UFC Vegas 87: Muhammad Mokaev vs. Alex Perez Prediction, Pick and Odds

Expect both flyweights to come out firing with a wide-open title picture

Oct 22, 2022; Abu Dhabi, UAE;  Muhammad Mokaev (red gloves) defeats Malcolm Gordon (blue gloves)
Oct 22, 2022; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Muhammad Mokaev (red gloves) defeats Malcolm Gordon (blue gloves) / Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports
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UFC Vegas 87 will be a card full of undefeated fighters on the rise including the 11-0 prodigy Muhammad Mokaev.

In his next big test, Mokaev will be facing top 10 contender and former title challenger Alex Perez as a large favorite to enter the title picture. Currently 11-0, Mokaev entered the top 10 of the division himself by submitting Tim Elliott at UFC 294.

Perez, despite his career accomplishments, has struggled to get into the octagon while developing a reputation as one of the least reliable fighters in the UFC. Since signing with the promotion in 2017, Perez has had 12 fights canceled, competing just once since challenging Deiveson Figueiredo for the championship in 2020.

Entering his sixth UFC appearance, Mokaev is once again lined as a significant favorite regardless of Perez being placed one spot above him in the promotional rankings.

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Muhammad Mokaev vs. Alex Perez odds and round total

Muhammad Mokaev vs. Alex Perez best bet

With a lot on the line in this featured flyweight bout, both fighters are almost expected to come out guns blazing with too much to lose by being cautious. The divisional champion has seemingly nobody to face in his upcoming title defense while Perez may be in a must-win situation after becoming one of the company matchmakers' most disliked athletes.

Neither of these guys has a reputation as "action fighters" but have a string of finishes on their resumes. Mokaev has finished eight of his 11 career wins (73 percent) with Perez ending 12 of his 24 victories (50 percent) before the final horn. And again, there is a lot of pressure on both men to be impressive.

In the UFC, Mokaev has finished four of his five wins, all by submission, including three straight. Perez, while being much more of a decision fighter than Mokaev, still has three of his five wins in the UFC inside the distance. Mokaev has not seen the score cards in in his last three fights and Perez has not even seen the second round since 2019.

When Perez loses, it has also tended to be inside the distance with just one career defeat by decision. A large majority of his losses, 71 percent, have been by submission — including his last two — which plays perfectly into Mokaev's preferred method of victory.

With too many question marks surrounding Perez and his career at this point all trends lead to Mokaev finding a submission on the mat but Perez, a seasoned striker, has shown an ability to pick apart grapplers on the feet in the past. When both fighters have significant advantages in their respective strengths such as in this matchup, the best bet is violence.

Prediction: Muhammad Mokaev by submission in round two

Best Beet: Fight will not go the distance (-135)

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.