UFC Vegas 51: Luque vs Muhammad 2 Predictions

Home » MMA » MMA: Predictions » UFC Vegas 51: Luque vs Muhammad 2 Predictions

UFC Vegas 51: Luque vs Muhammad 2 Predictions & Results

Pintsized Background

Crikey. I really do not want to cover UFC Vegas 51. In a one-fight card, there is a potential that the main event is a disgusting, grinding Muhammad win. Hardcore or casual, it’s going to take quite a lot of caffeine to get through this ‘contractual obligations’ card.

Pintsized MMA content from the week before:
🚀 Preview: UFC 270: N’Gannou vs Gane Predictions
🥊 PI’s Recommended Fight: Khamzat Chimaev vs Gilbert Burns

Travel down the Pintsized rabbit hole:
📊 Statistics: MMA Predictions Results: February 2022
📺 YouTube: Pintsized Channel

Andre Fialho is a lights-out any time sort of fighter | UFC Vegas 51 Predictions
Andre Fialho is a lights-out any time sort of fighter | UFC Vegas 51 Predictions

TIPPING JAR

Pintsized Interests is just a baby finding its first steps in the big, bad world of sports journalism. If you enjoy the content that is regularly uploaded then please consider donating via the link below. Any amount is greatly appreciated, and will go towards ensuring the survival of Pintsized Interests in the long-term.


UFC Vegas 51: Main Event

Vicente Luque vs Belal Muhammad

Welterrweight (170)

Vicente Luque (21-7-1)

With only losses to Leon Edwards and Stephen Thomson in the UFC, Luque is finally emerging to the credit he has long deserved. It isn’t just that the Brazilian has top scalps (Michael Chiesa, Belal Muhammad, Tyron Woodley), but it’s the manner in which Luque finishes fights. Long using his formidable chin to create crushing counter-punching opportunities, Luque has started to return to his lethal submission arsenal.

Can Luque handle the sweltering volume punching of Muhammad? Athletically, Muhammad cannot match Luque, but the Silent Assassin lost to Wonderboy largely due to Thompson’s pressure keeping Luque uncharacteristically gun-shy. Still, Wonderboy ate far more damage than most are willing to remember. With Luque’s return to leg kicks, in addition to the five-round nature of the fight, I believe there will be enough time for Luque to find the kill shot once again. Realistically, Muhammad needs to out-wrestle Luque in at least three rounds, a difficult task against a fighter who never really tires.

Belal Muhammad (20-3)

Maybe it’s the grating social media begging, perhaps it’s the stiflingly ugly style, but it sure is difficult to get behind Belal Muhammad. The fact that Muhammad carries negative power in his hands also adds to the sickening feeling that precedes a Belal fight night. Despite this, Muhammad is a fabulous game planner who more often than not finds a way to unleash his chain-wrestling and volume boxing.

The major issue that Muhammad faces on Saturday, aside from already having been sparked out by Luque earlier in their careers, is his total inability to handle Southpaws. Luque’s lead hook is his money shot and is sure to find the chin if Muhammad can’t assert his wrestling early. Luque has been willing to operate off his back, however, and there is a route for Muhammad to wrack up long periods of control time. Moreover, Luque always takes a worrying amount of damage en route to victory. Muhammad has steadily improved over his career and may be meeting the Brazilian at a time when the miles on the body have peaked.

Predicted Result: Luque TKO Round 4

The major issue that Muhammad faces on Saturday, aside from already having been sparked out by Luque earlier in their careers, is his total inability to handle Southpaws. Luque’s lead hook is his money shot. If Muhammad can’t assert his wrestling early, his voluminous boxing won’t threaten Luque enough into a gun-shy back-foot operator.

Luque has been taken down before by lesser wrestlers, however. The Brazilian also has been willing to operate off his back. Add into the evidence that Muhammad is a thorough game-planner and has consistently improved over his career, this could be a very even affair in the early rounds. Can Muhammad out-wrestle Luque over five rounds? I fear not and have to favour Luque finding the kill shot.

Result: Muhammad def. Luque // Decision (UD – 48-47, 49-46, 49-46)

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Vicente Luque to starch Belal Muhammad a second time? | UFC Vegas 51 Predictions
Vicente Luque to starch Belal Muhammad a second time? | UFC Vegas 51 Predictions

Return to Fight Card


UFC Vegas 51: Co-Main Event

Caio Borralho vs Gadzhi Omargadzhiev

Middleweight (185)

Caio Borralho (10-1)

Borralho owns one of the greatest Tapology pictures of all time. Aside from an early career loss, the Brazilian has torn through a long list of questionable opponents before securing a career W on the DWCS. Surprisingly, Borralho opted to fly out of the blocks against Jesse Strader and earnt himself a first-round stoppage. Borralho may well return to his slower-paced, single-shot karate against an opponent who will punish lax footwork with takedowns. Can Borralho handle the strongest wrestler he has faced to date?

