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UFC Vegas: Nicolau vs Perez - Apr 27 🇺🇸


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Coming off a barmy UFC 300, it’s back to reality, back to the mundane routine and back to the Apex…


Matheus Nicolau vs Alex Perez 

Ryan Spann vs Bogdan Guskov 

Ariane Lipski vs Karine Silva

Jhonata Diniz vs Austen Lane

Jonathan Pearce vs David Onama 

Tim Means vs Uros Medic

Rani Yahya vs Victor Henry 

Austin Hubbard vs Michal Figlak 

Don’Tale Mayes vs Caio Machado 

Marnic Mann vs Ketlen Souza 

James Llontop vs Chris Padilla 

Ivana Petrovic vs Liang Na

Hayisaer Maheshate vs Gabriel Benitez 

A little bit of a comedown from 300 🤣 Doesn’t help that the original Nicolau vs Kape 2 headliner fell apart but, looking at the entire card, there’s really not much at all to like about this. Even by Apex standards, I think this is at the lower end of the scale in terms of quality. Couple of bits I’ll actively seek out but I get the feeling I’m gonna be skimming through a LOT of this.




So yeah, Matheus Nicolau vs Alex Perez tops the bill. Not an amazing headliner by any stretch but I’ll take this over a lot of the rotters they’ve served up at the Apex. It’s not a Heavyweight, Middleweight or Holly Holm fight so it’s at least a step in the right direction! Worth pointing out that this was originally supposed to be Nicolau vs Manel Kape 2. A rematch of their Apex clash back in 2021. But true to form, Kape withdrew. He’s become one of the most frustrating fighters on the roster for me. Talks a load of shite about everyone else but when it comes time to get in there and back it up, he calls in sick a lot of the time. Seriously, one look at his Tapology page will tell you all you need to know. In his UFC stint, he’s had more cancelled fights than fights he actually showed up to. Nicolau vs Kape 2 was actually supposed to go down in January but - surprise, surprise - Kape missed weight and the fight got scrapped. So they rescheduled it for this card and, once again, Kape’s out. Rib injury this time, apparently. Who cares at this point?


Nicolau’s a very decent fighter. Currently ranked #5 in the Flyweight division. He’s Brazilian, just turned 31 years old and holds a record of 19-3-1 with 10 of those wins coming inside the distance. He was initially on the UFC roster in 2015 but was let go after one loss (harsh) to Dustin Ortiz in 2018. He went away and won a couple of fights and was brought back in 2021. That’s when he beat Kape by decision. He beat Tim Elliott and Matt Schnell after that but he’s mostly gone under the radar really. Looking over his record now, I watch pretty much everything but I can’t say much of it is jumping off the page as particularly memorable. I don’t recall anything bad, he’s just fairly nondescript and has kind of blended into the background on a bloated roster. Especially in the Flyweight division with the logjam we’ve had there at the top end over the last few years. Not many new contenders have been able to really break away from the pack and stand out with all the endless rematches but that cycle seems to have been broken for now. Time for the rest of the 125ers to step up. Nicolau was on a solid 6 fight win streak before getting knocked out by Brandon Royval in his last fight last April. So it’ll have been a whole year on the shelf for him by the time he walks up the Octagon steps here.


Alex Perez is taking a bit of a risk here. He’s already coming off 3 straight losses so jumping in on short notice here mightn’t be the wisest move. Depends how you look at it though. If he loses this fight, obviously a 4th loss on the trot wouldn’t be good, but him stepping in and ‘saving the card’ here will no doubt earn him some brownie points with the UFC big wigs. Under these circumstances, even losing a 4th straight, he’d likely get another chance. Perez fought recently as well. He lost that dull decision against Muhammad Mokaev in early March. So he shouldn’t have strayed too far out of condition. And in fairness, his 2 losses prior to that were against Pantoja and Figgy. No shame there, obviously! Perez is a funny one for me though. He’s clearly not good enough to beat that elite level of Pantoja/Figgy. But he did stop Jussier Formiga in a round with leg kicks that time. And the thing I think has really hurt and hindered Perez in recent years has been his lack of activity. His last 3 fights have all had long gaps between them. He lost to Figgy at the end of 2020, was out a good 18 months before losing to Pantoja in mid 2022, then had an even longer layoff before the loss to Mokaev in March this year. If nothing else, the quick turnaround here is better than that.


