Heavyweight contenders Cyril Gane and Alexander Volkov look to move up the UFC ladder when they collide in the main event of UFC on Vegas 30 on Saturday night which will be held at the company’s APEX Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event will also feature longtime contender Ovince Saint Preux taking on Tanner Boser in a heavyweight encounter. Andre Fili is also expected to slug it out with Daniel Pineda in the main card.
But before those big bouts, let’s take a look at the six-fight prelims undercard which will open Saturday night’s show.
Raoni Barcelos is a former three-time Resurrection Fighting Alliance featherweight champion and a five-time Brazilian national wrestling champion. This 34-year old joined the UFC in 2018 and is unbeaten in five Octagon appearances.
Barcelos has a record of 16-1 with eight knockouts and two submission losses. He is 6-7 tall with a reach of 67 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Timur Valiev is a former Pankration world champion and Russian grappling champion. The 31-year old from Dagestan fought for WSOF and PFL before joining the UFC. He was knocked out by Trevin Jones in his UFC debut but that was overturned to a no-contest after Jones failed a drug test. Valiev beat Martin Day in his second UFC bout
He has a record of 17-2 with five knockouts and two submission wins. Valiev is 5-6 tall with a 67-inch reach and fights out of the orthodox stance.
This is a classic striker vs striker matchup and if you like watching two fighters punch the hell out of each other in the face, this is the fight for you. There’s no question that these two will put on a show on Saturday and when you have that, it’s anybody’s game.
However, Barcelos has the edge in punching power and submission skills. He also looks to be the more durable fighter between the two and is the better counter-puncher.
I expect a firefight where both men will be able to land their big shots. However, Barcelos should be able to take advantage of Valiev’s aggression with timely counters. One of those will put Valiev to sleep.
Prediction: Raoni Barcelos
Shavkat Rakhmonov fought for M-1 and KZMMAF before joining the UFC last year. He defeated Alex Oliveira in his UFC debut via submission last October and is undefeated in 13 MMA bouts with seven knockouts and six submission wins.
The 25-year old from Kazakhstan is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-1 tall with a 77-inch reach.
Michel Prazeres fought in Brazil’s top regional promotions Jungle Fight and Shotoo before coming over to the United States. The 39-year old won eight consecutive UFC bouts before losing his last fight against Ismail Naurdiev. That fight was in February 2019.
Prazeres has a record of 26-3 with one knockout and 11 submission wins. He stands 5-6 tall with a 67-inch reach while fighting out of the orthodox stance.
Prazeres is a smothering wrestler who has elite level jiu-jitsu skills. But he’s not fought in 28 months due to a USADA suspension which could be one of the biggest factors in this bout. Rakhmonov also has significant advantages in height and reach which he knows how to use given his technical striking abilities.
I think Prazeres’ best shot here is to catch Rakhmonov with a big bomb or turning this into a phone booth contest. Neither is likely, given Rakhmonov’s abilities. I think that Prazeres is durable enough to go the distance but won’t have enough in his arsenal to beat Rakhmonov on the feet.
Prediction: Shavkat Rakhmonov
Tim Means is a former King of Cage lightweight and junior welterweight champion. Dirty Bird has struggled to find consistency in the UFC and the 37-year old is looking to win three straight times for the first time in his Octagon career.
Means has a record of 31-12 with 19 knockouts and five submission losses. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-2 tall with a reach of 75 inches.
Nicolas Dalby is a former welterweight champion at the Cage Warriors promotion in Europe. The 36-year old from Denmark first appeared in the UFC in 2015 but was released after four bouts. Following a successful return to Cage Warriors, he earned a second UFC stint and is 2-0 with one no-contest.
Dalby has a record of 19-3 with six knockouts and four submission victories. He stands just 5-11 tall and has a 74-inch reach while fighting as an orthodox fighter.
Dalby is a good wrestler and he likes to fight on the ground. If he gets past Means’ takedown defense, he can beat Dirty Bird with his persistence. But Means has been good in keeping his fights on the feet in his recent fights and if Dalby can’t keep it down, it’s unlikely he gets a chance here.
Means has the edge in power, output, and size on the feet. He is going to outwork Dalby for 15 minutes while occasionally hurting him with big hard punches that the judges will easily notice. Give me Dirty Bird to win a 15-minute striking battle.
Prediction: Tim Means
Julia Avila is the no. 15 ranked female bantamweight in the UFC. The 33-year old from Los Angeles formerly fought for promotions like Invicta FC, HD MMA, Total Warrior Combat, and KOTC before joining the UFC. She is 2-1 inside the Octagon and is coming off her first UFC loss to Sijara Eubanks in September 2020.
