Tonight, UFC Fight Night: Vieira vs. Tate (UFC Vegas 43) takes place from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, and we’ve got 10 fighters for you to look out for.
The UFC released a video showcasing some of the best finishes in the careers of 10 fight…
Tonight, UFC Fight Night: Vieira vs. Tate (UFC Vegas 43) takes place from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, and we’ve got 10 fighters for you to look out for.
The UFC released a video showcasing some of the best finishes in the careers of 10 fighters competing at UFC Vegas 43. Here are the fighters who made the cut and a note on which of their performances was spotlighted in the video package.
Kicking off the UFC Vegas 43 lineup will be Luana Pinheiro competing against Sam Hughes in a strawweight bout. Pinheiro is 9-1 with seven consecutive wins. She earned her UFC contract last year with a victory on Dana White’s Contender Series over Stephanie Frausto with a first-round KO that you can peep in the video!
Adrian Yanez also earned his UFC contract last year on Dana White’s Contender Series. The 27-year-old is 14-3 as a professional and is considered one of the best boxers and prospects in the bantamweight division. In his promotional debut, he earned a head kick KO over Victor Rodriguez (pictured above). You can watch the KO in live motion in the video!
Yanez will be facing England’s own “Dangerous” Davey Grant (11-5). Grant has won three of his last four fights. In one of these victories, Grant scored a KO victory over Jonathan Martinez at UFC Vegas 21 in March. You can relive that KO in the video!
Pat Sabatini (15-3) is 2-0 in the UFC and is currently enjoying a four-fight winning streak. In his most recent bout, Sabatini submitted Jamall Emmers via heel hook, which you can find in the video package. Sabatini’s bout against Tucker Lutz will be the featured preliminary bout tonight.
One half of the UFC Vegas 43 headliners, Ketlen Vieira, enters tonight’s event as the #7-ranked bantamweight. She holds victories over established names of WMMA Sara McMann and Cat Zingano. Vieira will look to add former UFC champion Miesha Tate to that list by the end of tonight. You can catch Vieira’s submission win over McMann in the video!
#6-ranked Michael Chiesa will have the opportunity to be the first man to defeat Sean Brady in tonight’s co-main event. Chiesa has confessed that he does not see any holes in Brady’s game whatsoever, but he’ll have to find one to be successful tonight. Since making the move to welterweight, Chiesa has gone 4-1 in the division, which includes a one-armed kimura over the legendary Carlos Condit. If you haven’t witnessed this must-see submission yet, you can do so in the video!
Terrance McKinney revealed prior to tonight’s card that Michael Chiesa was a huge motivation for him to enter MMA, being that Chiesa was his high school wrestling coach! The two will be competing on the same card tonight. McKinney will be looking to follow up on his UFC debut, which was over in seven seconds! You can catch the full debut in the video package, but don’t blink!
A 10-year veteran of the UFC, Rani Yahya is well known for his submission skills. A mouthdropping 21 of Yahya’s 27 career victories have been submissions. This includes a patient and technically flawless arm-triangle choke over Ray Rodriguez in his most recent bout, which is included in the video package.
One of the most respected pioneers of women’s MMA, Miesha Tate is back in the main event tonight as she goes against Ketlen Vieira. Tate is planning for this bout to be the beginning of a historic comeback run that will see her re-capture the UFC bantamweight championship. In the video below, we relive the moment Tate won UFC gold when she submitted Holly Holm in 2016.
Finally, you can check out the video below of some of the best finishes from these UFC Vegas 43 Fighters to Watch!
On this day six years ago, the seemingly unstoppable Ronda Rousey suffered her first career loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193. Rousey was never the same again. Here is an editorial published three years ago that examined Rousey’s po…
[MMA NEWS ARCHIVES]
On this day six years ago, the seemingly unstoppable Ronda Rousey suffered her first career loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193. Rousey was never the same again. Here is an editorial published three years ago that examined Rousey’s post-MMA rebound and a past that many people wouldn’t let her leave behind.
[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED MAY 3, 2018, 10:55 AM]
She’s different, and don’t care who knows it. Something about her…not the same. She’s different, and that’s how it goes. And she’s not gonna play your gosh darn game.
