Vitor Petrino vs. Anton Turkalj fight at UFC Las Vegas

The UFC returns to São Paulo this Saturday for the first time in nearly four years and brings with it a card full of Brazilian talent. Not lost amongst the crowd is rising Light Heavyweight prospect Vitor Petriono, who will take on Modestas Bukauskas.

Both of these men have won their last two with the UFC and are looking to grab their third in a row, along with a potential shot at the top 15.

Betting Odds

The odds for this one favor the undefeated Petrino as he performs for his home country for the first time on the biggest stage in MMA.

  • Vitor Petrino -235 (BetUS)
  • Modestas Bukauskas +195 (BetUS)

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Fight Breakdown

Vitor Petrino is a 29-year-old prospect out of Minas Gerais, Brazil with an undefeated record of 9-0. He’s secured two wins in the UFC so far by submission and decision but has mostly earned knockout wins outside of the promotion (six of seven fights ending by knockout). The strength of Vitor Petrino is a pillar of his success. Though you can see the power in his hands, it’s most evident in his grappling. 

He’s a stone wall when his opponents try to bully him against the cage and is great at prying his opponent off his hips, no matter how deep they may be on the takedown. He fights out of the bottom position with explosive bursts and pure strength with little technique to rely on. You can see just how reliant he is on this strength when his opponent is able to get double underhooks or get ahold of him from behind; he’s forced to rely on balance and technique and has been taken down easily with trips. 

His striking is far from perfect as this is mainly predicated on his power and athleticism as well. He’s looping and wild with his punches but his kicks have more speed to them and have proven to be very effective for him at range. His hands look like they have 50 lbs weights attached to them with how slow they can be but when he lands, he does a lot of damage. 

The footwork and striking defense of Petrino have been two parts of his striking that I really like and, with more feints, could be used to open up opportunities to get his own takedowns. He’s explosive when he enters and if he gets his hands locked, it’s hard to stop him from getting the takedown. He has good top pressure with heavy ground and pound as well as a strong submission game.

The cardio of Petrino has been something that has plagued him throughout his career. While he fights hard over all three rounds, he begins to breathe very heavily before the first round is over. His strikes slow down even more and his explosiveness waivers a bit. I love his heart and determination to continue going forward aggressively and chasing the finish, but against stiffer competition, he’s going to find himself at a significant disadvantage outside of round one.

His opponent is Modestas Bukauskas who is riding a four fight win streak with two of those in the UFC. The 29 year old is in his second stint with the UFC and is 15-5 as a pro. He’s a striker with swift footwork, good punching power and a motor to go the full 15 minutes as he has in his last two wins.

Bukauskas’s main attribute is his footwork. He relies on reacting to his opponent’s entries and moving out of range and circling back out to space to create an angle for him to explode into with his own offense. He’ll switch this up from time to time, standing his ground to time a counter as his opponent enters but he’s most successful when he hops out of range and fires his counter back. This utilizes his speed advantage and, more importantly, keeps him out of the clinch which is where he’s struggled.

The striking diversity of Bukauskas is lacking. He likes to switch stances to southpaw but rarely does anything with it or fires a left kick before returning to orthodox. He fires these kicks (from both stances) blind a lot of times and has no defense with his left hand to prevent the right counter. He has a good jab that is underutilized as he prefers to fire the left hook into the right straight.

The footwork of Modestas is good but inconsistent and that can get him into trouble defensively. His reliance on getting out of range of his opponent often leaves him in position to be hit if his opponent chains together a combination of strikes coming forward. He also has a bad habit of circling the outside of the cage with his movement instead of cutting angles and using feints/strikes to get himself back into space. He’s been more successful in keeping his back off the cage since returning to the UFC but he still gets caught up here a few times a fight. When he’s trapped here, he can get tagged through a lacking high guard or his opponent can work for takedowns from the clinch.

With a 75% takedown defense, Bukauskas is far from bad at defending takedowns. He’s patient along the fence and looks for underhooks constantly to reverse position while avoiding overdoing it with the strikes. When he is taken down, he’s been able to get up consistently without giving up many opportunities for a submission.

The footwork and countering for both of these fighters will be key in this matchup. For Petrino, he looks the best when he can float around the octagon and wait for the opportunity to time his counters as his opponent enters. Bukauskas hesitates a lot when he’s the one coming forward and often telegraphs his entries; Petrino should look to take advantage of this and time his powerful shots as he comes in. This will not only give him the best opportunity to land his shots with the most power, but it will also cause crashes that Petrino can use to lock Bukasukas up in his tight clinch and work for takedowns.

For Bukauskas, he should be looking to pull Petrino forward and get him reaching. With Petrino’s tendency to overthrow as he’s moving forward, he gets off balance and this gives Bukauskas the perfect opportunity to use his footwork and back out of range before firing off his counters. He can’t get flat footed against Petrino; Vitor lands too heavy and is too strong in the clinch to give him opportunities to make the fight dirty


While both fighters have good footwork defensively, I think Petrino is more solid defensively due to the effectiveness of his high guard and the threat of his power in the pocket. For Bukauskas, he holds the advantage in hand speed and technique. He also has a much better motor than Petrino who usually gasses before round two begins. For that reason, the fight likely favors Modestas the longer it goes. 

Petrino, however, could negate that if he proves to be too powerful from the clinch and is able to get Bukauskas down to the mat. He’s a strong wrestler and attacks submissions well, especially the rear naked choke which Bukauskas can be susceptible to as he tends to give up his back to get back to his feet. With the grappling threat as well as the constant onslaught of powerful punches, I don’t think that Bukauskas can keep defensively sound enough to stop Petrino from landing either a big takedown or a big shot on the feet. 

Though the odds have crept slightly towards Bukauskas since the line opened, Petrino still feels like the right pick here. He’s the more powerful striker and his ability to cause collisions to get himself into clinch situations will make it hard for Bukauskas to keep himself at range to land his offense from distance. Given the issues with his gas tank, it’s perfectly reasonable to hedge a bet on Bukauskas to win by decision at +375 but I think Petrino can get it done by knockout, submission, or grind out a win from the clinch/top control.

  • Prediction: Vitor Petrino to win (-235 at BetUS)
  • Best odds: Modestas Bukauskas to win by decision (+375 at BetUS)

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *