UFC on ESPN+ 24: Edgar vs. Korean Zombie Full Preview

In 2019, UFC hosted 42 MMA events across the world. They touched down in well established markets like New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Brazil and more, but they also visited growing markets like Denmark, Mexico and Singapore. In the final event of the year, and decade, UFC heads to Korea for the second time in its history. 

The country has a niche MMA market, including regional promotions like ROAD FC and Angel’s Fighting Championship. No doubt they have produced prominent names in MMA, including the “Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim, A Sol Kwon and Seo Hee Ham. Arguably the most well-known however is Chan Sung Jung, better known as “The Korean Zombie.” After serving his mandatory military time in South Korea, Jung started his second UFC run in 2017. Now 2-1 in his campaign, he goes up against Frankie Edgar in the main event of UFC Busan.

Live from the Sajik Arena (사직실내체육관), in Busan (부산시), Korea (한국), UFC concludes it’s action-packed 2019 with UFC on ESPN+ 23. Starting at the ripe time of 2AM EST, the prelims for UFC Busan features seven bouts.

Bout 1: Heili Alateng (알라탕 헬리) (13-7-1) vs. Ryan Benoit (라이언 브누아) (10-5) (Bantamweight)

In the first bout of the show, Ryan Benoit will make a return to the UFC after a two-year layoff to face Heili Alateng. Benoit is 3-3 in the UFC, being absent since 2017, where he defeated Ashkan Mokhatarian with a head kick. Alateng is familiar to Korea, having been a frequent fighter in ROAD FC prior to being scouted by the UFC. He won his UFC debut against Danaa Batgerel back in August, going the distance with the Mongolian fighter.

Bout 2: Amanda Lemos (아만다 레모스) (6-1-1) vs. Miranda Granger (미란다 그레인저) (7-0) (Flyweight)

Similar to the first fight of the evening, Amanda Lemos comes back from an extensive break to face Miranda Granger in this fight. Lemos last fought in 2017, losing to Leslie Smith. That was Lemos’ first fight in the UFC, attempting to bounce back from whatever negative momentum still is there from the dated loss. Granger got her debut jitters out of the way in August, getting a win over Hannah Goldy. Granger had previously fought in regional promotion CFFC. She has stayed undefeated throughout her professional and amateur career.

Bout 3: Said Nurmagomedov (사이드 누르마고메도프) (13-1) vs. Raoni Barcelos (라오니 바르셀로스) (14-1) (Bantamweight)

In a fight that feels buried deep down this card, up-and-coming Said Nurmagomedov and Raoni Barcelos are pitted against each other in a bantamweight bout. Nurmagomedov is 2-0 in the UFC, prevailing over Justin Scoggins and Ricardo Ramos. Barcelos is 3-0, having recently defeated Carlos Huachin via punches.

Bout 4: Alexandre Pantoja (21-4) (알렉산드레 판토자) vs. Matt Schnell (14-4) (맷 슈넬) (Flyweight)

Matt Schnell took a little time to get on his feet in the UFC. He lost to Tim Elliott on The Ultimate Fighter Season 24, then lost two times on other shows. But, in late 2017, he snapped his losing streak and started what is now a four-fight winning streak. Attempting to move it to five, Schnell goes up against Alexandre Pantoja. “The Cannibal” most recently lost to Deiveson Figueiredo via decision at UFC 240, breaking a three-fight winning streak he had before. Pantoja has a solid 5-2 record in the UFC.

Bout 5: Omar Morales (오마르 모랄레스) (8-0) vs. Dong Hyun Ma (마동현) (16-10-3) (Lightweight)

The first Korean fighter on the card, Dong Hyun Ma, has a tall order: end Omar Morales’ undefeated streak. Morales is a Dana White’s Contender Series winner, making his debut on this card. He has also fought in Bellator in the past, taking out Troy Nawrocki in under a minute at Bellator 204. Ma has fought in the UFC since 2015, going 3-4 in the promotion. “The Maestro” will walk into this fight on a two-fight losing streak, recently getting stopped by Scott Holtzman in August.

Bout 6: Suman Mokhtarian (수만 모크타리안) (8-1) vs. Seung Woo Choi (최승우) (7-3) (Featherweight)

As the prelims near their end, two fighters will compete who have never tasted victory in the UFC. Suman Mokhatarian lost in The Ultimate Fighter Season 27, and most recently lost in the first round to Sodiq Yusuff. Korean fighter Seung Woo Choi debuted earlier this year, losing to Movsar Evloev and Gavin Tucker. He had previously been successful in Korean promotion TFC.

Bout 7: Ciryl Gane (시릴 가네) (5-0) vs. Tanner Boser (태너 보저) (17-5-1) (Heavyweight)

In the featured fight of the preliminary card, undefeated Ciryl Gane faces Tanner Boser. Gane debuted earlier this year, prevailing over Raphael Pessoa and Dontale Mayes. He had previously fought in Canadian promotion TKO. Boser won his UFC debut two months back, going the distance against Daniel Spitz. Before then, he had competed many times in ACB.

Bout 8: Kyung Ho Kang (강경호) (16-8) vs. Pingyuan Liu (리우 핑유안) (15-5) (Bantamweight)

Kicking off the main card, “Mr. Perfect” Kyung Ho Kang will face Pingyuan Liu. Coming from recognized Korean gym “Team MAD,” Kang has been a part of the UFC since 2013. A win at this show would give him a three-fight winning streak. That would make a three-way tie with his two other three-fight winning streaks for most consecutive wins in his career. But that’s looking quite ahead of time. First, he has to defeat Liu, who is no walk-through opponent. While he recently lost to Jonathan Martinez in July, the fight ended his 10-fight winning streak which dates back to his career in WLF.

