UFC’s series of fan-less events at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA continue this week, as a show headlined by Jessica Eye and Cynthia Calvillo takes place tomorrow evening.
While the show has been the smallest yet in terms of star power since UFC’s reboot, the show includes lots of talent in the promotion that have yet to prove themselves. Being given another chance to do so, they’ll take the stage on Saturday night. Here’s a preview of the evening of festivities.
Prelims (6:00PM EDT / 3:00PM PST) (ESPN / TSN 1 & 5)
The preliminary card is five fights, down one from the original six-fight lineup they had planned. This change came after illness took Darrick Minner out of a fight with Jordan Griffin on Friday.
Bout 1: Anthony Ivy (8-2) vs. Christian Aguilera (13-6) (Welterweight)
The preliminary card will kick off with a double debut, as Anthony Ivy and Christian Aguilera collide. The matchup was not the first Ivy was slated for, as the original plan was for him to fill Ian Heinisch’s spot on last weekend’s UFC 250 card. Heinisch was placed back on the card, leaving Ivy without a fight. Ivy has an impressive five-fight winning streak from the regional MMA scene, with his most recent win being from September. Aguilera has won his last two, including a January victory in high-level regional promotion LFA.
Bout 2: Tyson Nam (18-11) vs. Zarrukh Adashev (3-1) (Flyweight)
Tyson Nam gets a last minute change in opponent, fighting Zarrukh Adashev on the prelims. Nam was first meant to fight Ryan Benoit, but plans changed once he left the card. His opponent, Adashev, is a former kickboxer turned Bellator MMA fighter, picking up three wins as a pro before being signed for this fight. Nam is still on the hunt for his first UFC win, losing his first two matches.
Adashev weighed in at 138.5 pounds for the fight on Friday, missing the 136-pound bantamweight limit. The fight is still on, however Adashev loses 20 percent of his fight purse to Nam due to the missed weight.
Bout 3: Julia Avila (7-1) vs. Gina Mazany (6-3) (Bantamweight)
Julia Avila will look for her second UFC debut on Saturday, facing the returning Gina Mazany. Avila was first meant to battle Karol Rosa, but the plan for the two to meet fell through for the fourth time. Stepping in late is Mazany, who returns to the UFC after an early 2020 win in regional promotion King of the Cage. In her short UFC run, Mazany had one win and three losses. If she wins, Avila will have her second win in the promotion.
Bout 4: Charles Rosa (12-4) vs. Kevin Aguilar (17-3) (Lightweight)
Two lightweights in Charles Rosa and Kevin Aguilar have something to prove on the prelims. Both of them have never had real consistency in their UFC runs, especially Rosa, who has alternated between wins and losses since his 2014 debut. Coming off a decision loss to Bryce Mitchell in May, Rosa is one of the few fighters to have already fought this year. Aguilar has lost his last two, including a stoppage loss in February from Zubaira Tukhugov.
Bout 5: Mariya Agapova (8-1) vs. Hannah Cifers (10-5) (Flyweight)
Two weeks after her kneebar loss to Mackenzie Dern, Hannah Cifers returns to the UFC in hopes of a win. She fights Mariya Agapova, who will be making her promotional debut. Agapova’s last two fights were first round wins in top regional women’s MMA promotion Invicta FC. Cifers will be on a three-fight losing streak if not successful on Saturday.
Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 6:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 1 & 5)
Bout 6: Jordan Espinosa (14-7) vs. Mark De La Rosa (11-4) (Bantamweight)
Kicking off the main card, Jordan Espinosa and Mark De La Rosa will attempt to end their respective losing streaks. Espinosa has lost his last two, coming against Matt Schnell and Alex Perez. Only three fights into his UFC career, Espinosa got into the promotion after a win on TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.” De La Rosa has lost three in a row, with the most recent being a February stoppage win from Raulian Paiva.
Bout 7: Andre Fili (20-7) vs. Charles Jourdain (10-2) (Featherweight)
Featherweights Andre Fili and Charles Jourdain will battle it out on the main card. “Air” Jourdain lost his UFC debut in 2019, but has since came back with a victory. He looks to get a streak going with a good performance on Saturday. Fili is more experienced in the promotion, having attained a 8-6 record since debuting in 2013. He will attempt to recover from a loss in his last outing.
Bout 8: Merab Dvalishvili (10-4) vs. Gustavo Lopez (11-4) (Bantamweight)
While the show got many short notice bookings, the most short notice of them all was a bout between Merab Dvalishvili and Gustavo Lopez. Dvalishvili was first planning on fighting Ray Borg, but plans changed after Borg had to leave the card due to a “family emergency.” His replacement was announced on Thursday as Combate Americas Bantamweight Champion Gustavo Lopez. Lopez has defended his promotional belt twice in 2019, moving his record to 11-4. Dvalishvili will be a tough test for him, as the Georgian fighter has won his last three.
Bout 9: Karl Roberson (9-2) vs. Marvin Vettori (14-3-1) (Middleweight)
In the co-main event, two unranked middleweights in Karl Roberson and Marvin Vettori will fight. With seven fights in the UFC, Vettori is on his best run yet, putting two wins together. The idea of looking to make it three on Saturday is something Roberson also chases, as he has won his last two bouts. This is the third time the bout has been made, with previous attempts coming in April and May.
Roberson came in four-and-a-half pounds over the 186-pound middleweight limit on Friday, which meant he would forfeit 30 percent of his purse to Vettori.
Bout 10: Jessica Eye (15-7) vs. Cynthia Calvillo (8-1-1) (Flyweight)
In the main event, Cynthia Calvillo will make the move up to flyweight, fighting Jessica Eye. Calvillo was ranked 10th in the strawweight division, and has the chance for a placing in the 125-pound ranks if she defeats the currently currently 12th ranked Eye on Saturday.
Calvillo’s UFC run started with a three-fight winning streak, two of which were rear naked choke wins. After a loss in 2017 to Carla Esparza, she earned two more wins and a recent draw.
Eye has a 5-6-1 record in the UFC, fighting some of her career at bantamweight before moving to 125 pounds.
The fight is the fifth appearance at flyweight for Eye, and the second straight time she has missed weight. In December, she came in at a larger 131-pounds against Viviane Araujo. She came closer this time, missing the limit by 0.3 pounds. She looked uncomfortable at the weigh ins, even saying near the end she can’t stand.
Due to missing weight, she lost 25 percent of her fight purse to Calvillo.
UFC’s series of events at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA will continue next week, with a fight night on June 20th. Headlining the show, ranked heavyweights Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov will fight.