UFC on ESPN 31: Font vs. Aldo Preview

Former UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo is set to headline this weekend’s UFC “Fight Night” card, facing rising 135-pound fighter Rob Font in a five-round bout.

The fight headlines a 14-bout card that is set to take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Here’s a preview of the entire show.

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

Preliminary Card (7:00PM EST / 4:00PM PST) (ESPN / TSN 5)

Bout 1: Louis Smolka (17-7) vs. Vince Morales (10-5) (Bantamweight)

Bantamweights Louis Smolka and Vince Morales will compete in the first bout of the card.

Smolka will be fighting for the first time in nearly a year. He scored a stoppage win in his last fight, stopping Jose Alberto Quinonez late last year with strikes.

Morales broke a two-fight skid in his last appearance, defeating Drako Rodriguez via unanimous decision in August.

Bout 2: Claudio Puelles (10-2) vs. Chris Gruetzemacher (15-4) (Lightweight)

Claudio Puelles will attempt to earn his fourth consecutive win on the prelims, facing Chris Gruetzemacher at lightweight.

Puelles made his return in June, handing Jordan Leavitt his first pro loss in a unanimous decision result. The fight was his first appearance since September 2019.

Gruetzemacher has earned three wins and three losses each since joining the UFC roster in 2015. His last fight was a unanimous decision win over Rafa Garcia in July.

Bout 3: Alonzo Menifield (11-2) vs. William Knight (10-2) (Light Heavyweight)

Light heavyweights Alonzo Menifield and William Knight will meet on Saturday’s prelims.

A fight between these two was attempted twice early in this year, but fell through on both occasions due to COVID-19 protocols.

Knight scored a stoppage win in his last showing, stopping former LFA Light Heavyweight Champion Fabio Cherant within a round with strikes in August. That put him back into the win column after taking his first UFC loss earlier in the year.

Menifield has scored two wins this year, stopping Cherant in a fight and beating veteran Ed Herman.

Bout 4: Mallory Martin (7-4) vs. Cheyanne Vlismas (6-2) (Strawweight)

Strawweight fighters Mallory Martin and Cheyanne Vlismas will fight on Saturday.

Vlismas earned her first UFC victory in July, scoring a first-round stoppage victory over Gloria de Paula.

Martin suffered a submission loss to Polyana Viana in her last fight. Her promotional record is currently one win and two losses.

Bout 5: Jake Matthews (17-5) vs. Jeremiah Wells (9-2-1) (Welterweight)

Returning after a strong UFC debut from earlier this year, Jeremiah Wells will face Jake Matthews on Saturday.

Wells had a strong first UFC showing in June, earning a second-round stoppage victory against Warlley Alves. His debut in the UFC came after a run in regional promotions CFFC and CES.

Matthews had a three-fight winning streak broken in March, as undefeated prospect Sean Brady scored an arm triangle choke submission win over him.

Bout 6: Bryan Barberena (15-8) vs. Darian Weeks (5-0) (Welterweight)

Undefeated Darian Weeks will make a short-notice UFC debut on Saturday’s card, facing Bryan Barberena at welterweight.

Weeks is replacing Matt Brown, who had to withdraw from his booking due to a positive COVID-19 test last week. He has an undefeated pro record of five wins since making his debut in 2019. He last fought in February, defeating Craig Fairley on an LFA card.

Barberena has lost three of his last five fights. His last outing resulted in a majority decision loss to Jason Witt.

Bout 7: Zhalgas Zhumagulov (14-5) vs. Manel Kape (16-6) (Flyweight)

After both earning their first UFC win in their last appearance, flyweights Zhalgas Zhumagulov and Manel Kape will meet Saturday.

Kape, a former RIZIN Bantamweight Champion, scored a flashy flying knee knockout over Ode Osbourne in August. This came after he lost his two previous UFC bouts this year.

Similarly, Zhumagulov snapped a two-fight skid in July by securing a first-round submission win against Jerome Rivera.