What we have been witnessing for the past couple of years is a cold war between Ronda Rousey and the MMA media. Ronda Rousey has been branded a poor sport, ungrateful, and immature for not speaking about her losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes. All the while, Rousey did not return fire. She did not want to partake in any war of words, but rather she elected for peace. The MMA media would have none of it and continued to fire bullets at Rousey’s door in the hopes of driving her out of her house to face them at once.
It’s hard to gauge if Rousey has suffered any damage from the bullets. On one hand, there does seem to be a public conception that Ronda Rousey can’t handle losing and is a poor sport because of her MMA media blackout, but whether that has lost her many fans seems doubtful. Also, it is much more common to see negativity and dogpiling of a celebrity figure than fans coming to the defense of a celebrity on the wrong side of a media narrative. That’s part of being a celebrity. It comes with the territory. But how the celebrity chooses to cope with this criticism and excessive attention, however, is entirely up to that celebrity. Just as the journalist delivers a product to the audience to be bought, so, too, does the celebrity. But in the case of the celebrity, they are the product. The celebrity is the brand. How accessible the celebrity makes themselves outside of delivering their public performances is a privilege for those who would like to hear or see more from the figure; it is not a right the public is automatically entitled to.
She’s gotta different kind of walk.
Did the MMA media help Ronda Rousey become the star that she is? Perhaps. But I’d say it was Rousey’s undefeated record, Tyson-esque speed finishes, and physical appearance that accounted for 85% of her fame. In other words, she walked the walk. And from there, mainstream media outlets like ESPN, ABC, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel, etc. picked up on her and gave her mainstream exposure. The media that is responsible for the majority of the other 15% of Ronda’s star appeal is the MSM, not the MMA media. And if I’m wrong, then, we’re less than 10 days away from UFC 224, with a main event that could use some buzz. So how about it, star weavers? We’ve got a champion who retired two of the most recognized and legendary names in women’s MMA in dominant fashion! How about using your magic to make her a star! I’m sure Amanda would be much more grateful!
The reality is, you don’t see the same exposure and discussion around Amanda because the media is not in the star-making business. It’s in the star-following business. And when a star goes off the radar so that they can’t be followed, then, there is a blow TO business. But that’s not Rousey’s problem. What we can learn from the coverage of Ronda’s silence is that Ronda does not even have to fight OR speak to generate headlines. And since so many of those headlines are negative, it’s not surprising that Rousey does not want to participate in this world now that she is no longer contractually obligated to. In fact, if we follow the timeline of Rousey’s downfall, it isn’t Ronda Rousey who needs to provide answers. It’s the MMA media.
She’s gotta different kind of smile.
At UFC 193, Ronda Rousey loss her bantamweight championship in devastating, one-sided, meme-worthy fashion. For a woman who had been built up by the mainstream media as this pop culture megastar and unstoppable force, and as someone who repeatedly made it clear that her dream was to retire undefeated, it’s understandable how fans and journalists would wonder how she’d respond to this loss. But we heard nothing. That is until Ronda Rousey appeared on The Ellen Show three months later where she tearfully confessed to the world that she contemplated suicide following her loss to Holly Holm. She openly told a national television audience that she thought about killing herself because she lost a fight. This was a far cry, literally and figuratively, from the radiant smile we had gone accustomed to seeing on Rousey’s typical media appearances. But somehow, there seems to be zero appreciation for how vulnerable it was for her to say those words to millions of strangers or, to my larger point, for how it is she felt about her loss.
Fast forward to the end of the 2016, and Rousey makes her big return to face new champion Amanda Nunes in an attempt to regain her championship. And the same woman who earlier this same year said she contemplated suicide after losing would lose once again in a fashion that was just as one sided, but only much quicker. And once again, she fell off the grid, much to the chagrin of the MMA media. They wanted to know what she had to say about the losses. Her fans deserve it, they said. It’s what a good sport would do, they said. Well, heading into Wrestlemania 34, she went on ESPN and she spoke, all right. And it was an unmitigated disaster.
