UFC Vegas 78 Preview: Chris Daukaus makes light heavyweight debut against Khalil Rountree

MMA: UFC 266-Abdurakhimov vs Daukaus
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Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC Vegas 78, we are going to see a light heavyweight battle which features a former heavyweight contender dropping down to 205. Chris Daukaus (12-6) has moved down to light heavyweight and will be taking on the dangerous Khalil Rountree (11-5).

Both of these men come into this fight from completely different angles. Let’s start with Rountree who will be looking for his fourth straight victory. The last time we saw Rountree was last October when he won a controversial split decision over Dustin Jacoby. It wasn’t his best performance, but they gave him the decision.

Prior to that decision win, he had back-to-back TKO wins over Karl Roberson and Modestas Bukauskas. It’s been a very up and down run in the UFC so far for Rountree, but if he’s able to win tomorrow night, he’ll have his longest winning streak and will be knocking on the door of the top ten at 205.

Chris Daukaus is 14th in the heavyweight rankings as he makes his debut at 205 tomorrow night. Daukaus won his first four UFC fights all by knockout and looked like he was only a win or two away from a title shot. That’s when he ran into Derrick Lewis. Lewis knocked him out in the first round.

Following that loss, Daukaus would go on to get knocked out by both Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Now, he’s on a three-fight losing streak in desperate need of a win. If he doesn’t get the win tomorrow night, it’s not a great look for the once promising UFC heavyweight contender.

UFC Vegas 78 Prediction

To me, a lot of this fight is going to come down to which version of Khalil Rountree we get. If we get the Rountree that fought Eryk Anders, I think Chris Daukaus is in for a rough night. Rountree has a big advantage with his speed and his kicks can be ferocious. I would invest heavily in kicks early on if I was Rountree.

However, if he finds himself in a close quarters brawl with Daukaus, Daukaus can put him away with his power. We know that Daukaus can crack and we’ve seen Rountree get finished in the past. However, another point in favor of Rountree is the fact that Daukaus has seemed chinney in his last few fights and now he’s cutting weight.

Could the weight cut actually play against him at UFC Vegas 78. While there are some questions around Rountree, there are far more questions regarding Daukaus. I’m going with the safe pick here and I’m going with Khalil Rountree. I think he’ll just be throwing too much sharp volume and Daukaus will struggle keeping up.

Prediction: Khail Rountree by Decision