This upcoming weekend is a busy one for combat sports. With two Bellator shows, a UFC Fight Night and a boxing prize fight, there will be an event on at almost every time of the day. Following Bellator’s Friday event, UFC will hold “UFC on ESPN+ 18” will take place live from Copenhagen, Denmark on Saturday morning. Headlining the show will be middleweights Jack “The Joker” Hermansson and Jared Cannonier. Both ranked middleweights are up-and-coming within the division, with this fight being a test for them. Before the main event however, there is 12 other fights, with the card kicking off at 11AM EST on ESPN+ (on UFC Fight Pass for Canadian viewers).
Bout 1: Nohelin Hernandez (10-3) vs. Jack Shore (11-0) (Bantamweight)
The first bout of the evening is the debut of a prospect from the British scene in Jack Shore against Nohelin Hernandez. Shore comes into the UFC with an 11-0 record, picking up a large amount of those wins within the Cage Warriors promotion in the UK. The Wales fighter will face Hernandez, who lost his UFC debut against Marlon Vera in July.
Bout 2: Marc Diakiese (13-3) vs. Lando Vannata (10-3-2) (Lightweight)
While Marc Diakiese and Lando Vannata have settled into their positions in the UFC, their records don’t reflect that. Vannata holds a 2-3-2 record since joining the promotion, with Diakiese sporting a 3-4 record. Both fighters are coming off a victory. Whoever wins this fight will be starting their first winning streak in a couple or more years.
Bout 3: Macy Chiasson (5-0) vs. Lina Lansberg (9-4) (Bantamweight)
Macy Chiasson has had a short professional MMA career, but she has been flawless throughout. After winning Season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter, Chiasson has went on to get finishing victories over Gina Mazany and Sarah Moras, making her record 5-0. She will go up against Lina Lansberg, who has taken turns with wins and losses since her UFC debut. The Swede took Tonya Evinger to a decision three months back, getting a victory unanimously. In a tough fight for both fighters, Lansberg will aim to break the undefeated record of Chiasson.
Bout 4: Giga Chikadze (7-2) vs. Brandon Davis (10-7) (Featherweight)
Giga Chikadze will be making his UFC debut on Saturday, attempting to continue a current two-fight winning streak when he faces Brandon Davis. Just a month after his loss to Kyung Ho Kang, Davis will be attempting to rebound with this fight.
Bout 5: Siyar Bahadurzada (24-7-1) vs. Ismail Naurdiev (18-3) (Welterweight)
Continuing on the preliminary card, welterweights veteran UFC fighter Siyar Bahadurzada will fight Ismail Naurdiev. Naurdiev has fought twice before in the UFC, picking up a win against Michel Prazeres and most recently a loss against Chance Rencountre. His opponent this time around, Bahadurzada, is a veteran of the highest promotion. Although he has been with the UFC since 2012, he only holds a record of 4-3. Bahadurzada most recently fought at the end of 2018, taking a decision loss to Curtis Millender.
Bout 6: Alessio Di Chirico (12-3) vs. Makhmud Muradov (22-6) (Middleweight)
Makhmud Muradov’s entrance into the UFC this weekend will come against Alessio Di Chirico. Almost everything indicates it to be a win for Muradov. He’s the more experienced fighter, the bigger fighter and currently on an 11-fight winning streak. Di Chirico is coming off a decision loss to Kevin Holland.
Bout 7: Alen Amedovski (8-1) vs. John Phillips (21-9) (Middleweight)
Wales fighter John Phillips will potentially fight for his spot in the UFC on Saturday, attempting to snap a current three-fight winning streak that started with his promotional debut. His opponent Alen Amedovski’s situation is less severe, currently attempting to bounce back from his debut loss against Krzysztof Jotko five months ago. Amedovski has fought at a high level before, getting two first round finish wins in Bellator.
Bout 8: Alex Oliveira (20-7-1) vs. Nicolas Dalby (17-3-1) (Welterweight)
Kicking off the main card at 2PM EST on ESPN+ will be Alex Oliveira and Nicolas Dalby. The fight will be a return to the UFC for Dalby. After leaving the promotion in 2016 with a record of 1-3-1, Dalby turned to the Cage Warriors promotion to go 3-1 1 NC. Now returning to the UFC with the goal of having a better run than last time, it won’t be an easy entrance against Oliveira. While the last two fights for Oliveira were losses, they came against big opponents in Gunnar Nelson and “Platinum” Mike Perry.
Bout 9: Ovince St. Preux (22-13) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (14-2) (Light Heavyweight)
The next fight has a clear storyline: the up-and-coming fighter versus a gatekeeper of the weight class. Heading into his 20th UFC fight, Ovince St. Preux has been matched against Michal Oleksiejczuk, who has a 2-0-1 record since joining the UFC back in 2017. A win against St. Preux would be the biggest one in the career of Oleksiejczuk so far.
Bout 10: Ion Cutelaba (15-4) vs. Khalil Rountree (8-3) (Light Heavyweight)
Ion Cutelaba and Khalil Rountree are two of the biggest light heavyweight names that aren’t ranked. Bouncing back with a win against Eryk Anders earlier this year, Khalil Rountree will look to crash the rankings after beating Ion Cutelaba. Cutelaba on the other hand recently lost to Glover Teixeira, getting choked out in the second round. A win for either fighter could mean seeing their name on the top 15 list next week.
Bout 11: Gunnar Nelson (17-4-1) vs. Gilbert Burns (16-3) (Welterweight)
Just over a month after his last victory, Gilbert Burns is booked for another fight. His opponent this time around is Gunnar Nelson. Both fighters were on the same UFC 231 card in December last year where they both picked up a win. Since then, Burns has went 2-0 in MMA fights, defeating Mike Davis and just last month breaking the undefeated streak of Alexey Kunchenko. Nelson has only fought once within the same timeframe, losing to Leon Edwards.
Bout 12: Mark O. Madsen (8-0) vs. Danilo Belluardo (12-4) (Lightweight)
The under-represented Denmark will at least see a debuting fighter in the co-main event of the evening. Coming into the promotion with an undefeated record, Mark O. Madsen will face Danilo Belluardo, who is 0-1 within the promotion. Coming in as a huge favourite, Madsen’s prior notable wins came from unofficial UFC feeder promotion Cage Warriors.
Bout 13: Jack Hermansson (20-4) vs. Jared Cannonier (12-4) (Middleweight)
The main event of the evening will see highly ranked middleweights Jack Hermansson and Jared Cannonier face off. Hermansson is the higher ranked fighter (#5) while Cannonier is in a somewhat lower spot (#9). While a win from either fighter likely wouldn’t blast them up to a title contender position, they would be within a fight’s distance likely of being the top contender. Before getting to the title, they would have to defeat a top contender like Paulo Costa, Kelvin Gastelum, the loser of Israel Adesanya versus Robert Whittaker or even Yoel Romero, who is a step below the others.
Jack Hermansson is currently on a four-fight winning streak, stopping three of his opponents. His most recent win was a dominant five round fight against Jacare Souza back in April. The Swede debuted in the UFC in 2016, only losing twice since then. Cannonier has won two in a row, stopping both David Branch and Anderson Silva (although the win over Silva came via leg injury). If you’re interested in further reading, ESPN did a good piece talking about how Cannonier went from heavyweight to middleweight.
UFC has a big event next weekend live from Australia. Starting at 6:30 PM EST with the main card at 10PM EST, UFC 243 will be headlined by Robert Whittaker putting his UFC Middleweight Championship up against interim Champion Israel Adesanya. The show will also feature other prominent Australia and New Zealand based-UFC fighters.