She’s gotta different kind of talk…
On both Golic and Wingo and First Take, Rousey was rude, awkward, and abrasive. Even when Max Kellerman was on her side and defending her, the mere fact that he was talking about the two losses triggered her and she responded to Kellerman with biting sarcasm. The reasons for this are two-fold: One, she is not a good sport. That should be clear by now. You can’t force someone to be something that they are not. What you can do, however, is accept the reality of who they are and let it go. Secondly, and more importantly, based on how easily triggered she is by any question or comment about her losses, and based on her saying things like, “I remember walking away thinking God hates me,” and based on the very first interview after her Holm loss, where she discussed wanting to commit suicide, guess what, you don’t have to be Dr. Phil to see that the woman is legitimately traumatized by her losses. That may sound silly. You might not understand it. Maybe you can’t relate. I get it. But you don’t have to understand it in order to accept it. Sympathizing with someone who has been traumatized says much more about a human being than speaking about a loss in a competition. And by sympathizing, I don’t necessarily mean feeling sorry for her, but rather showing enough compassion to the degree that you can at least back off.
…drives the critics kind of wild.
Rousey’s acclaimed Wrestlemania 34 performance and her comments afterwards finally brought closure to the MMA chapter of her life and the beginning of her new one. She says that for the first time, she is grateful for those two losses because it got her to where she is today. She then offered words of inspiration to her millions of fans, ensuring them that no matter how dark the landscape may be in the moment, in time, the sun always rises again. It seemed that maybe, just maybe, all parties involved could feel a sense of closure cascading down upon them. Then, she spoke….about not speaking.
“We live in an age of trial by Twitter. What is really gained by stating opinion on anything? It whittles people down. It gets cut and pasted 10 times and it’s in (a) headline.” With the context of the above quote, I submit the ensuing controversial snippet from the Q and A hosted by Peter Berg:
“(Public figures) keep more and more of it to themselves. Why should I talk? I believe hearing me speak is a privilege, and it’s a privilege that’s been abused, so why not revoke it from everyone? I don’t believe public criticism beating you down is the right thing to do.”
Here, Rousey is complaining about how words of public figures are taken out of context and is “abused” by the media, which, predictably, is precisely what happened with this very quote. First of all, hearing Ronda Rousey speak is a privilege for her followers. That may sound outrageous, and it may come across as a very conceited thing for her to say, but if it were not a privilege, people would not be complaining for the better part of two years about her NOT speaking. Anybody who complained because another human being opted not to speak gives validity to her statement hearing her is a privilege. It’s a privilege not because she is better than anybody as a human being but because people care about her speaking, as evident in the coverage of her silence. Celebrity is a phenomenon that has existed for as long as human history has been recorded. It may not be logical, but it’s a fact of society: some people speaking is more valuable than others. That’s why things like speaking fees, autograph signings, and interviews are so valuable. Because witnessing the appearance and/or speaking of this figure is considered a privilege by those who have requested it, paid for it, or, in this case, petulantly demanded it.
But here’s the quote from the very same interview that didn’t make the headlines and has virtually been ignored:
“I did a whole lot of crying, isolating myself, (Travis Browne) held me and let me cry and it lasted two years. I couldn’t have done it alone.”
There. She’s literally talking about the two losses. And she once again is stopping hairs short of directly telling the world that she was traumatized by the two losses. And once again, it is falling on deaf ears.
So maybe it’s not about whether or not she talks about the two losses. Maybe it comes back to the MMA media thinking she owes us something. But let’s be clear. Ronda Rousey became a star through her own efforts in pioneering WMMA in the UFC and putting forth a campaign as world champion that has yet to be paralleled. While I don’t believe any figure is obligated to speak when they don’t want to, the “owe us something” narrative would perhaps apply more to performers like Mackenzie Dern, Sean O’Malley, and Mike Perry, stars whose fast-rising fame could much more directly be attributed to the overwhelming media coverage (along with company promotion, of course) that preceded any actual achievements in the sport. But it doesn’t fit with a woman who earned her fame in the Octagon much more than many people seem to give her credit for.
In the end, Rousey has shown and, contrary to the common misconception, spoken on her two losses and demonstrated how much she cares about the sport in the process. Not everyone is going to appear and spout recycled platitudes after a loss like, “I’ll come back stronger,” “I’m going to grow from this.” “This is going to make me a better fighter.” Quite frankly, none of those things would have been true, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s best that she didn’t appear to utter these empty clichés. Rousey is a living example of the song “I’m Different” by Randy Newman that has been remixed throughout this piece. She’s different and doesn’t care who knows it; and she’s “not gonna play your goddamn game.” Oh, and by the way, she still doesn’t give a damn about her bad reputation.
