We're back to bring you another prediction and pick for the UFC Vegas 77 Prelims as our next bout takes place in the Women's Strawweight (115 lb) Division. Victoria Dudakova will make her UFC debut against Brazil's Istela Nunes. Check out our UFC odds series for our Dudakova-Nunes prediction and pick.
Victoria Dudakova is undefeated at 6-0 as a mixed martial artist and will be making her UFC debut on Saturday. She earned a contract on DWCS by winning her fight via unanimous decision, but the performance lacked any fireworks and Dana White wasn't exactly impressed. She'll hope for a more exciting finish as she tries to put away her struggling opponent. Dudakova stands 5'5″ with a 67-inch reach.
Istela Nunes is 6-4 as a professional fighter and has gone 0-3 in her UFC fights. She was a former title challenger at ONE FC but hasn't been able to see any success in the UFC. She was submitted in her debut, out-wrestled by Sam Hughes in her following fight, and knocked out by Yazmin Jauregui in her last bout. She needs a win here more than even to keep her UFC hopes alive. Nunes stands 5'4″ with a 66-inch reach.
Here are the UFC Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
UFC Vegas 77 Odds: Victoria Dudakova-Istela Nunes Odds
Victoria Dudakova: -220
Istela Nunes: +168
Over (2.5) rounds: -132
Under (2.5) rounds: +104
How to Watch Victoria Dudakova vs. Istela Nunes
Stream: ESPN+, UFC Fight Pass
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00 p.m. PT (Prelims)
*Watch sports LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Victoria Dudakova Will Win
Victoria Dudakova is a former European fighting champion and comes in with very high expectations at just 24 years old. While she was able to secure a win on Contender Series, her performance didn't “wow” President Dana White and there wasn't much excitement around the way she won. She's got four submissions to her name and showed off her dominant top control in the audition fight. In the second round, she suffered a knee injury that seriously compromised her. Dudakova had to resort to wrestling the whole third round and came up with the win.
Following her fight, Dudakova had to undergo a lengthy rehab to heal her knee. With strong grapplers like her, knees often become an issue at some point and it's never great to see the first fight back after such an injury. If she's at 100%, she should be able to dominate this fight with her grappling once again. Nunes has had issue off her back before, so Dudakova should look to take the fight where she's comfortable and get this submission win.
Why Istela Nunes Will Win
Istela Nunes has had a very tough draw in her UFC fights and hasn't been able to find success. She was physically outmatched in her debut against Ariane Carnelossi and fell victim to the sub. She struggled tremendously in the wrestling against an Olympian like Sam Hughes. While she was able to rock Yazmin Jauregui in her last fight, she ultimately got rocked herself and fell to TKO on punches. She's managed to do everything but win and it's clear that the UFC will have to cut her if she fails for the fourth time in a row.
Istela Nunes should fight like she has everything to lose, because she does. While she often looks like one of the best strikers in the division, she's only able to do so in short spurts and can't sustain her output. She has lightning-fast hands and loves to mix in kicks up the middle. She hangs back and waits for the counter right and can seriously stun opponents if she lands. It will be very important for her to stay off her back, so look for her to work the takedown defense and try to keep this one on the feet.
Final Victoria Dudakova-Istela Nunes Prediction & Pick
It's surprising that Dudakova comes in as such a heavy favorite for her debut fight, but it's clear that odds makers don't have a ton of confidence in Istela Nunes. Wrestling will have to have been a big part of her camp considering the type of fighter Dudakova is. If Nunes can keep this fight on the feet, she should be the one landing the more significant blows. There's a lot to worry about Dudakova's knee as well – it's never a good sign when a grappler sustains a bad knee injury like that. Istela Nunes may also come out hot considering she knows she needs a win. For the prediction, let's go with the underdog Nunes to fight like a woman possessed and attack the legs of Dudakova early.
Final Victoria Dudakova-Istela Nunes Prediction & Pick: Istela Nunes (+168)