UFC will kick off their 2022 pay-per-view schedule with a big fight at heavyweight, unifying their two championships in a five-round battle. UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou will look to defend his belt for the first time on Saturday night, facing undefeated interim titleholder Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 270.
The heavyweight fight headlines a card that marks the promotion’s return to the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, USA. The card also includes the trilogy fight between Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo for the UFC Flyweight Championship.
Here’s a full preview of the show.
Early Prelims (7:00PM EST / 4:00PM PST) (UFC Fight Pass / ESPN+)
Bout 1: Jasmine Jasudavicius (6-1) vs. Kay Hansen (7-4) (Flyweight)
In the first of eight UFC debuts planned for Saturday night, Jasmine Jasudavicius will face Kay Hansen at flyweight.
Jasudavicius earned a UFC contract in September, defeating Julia Polastri on “Dana White’s Contender Series.” She was given that opportunity after a strong run on the regional scene, including three appearances in CFFC.
Hansen will be making her first appearance after a year out of the cage. Her rookie year in the UFC resulted in a win and a loss, submitting former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion Jinh Yu Frey but later losing via decision to Cory McKenna.
This fight marks Hansen’s return to flyweight, competing in the weight class for the first time since joining the UFC roster.
Bout 2: Vanessa Demopoulos (6-4) vs. Silvana Gomez Juarez (10-3) (Strawweight)
Both searching for their first UFC win, Vanessa Demopoulos and Silvana Gomez Juarez will meet in the next fight.
Demopoulos, a former LFA Strawweight Champion, lost her UFC debut in August against JJ Aldrich. This was a fight she took on short notice, stepping in to replace Tracy Cortez.
Juarez was submitted in her UFC debut last year, losing a fight to Loopy Godinez. This broke a three-fight winning streak that she had developed in previous years.
Preliminary Card (8:00PM EST / 5:00PM PST) (ESPN2 / TSN 5)
Bout 3: Matt Frevola (8-3-1) vs. Genaro Valdez (10-0) (Lightweight)
Undefeated talent Genaro Valdez will fight in the UFC cage for the first time when facing Matt Frevola.
Valdez has scored 10 wins since turning pro in 2016. After earning nine wins, most of which came on the regional scene in Mexico, Valdez secured a UFC contract by defeating Patrik White on “Dana White’s Contender Series.”
Frevola enters this weekend on a two-fight losing streak. He suffered a quick loss in his prior bout, getting finished in just seven seconds last year by Terrance McKinney.
Bout 4: Jack Della Maddalena (10-2) vs. Pete Rodriguez (4-0) (Welterweight)
In a double UFC debut, Jack Della Maddalena and Pete Rodriguez will fight in the next matchup.
Rodriguez stepped in on short notice for this fight to replace Warlley Alves. He has a short pro record of four first-round finish wins since turning pro in 2020.
Della Maddalena got a UFC contract last year by defeating Ange Loosa on “Dana White’s Contender Series.” This came after a strong 10-fight winning streak around the regional scenes.
Bout 5: Tony Gravely (21-7) vs. Saimon Oliveira (18-3) (Bantamweight)
The debuts continue when Saimon Oliveira faces Tony Gravely.
Oliveira was one of the many “Contender Series” names from last year, as he beat Jose Alday on the show to get a UFC contract. That fight was his first appearance since late 2019 when he scored a win in Pancrase.
Gravely had a two-fight winning streak broken in his last appearance, as Nate Maness earned a second-round stoppage win over him in September.
Bout 6: Raoni Barcelos (16-2) vs. Victor Henry (21-5) (Bantamweight)
The prelims will wrap up with a fight between Raoni Barcelos and UFC newcomer Victor Henry.
A fight between Barcelos and Henry was first planned for December, as Henry had stepped in to replace Trevin Jones in a fight. However, the bout was later postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. A month later, the matchup is happening.
Barcelos will be attempting to bounce back from his sole UFC loss. He had a five-fight winning streak snapped in June 2021, as Timur Valiev pulled off a split decision win over him.
Henry is entering the UFC roster with plenty of experience, having fought over 25 times as a pro. He was a RIZIN stand-out in recent years, scoring two wins in the Japanese MMA promotion between 2019 and 2020.
His last fight was in October 2021, when he submitted Albert Morales on a regional California show.
