The freight train that is the UFC machine keeps on rolling Saturday night from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 20. The card is headlined by the number 4 ranked heavyweight in the world Jarzinio Rozenstruik taking on the number 7 ranked heavyweight Cyril Gane. It promises to be another action-packed night put on by the MMA leader and we’re going to focus on the UFC Vegas 20 preliminary card, where two fights, in particular, stand out from the rest.
UFC Vegas 20 Preliminary Card Preview
Alexander Hernandez vs. Thiago Moises
Thiago Moises (14-4; 6 Submissions) enters this high-profile fight coming off of back-to-back wins over longtime UFC veterans. Back in May coming out of the Covid-19 shutdown, Moises submitted the decorated Michael Johnson just 25-seconds into the second round after getting outclassed on the feet in round one. He turned the momentum from the victory into an October decision over the red-hot Bobby Green.
Alexander “The Great” Hernandez (12-3; 5 KO’s) comes into this contest off of a very impressive first-round KO victory over Chris Gruetzemacher back in October. After storming into the UFC with a 42-second KO of lightweight contender Beneil Dariush, Hernandez has alternated wins and losses. He hasn’t fought his way into contention like most pundits believed he would after that scintillating debut, but at the age of 28, he has made a move that he believes will take him to the top. “The Great” has found a new home with Marc Montoya and the Factory X crew in Denver and looked as sharp as we’ve ever seen him in his last outing.
This UFC Vegas 20 preliminary card headliner has undeniably high stakes. The winner moves into a position to call out a top 15 opponent, while the loser is back to trying to breakthrough in the promotion’s deepest division. Moises’ grappling and slick submissions make him a threat to end the fight should the bout hit the floor at any point while Hernandez has the type of versatility and athleticism that he should be able to dictate where this fight takes place. This matchup has fireworks written all over it and is a sleeper for Fight of the Night.
Alex Oliveira vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov
A fun matchup on the UFC Vegas 20 preliminary card pits longtime UFC veteran “Cowboy” Alex Oliveira (22-9-1; 12 KO/TKO’s) against an undefeated newcomer in Ramazan Kuramagomedov (8-0; 4 Submissions). 19 fights into Oliveira’s UFC career and it’s still unclear exactly how good the Brazilian can be. He has had some great wins during his time under the UFC banner including a second-round submission over former title challenger Carlos Condit. Despite the impressive wins, it’s been up and down results for the “Cowboy” and he enters Saturday night coming off of a first-round submission loss to Shavkat Rakmonov. If Oliveira wants to join the welterweight elite at some point, the 33-year-old has to start stringing some wins together sooner than later.
It certainly won’t be an easy night for the Brazilian as Ramazan Kuramagomedov enters the Octagon for the first time as an unbeaten prospect. The Russian’s biggest win to date came on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series back in July of 2019 when he earned a split decision win over Jordan Williams. The performance wasn’t enough to earn a UFC contract but less than two years later he gets to live out that dream. Stepping up on short notice for Randy Brown (undisclosed reason) isn’t ideal but it’s impossible for a young prospect to pass up.
An intriguing matchup on the UFC Vegas 20 preliminary card for multiple reasons, this one has the potential to be an absolute war. Both guys are well-rounded fighters and seem to be very evenly matched no matter where the fight might play out. Very different stakes for fighters on different ends of their respective careers. It feels very much like a must-win for Oliveira who may not get many more chances to make his run, for him the time is very much now. As far as Kuramagomedov goes, he has the chance to make a splash in a big way. A win over the respected “Cowboy” and he instantly becomes a name to watch at 170-pounds.
The UFC Vegas 20 preliminary card kicks off at 5:00 PM EST on ESPN+. Make sure to check out www.mmasucka.com for all of your post-fight coverage following the fights.