UFC on ESPN 38: Tsarukyan vs. Gamrot Preview

A pair of the lightweight division’s most notable rising names have the biggest opportunity of their UFC runs thus far when they meet on Saturday night.

Both competing in their first-ever UFC main event, Arman Tsarukyan and Mateusz Gamrot will headline this weekend’s “Fight Night” card from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The fight gives them both an opportunity to make a statement and jump up the promotional ranks.

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

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

Preliminary Card (7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT) (ESPN2 / TSN 2)

Bout 1: Jinh Yu Frey (11-6) vs. Vanessa Demopoulos (7-4) (Strawweight)

Strawweights will kick off the evening, as Jinh Yu Frey and Vanessa Demopoulos will face off.

Both fighters are coming off recent wins. Frey picked up two victories last year, beating Gloria de Paula and Ashley Yoder. Demopoulos earned her first UFC victory in January, submitting Silvana Gomez Juarez with an armbar.

Bout 2: Mario Bautista (9-2) vs. Brian Kelleher (24-13) (Bantamweight)

Mario Bautista will face veteran Brian Kelleher on Saturday’s undercard.

Bautista has scored three wins and two losses since first joining the UFC roster in 2019. He enters this weekend after scoring a win earlier this year, defeating short-notice opponent Jay Perrin in February.

Kelleher suffered a loss in his last outing, suffering a first-round rear naked choke submission defeat against Umar Nurmagomedov at UFC 272. He had earned two consecutive wins on scorecards before then.

Bout 3: Cody Durden (12-4-1) vs. JP Buys (9-4) (Flyweight)

Both fighting for their first win in a while, flyweights JP Buys and Cody Durden will fight.

Buys has yet to score a UFC win. He first joined the roster in 2020, after beating Jacob Silva on “Dana White’s Contender Series.” He then lost twice in his rookie year with the promotion, dropping bouts to Bruno Silva and Montel Jackson. He can avoid going three consecutive defeats this weekend – something that often marks the end of a fighter’s UFC stint.

Durden’s UFC record is currently a negative one win, two losses and one draw. His last fight was a quick loss, as undefeated prospect Muhammad Mokaev caught him in just 58 seconds with a guillotine choke.

Bout 4: Raulian Paiva (21-4) vs. Sergey Morozov (17-5) (Bantamweight)

Bantamweights Raulian Paiva and Sergey Morozov have been matched for this weekend.

Paiva had his momentum stopped recently, as he suffered a first-round finish loss against bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley. Before then, he had a trio of wins between appearances in bantamweight and flyweight.

Morozov also took a loss in his last fight, getting submitted in the second round of a bout against Douglas Silva de Andrade. He earned his first UFC victory before then, defeating Khalid Taha.

Bout 5: TJ Brown (16-8) vs. Shayilan Nuerdanbieke (36-10) (Featherweight)

Rising featherweights TJ Brown and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke are set to collide in the next matchup.

Brown has turned around his UFC run after a rough start. When he first joined the promotion in 2020, he took two consecutive losses. He has since evened his record, defeating Kai Kamaka III and Charles Rosa over the past 13 months.

Nuerdanbieke earned his first UFC win in November 2021, beating veteran Sean Soriano on scorecards.

Bout 6: Tafon Nchukwi (6-2) vs. Carlos Ulberg (4-1) (Light Heavyweight)

The six-fight prelims will wrap up with a light heavyweight bout between Tafon Nchukwi and Carlos Ulberg.

Ulberg is a City Kickboxing talent from New Zealand. He earned his first UFC win in February, defeating former LFA champ Fabio Cherant via unanimous decision. He took his sole pro loss before then, getting stopped by Kennedy Nzechukwu at UFC 259 in 2021.

Nchukwi has flipped between winning and losing in his UFC career, attaining two wins and two losses through four fights. He was finished for the first time in his career in March, as undefeated UFC newcomer Azamat Murzakanov caught him with a flying knee.

Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 2)

Bout 7: Chris Curtis (28-8) vs. Rodolfo Vieira (8-1) (Middleweight)

Looking to follow up on a strong UFC entrance, Chris Curtis will meet Rodolfo Vieira in the opening bout of the main card.

