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UFC Vegas 30: Nzechukwu vs Marques Fight Preview and Breakdown

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The month of June comes to an end this Saturday for the UFC on ESPN+ (inside the United States, check your local listings elsewhere in the world) with UFC Vegas 30, a 12-fight card, including a light heavyweight confrontation in your featured prelim between unranked combatants, Kennedy Nzechukwu (8-1) and Danilo Marques (11-2), a three-round fight at five minutes per round. Live coverage on ESPN+ begins with the undercard at 1 pm ET/ 10 am PT, followed at 4 pm ET/ 1 pm PT with the main card fights.

Walkout time for Nzechukwu vs Marques during UFC Vegas 30 is unknown at the present time and will be dependent upon when the other undercard fights end on Saturday afternoon.

Fighter Comparison

Heading into the featured prelim at UFC Vegas 30 on Saturday afternoon, Danilo Marques is the taller man at 6-foot-6, with Kennedy Nzechukwu standing 6-foot-5.

In addition, Kennedy Nzechukwu holds a six-inch reach advantage (83 inches to 77 inches), along with a two-inch leg reach advantage (47 inches to 45 inches) over Danilo Marques coming into Saturday’s fight inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Nzechukwu enters this fight on Saturday having posted a record of 4-1 in his last five UFC appearances and enters this bout on a two-fight winning streak, having defeated Carlos Ulberg (second-round knockout due to hooks) last time out during UFC 259 on March 6 inside the selfsame UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Nzechukwu Determined To Win Again In UFC Vegas 30

During UFC 259 back in March, Kennedy Nzechukwu made his first UFC appearance in almost two years (an injury layoff prevented him from fighting until March) when he took Ulberg on, but if his comments on the bout during the post-fight presser were any indication back then, he’s going to be fired up when he faces Danilo Marques this Saturday.

After knocking Carlos Ulberg out in UFC 259, he provided this summation of his victory: “It was a bit overwhelming because I haven’t been in the octagon for a long time because of injuries. But once I got those couple of legs in, I was like ‘OK, it’s time to go.’ That killer instinct started to come out.”

In that same post-fight press conference, Nzechukwu continued his comments with: “The forward pressure was overwhelming him toward the end of the first round. I saw it. My coaches gave me the advice between rounds. I was staring right at his corner and his corner was looking right at me. I could see him. He was out of it. I just knew he couldn’t push for 25 more minutes if it was a championship round. So I just had to start where I stopped and just keep pressuring him.

More impressively, Nzechukwu was trailing on the scorecards after the first round of the scheduled three during UFC 259 on March 6, but he was able to fire off 115 strikes to Ulberg’s 65, setting up the victory.

Opponent Switch For Marques Going Into Saturday’s Card

Much like Ovince St. Preux, Danilo Marques had his opponent changed for UFC Vegas 30 on Saturday afternoon in the run-up to the event.

Initially, Marques, who has posted a record of 4-1 in his last five UFC appearances and comes into this Saturday afternoon having won four bouts in succession (including a victory against Mike Rodriguez on Feb. 6 via second-round submission due to a rear-naked choke during UFC Vegas 18’s main card opener), was due to face Ed Herman (25-14) in what would have been the latter’s 40th career MMA appearance on the event’s undercard earlier in the day this weekend.

Herman withdrew from the event, as he was subsequently rebooked to fight Alonso Menifield on August 7 during UFC 265 inside the Toyota Center in Houston on pay-per-view.

In the past, morale has been high for Danilo Marques regarding fights, as was the case during an interview in the aftermath of the Rodriguez victory before UFC Vegas 30, saying: “Mike Rodriguez is a good striker. I knew that. So I trained to put him on the floor and finish him. I just focused on it working like I trained it. I just kept going and didn’t give up. If I had to put him on the floor, three, four, or five times in a round. I would do that. I trained to do that.”

Concerning his ability to build on victories, Marques said the following back in February: “I always look to get better. This time, I was better than the last one. That’s what matters for me. For the next one, I expect to get better again.”

Analysis and Prediction

Stylistically, this light heavyweight confrontation on Saturday afternoon appears to be a toss-up, at least on paper, as both Kennedy Nzechukwu and Danilo Marques are strikers, so this could very well be a boxing match inside the famed UFC Octagon in Las Vegas this weekend. But then again, these fights are not fought on paper, this tussle at UFC Vegas 30 being no exception to the rule.

Nzechukwu Is a Knockout Specialist

Going into Saturday afternoon inside the UFC Apex, Kennedy Nzechukwu has won eight of his nine career MMA bouts, with five of those wins coming inside the distance by way of knockout.

He isn’t that skilled in Brazilian jiu-jitsu or other grappling disciplines, so his key in UFC Vegas 30 will be to keep this bout on the feet as much as he possibly can. If he’s able to keep the fight standing as much as he can for as long as he can, Kennedy Nzechukwu will be able to match Danilo Marques shot for shot during this bout, particularly if this one becomes a scrap inside the Octagon on Saturday afternoon.

Marques’ BJJ Could Be Nzechukwu’s Undoing during UFC Vegas 30

In the other corner, don’t dismiss Danilo Marques’ status as a brown belt in BJJ going into UFC Vegas 30 on Saturday afternoon on ESPN+, because he has some history of locking in a victory by way of submission in the cage, such as that previously-mentioned rear-naked choke victory against Mike Rodriguez back in February.

Although this could very well turn into a boxing match in a hurry at UFC Vegas 30 on Saturday, it would behoove all of you to take note of his ground game.

For Danilo Marques, the key to winning the fight on Saturday is going to be dumping Kennedy Nzechukwu, which can effectively allow him to take control of the fight, either through unloading on his opponent through ground and pound shots or taking back mount and trying to advance on a submission to get Nzechukwu to tap and nap this weekend at the UFC Apex.

Final Thoughts

Expect this tussle at UFC Vegas 30 on Saturday to be an exciting one and when you have a fight with two strikers duking it out in the cage, it has a high probability to become a striker’s treat. This one should be no exception on Saturday, so don’t miss it.

Prediction: Kennedy Nzechukwu by Unanimous Decision.


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