UFC Fight Night 213 (Vegas 63) Card Preview:
After the massive event last weekend in Abu Dhabi, UFC 280, this weekend’s Fight Night card feels like the comedown from a huge party, but it’s actually not a bad-looking show in its own right. UFC Fight Night 213 (Vegas 63) features a thrilling Featherweight (145lb) brawl between top contenders, #6 ranked Calvin Kattar and #7 ranked Arnold Allen.
In the co-main event, hard-hitting Welterweights go to war when Max ‘Pain’ Griffin (18-9) meets up with fellow fight veteran, Tim ‘The Dirty Bird’ Means (32-3-1). In addition — Light Heavyweights, Dustin Jacoby (18-5-1) vs. Khalil Rountree (10-5); Heavyweights, Waldo Cortes-Acosta (7-0) vs. Jared Vanderaa (12-9) & Andrei Arlovski (34-20) vs Marcos Rogério de Lima (19-8-1), and Middleweights Tresean Gore (3-2) vs. Josh Fremd (9-3) & Roman Dolidze (10-1) vs. Phil Hawes (12-3) all on this Fight Night card! Tune into ESPN+ starting at 4:00 pm EST for a stacked 11-bout event…
Here are my best free picks and predictions for UFC Fight Night 213 (Vegas 63): Kattar vs. Allen:
Featherweight: Calvin Kattar vs. Arnold Allen (-120)
It’s an interesting clash because while Calvin Kattar (23-6) is undoubtedly the more proven fighter at the elite level, the momentum most likely lies with the hot young prospect Arnold Allen (18-1), who has still yet to suffer a defeat inside the UFC octagon (9-0).
This fight will be the furthest thing from a walk in the park for Allen — in fact, he’ll most likely be tested more in this fight than he ever has before with Kattar’s world-class strength, durability & toughness — and while he’s also come under fire at times for an apparent safety-first approach, his last bout turned that idea on its head as he smashed veteran standout Dan Hooker with a flurry TKO finish in the first round back in March 2022.
Heavyweight: Waldo Cortes-Acosta (-195) vs. Jared Vanderaa
The laws of comedy dictate that when I completely give up on Jared Vanderaa — accept that his win over Justin Tafa was an aberration, and bet against him — he’ll turn in the best performance of his career. The last few years, however, have been so desperately short on mirth that I’m not sure they even apply anymore…
Cortes-Acosta has the faster and heavier hands, plus enough defensive grappling skills to avoid Vanderaa’s powerful top game and a surprisingly stout gas tank. He’s got his share of flaws, but Cortes-Acosta has the right tools to overpower Vanderaa, especially when his chin just gave out for the first time in his last fight less than 3 months ago…
Heavyweight: Marcos Rogerio de Lima (-225) vs. Andrei Arlovski
This feels like a trap and yet I can’t stop myself from walking into it. Marcos Rogerio de Lima has a MASSIVE power advantage and a fondness for the sorts of early blitzes that have ended so many of Arlovski’s nights in the past… but he is marvelously adept at shooting himself in the foot.
Still, Arlovski isn’t much of a takedown threat, which takes Rogerio de Lima’s biggest weakness off the table, and he looked close to his expiration date in April’s questionable win over Jake Collier (he’s currently 43 years old & made his UFC debut way back on November 17, 2000).