Fight card, start time, odds, live stream

UFC’s most dependable welterweight finisher is set to face one of the promotion’s reliable veterans. Vicente Luque vs. Rafael dos Anjos headlines UFC Fight Night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

There are few fighters with the killer instincts of Luque (21-9-1). If he’s scoring a win inside the Octagon, it’s almost certain to be a finish as 13 of his 14 career wins have come via stoppage. Luque appeared to have hit a new gear with four straight stoppage wins between 2020 and 2021 — including submitting former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley — but subsequently found himself losing consecutive fights and getting knocked out for the first time in his career. The KO loss he suffered to Geoff Neal caused a brain bleed, forcing Luque to take a year off competition. That time off was well served and Luque is champing at the bit to show his growth as a fighter.

“People know I’m a great striker and I have dangerous submissions. I have toughness at a high, high level,” Luque told CBS Sports. “But I feel I still have so much skill to show. So many things that I’ve developed during this last year that I’ve been out. I’m excited to see and show everyone.”

Check out the full interview with Vicente Luque below.

Dos Anjos (32-14-1) is statistically the most battle-tested UFC veteran. RDA is the only fighter in UFC history to reach and exceed eight total hours of time fought inside the Octagon. A former UFC lightweight champion who also fought for the interim welterweight title, dos Anjos has been elite for a long time. Dos Anjos has fought nine world champions, beaten three of them and also holds wins over fan favorites like Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone. RDA regularly finds himself as the senior fighter but make no mistake, his ambitions are the same as his younger contemporaries.

“Here I am fighting another contender, a tough guy, younger than me,” dos Anjos told TNT Sports.

“I feel that I have a lot in my tank, in a polite way, my lightweight days are over. I want to compete at my best and my best is 170, and, of course, it’s hard not to think about the belt. I’m a very competitive guy and I like to win. Being a former champion and former title contender in this division — I’ve fought for the title before in this division — it’s a method of winning, I have a tough challenge this weekend… Vicente Luque is a tough guy, but once past him, if I keep winning, a title shot will happen.”

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.

Cub Swanson enters his 19th year as a professional MMA fighter and his 42nd professional fight on Saturday. Swanson, three months shy of his 40th birthday, fights 32-year-old Canadian striker Hakeem Dawodu. A Fight of the Night or Performance of the Night award would be Swanson’s 10th and crown him as the best bonus machine in UFC featherweight history.

“I definitely appreciate it. I’m definitely happy,” Swanson told this week. “I’m definitely proud and, at this point, I’m just having fun.

“Being able to [plan for what comes next] has made it easier for me to have a date when I’m gonna be done with this and be okay with it. Now I’m living through my fighters, helping them — I get to do some of the fun stuff without the pain.”

Elsewhere on the undercard, Khalil Rountree returns for a light heavyweight tilt against Chris Daukaus. Plus, women’s strawweights Polyana Viana and Iasmin Luchindo square off. Tafon Nchuwki will battle with AJ Dobson at middleweight. And another pair of middleweights open the main card when Josh Fremd takes on Jamie Pickett.

Vicente Luque vs. Rafael dos Anjos: Luque is an elite finisher, but if he can’t put his opponent away, he tends to lose. And he’s facing one of the most durable fighters in the sport’s history. The former lightweight champ has only been beaten inside the distance in four of 46 professional fights and never by submission. One of those rare KO losses was against lightweight Rafael Fiziev in RDA’s last fight. Fiziev is arguably the best pure striker in the division, but it raises some concerns as to the condition of dos Anjos’ chin as he nears 39-years old and 19 years of fighting professionally.

Luque has a massive six-inch reach advantage to support his three-inch edge in height. RDA performed ably against Fiziev and should look to employ a similar wrestling approach against Luque, who struggles a bit in takedown defense, and be more comfortable knowing he can fend off Luque’s vicious submissions. I could certainly see a scenario where dos Anjos wins on the scorecards, but I’ve always been high on Luque’s potential. I suspect Luque will find the KO or land the harder blows to swing three rounds in his favor.