In-depth UFC Vegas 37 main card preview
UFC Vegas 37 offers several interesting and action-oriented matchups on the event’s main card. Let’s take a look at those fights and why they are worth your viewing time.
UFC Vegas 37 main card breakdown
Anthony Smith vs Ryan Spann
Smith, 33, is a former UFC title challenger who faced Jon Jones for the undisputed light heavyweight championship in 2019. A pro since 2008, whose career has exemplified the ups and downs of professional fighting, Smith is a fan favorite with extensive main event experience.
Since the fight with Jones, which he lost by unanimous decision, Smith has gone 3-2 in the Octagon. He notched a win over perennial contender Alexander Gustafsson to return bounce-back from the Jones loss, then lost consecutive fights to current title contender Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic before scoring consecutive victories over prospects Devin Clark and Jimmy Crute in his most recent outings.
Smith will look to continue to stave off the next wave of light heavyweight prospects when he meets Spann, who is a blistering 9-1 since the summer of 2017.
Spann, 30, signed with the UFC in 2018 following his second appearance — and first victory — on Dana White’s Contender Series, when he bested eventual PFL season two light heavyweight champion, Emiliano Sordi.
A Fortis MMA product, Spann began his career in style. He scored four straight wins over Luis Henrique, the legendary Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, the aforementioned Clark, and Sam Alvey before suffering a technical knockout loss to Johnny Walker in September of last year.
Spann has since rebounded with a first-round TKO of Misha Cirkunov, and he hopes to continue his winning ways against Smith, the most highly-ranked opponent of his career to date, on Saturday night.
Ion Cutelaba vs Devin Clark
The co-main event will also pit two light heavyweights against one another as Moldova’s Ion Cutelaba takes on Devin Clark in a three-round affair at the UFC APEX.
Cutelaba, 27, burst onto the scene in 2017 when he scored a sensational 22-second knockout of Henrique da Silva in his fourth UFC outing. Though the win brought his UFC record at the time to just 2-2, the highlight-reel finish and intensity of Cutelaba’s pre-fight antics earned him designation as a prospect of note.
“The Hulk” has continued to put together vicious performances in his victories, notching two emphatic TKOs since, but has struggled to maintain consistency. He has gone just 1-3-1 since his back-to-back wins over da Silva and Gadzhimurad Antigulov, dropping two fights to top prospect Magomed Ankalaev, the aforementioned Teixeira, and going to a draw with Dustin Jacoby.
He will look to turn the tide against Clark, who has fought both main event competitors on this Saturday’s card.
Clark, 31, has struggled like Cutelaba to find consistent success in the volatile light heavyweight division. After capturing the RFA light heavyweight title and signing to the UFC in 2016, Clark has faced notable opposition in the form of both Smith and Spann, champion Jan Blachowicz and Rakic.
A training partner of Jon Jones at Jackson Wink MMA, Clark won consecutive fights against heavy-handed strikers Dequan Townsend and Alonzo Menifield before succumbing to a first-round triangle choke against Smith in a November 2020 main event, the first of his career.
Mandy Bohm vs Ariane Lipski
When Ariane Lipski signed with the UFC in 2018 as the reigning KSW flyweight champion and the aptly nicknamed “Queen of Violence,” expectations for the Brazilian were at an all-time high. However, her 2-4 start with the promotion has been profoundly disappointing. At UFC Vegas 37, Lipski will welcome a similarly hyped prospect in Mandy Bohm to the Octagon.
Lipski, 27, has faltered since joining the UFC roster on the strength of a nine-fight winning streak on the international scene. She dropped consecutive decisions to Joanne Calderwood and Molly McCann to begin her UFC tenure before scoring back-to-back victories over Isabel de Padua and Luana Carolina.
Lipski will face another stiff test in the form of Bohm, who joins the UFC after an undefeated international career capped off with a win under the Bellator banner.
Bohm, 32, rose to prominence in her native Germany while competing for German MMA Championship (GMC). She captured the TKO flyweight championship in Canada by third-round submission in 2019, perhaps the crowning moment of her career to date.
In her most recent outing, the “Monster” fought and won on Bellator’s 2020 Italy event, scoring a unanimous decision against Belgium’s Griet Eeckhout.
Christos Giagos vs Arman Tsarukyan
Tsarukyan, 24, is unbeaten over his first three in the UFC. In his first Octagon foray, Tsarukyan fell short by decision to surging Russian talent Islam Makhachev in a thrilling wrestling-heavy fight that wowed fans and instantly designated the Armenian as a prospect of note in the division.
In his three most recent outings, the Tiger Muay Thai product has stifled Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Davi Ramos, and Matt Frevola with his often dominant grappling. While his grappling abilities are his strong suit, Tsarukyan’s striking appears to improve each time out, as well.
Looking to slow down Tsarukyan’s momentum is Giagos, a professional since 2010 on his second stint with the UFC.
Giagos, 31, returned to the UFC in 2018 with a fight against future champion Charles Oliveira. Now a solid 4-2 in the promotion, Giagos has defeated the likes of Damir Hadzovic, Mizuto Hirota, Carlton Minus, and new teammate Sean Soriano.
The Greek-American spent his training camp at the renowned Sanford MMA gym in Florida, training alongside notable names like Jared Gordon and Saul Rodgers in preparation for the fight against Tsarukyan.
Nate Maness vs Tony Gravely
Maness, 30, has won three straight fights including an HR MMA title fight and his first two UFC outings. In his most recent bout, he stopped UFC veteran Luke Sanders with a second-round submission in a thrilling affair.
Maness’ lengthy build at 5-foot-10 makes him a difficult test for anyone at 135 pounds, and his ability to both strike and grapple effectively complements his build well. The man known as “Mayhem,” is a true finisher with seven stoppages to his credit.
Gravely, 29, has fought nearly twice as many times as a professional than Maness. A veteran of the US regional scene who captured titles in CES MMA and King of the Cage Gravely broke into the UFC with a 2019 victory on the Contender Series.
After dropping his debut to Brett Johns, Gravely won consecutive UFC fights against Geraldo de Freitas and Anthony Birchak, the latter of which was a standout performance for Gravely that garnered a “Performance of the Night” bonus.
Both men are prospects looking to set themselves apart in the talent-stacked bantamweight division, making this a fight to watch.
Joaquin Buckley vs Antonio Arroyo
Buckley, 27, went about as viral as you can get when he scored a stunning, video game-esque spin-kick knockout of Impa Kasanganay in October 2020. The win was Buckley’s first in the UFC after dropping his promotional debut to Kevin Holland.
When he followed up the victory with a vicious knockout of then-undefeated Jordan Wright, fans were ready to coronate Buckley the UFC’s next big thing at 185-pounds. However, a loss to Italy’s Alessio Di Chirico halted Buckley’s momentum in January.
Now, Buckley will look to bounce back against Arroyo, who has gone 0-2 in the UFC thus far.
Arroyo, 32, will be the larger man on Saturday at 6-foot-3. A veritable finisher, all but one of his professional wins have come by stoppage. Despite wins on both the Brazilian and US versions of the Contender Series the success hasn’t translated to the Octagon.
UFC Vegas 37 kicks off with preliminary action at 4 pm ET. The main card will follow at 7 pm ET. The event will air exclusively on ESPN+.
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