Daniel Vreeland, who is on the UFC ranking panel, previews and offers his predictions for the UFC Vegas 45 main card. UFC Vegas 45: Lewis vs Daukaus takes place on Saturday, December 18th, 2021. The main card begins at 7:00 PM EST.
Chris Daukaus vs Derrick Lewis
The main event of UFC vegas 45 is one of those odd ones where most everybody can agree who is faster – Chris Daukaus. Just about everybody would agree on who is more technical – Chris Daukaus. People are pretty sure who has the best cardio – Chris Daukaus. And, we’re all pretty confident in who has more ways to win – Chris Daukaus. Yet, nobody is sure if any of this is meaningful in any way.
The big punching power of Derrick Lewis is a great equalizer, which is why this fight comes in so close to a pick’em. Lewis has had those disadvantages in plenty of fights in the past. He had them in the Alexander Volkov fight. He had them in the Curtis Blaydes fight. At the end of the day, it just didn’t matter. So where does that leave us with this fight with an up-in-comer in Daukaus?
The Final Word
At the end of the day, I’m still going with Daukaus. The punching power of Lewis scares me a bit. However, Daukaus is pretty smart defensively. I also think he’ll try to wear Lewis out a bit before doing anything too risky. I’d proceed with caution in playing this fight. No matter what side you’re on though, a stoppage seems like the most likely outcome – as always with Lewis involved.
Chris Daukaus by (T)KO, +121 at Stake.com
Stephen Thompson vs Belal Muhammad
When Wonderboy and Muhammad take to the cage at UFC Vegas 45, one of the real deciding factors is going to be whether or not Muhammad can get on the inside. This is true is nearly every facet of the fight. When striking, he needs to get by those long legs of Wonderboy and find his way around the counters. If he isn’t able to do that, he’s destined for a decision loss from the outside.
Likewise in the grappling department. Wonderboy has shown that he is not impervious to a takedown or two. Gilbert Burns controlled him for the better part of three rounds in his last fight and it seemed there was little that he could do about it. Muhammad has been known to score a takedown or two, but again, the big question will be whether he can get inside to every get in on an attempt.
The Final Word
When betting on this fight, it’s hard to feel good about Muhammad when you are essentially relying on him doing something he’s been struggling with lately. He’s just three for his last eighteen takedowns. Plus, he was just in the process of being out-struck from the outside by Leon Edwards before the untimely stoppage of that fight. The safe money here is for Wonderboy to do what he always does. Pick apart his opponent and frustrate him. There’s a chance he gets a KO here, but if you are looking to get specific on the prop, Muhammad is pretty durable and should make it to a decision.
Stephen Thompson by Decision, -118 at Stake.com
Amanda Lemos vs Angela Hill
Since returning from a USADA suspension and dropping down two weight classes, Amanda Lemos has looked unbeatable. The odds seem to reflect that here as she comes in as a massive favorite for her UFC Vegas 45 date with Angela Hill. That line may even be further apart if Hill wasn’t such a fan favorite – as she does appear to draw a lot of looks at the books regardless of what side of the line she’s on.
Stylistically, this is not one of those match-ups you should consider Angela Hill all that serious. Even with a big line, she’s not particularly tempting here. He relies on her quickness and her physicality to pick up decisions. In this fight she’ll be up against someone faster and stronger than her who has picked up finishes in three of her last four fights.
The Final Word
Although I’m all over Lemos in this fight, I think I’d look for a prop being that she is a favorite by such a wide margin. You can catch a good price on her by decision thanks largely to the number of finishes that she has. Hill should be tougher than her past opponents and make it go the full fifteen.
Lemos by Decision, -109 at Stake.com
Raphael Assuncao vs Ricky Simon
Raphael Assuncao is on a pretty ugly skid at the moment. He’s lost in three straight fights, one by submission, one by decision, and one by knockout. However, it’s worth noting that those fights are against some pretty high-level competition. The fight that went the distance was against Cory Sandhagen, which seems like it aged particularly well.
Simon enters UFC Vegas 45 on the complete opposite trajectory. He is stream-rolling his competition with a combination of technical striking and beastly takedowns. He was destined for a step up in competition and Assuncao is pretty much the name the UFC is going with these days when that is the case.
The Final Word
If you ask me to pick a straight-up winner in this fight, I’m of course going with Simon. Assuncao is going to be forty years old next summer and is beginning to show it. However, he is still a pretty tough out with solid takedown defense. I’m not sure I’m jumping on this line at all due to where it sits. If I am, it would probably be the decision prop for Simon here. With the exception of a late replacement Gaetano Pirrello, he hasn’t finished anyone in over three years.
Simon by Decision, +108 at Stake.com
Diego Ferreira vs Mateusz Gamrot
Diego Ferreira, at one point, was thought to be the dark horse in the division. He had a massive winning streak and grappling skills that felt like they could surprise just about anyone in the division. Yet, now that’s what people are saying about his UFC Vegas 45 opponent, Mateusz Gamrot. After coming over from KSW in Poland, he’s done nothing but impress, particularly with his grappling chops.
Most important in this fight will be the ability to control position. I don’t just mean this from a takedown standpoint, which is usually the end-all, be-all of positioning in MMA. This fight will instead change a lot based on who can win the scrambles and what they do with those little victories. Can either of these two settle into positions? That will really decide who can take it.
The Final Word
I’m going to go with a little bit of a wild prediction on this one. I think Gamrot is going to catch Ferreira in one of these scrambles. He’s never lost by submission, but Gamrot is crafty and is an ADCC qualifier in his own right. Twice he’s won by heel hook and his strong top pressure forces others – including highly skilled opponents – to make mistakes. Plus, the line on this is just absurdly high.
Gamrot to win, -192 at Stake.com
Cub Swanson vs Darren Elkins
I talked at the onset about how Derrick Lewis fights are wild to predict and even wilder to bet on – Darren Elkins is pretty similar. “The Damage”, as he is aptly nicknamed, seems to be able to take whatever is dished out at him and be no worse for the wear. We’ve seen him rally back for plenty of big wins no matter how much he’s down.
Cub Swanson should be the type to put him down on the cards early. Swanson looks good in early exchanges and should have no problems finding the head of Elkins for a few combinations. However, we have to again ask the question as to whether or not this matters. How many times can Swanson land? Does it become counter-productive at some point?
The Final Word
When I see a line like this in an Elkins fight, I’m on Elkins. I think Swanson is smart enough to not punch himself out, but that doesn’t mean Elkins won’t push the pace on him. In addition, Swanson has never had the best takedown defense nor has he had the best track record with submissions. I’ll take Elkins to score another comeback here. I think the safe play is to just take the moneyline, but a submission prop is probably not a bad look either.
Darren Elkins by Submission, +720 at Stake.com
Most of the odds for these fights are razor close – so if you like any of these fighters, get it on them right away. You can also get the best odds for those fighters right here.