UFC Predictions - UFC Fight Night: Matheus Nicolau vs. Alex Perez

Matheus Nicolau faces Alex Perez in this weekend
Matheus Nicolau faces Alex Perez in this weekend's UFC main event

After a week without any action, the UFC is back in the Las Vegas APEX this weekend for its latest Fight Night event.

UFC Fight Night: Matheus Nicolau vs. Alex Perez is certainly not stacked out like the huge event two weeks ago, but with any luck, it'll provide some solid action nonetheless. Is there anything to really keep an eye on here? It's debatable, but for fight fans, any octagon event is worth watching.

Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC Fight Night: Matheus Nicolau vs. Alex Perez.


#1. UFC flyweight bout: Matheus Nicolau vs. Alex Perez

Initially, this flyweight headliner would've seen Matheus Nicolau rematching the high-flying Manel Kape, whom he defeated back in 2021.

It would've been a fascinating fight, mainly because a win could well have propelled Kape right into title contention. However, 'Starboy' suffered an injured rib earlier in April, resulting in former title challenger Alex Perez stepping in on short notice.

So can Perez arrest his own slide to defeat the dangerous Brazilian? Or will this be his last chance saloon?

At his best, Perez is a very dangerous fighter. We saw him explode onto the scene back in 2018 with a knockout of Jose Torres, and although he then fell to Joseph Benavidez, he rebounded with a three-fight win streak.

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Unfortunately, Perez's wild nature then seemed to catch up with him, and after losing a title shot against Deiveson Figueiredo in 2020, he's now lost two more fights, albeit to two great fighters.

There's no shame in falling to Alexandre Pantoja or Muhammad Mokaev, of course. However, Perez's wide-open nature is always likely to give him issues at the top level of the UFC. The question here, then, is whether Nicolau is capable of capitalizing on those kinds of errors.

The issue for the Brazilian is that, while he's very skilled, he isn't that explosive. Of his seven octagon wins, only two have come via finish; one over Bruno Mesquita in the Brazilian's only fight on the big show, and one over the even more defensively porous Matt Schnell.

That means that if Perez comes in aggressively, as Brandon Royval did in his win over Nicolau, there's a chance he'll take out the Brazilian in a rush. Given the late notice, Perez is certainly likely to fight in that way. However, the late notice also means that unless he does find an early finish, he's likely to burn himself out.

Nicolau probably knows that too, and knows that as long as he's defensively sound early on, he can win this later down the stretch as Perez tires.

Were Perez taking this fight with more notice, then it'd be more winnable, but that isn't the case. The pick, therefore, is a late win for Nicolau.

The Pick: Nicolau via fourth-round submission


#2. UFC light-heavyweight bout: Ryan Spann vs. Bogdan Guskov

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Rewind to late 2022, and only a few fighters in the UFC's light-heavyweight division were hotter than Ryan Spann. 'Superman' had put together an octagon record of 7-2 and was coming off back-to-back finishes of Ion Cutelaba and former title challenger Dominick Reyes.

Since then, though, he's hit a slide somewhat. Losses to Anthony Smith and Nikita Krylov have knocked him out of contention, and now Spann is in an odd spot. At No.11 in the division, he's still a viable contender at 205 pounds. However, despite being a deadly finisher, he also seems to be a glass cannon of sorts, meaning that his fights tend to be wild, but often end with him being stopped.

Bogdan Guskov, on the other hand, is more of an unknown quantity. He was easily dispatched by veteran Volkan Oezdemir in his octagon debut but bounced back with a KO of Zac Pauga in February. The native of Uzbekistan has only gone the distance once, win or lose, meaning that the likelihood of this one lasting three rounds is slim.

Basically, it should come down to whether Guskov has the power in his punches to take out Spann before he gets hurt in return. If the Uzbeki can land a huge shot early on, 'Superman' is definitely beatable. However, Spann will enjoy a large advantage in range, standing at 6ft 5in, and obviously, he's been in with some of the most dangerous fighters in the division.

Guskov isn't likely to show him anything he hasn't seen before, and realistically, he probably doesn't hit as hard as Johnny Walker, the only man to knock out Spann in the octagon so far.

With that considered, the pick is Spann, most likely via submission - probably an opportunistic choke after hurting the Uzbeki fighter.

The Pick: Spann via first-round submission


#3. UFC Fight Night: The Main Card

In an underrated flyweight tilt, Ariane Lipski takes on Karine Silva. Both women are on the cusp of contention at 115 pounds, with Lipski ranked at No.12 and Silva at No.13.

After an inconsistent start to her octagon career, Lipski has now won three bouts in a row, and most recently defeated the highly regarded Casey O'Neill. 'The Violence Queen' had a reputation for striking when she arrived in the promotion, but has shown she's more of a dangerous grappler with venomous submissions.

Silva, similarly, has been a deadly submission artist since she arrived in 2022. She's 3-0 in the octagon with three tapouts. This is a step up in competition for 'Killer', but it's one she should be able to take well. Lipski is definitely dangerous, but Silva looks slightly more polished, and 'The Violence Queen' leaves holes in her game. Therefore, the pick is Silva via submission.

In a heavyweight clash, Austen Lane faces Jhonata Diniz. This is an interesting one as Diniz is very inexperienced in MMA, but has an extensive kickboxing background in GLORY.

He is 6-0 and does appear to have the kind of striking that would lead him to success, but obviously, whether he's rounded out his skills is a question mark. However, Lane isn't likely to test that, being a former NFL player who is a brawler at heart.

With that considered, expect the newcomer to win strongly here, garnering some hype. The pick is Diniz via KO.

In a welterweight bout, Tim Means takes on Uros Medic. In many ways, it's a surprise that Means is still fighting. 'The Dirty Bird' made his octagon debut way back in 2012 and is now 40 years old. He's also taken serious damage over the years, although he did win his last fight via TKO.

Medic is far less proven at 2-2 in the octagon, but he is a talented and dangerous fighter. Whether 'The Doctor' has enough to beat Means, though, is another thing, especially as he's at a big reach disadvantage.

This one is tough to pick as it's hard to say how much Means has left in the tank, but based on his win over Andre Fialho, he might have enough to pull through here. The pick is Means via KO.


#4. UFC Fight Night: The Prelims

Picks in bold

UFC bantamweight bout: Rani Yahya vs. Victor Henry

UFC lightweight bout: Austin Hubbard vs. Michal Figlak

UFC heavyweight bout: Don'Tale Mayes vs. Caio Machado

UFC strawweight bout: Ketlen Souza vs. Marnic Mann

UFC lightweight bout: Gabriel Green vs. James Llontop

UFC flyweight bout: Ivana Petrovic vs. Liang Na

UFC lightweight bout: Gabriel Benitez vs. Hayisaer Maheshate

UFC featherweight bout: Jonathan Pearce vs. David Onama

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann
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