Since the first wave of events were suspended for the UFC due to COVID-19, the promotion has been chomping at the bit to bring their show back. They successfully did so many weeks ago, with UFC 249 taking place from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. Now, the promotion has left Florida and went to their hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, USA in hopes to making it their temporary home.
In the first of many events planning to come to the UFC Apex in Vegas, high-level welterweights in Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns headline a television card. Here’s a look at the entire card that is on the way on Saturday.
Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.
Preliminary Card (5PM EDT / 2PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN5)
Bout 1: Chris Gutierrez (14-3-1) vs. Vince Morales (9-4) (Featherweight)
Kicking off the card is a featherweight clash that sees two bantamweights move up a weight class. Chris Gutierrez will face Vince Morales, both fighters who are early into their UFC careers. Gutierrez lost his UFC debut in 2018, but has since bounced back with two wins. Morales is 1-2, looking to bounce back after a loss to Benito Lopez in 2019.
Bout 2: Casey Kenney (13-2-1) vs. Louis Smolka (16-6) (Bantamweight)
Both only three fights into their current UFC stint, Casey Kenney and Louis Smolka have something to prove with their identical 2-1 records. Smolka’s story is different though, as this is his second run in the UFC. When putting his current record along with his 2014 to 2017 run, Smolka has a 7-6 record in the promotion.
Bout 3: Tim Elliott (15-10-1) vs. Brandon Royval (10-4) (Flyweight)
Despite making it to the finals of The Ultimate Fighter and getting a flyweight title shot, Tim Elliott’s UFC record is a negative 4-8 record (putting together both of his stints). In an attempt to break his two-fight losing streak, Elliott will face Brandon Royval, who will make his UFC debut. Royval has put up a 10-4 record in smaller promotions, including numerous matchups in notable promotion LFA.
Bout 4: Jamahal Hill (7-0) vs. Klidson Abreu (15-4) (Light Heavyweight)
Undefeated Jamahal Hill will look for his second UFC win on Saturday, fighting Klidson Abreu. Hill was picked up through Dana White’s Contender Series, and has since got a scorecard win over Darko Stosic. Abreu made his UFC debut in 2019, going 1-2 in the year. He will aim to break even on his UFC record, with his most recent fight being against Shamil Gamzatov.
Bout 5: Daniel Rodriguez (11-1) vs. Gabriel Green (9-2) (Welterweight)
A last minute replacement in Gabriel Green has kept Daniel Rodriguez on this show. His original matchup came against Kevin Holland, however earlier in the week he pulled up. His replacement is Green, who will make his first UFC appearance, with previous fights in Bellator. Green will also be having his first fight since 2019. Rodriguez is riding an impressive seven-fight winning streak, with the most recent of the pack being his UFC debut against Tim Means.
Bout 6: Katlyn Chookagian (13-3) vs. Antonina Shevchenko (8-1) (Flyweight)
Katlyn Chookagian is no stranger to the Shevchenko last name, but Saturday will be the first time she faces Antonina Shevchenko. In her last fight, Chookagian lost to Valentina Shevchenko, failing to capture the UFC Flyweight Championship. Now, she attempts to bounce back with this matchup. Shevchenko is 2-1 in her UFC run so far, most recently stopping Lucie Pudilova with a rear naked choke.
Main Card (8PM EDT / 5PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN5)
Bout 7: Mackenzie Dern (7-1) vs. Hannah Cifers (10-4) (Strawweight)
Starting off the five-fight main card is a strawweight battle between Mackenzie Dern and Hannah Cifers. In her returning fight last fall, Dern took her first loss as a pro, losing to Amanda Ribas. Now, for the first time in her career, Dern looks to come back from a loss. Cifers also lost in her last fight, falling victim to Angela Hill, with ground and pound.
Bout 8: Roosevelt Roberts (9-1) vs. Brok Weaver (15-4) (Lightweight)
Dana White’s Contender Series allumni Roosevelt Roberts and Brok Weaver will battle on the main card of the fight night. Weaver’s UFC debut, despite being a win, didn’t go as planned as the fight ended after Weaver was hit with an illegal grounded knee to the head. Roberts has fought more since being scouted, going 3-1 in the UFC so far. On Friday, Weaver came in one-and-a-half pounds over the lightweight limit, making him be fined 20 percent of his fight purse.
Bout 9: Billy Quarantillo (13-2) vs. Spike Carlyle (9-1) (Catchweight 150-lbs)
Both quite early in their UFC run, Billy Quarantillo and Spike Carlyle have a big spotlight on them, placed high on this fight night card. Quarantillo made his UFC debut last December, defeating Jacob Kilburn with a triangle choke in the second round. The debut for Carlyle went even better, stopping Aalon Cruz in the first round with ground and pound.
Bout 10: Blagoy Ivanov (18-3) vs. Augusto Sakai (14-1-1) (Heavyweight)
The co-main event sees a heavyweight battle, as Blagoy Ivanov and Augusto Sakai clash. Sakai has been strong since his UFC debut, picking up three-straight wins in the 265-pound division. Most recently, Sakai stopped Marcin Tybura in under a minute with punches. Ivanov, however, has struggled a little more, having gone 2-2 in his UFC stint. In his most recent fight, a two-fight streak was snapped by Derrick Lewis, who took a split decision victory.
Bout 11: Tyron Woodley (19-4-1) vs. Gilbert Burns (18-3) (Welterweight)
The main event is a big one, and long awaited one for Tyron Woodley. Back in March of 2019, Woodley lost his UFC Welterweight Championship after going five rounds with Kamaru Usman. Since, he has had trouble getting bak into the octagon. First an attempt only three months after the loss was booked against Robbie Lawler, but then cancelled as Woodley injured his hand. Then, a fight against Leon Edwards fell apart due to the interference of COVID-19 on events. Now, Woodley has finally found an opponent in Gilbert Burns. He’s the third person to be booked against Woodley, but make no mistake about it, he’s a challenge.
Burns has been in the UFC since 2014, but only recently he’s taken more fights in the 170-pound division. 2019 was a big year for Burns, going 3-0 with two welterweight fights. He kicked off 2020 with a bang, stopping Demian Maia in the first round with strikes. A win on Saturday would extend his streak to six wins.