That’s that then. Not a fight I’m gonna be counting the days to but it’s not bad or anything. It’s a weird one really because it’s far from ideal circumstances for either man. Nicolau’s coming off a year out and Perez is taking it on short notice and is on a 3 fight losing skid. Who the fuck knows? Hopefully this goes ahead though regardless. Hate to even mention it and possibly put a jinx on it but it’s not like Perez is any better than Kape for showing up to fights. Again, I’m looking at his Tapology and it’s pretty grim. Since his UFC debut in 2017, Perez has fought 10 times. And he’s had 13 scheduled bouts cancelled! And worryingly, 10 of those fights that got binned were in the last few years. His sicknotes are becoming more frequent. Had to chuckle really when Kape dropped out and they called Perez. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if this fight goes ahead, to be completely honest.



Ryan Spann vs Bogdan Guskov as co-main is rotten but it’s the Apex so it’s about what we expect these days. I don’t know, maybe it’ll be better than my low expectations but I can’t pretend I give much of a bollocks. Typical Light Heavyweight. You know the drill. Outside the top few 205ers, it’s generally shite. It’s Heavyweight but with slightly less flab. Spann’s been on the roster since 2018 now and has first round finishes over the likes of Little Nog, Ion Cutelaba and Dominick Reyes. He’s also somehow gone to a split decision with Sam Alvey so there’s that. He’s coming into this fight off back-to-back losses to Nikita Krylov and Anthony Smith. And speaking of Anthony Smith…


I do find it kind of amusing that Spann has gone 0-2 against Anthony Smith and now here he is trying to get one back against Smith’s doppelgänger. Guskov is from Uzbekistan, 31 years old and has a record of 15-3, all finishes. He made his UFC debut on the Paris card in September but got subbed in a round by Volkan Oezdemir. He bounced back in February with a brutal first round knockout over Zac Pauga. Can’t see him amounting to much but he hasn’t bored me yet, which is more positive than I can be about most of the lower end of 205. Hopefully this exceeds my expectations. It’d be difficult not to really.



Ariane Lipski vs Karine Silva is a fight I’m kind of into actually. Not in love with it or anything but it should be worth a look. I’ve been neither here or there on Lipski for most of her UFC career. She’s far from the worst fighter in the Flyweight division but she’s just been a bit too inconsistent to really put a proper run together. She’s only just turned 30 and she is coming off 3 wins now, so maybe she’s turned a corner. She had possibly her best showing yet last time out, armbarring Casey O’Neill at UFC 296 in December. Karine Silva is why I’m interested in this one though…


Haven’t seen a ton of her but what I have seen I’ve liked. She’s Brazilian, she’s also not long turned 30 and she’s 17-4 with all her wins coming inside the distance and she’s on an 8 fight winning streak. She made her UFC debut in June 2022, subbing Poliana Botelho in a round. Then she absolutely mangled Ketlen Souza’s knee with a horrible leg lock in June last year. Then in her last fight in August, she guillotine choked Maryna Moroz in a round, avenging a loss from when they first fought way back early in her career. As always, it remains to be seen how far she can go and it’s not like she’s been beating a who’s who of opposition. But so far, she’s handled business the way any solid prospect should. Can’t ask for any more than that.



Jhonata Diniz vs Austen Lane is the obligatory main card Heavyweight offering. Every Apex card has to have one for some reason. Not even gonna dump on it. I’ve never seen Diniz before and I’ve seen very little of Lane. So I can’t really say much about it, positive or negative. Diniz is making his debut here. He’s Brazilian, 32 years old and undefeated at 6-0…all first round knockouts. He also has a 22-7 Kickboxing record with 15 knockouts and went the distance with Rico Verhoeven on a GLORY card back in 2013. Lane’s 36 years old and a former NFL player. He transitioned to MMA in 2017 and he’s 12-4-0-1 with 12 finishes, mostly by KO/TKO. He made his UFC debut against Justin Tafa last June but it ended as a No Contest due to an eyepoke. They rematched in September and Tafa chinned him in about a minute. So either Diniz stays undefeated or Lane gets that elusive first UFC victory. Hopefully it’s short and sweet either way.