Gadzhi Omargadzhiev (13-0)

Omargadzhiev fits the Eastern stereotype of a hard-nosed wrestler who has managed to find finishes regular finishes against inexperienced opponents. I imagine as Omargadzhiev continues to step up, there will be an influx of dull decisions. Naturally, Omargadzhiev has to be considered the heavy favourite. There isn’t much footage of Omargadzhiev, so it is hard to decipher whether the Russian is anything more than functionally defensive on the feet. Omargadzhiev’s wrestling and grappling are legit, however, and Borralho’s brash explosiveness in the DWCS will see him hit the mat early.

Predicted Result: Omargadzhiev Decision

Surprisingly, Borralho opted to fly out of the blocks against Jesse Strader and earnt himself a first-round stoppage. Borralho may well return to his slower-paced, single-shot karate against an opponent who will punish lax footwork with takedowns. Even so, Omargadzhiev has to be considered the heavy favourite. Despite the limited tape, Omargadzhiev’s wrestling and grappling are legit. Borralho’s brash explosiveness in the DWCS will see him hit the mat early if repeated.

Result: Borralho def. Omargadzhiev // Technical Decision (UD – 29-27, 29-27, 29-27)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Win or lose, Borralho will earn himself some fans on Saturday | UFC Vegas 51 Predictions
Win or lose, Borralho will earn himself some fans on Saturday | UFC Vegas 51 Predictions

Return to Fight Card


UFC Vegas 51: Main Card

Andre Fialho vs Miguel Baeza

Welterweight (170)

Andre Fialho (14-4)

A close-cut affair with Michel Pereira 2.0 isn’t the worst result for a debutant, but it has gone some way to taking the steam out of the Portuguese fighter’s sails. Fialho is best known for retiring James Vick in XMMA, but the heavy-handed first-round finish machine is far more than that highlight reel. There is a patience to Fialho’s power punching that catches opponents unaware with an uncomfortably slow pace. Fialho dies off by the third round, even with his pedestrian pace, and will struggle to handle Baeza’s volume later on.

Miguel Baeza (10-2)

Many were on the Miguel Baeza hype train after his submission finish over Takashi Sato, but too little was placed on Baeza’s second-round KO of Matt Brown. Baeza looked horrendously sloppy in the first round, allowing Brown to batter him in the clinch despite totally dominating the affair on the outside. Baeza lacks the technical striking defence base to launch his preferred counter-punching style. Baeza has a decent chin, but he is regularly wobbled due to the number of power punches he eats.

Predicted Result: Fialho TKO Round 1

Fialho is best known for retiring James Vick in XMMA, but the heavy-handed first-round finish machine is far more than that highlight reel. Even considering Fialho’s patience and late-round fall-off, Baeza’s faults are too difficult to overlook. Baeza lacks the technical striking defence base to launch his preferred counter-punching style. When the two trade, the Portuguese fighter’s nuclear power has to be favoured.

Result: Fialho def. Baeza // TKO (punches) Round 1 4:39

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Mayra Bueno Silva vs Yanan Wu

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Mayra Bueno Silva (7-2-1)

It’s been a half year since Mayra Bueno Silva was pieced apart by Manon Fiorot on the outside. There is no doubting the Brazilian’s durability, heart or skillset, but Silva looked totally lost as she failed to adapt to her rangey opponent. Such is Women’s Flyweight. Without the conscious decision making to change the pace or direction of fights, Silva will continue to rely on opponents making mistakes.

Yanan Wu (12-4)

With over a year out of the game since her loss to Joselyne Edwards, Wu Yanan hopefully returns with the same aggression as in previous fights. While the Chinese scrapper is happy to consistently press forward, far less can be said about her reaction to eating punishment. A solid chin is there, but Yanan fails to build on striking layers – each time she is hit feels like a factory reset. Pressure alone could beat Silva on the scorecards, but I’m favouring the Brazilian’s superior skillset.

Predicted Result: Silva Decision

There is no doubting the Brazilian’s durability, heart or skillset, but Silva looked totally incapable of adapting to Manon Fiorot last time out. Still, Wu Yanan will close the distance and happily press forward. Sure, a solid chin is there, but Yanan fails to build on striking layers – each time she is hit feels like a factory reset. Pressure alone could beat Silva on the scorecards, but I’m favouring the Brazilian’s superior skillset.

