Song vs. Simon in Las Vegas.
Song vs. Simon in Las Vegas.@UFC on Twitter

UFC Vegas 72: Kligman picks Song Yadong vs Ricky Simon, Caio Borralho vs Michal Oleksiejczuk, and more

Also picks for Rodolfo Vieira vs. Cody Brundage, Julian Erosa vs. Fernando Padilla, and Marcos Rogerio De Lima vs. Waldo Cortes-Acosta. Plus 6 more bouts on the preliminary card.

For the second time in as many weeks, the UFC is in Las Vegas at the UFC Apex for a top-ten matchup between Song Yadong and Ricky Simon this Saturday, Apr. 29.

A bantamweight brawl headlines the main card, highlighting what should be another week of unpredictable mixed martial arts. UFC Vegas 72 had to go through a series of shuffles, including canceling Arman Tsarukyan due to an injury to Renato Moicana and calling off a fight involving Josh Quinlan.

Keep reading for more about UFC Vegas 72, including picks and a preview of the main card. After another successful week, my predictions are 38-17-3 in 2023.

UFC Vegas 72 Main Card:

  • Bantamweight: Song Yadong vs. Ricky Simon

  • Middleweight: Caio Borralho vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk

  • Middleweight: Rodolfo Vieira vs. Cody Brundage

  • Featherweight: Julian Erosa vs. Fernando Padilla

  • Heavyweight: Marcos Rogerio De Lima vs. Waldo Cortes-Acosta

UFC Vegas 72 Prelims:

  • Heavyweight: Martin Buday vs. Jake Collier

  • Flyweight: Cody Durden vs. Charles Johnson

  • Welterweight: Josh Quinlan vs. Trey Waters

  • Bantamweight: Stephanie Egger vs. Irina Alekseeva

  • Bantamweight: Marcus McGhee vs. Journey Newson

  • Bantamweight: Hailey Cowan vs. Jamey-Lyn Horth

Song Yadong (19-7-1) vs. Ricky Simon (20-3)

The bantamweight division continues to put on an unrivaled display of talent, and this draw of Song Yadong and Ricky Simon is no different.

Chinese spectacle Song will appear in the octagon after a brutal cut over his left eye forced a doctor’s stoppage against title challenger Cory Sandhagen. Not only did Song have to deal with the swelling and cut over his eye, but it was discovered after the fight he was fighting with a fractured orbital, too. Upon fighting Sandhagen, Song entered on a three-fight win streak.

The Dana White Contender Series (DWCS) season one alum Simon is riding a five-fight win streak, putting together showstopping finishes in three of them. Simon has beaten everyone in front of him in the UFC besides sixth-ranked Rob Font and UFC veteran Urijah Faber. Throughout his UFC campaign, Simon has become a fantastic grappler, averaging over six takedowns every 15 minutes.

Simon has the versatility to take matters to the ground, while Song is less versatile and more of a traditional boxer. Song has superior power, but Simon’s ability to mix it up should make this an interesting main event.

My pick: Ricky Simon

Caio Borralho (13-1) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (18-5)

Undefeated Caio Borralho steps into the cage, looking to extend his UFC win streak against Michal Oleksiejczuk.

Since graduating from DWCS season five, Borralho put up a sensational 2022 in his rookie campaign, winning all three matchups via unanimous decision. In his second fight for the company, Borralho was able to dominate fellow contender Armen Petrosyan, taking him down four times. Although he’s yet to lose, in his 45 minutes inside the cage in the UFC, the Brazilian has landed an atrocious 62 significant strikes.

The Polish striker Oleksiejczuk will have his hands full with Borralho and will continuously have his takedown defense tested. Oleksiejczuk is 6-3-1 in his ten fights in the UFC, delivering knockout wins in five of his six victories. It’s clear Oleksiejczuk has the standup power to test Borralho and could force this into a boxing match if he stuffs takedowns.

Despite Borralho as the heavy favorite, a -345 on DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook of the UFC, Oleksiejczuk could hand Borralho his first loss in the UFC if he manages to stay standing. That being said, Borralho should have the ability to land takedowns.

My pick: Caio Borralho

Rodolfo Vieira (8-2) vs. Cody Brundage (8-3)

In the middle of the main card is our first middleweight matchup of the night, as Rodolfo Vieira and Cody Brundage each look to get back in the win column.

Vieira is one of the most skilled grapplers in the UFC, with three submission victories to his name since being awarded a contract in 2019. In four of his first five fights, he’s registered over two takedowns, but in his loss against Chris Curtis his last go-around failed to put Curtis on the mat – resulting in a unanimous loss. 

Brundage is coming off a loss against co-main event participant Michal Oleksiejczuk, after getting finished in the first round. Three of Brundage’s first four UFC fights have failed to enter the second round. It was concerning to see Brundage after Oleksiejczuk entered Brundage’s guard, so we’ll only see what Vieira is able to do.

If Vieira takes Brundage down, Brundage will be in a world of pain.

My pick: Rodolfo Vieira

Julian Erosa (28-11) vs. Fernando Padilla (14-4)

Boosted to the main card from the prelims, Julian Erosa will face Fernando Padilla in his UFC debut.

Erosa has been unpredictable in his UFC career; in his first stint, he went 1-1, followed by a 1-3 second try, and finally found his footing winning five of his last seven. Although he was knocked out by one of the kicks of the year from Alex Caceres, he’s shown a phenomenal stand-up game as of late.

Padilla might be a little rusty to start, as this is his first time fighting in nearly two years, having withdrawn from a UFC appearance in 2021 due to visa issues. Padilla was rewarded with a UFC contract after defeating Cameron Graves for the Fury FC featherweight title.

Erosa has the experience, cardio, and probably wrestling edge, while Padilla is the more durable of the bunch with more power. Let’s see what Padilla can do in his UFC debut against an established Erosa.

My pick: Fernando Padilla

Marcos Rogerio De Lima (20-9-1) vs. Waldo Cortes-Acosta (9-0)

Heavyweights collide to kick off the main card as Marcos Rogerio De Lima takes on the undefeated Waldo Cortes-Acosta.

Surprising many, Rogerio De Lima has found more success at heavyweight than in the 205-pound division. 3-1 in his last four, the Brazilian is in his best form in the UFC. Although he doesn’t tend to have much cardio, not many heavyweights do.

Cortes-Acosta has shown in his first two fights his boxing background, battering his last two opponents with a combined 220 significant strikes. Despite posting a 9-0 record, this will be his biggest test to date.

My pick: Marcos Rogerio De Lima

You can watch the UFC Vegas 72 prelims at 4 PM EST on ESPN 2 and ESPN+ and can view the main card exclusively on ESPN+ at 7 PM EST.

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