Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

*This was originally posted on April 21, 2022*

For the first time since November, we’ve got a card headlined by women. We’ll see one of the greatest female fighters of all time, Jessica Andrade, returning to flyweight to take on the quickly rising contender Amanda Lemos in an all-Brazil matchup. In the co-main, the Octagon will be blessed with the return of long-time fan favourite, Clay Guida, as he takes on the young contender Claudio Puelles. Throughout the rest of the card, we’ve also got appearances from Alexandr Romanov, Maycee Barber and a couple of Canadian boys: Charles ‘Air’ Jourdain and Marc-André Barriault. All of these matchups (plus more) are covered below and feature BLÜ’s predictions along with the Bet99 Sportsbook Odds.

Main Card (6:00 PM PST)

Charles Jourdain vs. Lando Vannata

BET99 Odds

Jourdain: -117 Vannata: -105

Over 2.5: -200 Under 2.5: +154

Opening up the main card is the 2nd of TWO Canadian appearances this weekend. Unlike the other Canadians on this card, Jourdain is looking good in his matchup. We’ve talked about him a few times, most recently leading up to his fight with Ilia Topuria that was cancelled late. He’s got a strange record of 3-3-1 with a split decision draw and loss thrown in there. I doubted his skill going into his last fight with Andre Ewell, but he impressed everyone so much that I said I wouldn’t doubt him again. Lando Vannata has also got a strange UFC record, sitting at 4-5-2. He’s been here since 2016 and has fought some decent contenders like Bobby Green, Diakese and even Tony Ferguson in his debut, but has never grabbed himself a big win.

This looks like it should be a bit of a coin toss; they’ve both had problems in their career, but they both have some skill and tend to reach decisions. Based on their records, their strength of competition and how they’ve looked lately, I have to say that Jourdain carries the slight edge and should take a close decision.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Jourdain by Decision

Alexandr Romanov vs. Chase Sherman

BET99 Odds

Romanov: -1500 Sherman: +800

Over/Under: Not Available

Headed into this week, this was a much closer matchup between Tanner Boser and Romanov, sadly Boser had to pull out of the fight and we’re left with Chase Sherman. In the original matchup, Romanov was likely going to have a tough time but still seemed to be a fairly heavy favourite in the matchup. In this matchup, Romanov is just that much heavier of a favourite; this is a perfect matchup for him. Romanov joined the UFC fairly recently, going 4-0 so far, extending his undefeated record to 15-0. Most recently, he proved how big of a threat to the division he is by finishing Jared Vanderaa in the 2nd Round. Sherman is also fairly new to the UFC and grabbed a win in his debut. After that he was thrown into the deep end of the division, losing to Arlovski, Porter and Collier.

Unfortunately for Sherman, there are some very clear differences between these two men and most of them favour Romanov heavily. Romanov has only been in ONE decision in his whole career, meaning he’s got 14 finishes in 15 fights. Romanov is one of the best, strongest wrestlers in the heavyweight division. Finally, he also cuts down to make 265 pounds, while Sherman doesn’t cut much weight, landing at around 250 pounds regularly. That may give Sherman a speed advantage which he could use to land a sneaky one on Romanov. The problem is that Romanov is VERY tough, can stand up to that power, walk through it and slam Sherman on the canvas. I think that’s exactly what we’ll see and Romanov will continue his finishing streak.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Romanov by Finish

Maycee Barber vs. Montana de la Rosa

BET99 Odds

Barber: -186 de la Rosa: +150

Over 2.5: -260 Under 2.5: +200

Here we’ve got a matchup between two women on the edge of the top 15. If you’ve seen any of the BLU-FC streams over the past few months, you’ll likely have heard me talk about Maycee Barber at some point. To refresh everyone’s memory, in her last fight, she went up against Miranda Maverick to get a spot in the top 15. She had a close fight, but ultimately it was pretty clear that Maverick had taken the win in the decision… until the judges shared their cards. In the worst judge’s decision of the year, 2 out of 3 judges had given the win to Barber. She was 8-0 in her MMA career, with UFC wins over Aldrich and Robertson, but since then, she hasn’t looked the same. She then lost a decision to Modaferri and Grasso before essentially losing a third time in that Maverick bout. As for de la Rosa, she’s gone 1-1-1 in her last 3 with a loss to Araujo, a draw with Bueno Silva and a win over Lipski. 

