UFC Fight Night: UFC Vegas 5 Main Event and Co-Main Event Predictions!
Sat, Aug 1 / 9:00 PM EDT. UFC APEX, Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main event for UFC Vegas 5 has one of the hottest prospects in the UFC, who is destined to become champion one day. Also, we have a co-main event that features a top contender fight in the Women's Flyweight division.
Women Flyweight Matchup (125): Joanne Calderwood (14-4-0) vs. Jennifer Maia (17-6-1)
The co-main event for Saturday's fight card features a showdown between 2 Women Flyweight contenders looking to make a statement. Calderwood is currently ranked #3 in the Women Flyweight division, while Maia is ranked #6. Before this fight came to fruition, Calderwood was slated to fight Valentina Shevchenko for the Women's Flyweight Championship at UFC 251 until Shevchenko had to pull out due to a leg injury. Instead of waiting, Calderwood has decided to keep busy in the octagon and step-in for this matchup against Maia. Calderwood is a seasoned striker with a Muay Thai background that likes to keep the fight standing. She has struggled mightily with grapplers in the past. She lands on average an impressive 5.86 strikes per minute and looks to overwhelm her opponents on the feet. Look for her to mix up her attack with punches, kicks, and nasty knees and elbows from the clinch.
On the other side of the octagon is Maia. Maia is looking to take Calderwood's title shot away from her with an upset victory Saturday night. She is 5'4 with a 64" reach, compared to Calderwood who is 5'6 with a 65.5" reach. So, Calderwood will have a slight reach and height advantage in this bout. Much like Calderwood, Maia likes to keep the fight standing as she averages 0 takedowns per 15 minutes. She has a Boxing background and likes to use to hands to breakdown her opponents over the course of the fight. So we can expect this to be a standup affair unless one of these fighters is getting outmatched on the feet and decides to shoot for a takedown. I believe Calderwood has the more dynamic attack and I see her outpointing Maia on the feet on route to a decision victory to reclaim her title shot.
Bodog Moneyline: Joanne Calderwood (-160) vs. Maia (+130)
Prediction: Calderwood (-160)
Bulldogs Risky Bet: Calderwood by decision (+100)
Middleweight Matchup (185): Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0-0) vs. Derek Brunson (20-7-0)
Its Main Event time. Edmen Shahbazyan may not be a household name yet, but he is one of the, if not the best UFC prospect on the roster. At 22 years old, he has an undefeated record and already solidified himself as a devastating finisher with 10 first-round finishes to his name. Of his 10 finishes, he has 9 knockouts and 1 submission. Shahbazyan is coming off a huge KO win over Brad Tavares in November 2019 (as seen below). Something to consider in this fight is that Brunson has lost 5 fights by knockout in his career, so I expect Shahbazyan to go for the KO early in this fight. From what we have seen thus far, Shahbazyan appears to be the real deal with a well-rounded game. The only thing we haven't seen is his cardio since the majority of his fights end in the first round.
Brunson is looking to avoid the 'gatekeeper' role in the UFC. He has faced much tougher competition than Shahbazyan, but he struggles to win against marquee names such as Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, (washed up) Anderson Silva, and Jacare Souza. At 36 years old, Brunson will without a doubt have the experience advantage on Saturday night. Also, he is riding a 2 fight winning streak coming into this fight with both victories coming by unanimous decision. I think Brunson's only route to victory in this one is if he grinds on Shahbazyan and gets this fight to the ground. However, I am going to go with another KO/TKO win by Shahbazyan in this bout.
Bodog Moneyline: Edmen Shahbazyan (-360) vs. Derek Brunson (+270)
Prediction: Shahbazyan (-360)
Bulldogs Risky Bet: Shahbazyan in Round 1 (+150)