After nearly a year-long layoff, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Rodolfo Vieira returns to the octagon this weekend to fight Armen Petrosyan.
The 34-year-old grappling phenom has had a rough road in the UFC, going 3-2 in his last five fights since he made his debut. His opponent, Armen Petrosyan, has seen more success, albeit with much less dominance and entertainment value, winning three of his past four bouts, all via decision.
Vieira’s return promises to be a pivotal moment in his career trajectory, with many still questioning his conditioning and ability to stand against tougher opponents. Conversely, Petrosyan aims to capitalize on this opportunity to solidify his standing in the division and make a statement against a renowned veteran. As the anticipation builds for their clash inside the cage, fight fans eagerly await to see whether Vieira can recapture his past brilliance or if Petrosyan will emerge victorious, further shaping the landscape of the middleweight division.
Despite Petrosyan being a much more well-rounded opponent, he and Vieira open up as a pick em’, with Vieira edging out as a slight betting favorite.
As a former ADCC champion and multiple-time IBJJF winner, one can expect Rodolfo Vieira to take this fight to the ground. That’s likely to be his only path to victory this Saturday. His relentless pressure from on top, especially from side control and top half-guard, quickly burns his opponents out until Vieira is comfortable enough to set up a submission.
He starts to waiver when he can’t do this though, with his fight against Anthony Hernandez exposing Vieira’s extremely questionable gas tank when he can’t keep his opponents down. Petrosyan will likely be privy to this going into their next about, with anti-wrestling and submission defense likely being key elements in his training camp.
There’s not much to say about Petrosyan aside from the fact that, unlike the specialist in Vieira, he’s exceptionally well-rounded. His Contender Series debut showcased a solid ability to get back on his feet and land critical counters when his opponent starts to fatigue, which would be ideal in a fight against someone like Vieira.
However, his bout against the middleweight standout Caio Borralho exposed a dangerous deficit when he got his back taken, with the Brazilian using the position to steal the first two rounds of the fight.
Prediction and Betting Guide
If Petrosyan can avoid the takedown attempts consistently in the early goings of the fight, his striking could very well be the equalizer in this match. While Vieira has an extremely athletic build with natural power, his technique is far too sloppy to do any real damage, especially if he gases out early on. It’s equally likely that Vieira takes Petrosyan down early in the fight and grinds him into a finish via submission or a unanimous decision. I’d say Petrosyan is the safer pick, just given his wider arsenal of weapons and ability to deal with adversity, but I really wouldn’t be surprised to see Vieira do what he does best.
Pick: Petrosyan via decision (+300) or Fight to go the Distance (+165)
Lines to Watch: Vieira via Submission (+165)