The UFC’s two flyweight divisions get a serious showcase this weekend.

Deiveson Figueiredo will defend his flyweight title for the primary time towards Alex Perez in the primary occasion of UFC 255 on Saturday in Las Vegas. Within the co-main occasion, dominant UFC ladies’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will put her belt on the road towards Jennifer Maia.

For Figueiredo, it is an opportunity to reshape the division in his picture, following a protracted reign by all-time nice Demetrious Johnson and a a lot shorter one from Henry Cejudo. ESPN has Figueiredo ranked No. 8 in its MMA pound-for-pound rankings. In ESPN’s flyweight rankings, Figueiredo is No. 2 (behind Johnson), and Perez is No. 5.

Figueiredo (19-1) beat Joseph Benavidez through first-round submission in July to win the flyweight title. It was his second straight win over Benavidez, however the title was not on the road in February as a result of Figueiredo missed weight. Figueiredo, 32, has gained 4 straight fights and is 8-1 within the UFC. He has 16 stoppages in 19 professional wins, flipping on its head the notion that flyweights do not end fights.

Perez (24-5) has gained three straight and 11 of his previous 12 fights. The California native is filling in for the injured Cody Garbrandt, the previous bantamweight champion who was supposed to maneuver to flyweight and problem Figueiredo at UFC 255. Perez, 28, is coming off a first-round TKO of Jussier Formiga through leg kicks at UFC 250 in June.

In the meantime, Shevchenko will try to additional her legacy within the co-headliner. “Bullet” is ESPN’s No. 2-ranked pound-for-pound ladies’s MMA fighter. At flyweight, Shevchenko is ranked No. 1, and Maia is No. 4.

Shevchenko (19-3) has gained 5 straight fights. The Kyrgyzstan native has misplaced to just one girl within the UFC: Amanda Nunes, the present ladies’s bantamweight and featherweight champion. Shevchenko, 32, has three profitable flyweight title defenses and is taken into account among the best technical strikers — man or girl — within the sport.

Maia (18-6-1) has gained three of her previous 4 bouts. The Brazil native is coming off a first-round submission win over Joanne Calderwood in August. Maia, 32, is the previous Invicta FC ladies’s flyweight champion.

Additionally on the cardboard, Mike Perry meets Tim Means in a battle of all-action welterweights, ladies’s flyweight contenders Katlyn Chookagian and Cynthia Calvillo face off, and MMA legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua meets Paul Craig in a rematch of a cut up draw from November 2019.


Struggle in progress:

Mild heavyweight: Mauricio Rua (27-11-1, 11-9-1 UFC, +155) vs. Paul Craig (13-4-1, 5-4-1 UFC, -175)


Outcomes:

Males’s flyweight: Brandon Moreno (18-5-1, 6-2-1 UFC) defeats Brandon Royval (12-5, 2-1 UFC) by first-round TKO

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Brandon Royval has to pop his shoulder again into place, with the assistance of his nook, after a loss to Brandon Moreno in Spherical 1.

Recap to return.

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Middleweight: Joaquin Buckley (12-3, 2-1 UFC) defeats Jordan Wright (11-1, 1-1 UFC) by second-round KO

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Recent off his viral knockout in October, Joaquin Buckley finishes Jordan Wright of their prelim bout at UFC 255.

What was Buckley going to do for an encore after turning within the knockout of the 12 months final month?

That was the burning query for many who had seen Buckley’s ridiculous leaping, spinning back-kick KO six weeks in the past.

However this time, Buckley didn’t make the spotlight reel along with his toes. This time he used his fists, and for the second straight time handed an opponent his first profession loss.

Buckley, a 26-year-old from St. Louis, fought like somebody carrying the stress of expectations. He threw each punch from the hip, and early on that didn’t serve him nicely, as lots of his haymakers hit nothing however air. However within the ultimate seconds of the primary spherical, Buckley clipped Wright with a flurry of punches and dropped him. He did not have time earlier than the horn to complete the battle, however he had his opponent harm.

How harm? Buckley wasted no time after the break to search out out. He went proper at Wright at the beginning of Spherical 2 and dropped him, and referee Herb Dean jumped in shortly as Buckley was unloading one other flurry of punches. The tip got here at 18 seconds of the spherical.