Result: Silva def. Wu // Decision (UD – 29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Pat Sabatini vs T.J. Laramie

Featherweight (145)

Pat Sabatini (16-3)

Sabatini has to be considered one of the best grappling prospects in the organisation. Tucker Lutz was sold as a tough wrestling threat, but Sabatini totally dominated the affair on the mat. That sort of potency on the ground benefits Sabatini on the feet too, eventually tagging Lutz with regular combinations by the later stages of their bout. There are chin problems, Jamall Emmers almost sparked Sabatini out cold, but the prospect showed exceptional heart and recovery to come through with a speculative heel hook.

T.J. Laramie (12-4)

I was hot on Laramie before his UFC debut back at the end of 2020. The Canadian looked an impressive grappler in his early career, albeit with a leaky striking defence. What I expected from Laramie, is actually what Sabatini represents. Laramie is just twenty-four despite a two-year lay-off and has more than enough time to refine his craft. Currently, however, this feels like a fight far beyond the Canadian’s means who will struggle to gain a foothold in any area of their fight.

Predicted Result: Sabatini TKO Round 1

Tucker Lutz was sold as a tough wrestling threat, but Sabatini totally dominated the affair on the mat. That sort of potency on the ground benefits Sabatini on the feet too, eventually tagging Lutz with regular combinations by the later stages of their bout. While I was hot on Laramie prior to his UFC debut, it would appear that everything I expected from Laramie, is actually what Sabatini represents. There’s still time for the Canadian to refine his craft, but this fight feels like harsh match-making.

Result: Sabatini def. Laramie // Decision (UD – 30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Mounir Lazzez vs Ange Loosa

Welterweight (170)

Mounir Lazzez (10-2)

A year on from his devastating loss to Warlley Alves, the clock is ticking for Mounir Lazzez to fix the holes in his game. The sole defensive option of a high guard allowed Alves to decimate the Tunisian’s body and create the blueprint for future fighters. At distance, Lazzez oozed quality against Abdul Razak Alhassan, with The Sniper also owning a surprisingly solid wrestling base. Experience can be king sometimes.

Ange Loosa (8-2)

The Last Ninja is a fun Henri Hooft prospect, but the short-notice nature of this affair is a worry. As seen against Jack Della Maddalena on the DWCS, Loosa is a frustrating front-foot fighter who is always looking to pry with a jab or leg kick. A tendency to sit at mid-range will benefit Lazzez, however, as Loosa’s limited head movement leaves him wide open to 2-3 shot combinations.

Predicted Result: Lazzez Decision

The Last Ninja is a fun Henri Hooft prospect, but the short-notice nature of this affair is a worry. Loosa’s tendency to sit at mid-range will benefit Lazzez, with the Swiss’ limited head movement often leaving him wide open to 2-3 shot combinations. The Sniper owns a surprisingly useful wrestling base, and although Loosa scrambled well against Jack Della Maddalena, it will create questions for Loosa on the feet.

Result: Lazzez def. Loosa // Decision (UD – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


UFC Vegas 51: Preliminary Card

Devin Clark vs William Knight

Heavyweight (265)

Devin Clark (12-6)

Will the move to Heavyweight help Devin Clark? Questionable at the very least. Clark suffered durability issues at LHW, I can’t imagine the heavier hitters at 265 will help Clark’s chin. It isn’t even like Clark was a large LHW, at least William Knight is built like a damn fridge. Clark is a far superior technician on the feet and a workhorse, but Knight can crack.

William Knight (11-3)

Knight’s defeats to Maxim Grishin and Da Un Jung were indicative of Knight’s level at LHW. Too often inactive, a lack of fluidity between the separate areas of his game and no answer to taller/rangier fighters – only a newfound power through no weight cut could make the move to Heavyweight worth it.

Predicted Result: Clark Decision

With both men hopping up to Heavyweight, neither man will be destined for much success. Clark is a far superior technician on the feet and a workhorse, but Knight’s power without a weight cut could crack Clark’s biscuit chin. Knight’s lack of answers for taller fighters swings this one.

Result: Clark def. Knight // TKO (punches) Round 3 3:21

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Lina Lansberg vs Pannie Kianzad

Women’s Bantamweight (135)

Lina Lansberg (10-5)

An All-Sweden affair, with Lansberg returning after taking time out to start a family. Maternity leave has had a mixed bag in terms of fighters returning, but the big red flag is Lansberg’s forty years of age. Everything good about Lansberg is her offence, everything bad revolves around defence. Kianzad’s shocking decision making may well allow Lansberg to lead the fight and scrape a decision.

