After a week off hiatus, we are back in the UFC Apex for UFC Vegas 28: Rozenstruik vs. Sakai this Saturday, June 5th. This will be a beautifully stacked card with many great contenders in Tanner Boser, Dusko Todorovic, Walt Harris, and many more. Read below to see who my top picks are for this weekend.
Tom Breese vs. Antonio Arroyo
UFC Middleweight Bout – Main Card
Saturday, June 05, 2021 – 10:05 PM EDT at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas
Tom Breese is an English mixed martial artist that has been professionally competing since 2010. Having began training MMA at 16 years old, he won a junior national freestyle wrestling championship and finished 2nd-place at the IBJJF.
In 2010, Breese made his professional debut for BAMMA where he compiled a record of 7-0 before signing with the UFC in 2015. His promotional debut was against Luiz Dutra Jr - he won via TKO in the first round. Of his professional MMA accomplishments, he has won UFC Performance of the Night three times vs. Cathal Pendred, Dan Kelly, and KB Bhullar.
Antonio Arroyo is a Brazilian mixed martial artist that has been professionally competing since 2014. He has fought under many promotions: Fusao de Artes Mariais, Jurunense Open Fight, Revelation FC, LFA 13 and more.
After going 2-0 in Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, he signed a contract with the UFC in 2019. At his promotional UFC debut, he lost via unanimous decision against Andre Muniz. He is currently 0-2 in the UFC with his second loss by unanimous decision against Deron Winn.
I mentioned this pick in my Top UFC Picks video and I’m going to include it in this article because a) Tom Breese always has intense fights and b) Tom Breese is my most confident pick on this card. The UFC Odds for this matchup are: Tom Breese -250 and +235 via BetOnline (Visit our BetOnline Review).
Both of these fighters are in fact coming off losses. Arroyo has run a 2-fight losing streak - all within the UFC - while Breese has been running an ‘on and off’ streak in his last 5 bouts.
Arroyo can win if he can survive the heavy hands of Breese. The Englishman is a blackbelt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu that is pretty well-rounded. Most don't see Breese as a wrestling guru, but once one the ground, he is able to defend. He earned his first submission (arm-triangle choke) loss in his previous bout against Omari Akhmedov in January 2021. However, I’m not worried since half of his total wins are by submission and his takedown defence averages at 70%.
Arroyo proved to us in his previous UFC bouts that he does not have any dynamic grappling skills. He was taken down 12 times against Deron Winn; if Breese noticed Arroyo’s lack of takedown-defense in his previous UFC matchups, then he could aim for a submission win on Saturday night. Breese is definitely the better striker in this matchup and the power behind his hands is far superior, he should not have a problem keeping it on the feet.
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Miguel Baeza
UFC Welterweight Bout - Main Card
Saturday, June 05, 2021 - 11:05 PM EDT at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas
Santiago “Gente Boa” Ponzinibbio is an Argentine mixed martial artist with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. His interests in combat sports began at the age of 13 years old where he trained in kickboxing. Since Argentina was not able to provide proper MMA gyms, Ponzinibbio moved to Brazil - he turned professional in 2008.
In 2013, Ponzinibbio was then cast as a member of the Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2 - he went to the semifinal-round to fight against Marcio Santos and finished him, earning Knockout of the Season and Fight of the Season. His first UFC bout was in the same year - he fought against Ryan LaFlare and won via unanimous decision. Of all his professional accomplishments, he has won: UFC Fight of the Night vs. Lorenz Larkin, and UFC Performance of the Night vs. Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny.
Miguel “Caramel Thunder” Baeza is an American mixed martial artist with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He began his MMA career in 2011 and amassed an undefeated record of 4-0 before going professional in 2015. He added a few more wins to his professional record before making his UFC debut in 2019 against Hector Aldana - Baeza won via TKO in the second round. In all of his professional MMA accomplishments, he has achieved: UFC Performance of the Night vs. Matt Brown and Takashi Sato.
Santiago Ponzinibbio came off of a long layoff when he had some health issues and lost in the first round in his return against Li Jingliang. Prior to his layoff, Ponzinibbio was on a 7-fight winning streak.
Baeza is now 3-0 in the UFC with wins over Hector Aldana, Matt Brown, and Takashi Sato - all by finish. Caramel Thunder has tremendous speed and power, which is shown in his 7 out of 10 wins by T/KO.
I worry about Ponzinibbio’s health. If he is healthier than in his previous bout, could he be that hot fighter again like before? Baeza is on a roll and is also healthy; this will be tough competition for Ponz.
The Argentine loves to keep the fight on the feet so he can utilize his boxing skills, and you could say the same about Baeza. However, in his last bout against Sato, he impressed us with his skills by winning via arm triangle.
In this matchup, all advantages point towards the younger and rising prospect in Baeza; he has the height and reach advantage, he’s healthier, faster, and may be more skilled; Baeza reads his opponents well and will be able to point out the weaknesses in Ponzinibbio - just like how he did with Sato. For my UFC Pick, I have to back Baeza.