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Preview: UFC on ESPN 49 Prelims

Baghdasaryan vs. Lutz


Still basking in the afterglow of UFC 290, the Ultimate Fighting Championship heads back to the UFC Apex on Saturday in Las Vegas and does so with an undercard that should be entertaining enough. The most notable bullet point? The last-minute addition of rising welterweight Jack Della Maddalena, whose July 8 bout was scrapped on roughly a day’s notice. He takes on newcomer Bassil Hafez on a quick turnaround. The actual featured slot at UFC on ESPN 49 goes to featherweights Melsik Baghdasaryan and Tucker Lutz—a well-matched affair that pairs two fighters badly in need of some momentum.

Now to the preview for the UFC on ESPN 49 prelims:

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Featherweights

Melsik Baghdasaryan (7-2, 2-1 UFC) vs. Tucker Lutz (12-3, 1-2 UFC)

ODDS: Baghdasaryan (-165), Lutz (+140)

Baghdasaryan is still a prospect with some upside, but his latest fight was a frustrating setback. A former kickboxer, “The Gun” blew through about the weakest competition available to earn a spot on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020, at which point he scored a win over Dennis Buzukja. It was not the prettiest fight after the Armenian found himself unable to score another quick knockout, but he gutted through exhaustion well enough to show some potential, with the UFC eventually signing him at some point a few months later. Baghdasaryan ran through Collin Anglin in his UFC debut, and a subsequent win over Bruno Souza was a mixed bag that leaned towards the promising end. Souza fought a range-focused striking style that did not give Baghdasaryan much opportunity to engage, but he paced himself and picked his spots well enough to take an ugly decision. However, injuries kept Baghdasaryan out of action for well over a year—a frustrating turn for a prospect in need of experience—until his February fight against Joshua Culibao. It was a bruising affair that was going well enough until Culibao suddenly stunned the Armenian and took the opportunity to jump on a quick submission. Baghdasaryan looks to rebound against Baltimore’s Lutz, who has yet to turn the corner during his UFC campaign. Lutz fought twice on DWCS in 2020 and showed himself to be a versatile fighter with a well-rounded set of tools, even if there was not much in the way of spectacular dynamism or finishing power. That did not appear to matter much after Lutz’s UFC debut, which resulted in a one-sided outmaneuvering of Kevin Aguilar, but “Top Gun” has struggled in the face of horsepower in his two fights since, getting outwrestled by Pat Sabatini and falling victim to a sudden comeback from Daniel Pineda. Lutz could find some success with his wrestling as Baghdasaryan looks to shore up that part of his game, but this looks like another fight where that lack of a second gear could cause a lot of issues. This likely will not be a clean victory for either fighter, and Baghdasaryan’s additional horsepower figures to serve him well if this turns into a messy fight with a lot of physical clashes. He may have to hang on for the win, but the pick is Baghdasaryan via decision.

Jump To »
Baghdasaryan vs. Lutz
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