The co-main event of UFC Vegas 51 features two UFC debuts. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev is an undefeated Russian fighter with a 13-0 professional record. 11 of his 13 wins have come via finish, the most recent of which was a kneebar submission on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2021. Caio Borralho is a Brazilian fighter with a 10-1 record. 7 of his 10 wins have come by finish. Uniquely, he won a decision on DWCS in 2021 but did not earn a contract. He returned less than a month later with a 1st round win and left with a contract.
In a fight with two relatively unknown commodities, Omargadzhiev is a slight favorite.
- Omargadzhiev: -140
- Borralho: +110
As is the case with many fighters from eastern Europe and Russia, Omargadzhiev is a strong and relentless wrestler. He is a fighter who knows what he does well and executes that game plan quickly and effectively. With several first-round finishes as proof, Omargadzhiev’s typical approach is to close distance quickly and get the fight to the mat with aggression. He’s able to secure an American-style takedown, single or double leg, or, the increasingly popular clinch takedown that features hand fighting and control. In either case, Omargadzhiev looks to get the fight to the mat where he can end it quickly. Once down, the debuting middleweight has heavy and devastating ground and pound. He can inflict real damage without sacrificing his top-heavy position. Further, his submission game is growing in frequency and variety. If an opponent covers up or gives up his back during ground and pound, Omargadzhiev is adept at finding a neck or limb to squeeze until his opponent taps. Omargadzhiev is a high-level prospect with a proven style. The questions that sound his game are his striking, volume heavy but basic, and his cardio, many of his fights have ended quickly. If his striking can grow and his cardio tank is deep, Omargadzhiev is someone to keep on your radar.
Borralho is likely more well known to some. His neck tattoo, post-fight glasses, and microphone abilities have gained him some pre-UFC hype. However, he is not just some guy with a personality, Borralho can really fight. On the feet, he has solid feints and keeps distance well. He looks to move laterally to bait his opponent into exposing an opening where Borralho can land a powerful left hand. His timing on this strike, often as a counter shot, is impeccable. However, he can fall into a lull where he is waiting too long for the perfect opportunity that never comes. Defensively, he is light on his feet and a solid scrambler with fundamental takedown defense. Borralho wants the fight on the feet; and, with his movement and scrambling technique, is adept at keeping it standing. The biggest question marks surrounding the prospect are his volume and pressure. As stated above, while Borralho is setting up his left hand, he uses feints which can cause long bouts of inactivity. When he lets his hands go, though, he’s fun to watch.
This is a classic wrestler vs striker matchup. If Omargadzhiev can get the fight down, not only will he win, he’ll likely get the finish. If Borralho can keep it standing, he can end it with one shot or point fight for a decision win. I think Borralho is solid but I see Omargadzhiev as having the potential to be truly impressive. In this one, I anticipate Borralho keeping it standing for the first few minutes but Omargadzhiev eventually getting it down and finished.
Prediction: Omargadzhiev inside the distance
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.