UFC Vegas 91 Main Event Preview and Prediction: Matheus Nicolau – Alex Perez

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Orlando - Nicolau vs Schnell
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night the UFC returns to the APEX and we will see a matchup between two top eight flyweights headlining the card. Former title challenger Alex Perez (24-8) will look to pickup his first win in nearly four years as he takes on the promotion’s fifth ranked flyweight Matheus Nicolau (19-3-1).

Starting with Nicolau, this is his first fight since last April when he took on Brandon Royval at UFC Kansas City. That matchup was a title eliminator and Nicolau was knocked out in the first round after getting hit with a brutal knee. That loss snapped a six-fight win streak which included a knockout over Matt Schnell and decision wins over Manel Kape and Tim Elliot.

Nicolau will be looking to get back in the win column and he’ll be looking to get back into the title picture. Originally, he was supposed to face Manel Kape in a rematch. They were supposed to fight in January but Kape missed weight and the fight was cancelled. The UFC rebooked the fight for this main event but a Kape injury cancelled that fight. That’s when Alex Perez stepped up.

Speaking of cancelled fights, that’s been the story of Alex Perez’s career over the past few years. After earning a contract on The Contender Series in 2017, Perez went 6-1 inside the octagon in two years to earn a flyweight title shot. He was submitted in that shot and that’s when his troubles started.

Since November 2020, Perez has fought only twice going 0-2. Between him and his opponents, he’s had nine fight cancellations. He just fought last month so he’s hoping to remain active and prove to the UFC that he’s still a viable contender at 125.

UFC Vegas 91 Main Event Prediction

Listen, we all know that this isn’t a great main event in terms of the name recognition. It’s hard to have big time main events after having UFC 300 just a couple of weeks ago which contained arguably the most stacked card in the history of the promotion. That said, this is still going to be a very fun fight.

Alex Perez looked great in his loss to Muhammad Mokaev last month. He had great scrambles and really pushed the top contender to the limit. Had he been more active on the feet, I think he could’ve won. If anything, he just showed that he still belongs in there with the top ten.

I think in terms of the overall game, Nicolau should be the favorite here. I think he’s the faster fighter and I also like his ability to mix it up between his grappling and striking. That said, I’m curious to see how he fights coming off a knockout loss. If he fights too tentatively, I think Perez can pull the upset at UFC Vegas 91. That said, I think we see an entertaining scrap for 25 minutes with Nicolau winning a competitive decision.

Prediction: Matheus Nicolau by Decision

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