Dan Vreeland, who is on the UFC ranking panel, previews and offers his predictions for the UFC Vegas 45 undercard. UFC Vegas 45: Lewis vs Daukaus takes place on Saturday, December 18th, 2021. The preliminary card begins at 4:00 PM EST.

Don’Tale Mayes vs Josh Parisian

Don’Tale Mayes vs Josh Parisian betting odds, fight info and fan predictions for UFC Vegas 45 bout
Don’Tale Mayes vs Josh Parisian

The Skinny 

Both of these two men came in and seemingly saved their UFC careers with a win over Roque Martinez. For Parisian, it would have been the second straight loss, and for Mayes the third straight. In both cases, the big men outpaced and outworked on the feet, but mixed in a takedown for good measure. Typically, that’s the mode of operating that each of them like – striking with a bit of grappling worked in.

The big difference between the two is what that the striking looks like. For Mayes, it’s big power shots that have the ability to end any fight. for Parisian, it’s forwards pressure with plenty of pace. Parisian is also a bit more nuanced when it comes to the type of strikes. He mixes in leg kicks well and is a bit more varied with his combinations.

The Final Word

Ultimately, while it is completely possible that Mayes lands one of those big blows, I think it is more likely that Parisian hangs around and builds momentum. Despite his size, Parisian has some really solid cardio and goes to his wrestling when others tire. I think that’ll spell disaster for Mayes if he’s not able to land his big knockout early, and I think it’ll lead to him getting finished himself.

My Pick

Josh Parisian by (T)KO, +160 at Stake.com


Matt Sayles vs Jordan Leavitt

Matt Sayles vs Jordan Leavitt betting odds, fight info and fan predictions for UFC Vegas 45 bout
Matt Sayles vs Jordan Leavitt

The Skinny

Originally a featherweight, Matt Sayles moves up to lightweight for this one. Of course, move up is a relative term as he already missed weight at featherweight once and reportedly ballooned up to 250lbs in between fights. It’s hard to say how he might look in all of this, but if he looks like his old self, he’ll be a quick handed boxer, with a decent ability to keep things on the feet. He’s stuffed 81% of takedowns in his UFC career so far.

Jordan Leavitt is a guy who has heavily relied on his grappling. He shocked people with one of the most devestating slam knockouts in history last time out, but put in a lackluster sophomore effort. When faced with a rising talent in Claudio Puelles, Leavitt struggled with securing the dominant positions and lost a decision.

The Final Word

While we can never know what a long time off entails, I think Sayles has a lot of stylistic problems that Leavitt will struggle to solve. He boxing alone is going to make it hard for Leavitt to get inside on takdowns. Add in that he’s pretty solid in defending them, even in the rare instance you get a hold of him – Leavitt may need to box. Personally, I think that ends badly for Leavitt.

My Pick

Matt Sayles by (T)KO, -105 at Stake.com


Justin Tafa vs Harry Hunsucker

Justin Tafa vs Harry Hunsucker betting odds, fight info and fan predictions for UFC Vegas 45 bout
Justin Tafa vs Harry Hunsucker

The Skinny

Justin Tafa came into the UFC looking like Mark Hunt Jr. He had all the same build and, in his regional fights, has shown he packs some of that same power. He was signed to the UFC with just three professional fights and just under five minutes of pro cage time. As a result of the inexperience, he’d had his lumps in the UFC, falling to 1-3 with a loss to Jared Vanderaa.

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Hunsucker made his UFC debut against Tai Tuivasa on short notice – kind of a big ask for just about anyone. Prior to that, he had been on the Contender Series where he had lost to the aforementioned Jared Vanderaa. He too packs a big punch, but had gotten plenty of finishes on the ground in his professional career. He even had Vanderaa down in their fight before having the position reversed on him, resulting in a finish by Vanderaa.

The Final Word

I think the wise move for Hunsucker at UFC Vegas 45 would be to shoot for a takedown early. If nothing else, it’ll get Tafa being a tad more passive, which is when he is at his worst. However, I think that he’ll probably try to box with Tafa. If he comes with any kind of aggression, which he has in the past, I think it’ll play right into the hands of the Aussie.

My Pick

Tafa by (T)KO, -345 at Stake.com


Charles Jourdain vs Andre Ewell

Charles Jourdain vs Andre Ewell betting odds, fight info and fan predictions for UFC Vegas 45 bout
Charles Jourdain vs Andre Ewell

The Skinny

This fight should be one of those that striking fans truly love. Jourdain is an electric striker with reckless abandon and powerful knockouts. He isn’t afraid to throw a flying knee or spinning stuff. Ewell is nicknamed Mr. Highlight for a reason. He uses his abnormally long frame to set up big shots of his own – although big finishes haven’t come in the UFC yet.

While striking fans might delight, there is a lot to like about the grappling of each of these two. Both are able to counter the wrestling of others with submissions quite well. The long arms of Ewell have scored him a d’arce choke here and there on the regional circuit. The reckless nature of Jourdain also serves him well, being willing to jump guillotine had nabbed him a neck or two in his day as well.

The Final Word

I think the move up to featherweight is going to pay off well for Ewell. Back down at bantamweight, he was sort of forced to pick and choose the moments that he could attack. His gas tank couldn’t handle all fifteen minutes and he would take time off. Now in a more suitable weight class for his frame, I think he’s got all the skills to handle the striking of Jourdain. Especially if he’s able to make those spurts we’ve seen from him in the past more consistent.