Bout 9: Jun Yong Park (박준용) (10-4) vs. Marc-Andre Barriault (마크-안드레 바리올트) (11-3) (Middleweight)

The next fight sees Jun Yong Park and Marc-Andre Barriault battle for their first win in the promotion. Park lost his debut to Anthony Hernandez in August, getting caught in an anaconda choke in the second minute. Barriault lost twice this year, more recently in a split decision to Krzysztof Jotko. He wrapped up a six-fight undefeated stint in TKO before being signed by the UFC.

Bout 10: Da Un Jung (정다운) (12-2) vs. Mike Rodriguez (10-4) (마이크 로드리게스) (Light Heavyweight)

Following a strong debut in August from Da Un Jung, he returns on this card to face Mike Rodriguez. Jung’s UFC debut saw him choke Khadis Ibragimov to win the fight. He had previously fought in many promotions, mainly Japanese promotion HEAT. Rodriguez recently lost to John Allan via decision, making him 1-2 in the promotion. He found himself in the UFC after getting a stoppage victory in the first season of Dana White’s Contender Series.

Bout 11: Doo Ho Choi (최두호) (14-3) vs. Charles Jourdain (찰스 조르단) (9-2) (Featherweight)

A couple of fights after gym-mate Kyung Ho Kang fights, Doo Ho Choi will be put up against Charles “Air” Jourdain in a featherweight class. Choi has been out of the spotlight lately, recently losing to Jeremy Stephens via punches in early 2018. Before then, his most recent fight was a loss to Cub Swanson in 2016. Attempting to break his streak, “The Korean Superboy” will be put up against Jourdain, who lost in his UFC debut against Des Green back in May. Coincidentally, like many other fighters on this card, Jourdain fought frequently in Canadian promotion TKO before being signed to the UFC.

Bout 12: Volkan Oezdemir (볼칸 우즈데미르) (16-4) v.s Aleksandar Rakic (알렉산더 라키치) (12-1) (Light Heavyweight)

The co-main event of the show sees light heavyweight contender Aleksandar Rakic get put up against one of the weight classes gatekeepers, Volkan Oezdemir. Rakic is 4-0 since debuting in the UFC, more recently getting a win over Jimi Manuwa in under a minute due to a head kick. Oezdemir recently put an ending to a three-fight losing streak, stopping Ilir Latifi in two rounds. To be absolutely fair, Oezdemir’s losses came against title challengers like Daniel Cormier, Anthony Smith and Dominick Reyes. Whether he will allow Rakic to add his name to the list of winners will be seen on Saturday.

Bout 13: Chan Sung Jung (정찬성) (15-5) vs. Frankie Edgar (프랭키 에드가) (23-7-1) (Featherweight)

The main event of the evening sees Chan Sung Jung, or, “The Korean Zombie” face Frankie Edgar in a five-round fight. This matchup only came together in recent weeks, as Jung’s original opponent was Brian Ortega. He pulled out of the fight recently however, citing a torn ACL taking him out of action. Edgar stepped up to the plate, and here we are. Jung left the UFC limelight in 2014 to undergo two years of military service in Korea. He returned in 2017, stopping Dennis Bermudez in under three minutes with punches. His first lost in his recent run came against Yair Rodriguez, who landed a literal last-second elbow to knock Jung out in a five-round bout. Jung bounced back however, recently defeating Renato Moicano in just under a minute with strikes.

Edgar’s last fight was for the Featherweight Championship. While he went all 25 minutes with now-former champion Max Holloway, he did not prevail. Before then, he beat Cub Swanson. He was originally slated to face Jung in 2018, but was replaced due to a torn bicep. Edgar is one of the most experienced fighters in UFC’s history, with a record of 17-7-1 in the promotion.

After this event, UFC will be absent from events for four weeks. When returning, UFC will present UFC 246. Currently scheduled to headline the card is Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone in a five-round non-championship fight. In the meantime however, there will most certainly still be MMA. Bellator will debut in Japan on the 28th, with Fedor Emelianenko and Rampage Jackson main eventing the card. New Year’s Eve will have a double header with RIZIN in Japan and PFL having their grand finals in New York. ONE Championship will also hold a big card in Thailand to kick off the new year’s tour of MMA events.

 

Matt Schnell versus Alexandre Pantoja Added To UFC Fight Night Busan

The first fight on UFC’s last 2019 show has been announced. Reported by Combate and MMAFighting, news broke on Thursday that flyweights Alexandre Pantoja and Matt Schnell will square-off at UFC on ESPN+ 23, which takes place in Busan, Korea on December 21st.

Making his third appearance of 2019, Alexandre Pantoja will try to bounce back from a July loss to Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 240. Before then, he had three victorious performances within the division, defeating Brandon Moreno, Ulka Sasaki and Wilson Reis.

Matt Schnell is currently riding a four-fight winning streak, with the two latest wins via first-round triangle chokes.

Schnell is currently ranked 10th in the flyweight division, as Alexandre Pantoja is up in 4th. Making a successful turn around from his first two UFC fights, Schnell currently holds a 4-2 record within the promotion.

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.