UFC on ESPN+ 24: Blaydes vs. dos Santos Preview

Going head-to-head with Bellator this weekend, UFC will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, USA for a card on ESPN+. Headlining the show will be heavyweights Junior dos Santos and Curtis Blaydes. Both high ranked, the winner of this fight could move themself ahead in the line to challenge for Stipe Miocic’s UFC Heavyweight Championship.

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Prelims

Bout 1: Nate Landwehr (13-2) vs. Herbert Burns (9-2) (Featherweight)

Kicking off the preliminary card on ESPN+ at 5PM EST will be a featherweight battle between Nate Landwehr and Herbert Burns. The matchup is a double debut, with Burns getting a contract from Dana White’s Contender Series back in August. Burns had a 5-2 record in ONE FC and a 2-0 run in Titan FC prior ot the signing. Landwehr is on a seven-fight winning streak, with most of those wins from Russian MMA promotion M-1 Challenge.

Bout 2: Brett Johns (15-2) vs. Tony Gravely (19-5) (Bantamweight)

Another debuting Contender Series fighter is on this card in Tony Gravely, being put up against Brett Johns. Gravely stopped Ray Rodriguez in the third round on the show to earn his UFC contract and extend his winning streak to seven. Johns could be fighting for his future in the UFC on Saturday, as he is currently on a two-fight losing streak, his only two losses as a pro. He made his UFC debut in 2016, picking up three wins before losing to Aljamain Sterling and Pedro Munhoz.

Bout 3: Sara McMann (11-5) vs. Lina Lansberg (10-4) (Bantamweight)

Making her return after maternity leave, Sara McMann will challenge Lina Lansberg on the prelims. McMann’s last fight was in early 2018, losing to Marion Renau via triangle choke. After a late 2018 loss to Yana Kunitskaya, Lansberg has bounced back by getting scorecard wins over Tonya Evinger and Macy Chiasson. It’s safe to say that McMann will have a challenge in her comeback bout.

Bout 4: Montel Jackson (8-1) vs. Felipe Corales (9-1) (Bantamweight)

The next preliminary fight will see two more bantamweights compete. Montel Jackson and Felipe Corales, who are both coming off of wins in their short UFC careers thus far will be put against each other. Despite having similar records, Vegas heavily favours Jackson as a -600 favourite. Jackson was picked up via the Contender Series, going 2-1 since then. Corales is 1-1 in the UFC, recently going the distance for a unanimous decision win against Domingo Pilarte.

Bout 5: Justine Kish (6-2) vs. Lucie Pudilova (8-5) (Flyweight)

Justine Kish and Lucie Pudilova will both attempt to break their losing streaks on Saturday, but only one will prevail. Kish hasn’t been super active, with her last two fights taking place over the last two years, being losses to Felice Herrig and Ji Yeon Kim. Pudilova has been more active, with her last three fights, all losses, within the last year and a half. Most recently, Pudilova was stopped in the second round via rear naked choke against Antonina Shevchenko.

Bout 6: Arnold Allen (15-1) vs. Nik Lentz (30-10-2) (Featherweight)

The seemingly unstoppable Arnold Allen will be put against the much more experienced Nik Lentz in what should be an interesting matchup on Saturday. Allen has been undefeated since 2014, currently with six wins in his UFC run. His most recent win was easily his biggest challenge, being a decision win over Gilbert Melendez. Lentz is coming off of a loss to Charles Oliveira, however, there’s no doubt his advantage in this fight is having more octagon time, over doubling the number of professional fights that Allen has.

Bout 7: Bevon Lewis (6-2) vs. Dequan Townsend (21-9) (Middleweight)

The preliminary part of the card will be headlined be Bevon Lewis and Dequan Townsend. Lewis was signed to the UFC through the Contender Series but has yet to get a win in the octagon, falling to Uriah Hall and Darren Stewart before. Townsend made his UFC debut in 2019, having an unsuccessful outing against Dalcha Lungiambula.

Bout 8: Jamahal Hill (6-0) vs. Darko Stosic (13-3) (Light Heavyweight)

 

The main card will kick off with the sole undefeated fighter on the card, Jamahal Hill, fighting Darko Stosic. Hill impressed UFC brass in the fifth episode of the 2019 Contender Series season, stopping Alexander Poppeck in the second round with elbows. This fight will be his debut on the big stage. Stosic has something to prove as well, currently chasing the feeling he had when he had his one and only UFC win, back in July of 2018. He has since failed to prevail over Devin Clark and Kennedy Nzechukwu.