Pannie Kianzad (15-6)

Other than walking herself into the clinch, Kianzad should dominate this fight on the feet. Over recent fights, Kianzad has developed into a sharper combination boxer with a decent focus on the body. As the superior athlete, and with an ageing opponent returning from a long layoff, it is only Kianzad’s poor decision making that could threaten this affair.

Predicted Result: Kianzad Decision

Other than walking herself into the clinch, Kianzad should dominate this fight on the feet. Lansberg is a solid enough offensive inside fighter and wrestler, but her striking at distance lacks education. As the superior athlete, and with an ageing opponent returning from a long layoff, it is only Kianzad’s poor decision making that could threaten this affair.

Result: Kianzad def. Lansberg // Decision (UD – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Drakkar Klose vs Brandon Jenkins

Lightweight (155)

Drakkar Klose (11-2-1)

Since suffering a serious injury from a Jeremy Stephens weigh-in push (quick side-note, Stephens was a bell-end long before this altercation), Klose is perhaps returning a little too early. In pre-fight media scrimmages, Klose has not shied away from the damage he received, explaining he was close to retirement and is “still not 100 per cent”. Klose is a take-one to give-one counter-puncher who was only a whisker away from finishing Beneil Dariush. Forgoing long-term damage from the push, Klose should find it easy to connect with Jenkins’ jaw.

Brandon Jenkins (15-8)

Brandon Jenkins may well be freakishly durable, but his skillset is firmly regional level. Thankfully for Jenkins, he has a thoroughly entertaining style that sees him walk through punishment and try to find opportunities for a crazy power strike to land. Against a consistent striker in Klose, Jenkins is far more likely to crumble under regular firepower before he pulls something out of the bag.

Predicted Result: Klose TKO Round 2

Brandon Jenkins may well be freakishly durable, but his skillset is firmly regional level. Forgoing long-term damage from the Jeremy Stephens push, Klose should find it easy to connect with Jenkins’ jaw. Jenkins’ entertaining style may have booked him his place in the UFC, but his decision to eat punishment while waiting to land unorthodox strikes won’t work against Klose.

Result: Klose def. Jenkins // TKO (punches) Round 2 0:33

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Rafa Garcia vs Jesse Ronson

Lightweight (155)

Rafa Garcia (13-2)

Okay, this fight is alright. Garcia dug deep against Nasrat Haqparast but was ultimately outclassed on the feet by the superior athlete. Against Chris Gruetzemacher, Garcia was outfoxed by the veteran at range. The best of what the Mexican brings, however, was on show against Natan Levy. A scrappy inside boxer who is happy to take risks and mix in regular takedowns.

Jesse Ronson (21-10)

After defeating Nikolas Dalby, Ronson was forced onto the sidelines after testing positive for a banned substance (which was eventually overturned). Plodding forward with sharper technical boxing than Garcia could see Ronson sweep the scorecards, but TDD deficiencies are difficult to overlook. Garcia’s leg kicks will also play a role as Ronson sits heavily into his front foot.

Predicted Result: Garcia Decision

The best of what the Mexican brings was on show against Natan Levy. A crafty inside boxer who is happy to take risks and mix in regular takedowns. Although Ronson is the superior technical striker, his TDD deficiencies are difficult to overlook. Garcia’s leg kicks will also play a role as Ronson sits heavily into his front foot.

Result: Garcia def. Ronson // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2 4:50

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Chris Barnett vs Martin Buday

Heavyweight (265)

Chris Barnett (22-7)

Listen, I love me some Chris Barnett, but he is a very situational fighter. It’s always fun to see an obese fighter throw crazy strikes and have some fun, but Beastboy will have to be carefully managed by the UFC if they want entertaining fights or squash matches. Barnett’s leg kicks will be important in attempting to slow Buday’s pressure, but they haven’t shown the power to rival Buday’s durability.

Martin Buday (9-1)

The Slovak is a ridiculously durable fighter who tends to dig deep late in fights and overwhelm typically exhausted Heavyweights. A speed disadvantage on the feet should be visibly stark in the opening round, but in Terminator-esque fashion, Buday will force a pace that tires Barnett.

Predicted Result: Buday TKO Round 3

The Slovak is a ridiculously durable fighter who tends to dig deep late in fights and overwhelm typically exhausted Heavyweights. Barnett’s leg kicks will be important in attempting to slow Buday’s pressure, but they haven’t shown the power to rival Buday’s durability. Despite a visibly stark speed disadvantage on the feet, Buday will force a pace that tires Barnett.