Curtis joined the UFC roster in November 2021, stepping in on short notice and scoring a first-round finish win against Phil Hawes. He then appeared again just a month later, stopping Brendan Allen on a UFC card.

This strong run wrapped up a busy year for Curtis that saw him appear six times in total. He aimed to build off this momentum early this year, but a canceled bout has left him sidelined for six months in total. He now returns on this card against Vieira.

Vieira is an incredibly skilled grappler that has scored three wins since entering the UFC in 2019. He took his first pro loss in early 2021, as Anthony Hernandez pulled off a massive upset with a second-round submission. He bounced back later that year with a win over Dustin Stoltzfus.

Bout 8: Umar Nurmagomedov (14-0) vs. Nate Maness (14-1) (Bantamweight)

In the first of two matchups that includes an undefeated fighter on this main card, Umar Nurmagomedov will face Nate Maness.

Nurmagomedov has fought just twice since entering the UFC roster in 2020. He has submitted both of his opponents thus far via rear naked choke. He beat veteran Brian Kelleher in his last appearance, stopping him in just over three minutes.

Maness is also on a run in the UFC, having scored three victories since first joining in 2020. He stopped Tony Gravely in his last appearance, beating him in September 2021.

Bout 9: Thiago Moises (15-6) vs. Christos Giagos (19-9) (Lightweight)

High-level lightweights Thiago Moises and Christos Giagios will meet on the main card.

Moises will be fighting to end a two-bout losing streak. The first defeat came in a UFC main event spot, where he was submitted in the fourth round by rising contender Islam Makhachev. Four months later in 2021, Joel Alvarez scored an upset first-round finish against Moises as well.

Giagos’ last fight came against one of Saturday’s headliners, Arman Tsarukyan. In that fight, Giagos was stopped in the third minute by strikes. He had a two-fight winning streak in the promotion going before then.

Bout 10: Josh Parisian (14-5) vs. Alan Baudot (8-3) (Heavyweight)

The sole heavyweight bout of the card will see Josh Parisian and Alan Baudot collide.

Baudot has yet to earn a win in the UFC cage. His three appearances have resulted in two losses and one no contest since he first appeared in 2020. He went the distance for the first time as a pro in February, dropping a decision to Parker Porter in the end.

Parisian has the chance to even his promotional record on Saturday night. He currently has one win and two losses in the UFC. He suffered a stoppage loss in his late 2021 appearance, getting finished in the third round by DonTale Mayes.

Bout 11: Neil Magny (26-8) vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov (15-0) (Welterweight)

Undefeated welterweight contender Shavkat Rakhmonov will get a step-up challenge this week, as he will face veteran Neil Magny in a three-round bout.

Rakhmonov has a strong record of 15 wins. He has scored three of those victories in the UFC, all of which have come via finish. He had a quick outing in his last bout, finishing Carlston Harris within a round in February.

Magny is easily the most experienced challenge that Rakhmonov has faced thus far. Magny has been on the UFC roster for nearly an entire decade now and has attained an impressive record of 19 wins and seven losses during that time.

Magny is amid a streak of momentum currently, having earned two consecutive wins recently. He last fought in March, going three rounds against Max Griffin for a split decision win.

Bout 12: Arman Tsarukyan (18-2) vs. Mateusz Gamrot (20-1) (Lightweight)

Two of UFC’s more promising lightweight prospects will cross paths in the main event on Saturday night. In a clash between two rising names, Arman Tsarukyan and Mateusz Gamrot will collide to close out the card.

Tsarukyan started his UFC run with a loss, although it came against contender Islam Makhachev. He has gone undefeated since that 2019 defeat, putting together five consecutive victories. His last win was in February when he stopped the momentum of Joel Alvarez with a second-round finish.

Gamrot’s UFC run started similar to Tsarukyan, as he lost his debut. After dropping his debut to Guram Kutateladze in a big upset result, Gamrot turned around to score three straight finish wins in 2021. He closed out his year with a victory over Diego Ferreira, who he beat via strikes.

Both fighters will be competing in their first UFC main event this weekend. However, Gamrot’s experience as KSW Lightweight Champion means that he has appeared in numerous five-round fights before.

Saturday night will be a big moment for either lightweight to make a move up the divisional ranks and get one step closer to a title shot.

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