Bout 9: Hannah Cifers (10-3) vs. Angela Hill (10-7) (Strawweight)

Angela Hill was a busy fighter in 2019. After a run of taking four fights in seven months, Hill took an understandable break for the final quarter of 2019. She returns to the octagon on Saturday, fighting Hannah Cifers. Cifers is riding a two-fight winning streak, last winning over Jodie Esquibel at UFC 241.

Bout 10: Jordan Espinosa (14-6) vs. Alex Perez (22-5) (Flyweight)

In late 2018, Alex Perez tasted defeat in the UFC for the first time, taking many unanswered shots by Joseph Benavidez before the referee fully stepped in. That didn’t stop his momentum however, as he bounced back by beating Mark De La Rosa. Riding that momentum, Perez will fight Jordan Espinosa high up on this card. Espinosa sees himself in Perez’s position, attempting to come off his first loss in the UFC, which was also a first-round stoppage. On Saturday, another fighter will likely see their second loss in the big leagues.

Bout 11: Rafael dos Anjos (29-12) vs. Michael Chiesa (15-4) (Welterweight)

Michael Chiesa has been undefeated since making the switch from lightweight to welterweight back in 2018. He has defeated Carlos Condit and Diego Sanchez, and now eyes to beat Rafael dos Anjos in the co-main event slot of this card. “RDA” has lost quite a bit recently, however it’s worth noting his losses have come to notable names in the division. He lost an interim Welterweight Championship fight to Colby Covington in 2018 at UFC 225. He then lost to current champion Kamaru Usman, going to decision. He has most recently lost to Leon Edwards, defeating Kevin Lee before then. While Chiesa is being pitted against someone who has lost more than they have won recently, dos Anjos is the biggest welterweight challenge he has gotten so far.

Bout 12: Curtis Blaydes (12-2) vs. Junior dos Santos (21-6) (Heavyweight)

Main eventing in Raleigh will be Curtis Blaydes and Junior dos Santos. The battle is one between one of the division’s rising stars and a more experienced veteran. Of course the star is Blaydes, with the more experienced being Santos. Blaydes holds an impressive 12-2 record, with the two defeats coming via fights against Francis Ngannou. He is on a two-fight winning streak, going through Justin Willis and Shamil Abdurakhimov. 

Santos’ last win gives him a way to relate to Blaydes, as he lost to Ngannou back in June. He failed to fight Alexander Volkov in November, falling victim to a bacterial infection. Santos is most known for his 2011 UFC Heavyweight Championship run, which saw him dethrone Cain Velasquez. After a defence against Frank Mir, Santos lost the belt in a rematch against Velasquez. Both Blaydes and Santos are highly ranked in the division, and a win could put them in closer reach to Stipe Miocic’s Heavyweight belt. With that being said, there are a lot of bidders for that title shot at the moment.

UFC will take next weekend off, returning on the 8th with UFC 247 in Houston, Texas, USA. Headlining that card will be Jon Jones putting his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on the line against undefeated Dominick Reyes.

UFC on ESPN 5: Covington vs. Lawler Full Report

Colby Covington was en route to a UFC Welterweight Championship last year, but due to injury had his shot taken away. In the main event of this fight night, Covington faced Robbie Lawler in a five round fight. With a win, he could put himself next in line for a title shot. Same goes for Lawler, who, while lower on the rankings than Covington, would be making a statement with the victory. Before that fight was 11 other bouts, so let’s look at how the prelims went down first.

Bout 1: Hannah Goldy (5-0) vs. Miranda Granger (6-0) (Flyweight)

Starting off the card we had two undefeated fighters put up their undefeated streaks. While small streaks, one fighter was expected to take their first pro loss. Goldy circled the outside of the octagon during the start of the bout. Both fighters would come in and exchange a few punches each and then distance themselves again. The second round was similar, with Goldy staying in the fight no doubt but getting hit with the harder shots. Granger kept coming forward with strikes until the bout ended. When going to the scorecards, all three judges favoured Miranda Granger (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Goldy 9 9 9 27
Granger 10 10 10 30

Bout 2: Cole Williams (11-1) vs. Claudio Silva (13-1) (Welterweight)

In the second bout, we had a welterweight battle between Cole Williams and Claudio Silva. Williams weighed in six pounds over the limit on the day before. Silva went to wrestling in the second minute of the fight. He took the back of Williams. After throwing some punches, Silva put in a rear naked choke which made Williams tap out.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Williams
Silva

