UFC Fight Night 129 - Chile Breakdown & Predictions
When is UFC Fight Night 129? Sunday 20nd May, 2018 - 01:00 start (UK)
Where is UFC Fight Night 129? Movistar Arena, Santiago, Chile
What channel is UFC Fight Night 129 on? BT Sport 2
Where can I stream UFC Fight Night 129? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website
Demian Maia vs Kamaru Usman
Two welterweight killers head up the first ever UFC event in Chile. Kamaru Usman was expected to meet Argentina native Santiago Ponzinibbio but he pulled out due to injury, giving Demian Maia the opportunity to take on ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’. This was much to the approval of Usman who has continually voiced his opinion of being the best contender in the division who every other fighter is trying to avoid. Maia has stepped up on short notice to prove he can still perform at the highest level.
He heads to Chile on the back of two losses which snapped a seven-fight win streak - a disappointing title shot against Tyron Woodley and an even more disappointing performance against Colby Covington.
Usman on the other hand, has not lost since his second professional fight and although his style is not the most exciting, nobody has proved that he is not worthy of contending for the title yet.
This is not a good match up for Maia. He has struggled against top wrestlers and Usman is immensely strong for the division who despite his takedown defence stat (which is not an accurate portrayal of his ability), he has overwhelmed all of his his opponents in the grappling exchanges. Usman is also in his physical prime whereas Maia is finally declining at the age of 40.
Usman will be spurred on by Woodley’s efforts in his fight with Maia where he was able to stifle all Maia’s attempts to take the fight onto the mat. Usman knows if he can do the same he will dispose the biggest threat of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master.
Maia wants to get Usman on his back but it will take a mistake from Usman to end up there. If it happens, it is game over but Usman has the ability to dictate the fight just like Woodley did.
Winner: Usman via Decision
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric.
Alexa Grasso vs Tatiana Suarez
Two young strawweights who are at their start of their promising UFC careers grace the co-main. They only have one loss between them and a win will solidify a place in the top ten rankings.
Alexa Grasso bounced back from a controversial decision loss to Felice Herrig with a tight decision win of her own against Randa Markos in her last fight.
Tatiana Suarez has looked just as impressive so far in her career; she is unbeaten and emerged on the scene after competing and winning The Ultimate Fighter 23. She has since pushed her record to 5-0 and hardly been tested due to an incredibly strong wrestling game.
Grasso is very well-rounded but her takedown defence has to be on point to inflict any kind of offence. She has phenomenal movement but it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to prevent Suarez from having her way with the Mexican.
Suarez has represented her country in wrestling and when this skill is at such a level it is often the deciding factor in the result. Grasso will put up a good fight but Suarez is likely to grapple her way to a decision.
Winner: Suarez via Decision
Jared Cannonier vs Dominick Reyes
Two heavy sluggers are looking to light up Santiago when Jared Cannonier takes on the unbeaten Dominick Reyes, which on paper, should produce fireworks. They are both natural finishers – whether that be rendering their opponents unconscious from the feet or on the ground.
Although Cannonier is 2-2 as a light heavyweight in the UFC, he looks more at home in the division after dropping down from heavyweight. These losses came via decisions at the hands of top contenders Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira so don’t doubt his pedigree.
Reyes has looked electrifying throughout his career. He is rangy and very powerful with the technique to match with five knockouts and two submissions out of his eight wins.
Two confident knockout artists should produce a very intense battle, with Cannonier desperate to keep the fight standing and showcase his heavyweight power. However, Reyes is extremely dangerous in all areas. He is a devastating striker which is complimented by exceptional grappling and has proven he can finish the fight anywhere.
This fight is unlikely to go the distance as they both have the power and skills to end the fight at any moment. Reyes has to be wary of Cannonier’s power and will not have a reach advantage but may just have too many weapons in his arsenal to be outclassed on the night.
Another impressive performance from Reyes could pave the way for a much-needed new star in the light heavyweight division.
Winner: Reyes via KO/TKO
Diego Rivas vs Guido Cannetti
Diego Rivas is thrilled to be fighting on home turf and would love nothing more than a win to not only bounce back from the first loss of his career but also a successful battle with testicular cancer. He welcomes Guido Cannetti who makes the short trip from Argentina and is also looking to bounce back from a loss and pick up a second UFC win.
Rivas amassed an impressive seven wins with five finishes before losing out on a decision to Jose Alberto Quinonez back in August. Cannetti, who despite making his professional debut back in 2007, has only had ten fights and is hoping to boost his UFC record to 2-2.
All of Cannetti’s losses have come via submissions which will whet the appetite of Rivas who takes pride in his improving Jiu-Jitsu. That said, Cannetti will look for that takedown as usual to control the fight but will have to be wary of the submission threat.
This fight could easily be won in the grappling exchanges but you have to back the youth and motivation of Rivas fighting in Chile.
Winner: Rivas via Decision
Veronica Macedo vs Andrea Lee
Two UFC newbies with a bucket of potential feature on the Chile card with Veronica Macedo making her second UFC appearance and Andrea Lee making her long-awaited debut.
Lee has earned a place on the UFC roster after impressive performances under the Invicta and Legacy Fighting Alliance promotions and is on a four-fight winning streak.
Venezuelan native Macedo is in unfamiliar territory - after winning her first five fights, she drew against Iren Racz then suffered her first loss and TKO to Ashlee Evans-Smith.
This will be a real test of character for the young Macedo to see how she responds, especially taking on Lee who is full of confidence and desperate to put on a show for her debut.
Macedo is tough, aggressive and hits hard with a rapidly evolving Jiu-Jitsu game. Lee is extremely athletic, quick, rangy and a tremendous grappler.
So, after feeling out Lee, Macedo is expected to close the distance with her usual spectacular kicks and inflict as much damage as possible early on. Lee may be confident of matching the Venezuelan on the feet but is not quite on the same level so will happily take the fight to the ground when necessary and show off her submission prowess.
This is a tough fight to call but the height and reach advantage of Lee will help negate the striking threat of Macedo but she will still have to be at her best to grind out a win.
Winner: Lee via Decision
Vicente Luque vs Chad Laprise
Vicente Luque vs Chad Laprise is an exciting match-up between two very destructive strikers. They are both full of confidence and hoping to add another impressive finish to their record and make a dent in the stacked welterweight division.
In his last six fights, Luque is 5-1 with the loss coming to top contender Leon Edwards in a decision. His wins however were phenomenal – knockouts to Belal Muhammad and Hector Urbina and submissions over Alvaro Herrera, Hayder Hassan, and Niko Price in his last fight.
Since winning The Ultimate Fighter back in 2014, Laprise is 6-2 in the UFC but is coming off three sublime performances – three knockouts to Thibault Gouti, Brian Camozzi and Galore Bofando.
Although they have eight submission wins between them, they are fully expected to stand and bang in a technical slugfest so it will be surprising if these aggressive finishers withstand the three rounds.
This fight could easily be finished on the ground but that would be as a result of a strike. This is not a fight to place your money on as it could go either way and end at any time. Their striking accuracy will be the key factor and with the reach advantage of Luque, he just gets the nod.
Winner: Luque via KO/TKO