Predictions! UFC Vegas 83 ‘Prelims’ Preview - Pt. 2

 Camozzi v Santos
Photo by Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing more “Prelims” fights to ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., Dec. 9, 2023) when UFC Vegas 83: “Song vs. Gutierrez” returns to UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg continues the UFC Vegas 83 “Prelims” party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

A failed bid to stage UFC Shanghai transformed into the latest Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) show inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, this weekend (Sat., Dec. 9, 2023), which sees Song Yadong battle Chris Gutierrez in the ESPN+-streamed main event.

UFC Vegas 83 will also feature Anthony Smith’s short-notice clash with Khalil Rountree Jr. and Andre Muniz’s attempted rebound against the red-hot Jun Yong “The Iron Turtle” Park.

We’ve three more “Prelims” to examine (checkout the first batch here) and no time to waste. Let’s get cracking ...

 Adesanya v Strickland

170 lbs.: Song Kenan vs. Kevin Jousset

The 4-1 UFC start for Song Kenan (20-7) gave way to a two-fight skid over the span of two years. His struggles left him a sizable underdog against Rolando Bedoya, but “The Assassin” bounced back from a rough first round to claim his first win since 2020.

His 17 professional finishes are split 9:8 between knockouts and submissions.

Kevin Jousset (9-2) needed just three months to claim Hex Fight Series titles at both Middleweight and Welterweight. He ultimately joined UFC in Sept. 2023, choking out Keifer Crosbie to claim the fifth finish of his professional career.

He stands two inches taller than Kenan and sports a 3.5-inch reach advantage.

I honestly wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see Song flip the script again here. Jousset is not what you’d call a defensive wizard — and while Song has his fair share of shortcomings — three knockdowns in his last four fights suggest that power isn’t one of them.

That said, Jousset does have some of the tools that Ian Garry used to neutralize Song, namely height, reach and a solid arsenal of long-range strikes. Between that and his Judo prowess, he should be able to stay out of reach of Song’s power shots and score takedowns whenever Song tries to force the issue. In the end, Jousset racks up pot-shots at range and overpowers Song in the clinch to secure a wide decision.

Prediction: Jousset via unanimous decision

 Volkanovski v Rodriguez

125 lbs.: Tatsuro Taira vs. Carlos Hernandez

Tatsuro Taira (14-0) conquered the Japanese scene before his 22nd birthday, flawless as an amateur (9-0) and perfect (10-0) as a professional before joining UFC in 2022. He’s 2-0 thus far in 2022 after choking out Jesus Aguilar and surviving both a knockdown and submission trouble to beat Edgar Chairez via decision.

He’s submitted seven professional foes and knocked out three others.

Carlos Hernandez (9-2) took home back-to-back decisions over Daniel Barez (on Contender Series) and Victor Altamirano (in the Octagon) before Allan Nascimento halted his win streak at eight. He bounced back strong in June 2023, defeating Denys Bondar via technical decision at the APEX.

He stands one inch taller than Taira, but gives up three inches of reach.

Fun fact: this marks the fifth consecutive time that Taira’s fought a Contender Series alum. While Hernandez is arguably better than the first four, I don’t see this going any differently. Taira’s grappling skills are more than sufficient to recreate Nascimento’s successful efforts and that reach advantage should carry him through any prolonged striking engagements.

I feel like UFC brass are being overly conservative with Taira’s matchmaking, but I suppose there’s no need to rush when he’s still one month away from his 24th birthday. In short, he shows off his ground dominance once again with a mid-round finish.

Prediction: Taira via second round submission

 Lewis v Spivac

125 lbs.: Hyun Sung Park vs. Shannon Ross

Back-to-back first-round finishes carried Hyun Sung Park (8-0) to the “Road to UFC” finals, where he met countryman Seung Guk Choi in “Sin City.” Despite hitting the mat in the second round, “Peace of Mind” came back to choke out Choi in the last two minutes of the fight.

Each of his last seven wins have come inside the distance, four of them via submission.

Despite suffering a vicious knockout loss to Vinicius Salvador on Contender Series, the grit of Shannon Ross (13-8) impressed Dana White enough to earn him a UFC contract. He’s still chasing his first Octagon victory, having suffered back-to-back stoppage losses to Kleydson Rodrigues and Jesus Aguilar in a combined 1:16.

He is the shorter man by one inch.

Park didn’t exactly set the world on fire against Choi, but he fulfills the two basic criteria for beating Ross: his takedown defense exists and he can box. Ross has been dropped and/or stopped in five consecutive fights, starting with a club-and-sub from Steve Erceg and culminating in a one-punch knockout loss to someone (Jesus Aguilar) who’d failed to record a single prior (technical) knockout stoppage.

Frankly, it’s irresponsible to keep throwing Ross in the cage. His striking defense is non-existent and his wrestling is too mediocre to make up for it. In other words, Park makes it four brutal knockout losses in a row by sniping Ross with an early counter.

Prediction: Park via first round technical knockout

Well, they can’t all be UFC Austin. See you Saturday, Maniacs.

Current Prediction Record for 2023: 178-92-3 (5 NC)

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 83 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 83: “Song vs. Gutierrez” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

Source: 
https://www.mmamania.com/2023/12/6/23986883/ufc-vegas-83-predictions-late-prelims-undercard-preview-pt2-song-yadong-chris-gutierrez-espn-mma