My Pick

Ewell by Decision, +160 at Stake.com


Sijara Eubanks vs Melissa Gatto

Sijara Eubanks vs Melissa Gatto betting odds, fight info and fan predictions for UFC Vegas 45 bout
Sijara Eubanks vs Melissa Gatto

The Skinny

Sijara Eubanks‘ return to the flyweight division went as planned for the former TUF cast-member. She took care of late replacement Elise Reed early in the fight using her physicality and ground prowess. Some of that has to be attributed to her opponent being on short notice and regularly a strawweight. Still, Eubanks will continue to be one of the strongest women in this division.

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Gatto may not be quite as strong as Eubanks, but what little she lags behind in when it comes to physical strength, she makes up for with technical skills. She doesn’t have a big strong double leg that allows her to get the fight to the mat. She does, however, have a slew of trips that get the job done. She’s also great at pressuring her opponents and getting the fight into the clinch in the first place.

The Final Word

Without fail, Eubanks’ fights always wind up in the clinch. She likes it there since she can usually bully her opponents. UFC Vegas 45 is one of those instances that I think it won’t work. Gatto is not only good with trips, but great even off of her back. Her submission game is sharp and this isn’t the first time she’s been giving up strength to an opponent. I think she uses those skills to get the better positions and win this fight.

My Pick

Melissa Gatto by Decision, +134 at Stake.com


Gerald Meerschaert vs Dustin Stoltzfus

Gerald Meerschaert vs Dustin Stoltzfus betting odds, fight info and fan predictions for UFC Vegas 45 bout
Gerald Meerschaert vs Dustin Stoltzfus

The Skinny

This bout came together in a pretty awkward way. Meerschaert, coming off of the best win of his career against Makmud Muradov, was scheduled to fight highly-touted newcomer, Abus Magomedov. However, Magomedov had visa troubles, keeping him out of the United States. Stoltzfus had been scheduled to fight both Anthony Hernandez and Caio Borralho on this card. Each were scratched and he now gets Meerschaert as part of the shuffle.

This will be the third straight grappler for Stoltzfus in the UFC. He has back-to-back losses against Rodolfo Vieira and Kyle Daukaus. In both of those fights, he struggled with defending the takedown. He lost by submission in the most recent one to Vieira. Meerschaert may not have the takedown game of those two, but the submission skills are always on point. He has twenty-five submissions in his career.

The Final Word

This appears to be a mismatch in the worst way. The fight was only proposed due to both men weighing the same and being in need of opponents on the same card. The bottom line is that Meerschaert is coming off of submitting a fighter far more well-rounded than Stoltzfus. Additionally, Stoltzfus has shown that he has some issues with working off of his back and getting there too often.

My Pick

Gerald Meerschaert by Submission, -238 at Stake.com


Raquel Pennington vs Macy Chiasson

Raquel Pennington vs Macy Chiasson betting odds, fight info and fan predictions for UFC Vegas 45 bout
Raquel Pennington vs Macy Chiasson

The Skinny

Just a few years removed from her own title fight and headlining spot, Raquel Pennington finds herself on the prelims of a fight night card to end the year. Regardless of the large change in spot, the skills of Pennington remain the same. He continues to be a dominating force in the clinch and on the mat. However, she struggles a bit with people who can return that favor. The most obvious example was her being repeatedly held against the cage by a crafty Holly Holm.

The best gift of Chiasson is her outstanding reach. She has one of the longer frames in the entire women’s bantamweight division. However, her relative inexperience still has her just a bit short from being able to use it to her full advantage – although it does appear to be getting better each fight. She struggles a bit when people get past that reach and has conceded takedowns in three of her last four fights.

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The Final Word

The fact that Chiasson had issues with the takedowns of Lina Lansberg and Marion Reneau worries me for this match-up. Pennington has a lot more weapons in that realm and has the veteran savvy to get to the right positions to use them. Plus, when we add in that Chiasson is stepping in late to take this fight, I really don’t like her chances of staying off of her back. If she does wind up there, I think it severely limits her ability to win the at UFC Vegas 45.

My Pick

Raquel Pennington by Decision, -192 at Stake.com


Raoni Barcelos vs Victor Henry

Raoni Barcelos vs Victor Henry betting odds, fight info and fan predictions for UFC Vegas 45 bout
Raoni Barcelos vs Victor Henry

The Skinny

Raoni Barcelos was the owner of one of the most underrated win streaks in the UFC. The Brazilian had taken five in a row to kick off his UFC career, including a win over Said Nurmagomedov. However, he lost a majority decision last time out to Timur Valiev. Now, he looks to build himself back up against the newcomer.

Victor Henry is not the average last second replacement. In fact he has more wins and more fights that the original opponent, Trevin Jones. That includes regional level wins over UFC veterans Albert Morales and Kyler Philips, to name a few. Stylistically, he’s relentless and has lots of different weapons at his disposal. The most common are his big right hand and kicks.

The Final Word

While I do think Henry is a live dog at UFC Vegas 45, I think he’s in a little over his head. He is relentless on the feet, but that does cause him to make some mistakes. His strikes can be a little easy to read, which often leads to them being countered or, in the case of his kicks, caught. Barcelos is the type of opponent who won’t let him off the hook for that stuff and is likely not to fall victim to the big shots.

My Pick

Raoni Barcelos by Decision, -345 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.

Daniel "Gumby" Vreeland has been an MMA writer for over a decade. He currently hosts The Top Turtle Podcast and is a member of the UFC's ranking panel.

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