Jonathan Pearce vs David Onama is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** on this show. Wasn’t spoilt for choice here was I? This is a fun one though, on paper. Pearce is one of those decent fighters that, for some reason, I took a bit of a disliking to early into his run and I can’t even put my finger on why. Something about him just bugs me. So needless to say, I was quite pleased to see him get submitted by Joanderson Brito in his last fight in November. He was on fairly good form before that though, rattling off a 5 fight win streak and beating Christian Rodriguez and Darren Elkins along the way. Make no mistake though, Onama is the reason I wanted to highlight this one…


We haven’t seen him since last June but he’s been nothing but entertaining to watch so far in the UFC. If for some reason you never saw his 2022 fight with Nate Landwehr, fix that immediately. Fuck, even if you did see it, watch it again. Legitimately one of my favourite fights of the last couple of years. He lost a close decision that night but it was one of those losses where it felt like his stock was only raised by it. The fight was that good. Then he came back in his last fight and knocked out a game Gabriel Santos after a tough opening round. Can’t go wrong with basically any matchup you throw Onama in. He’s fought 5 times in the UFC, he’s gone 3-2 in results but when it comes to delivering fun fights, he’s 5-0. Looking forward to seeing him back in there.



Tim Means vs Uros Medic might just be the sleeper on this card for me. Not a fight that immediately jumps out at you but I can see it being a good old scrap. Means is one of my favourite journeymen in the game. He’s a guy I’ve always enjoyed watching fight but it feels like he’s been around forever. He turned 40 in February and this’ll be his 51st pro MMA fight. Over the years he’s beat the likes of Nicolas Dalby, Thiago Alves, Mike Perry, John Howard and Bobby Green. He was in a slump recently, losing 3 on the bounce, but he snapped that losing streak in his last fight in September, stopping Andre Fialho in a really entertaining slugfest that got FOTN. Medic is the younger man at 30 and has a record of 9-2 with none of his 9 wins going to the judges. He’s had a few pretty exciting fights himself but comes into this one off a nasty neck crank submission loss to Myktybek Orolbai in November. I like this pairing.



Rani Yahya vs Victor Henry is alright. Quite like both of these two, to be fair. I just don’t really know what to expect out of the matchup itself. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Yahya for some reason. He’s one of the last men standing from that ‘one trick pony’ era of MMA. Turns 40 in September, has a record of 28-11-1-1 and he’s been around long enough to have fought the likes of KID Yamamoto, Joseph Benavidez, JZ Cavalcante, Mark Hominick, Mike Brown and Chad Mendes. A veteran of WEC and the underrated K-1 HEROS promotion before signing with the UFC in 2011. He’s got no real striking to his game, in 40+ fights he doesn’t have one finish via KO/TKO. He’s a grappling specialist. But even still, he’s managed to win 2 of his last 3 fights. He’ll have been out of action a whole year by the time this fight gets underway though. At pushing 40, not ideal. Henry is 36 with a 23-6-0-1 record and trains under the legendary Josh Barnett. We last saw him in October getting his ballbag kicked in by Javid Basharat. Obviously all groin strikes are horrible but this was a particularly bad one. The fight was stopped and ruled a No Contest and Barnett said after that when they went to the hospital post-fight, Henry’s sack had “swollen to the size of a satsuma.” Lovely. Basharat was a complete twat about it as well, to add insult to injury. Went from denying the kick was low at all to calling Henry a quitter for not just shrugging it off. He shouldn’t have to worry about being hit low in this one though because, as I’ve said, Yahya doesn’t strike much at all.



Austin Hubbard vs Michal Figlak might be decent. Hubbard’s 15-7 and this is his second UFC stint. After a mixed bag of results in his first run between 2019-21, going 3-4 overall, he was let go. He went away and got a couple of wins in 2022 then went on the TUF season last year coached by McGregor and Chandler. He made it to the finals but got submitted by Kurt Holobaugh at UFC 292 in August. This is his attempt to rebound. Poland’s Figlak is 27 years old and 8-1 with 4 finishes. He came into the UFC with some high expectations after a successful run in Cage Warriors. He made his Octagon debut in September 2022 on the first ever UFC card in France, but lost on points to Fares Ziam. He was out all of 2023 and will have been inactive for around 20 months by the time he steps into the cage here.



Don’Tale Mayes vs Caio Machado. Vomit. I can say right now, I’ll be skipping this. I watch almost everything, even on these crappy Apex cards, but life’s too short for this shit. Mayes isn’t very good. He’s 10-6-0-1 and his career highlight has been his TKO win over an old, washed up Andrei Arlovski last summer. And in typical ham and egger fashion, he followed that up by losing a nothing happening decision to Rodrigo Nascimento in his next fight. And Machado has only fought once in the UFC and I’m already done with him. He’s 8-2-1 and lost on points to Mick Parkin in November in an awful plodfest.



