UFC on ESPN+ 36: Covington vs. Woodley Preview

UFC’s show on Saturday night sees two former champions face off in the main event, as welterweights Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley are booked for a five-round fight. The fight headlines a large 14-fight card that is scheduled to happen from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Here’s a full preview of the show.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (5:00PM EDT / 2:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)

Bout 1: Tyson Nam (19-11-1) vs. Jerome Rivera (10-2) (Bantamweight)

Kicking off the night, Tyson Nam will look for his second-straight UFC win when he faces short-notice opponent Jerome Rivera. Rivera replaces Matt Schnell, who was removed from the card following weight cut issues. Rivera fought on the ongoing season of “Dana White’s Contender Series,” defeating Luis Rodriguez via decision. While he did not earn a contract on the show, he now finds himself in the UFC.

Nam snapped a two-fight losing streak in his last fight, stopping Zarrukh Adashev in the first minute with punches. Like Nam’s opponent in this fight, Adashev was a short-notice replacement. Nam’s previous losses in the promotion came against Sergio Pettis and Kai Kara-France.

Bout 2: Andre Ewell (16-6) vs. Irwin Rivera (10-5) (Bantamweight)

Returning after his first UFC win, Irwin Rivera will fight Andre Ewell on the prelims. Rivera made his UFC debut in May, taking a short-notice fight against Giga Chikadze. Losing the bout, Rivera went to the scorecards against the rising bantamweight. He returned last August, earning a split decision win over Ali Alqaisi.

Ewell last fought in February, picking up a split decision victory against Jonathan Martinez. The win was a bounce back from a loss in the fall to Marlon Vera.

Bout 3: Randy Costa (5-1) vs. Journey Newson (9-2) (Bantamweight)

Finishing off the trio of bantamweight bouts early on the card, Randy Costa will face Journey Newson. Costa will return after nearly a year of absence from action. His last win came last October, defeating Boston Salmon in the first round with punches.

Newson won last February over Domingo Pilarte at UFC 247. The fight has since been changed to a no contest due to a drug test to Newson that detected marijuana. Due to the overturned result, Newson will attempt yet again to get his first UFC win on Saturday.

Bout 4: Darrick Minner (24-11) vs. TJ Laramie (12-3) (Featherweight)

After earning his UFC contract on TV series “Dana White’s Contender Series,” TJ Laramie will make his promotional debut on Saturday against Darrick Minner. Laramie won on an August episode of the show, defeating Daniel Swain after a rib injury stopped him from competing after one round. Minner will look for his first UFC win as well, as his February debut against Grant Dawson resulted in a loss.

Bout 5: Sarah Alpar (9-4) vs. Jessica-Rose Clark (9-6) (Bantamweight)

In her second appearance as a bantamweight, Jessica-Rose Clark will welcome Sarah Alpar to the UFC. Alpar won on the 2019 season of “Dana White’s Contender Series,” defeating Shanna Young to get offered a contract. She has a three-fight streak of wins in total heading into the bout. Clark last competed in November of 2019, losing a decision to Pannie Kianzad.

Bout 6: Mayra Bueno Silva (6-1) vs. Mara Romero Borella (12-8) (Flyweight)

Attempting to snap a three-fight losing streak, Mara Romero Borella will fight Mayra Bueno Silva on the prelims. Borella has competed twice in 2020, with the two appearances being a loss to Montana De La Rosa and Cortney Casey respectively. She last won in February of 2019, defeating Talia Santos via decision.

Silva returned to action after an extended absence last March, losing a decision to Maryna Moroz. For the first time as a pro, Silva will attempt to bounce back from a loss on Saturday.

Bout 7: Mirsad Bektic (13-3) vs. Damon Jackson (17-3-1) (Featherweight)

Mirsad Bektic will look to return to the win column on Saturday against short-notice opponent Damon Jackson. Bektic was first scheduled to face Eduardo Garagorri, although that fight fell through after a cornerman for Garagorri tested positive for COVID-19.

Bektic took his second-straight loss last February, dropping a split decision to Dan Ige at UFC 247. Before then he had a loss to Josh Emmett.

Jackson last fought in March, stopping Mauro Chaulet with a rear naked choke on an LFA card.

Bout 8: Jordan Espinosa (15-7) vs. David Dvorak (18-3) (Flyweight)

Finishing off the prelims, David Dvorak will return after his UFC debut victory to fight Jordan Espinosa. Dvorak debuted in March, defeating Bruno Silva. The win extended his streak of wins to 14-in-a-row.