The truth is, from the looks of it, she won’t be coming back. And at the time, she did NOT think she was going to grow from it, but rather she sunk into a very dark place immediately following both losses. She has told the world how dark the place was that she resided in for the past two years was. She has cried openly on national television and even spoken of suicide. And overwhelming, the MMA community’s response has been,
“Get over it. You’re a bad sport, and you are ungrateful.”
Since Rousey isn’t directly addressing the MMA media and community, allow me to speak on her behalf:
It’s been two years. Get over it. Accept that she is a bad sport, but do not let that turn you ungrateful for her great contributions to the sport of MMA. And the best way to show gratitude is to move on after a bad breakup without trashing the ex every chance you get. And who knows, maybe obvious rebounds like Mackenzie Dern will turn out to be the real thing. But whether you experience another great one or not, it should not prevent us all from showing gratitude for the great times we shared. In doing so, you would be behaving more “proper” than Rousey after suffering a loss. Because no matter how you spin it and how sour things ended, Ronda Rousey leaving the sport is a loss to MMA. Now all that’s left to do is to just be good sports about it.
A pair of sleek strikers take center stage at UFC Vegas 42 when Max Holloway meets Yair Rodriguez in a 145-pound showdown with title ambitions hanging in the balance.
“Blessed” has put together a legendary UFC career at the age of 29. Training in …
A pair of sleek strikers take center stage at UFC Vegas 42 when Max Holloway meets Yair Rodriguez in a 145-pound showdown with title ambitions hanging in the balance.
“Blessed” has put together a legendary UFC career at the age of 29. Training in ‘The Aloha State’, Holloway’s boxing has put the tropical island on the map of major MMA players. The waves of experience Holloway gathered after enduring losses to Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier forged his will to capture UFC gold.
Following an interim-title victory against Anthony Pettis, Max Holloway began his reign. Although the two 145-pound belts were not unified until Holloway’s TKO performance against José Aldo at UFC 212. The Hawaiian possesses a unique ability to control distance in the Octagon and deconstruct opponents as fights unravel. After defending his title on three occasions, the only American to secure the featherweight strap lost to rising 145-pound juggernaut Alexander Volkanovski.
The former champion known for his crisp boxing was granted a rematch against Australia’s Volkanovski. While his second showing would see Holloway nearly drop the champion in the opening round, Volkanovski regathered his composure and won on two of the judge’s scorecards.
Volkanovski’s split decision victory against Max Holloway left the Hawaiian in no man’s land. With two losses to the current titleholder, the former champion will need to continue his streak of statement performances to push his name back into title discussions.
Reestablishing himself as a featherweight threat, he put on a boxing clinic against New England Cartel’s Calvin Kattar. After the fight, Holloway set a record for the most significant strikes landed in a UFC fight (445).
Max Holloway set records and looked good doing it. After channeling his inner Muhhamad Ali, the once featherweight champion showcased his readiness for another shot at Volkanovski. Max Holloway intends to stay active and eliminate a fellow contender from conversations surrounding gold. The former champion is expected to face Yair Rodriguez. And what Holloway is to punches, Rodriguez is to kicks.
A Look At “El Pantera” Ahead Of UFC Vegas 42
13-2 as a professional, Yair Rodriguez, while not as seasoned as Holloway, maintains a dynamic skillset nonetheless. As The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America tournament winner, the flashy yet stealthy style of Yair Rodriguez is a crowd-pleaser. The Mexican native has earned four ‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses as well as three ‘Performance of the Night’ bonuses.
Unlike Holloway, Rodrguez has been less active during his seven-year UFC tenure. However, “El Pantera” put any doubts about his commitment to MMA in the rearview after his violent display against Jeremy Stephens. Many featherweight fighters have grown tired of waiting for Yair Rodriguez and believe his ranking does not reflect the merit of activity. In particular, the rising #8-ranked Giga Chikadze is baffled by the current 145-pound rankings.
As it stands, “El Pantera” holds the #3 distinction as the best 145-pound fighter in the UFC. While he is on a two-fight winning streak, it has been over two years since his last fight. At UFC Vegas 42, some of the most dynamic strikers will mix it up and Holloway will put his status as a clear #1 contender on the line.