Result: Buday def. Barnett // Technical Decision (UD – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Trey Ogden vs Jordan Leavitt

Lightweight (155)

Trey Ogden (15-4)

A solid grappler, Ogden would be best advised from keeping away from the mat in this affair. The staticity from the top game could stifle Leavitt, but his string of submission losses would play directly into Leavitt’s hands. A functional striker, Ogden would box Leavitt’s ears if not for the fact that he squares his hips and is primed for a double leg.

Jordan Leavitt (9-1)

The Monkey King remains the classic ‘throwback’ fighter who excels in one area (grappling) and throws everything into pursuing his ideal fight. This feels like very generous match-making for Leavitt. Even with his nigh-existent striking, Leavitt consistently chases the fight to the mat and searches for an early finish. Wrestling inadequacies won’t matter much if Ogden eventually shoots for the takedown himself.

Predicted Result: Leavitt Submission Round 1

The Monkey King remains the classic ‘throwback’ fighter who excels in one area and throws everything into pursuing his ideal fight. Even with wrestling inadequacies, it won’t matter much if Ogden eventually shoots for the takedown himself.

Result: Leavitt def. Ogden // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Sam Hughes vs Istela Nunes

Women’s Strawweight

Sam Hughes (5-4)

Hughes is low on confidence after a 0-3 start to her UFC career, albeit facing some of the toughest opposition expected of a UFC newbie (Tecia Torres, Luana Pinheiro). Nunes has already highlighted her TDD inefficiencies against Angela Lee (in ONE) and Ariane Carnelossi – Hughes has a clear path to victory. Unfortunately, Hughes’ lack of physicality will struggle to transition from the cage to the mat.

Istela Nunes (6-2)

Upon her return from a PEDs suspension, Nunes’ UFC debut was a mixed bag. Sure, the Brazilian was finished via rear-naked choke in the third round, but Nunes showcased far more of her imposing Muay Thai than previously expected. Nunes’ pockets of striking will be far more impressive than Hughes’ pockets of grinding against the cage.

Predicted Result: Nunes Decision

Nunes has already highlighted her TDD inefficiencies against Angela Lee (in ONE) and Ariane Carnelossi – Hughes has a clear path to victory. Unfortunately, Hughes’ lack of physicality will struggle to transition from the cage to the mat. With such a clear differential on the feet, Nunes’ pockets of striking will be far more eye-catching to the judges than Hughes’ pockets of grinding against the cage

Result: Hughes def. Nunes // Decision (MD – 28-28, 29-27, 29-27)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Heili Alateng vs Kevin Croom

Bantamweight (135)

Heili Alateng (14-8-2)

Alateng is a powerful counter-puncher, but he requires a slow-paced affair to thrive. Under a more punishing pace, Alateng isn’t fast enough to make reads and is forced to panic wrestle. When the takedowns don’t land, as seen against Casey Kenney, Alateng is left eating punishment with little in return. Can Croom take Alateng’s power? Is Croom capable of maintaining an uncomfortable pace for three rounds?

Kevin Croom (21-14)

Croom creates swarming, ugly affairs on the feet that sets up a coin-flip clinching affair. Without the takedown threat to gain top position, Croom often finds himself stranded on the feet – explaining his fourteen career defeats. Alateng can find himself a passenger in fights, but Croom’s entire style is a mess.

Predicted Result: Alateng Decision

Alateng is a powerful counter-puncher, but he requires a slow-paced affair to thrive. Under a more punishing pace, Alateng isn’t fast enough to make reads and is forced to panic wrestle. Thankfully, Croom’s entire style is a mess. It is unlikely that Croom will gain the upper hand in the clinch with Alateng, and without any sort of wrestling threat to speak of, Alateng should outclass Croom.

Result: Alateng def. Croom // TKO (punches) Round 1 0:47

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Prediction Accuracy

UFC Vegas 51

Winner: 11/14

Method: 7/14

Round: 7/14

2022 MMA Season

Winner: 104/146

Method: 73/146

Round: 69/146

MMA Overall

Winner: 600/938

Method: 436/938

Round: 394/938

Takeaway comments: Welcome back Drakkar Klose!


TIPPING JAR

Pintsized Interests is just a baby finding its first steps in the big, bad world of sports journalism. If you enjoy the content that is regularly uploaded then please consider donating via the link below. Any amount is greatly appreciated, and will go towards ensuring the survival of Pintsized Interests in the long-term.


Leave a Reply