The UFC brings four great matchups to free TV on Saturday night when top welterweights Demian Maia and Carlos Condit headline UFC Vancouver, live on FOX.
There’s plenty at stake on Saturday, including a shot at the 170-pound title and ranking in the featherweight top five, so let’s dive in and make some predictions for the big event.
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Demian Maia vs. Carlos Condit
The main event of UFC Vancouver pits one of the greatest grapplers of all-time, Demian Maia, against one of the best strikers to ever grace the Octagon in Carlos Condit. This fight is especially hard to predict since not only are both fighters have shown to be incredibly dominant when sticking to their specialties.
Maia has dominated some of the UFC’s best grapplers recently, including the likes of Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny, while holding talented strikers Matt Brown and Ryan LaFlare to just 35 combined significant strikes. He’ll face his toughest welterweight test to date on Saturday, however.
Carlos Condit has long been one of the most dangerous fighters on the roster and he’s faced — and beaten — his fair share of talented grapplers. Since 2012, he’s outlanded opponents 593-381 in significant strikes, but he’s also been taken down 29 times in that same four-year, seven-fight span.
He’ll definitely need to keep the fight standing if he wants to walk away from Vancouver victorious. If he doesn’t, Maia will likely walk away with the win.
Prediction: Condit by decision
Anthony Pettis vs. Charles Oliveira
The co-main event at UFC Vancouver promises to be a high-flying affair as action-fighters Anthony Pettis and Charles Oliveira go toe-to-toe. The fight will be Pettis’ first UFC bout at featherweight and we’re all interested to see how the former champion holds up in the new weight class.
Both fighters have a diverse skillset on the feet while Oliveira has shown flashes of brilliance on the ground. That isn’t to say Pettis will be afraid to take the fight to the mat — he’s currently the only person to have submitted former champions Gilbert Melendez and Benson Henderson. But Pettis knows it’s his electrifying striking that helped him gain notoriety in the Octagon, and he’ll need to use that striking to overwhelm Oliveira on fight night.
Oliveira is coming off a first-round submission of Myles Jury and has won five of his last six. But his struggles with fighters who won’t right in front of his waiting to get hit or taken down is evident.
Pettis can be a forced to be reckoned with in the 145-pound division, but he’ll have to get past the well-rounded Oliveira first.
Prediction: Pettis by decision
Paige VanZant vs Bec Rawlings
Strawweight strikers Paige VanZant throw down in a potential Fight of the Night candidate. Frankly, if the top too fights on the card weren’t so compelling, this would be the front runner.
Both Rawlings and VanZant fight at a frenetic pace, landing 4.8 and 3.4 strikes per minute, respectively, while hovering around 50 percent when it comes to accuracy. And despite Rawlings sitting outside the division top 15, they are fairly even in regards to their abilities inside the Octagon.
Like many of the fights in the tough strawweight division, this is a tough one to call. But we think VanZant’s takedowns make the difference here.
Prediction: VanZant by decision
Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller
The first fight between these two UFC greats at UFC 155 in 2012 was an absolute war that saw Jim Miller walk away with a decision win and both fighters earn Fight of the Night honors. They’ll do it again on Saturday, both a bit older and wiser, but not in the least bit less exciting.
Lauzon’s last two wins have come by way of first-round knockouts while Miller is fresh off a blistering KO of Takanori Gomi at UFC 200. If Miller wanted to get his hand raised against Lauzon again, he’ll have to implement much of the same gameplan as the first fight — pressure Lauzon with big punch-kick combinations and punish the Boston native with his heavy left hand.
If he can do that, and not run out of gas, he might be able to finish Lauzon this time around.
Prediction: Miller by third-round KO
(Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Joe Lauzon; Jim Miller