The UFC heads back to the APEX Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday for UFC Vegas 53, featuring a pair of exciting bantamweights in the main event.
Former CES MMA featherweight champion Rob Font, the 5th ranked bantamweight in the UFC, will take on the all-action Marlon Vera who is the 8th ranked bantamweight in the promotion today. This will mark the third consecutive headliner for Font who saw his four-bout win streak ended by Jose Aldo the last time out. Meanwhile, Vera is looking for another big upset after beating Sean O’Malley and Frankie Edgar.
Also on the main card is former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski who will take on Jake Collier and veterans Andre Fili and Joanderson Brito in what should be a firefight.
Preceding the main card is an equally entertaining prelims undercard which we will preview here.
Alexandr Romanov is a former Eagles FC heavyweight champion who joined the UFC in 2020. The 31-year-old from Comrat, Moldova is a former freestyle wrestler who represented Moldova in four different international events. Romanov’s UFC debut was postponed due to the COVID-10 pandemic and he ended up submitting Roque Martinez at UFC Vegas 10 in September 2020. He won his next three bouts, all via stoppage, and is coming off a UFC Vegas 39 knockout of Jared Vanderaa.
Romanov has a record of 15-0 with six knockouts and eight submission victories. He is a southpaw fighter who stands 6-2 tall with a reach of 75 inches.
Chase Sherman is a veteran who began his career with Island Fights, Atlas Fights, and Titan FC before joining the UFC in 2016. Unfortunately, Sherman lost five out of his seven UFC bouts and was released by the promotion in 2018. He rejoined Island Fights and won three straight bouts which earned him a second stint in the UFC. However, after winning his first Octagon bout back against Ike Villanueva, he’s lost three straight bouts and is coming off a submission loss to Jake Collier last January 15th.
The former Bare Knuckle FC heavyweight champion has an MMA record of 15-9 with 14 knockouts. He is 6-4 tall with a reach of 78 inches and is an orthodox fighter.
Since his Octagon debut in 2020, Romanov has become fitter and more technical sound that it would be difficult for Sherman to beat him. Heck, even the 2020 version of Romanov would have been able to beat a peak, Sherman. The fact that Sherman took this fight on short notice last weekend doesn’t help the veteran
The only advantage Sherman has is that low kick and decent punching power but he may not be standing up too long here to utilize them. Romanov should be able to take Sherman down without much trouble. Once on the mat, he should be able to choke him out or pound him to submission.
Prediction: Alexandr Romanov
Daniel Da Silva began his career at Vegas Fight Night, Patao Combat MMA, FK MMA, Shooto Brazil, and Mr. Cage Championship before joining the UFC last year. The 25-yea old from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 196 last October 23, 2021, where he suffered a second-round TKO loss to Jeff Molina.
Da Silva is 11-2 with five knockouts and six submission victories. He is a switch-hitter who stands 5-6 tall and has a reach of 70 inches.
Francisco Figueiredo is the older brother of UFC flyweight champion Deivesion Figueiredo. The 32-year-old from Soure, Para in Brazil is a former interim Jungle Fight bantamweight champion in his native land who also fought under Amazon Fight, IMC-Extreme, and Marajo Open Fight before joining the UFC last year. Figueiredo defeated Jerome Rivera in his UFC debut but lost to Malcolm Gordon in his second UFC appearance.
Figueiredo is 12-4 with three knockouts and seven submission wins. He stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 68 inches and is a southpaw fighter.
No doubt that Da Silva is a lot faster than Figueiredo and is the better finisher. He’s notorious for cardio issued but the fact that Figueiredo gases when he throws a volume of punches also gives Da Silva the advantage in that department. With these, he’s got what it takes to beat up the flyweight champ’s older brother. The main question, however, is if he’s learned from his loss to Jeff Molina. In that bout, Da Silva started out very strong, only to slow down and get knocked out in the second round.
There are a lot of issues that Figueiredo can take advantage of her. However, his poor cardio and lack of a dynamic offense don’t make him a good bet here. Da Silva can lean on his kicks and outwork Figueiredo for the decision win here.
Prediction: Daniel Da Silva
Gabe Green began his MMA career at Fight Club OC and CXF but is more well known during his tenure with Bellator MMA and Combate Americas. The 28-year-old from Downey, California lost to Daniel Rodriguez in his UFC debut at UFC on ESPN 9 in May 2020. He bounced back to beat Phillip Rowe via unanimous decision at UFC 258 way back in February 2021.
Green has a record of 10-3 with three knockouts and six submission victories. He is a switch hitter who is 5-10 tall with a reach of 73 inches.
Yohan Lainesse is an undefeated prospect from Quebec in Canada. The 29-year-old has previously fought for TKO MMA and Cage Fury Fighting Championships before joining the Contender Series last year where he knocked out Justin Burlinson to earn a UFC contract. This will be Lainesse’s first bout under the UFC banner.
He is 6-1 tall with a reach of 76 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance. Lainesse has a record of 8-0 with six knockouts.
