After a week away from the action, the UFC is back in the famous Octagon this Saturday night for UFC Vegas 37 from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Barring any late postponements for any reason, UFC Vegas 37 will feature 15 total MMA fights, including your main card opener at middleweight.
To kick off the main card of UFC Vegas 37, it’ll be Joaquin Buckley (12-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) battling Antonio Arroyo (9-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC), a three-round fight at five minutes per round.
UFC Vegas 37 Fighter Comparison
Heading into the UFC Vegas 37 main card opener on Saturday night, Antonio Arroyo is the taller man at 6-foot-3, with Joaquin Buckley standing 5-foot-10.
Additionally, Buckley owns a 2 1/2-inch reach advantage (76 inches to 73 1/2 inches) over Arroyo, who owns a one-inch leg reach advantage (41 inches to 40 inches) over Buckley going into UFC Vegas 37 on Saturday night.
Joaquin Buckley Looking to Bounce Back
A universal storyline for the UFC Vegas 37 main card opener is the fact that both men are looking to bounce back from defeat in their most recent fights.
For Joaquin Buckley, he enters the card on Saturday night having dropped the first-round knockout due to a head kick by Alessio di Chirico during UFC on ABC 1 on Jan. 16 from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
Prior to that, he was on a two-fight winning streak, with both of those wins coming about one month apart, including a second-round knockout (hooks) against Jordan Wright during UFC 255’s co-featured prelim from the Apex facility.
Although Buckley has posted a 3-2 record in his last five MMA fights, a loss during UFC Vegas 37 this weekend would be worrisome for his camp.
Whether or not he will be able to turn it around in the UFC Vegas 37 main card opener remains to be seen.
Can Antonio Arroyo Finally Break Through?
In the other corner, Antonio Arroyo has posted a 3-2 record of his own heading into UFC Vegas 37 on Saturday night, but he hasn’t won since securing a contract with the promotion via a win (second-round submission due to an arm-triangle choke) over Stephen Regman in the July 16, 2019, Dana White’s Contender Series telecast.
Even though this is only Arroyo’s third fight in the UFC, a loss here in the UFC Vegas 37 main card opener could put him on the fast track to be among the next fighters to be cut from the promotion.
He’s lost both of his fights since joining the UFC by unanimous decision, most recently to Deron Winn last December in UFC Vegas 17’s undercard, a contracted catchweight at 195 lbs.
If Arroyo can’t breakthrough and finally get a result in the win column in UFC Vegas 37, his UFC future may very well come into question.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the UFC Vegas 37 main card opener looks to favor Joaquin Buckley, a wrestler, with Antonio Arroyo countering as a striker.
Watch Out for Arroyo’s Kicking Game
One aspect of Antonio Arroyo’s fighting acumen that jumps out immediately on videotape is his kicking game, as illustrated during his fight against Regman two years ago.
Right at the very start of the fight, Arroyo scored with repeated inside leg kicks, mixing it up with a sidekick, having thrown 11 of those shots at one point.
Regman caught a leg kick to take Arroyo down to neutralize him later in the round– before Arroyo scored with a front kick to Regman’s body to end the first round.
If Antonio Arroyo can land those kicks regularly, it could be lights out early in UFC Vegas 37.
Buckley Can Throw the Kicks Himself
In the other corner, don’t even think about sleeping on Joaquin Buckley’s kicking game in UFC Vegas 37– and nowhere on film was his kicking game more evident than in his most recent win against Impa Kasanganay in October of last year.
Midway through the second round of that fight, Buckley unloaded with a vicious spinning back kick to his opponent’s jaw to send him down in a heap.
In so doing, Buckley recorded only the fourth knockout by spinning back kick in UFC history– and in the immediate aftermath of the fight, James Krause was interviewed by James Lynch, where Krause revealed that Buckley has been banned from training in every MMA gym in his native St. Louis, MO.
If Buckley can expertly counter Arroyo’s kicks on Saturday night in UFC Vegas 37, this could be a quick fight at the Apex.
This fight at UFC Vegas 37 could end very early on Saturday night, so make that fridge run between fights and don’t blink – you might miss it if you do.
The loser of this fight could take a huge step backward in the trajectory of his career as a fighter.
Prediction: Joaquin Buckley by First-Round TKO.
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