This is a tight one and I can pretty much guarantee we’ll be seeing a decision in this one. It’s tough to pick one here; either you lean towards Barber, who’s only lost to ranked contenders, but has looked rough recently, or do you side with de la Rosa who has done well recently but hasn’t fought as many ranked women. There’s one factor that I noticed that may make the difference: Barber has been struggling against grapplers like Modaferri and Maverick. Since de la Rosa has so many wins on the ground, perhaps that will be the difference that gives her the win. As a side note, de la Rosa also has a slightly longer reach.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Montana de la Rosa by Decision

Co-Main Event

Clay Guida vs. Claudio Puelles

BET99 Odds

Guida: -112 Puelles: -110

Over 2.5: -209 Under 2.5: +157

Once again, we’ve got another wildly close matchup, this time in the lightweight division. On one side you’ve got the HUGE fan favourite, UFC veteran Clay Guida, on the other, a rising contender in Claudio Puelles. Guida joined in the early days of the UFC, all the way back in 2006. He’s faced pretty much every big name in the division’s history, but he’s gone 3-3 since losing to the current champ Charles Oliveira. A couple of weeks ago we talked about his most recent loss to Mark Madsen where he seemed to have won, but the judges went the other way in the split decision. Since that loss, he turned it around with an INSANE come-from-behind win over Santos where he was almost finished multiple times but snagged a submission in the 2nd Round. Puelles is much less experienced with a 4-1 record in the UFC so far. His last two wins came over Jordan Leavitt and Chris Gruetzemacher. 

This is a tough one to choose and seems to be a coin toss. There are a couple of things that have me leaning in a certain direction. Guida is extremely experienced, is unbelievably tough and has relentless cardio. He would struggle against someone extremely powerful or extremely skilled like a top 15 fighter, but with someone like Puelles, who tends to have decisions or late finishes against unknown opponents, he has a very good chance. I’d say that thanks to those slight edges, Guida is going to outpace him to win a close decision.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Guida by Decision

Main Event

Amanda Lemos vs. Jessica Andrade

BET99 Odds

Lemos: +175 Andrade: -217

Over 3.5: +105 Under 3.5: -132

Headlining the night is a thrilling matchup between the rising star Amanda Lemos (ranked 10th) and the future Hall of Famer Jessica Andrade (ranked number 1 at Flyweight). We last talked about Lemos in December after she won a tight split decision over Angela Hill. Before that, she had grabbed 4 wins with 3 first-round finishes, but none over anyone of note. What is there to be said about Andrade? She’s one of the best, most experienced female MMA fighters in history. She’s gone 6-4 in her last ten fights, but all those losses are to champs and number 1 contenders. She lost to Joanna and Rose in decisions and to Weili and Valentina by finish. Other than that she’s been finishing the likes of Rose (the first time they fought), Chookagian and Calvillo. 

There seems to be a trend for Andrade. Whenever she’s fighting a champ or someone close to being a champ, she loses, usually in a close fight. Other than that she tends to win quite easily. There’s no indication whatsoever that Lemos is anywhere near champion material right now. Angela Hill is good, but you’d have to do a lot more than get in a split decision with her to prove you can compete with someone like Andrade. I think this is going to be one of those cases where Andrade reminds everyone why she’s always in a title conversation at both 115 and 125. Plus, Lemos would have to make it through 5 whole rounds of punishment to get to a decision; I just don’t think she can last that long. 