This should be a fun-to-watch matchup with both fighters having the tools to exploit the other’s weak spots. Green is relentless in the cage as he just keeps going at his opponents from start to finish. Meanwhile, Lainesse is the more technical striker and the better wrestler among these two.
As usual, Lainesse should start stronger and there’s a chance that he stops Green in the opening round. But if Green gets past the first round, this could be his fight to win. Lainesse has a great takedown offense but I’m not sure that he can keep on taking the fight to the mat against a more active and athletic opponent. As long as Green keeps his volume and movement, Lainesse will get hit with kicks while going for takedowns. He will be successful at times but Green will pile up points to win a close bout.
Prediction: Gabe Green
Natan Levy hails from Tel Aviv, Israel. The 30-year-old began his career under the LFA with the goal of winning a title since LFA champions almost always end up getting signed by the UFC. In his case, he went 5-0 under the LFA banner and then made an appearance at the Contender Series in 2020 where he submitted Shaheen Santana. Levy earned his UFC contract after that win. However, he was defeated by Rafa Garcia via unanimous decision in his debut at UFC Fight Night 198 in November 2021.
Levy is a southpaw who is 5-9 tall with a reach of 71 inches. He owns a record of 6-1 with three submission victories.
Mike Breeden is a veteran who has fought under Bellator MMA, Shamrock FC, Kansas City Fighting Alliance, and the LFA. He appeared in the Contender Series but was defeated by Anthony Romero in August 2020. He won back-to-back fights under Fighting Alliance Championship and was finally signed by the UFC. However, he lost his debut against Alexandr Hernandez via knockout.
Breeden is 10-4 with eight knockouts. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-10 tall with a reach of 70 inches.
Although he got starched in his UFC debut. Breeden is a good match for Levy with his good takedown defense and his outside striking. However, he often gets into trouble when his opponents get past his kicking distance.
However, his lack of offensive wrestling is going to give him problems here. Levy will use his leg kicks more often than usual and he’s going to compromise Breeden’s lead leg. With his opponent’s movement impeded, Levy can strike from a distance and win this fight on points. For as long as he doesn’t get into a phone booth war and he can keep his back off the fence, Levy strikes his way to victory here.
Prediction: Natan Levy
Shanna Young is a former King of Cage women’s bantamweight champion. The 31-year-old from Salem, Virginia also fought under Invicta FC and Valor Fighting Challenge before making an appearance at the Contender Series in 2019 where she was submitted by Sarah Alpar. Young was signed by the UFC in 2020 and she’s lost her first two bouts against Macy Chiasson and Stephanie Egger.
Young is 7-4 with one knockout and four submission wins. She stands 5-7 tall with a reach of 65 inches and is an orthodox fighter.
Gina Mazany is a former Alaska Fight women’s bantamweight champion. The 33-year-old from Anchorage, Alaska competed at The Ultimate Fighter 18 where she lost to current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Julianna Pena in the preliminary round. Mazany is 1-2 in three UFC bouts with all her Octagon appearances ending in a knockout.
She has a record of 7-5 with four knockouts and one submission win. She is 5-6 tall with a reach of 68 inches and is a southpaw fighter.
Young presents a challenge for Mazany because she has good stand-up skills. However, she doesn’t have the stopping ability and the aggressiveness to give Mazany serious issues on the feet. Young’s issues on the mat also give Mazany the advantage in this fight.
Without the threat of a knockout, Mazany will just power her way to the clinch where she can drag Young to the mat. Once she gets there, Mazany is good at getting to a dominant position and once she’s there, there may be no stopping her from unloading punches from the top unless the referee steps in and end the bout.
Prediction: Gina Mazany
Tatsuro Taira is an undefeated prospect from Okinawa, Japan. The 22-year-old is a former Shooto men’s flyweight champion and is currently the fourth Japanese on the UFC’s roster of fighters.
Despite his young age, Taira is already a veteran of 10 bouts. He has a record of 10-0 with three knockouts and five submission victories. He stands 5-7 tall with a reach of 70 inches and is an orthodox fighter.
Carlos Candelario is a veteran of Reality Fighting who also fought under CES MMA. The 30-year-old from New Britain, Connecticut joined the Contender Series on August 21 where he lost to Victor Altamirano. Despite the loss, he was signed by the UFC and will be making his debut in this bout.
He is 8-1 with two knockouts and three submission wins. Candelario is a southpaw who stands 5-8 tall with a reach of 68 inches.
Candelario could present to be a roadblock for the promising 22-year-old. He is a well-rounded fighter who is also technically sound in all aspects of the fight game. With Taira showing some spots where he tends to do little, there’s a chance that Candelario outworks him on the feet and wastes time on the guard if Taira takes this fight to the mat.
However, we’ve seen Candelario leave plenty of openings during grappling exchanger. The smart Taira should find one of those, get to Candelario’s back and work his way to a finish. I think Candelario gives a serious challenge early but once Taira gets this fight to the mat, he’s taking his opponent’s back and producing another submission win.
Prediction: Tatsuro Taira
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