Bout 8: Maki Pitolo (13-8) vs. Dusko Todorovic (10-2) (Middleweight)

The long prelim card will wrap up with a middleweight fight between Maki Pitolo and Dusko Todorovic.

Pitolo is currently on a three-fight losing streak, making his appearance on Saturday a potential must-win fight. His third straight loss came in February, being submitted by the returning Julian Marquez.

Todorovic has lost twice this year. After being finished by Punahele Soriano in January, Todorovic lost a decision to former LFA Middleweight Champion Gregory Rodrigues in June.

Main Card (10:00PM EST / 7:00PM PST) (ESPN / TSN 5)

Bout 9: Alex Morono (20-7) vs. Mickey Gall (7-3) (Welterweight)

A clash of UFC veterans will kick off a six-fight main card, as Alex Morono and Mickey Gall will meet at welterweight.

Morono will be fighting to end his year with a third consecutive victory. He has been successful twice this year already, defeating Donald Cerrone and David Zawada.

Gall had a quick win in his last fight, submitting Jordan Williams with a first-round rear naked choke in July.

Bout 10: Brendan Allen (17-4) vs. Chris Curtis (27-8) (Middleweight)

Riding the momentum of a recent UFC debut win, experienced middleweight Chris Curtis will face Brendan Allen on Saturday night.

Curtis made an impact in his UFC debut just last month, stopping Phil Hawes in the first round with strikes. This victory was only part of a strong year that Curtis has had, which includes four other victories on the regional scene.

After taking his first UFC loss last year, Allen has bounced back in 2021 by submitting Karl Roberson and defeating Punahele Soriano on scorecards.

Bout 11: Clay Guida (36-21) vs. Leonardo Santos (18-4-1) (Lightweight)

In a fight between two of the more experienced lightweights on the roster, Clay Guida and Leonardo Santos will fight on Saturday’s main card.

The fight on Saturday will be Guida’s 32nd appearance on the UFC roster. He has fought in the UFC since UFC 64 in 2006. He is coming off a split decision loss that he took to Mark O. Madsen in August.

Santos, a fighter who has been on the UFC roster for over eight years, will be attempting to bounce back from his sole loss with the promotion. Santos had a six-fight winning streak broken in March, as Grant Dawson scored a late third round finish win.

Bout 12: Jimmy Crute (12-2) vs. Jamahal Hill (8-1) (Light Heavyweight)

Fighting to come back from his sole pro loss, Jamahal Hill will meet Jimmy Crute in a light heavyweight fight.

Hill took his first loss in June, as an arm injury took him out of a fight in the first round against Paul Craig. Before then he had two wins in the UFC (with a third being overturned to a no contest).

Crute suffered a brutal leg injury in his last fight, facing Anthony Smith in April. The loss broke a two-fight losing streak that he had developed in the promotion.

Bout 13: Rafael Fiziev (10-1) vs. Brad Riddell (10-1) (Lightweight)

Extensive win streaks at lightweight will be tested in the co-main event when Rafael Fiziev and Brad Riddell meet.

Fiziev has put together four consecutive wins since losing his UFC debut in 2019. His last victory in that streak came against veteran Bobby Green, who he beat in August.

Riddell has scored four victories in the UFC, with all of them coming via decision. He last competed in June, defeating Drew Dober.

Bout 14: Rob Font (19-4) vs. Jose Aldo (30-7) (Bantamweight)

Rising bantamweight Rob Font will meet former UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo in the main event of Saturday’s show.

Font has been on the rise since 2018, and is currently on a four-fight winning streak. He has scored big wins on that campaign, defeating Marlon Moraes and going five rounds against former champ Cody Garbrandt in recent appearances.

Aldo has picked up two consecutive wins since losing a bantamweight title fight to Petr Yan last year. After defeating Marlon Vera in late 2020, Aldo most recently put on a three-round striking clinic against Pedro Munhoz.

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