Bout 3: Mara Romero Borella (12-5 2 NC) (#12) vs. Lauren Murphy (10-4) (#10) (Flyweight)

It’s seemingly a regular occurrence that ranked flyweights compete on the prelims of a card. This time around, it’s #12 ranked Mara Romero Borella and #10 ranked Lauren Murphy who competed. In the first round Murphy felt like the fighter landing the more meaningful punches. Borella scored the first takedown of the fight in the second round. She stood up and tried to crank a guillotine on Murphy. The hold was let go of eventually, with both fighters battling up against the cage for the rest of the round. In the final round, Murphy stopped a takedown and then started to land her punches. An uppercut had Borella backtracked. Another takedown was stopped, with Murphy grabbing her and landing a knee to the head which dropped her. The referee stopped the fight right after that.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Borella 9 9
Murphy 10 10

Bout 4: Matt Schnell (13-4) (#13) vs. Jordan Espinosa (14-5 1 NC) (#9) (Flyweight)

In another ranked flyweight bout; a men’s one this times, Matt Schnell fought Jordan Espinosa. Both of these guys seem tall and lanky for flyweights. Both fighters ate clean punches in the first few seconds. Espinosa shot for a takedown, with Schnell putting in an arm triangle which made Espinosa tap out.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Schnell
Espinosa

Bout 5: Lucie Pudilova (8-4) vs. Antonina Shevchenko (7-1) (Flyweight)

The sister of Valentina Shevchenko, Antonina, fought Lucie Pudilova in a flyweight bout next. Pudilova went into a clinch immediately, with Shevchenko landing knees in the clinch. Continuing with the knees, Shevchenko put Pudilova against the cage. The referee separated them and brought them back to normal stand-up after Shevchenko did an accidental groin strike, although the fight went right back to that position. Finally, Pudilova made something of the clinch, landing elbows which made Shevchenko leave the clinch and pack up. Shevhcenko got a pretty bad cut from the elbow. Pudilova scored a takedown. On the ground, Shevchenko seemingly pully slipped in an armbar, but Pudilova got out. They got back up and went into clinch as the round ended. In the second, Pudilova got a single leg takedown, but quickly gave up her back and found herself in a rear naked choke. This time, she was not able to endure, with the referee ending the fight.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Pudilova 9
Shevchenko 10

Bout 6: Salim Touahri (10-3) vs. Mickey Gall (5-2) (Welterweight)

Going back up to welterweight, the next bout was Salim Touahri facing Mickey Gall. The crowd was cheering on Gall early on. Gall landed a good jab which shook Touahri in the opening minutes of the first. He tried for a takedown but Touahri stopped it. Standing up against the cage, Gall hopped on Touahri’s back. Gall landed knees, though there was a close call where the referee warned Gall not to knee the head (Touahri was grounded). Touahri shot for a takedown but it was Gall who got the best of it, taking his back. Gall threw some punches but couldn’t get anything done before the round ended. Touahri connected well with a hook in the second round. Gall tried for a single leg takedown but landed on his back. Touahri stood up and threw some punches. Gall stood up and threw some elbows in a clinch. In the final round, both fighters teed off with stand-up. As the round progressed, Gall started to out-trade Touahri. Gall tried to take the fight to the ground a few times. He scored a takedown in the final few seconds of the fight. The fight went the distance. All three judges saw it the same, giving the win to Mickey Gall (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Touahri 9 10 9 28
Gall 10 9 10 29

Bout 7: Kennedy Nzechukwu (6-1) vs. Darko Stosic (13-2) (Light Heavyweight)

In the heaviest fight of the evening, Kennedy Nzechukwu fought Darko Stosic in a light heavyweight contest. Stosic shot for a takedown in the first 90 seconds of the bout, but couldn’t get it. Stosic came forward with a flurry of punches in the final moments of round 1. It felt like that was the only notable part of the round. There was a clean kick to Nzechukwu’s groin at the start of the second round. Halfway through the second round, Stosic went after a double leg takedown which didn’t work. Nzechukwu was kicked in the groin yet again. This time, Stosic had a point taken away. Yet again in the third round, Stosic kicked Nzechukwu in the groin. A doctor was called in while the referee talked to the commission about either taking another point or disqualifying Stosic. Nzechukwu was willing to continue. Stosic was given another point deduction. When they resumed, Nzechukwu was advancing and landing good punches. Stosic landed three takedowns in the round. Another one was attempted but Nzechukwu was able to block it. The crowd voiced their displeasure as the fight ended. Going to the scorecards, Kennedy Nzechukwu won via unanimous decision (29-26. 28-27 & 28-27). Stosics performance minus the penalties likely would have gotten him a win.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Nzechukwu 9 9 9 27
Stosic 10 9 9 28

