Most sporting events on the planet have been postponed or cancelled. Every major sport league has made all of their sports teams suspend games. On Friday, MMA promotion Bellator announced that their event planned for later that day was postponed as well.
UFC, however, has decided to press forward. On Saturday night, they present UFC on ESPN+ 28, taking place from the Ginasio Nilson Nelson from Brasilia, Brazil. The card is set to be headlined by Kevin Lee and Charles Oliveira, and has a very strong lineup of Brazilian fighters throughout. One change to the show is that it will be held without an audience.
Here’s a preview of UFC Brasilia.
Prelims (ESPN, ESPN+ / TSN 1, 4, 5) (3:00PM EDT / 4:00PM BRT)
A few things changed about the programming over the past few days. The prelims were meant to start at 5PM EST originally, but were moved back two hours to 3PM EST. This of course makes the main card start time 6PM EST now. Also, this show is no longer ESPN+ exclusive in America, going on ESPN too due to the lack of events to show.
Bout 1: Veronica Macedo (6-3-1) vs Bea Malecki (1-0) (Bantamweight)
Kicking off the preliminary card, Bea Malecki returns after a successful professional debut to fight Veronica Macedo. Malecki had the rare opportunity of starting her professional career in the UFC. In June, she put a rear naked choke on Duda Santana in the second round to win. She now faces Macedo, who has over triple the amount of pro fights that Santana had. In August, Macedo ended a three-fight losing streak she had in the UFC, putting an armbar on Polyana Viana in the second minute of a fight. This matchup is the only of the night that doesn’t feature a Brazilian fighter.
Bout 2: Bruno Silva (10-4-2) vs. David Dvorak (17-3) (Flyweight)
Debuting flyweight David Dvorak faces Brazilian fighter Bruno Silva in the next fight. Silva failed to win his UFC debut at UFC 243, getting put in an arm triangle choke in the third round. He looks to bounce back from that unsuccessful fight, going against Dvorak. Dvorak is on a 13-fight winning streak, most recently winning in July. It’s worth noting that most of his wins are via stoppage.
Bout 3: Mayra Bueno Silva (6-0) vs. Maryna Moroz (9-3) (Flyweight)
Brazilian flyweight prospect Mayra Bueno Silva returns on the prelims. She got signed to the UFC in 2018 through the Brazilian spinoff of “Dana White’s Contender Series.” She debuted in September with a first round armbar against Gillian Robertson. Her opponent this time was Maryna Moroz. Moroz is 4-3 in her UFC career, beating Sabina Mazo in her last fight. That was back in March of 2019, with this fight being the first in just under a year’s time.
Bout 4: Rani Yahya (26-10) vs. Enrique Barzola (16-5-1) (Bantamweight)
In the next fight, ex-WEC fighter and UFC veteran Rani Yahya fights Enrique Barzola. Yahya has fought in the UFC since 2011, currently attempting to bounce back from a decision loss that broke a three-fight winning streak. Barzola’s experience shouldn undoubtedly be given credit as well, being with the UFC since 2015. He is also looking to get back in the win column, recently losing to undefeated prospect Movsar Evloev.
Bout 5: Elizeu Zaleski (21-6) vs. Alexey Kunchenko (20-1) (Welterweight)
Russian fighter Alexey Kunchenko was undefeated 20 fights and five years. That undefeated streak ended in August, losing to Gilbert Burns via decision. For the first time in his career, Kunchenko will look to come back from a loss. He fight Elizeu Zaleski, who’s seven-fight winning streak was ended in August by Li Jingliang. Both fighters have sometime to prove on the undercard.
Bout 6: Amanda Ribas (8-1) vs. Randa Markos (10-7-1) (Strawweight)
Randa Markos fights Amanda Ribas in the next fight. The longtime UFC fighter Markos beat Ashley Yoder in October via split decision. Winning this fight would put Markos on a two-fight winning streak, the longest of her UFC run. Ribas looks to stop that from happening, also looking to earn her third consecutive UFC win in the process.