How Do They Match Up?
Interestingly, when the two assassins meet at UFC Vegas 42, it will be Yair Rodriguez who enjoys a two-inch reach advantage. Rodriguez has an arsenal that could give Holloway issues while standing.
Early in round one against Jeremy Stephens in their rematch, Rodriguez methodically broke “Lil’ Heathen” down with a variety of kicks but most notably the oblique kick. While some have questioned the ethics of the strike in question, the weapon itself will be extremely useful against a forward pressure boxer like Holloway. Overall, Yair Rodriguez has the tools to defeat Max Holloway.
Shattering offensive records left and right, Max Holloway’s path to victory is being himself. Holloway will need to crowd the kicker. Instead of fighting Rodriguez at kickboxing range as he did against Alexander Volkanovski (in their second fight), Max Holloway’s ability to lead with a stiff jab will be critical to success. The former champion’s mobile offense could stifle Rodriguez’s attempts to set and launch power kicks.
This UFC Vegas 42 main event has the ingredients to emerge as a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. Max Holloway is a fighter’s fighter. It’s not every day we witness a former champion fight a contender instead of waiting for a shot at gold that he already earned.
Prediction: Max Holloway def. Yair Rodriguez via unanimous decision victory.
The UFC’s lightweight division has been considered the best division for years as the top-10 is a who’s who of talent. Yet, recently, the top of it has been clogged and after UFC 268 the future of the division is uncertain as Justin Gaethje, Islam Mak…
The UFC’s lightweight division has been considered the best division for years as the top-10 is a who’s who of talent. Yet, recently, the top of it has been clogged and after UFC 268 the future of the division is uncertain as Justin Gaethje, Islam Makhachev, and Beneil Dariush could all be fighting for UFC gold next time out.
With the division uncertain, I decided to matchmake the top of the lightweight division and provide some clarity of what should happen going forward.
Charles Oliveira (champion) vs. Dustin Poirier (1)
The second-ranked lightweight in Justin Gaethje deserves the next lightweight title fight. Although he’s only on a one-fight winning streak, his UFC 268 win over Michael Chandler is the Fight of the Year right now and it cemented him as the next title challenger.
Gaethje has already fought Poirier in what was the Fight of the Night. With that, a rematch would be highly-anticipated. If Oliveira wins, it’s an intriguing matchup and would test Gaethje’s ground game. Regardless, “The Highlight” should be fighting for UFC gold next time out.
Beneil Dariush (3) vs. Islam Makhachev (4)
With Gaethje getting the next title shot, Beneil Dariush vs. Islam Makhachev should be booked as the number one contender. Both men could fight for the title, but an extra win would only strengthen their case and add some hype to their name.
If Dariush wins, he would get some hype as he would be the one to stop Makhachev who many view as a future champ. If Makhachev wins, it’s a top-three win he needs as he has yet to beat anyone ranked inside the top-five. It could headline a Fight Night card or be on the same card as Oliveira/Poirier winner vs. Gaethje.
Michael Chandler (5) vs. Conor McGregor (9)
Both Michael Chandler and Conor McGregor will likely be out until the summer but when they return, they can match them up with one another in what would be an all-action fight.
Chandler and McGregor are both on a two-fight losing streak but both have a ton of hype and are looking to get back into the win column. Both men have the ability to get knocked out or get a knockout in this fight. It would be a massive fight for the main event of the June or July pay-per-view where the winner would then be one win away from a title shot.
Rafael dos Anjos (6) vs. Gregor Gillespie (10)
Rafael dos Anjos returned to the lightweight division and picked up a big win over Paul Felder who took the fight on short notice. He was booked to fight Makhachev a few times but it never came to fruition and when he returns a fight against Gregor Gillespie makes sense.
Gillespie deserves a chance to fight someone ranked above him, while dos Anjos is the odd man out of fighting someone in the top-five. If he can beat Gillespie he would get a top-five opponent. It could headline a Fight Night card in early 2022 or be on a pay-per-view card.
