UPDATE: Per Nolan King of MMA Junkie, Daniel Rodriguez has been forced to withdraw from his fight against Neil Magny due to an elbow infection. Awaiting word to see if Magny and/or Joanderson Brito* will be added back to this card. Preview will be updated accordingly at that time.

Below is my full preview and early thoughts for all 11 fights still currently scheduled for the October 15th UFC Vegas 62 card (bout order likely to change):

Alexa Grasso vs Viviane Araujo

This will be the first time either of these women have been in a 5-round UFC main event in their respective careers, so it’s hard to say how they will do if the fight past the first three rounds. Both fighters are on a fairly similar level in their careers at the moment, although I think Grasso definitely has more upside moving forward. Neither is particularly known for their finishing ability, with a large number of their recent fights going the distance. Grasso has a positive striking differential, while Araujo’s numbers are in the negative. However, Araujo does have a pretty decent advantage in the takedown numbers to level things out. I really don’t have a hard early lean either way in this one and will probably avoid betting a winner altogether. However, I do have a pretty good feeling this one will make it into the later rounds, so I definitely want to have a look at the odds for those props whenever they are released.

Jonathan Martinez vs Cub Swanson

Martinez enters into this one a 3-fight win streak and looks to continue his climb up the bantamweight ladder here. Swanson is dropping down from featherweight for this one and looks to pick up a statement win over one of the hottest fighters in the division right now (only four fighters at 135 are on longer win streaks than Martinez). While there is a very sizeable 10-year age difference between these two, the numbers suggest this fight could be a pretty close one. Both have fairly similar striking numbers, but Swanson averages slightly more takedowns per 15 minutes. They are also nearly identical in height and reach, meaning the size difference of Swanson fighting at a lower weight class could play a significant role here. This fight feels like it’s going to be a close one that will likely be decided down the stretch unless Martinez could put away Swanson with a late burst.

Askar Askarov vs Brandon Royval

Askarov is coming off the first loss of his pro career and will look to bounce back into the win column for a 15th time. Royval enters into this one on a two-fight win streak and could find himself on the verge of a flyweight title shot if he puts on a dominate performance here. Both of these guys are dangerous submission artists who are highly durable themselves, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the better grappler gets this done one the judges’ cards or possibly with a late sub. Royval will have a 3″ height and reach advantage over Askarov, which play a significant role. All five of Askarov’s UFC fights so far have gone the distance, so if he can put away the durable Royval, he could also be on the verge of a title shot soon. I’m not sure I’d call this one an official title eliminator, but don’t be surprised if you see the winner of this one fighting for the flyweight belt in the near future.

Dusko Todorovic vs Jordan Wright

There is practically 0% chance that this one makes it anywhere near the scorecards. Both of these fighters enter having lost 3 of their last 4 fights. Wright has a 100% finish rate in his 12 wins and has been stopped in all 3 of his losses as well. Todorovic has only made it the distance twice in his 14-fight career and has stopped 10 of his 11 wins (knocked out in 2 of his 3 losses). This one is basically going to come down to whoever lands the earliest clean shot on their opponent. Both fighters land north of 5 significant strikes per minute while also absorbing high amounts, but Wright has the slightly higher volume of the two. Wright will also have a slight advantage in the grappling department if this fight ends up going that route. I’m not sure you can comfortably take either guy in this one, but I do think there’s an extremely high chance it ends in the first round.

Misha Cirkunov vs Alonzo Menifield

Cirkunov has been in the midst of an absolutely abysmal stretch recently, having lost three straight fights and six of his last eight overall. Of those six losses, he was stopped in five of them. After his last two fights were at middleweight, Cirkunov is going back up to light heavyweight to face Menifield, who has stopped 11 of the 12 wins in his career with 9 of them by knockout. I don’t think Cirkunov will want to stand and trade in this one, so expect him to try to get this one on the ground quickly. He averages 4.25 takedowns per 15 minutes in the UFC, but Menifield has an 83% takedown defense so far during his time in the UFC. If Cirkunov can get this down on the ground, he will be live for a submission. However, if he has trouble getting it down there, lookout for Menifield to turn out the lights, and possibly sooner than later. I’m leaning pretty comfortably with the Menifield side, as I just can’t trust Cirkunov as badly as he looked recently and coming back up in weight. Once the prop market opens up, I want to see what the odds look like for Menifield by KO.

Mana Martinez vs Brandon Davis

Neither one of these guys have looked very good so far during their respective times in the UFC. Martinez’ only win in the UFC so far was a split decision over an aging Guido Cannetti (although to be fair, Cannetti has looked good recently). Davis has gone 2-6 so far on the big stage in the UFC, so there’s not a ton of confidence here for either fighter. Both have pretty similar numbers in the striking department, but Martinez has an abysmal 12% takedown defense that could prove to be a big issue here. There’s a pretty high chance that the loser of this one might not be around on the roster much longer. Martinez is six years younger and trains at the better gym (Glory MMA) so he should have the skills to get this one done, but I say that with very little confidence.

