Vitor Petrino after his highlight-reel knockout on Dana White's Contender Series (Zuffa LLC)

Vitor Petrino and Tyson Pedro will compete in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 87 in a clash between two rising names in the light heavyweight division.

Tyson Pedro has begun ascending the ranks of the 205 lbs division since his move to City Kickboxing. He’s earned three knockout wins in his last four with only one loss and an upset win in this one would put him in line to challenge for the top 15 before the end of the year.

Vitor Petrino has faced little adversity in his young career. With a perfect 10-0 record, the powerhouse from Brazil is looking to roll through another challenge in Tyson Pedro in what will surely be his toughest challenge to date.

Betting Odds

Petrino opened as the favorite in this matchup and the line has grown even more during fight week:

  • Tyson Pedro: +235 (BetUS)
  • Vitor Petrino: -310 (BetUS)

Fight Breakdown

Tyson Pedro is an eight-year UFC veteran with a 6-4 record with the promotion. The 31-year-old is a City Kickboxing product, so it should come as no surprise that he’s a striking-oriented light heavyweight that brings a bit more technique than the normal 205 lb fighter.

Pedro likes to take the center of the octagon and throw out feints and kicks to open up opportunities to land his hands. His kicks are a great weapon that he’ll use to target the body mainly but mixes it up to the leg and head occasionally. He has a powerful, well-timed jab that he uses to find the range for this right hand. He’s been more conservative with the straight right, only really throwing it once he’s landed a handful of jabs, but it lands with a ton of power as well.

We’ve seen a lot of clinches from Tyson when he wants to slow the pace. He’s not the most effective fighter at snagging takedowns from this position but he has a set of trips and sweeps he likes to attempt. When he does get top control, he likes to target half-guard or side control, wrap up the head and opposite-side arm, and work towards a head and arm choke. While he has half of his ten pro wins by submission, he hasn’t earned one since 2018 as we’ve seen a heavy focus on striking since his move to City Kickboxing.

The biggest area for Pedro, like most heavy hitters, is his cardio. When he’s forced to push a high pace in round one, he’s usually exhausted by the start of the second. He does his best work when he’s able to control the pace of the fight and slow things down to a level he’s comfortable with fighting over three rounds if he needs to.

One way he’ll do this is by walking forward with his feints and looking to time counters as his opponent comes in. If he doesn’t get the timing, he’s quick to hop back out of range with an extended lead hand to create space and reset where he can slow things down again. When he fought Modestas Bukauskas, he worked hard for the takedowns in the first round which took a lot out of him. Rounds two and three were fought at a much lower pace and that lack of output is the main reason he lost that decision.

His opponent is the undefeated prospect Vitor Petrino. Petrino has become one of the top names outside the top 15 with his insane power both in his striking and his grappling. If you’re looking to study technique, Petrino’s film is going to be pretty low on the list of recommendations. He relies on his strength and his ability to time his strikes and takedowns to overwhelm and overpower his opponent.

Petrino will walk his opponents down and invite them to throw their offense. When he’s at range, he likes the jab and kicks to all three levels. His kicks land with a heavy thud every time and provide a bit of diversity to his arsenal of strikes. Coming forward, his punches are slow and have a ton of wind up, often making them easy to read. He also rarely throws a combination. Most often he’s throwing one strike at a time with everything he has and if he does follow it up, he’s off balance and swinging wildly.

He’s at his best when he’s pressing forward and using his kicks and jab to force offense out of his opponent where he can look to time his check left hook. He knocked out Modestas Bukauskas in his most recent fight with it and as he continues to develop, he’s going to find the mark with it more and more.

Petrino’s most interesting trait is his grappling game. He’s able to use pure strength to take his opponents down consistently. He’s continuing to show improvements in the technical aspects on the ground but is still prone to make mistakes in his transitions and attacking submissions. When he’s looking for control however, he has little problem keeping his opponents underneath him.

The cardio of Vitor Petrino is still a bit of a question mark. While he stays explosive throughout, his exhaustion is seen in his stand up. It starts to look like he has two heavy stones he has to lug around in the way he carries his hands so low. His strikes slow down even more and he becomes much more willing to take combinations of punches while only throwing one strike himself. He looks just as strong though. When he gets a hold of you, he’s still able to explode into takedowns like he did in the early rounds.

Tyson Pedro will have a tough path to victory against a durable fighter like Petrino. All ten of Pedro’s wins have come inside the first round and while he’ll likely be gassed at the end of the first, Petrino rarely is and will continue to come forward. Pedro has to find the exact right balance of pressure and pace with his striking while being ready to defend the takedown entries and check left hook. Petrino throws one punch at a time and it’s usually easy to tell which it’s going to be. Tyson’s the more technical striker and should be able to see those sluggish shots at range, duck out of range and fire back his long 1-2.

For Petrino, his best option is to find the takedown early and force Pedro to grapple the first five minutes away. Once Pedro’s tired, he’ll slow down which will allow Petrino to land his power punches. If he wants to wrestle, he should have that option as well though I wouldn’t expect an easy submission against Tyson Pedro.


While Petrino is the rightful favorite in the matchup, the young undefeated status of Petrino has definitely made this line swell. He’s likely to try to wrestle Pedro in the first, but I’m still expecting a finish from one of the two. If Pedro gets the knockout, it’ll likely be in the first while Petrino will arguably have his best chances in the second and third. I like the more well-rounded game of Petrino and think he’ll come out on top. While the moneyline is too high for a straight bet, it’s worth a play in a small parlay.

Prediction: Vitor Petrino to win (-310 on BetUS)

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