BLÜ’s Prediction

Andrade by Finish

BLU’s Prelim Picks (Prelims begin at 3:00 PM PST)

Marcin Prachnio vs. Philipe Lins

BET99 Odds

Prachnio: -123 Lins: +100

Over 1.5: -150 Under 1.5: +116

This isn’t the most exciting matchup we’ve got, but it’s one of the few prelims with recognizable names and it seems like it could be a fun one to watch. Prachnio’s record in the UFC has been less than amazing, sitting at 2-3 going into this week, but those two wins have come in his last two bouts against Khalil Rountree and Ike Villanueva. Lins’ record has been even worse, sitting at 0-2 so far. That being said, those losses were to two VERY impressive contenders in Andrei Arlovski and Tanner Boser.

Considering their records, originally it made sense to side with Prachnio, but that’s when I realized a potential difference-maker for Lins: his heavyweight history. Lins couldn’t stand up to a powerful heavyweight like Boser, but he held up nicely against a legend like Arlovski in his UFC debut. Now he’s moving down to light heavyweight to fight someone like Prachnio who’s 2-3 and has a lot of KO losses. I think Lins’ power will be too much for Prachnio and we’ll be seeing a finish.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Lins by Finish

Jordan Wright vs. Marc-André Barriault

BET99 Odds

Wright: +154 Barriault: -189

Over 1.5: -148 Under 1.5: +114

Finally, in the featured prelim we’ve got a couple more well-known names and another Canadian appearance. Wright is fairly new to UFC audiences, joining in 2020, and has earned himself a 2-2 record since a 10-0 start in MMA. Interestingly, all 14 of his fights have ended in a finish. So far, he’s grabbed an impressive win over Jamie Pickett, but had KO losses to Buckley and Bruno Silva. We talked a little about Barriault earlier this year in February when Chidi Njokuani finished him in 16 seconds flat. Before that unfortunate appearance, he was riding with a record of 2-3 (1 NC).

This is another close one on paper. Neither man has been all that impressive in the UFC and was both finished in their last appearances. The difference to me is that Wright has finished in all of the wins, including one over Jamie Pickett, while Barriault hasn’t had that level of a win yet. Wright also has a slight reach advantage which will help in this striking matchup. 

BLÜ’s Prediction

Wright by Finish

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Here I highlight some betting lines that you might want to take advantage of for UFC Vegas 52. These are odds that favour the bettor. Although some of them may conflict with my picks, they offer a fair reward for a slight bit of risk.

The Underdog Philipe Lins at +100

In a matchup this close, the underdog is usually where you want to put your money. Outside of the odds, Lins has quite a few things that favour him. The most notable factor is that he’s been fighting at heavyweight. With the extra power and durability, the fight could quite easily swing in favour of Lins. 

The Underdog Montana de la Rosa at +150

Just like Lins, this matchup is pretty even, which means that the underdog is where the money should go. Aside from that, there’s a lot going for de la Rosa. What makes her even more tempting is the fact that Barber hasn’t been performing all that well. At +150, it’s worth the gamble.

The Underdog Mike Jackson at +700

Normally I’d never be suggesting an underdog THIS massive, but this is an extremely unusual matchup. Jackson’s record is stated to be 0-1 in MMA… but that’s actually not the case. He’s only had two fights in MMA, but both were in the UFC, plus he actually won his last one against CM Punk, but it was overturned due to marijuana use. Barry hasn’t fought in the UFC and has a shaky record outside of it. It may be a risk to bet on Jackson, but there’s clearly a reason the UFC has an interest in him; all of his MMA fights are in the UFC! So he’s got the UFC experience and Barry doesn’t; why not put a few dollars on such a massive underdog that actually has some edges?Parlay Opportunities

The Short Run

Andrade + Pedro + Jourdain

The Long Run

Andrade + Pedro + Jourdain + Prachnio vs. Lins Over 1.5 + Barber vs. de la Rosa Over 2.5