Bout 8: Dong Hyun Ma (16-9-3) vs. Scott Holtzman (12-3) (Lightweight)

Kicking off the main card of the show was Scott Holtzman versus Dong Hyun Ma. Ma missed weight by two pounds for this bout. Holtzman knocked down Ma in the first round with a punch. Ma got a bruise below his left eye. He stayed in top position until the last few seconds of the round. Both fighters traded shots before Ma scored a takedown. They stood up in a clinch against the cage. When they took turns with punches again, Holtzman was dropped by a shot. Holtzman got a takedown in the final minute of the second round. Ma’s left eye was swollen fully shut at this point. Doctors came in to check on him and decided to call off the bout. While disappointing, the stoppage was completely justified.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ma 9 9
Holtzman 10 10

Bout 9: Gerald Meerschaert (28-11) vs. Trevin Giles (11-1) (Middleweight)

The next bout was Gerald Meerschaert versus Trevin Giles. In the first minute, Giles got a takedown. Meerschaert flipped over into top position after trying for an arm triangle. Giles took top position again after a minute or so. Meerschaert tried for a takedown in the second round. They went to the ground, but Giles was the one on top. Meerschaert took top position but didn’t do much. Both fighters traded leg kicks in the third round. After an unsuccessful takedown attempt, Meerschart landed a trip takedown. Meerschaert put in a guillotine which made Giles tap out, but referee Herb Dean did not see it. The fight ended when Giles was out cold.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Meerschaaert 9 10
Giles 10 9

Bout 10: Nasrat Haqparast (10-2) vs. Joaquim Silva (11-2) (Lightweight)

After a battle where the fighters had quite different records, a bout in Nasrat Haqparast and Joaquim Silva, who have nearly identical records, was next. While the first round was mostly a feeling out process, Haqparast started to heat up near the end with punches. In the second round, Haqparast landed a left hook which dropped Silva. Only a few strikes later, the referee ended the bout. Haqparast had a methodical start and a powerful finish.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Haqparast 10
Silva 9

Bout 11: Clay Guida (35-18) vs. Jim Miller (30-13) (Lightweight)

In the co-main event of the fight night, Clay Guida fought New Jersey’s Jim Miller. In an uneventful first few moments, Guida and Miller both landed good punches. Miller put Guida in a guillotine after he rocked him with a punch. Referee Herb Dean eventually stopped the bout after he realized the hold put out Guida.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Guida
Miller

Bout 12: Colby Covington (14-1) (#2) vs. Robbie Lawler (28-13) (#11) (Welterweight)

The main event in New Jersey was Colby Covington versus Robbie Lawler. This fight was the only one which included ranked fighters, it was also five rounds. When given the opportunity to touch gloves, the two fighters, of course, did not. The fight was fast right from the start. Covington came in and tried for takedowns and punches. Covington scored a takedown after pursuing it for a minute. When they stood back up against the cage, Lawler landed an elbow to the head and tried for a kimura. Covington took Lawler back to the ground and got on his back. He tried for a rear naked choke for a minute or so, but Lawler escaped and got up with a minute left in the first. Covington got a trip takedown and went back to the rear naked choke position. Covington stood up and threw some punches before the round ended. Covington got another takedown after a combo of hooks in the second round. They went back to stand-up, but not for long as another takedown came in Covington’s favour. They spent the final two minutes of the round in stand-up, where Covington continued to out-class him. In the third round, Covington kept his pace in the third round, making it another decisive one for him. Lawler was still in the fight come the fourth, but was much more fatigued than Covington. The fight went the five round distance, with all three judges giving the fight to Colby Covington (50-44, 50-45 & 50-45). After the fight he called out Kamura Usman, who was present at the venue.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Covington 10 10 10 10 10 50
Lawler 9 9 9 9 9 45

On a finish-heavy show, scorecards were only needed four times. The UFC is currently on a nine week stretch of one show a week, with next week being the 8th event. Next week, UFC will head to the Antel Arena in Montevideo, Uruguay for a Fight Night, headlined by Valentino Shevchenko and Liz Carmouche. In a rematch fight, Shevchenko will attempt to defend her belt. The week after that, UFC 241 will take place, with Daniel Cormier facing Stipe Miocic in a heavyweight championship rematch.

