UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje Preview

High-ranked lightweights will headline UFC’s pay-per-view event on Saturday night from the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

In the main event, Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje will meet. The bout was first expected to be a normal title fight – but after Oliveira missed weight on Friday, everything changed.

On Saturday night, former champion Oliveira is fighting to remain at the top of the lightweight division. On the other side, a prize for Gaethje is much grander: if he wins this weekend, he’s officially the king of 155.

A preview of that fight, plus the entire UFC 274 card, can be read here.

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

Early Prelims (5:30PM EDT / 2:30PM PDT) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)

Bout 1: Journey Newson (9-3) vs. Fernie Garcia (10-1) (Bantamweight)

A lengthy evening of MMA fights is scheduled to begin with a bantamweight bout between Journey Newson and Fernie Garcia.

Garcia will be making his UFC debut in the bout. He impressed UFC critics in October 2021, scoring a first-round finish win on “Dana White’s Contender Series.” Before then, he picked up four consecutive wins in regional promotion LFA.

Newson is fighting for his first UFC win. He has been unsuccessful in the promotion thus far, with his three appearances resulting in two losses and one no contest.

Bout 2: Loopy Godinez (7-2) vs. Ariane Carnelossi (14-2) (Strawweight)

Strawweights Loopy Godinez and Ariane Carnelossi are expected to fight in Saturday’s prelims.

Carnelossi picked up two finish wins last year, defeating Na Liang and Istela Nunes.

Godinez is coming off a busy rookie year in the UFC that saw her take numerous fights on short notice. Godinez picked up two wins through four appearances in 2021, with three of those fights being within a two-month timespan.

Bout 3: Kleydson Rodrigues (7-1) vs. CJ Vergara (9-3-1) (Flyweight)

Kleydson Rodrigues will make his UFC debut on Saturday night against fellow prospect CJ Vergara.

Rodrigues secured a UFC contract on the most recent season of “Dana White’s Contender Series,” defeating Santo Curatolo via unanimous decision. Before then, he had a strong record on the regional scene in Brazil.

Vergara lost his UFC debut in November 2021, dropping a unanimous decision to Ode Osbourne. Similar to Rodrigues, Vergara won on the most recent “Contender Series” season to join the roster.

Bout 4: Tracy Cortez (9-1) vs. Melissa Gatto (8-0-2) (Flyweight)

Undefeated flyweight Melissa Gatto will test her skills against rising name Tracy Cortez on Saturday.

Gatto has scored two wins since joining the roster in August of last year. She finished Sijara Eubanks in her last appearance, stopping the UFC vet with strikes in December 2021.

Cortez has yet to lose since joining the UFC roster in 2019. Her first two victories were up at bantamweight, and her booking saw her win her flyweight debut against Justine Kish.

Bout 5: Andre Fialho (15-4) vs. Cameron VanCamp (15-5-1) (Welterweight)

Cameron VanCamp will make his first appearance in the UFC cage on Saturday night, meeting Andre Fialho at the welterweight limit.

VanCamp is entering the UFC on a four-fight winning streak from the regional scene, including three finish victories.

VanCamp was originally scheduled to make his UFC debut in September 2021 against Nikolas Motta. However, that fight ended up not happening. Now more than half a year later, VanCamp is ready for that fight.

Fialho joined the UFC roster early this year for a short-notice debut. While he lost his first UFC bout against Michel Pereira, he bounced back last month with a finish win against Miguel Baeza.

Bout 6: Blagoy Ivanov (18-4) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (19-7-1) (Heavyweight)

Heavyweights Blagoy Ivanov and Marcos Rogerio de Lima have been paired for Saturday’s prelims.

Rogerio de Lima is coming off a successful 2021. He earned two wins in that time, defeating Maurice Greene on scorecards and stopping Ben Rothwell in 32 seconds.

Ivanov is appearing for the first time in over a year. He has lost his past two appearances, dropping decisions to Augusto Sakai and Derrick Lewis.

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

Bout 7: Brandon Royval (13-6) vs. Matt Schnell (15-6) (Flyweight)

Ranked flyweights Brandon Royval and Matt Schnell are going to meet on Saturday night.

Royval snapped a two-fight skid in his last appearance, notching a split decision win against Rogerio Bontorin. His previous fights were against high-level 125-pound names Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Moreno.

Schnell has been out of the cage for nearly a year, as numerous fights have fallen through for him. His last fight was also against Bontorin, except his fight resulted in a loss.

Bout 8: Macy Chiasson (7-2) vs. Norma Dumont (7-1) (Featherweight)

UFC’s women’s featherweight division will make a rare appearance on Saturday, as Macy Chiasson and Norma Dumont will fight.

Chiasson’s last fight was a return to featherweight after a three-bout stint down at bantamweight. She lost in that appearance, getting submitted by Raquel Pennington.

Dumont is currently on a three-fight winning streak, including two wins at featherweight. Her last fight was a five-round main event victory against Aspen Ladd in October 2021.

Bout 9: Francisco Trinaldo (27-8) vs. Danny Roberts (18-5) (Welterweight)

Experienced welterweights Francisco Trinaldo and Danny Roberts will meet in the next bout.