Avila has a record of 8-2 with four knockouts and one submission loss. She is 5-7 tall with a reach of 68 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Julija Stoliarenko is a former Invicta FC bantamweight champion who has been fighting since 2012. The 28-year old from Lithuania joined the UFC last year but lost to Yana Kunitskaya in her UFC debut. Prior to that, she won five straight bouts, including four via submission.
Stoliarenko has a record of 9-4 with eight wins via submission. She is 5-7 tall and has a 66-inch reach.
Despite her loss to Eubanks, Avila is still one of the more entertaining and destructive fighters in the division and she may have too much of everything for Storialenko. The latter is badly inferior when it comes to striking and doesn’t have the wrestling chops to put Avila on her back where she can use her submission skills.
To her credit, I think Storialenko is tough and she has what it takes to go the distance. What she does with that ability though is a big question mark for me. Avila overpowers Storialenko on the feet and avoids leaving herself open for a guard pull.
Prediction: Julia Avila
Marcin Prachnio fought mostly in the regional circuits of Europe before joining Asia’s ONE Championship. He joined the UFC in 2018 and was knocked out in each of his first three UFC bouts before finally getting his first win against Khalil Rountree in his most recent bout.
Prachnio has a record of 14-5 with 10 knockouts and one submission victory. He is an orthodox fighter who is 6-3 tall and has a reach of 74 inches.
Ike Villanueva is a former Fury FC light heavyweight champion who joined the UFC last year. He too was knocked out in his first two UFC bouts bout bounced back to stop Vinicius Moreira in his most recent outing.
Villanueva has a record of 19-10 with 16 knockouts. He stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 73 inches and is an orthodox fighter.
This should be a slugfest between fighters who are known knockout artists. Despite their success in the UFC, neither has been impressive, skill-wise and both have leaned on their punching ability to win fights. That said, I give the edge to Villanueva here. I’m not saying that he’s necessarily more durable but Prachnio isn’t a hard man to knock out.
Both men should stand in front of each other in this bout and that should make this a 50-50 fight. But I trust Villanueva’s power more. I think Prachnio gets caught early and that’s it for him.
Prediction: Ike Villanueva
Charles Rosa fought under CFA and CES MMA before joining the UFC in 2014. He’s had an up and down career inside the Octagon with a 4-5 UFC record and is coming off a loss to Darrick Minner.
Rosa is 13-5 with three knockouts and eight submission wins. He stands 5-9 tall with a 69-inch reach and is a switch hitter.
Justin Jaynes is a former WXC lightweight champion. The 31-year old from Michigan joined the UFC last year and after defeating Frank Camacho in his UFC debut, he has lost three straight bouts, all via stoppage.
Jaynes is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-7 tall with a 68-inch reach. His record is 16-7 with 8 knockouts and five submission victories.
Rosa’s main weakness is fighting on the ground. Luckily for him, Jaynes likes a striking battle more than a wrestling match. Rosa has the advantage in durability and he also has the better striking technique and cardio good enough for a five-round bout.
Jaynes can win this fight if he can blitz Rosa in the first minute of the fight. However, if this gets past the first half of round one, Rosa’s taking over with his striking abilities and gets better as the fight progresses.
Prediction: Charles Rosa
Yancy Medeiros has been fighting since 2008 and he is a veteran of Strikeforce and the Hawaii Fight League. The 33-year old has lost his last three bouts and is coming off a unanimous decision defeat to Lando Vannata in February 2020.
Medeiros has a record of 15-7 with eight knockouts and four submission wins. He is 5-10 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter.
Damir Hadzovic fought for Cage Warriors and Venator FC before signing with the UFC in 2016. He is just 3-4 inside the UFC Octagon and is coming off back-to-back losses to Christos Giagos and Renato Moicano.
Hadzovic is 13-6 with seven knockouts and three wins via submission. He is 5-9 tall and is an orthodox fighter with a reach of 70 inches.
Medeiros has significant losses lately but they’ve been to top-caliber fighters. Despite those, he is still one of the toughest fighters in the division and still has that dangerous pop in his punches.
Hadzovic loves a slugfest and he will give Medeiros a striking war here. But Medeiros is durable enough to withstand Hadzovic’s flurries and he should be able to dish out enough punishment to score a knockout win here. Medeiros’ power and volume win this.
Prediction: Yancy Medeiros
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