where he submitted Mitch Raposo to earn his UFC contract. The 25-year-old from West Midlands, England fights out of Fearless MMA in the United Kingdom.

Hadley has a record of 8-0 with two knockouts and four submission wins. He stands 5-7 tall with a reach of 70 inches and is a southpaw fighter.

Allan Nascimento is a former champion from Predator FC. Nascimento also fought under promotions like Thai Fight, Legacy FC, Bison Combat, XFMMA, XFC International, Rizin FC, and Bathala FC. He joined the Contender Series Brazil in 2018 but lost to Raulian Paiva. Two fights later, he was signed by the UFC but lost to Tagir Ulanbekov in his UFC debut.

Nascimento is 18-6 with two knockouts and 3 submission victories. He stands 5-8 tall with a reach of 69 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 05/13/2022

Hadley had some hype going for him being a former Cage Warriors champion. He’s got nice combinations and powerful kicks on the feet and is also good at finding his opponent’s neck when the fight goes to the ground.

Nascimento is first and foremost a submission fighter. But he is also unafraid to fight on the feet and is a high-volume kickboxer in the stand-up game. His struggles have come when opponents get on top of him when on the mat.

I don’t think this fight is as lopsided as the odds say. In fact, I think Nascimento has excellent betting value here. If you’re looking for an upset in the main card, this could be the fight. Nascimento has more experience and has fought better opposition. In a fight like this where both fighters can match the other in every department, experience plays a big role in determining the winner.

Prediction: Allan Nascimento

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