Tony Ferguson (7) vs. Dan Hooker (8)
In the final matchmaking of the top-10 of the lightweight division, Tony Ferguson vs. Dan Hooker makes all the sense in the world. Ferguson and Hooker like to stand and trade and both have proven to be durable. It also has all the makings to be a main card fight on a pay-per-view in early 2022 in what could be the Fight of the Night.
Both Ferguson and Hooker also seem to be on the outside looking in for the title picture, so a fun fight will do.
How would you match-make the top-10 of the lightweight division?
UFC 268 featured two title fights that had two champions defend their titles. A lightweight war between two top contenders would certainly line up the winner for the next shot at the 155-pound champ and the UFC’s return to Madison Square Garden did no…
UFC 268 featured two title fights that had two champions defend their titles. A lightweight war between two top contenders would certainly line up the winner for the next shot at the 155-pound champ and the UFC’s return to Madison Square Garden did not disappoint.
There was a lot to take away from UFC 268, here are some things that stood out.
The World’s Most Famous Arena
The UFC has not been to Madison Square Garden since UFC 244, where the main event was for a belt that would never be contested again in the BMF title. That was in 2019 when Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz fought for that title. The COVID-19 pandemic kept the UFC away from The Garden so this is their first one back in The Big Apple. Oddly enough, the man that would be the current unofficial BMF titleholder and current welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman headlined the card against another fighter he had already crossed hands with. That with a title fight in the co-main event featuring a champion that won a title there in Rose Namajunas made it seem like the UFC hasn’t been gone long at all.
Honoring Anthony Causi
The UFC takes a lot of heat when something they do, especially with the media, is concerned but rarely do they get attention when they do something nice. COVID 19 kept the UFC out of New York for a year but that didn’t stop them from returning and honoring The New York Post’s Anthony Causi. A photographer that would have been shooting cage side tonight had he not been one of the casualties of the pandemic. The UFC still posted a plaque where he would have been posted for the event. See the image shared by the New York Post’s Scott Fontana:
Last minute lineup change
One thing fans may or may not have seen as a treat was the lightweight match-up between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler was moved to the opener for the pay-per-view portion of the main card. The announcement was made during fight week because between Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas, and Gaethje, coach Trevor Wittman would have to just be cage-side for three fights in a row and after what came of Gaethje and Chandler, it seems like it was the right call. Gaethje certainly thinks so.
Chris Barnett vs Gian Villante
A lot was going on in this match-up, but what went on after Barnett scored the knockout over Villante is one of those moments, among many that Madison Square Garden holds that make the place so special. Barnett used his time to honor his opponent Villante, a New York native who seemed to be retiring with this fight in his hometown. The finish was good too, but what Barnett did was honorable.
A Lightweight Warzone
Speaking of Gaethje and Chandler. The fight delivered in more ways than expected simply because these two men ran into each other over and over again and neither man wanted to stop. Chandler’s been in wars before and Gaethje likes to make every fight a war. It was fun, but Gaethje would prove the more durable fighter of the two former lightweight champions. Both men were transported to the hospital as a precautionary measure but Chandler seemed to need the trip more than Gaethje did.
Namajunas was able to fend off Zhang Weili for the second time, but it was a split decision which means there’s likely a trilogy in the future, but there’s another former champion waiting in the wings. In the post-fight press conference, Dana White said fighters should not wait for fights but it looks like both Carla Esparza and Joanna J?drzejczyk seem to insist on doing just that. The strawweight division has a lot of the same players, so someone has to shake it up, right?
The Nightmare Continues
Kamaru Usman was able to defend his title against Colby Covington, but Covington was able to win the respect of Usman and maybe some fans in his attempt to become a champion. It was also a reminder that Covington is more than the gimmick he’s been running, he’s a legitimate contender. Usman seems to have beaten everyone there is to beat but Covington did do better than the last time. A trilogy after a unanimous decision is a hard sell, so fans will have to wait and see what’s coming in the welterweight division.
There’s obviously more to take away from this event than what is listed here. What’s next for the champions and winners is always fun to speculate but for all the established fighters and champions, new blood seems to be coming in more than ever so the matches to make are endless.
Arguably the best card of 2021 goes down in The World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden in New York tomorrow, November 6. The event will be available exclusively on ESPN+ pay-per-view, and the lineup in store for fans will be worth every penny. The main card begins at 10:00 PM ET, with the ESPNews preliminary card kicking off at 8:00 PM and the early prelims starting at 5:00 PM.