Marnic Mann vs Ketlen Souza. No opinion on this. Haven’t seen enough to care. Mann is 31 years old and 6-2 with 4 finishes. Made her UFC debut in September and lost a decision to Josefine Knutsson in a fight I don’t think I even watched. Souza’s 28 years old with a record of 13-4 and 9 finishes. She made her first Octagon appearance last June and it ended painfully for her when she got kneebarred in less than 2 minutes by Karine Silva. It was a bloody horrible kneebar as well. I remember on the replays you could actually see her kneecap completely shift 🤢 I’m actually surprised she’s back less than a year later, to be honest.



James Llontop vs Chris Padilla. Not a clue. Never seen either of them. This was originally gonna be Llontop against Gabe Green but that’s fell apart at the last minute and now we’ve got two Octagon newcomers squaring off. Llontop is Peruvian, 24 years old, 14-2 with 8 finishes and he’s on an 8 fight winning streak. He won a decision on DWCS back in September. Padilla’s stepping in on less than a week’s notice. He’s 28 years old with a record of 13-6 and 11 finishes. A quick look at his Sherdog page tells me he’s fought in RFA, KOTC, Brave and Bellator in his relatively short career. He’s coming off 3 wins inside the distance.



Ivana Petrovic vs Liang Na. Can’t say I’m arsed. I’m not really familiar enough with either of them. Petrovic is Croatian/Norwegian, 29 years old and has a 6-1 record with 5 finishes. She won the Ares Flyweight title in 2022 and successfully defended it with a 4th round submission in April last year. All sounded good but then she lost a decision in her UFC debut against Luana Carolina in July. Instant hype killer that. Could’ve been partly down to the old ‘Octagon jitters’ but losing to Luana Carolina is never a good sign. And China’s Liang is really floundering. She’s 27 years old and 19-7 with 17 finishes. But she’s gone 0-3 in the UFC so far and she’s been finished in all 3 losses. And it’s not even like she’s been facing elite opposition. Ariane Carnelossi, Silvana Gomez Juarez and JJ Aldrich have all managed to get her out of there in 2 rounds or less.



Hayisaer Maheshate vs Gabriel Benitez is an OK fight. Could be fun. Maheshate made a hell of a first impression in his UFC debut a couple of years back, sparking Steve Garcia out cold in about a minute. It was some knockout. Reminded me a bit of Paul Daley’s KO against Scott Smith in Strikeforce. Garcia completely faceplanted. The old Flair Flop. It’s been all downhill since then though. He lost a decision to Rafa Garcia in his next fight and then got knocked out himself by Slava Claus in his last fight in May last year. He’s 9-3 overall now. Still only 24 years old, he’s got some time. Benitez is probably on the home stretch of his career. He’s nearly 36 now and has gone 2-5 in his last 7 fights. Not good. We last saw him getting face cranked into submission by Jim Miller in January.


Back to the Apex…


Edited by wandshogun09
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Guessing everyone skipped this and I don’t even blame you. Apart from little snippets I caught earlier in the week, I didn’t bother either. Even I was just gonna leave it and I never completely skip cards. Gotta admit, I’m close to tapping out on these Apex cards now. Never thought I’d see the day but they’re soul destroying. Joyless. I think the last bunch of these I haven’t got around to watching until days later and that’s partly been down to being busy but also, I’ve been struggling to even muster up the motivation to watch these cards. But the kids are at the grandparents and Mrs Wand was watching soaps so I caved and stuck this on. Well, bits of it. Friday nights never used to be like this 🤣

In fairness, Perez vs Nicolau was perfectly fine. Yeah it felt like a weak main event going in but I said pre-fight I thought it was still way preferable to a lot of the shite they serve up these days. Certainly better than the lower level Heavyweight or Middleweight main events they usually inflict on us. Flyweights are rarely dull and this definitely wasn’t. I just didn’t know quite what to expect with Nicolau coming off a year of inactivity and Perez stepping in on late notice. Perez reminded everyone that he’s actually quite decent when he wants to be though.


Wiped Nicolau out in brutal fashion. Snaps a 3 fight losing streak and his first win since 2020. Yeah, Nicolau is no world beater but he’s a solid fighter who was ranked in the Top 5 going in. Easily the best Perez has looked in some time. And I think a big factor in that is the quick turnaround. All the injuries and layoffs over the last few years have held him back big time but after losing to Mokaev in March, staying in the gym and coming right back the following month has to have helped. And now he’s already got his next fight booked! Knocked out Nicolau on Saturday, by mid week he’s already signed to fight Tagir Ulanbekov in June. Fair play. He‘s gone from fighting 3 times in 4 years to fighting 3 times in 4 months! Hopefully the pullouts and layoffs are behind him now and he can stay more active going forward.

