UFC Fight Night 77 returns to the APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday July 15th.
Evan Elder (-300) vs. Genaro Valdez (+240)
Evan Elder is coming off of a TKO loss via doctor stoppage in his sophomore showing with the UFC. Unfortunately Elder was winning this fight 2 rounds to none before the doctor stepped in due to a nasty cut. Elder is 0-2 in the UFC in his first two starts and is looking to get back in the win column. His opponent Genaro Valdez is in the same boat. Valdez earned a UFC contract in 2021 on the Contender Series and has since fell short. Losing via round 1 KO and a Unanimous Decision.
Elder is very durable and will be the more technical kickboxer who will look to use combos and takedown feints to mix things up. Elder will also be able to extend his striking into the later rounds if necessary. Valdez is a super hard hitter with real power and will be looking to brawl from the opening bell. Valdez can crack but his style will leave openings for his opponents and I do not trust his durability as he was knocked down 4 times in his debut before being finished in the first 5 minutes. This fight should be fireworks as both men are potentially fighting for their jobs!
Official Pick- Evan Elder via TKO
Ottman Azaitar (-105) vs. Francisco Prado (-115)
Azaitar (13-1) suffered his first professional loss via KO in his last fight while Prado (11-1) dropped a decision for his first loss. Both fighters looking to get back on track in matchup of lightweight prospects. Prado went three rounds on short notice in his debut against Jamie Mullarkey where his cardio seemed to hold up and he showed off some of explosive striking but a hole in his ground game was exposed.
Azaitar is a one dimensional power puncher, with 10 KOs but seems to have no real paths to victory unless he catches his opponent early in round 1. Both of these fighters typically finish their fights. I expect the same in this matchup as both look to get back with a win. Azaitar will come out explosive as always. However, I favor the younger, faster and more rounded fighter in Prado. I could see this being a spot for Prado to showcase his overall skill sets.
Official Pick- Francisco Prado ITD (KO/SUB)