Espinosa snapped a two-fight skid last June with a decision victory over Mark De La Rosa.

Main Card (8:00PM EDT / 5:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)

Bout 9: Kevin Holland (18-5) vs. Darren Stewart (12-5) (Middleweight)

Kicking off the main card, middleweights Kevin Holland and Darren Stewart will aim to add to their tally of finish victories in 2020. The issue, however, is that for one to add to the tally, another must be the victim. Holland has had a hot year, getting stoppage victories over both of his opponents. He picked up a quick win in May, stopping Anthony Hernandez in under a minute with strikes. Returning in August, Holland stopped Joaquin Buckley early in the third round.

Stewart lost a March bout to Bartosz Fabinski via decision, although he bounced back last August when he stopped Maki Pitolo in the first round via rear naked choke.

Bout 10: Mackenzie Dern (8-1) vs. Randa Markos (10-8-1) (Strawweight)

Returning after her May kneebar victory over Hannah Cifers, Mackenzie Dern will face Randa Markos on the main card. Dern’s last win saw her return from her first loss as a pro, being defeated last October by Amanda Ribas.

Markos’ last fight was also a loss to Ribas, coming from UFC’s show in Brazil last March.

Bout 11: Johnny Walker (17-5) vs. Ryan Spann (18-5) (Light Heavyweight)

When Johnny Walker sprung onto the UFC scene in late 2018 and early 2019, he was a chaotic, explosive and successful fighter. With terrifying power, Walker disposed of three opponents, having a combined time in the UFC cage of under three minutes. However, that was then. Now, Walker faces going on a three-fight losing streak.

The skid kicked off last November, where Corey Anderson stormed Walker for a stoppage victory in the first round. He returned last March, losing a decision to Nikita Krylov, who took the Brazilian into deep waters and tired him on the ground. He now looks to win against Ryan Spann.

Spann’s resume is one that doesn’t mirror Walker’s. Really, his current record looks like Walker after his third-straight UFC victory. Spann is currently on an eight-fight streak of wins, with four of those coming from the UFC. His sole 2020 fight was last May, winning a split decision over veteran fighter Sam Alvey.

Bout 12: Khamzat Chimaev (8-0) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (31-13) (Middleweight)

Undefeated middleweight Khamzat Chimaev has undoubtedly been one of the bigger names to emerge from the summer of 2020. Coming into the UFC in July as a short-notice fighter, Chimaev put on a one-sided performance over John Philips. He returned only 10 days later to defeat Rhys McKee.

With some people seeing a big future for Chimaev, he is now being matched with names that have much more on-record experience than him. He is set to face Gerald Meerschaert this weekend on the main card. Looking to derail a hype train, Meerschaert will also look to bounce back from his June loss to Ian Heinisch.

Bout 13: Donald Cerrone (36-15) vs. Niko Price (14-4) (Welterweight)

Veteran fighter Donald Cerrone will return on the co-main event of the evening, facing Niko Price. Cerrone is on a four-fight losing streak, albeit against four notable names – Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor and Anthony Pettis. His bout against Pettis was last May, going to a decision at UFC 249.

Price also fought on that card, losing to Vicente Luque due to an eye injury late in the fight. His previous fight was a rare finish via upkick, defeating James Vick last October.

Bout 14: Colby Covington (15-2) vs. Tyron Woodley (19-5-1) (Welterweight)

The main event of the evening sees the clash of two high-ranked welterweights that are coming off of a loss.

Saturday is Colby Covington’s return since last December, where he lost a unification bout to current champion Kamaru Usman. The loss concluded a seven-fight streak of wins that included two five-round fights.

Tyron Woodley, once the face of the welterweight division, has slipped in recent years in the rankings. Nothing lost is not salvageable for Woodley, although Saturday could be a big night for the former champion, showing whether he is at the highest level of the division still or not.

Woodley claimed the UFC Welterweight Championship in 2016, defeating Robbie Lawler. He defended the belt three times after (retaining it a fourth time via draw), defeating Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia and Darren Till (who was undefeated at the time).

He dropped the belt to now-champion Kamaru Usman in March of 2019 in a decision. His return came last May, where he lost to Gilbert Burns in a five-round fight. The dominating performance saw Burns get a clean sweep on scorecards, even recording a 10-8 round once on each judge’s scorecard.

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