Dan Vreeland, who is on the UFC ranking panel, previews and offers his predictions for the UFC Vegas 46 undercard. UFC Vegas 46: Chikadze vs Kattar takes place on Saturday, January 15th, 2021. The preliminary card begins at 4:00 PM EST.

Bill Algeo vs Joanderson Brito

The Skinny 

In the prelim headliner of UFC Vegas 46, we see very interesting styles clash between the three-fight UFC veteran Bill Algeo and recent Contender Series graduate Joanderson Brito. On a surface level, this is incredibly easy to break down. Algeo surrenders a lot of takedowns, especially early on. Brito is like a bull in there – he charges forward and starts incredibly quick. In fact, it took him just one exchange to score a takedown on Diego Lopes on Contender Series.

So while the dynamic of the fight early is clear, it still doesn’t give us the outcome of the fight nor an easy bet to place. While Brito is the rightful favorite here and will build up a lead, Algeo is incredibly durable and has a great gas tank. He does an excellent job staying safe and wears his opponents out. He might not have to do too much to wear out Brito, who has been known to put up such a frenetic pace that he’s likely to do damage to his own cardio in the process.

The Final Word

While I’m worried about what might happen in the third round, I’m still riding with Brito for this one. I imagine he’ll be up two rounds heading into the final round and Algeo will need a finish. Algeo has a good finish rate but has been a part of five straight decisions. The play here is Brito, although an Algeo round three props might be worth it to hedge just a bit.

Court McGee vs Ramiz Brahimaj

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In his two UFC bouts so far, Ramiz Brahimaj has looked like two different fighters. Some of that may have been octagon jitters, but it’s more likely due to the style of his opponents. In his debut he struggled with Max Griffin, who kept excellent distance while striking. Sasha Palatnikov was not as solid on that front in Brahimaj’s sophomore effort and was immediately taken down and beaten up.

At UFC Vegas 46, Brahimaj will get his third go-round against former Ultimate Fighter winner Court McGee. It’s hard to gauge how his style will play against that of Brahimaj. On one hand, he doesn’t try to keep distance, which should be welcoming to the takedowns of Brahimaj. On the other hand, McGee is a solid wrestler in his own right – although from time to time he forgets to go to it, even when he needs it most.

The Final Word

While McGee does have good takedown defense, it’s hard to suggest that you should throw your money behind him on that front alone. It doesn’t feel like this is a fight where his own wrestling offense should come into play too much, and I actually think he’ll be at a slight disadvantage on the feet. With all that being said, Brahimaj is an underdog in this fight, so I think you’re getting a great value for that play.

Dakota Bush vs Slava Borshchev

The Skinny

If you look back at the career of Dakota Bush, even before he was signed by the UFC, a lot of his success comes from the wrestling. When he is able to get that facet of his game going, he can be really hard to stop. However, in the instances where he’s been unable to get his opponent to the mat and keep them there, he’s struggled. He went just one-of-six in his debut against Austin Hubbard, and spent right around ninety seconds in top control. As a result, he dropped a clear decision.

“Slava Claus” is an anomaly in the world of Team Alpha Male. A team well-known for their slew of quality wrestling prospects, Borshchev would much rather trade leather. In doing so, he can be terrifying. Just ask Contender Series opponent Chris Duncan, who got slept early in the second round. That being said, he does have really solid takedown defense, which likely comes from working in a room with the likes of Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, and Josh Emmett.

The Final Word

I think there is a chance that Bush gets a little of his gameplan working at UFC Vegas 46, particularly early on. However, the defensive grappling of Borshchev is so strong, that I have a difficult time seeing sustained success on his slide. I’m sort of bewildered to see the line as close as it is this close to the fight. I imagine it’s due to unfamiliarity with Borshchev or possibly being underestimating how large the gap will be in terms of striking skill.

Brian Kelleher vs Saidyokub Kakhramonov

The Skinny

Brian Kelleher is one of those guys who has hung around the UFC for a really long time. He’s fought former champions, title challengers, and other top-ranked guys. What keeps him around is his scrappiness. In scrambles or close exchanges, he’s always game. In fact, there’s where he often finds his best finishes – such as the one he picked up over Marlon Vera.

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Kakhramonov seems like the type of person who will oblige Kelleher in a gritty fight at UFC Vegas 46. In his UFC debut, he faced Trevin Jones and it became an absolute grind. They fought against the fence for the better part of the fight and then, eventually, Kakhramonov picked up a guillotine choke late in the third round. He likely was already on his way to winning the fight, but that’s sort of the charm of Kakhramonov – he never settles.

The Final Word

There aren’t a lot of underdogs that I love on this card. I’m not in love with Kelleher as a play either because there are plenty of unknowns with Kakhramonov and some holes with Kelleher. However, Kelleher’s veteran savvy and finishing ability gives him a real track to victory here. He’s likely going to test Kakhramonov is ways he’s yet to be tested, which will answer a lot of questions.

Silvana Gomez Juarez vs Vanessa Demopoulos

The Skinny

The debut for these two women did not go the way either had envisioned. Some of that is due to the fact that both took their bouts on short notice. Juarez fought Loopy Godinez on short notice (although she was scheduled to fight on Contender Series the following Tuesday). She lose that fight by submission. Demopoulos had just four days to prepare for JJ Aldrich up a weight class. She’d lose that fight by unanimous decision.

What this fight revealed about both fighters really depend on how much you put into that short notice aspect. On one hand, Demopoulos looked out of her element against JJ Aldrich. That becomes a question of whether or not it was just too much of a step up, or she was out-sized and under-prepared. While the undersized aspect is not there for Juarez, the massive change in style may have affected her.

The Final Word

When it comes to betting this UFC Vegas 46 fight, there are a lot of unknowns, which is generally one to steer away from. However, I lean towards Demopoulos here as a pick because of the issues I’ve seen with Juarez being pushed back against the fence. Demopoulos for sure would like to make this a grind, and I don’t know that Juarez has the tools to prevent that.

Jamie Pickett vs Joseph Holmes

The Skinny

There are more nice parallels in this fight at UFC Vegas 46. Both men took a few chances from Dana White to finally get the contract to fight in the UFC. After losing to Charles Byrd and Puna Soriano on Contender Series, Pickett got the contract in his third try with a win over Jhonovan Pati. Holmes also didn’t get the contract in his first effort, despite winning that fight by rear-naked choke. Instead, he had to go pick up another win, this one a knockout, at Dana White’s Looking for a Fight. He won that bout over (you guessed it) Jhonovan Pati.

The similarities sort of end at that though. Pickett is a bit more of a high-pressure fighter who looks to overwhelm his opponents. Holmes is a bit more relaxed in there and also has more dimensions to his game. If this fight were to hit the mat, I believe Holmes would have a big advantage over the veteran.

The Final Word

In fights that Pickett has lost, it has been due to getting countered and put on his butt. “Ugly Man Joe” has now picked up back-to-back wins in precisely this fashion. He has smart counters and good submissions. When looking for a betting edge it is always important to see how strengths and weaknesses line up. For this one, I think Holmes pairs perfectly with Pickett.

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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