Bogdan Guskov smoked Ryan Spann after having a dodgy first round. Spann needs to just stop accepting fights with Anthony Smith and any variations of him like Guskov here. It never ends well for him.



Starting to kind of like Guskov. I mean he’s not that good but he hasn’t bored me yet and that’s better than I can say for most of the mid level 205ers these days. Wouldn’t mind seeing Guskov vs Cutelaba at some point. Spann is absolutely floundering now. That’s 3 losses on the bounce for him.

Tried to give the Karine Silva fight a chance because I’d liked what I’d seen of her in previous fights but this one just didn’t hold my interest and I started skipping forward after a round or so. Threw me off seeing Ariane Lipski is no longer called Ariane Lipski now. When did that happen? Decent win for Silva, I guess. But didn’t look like much of a fight.

The Jhonata Diniz vs Austen Lane fight was a mess from what I saw. Started skipping through bits of the first round because life’s too short for Heavyweight Apex bollocks. But it was like they’d stuck the two most uncoordinated men on earth on an ice rink the way they were falling about the place. Diniz mercifully put an end to it in the second…


Won’t be counting the days to either man’s next fight, to be honest. Big knockout but it felt like it was just as much a result of Lane gassing as it was anything Diniz did. Just goes to show, having an NFL background and being “an athlete” doesn’t necessarily translate to the Octagon. It’s the thing people always used to trot out when some fans were oddly insistent that Greg Hardy was a serious prospect. That he was such a great “athlete” and all that. But he’d routinely be sucking wind after 3 minutes as well.

Onama vs Pearce was fun as expected. Never quite got cooking like I’d hoped but it was a good fight all the same. The end of the fight with both just emptying the tank and swinging like madmen was cool. Almost like a poor man’s version of Holloway vs Gaethje minus the actual KO. Good win for Onama, just a shame he put a dampener on it by missing weight. There was no FOTN awarded but this probably would’ve got it had Onama made weight. Hopefully it was a one-off.

Uros Medic kicked off the main card with a bang. Just a shame it came at the expense of Tim Means. Was a peach of a shot though…



Nice return to winning ways for Medic but you have to wonder how much longer Means is gonna keep doing this. 40 years old, 50+ fights and this was a gnarly KO.

Like I said, I skipped most of the prelims. The only fight I watched in full was Victor Henry vs Rani Yahya, which was decent but bittersweet as I like both and was sad to see Yahya get stopped. Henry’s just got more about him though and any pupil of Josh Barnett is someone I’m gonna be rooting for.

Gotta say as well, the stark contrast in some of the corner work on this card was clear as day. Barnett was exactly what you want from a cornerman. Clear in his instructions, gave actual technical advice and made the most of every one of the 60 seconds he had between rounds to get Henry ready for the next round. Compare that to one of the womens fights earlier on the prelims. I skimmed through but caught enough to know that Marnic Mann’s cornerman was fucking useless. Again, you’ve got 60 seconds as a cornerman between rounds and this guy wastes a big chunk of it slowly counting backwards from 10, then imparts such pearls of wisdom as “Look for that throw, it’s there. Left kick’s there. The leg kicks are there. Work your left to the body, straight left is there as well. That throw’s there. Leg kicks are there.” Then as she’s getting up off the stool, bewildered, the next round is just about to start and someone else in the corner chimes in with “the head kick is there. Liver kick”. What the fuck? 🤣 Everything is just “there”, apparently. I know a fighter like Mann is just starting out and she’s gonna have her original corner from the local shows and stuff but Jesus Christ. Hearing this shite on a UFC broadcast is almost comical. Have a listen…

Unsurprisingly, she lost.

What was surprising, the Don’Tale Mayes vs Caio Machado fight looked like a fairly entertaining sloppy brawl from the bits I saw of it. Admittedly not much.


Have it. They’re both still shit but I guess them being about equally shit made it a well matched fight at least.


Not much else to say about the prelims, I can’t remember the last card I fast forwarded through as much as this one. For a card that looked utter wank going in, it wasn’t that bad really. Some nice finishes. It was one of them though where if you missed it…you didn’t miss much. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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