UFC on ESPN 5: Covington vs. Lawler Preview

UFC will ditch their usual start time on Saturday when UFC Newark takes place. With prelims starting at Noon Eastern Time and the main card three hours after, the sun will not go down before all winning arms are raised in the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, USA. Along with 11 other fighters, ranked Welterweights Colby Covington and Robbie Lawler will face off in the main event of the card which will air on ESPN. Let’s look at the card from start to finish.

Bout 1: Hannah Goldy (5-0) vs. Miranda Granger (6-0) (Flyweight)

The night will kick off with a bout with high stakes involved. Both in their UFC debut, Hannah Goldy and Miranda Granger will put up their undefeated streaks. Goldy fought three times before being scouted on the ongoing season of the Tuesday Night Contender Series, earning her contract. Granger didn’t come through UFC’s star-finding show but recently fought in CFFC, a promotion which broadcasts on UFC Fight Pass. In her professional career, Granger has never gone into the final round, with numerous submission victories.

Bout 2: Claudio Silva (13-1) vs. Cole Williams (11-1) (Welterweight)

Heading into his fifth UFC fight, Claudio Silva has seen success so far, racking up four straight wins. As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for his slip up in his pro debut, Silva would still be an undefeated fighter. But, most people eventually lose the big O on their record. He will be stacked up against Cole Williams, who similarily, has only taken one pro loss early in his campaign. Williams established himself in Iowa, fighting frequently in the Pinnacle Combat promotion. It was reported a few weeks back that Williams would replace Ramazan Emeev on this card after visa issues stopped the original pairing. On Friday, Williams failed to make weight, weighing 176 pounds over the 170 limit.

Bout 3: Mara Romero Borella (12-5) vs. Lauren Murphy (10-4) (Flyweight)

In the second flyweight matchup of the afternoon, Mara Romero Borella and Lauren Murphy will battle each other. Borella holds a 2-1 record within the UFC, while Murphy has had a less lucky 2-4 record (with an exhibition loss against Nicco Montano on The Ultimate Fighter). Murphy was pulled out of a fight against Ashlee Evans-Smith earlier in 2018 after she suffered an injury. Nearly six months later, Murphy will see her first matchup in 14 months.

Bout 4: Matt Schnell (13-4) vs. Jordan Espinosa (14-5) (Flyweight)

In another flyweight bout, two fighters on a hot-streak will collide. Matt Schnell, who is on a three-fight winning streak in the UFC, will face Jordan Espinosa, who has won five times in a row including one UFC victory. Schnell turned around his unsuccessful UFC career, not winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 24, and taking two pro losses. Since then, he has gotten three wins over Marco Antonio Beltran, Naoki Inoue and Louis Smolka. Espinosa is on a longer win streak, however, most of them have come outside of the UFC. Winning twice in 2017 and in 2018, Espinosa came in hot in his UFC debut, getting a decision victory over Eric Shelton. Someone’s momentum may come to a halt on Saturday.

Bout 5: Antonina Shevchenko (7-1) vs. Lucie Pudilova (8-4) (Flyweight)

In the Shevchenko family, it’s “Bullet” Valentina Shevchenko who is more well known. While this is the case, nowadays chances are that people might be talking about Antonina Shevchenko as well. Debuting in the UFC in late 2018, Shevchenko has defeated Ji Yeon Kim and lost to Roxanne Modafferi, handing “The Panther” her first pro loss. She will face Lucie Pudilova on Saturday, who is on a two-fight losing streak, albeit against formidable opponents in Irene Aldana (bantamweight bout) and Liz Carmouche. Pudilova has had a longer stint within the UFC, debuting in 2017 and having an overall 2-3 record.

Bout 6: Mickey Gall (5-2) vs. Salim Touahri (10-3) (Welterweight)

While young in his career, Mickey Gall is a name that most MMA fans will remember. His decisive win over former WWE wrestler CM Punk back in 2016 put many eyes on the then 24-year-old MMA fighter with a 2-0 record prior to the competition. He has since fought four more times, overall having a 4-2 record within the promotion. His recent loss came against UFC veteran Diego Sanchez, who got his first stoppage win in over a decade. In his next fight, Gall will be replacing Zelim Imadaev due to injury. Like some of his recent fights, Gall will be facing a more experienced fighter in Salim Touahri on Saturday. Touahri will attempt to snap his two-fight losing streak, which has been in place since his UFC debut.