The UFC 268 main event will be a rematch of our 2019 Fight of the Year between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. There will be another rematch with gold on the line when “Thug” Rose Namajunas puts up her strawweight title against Zhang Weili. And who could ever overlook the lightweight banger between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler?
Also on the main card will be former champion Frankie Edgar facing Marlon “Chito” Vera. Plus, Shane Burgos will also be in action against Billy Quarantillo.
UFC 268 Staff Predictions
MMA News is the place to be for all the latest UFC 268 updates. Staff members Andrew Ravens, Ed Carbajal, and Harvey Leonard have provided predictions for the main card. Here is the full main card lineup for tomorrow night:
Andrew Ravens: This is the people’s main event right here. Two elite fighters that should take part in a war inside of the Octagon. Both fighters are coming off losses to the division’s bests so that’s nothing to take away from them. I see Chandler wanting it more and will find a way around Gaethje. If we’re being honest, it really could go either way, so I have Chandler winning the last two rounds to get the decision win. (Prediction: Michael Chandler)
Ed Carbajal: If any fight is for the harcore fans, this is it. This is their main-event. The former WSOF lightweight champion versus the former Bellator MMA lightweight champion. No one is more game than these two lightweights, but Chandler has lost to leg kicks in the Garden before. Leg kicks is something Gaethje is very good at and if luck has anything to do with it, Gaethje’s luck in The Garden has been good and Chandler’s, not so much. (Prediction: Justin Gaethje)
Harvey Leonard: This really is a coin flip. While the current Gaethje is a different iteration than the one who was finished by Alvarez and Poirier, he was still floored by Ferguson last year. With the power of Chandler, that could certainly happen on Saturday. In the same vein, “Iron” was finished by Oliveira, who is by no means a striking phenom or powerhouse. There’s no doubt “The Highlight” could get the job done with his hands.
Ultimately, I’d expect Gaethje to avoid Chandler’s takedown attempts, which, despite the pre-fight narrative, I think are inevitable. I’m not confident in backing either to finish the other. With that in mind, it comes down to who I believe will have the advantage across three rounds on the feet, and that’s Gaethje. (Prediction: Justin Gaethje)
Consensus: 2-1 Gaethje
Shane Burgos vs. Billy Quarantillo
Andrew Ravens: This is a really fun fight that is flying under the radar, but we have two finishers whether that’s knocking someone out or submitting them. Based on their recent histories, they do have a track record of finishing a fight then going to a decision, and they’re both coming off finishes so it will likely go to the judges. Burgos has been on a losing streak in his last two fights, but he’s faced tougher competition. Burgos rebounds with a decision win. (Prediction: Shane Burgos)
Ed Carbajal: This is a really good featherweight matchu,p with Burgos coming off two losses in a row and Quarantillo trying to keep his win streak going. Burgos will want to break the losing streak, and being the hometown fighter against a slow starter like Quarantillo makes me think he can do just that. (Prediction: Shane Burgos)
Harvey Leonard: Despite losing his last two, Burgos continues to entertain every time he enters the Octagon. This fight should see him maintain that reputation but also return to the win column. While Quarantillo is dangerous on the feet, “Hurricane” is just that bit slicker and sharper. If Burgos trust his chin too much like he did against Edson Barboza, and allows himself to get picked apart with kicks, that could be all she wrote for his place in the rankings.
However, I expect this to essentially be a flip of the script from Burgos’ defeats to Emmett and Barboza. While the fights were entertaining and competitive, Burgos was narrowly worse off from the exchanges. I expect that to be the opposite this time around. (Prediction: Shane Burgos)
Consensus: 3-0 Burgos
Frankie Edgar vs. Marlon Vera
Andrew Ravens: Both guys are entering this fight with a roller coaster of past performances as of late. Edgar is an aging fighter who is past his prime, and I just see a way he beats the younger Vera, who will be in the division to stay for the next five years as a notable fighter. Vera makes a statement with a first-round KO win. (Prediction: Marlon Vera)
Ed Carbajal: This one’s tough because Edgar’s not only a favorite for NY/NJ MMA but has fought some legendary fights. He’s the older fighter, in a weight class that has not been kind to him when he went lighter. His career was originally at lightweight, and his last loss at that weight class was a knock out. Vera might be able to pick up the win here if there are no issues on fight week (Marlon Vera).
