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UFC Fight Night: Grasso v Araujo Predictions

Top female flyweight contenders Alexa Grasso and Viviane Araujo will go all out to make a statement when they headline UFC Vegas 62 on Sunday morning.

UFC Fight Night Betting

Closing in on a shot at the title, top female flyweight contenders Alexa Grasso and Viviane Araujo will go all out to make a statement when they headline UFC Vegas 62 on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld. 

The co-main event at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas will see Hall of Famer Cub Swanson drop down to bantamweight for the first time to take on Jon Martinez, while the featured bout is a high-profile affair between top-five flyweights Askar Askarov and Brandon Royval.

Plus, Jordan Wright and Dusko Todorovic tussle in a middleweight match-up and lethal light heavyweights Misha Cirkunov and Alonzo Menifield seek to stop one another in an explosive main card opener. 

MAIN CARD (from 1 AM Sunday SA time): 

Alexa Grasso (1.46) v Viviane Araujo (2.85) (Flyweight)

Both combatants will break new ground in this pivotal flyweight affair as it’ll be their maiden five-round main event.  

Unbeaten since moving up to flyweight, No.5-ranked Grasso (14-3) is keen to continue her quest of taking over the division whereas No.6-ranked Araujo (11-3) is aiming to steal her thunder and strengthen her own bid for a shot at the belt. 

An excellent striker, Grasso’s speed as a long-time strawweight has helped her rocket up the 125-pound rankings with wins over Ji Yeon Kim, Maycee Barber and Joanne Wood. 

Her most recent triumph over Wood in March sent a message to the rest of the division that she’s far from just a striker as she tapped out the veteran with a slick rear-naked choke in the first round.    

It’s not her offensive but rather her defensive grappling skills that’ll be vital if she’s to emerge victorious as Araujo’s a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with four submissions to her name. 

Similarly, Araujo’s not just a submission artist. She won’t mind standing with Grasso as she boasts more punching power, but with her powerful wrestling, her plan A will be to limit the movement of her Mexican opponent. 

Grasso’s footwork is fantastic and her striking far crisper than Araujo’s. Along with her speed advantage and ability to sweep to get back to her feet if she does get taken down, Grasso’s set to get her hand raised.  

Both women mainly win by decision, with Grasso’s submission victory last time out being her first stoppage win in the UFC while Araujo’s never been finished inside the Octagon, so Grasso will more than likely prevail on points. 

Prediction: Grasso via decision.

Best Bet: Grasso by decision at 2.20 

Alternative Bet: Grasso at 1.46.

Cub Swanson (2.75) v Jon Martinez (1.48) (Bantamweight)

A legend in the twilight of his career, Swanson (28-12) loves to scrap. Aggressive and tough, he’s been in wars, one of which, his epic win over Dooho Choi in 2016, recently saw him being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame’s Fight Wing.

Those wars have taken a toll and while the well-rounded veteran scored a TKO win over Darren Elkins last December, his speed and durability have waned and both are bound to decrease even further as he cuts down to 135 pounds for the first time in his 18-year career. 

Weight cuts are gruelling but doubly so for an older fighter and at 38, it’s a curious move by Swanson that could either backfire or revitalise him. 

Martinez (16-4) is a full 10 years younger than Swanson and his speed and point-fighting ability, which have earned him three straight victories, should power him the biggest win of his career.

Prediction: Martinez via decision.

Best Bet: Martinez at 1.48.

Alternative Bet: Martinez by decision at 2.40.

Askar Askarov (1.41) v Brandon Royval (3.00) (Flyweight)

A high-stakes fight flying under the radar somewhat sees the fourth and fifth-ranked flyweights face off.

Higher-ranked Askarov (14-1-1) is hell-bent on bouncing back after having his undefeated streak ended by Kai Kara-France (via decision) on his last trip to the Octagon. A glance at Royval’s record (14-6) will show he’s more familiar with the bitter taste of defeat but he’s won his last two.  

A slick grappler and an unpredictable striker, “Raw Dawg” needs a finish if he’s to win and his versatility and fearlessness could potentially see him pull off the upset. 

However, better all-around fighters such as former champion Brandon Moreno – who Askarov fought to a draw in his UFC debut – and strikers like Kara-France couldn’t land a kill shot. 

Therefore, the more likely scenario is that Askarov survives the storm and uses his steamrolling, suffocating wrestling to grind out the win. 

Prediction: Askarov via decision.

Best Bet: Askarov by decision at 2.30.

Alternative Bet: Askarov at 1.41.

Jordan Wright (2.75) v Dusko Todorovic (1.48) (Middleweight)

Someone’s getting finished in this guaranteed middleweight banger. Both men are proven finishers looking to get back on track; Wright (12-3) is coming off two stoppage losses while Todorovic (11-3) was knocked out by Chidi Njokuani last time out.

Wright boasts a 100% finish rate (seven knockouts and five submissions) and has only gone to a second round twice. Serbia’s Todorovic is cut from the same cloth with all but one of his wins coming by stoppage (seven knockouts and three submissions).

Wright’s the wilder of the two, often throwing with reckless abandon, which has cost him of late. Todorovic, in turn, fights with controlled aggression and that’ll allow him to dodge bullets and take out “The Beverly Hills Ninja.”

Prediction: Todorovic via TKO.

Best Bet: Todorovic by KO/TKO/DQ at 1.90.

Alternative Bet: Todorovic by KO/TKO/Submission/DQ at 1.62.

Misha Cirkunov (2.75) v Alonzo Menifield (1.48) (Light Heavyweight)

Light heavyweights with bad intentions battle it out in a main card opener that’s also destined to finish inside the distance. 

Cirkunov (15-8) is a kill-or-be-killed fighter who’s secured all but two of his wins by stoppage and was finished in all but one of his losses. 

A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, the Latvian has eight wins by submission and will likely look towards this strength as he’s fighting for his job after having lost six of his last eight including the last three in a row. 

Menifield (12-3), meanwhile, has won three of his last four, most recently picking up his ninth KO/TKO against Askar Mozharov in June. 

Explosive and athletic, “Atomic” not only has momentum on his side but is capable of scrambling to his feet if he needs to where he has a distinct and what should be a decisive advantage in a short, fun fight.   

Prediction: Menifield via knockout. 

Best Bet: Menifield by KO/TKO/DQ at 2.00. 

Alternative Bet: Menifield at 1.48.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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