Bout 7: Darko Stosic (13-2) vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu (6-1) (Light Heavyweight)

Starting off the main card, the show will have it’s heaviest bout on the card. Darko Stosic and Kennedy Nzechukwu will compete in a Light Heavyweight bout, as the broadcast flips to ESPN at 3 PM Eastern Time. Stosic and Nzechukwu haven’t started their UFC career in the way they necessarily wanted, with Stosic having a 1-1 record and Nzechukwu holding a 0-1 record. Although, one will likely see success on Saturday, turning the tide for their career.

Bout 8: Scott Holtzman (12-3) vs. Dong Hyun Ma (16-9-3) (Lightweight)

In the first of three lightweight bouts of the afternoon, two experienced UFC fighters in Scott Holtzman and “Maestro” Dong Hyun Ma will compete. Holtzman has fought eight times before in the UFC, currently with a 5-3 record in the promotion. Hyun Ma has fought six times, with an even record of 3-3. They have both lost recently, breaking their three-fight win streaks before. If Hyun Ma were to win on Saturday, it would be a real indictment for the UFC to not book him on the UFC Fight Night in Busan, South Korea set for December 21, 2019. Dong Hyun Ma weighed in at 158, going three pounds above the lightweight limit.

Bout 9: Gerald Meerschaert (29-11) vs. Trevin Giles (11-1) (Middleweight)

Gerald Meerschaert and Trevin Giles will compete in the next bout. The experience differential is large, with Giles having the same number of wins as Meerschaert has losses. Giles took his first pro loss in May, losing to Zak Cummings in his third UFC bout. Meerschaert is on a two-fight losing streak, making his current record in the UFC 4-3.

Bout 10: Joaquim Silva (11-1) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (10-2) (Lightweight)

Joaquim Silva and Nasrat Haqparast have the same amount of MMA bouts each, but a win for Haqparast on Saturday will make their wins and losses equal. Heading into his fourth UFC bout, Haqparast is 2-1 in the UFC, coming back after an eight-month layoff, defeating Thibault Gouti in a 2018 bout. Joaquim Silva is also coming back after a similar time of absence, beating Jared Gordon in December. Silva currently has a 4-1 record in the UFC.

Bout 11: Clay Guida (35-18) vs. Jim Miller (30-13) (Lightweight)

In the co-main event will be a battle between two very experienced UFC fighters. Clay Guida and Jim Miller have fought in the UFC since 2006 and 2008 respectively, making them some of the longest standing active UFC fighters. Both fighters have won already in 2019. Miller had a quick first-round rear naked choke win over Jason Gonzalez in April. Guida fought fellow veteran BJ Penn for three rounds in May, taking all three scorecards to get his victory.

Bout 12: Colby Covington (14-1) vs. Robbie Lawler (28-13) (Welterweight)

Back in June of 2018, Colby Covington seemingly sealed his fate as the next in line for a UFC Welterweight title shot, defeating Rafael dos Anjos and becoming the interim champion. That was the plan at least, until a nasal injury sidelined him from a bout, and also took away his expected title shot. He now finds himself scheduled to face fellow ranked fighter Robbie Lawler in a main event, but no belts are involved.

Robbie Lawler attempted to spoil Ben Askren’s UFC debut in March, but lost in a controversial stoppage due to a bulldog choke. Before then, he lost to Rafael dos Anjos in a decision. Before he beat Donald Cerrone in 2017, his last win, he lost in just over two minutes to Tyron Woodley, former Welterweight Champion. Whilst a much more experienced UFC fighter than Covington, he’s lost to people Covington has beat, and more importantly, has been losing much more lately.

Colby Covington’s personality, specifically online, has made him a polarizing figure. Through his Instagram videos and sponsored content, he often flaunts his lifestyle and mocks his viewers with terms like “snowflakes” and “nerds.” Despite his stripping of the interim belt, Covington has continued to carry a championship in his photos and videos.

Covington has also never been afraid to share his political values, being a vocal endorser of current President of The United States Donald Trump. He often wears Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hats in posts and visited the White House shortly after his Interim Championship victory. It was announced earlier in the week that two sons of the President, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. would be present for the main event on Saturday.

All antics will be put aside on Saturday when Colby Covington and Robbie Lawler face off in the main event. Covington currently sits in #2 in the Welterweight rankings, with Lawler at #11. A win for Covington could mean a now long-awaited title shot, with Lawler also being put in the conversation if he comes out victorious.