The UFC is back in Las Vegas this weekend, with the return of action to the UFC Apex, a small octagon that’s lead to a lot more finishes than MMA fans are used to in a normal-sized octagon. In the past piece I looked at the first 4 prelim bout and in this one, I’ll be looking at the final 3 prelim bouts.
Nasrat Haqparast vs Alex Munoz – Lightweight Bout
The lightweights are up next on the prelims card as Nasrat Haqparast welcomes Alex Munoz to the UFC Octagon. Haqparast has looked a decent prospect within the UFC so far since his debut back in 2017 and he has a win against Marc Diakiese on his record. He lost his last bout back in January 2020 against Drew Dober and the young prospect will be looking to bounce back in this one. Outside of the UFC, Nasrat made his name as a KO machine and will be looking to add to his 9 KO/TKO wins in this one.
Alex Munoz is making his UFC debut in this bout after earning a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contenders Series. He got that contract in 2018 and UFC fans have had to wait until now to see him fight, although he had a bout elsewhere in late 2019 which he won via decision. Munoz has looked a solid fighter in his fights but hasn’t truly impressed or taken fans by surprise with his skills, however, he’s on the stage to change their mind with this one.
Personally, I’m taking Nasrat for this one, he’s been in the UFC longer, is more experienced and has shown some real potential for a 24-year-old. Munoz has impressed in the 6 fights he’s had but I just don’t see him having the skills to outdo Nasrat.
Kevin Holland vs Joaquin Buckley – Middleweight Bout
Back to the middleweights as the prelims roll on with Kevin Holland welcoming UFC newcomer Joaquin Buckley to the UFC octagon. Kevin Holland has been a prospect in the UFC that fans really enjoy and want to do well, he’s currently 4-2 in the UFC and his last bout, back in May 2020, was a round 1 knockout of Anthony Hernandez, a result that has stuck in the minds of MMA fans. Holland is really well rounded as a fighter, getting 8 KO/TKO wins and 6 submission wins.
Joaquin Buckley makes his debut in the UFC tonight and will be looking to make a name for himself with a surprising win in this one. Buckley made his name in Bellator and most recently LFA, with his career record standing at 10-2 with 7 of those wins coming via KO/TKO. Buckley isn’t afraid of throwing his hands with anyone and I’m sure he’ll make this fight against Holland extremely entertaining to watch.
I can’t see Holland losing this one, Buckley is making his UFC debut and Holland has been really impressive so far and is close to making himself a well-known name near those rankings in the middleweight division.
Tim Means vs Laureano Staropoli – Welterweight Bout
The featured prelim bout of the night sees the first welterweight bout of the card too, as Tim Means takes on Laureano Staropoli. Tim Means is a UFC veteran, having two different stints in the promotion since 2012, taking on guys like Jorge Masvidal, Neil Magny and Alex Oliveira. Means has been very inconsistent in the last few years and will be looking to bounce back after losing to Daniel Rodriguez back in February. 19 of his 29 career wins have been via KO/TKO and if he gets another to his name, he may be on for a late surge in his career.
Laureano Staropoli made his debut in the UFC back in late November and went on to win his first two bouts in the promotion. However, his last fight was a loss against Muslim Salikhov and he will be looking to bounce back after that one. Staropoli’s standing game and boxing skills are really impressive and will cause a lot of issues for Tim Means in this one. A win against a veteran like Means will be a really good bounce-back win to have on his record.
I’m picking Staropoli for this one, I think he has a pretty bright future ahead of him and losing via decision to a guy like Muslim Salikhov is nothing to hold against him. Means has been very inconsistent in the latter stages of his career and I think Staropoli will just have too much for him.
Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports