UFC Vegas 57: Punch Drunk Predictions

Tsarukyan or Gamrot? Magny or Rakhmonov? It's time to picks some fights!

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When Substack introduced podcasts into the basic format and template of things a few months back, I joked that I was going to mess around and figure out a podcast rhythm. A few months later, Sundays and Mondays here on the Keyboard Kimura Newsletter are dedicated to podcasts.

In the last couple weeks, they’re integrated video into things, and you guessed it — I’m going to keep messing around and having fun with it, especially when people like my buddy Dan Urban from the Couchside Judges podcast hits me up with feedback on the One Question show and asks for me to make this series a video series as well.

While I’m not going all-out video for the Punch Drunk Predictions, I do like the idea of a main event video that’s only a couple minutes long because that becomes pretty easy to share and, hopefully, brings more people to the picks. That being said, it’s a good thing I didn’t do one last week because for just the third time all year, I came in below .500 with my selections last week.

Now, to be fair, there were three split decisions on the card and of course I landed on the wrong side of each of them, which means my 6-7 record could have easily been a 9-4 record and another lovely day with the picks.

But I’m not here to cry over scorecards and one off night; I’m here to make selections for this Saturday, so let’s get to it.

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Arman Tsarukyan vs. Mateusz Gamrot

Hit play on the video above for my thoughts on how this one plays out.

Prediction: Arman Tsarukyan

Neil Magny vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov

I think Harry made a lot of good points on the Severe MMA Preview Show about Rakhmonov and some of the things we still need to see from him going forward before he can really, truly be considered a contender, but I don’t know that Magny is the guy to make him pay for those small holes and unsure moments.

Magny is great at what he does and has all the experience in the world, but he’s not a guy that is going to put you away with force and I think Rakhmonov will be able to take advantage of that here.

We saw Max Griffin sting the Elevation Fight Team member last time out and others do it in the past, and I believe the undefeated “Nomad” will land something that puts Magny on shaky footing with in the first five minutes of this one as well. From there, it’s a matter of what path to a finish Magny presents to Rakhmonov, who is equally happy to hunt for a submission or just smash out a stoppage.

My guess is that he takes the back, sink in the hooks, and locks up the choke, moving to 16-0 in the process.

Prediction: Shavkat Rakhmonov

Josh Parisian vs. Alan Baudot

Let me be perfectly clear here: this is a coin-flip fight.

The reason I’m siding with Parisian is as much about what I have seen and haven’t liked from Baudot as it is what the two-time DWCS competitor has done thus far, because while I think the Michigan native can be better than we’ve seen to date, I also know that Baudot has simply been bad and don’t see that changing here.

I do like that Parisian has been getting some work in with the Joaquin Murcielago and that crew heading into this one, and since I’m not all that worried about the power Baudot is swinging, I think this should be a fight where Parisian can win on activity and pressure.

Of course, I thought that about each of his first three UFC assignments and he’s barely 1-2 thus far, so honestly… who knows?

Prediction: Josh Parisian

Thiago Moises vs. Christos Giagos

I think this will be one of those fights that further highlights the different levels in within the lightweight division, with Moises showing he’s a level or two ahead of Giagos.

Please don’t take this as me citing MMA Math for the reason for my selection, but I do believe that there is information to be gleaned from looking at who people have fought and how they did against them, especially in losing efforts. While Moises went the distance with the first two legit talents he faced in the UFC lightweight division, and into the fourth round with Islam Makhachev before getting submitted. Giagos, meanwhile has been finished by three of the five he’s faced, and the decisions losses in there came against Drakkar Klose and Chris Wade, good fighters, but two guys that aren’t quite in that Dariush/Ismagulov range for me.

I believe the Brazilian is the far superior grappler and should be able to get Giagos on the deck and into bad positions early and often. At some point, he finds an opening, sinks in a choke, and gets the victory.

Prediction: Thiago Moises

Nate Maness vs. Umar Nurmagomedov

The gambler in me wants to pick Maness, who I truly believe is underrated and a much more dangerous assignment for Nurmagomedov than I think people — including the sportsbooks — recognize. I mean, Maness is +600, so if you’ve got a dollar or two you’re okay with parting ways with, there are far worse bets you could make.

But I have to pick Nurmagomedov.

Until he gets beaten (or maybe really tested), I have to keep rolling with the undefeated Russian with the excellent pedigree and zero losses. If there had been moments in either of his first two UFC appearances where Morozov or Kelleher genuinely pushed him, make him work for things, I would roll with the underdog, but Nurmagomedov was clean in those two fights and I think he should collect another victory here.

I imagine this will be the first time he’s made to work harder than anticipated for that win, but he should get his hand raised nonetheless.

Prediction: Umar Nurmagomedov

Chris Curtis vs. Rodolfo Vieira

Curtis is going to have to work hard to keep this from getting to the ground in the early going — and defend his neck at all costs if it does — but as long as he survives that early surge, I can’t see Vieira sticking with him deeper into this fight.

This is one of those “combine the two things you know” deals for me.

We know Curtis can get you out of there in a hurry with his striking and has already beaten more highly regarded MMA types in Phil Hawes and Brendan Allen. We also know that Vieira, for all his prowess on the canvas, has a very limited gas tank, extremely limited striking, and has never faced, yet alone beaten, anyone with Curtis’ experience and skill set.

There is probably be a scary moment or two, but ultimately “Action Man” gets it done again to move to 3-0 in the UFC.

Prediction: Chris Curtis

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Preliminary Card Picks

Tafon Nchukwi def. Carlos Ulberg
Shayilan Nuerdanbieke def. TJ Brown
Raulian Paiva def. Sergey Morozov
Cody Durden def. JP Buys
Mario Bautista def. Brian Kelleher
Jinh Yu Frey def. Vanessa Demopoulos

2022 PDP Record: 158-86-0 (.648)