Harvey Leonard: Edgar no longer has the volume and output that gave him the edge over so many on the feet. Against a young, hard-swinging contender like “Chito,” Edgar might find himself taking more damage than he wants. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see “The Answer” try and take the fight to the ground to secure a couple of rounds in a fashion similar to José Aldo’s victory over Vera last December.
However, we saw Munhoz defend a few takedowns against Edgar and I’d expect Vera to keep the majority of the fight on the feet. In that scenario, I believe his vicious body and leg attacks will do the damage. (Prediction: Marlon Vera)
Consensus: 3-0 Vera
Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili
Andrew Ravens: This fight answers the question of whether Rose is truly back or not. While yes, she dominated Jéssica Andrade and did beat Weili in their past fight, some could argue that Zhang just got caught. Let’s find out. MSG is also the same spot where Rose won the strap, so there’s that. I think Zhang just had an off-night. And as much as I would love to see Rose be the dominant fighter she once was, I see Zhang edging her out by split decision to reclaim her title. (Prediction: Zhang Weili)
Ed Carbajal: One thing Namajunas has proven in her career is that when she gets a rematch, she wins the rematch. All of her rematches are to former champions an bothl of them she won. This is her third rematch, and it’s hard to see it going any differently. Maybe it will go the distance, but Namajunas’ track record and evolution as a mixed martial artist are hard to ignore. (Prediction: Rose Namajunas)
Harvey Leonard: Zhang hadn’t been knocked out like she was against UFC 261 in her 22 fights prior. That’s not to say Namajunas’ victory was a fluke. But given Zhang’s record and the war she went through with J?drzejczyk, in which she ate the hardest shots the Pole had to offer, I’m confident to assume a KO like that won’t happen again, especially considering how clear her errors were.
I expect this weekend’s co-main event to go the distance. If Zhang can stay in range and maintain the level of volume she did against J?drzejczyk, I can’t see her being outpointed across five rounds. It’s always tough to bet against “Thug Rose” but before April, I believed Zhang was set for a long reign. That KO loss hasn’t changed my view on her ability to dominate the division. (Prediction: Zhang Weili)
Consensus: 2-1 Zhang
Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington
Andrew Ravens: A highly anticipated rematch, but not much has changed with these two fighters as Covington got one impressive win over an aging Tyron Woodley while Usman continues to be the best fighter in the division and backing up that statement every time he fights. While I think Covington is the best fighter to give Usman a real challenge, Usman will overcome that challenge en route to a unanimous decision win. (Prediction: Kamaru Usman)
Ed Carbajal: Usman has evolved into a beast as of late. To the point he is rematching opponents he has already beaten. First it was Jorge Masvidal, who he finished after winning the decision in their first outing, and now Covington. He finished Covington in the final round in their first fight; he probably does it sooner at UFC 268. (Prediction: Kamaru Usman)
Harvey Leonard: Given what Covington’s done since UFC 245 and what Usman’s done in comparison, I can’t see any logical explanation for suggesting “Chaos” will beat the champion. Not only has Usman been far more active and comfortably turned away the challenges of top contenders, but he’s grown exponentially under the tutelage of Trevor Wittman.
Covington has recorded a sole win over a declining Woodley, and whilst we’re yet to see a real demonstration of “Covington 2.0” since his ATT departure, I can’t see a way his growth will have surpassed Usman’s in the same period. The pair engaged in a stand-up war in 2019 before the champ’s striking was polished. As we saw against Masvidal, “The Nigerian Nightmare” is now lethal on the feet. If the fight stays standing, Usman ends it before the final horn. (Prediction: Kamaru Usman)
Consensus: 3-0 Usman
That’ll do it for our UFC 268 staff picks! What do you think? Do your picks look similar? Let us know in the comments section! Also, you can check out the UFC 268 undercard below.
Preliminary Card (ESPN+ & ESPNews, 8:00 PM ET)
Al Iaquinta vs. Bobby Green (Lightweight)
Alex Pereira vs. Andreas Michailidis (Middleweight)
Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Nassourdine Imavov (Middleweight)