UFC Vegas 93 Main Event Breakdown

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While another wave of uncertainty looms over the status of the planned UFC 303 main event on June 29, MMA‘s top promotion rolls on with the last event before the summer solstice hits. Saturday, one week removed from a stop at Yum! Center in Louisville, KY on the campus of The University of Louisville, the UFC heads to the Apex for another edition of UFC Fight Night.

Live coverage of UFC Vegas 93 is wall-to-wall on ESPN+, as is customary, beginning at 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT with the prelims, continuing with the main card at 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT. Here’s a programming note for those of you planning on watching the show on linear television on the eve of Father’s Day.

Due to ESPN‘s continuing coverage of the 2024 NCAA Division I Men’s College World Series from Omaha, NE on Saturday afternoon and evening, this week’s card will be shown on ESPN2 from 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT  onwards this Saturday night.

Flyweights Go Toe to Toe in UFC Vegas 93 Main Event

All told, absent of any postponed or canceled fights between now and Saturday, the final version of UFC Vegas 93 features a full 13-fight card. Flyweights take center stage in the UFC Vegas 93 main event.

No. 5 contender Alex Perez (25-8 MMA, 7-4 UFC) takes on an undefeated foe in No. 13 contender Tatsuro Taira (15-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in the headliner. As with all main attractions in the UFC, this one is an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.

UFC Vegas 93 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the UFC Vegas 93 main event on Saturday night, Tatsuro Taira stands as the taller man at 5-foot-7, compared to the 5-foot-6 frame of Alex Perez. Taira owns a 4 1/2-inch reach advantage (70 inches even to 65 1/2 inches) over Perez, with both fighters level in leg reach (38 inches apiece.)

Currently, the oddsmakers have Tatsuro Taira installed as a -198 favorite on the money line, with Perez countering as a +164 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend in MMA, please wager responsibly.

Alex Perez With Another Quick Turnaround in UFC Vegas 93 Main Event

Alex Perez enters the UFC Vegas 93 main event on Saturday night having gone 3-2 in his last five fights. Most recently, he scored a second-round knockout (right hook) of Matheus Nicolau (19-4-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) back on April 28. By the time the headlining bout commences over the weekend, he’ll have only had a seven-week hiatus.

This is already his third fight in the last three months-plus. On March 2, he dropped a unanimous decision at the hands of Muhammad Mokaev (11-0, 1 NC MMA, 6-0 UFC). Perez’s rate of activity here in 2024 is a stark contrast to his lack of action from May of 2020 to June of 2023.

Save for an appearance in a grappling match last summer during UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4, he went through a stretch where he saw no fewer than 12 fights get cancelled for one reason or another. Four of those cancelled bookings were to be against Matt Schnell.

He’s already won one fight this year with limited time to train. Can he go 2-for-2 on Saturday night? Watch the UFC Vegas 93 main event and find out.

Tatsuro Taira Looks to Rise in the Rankings in First Main Event Appearance

In the other corner, Tatsuro Taira has yet to lose in his MMA career. Counting amateur bouts, he’s 24-0.

Last time out, Taira scored a second-round knockout (right hook followed by hammerfists) on Dec. 9 in UFC Vegas 83‘s undercard against Carlos Hernandez (9-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC). After the fight, he talked to Paul Felder about how he changed his gameplan on the fly.

“I was trying to show some jiu-jitsu, but whatever,” he said through his translator. “I’m happy, thank you.”

That evening, Taira’s fight with Hernandez was the second on the docket. He hasn’t fought on the main card in the two years he’s been in the UFC, with a planned main card bout against Tim Elliott going by the boards due to the latter’s withdrawal ahead of the May 18 show.

Saturday night, he gets his chance to impress under the main event spotlight. Will he run his combined winning streak to 25?

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the UFC Vegas 93 main event looks to favor Alex Perez, a wrestler, Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner and boxer, compared to Tatsuro Taira’s purple belt in BJJ.

Alex Perez is Brutal with Punches

Although Alex Perez has a well-rounded fighting style, his fists could tell the tale here, much like they did against Matheus Nicolau. About two minutes into the second round of the fight, Perez backed Nicolau up with an overhand counterpunch.

Perez bided his time before unloading with a hook to put Nicolau against the cage fence, knocking him down and out. Look for Alex Perez to try and wobble Tatsuro Taira on Saturday night in the headliner. This may turn the tide, provided that he can stun Taira with a punch.

Taira Can Work Quickly

In the other corner, when Tatsuro Taira enters the famed UFC Octagon this weekend, don’t blink so you won’t miss an exciting finish. He put on a highlight-reel finish in January of 2020 in Shooto vs. Jared Almazan.

Right after the command to fight was given in round two, after nearly finishing Almazan in round one, he absorbed a kick before landing a barrage of punches to end the contest. Time of the knockout: 20 seconds, Once Tatsuro Taira finds a home for the devastating punches, look out.

Final Thoughts

This is an important contest for both men. Your winner on Saturday in the UFC Vegas 93 main event will find himself one step closer to securing a fight for the UFC Flyweight Championship.

Prediction: Tatsuro Taira by Second-Round TKO. 

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.