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UFC Fight Night: Song v Gutierrez Predictions

Top-10 bantamweight contender Song Yadong squares off with Chris Gutierrez in the main event of UFC Vegas 83 on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.


Top-10 bantamweight contender Song Yadong squares off with Chris Gutierrez in the main event of UFC Vegas 83 on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

The event was originally scheduled to place in Shanghai but was moved to the UFC’s APEX facility in Las Vegas for undisclosed reasons in mid-November.

The co-headliner will see former light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith collide with Khalil Rountree, with Nasrat Haqparast trading leather with Jamie Mullarkey in a lightweight contest.

Plus, Sumudaerji takes on Tim Elliott in a bantamweight affair and Andre Muniz meets Junyong Park in a middleweight match-up.

MAIN CARD (from 5 AM Sunday SA time):

Song Yadong (1.26) v Chris Gutierrez (4.00) (Bantamweight)

Song will have a chip on his shoulder as the change in venue has robbed him of making an anticipated homecoming. Instead, he has to be satisfied with fighting in the intimate setting of the UFC APEX in Sin City, where he scored a fifth-round TKO victory over Ricky Simon in April.

Ranked seventh, Chinese mixed martial arts’ hottest rising star has won four of his last five fights with his only loss coming against former interim title challenger Cory Sandhagen because of a late doctor stoppage due to a cut.

As his nickname suggests, “Kung Fu Kid” is primarily a striker. Swift and smart on the feet, he uses his speed and fight IQ to do damage and competes at a high pace. His record stands at 20-7-1 with nine knockouts – including stopping former title challenger Marlon Moraes – and three submissions. 

Gutierrez, who’s best known for knocking out the legendary Frankie Edgar in the former lightweight champion’s retirement bout last November, has lost just once in his last 10 fights, to long-time contender Pedro Munhoz in April.

Ranked 14th, he rebounded from that defeat with a decision win over Alateng Heili last month and makes a quick turnaround hoping to build on that momentum and break into the top 10.

“El Guapo” is a switch-hitting striker with a record of 20-4-2 with nine knockouts and one submission.

In what’s expected to be a stand-up battle for the most part, Song – who’s 7-1-1 as a UFC favourite – holds the advantage in terms of speed and athleticism.

Gutierrez, who’s 2-1 as an underdog in the UFC, has decent set-ups but overall, he’s not as sophisticated as Song, who should close the show in style.  

Prediction: Song by knockout.

Best Bet: Song by KO/TKO/DQ at 2.20.

Alternative Bet: Song by decision at 2.50.

Anthony Smith (2.70) v Khalil Rountree (1.48) (Light Heavyweight)

One of the most experienced campaigners in the UFC, Smith (37-18) is a diverse danger man with intelligence to go along with his well-rounded skillset. With 20 wins by knockout and 14 by submission, he’s a threat wherever the fight goes.

He’s fought and beaten much higher calibre of opponents than his adversary this weekend, including knocking out former champions Mauricio Rua and Rashad Evans and fighting Jon Jones for the title back in 2019.

Having snapped a two-fight losing skid with a split decision win over Ryan Spann in August, the battle-tested veteran aims to build momentum.

Rountree (12-5) is a hard-hitting striker, a super-dynamic southpaw with eight knockouts to his name. He’s a roll, winning four in a row and three of them by knockout. His speed and athleticism will be crucial to his cause as he tries to stick and move and avoid being caught in grappling exchanges.

“The War Horse” hits like a truck and has devastating leg kicks. He is one-dimensional, though. Beating Smith would be the biggest win of his career, but “Lionheart” still has enough left in the tank to out-skill and outwit him and cash as a juicy underdog.

Prediction: Smith by submission.

Best Bet: Smith at 2.70

Alternative Bet: Smith by submission at 7.00.

Nasrat Haqparast (1.52) v Jamie Mullarkey (2.60) (Lightweight)

The featured bout has Fight of the Night written all over it as both combatants do their best work on the feet with the counter-attacking style of Haqparast (15-5) meshing well with the pressure approach of Mullarkey (17-6).

Haqparast, who has nine knockouts to his name, is hunting his third win in a row following victories over John Makdessi and, most recently, Landon Quinones in September, while his Australian adversary has won three of his last four.  

Mullarkey (10 knockouts and three submissions) has the more rounded skillset, however, Haqparast has more top-class experience and is more technically sound, so he looks set to win, most likely on the scorecards.

Prediction: Haqparast by decision.

Best Bet: Haqparast by decision at 2.10.

Alternative Bet: Haqparast at 1.52.

Sumudaerji (2.10) v Tim Elliott (1.76) (Bantamweight)

Sumudaerji (16-5) has been thrown a curveball with a late change of opponent. With Allan Nascimento ruled out because of injury, Elliott (19-13-1) has stepped up on less than a week’s notice. As a result, this bout will now take place at bantamweight instead flyweight.

Sumudaerji is a flashy striker boasting 13 knockouts. He returns for the first time in over a year determined to start fresh after coming short in an epic back-and-forth brawl with Matt Schnell that snapped a three-fight win streak last July.

Elliott also aims to get back on track following a submission loss to Muhammad Mokaev in October. A staple in the flyweight top 15 since his title fight with Demetrious Johnson eight years ago, the awkward veteran is the perfect seasoned test for an up-and-comer like Sumudaerji.

As a super crafty stalwart, Elliott is a tricky puzzle to solve, a challenge made that much more difficult for “The Tibetan Eagle” with just a few days to study film.

On the flip side, Elliott’s experience in facing all sorts of athletes and styles over the years leaves him in a better position and should see him prevail.

Prediction: Elliott by decision.

Best Bet: Elliott at 1.76.

Alternative Bet: Elliott by decision (check markets).

Andre Muniz (2.45) v Junyong Park (1.57) (Middleweight)

Muniz (23-6) has had a year to forget and is desperate to end it on a positive note. The Brazilian carried a five-fight win streak into 2023 but consecutive stoppage losses to Brendan Allen and Paul Craig have left him needing to climb out of a hole.

Park (17-5), on the other hand, is on the rise. The South Korean star has strung together a four-fight win streak and is 7-1 in his last eight fights. After earning his first four victories inside the Octagon on the scorecards, “The Iron Turtle” has three straight submission wins heading into the most high-profile bout of his career.

“Sergipano” is a masterful jiu-jitsu practitioner with no less than 15 submissions to his credit, so it’s no secret that he’ll shoot for takedowns early and often. Park’s grappling has improved considerably, which is part of why he’s been so successful, and it should allow him to stave off and turn the tables on Muniz.

Prediction: Park by knockout.

Best Bet: Park at 1.57.

Alternative Bet: Park by KO/TKO/DQ at 3.15.

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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