UFC Vegas 74 fighter to watch: Alex Caceres


Alex Careces is the fighter to watch at UFC Vegas 74.

Following a weekend with no MMA action, the UFC returns to the UFC APEX on Saturday, June 3, with a stacked card and a historic main event. For the first time since 2017, a non-title flyweight bout will headline the card when Kai Kara-France faces Amir Albazi for a potential shot at the title on the line.

A man who will be hoping to continue his ascent up the featherweight rankings is Alex Careces (20-13). At this point in his career, it wouldn't be surprising to see Careces drop his usual upbeat and sometimes whacky persona.

After all, the No. 15 ranked featherweight has been in the UFC since 2011 and has faced some of the toughest opponents in his own division as well in the bantamweight AND lightweight classes, sitting at a modest 15-11 with 1 non-contest throughout his time in the promotion.

Despite seemingly always on the cusp of a spot in the rankings, and a few close calls with getting cut too, Careces has finally found the momentum he's been looking for. A win over Daniel Pineda this weekend will further cement his place in the top 15, and give him yet another big name opponent for his next fight.

Alex Careces looks to continue his hot-streak with a win over Daniel Pineda

The man called 'Bruce Leeroy' after the leading character in the comedy mixed martial arts film The Last Dragon, Careces has been entertaining fans since his introduction to the UFC. A member of team George St. Pierre during The Ultimate Fighter Season 12, Careces was defeated by eventual finalist Michael Johnson in the quarter-finals.

Throughout the season, he showed exactly what he brings to the table with his deadly submission skills, unorthodox striking, and elite cardio. What was even more intriguing is that he fought with a smile on his face, a trait that still continues to this day, as he chokes his opponents unconscious.

Despite being in the UFC for over a decade, Careces never really hit the heights he might have expected. His short winning streaks would be stopped by a rising contender and usually lead to a losing skid, however, since 2019, he has easily enjoyed the best moments of his career.

Following a loss to Kron Gracie, Careces picked up five victories in a row, falling short to Sodiq Yussuf before earning a performance of the night bonus for his great knockout over Julian Erosa in December of 2022. That win put him at 6-1 in his last seven over the past four years and in the number 15 spot of the 145-pound rankings.

His electric style, likeable personality, and history in the company makes him the fighter to watch at UFC Vegas 74. A win over Pineda not only solidifies his spot in the rankings but will push him above Jose Aldo for fourth all time in the weight class with 11 victories.

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UFC Vegas 74: Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi takes place on Saturday, June 3, 2023, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your news and highlights.