UFC 264 will be the first card held at full capacity in Las Vegas since March of 2020.
It seems that the UFC is looking to capitalize on the presence of a cheering crowd, booking some particularly fan-friendly matchups, most notably including welterweights Michel Pereira and Niko Price.
While both men have had mixed results in the octagon thus far, they have been a staple in the promotion as fighters who fans have come to expect big things from. Pereira in particular, integrating his signature acrobatics into his fight style and Price securing highlight-reel finishes such as his upkick knockout of James Vick.
However, a win over Price next month would secure Pereira his first three-fight win streak since entering the UFC in 2019. Since then he has gone 3-2, currently riding the momentum of 2 wins.
Price on the other hand has been with the UFC since 2016, going 5-4-2 in the promotion. Although, inconsistency seems to be his worst enemy, typically winning one then losing one with the exception of one pair of back-to-back victories in 2018. It is important to note however that although going into UFC 264 with only one win in his past four, his last fight was an impressive outing against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, first deemed a majority draw due to a point deduction and later a no-contest due to a positive marijuana test.
Price vs. Pereira betting odds
Michel Pereira will enter this UFC 264 bout as the betting favorite with odds of -165 against Niko Price who is listed as a slight underdog at most betting sites.
- Niko Price: +114
- Michel Pereira: -165
Price vs. Pereira breakdown
Michel Pereira has long been both hailed and criticized for his showmanship in the cage. While it often allows him to stand out amongst a roster of several hundred fighters, many believe that with a more disciplined approach, Periera has the talent, athleticism, and skills to go much further than he has.
His fight with Tristan Connelly serves as evidence that unnecessary flips and over-exaggerated movements have the potential to sap Pereira’s cardio and leave him fading in the later rounds.
However, this trend seems to be slowly breaking as of Pereira’s last few outings. Against Zelim Imadaev, we saw a much more thoughtful approach from Pereira than in the past, and against Williams his last time out, it would seem the Brazilian is settling into a sharpshooter style mixed into his unorthodox movements.
This creates a much more dangerous fighter, keeping his opponent guessing with awkward angles, and then exploding with technical precision when the opening presents itself. He has recently found particular success with his sharp front kick to the body and right straight. This has also improved Pereira’s pacing, allowing him to stay technical deeper into the fight.
Price may very well find his biggest advantage early and in the pocket. The heavy-handed American often starts his fights with big combinations landing stiff hooks and pouring on the pressure. He is often one of those fighters who isn’t afraid to throw with power on every punch, however, the downside of this is it sometimes leads to labored boxing as the fight moves on.
Over his career, this has been evident in Price’s 10 first-round finishes, where his power heavy style has paid off. He also boasts a number of second-round finishes but it is clear that his punches gradually become slower and wider in each round.
It is also relevant to point out that while Price holds the reach advantage 76” to 73”, he would do well to maintain boxing range to avoid a distinct kicking advantage from Pereira. In the clinch, while both can do some impressive work, Pereira will presumably come in with a slight size advantage, which when coupled with his athleticism and physicality presents a whole other set of issues in too close.
Therefore Price’s best bet should be to work inside that boxing range, being careful in the pocket.
Price vs. Pereira prediction
I believe it is likely we will see most of the fight play out on the feet. Although both men have the ability to contest it on the mat, they both typically chain their submission work off of scrambles initiated in the striking. Pereira will have to weather an early storm and work to maintain distance in the wake of Price’s early pressure and power. However, if he can accomplish that I think that Pereira has the ability to find his openings once Price starts to get heavy, and may find the knockout if not win on the scorecards late in the bout.
As of right now, Pereira has been fluctuating around -150 to -170 across most betting odds, which is a fair analysis in my opinion. However, with the potential to catch Pereira early on, especially if he gets carried away with his acrobatics, Price may be one of the better underdogs around +140 on the card to put some money on.
Prediction: Michel Pereira to win by decision
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How to watch Niko Price vs. Michel Pereira
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