For Buckley, it was his second straight victory after dropping his UFC debut.

Wright, 29, fights out of Los Angeles. He confirmed sturdy standup early, holding Buckley at distance and avoiding massive photographs. However even when he was touchdown kicks to the physique, they didn’t stop his opponent from advancing. It appeared like only a matter of time. And it was.

— Wagenheim

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Girls’s strawweight: Antonina Shevchenko (9-2, 3-2 UFC) defeats Ariane Lipski (13-6, 2-3 UFC) by second-round TKO

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The referee is pressured to cease the battle as Ariane Lipski is unable to battle again with Antonia Shevchenko on high of her unleashing a downpour of punches.

A multiple-time world Muay Thai champion like her sister Valentina, Antonina Shevchenko is thought for her putting abilities. However each sisters have mastered the opposite facets of MMA, as nicely. And Antonina demonstrated that Saturday night time.

Shevchenko stopped Lipski through TKO at 4:33 of the second spherical in a ladies’s flyweight bout. Shevchenko used her wrestling and grappling abilities to get Lipski down in each rounds. From there, she acquired into dominant place and landed arduous floor and pound till referee Chris Tognoni pulled her off.

Within the first spherical, Shevchenko took Lipski down with a head-and-arm throw. She practically misplaced place in a scramble, however Shevchenko acquired in high place and landed punches. Shevchenko acquired Lipski down once more within the second with a throw, ended up in mount after which took Lipski’s again. All of the whereas, Shevchenko was touchdown punches.

“I did what I wish to do — enhance as a fighter,” Shevchenko mentioned in her postfight interview. “Enhance my grappling, enhance my wrestling. … It’s important to be good in all places.”

Shevchenko, who celebrated her thirty sixth birthday Friday, has gained three of 5 fights within the UFC. The Kyrgyzstan native has two finishes in her final three fights. Lipski, a 26-year-old Brazil native, had a two-fight profitable streak snapped.

— Raimondi

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Welterweight: Nicolas Dalby (19-3-1 1 NC, 2-0 1 NC UFC) defeats Daniel Rodriguez (13-2, 3-1 UFC) by unanimous choice

Dalby gained the battle by profitable the battle over distance management, ending Rodriguez’s 10-fight profitable streak.

It took Rodriguez many of the method via Spherical 1 to search out his vary. Dalby maintained his distance early on, and the 36-year-old out of Copenhagen, Denmark, landed kicks whereas Rodriguez was having bother closing in on him with punches. When Rodriguez lastly did discover Dalby, he landed some crisp punches and had Dalby in retreat because the horn sounded to finish the primary 5 minutes.

From that time on, nevertheless, Rodriguez by no means confirmed the urgency to get in Dalby’s face. This was under no circumstances a Dalby runaway — each males landed loads, and Rodrigiuez had a giant edge in vital strikes in every of the primary two rounds. However Dalby by no means allowed his opponent to realize any momentum.

Two judges scored the bout 29-28 and the opposite had it 30-27, all for Dalby, who ran his unbeaten streak to seven in a row.

Rodriguez, who’s 33 and fights out of Alhambra, California, misplaced for the primary time within the UFC.

— Wagenheim

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Welterweight: Alan Jouban (17-7, 8-5 UFC) defeats Jared Gooden (17-5, 0-1 UFC) by unanimous choice

Jouban put the squeeze on a guillotine choke. He swept into mount and it seemed like Gooden was both on the verge of tapping out or going unconscious. Then, the bell sounded, signifying the tip of the battle

No, Jouban did not get the end he tried extremely arduous for. However he did earn a unanimous-decision win (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over Gooden in a welterweight bout. It was the primary time Jouban, a well-liked veteran, has competed since April 2019.

The bout itself was a really entertaining one. Jouban attacked properly with an attractive straight left and good kicks to the physique from the southpaw stance. Gooden, although, was in a position to take in all of these photographs and reply with highly effective boxing. Jouban’s proper eye was broken due to a conflict of heads within the first spherical and it seemed unhealthy by the third spherical. However Jouban nonetheless did greater than sufficient to win.