Nick Maximov vs Jacob Malkoun

Maximov is coming off the first loss of his career and it was a pretty ugly one that saw him get choked unconscious via an anaconda choke. Malkoun is entering this one off a loss and has gone 2-2 in the UFC so far and could really use a statement win. Both of these fighters are dominant grapplers who each average over 5 takedowns per 15 minutes according to UFC Stats (5.5TD/15min for Maximov, 7TD/15min for Malkoun). While Malkoun has the slightly higher numbers there, he has shown absolutely zero ability so far to defend takedowns in the UFC, while Maximov has a 100% TD defense through four UFC fights. Maximov will have the 3″ advantage in both height and reach and is also 3 years younger than his opponent. Both have finishing ability, but I expect this one to likely go the distance with the better grappler picking up the win.

Raphael Assuncao vs Victor Henry

Assuncao is another fighter on this card who has been in a pretty rough spot as of late having lost 4 straight fights and being stopped in 3 of them. Henry only has one fight in the UFC so far, but it was a dominant decision win in his debut where he showed an incredible amount of striking volume by landing 181 strikes in 15 minutes. Assuncao unquestionably has a sizeable advantage in competition level here, however, he has just looked too terrible in his recent fights to believe there is much chance for him to turn it back around at age 40. While Henry isn’t exactly a young prospect himself at 35 years old, that age difference could play a huge role in allowing Henry to pick up the pace and volume to a level that Assuncao will have trouble maintaining as the fight wears on. Henry has 6 knockouts and 8 submissions in his career, and I think there’s a pretty good chance he can add to one of those totals here. As the minutes start to tick away in this one, I have trouble seeing Assuncao keeping pace and with only 38% takedown accuracy against the 83% takedown defense of Henry, he might not have much choice but to stand and trade. I like Henry in this one and definitely want to have a look at the various props for a finish.

Piera Rodriguez vs Sam Hughes

Rodriguez is coming off a pretty solid in her UFC debut after shaking off some early first-round jitters and looks to continue to make a name for herself here. Hughes is coming off back-to-back wins but had dropped four of her previous five fights prior to that. Rodriguez is 8-0 in her career with very heavy hands for the division. All 8 of her pro fights have at least started the second round, however, she’s put away five opponents by knockout in those later rounds. Hughes is a pretty decent fighter in her own right, but it’s hard to see her having much of a path to success here in this one. Rodriguez should be the much stronger fighter in both the striking and grappling exchanges and should get this one done fairly convincing one the scorecards or with another late round stoppage.

CJ Vergara vs Tatsuro Taira

Both of these guys are solid prospects that are still early in their UFC careers, however, Taira is the one who stands out for me. He is 11-0 in his career, and unlike some international fighters, he has faced a respectable level of competition to get to where he is now. Taira has 7 first round stops and has stopped 8 of 11 wins overall in his career with 3 KO/ 5 sub. Vergara has the power to stand and trade in this fight and has a solid 80% takedown defense during his limited time in the UFC. That will definitely be tested here against Tiara, as I expect he will try to work this fight to the ground and try to end up as early and often as possible. Vergara has been pretty durable in his career so far; however, he has been subbed once, and seeing another submission loss here wouldn’t be shocking. I expect Taira to win this one fairly easily, either by an early submission or by a pretty comfortable decision on the scorecards.

Mike Jackson vs Pete Rodriguez

It continues to baffle me each time I see a fight announcement for Mike Jackson in the UFC, but here we are once again with him being booked against another hot, but fairly inexperienced prospect. Rodriguez dropped his short notice UFC debut but had won each of the first four fights of his pro career via first round knockouts in under 2:30. Jackson seems to be a fighter the UFC calls when they are looking to hopefully find a win for a younger or newer fighter on the roster, although they’ve had very mixed results if that’s been the case. Rodriguez should definitely have the power to put away Jackson if he can connect with some shots early in this one, but if the fight drags on and extends past the first round, I wouldn’t be surprised if things got a bit iffy for the heavy favorite. I’m not sure I’ll be doing much with this fight unless some props jump off the page once they fully open up the markets.

*Joanderson Brito could be added back to this card with a new short notice opponent after Melsik Baghdasaryan was forced to drop out with a broken hand. A section will be added accordingly if a new fight is announced for Brito

Any picks, methods, props, etc mentioned in this post are all early and NOT final picks and/or bets. Official picks and bets for UFC Vegas 62 will be posted as we get closer to the fights so be sure to keep checking back for those, and also remember there is no UFC card this weekend for October 8th.

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