Bout 7: Jussier Formiga (23-6) vs. Brandon Moreno (16-5-1) (Flyweight)
Before the prelims finish, Jussier Formiga faces Brandon Moreno. Moreno is in his second UFC stint, returning in September with a draw against undefeated fighter Askar Askarov. He went on to beat Kai Kara-France at UFC 245. Now he’s matched up against Formiga, who is coming off of a loss to Joseph Benavidez. He’s been in high level flyweight matchups recently, facing Sergio Pettis and Deiveson Figueiredo in his two fights before then.
Main Card (ESPN, ESPN+ / TSN 1, 4, 5) (6:00PM EDT / 7:00PM BRT)
Bout 8: Francisco Trinaldo (24-7) vs. John Makdessi (17-6) (Lightweight)
While Francisco Trinaldo and John Makdessi have been in the UFC for quite a while, they have never fought eachother. That won’t be said after Saturday when they kick off the main card. Makdessi last fought in March of 2019, winning against Jesus Pinedo via decision. An August fight against Devonte Smith was called off after Makdessi suffered injury. He’s currently on a three-fight winning streak. Trinaldo won his last fight against Bobby Green back in November. Before then, he lost a scorecard battle against Alexander Hernandez.
Bout 9: Johnny Walker (17-4) vs. Nikita Krylov (26-7) (Light Heavyweight)
Johnny Walker’s explosive 2019 wins over Justin Ledet and Misha Crikunov made him win over lots of fans. His loss to Corey Anderso however was a sobering moment that showed how far the light heavyweight has to go. Heading into his fight against Nikita Krylov, Walker switched gyms and now trains out of Tristar in Montreal, Canada. Krylov is also coming of a loss, albeit a less brutal one, going to scorecards against Glover Teixeira in September.
Bout 10: Renato Moicano (13-3-1) vs. Damir Hadzovic (13-5) (Lightweight(
Renato Moicano has had two hard fights recently. In February of 2019, Moicano lost to Jose Aldo in the second round with punches. Four months later, he lost to The Korean Zombie, being clipped with an overhand right and finished on the ground with strikes. Looking to avoid a three-fight losing streak, Moicano fights Damir Hadzovic. Hadzovic lost his last UFC fight to Christos Giagos via decision. Before then, he had two wins in a row.
Bout 11: Demian Maia (28-9) vs. Gilbert Burns (17-3) (Welterweight)
Demian Maia and Gilbert Burns put their long lasting win streaks on the line in the co-main event. Burns is on a four-fight winning streak that spans back to late 2018. The two older of the four wins were from the end of his lightweight run. Maia is on a three-fight winning streak, most recently beating now-retired Ben Askren with a third round rear naked choke, winning a main event. Before then, he beat Lyman Good and Anthony Rocco Martin.
Bout 12: Kevin Lee (18-5) vs. Charles Oliveira (28-8) (Lightweight)
In the main event of the fight night, Kevin Lee fights Charles Oliveira. Oliveira has the home country advantage in this fight, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot as no fans will be in the crowd. Lee missed weight for the fight, coming in at 158 pounds for the 156-pound limit main event.
Lee had a long stretch of fights scheduled for five rounds from 2017 to 2019. This ended in late 2019, being booked in a three-round main card fight against Gregor Gillespie. The fight didn’t last long, with Lee putting away Gillespie with an overhand right and perfectly timed head kick.
Oliveira is on a six-fight winning streak, all by stoppage. While all of the wins are against the lower level talent of the UFC lightweight division, there isn’t many other people in the promotion that can say they have that many wins that aren’t champions.
It’s hard to tell you what’s next. The current plan is for UFC to hold a show next week from London, England, featuring a main event of Tyron Woodley and Leon Edwards. However, the plan in the UK is the put in “emergency legislation” to ban gatherings of people.