The second spherical is what separated Jouban. Somewhat than loading up for haymakers like Gooden did, Jouban was content material to land a jab, that straight left and a few arduous kicks to the physique and legs. A number of instances, Jouban let unfastened with mixtures that landed. Gooden got here again within the third to land some arduous proper fingers. However Jouban snared Gooden’s neck in a scramble and nearly completed within the closing seconds with a guillotine.

Jouban, 38, has gained two of three however has dropped three of 5 altogether. The Louisiana native, who lives and works as a mannequin in California, was as soon as thought of a welterweight contender. Gooden, a 26-year-old Georgia resident, got here in on a three-fight profitable streak. This was Gooden’s UFC debut.

— Raimondi

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Middleweight: Kyle Daukaus (10-1, 1-1 UFC) defeats Dustin Stoltzfus (13-2, 0-1 UFC) by unanimous choice

Daukaus acquired again on observe after struggling his first profession defeat in his UFC debut in June, getting the higher of a battle that principally was contested with the fighters chest-to-chest towards the cage.

Daukaus, a 27-year-old out of Philadelphia, acquired the higher of the exchanges on these sporadic events when the fighters had been at distance, using the lengthy attain that comes along with his 6-foot-3 body. However principally, this was a clinch fest, and Stoltzfus’ greatest weapon in these tight exchanges was dropping for a leg lock, which he did a few instances to flee bother.

However the 29-year-old Stoltzfus, who is also a Pennsylvania native, couldn’t produce sufficient offense to maintain Daukaus away from him. Consequently, he noticed a 10-fight profitable streak finish in his UFC debut.

Two judges scored the bout 30-27 and the opposite had it 30-26.

— Wagenheim

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Welterweight: Sasha Palatnikov (6-2, 1-0 UFC) defeats Louis Cosce (7-1, 0-1 UFC) by third-round TKO

Palatnikov acquired smashed with mixtures within the first spherical and was practically completed. He took two arduous strikes beneath the belt. But, someway, the debuting UFC fighter ended up not solely along with his hand raised however with a end.

Palatnikov stopped Cosce through TKO at 2:27 of the third spherical in a welterweight bout to open UFC 255. The bout was a struggle of attrition. Cosce beat Palatnikov up within the first spherical, which was some of the thrilling rounds of the 12 months in MMA. Each males had been bloody by the tip.

Cosce caught Palatnikov with punches whereas Palatnikov was in the course of a entrance roll within the first spherical. Palatnikov was making an attempt to flee, however it did not work. Cosce poured it on from there, touchdown big mixtures. Palatnikov managed to outlive the onslaught — and truly come again with massive offense within the first. He landed arduous elbows and a wild spinning again fist earlier than the shut of the preliminary 5 minutes.

“I knew, he is a muscular man,” Palatanikov mentioned in his postfight interview. “If he [gives you] a number of massive photographs and may’t drop you, he’ll get drained. … If I get hit, I get woken up.”

Palatnikov was the aggressor the remainder of the best way. He did take in two low blows — one within the second and one within the third — however persevered via them. After the latter groin shot, Palatnikov got here again from a pause within the motion to rock Cosce with an enormous proper hand. He then slammed Cosce with punches on the bottom till referee Chris Tognoni stepped in to name it.

Palatnikov, 31, is the first-ever Hong Kong-born fighter in UFC historical past. The Syndicate MMA product cashed as a +400 underdog. Cosce, a 25-year-old California native, earned his method into the UFC through a first-round TKO win over Victor Reyna on Dana White’s Contender Collection in August.

— Raimondi

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Nonetheless to return:

Males’s flyweight: Deiveson Figueiredo (c) (19-1, 8-1 UFC, -280) vs. Alex Perez (24-5, 6-1 UFC, +240)
Girls’s flyweight: Valentina Shevchenko (c) (19-3, 8-2 UFC, -1600) vs. Jennifer Maia (18-6-1, 3-2 UFC, +900)
Welterweight: Mike Perry (14-6, 7-6 UFC, -130) vs. Tim Means (30-12-1 1 NC, 12-9 1 NC UFC, +110)
Girls’s flyweight: Katlyn Chookagian (14-4, 7-4 UFC, +220) vs. Cynthia Calvillo (9-1-1, 6-1-1 UFC, -260)
(c) = defending champion





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