Trinaldo has been quite successful in recent years, earning four wins through five fights. His last fight was a close split decision victory against Dwight Grant.

Roberts won his return to the cage in October 2021, defeating Ramazan Emeev on scorecards. That appearance was his first bout after nearly two years outside of the cage.

Bout 10: Randy Brown (14-4) vs. Khaos Williams (13-2) (Welterweight)

A 10-fight prelim card is scheduled to wrap up with a fight between explosive welterweight Khaos Williams and Randy Brown.

Williams has put together an impressive record of four wins and just one loss since joining the UFC roster in early 2020. He earned his third finish win for the promotion in November 2021, finishing Miguel Baeza with strikes.

Brown had a successful 2021, submitting veteran Alex Oliveira and taking a decision over Jared Gooden.

Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (PPV)

Bout 11: Donald Cerrone (36-16) vs. Joe Lauzon (28-15) (Lightweight)

Two veteran lightweights will start the main card, as Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon will face off.

Lauzon is appearing for the first time in nearly two years. He broke a three-fight skid the last time people saw him, finishing Jonathan Pearce in October 2019.

Cerrone, one of the most experienced UFC fighters of all time, will be fighting to break a losing streak. He has gone winless in his last six, including five losses. His last fight came in May 2021, when Alex Morono stopped him in the first round with strikes.

Bout 12: Ovince St. Preux (25-16) vs. Mauricio Rua (27-12-1) (Light Heavyweight)

In another clash between long-time fighters, Ovince St. Preux and Mauricio Rua will meet on Saturday night’s main card.

Rua has been on the UFC roster since 2007. He fought at a high level before then as well, competing in Pride FC from 2003 to 2007. His appearance this weekend is the first time he has fought since 2020. He tasted defeat in his last fight, getting stopped in a rematch against Paul Craig.

St. Preux will be fighting to avoid falling into a three-fight skid. He was up at heavyweight previously, where he was stopped by Tanner Boser.

Bout 13: Michael Chandler (22-7) vs. Tony Ferguson (25-6) (Lightweight)

Former lightweight title challengers Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson will attempt to get back into the win column in the next bout.

Chandler took his first UFC loss last year, getting finished in the second round of a title fight against Charles Oliveira. He took another defeat later that year, being on the losing side of a fight against Justin Gaethje that many considered “Fight of the Year.”

Ferguson has lost three straight bouts, albeit against some of the division’s best. His last fight came against Beneil Dariush in May 2021, which resulted in a unanimous decision result.

Bout 14: Rose Namajunas (11-4) vs. Carla Esparza (18-6) (UFC Strawweight Championship)

A rematch numerous years in the making will take place in the co-main event. Looking to defend her UFC Strawweight Championship for the second time, Rose Namajunas will face rival Carla Esparza.

The rivalry between Namajunas and Esparza dates back to the beginning of their UFC careers. They first fought in 2014 in the grand final for Season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Esparza prevailed in that fight, submitting Namajunas in the third round with a rear naked choke.

Esparza’s title run was short-lived, as she dropped the belt in her next fight. Namajunas has had two title reigns since then, including the one that is underway right now. She earned her 115-pound belt for the second time in April 2021, scoring a sudden second-minute head kick finish against Zhang Weili.

Namajunas’ last fight was a five-round rematch against Zhang, which she won via split decision.

Esparza finds herself in a title position after a strong five-fight winning streak since 2019. Her sole finish win in that reign came last year when she beat fellow high-ranked contender Yan Xiaonan in the second round.

Bout 15: Charles Oliveira (32-8) vs. Justin Gaethje (23-3) (UFC Lightweight Championship)

An interesting title fight will close out the night. Because of the drama from Friday, the night could end without a champion after Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje meet.

Oliveira missed weight for the title fight at Friday’s weigh-ins, coming in half a pound over the championship limit at lightweight. Because of this, he was dramatically stripped of his championship. Not only that, but if he wins on Saturday night he still won’t be champion. In that case, the evening would end with the lightweight belt vacant.

The same cannot be said for Gaethje. If he wins on Saturday, he will be the new UFC Lightweight Champion.

The weigh-in results have taken a lot of focus away from the fight in the 11th hour. Despite the deflating circumstances of the championship, Saturday is still a big matchup between two of the division’s best.

Oliveira is currently on a 10-fight winning streak, with the first victory from that run dating back to 2018. He became the promotion’s lightweight champ in May 2021 last year, stopping Michael Chandler in the second round of a fight to earn the vacant belt.

Oliveira defended his belt for the first time late last year, prevailing against Dustin Poirier with a third-round submission.

Gaethje has been one of the top names in the UFC in recent years. He was their interim titleholder in 2020, beating Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 to claim that status. He lost a title shot later that year to Khabib Nurmagomedov, who submitted him in the second round of a fight.

Gaethje has returned to the title conversation after a hard-fought unanimous decision victory last year, defeating Michael Chandler in a “Fight of the Year” contender.

One of the top fights that you can make in the UFC will take place on Saturday night. And while stipulations mean the fight won’t be as grand as expected, it will still be a big deal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s