Main Card (10:00PM EST / 7:00PM PST) (PPV)
Bout 7: Michael Morales (12-0) vs. Trevin Giles (14-3) (Welterweight)
Undefeated Michael Morales will attempt to keep his lengthy undefeated record alive when making his UFC debut against Trevin Giles to open the main card.
Morales moved his flawless record to a dozen in September, defeating Nikolay Veretennikov via unanimous decision on “Dana White’s Contender Series.” That fight secured him a UFC contract.
Giles was finished in his last appearance, getting stopped in the second round by Dricus Du Plessis. This was his first loss in over two years and saw him lose a three-fight winning streak.
Bout 8: Cody Stamann (19-4-1) vs. Said Nurmagomedov (14-2) (Bantamweight)
Said Nurmagomedov will make his return when facing Cody Stamann on Saturday night.
Nurmagomedov has been out of the spotlight for the past couple of years, having fought only once since 2020. He bounced back from his only UFC loss in his last appearance, defeating Mark Striegl within a minute in October 2020.
Stamann is fighting to break a two-fight skid. His last defeat came in May when Merab Dvalishvili worked to a unanimous decision win over him.
Bout 9: Michel Pereira (26-11) vs. Andre Fialho (14-3) (Welterweight)
Andre Fialho has a big stage for his UFC debut, facing Michel Pereira in the final fight before the title bouts on Saturday night.
Fialho was originally selected as a short-notice opponent for Pereira at last week’s show, stepping in to replace Muslim Salikhov. However, after COVID-19 protocols interfered with that fight, it was moved ahead by a week and placed on this card.
Pereira is currently on a strong run in the UFC, having scored three victories since 2020. His last victory saw him go the distance against fellow flashy fighter Niko Price for a decision victory.
The momentum of Pereira provides a tough UFC debut for Fialho. Fialho is coming off a highly successful 2021 that saw him earn four stoppage wins on the regional scene. Two of these wins came against former UFC fighters James Vick and Stefan Sekulic.
Bout 10: Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1) (UFC Flyweight Championship)
The trilogy fight between UFC Flyweight Champion Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo will happen on the co-main event.
Moreno and Figueiredo’s first and second meetings were their most recent appearances. Figueiredo was the UFC Flyweight Champion in 2020, having earned the vacant belt with a win over Joseph Benavidez. After defending the belt against Alex Perez, Figueiredo was matched with Moreno for the first time in December 2020.
Moreno put on an impressive performance in this booking, fighting to a draw against the champ. This result caused the fighters to be booked in a rematch the next year. This fight played out in a much more dominant way, as Moreno was able to secure a third-round rear naked choke submission and claim the championship.
A win for Moreno on Saturday night could close out his rivalry with Figueiredo. However, a win for Figueiredo could erase the sole loss he has taken since he sprung into the title picture in 2020.
Bout 11: Francis Ngannou (16-3) vs. Ciryl Gane (10-0) (UFC Heavyweight Championship)
Two of the top heavyweights will collide in Saturday’s main event when UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou faces undefeated Ciryl Gane.
Gane’s ascension up the heavyweight division has been incredibly quick. He first joined the UFC roster in 2019, when he only had a pro record of three wins. The last year of his career was especially important, as he scored three big wins that put him where he is now.
To start, Gane showed his durability as a heavyweight by going the distance in two main event bouts. He beat Jairzinho Rozenstruick in early 2021 and followed that up later with a victory over Alexander Volkov.
This earned Gane an interim title fight in August, which came against Derrick Lewis. Gane had a near-perfect performance in this bout, finishing Lewis in the third round with strikes to take the interim belt.
On Saturday, Gane has the chance to close out a perfect run towards a title. But on the other side is a dangerous and powerful Ngannou.
Ngannou is known for his fight-ending power in the cage. While he has gone the distance in fights before, all of his wins have come via stoppage. He became champion just last year with a brutal knockout win, dethroning Stipe Miocic with a second-round stoppage.
It’s unknown what will be next for Ngannou after this fight. He has recently been vocal about having trouble doing business with the UFC and has even expressed interest in facing boxer Tyson Fury in a fight. But before he can focus on that, he has to get past a fighter who is undeniably the biggest challenge in the division at the moment.