March 29, 2024 1:48 PM
Ewan Lavender

MMA Preview – Vicente Luque vs Joaquin Buckley at UFC ESPN 54

Click here for today’s sports betting tips from our expert analysts!


When is UFC on ESPN 54? Sunday 31st March, 2024 - 00:00 (UK)

Where is UFC on ESPN 54? Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey (US)

Where can I get tickets for UFC on ESPN 54? Click here to buy tickets for UFC on ESPN

What channel is UFC on ESPN 54 on? TNT Sports 1

Where can I stream UFC on ESPN 54? TNT Sports subscribers can stream the fight online via the TNT Sports website and Discovery+

For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ and you can sign up for access as part of a Disney Bundle here!


Vicente Luque (22-9-1) is coming off a very impressive performance. It was not a typical finish, but instead he displayed another string to his bow by out wrestling the elite grappler Rafael dos Anjos (2023). That unanimous decision came off a rare skid of two losses where he dropped a unanimous decision to Belal Muhammad (2022) and devastating knockout handed out by Geoff Neal (2022). His recent dub boosted his UFC tally up to an impressive 15-5.

Joaquin Buckley (17-6) steps in for Sean Brady and is 7-4 thanks to reeling off two impressive wins last year. He was humbled at the end of 2022 getting outpointed by Nassourdine Imavov and knocked out by Chris Curtis. That finally forced a move down to welterweight and he looked great knocking out Andre Fialho and outpointing Alex Morono.


Buckley is a force at welterweight which is his natural division. However, this is a very tough match-up for him. Luque is extremely durable and his grappling is now proven at the top level. His wrestling against dos Anjos was extremely impressive and gets his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt when required.

He is technically better everywhere but Buckley has the speed advantage, and his explosiveness and dynamism can give any welterweight problems. The only glaring weakness of Luque is his defence and Buckley can exploit that by finding the chin with an array of strikes.

We expect Buckley to find success with kicks and attacks to the body. He also has quality takedown defence which will be even stronger down at 170 lbs. This should be as close as the odds suggest. But we are leaning towards Luque with his experience and cardio carrying him over the line.

Prediction: Luque via Decision

Value bet: Buckley via Decision

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