UFC Vegas 17: Picks and Predictions (Main Card)

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Las Vegas — In what people are claiming to potentially be the best fight night card of the year, UFC Vegas 17 looks to be nothing but fireworks this Saturday, Dec. 18 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Greg Hardy vs. Marcin Tybura should be an interesting match up for multiple reasons.

Hardy will be the bigger man in this heavyweight matchup, and despite his lack of experience compared to his opponent, he will likely have the striking and grappling advantage as well. Hardy could earn an early finish in this fight if his opponent gets off to a slow start.

With most of his wins coming by way of decision, Tybura, tends to have lackluster performances. Although he’s put together a nice win streak as of late, with his most recent win being over a tough veteran in Ben Rothwell, Tybura faces a difficult match up against Hardy this weekend.

Prediction: Hardy via KO/TKO

Marlon Moraes vs. Rob Font has potential to be an all out war if both guys bring their best come Saturday.

Moraes, coming off a tough TKO loss to top bantamweight contender, Cory Sandhagen, back in October, will be making a quick turnaround against Font. Although making a quick turnaround, Moraes seems to do better when fighting on a more frequent basis compared to when he takes an extended amount of time off. Moraes will likely hold the power advantage in this close match up.

Font, opposed to Moraes, hasn’t fought since he defeated Ricky Simon last December. Though coming off a long layoff, Font matches up nicely with Moraes, specifically in the striking department. Font is also teammates and training partners with top five featherweight contender, Calvin Kattar. While Font has put together a 7-3 record in the UFC, he lacks competition against the divisions top contenders while Moraes has fought nothing but top contenders since coming to the UFC in 2017.

Prediction: Moraes via dec.

Michel Pereira vs. Khaos Williams is another exciting match up betweem two strikers.

Pereira, who always brings a flashy style of fighting to the octagon is coming off an impressive win over Zelim Imadaev. Pereira will likely hold the striking advantage if he can stay on the outside and control Williams, who usually fights with a high pace.

Williams has put together an impressive resume since joining the UFC, going 2-0 with two first round finishes over top contenders. In order to be successful against the elusive Pereira, Williams will need to put the pressure on early and land a finishing combination to add to his streak of first round finishes.

Prediction: Pereira via dec.

Jose Aldo vs. Marlon Vera is another exciting match up on this stacked card, however this one is guaranteed to deliver.

Aldo will be getting a change of pace in competition against Vera which should come as somewhat of a relief to him and his camp after fighting nothing but title fights and top contenders in his last three fights. Having ruled the featherweight division for years, Aldo will hold the striking and power advantage in this match up.

Vera, a bantamweight contender who is on the rise to stardom, looks to take that next big step in his career by getting a big win over a legend in Aldo on Saturday. For Vera, this could be a title contender fight. Having defeated rising superstar, Sean O’Malley in August, a win over Aldo would make it two consecutive wins over arguably the top two names in the bantamweight division. In order to get the victory Saturday, Vera will need to use his slight reach and height advantage, and look to mix up his striking with takedowns and ground and pound.

Prediction: Aldo via dec.

Stephen Thompson vs. Geoff Neal will cap off a great night of fights with another guaranteed exciting match up between two strikers.

Former two time title challenger, Stephen Thompson, will look to take Neal’s spot as the divisions no. 1 contender once again this Saturday. Thompson should be the superior fighter in this match up when you consider his striking, grappling, and experience. However, Neal is a tough match up for anyone and is a very game opponent who possesses a dangerous striking style.

Geoff Neal, who has earned his no. 1 contender spot through nothing but impressive performances, could potentially earn a title shot with a win over Thompson. Though he lacks in experience, he will look to make up for it with his intelligent fighting style. He will likely look to get past Thompsons length and reach and land a big shot to end the fight early, but he has the skillset to go the distance and win the fight by decision as well if he can make the right adjustments throughout the fight.

Prediction: Thompson via KO/TKO

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