UFC on ESPN 39: dos Anjos vs. Fiziev Preview

A much-anticipated main event fight between Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev will finally take place this weekend. At the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Fiziev will get the chance to earn his first-ever UFC main event victory and also keep his extensive winning streak alive. But across from him is an experienced vet who has faced many of the promotion’s top names in recent years.

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

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

Preliminary Card (6:00PM EDT / 3:00PM PDT) (ESPN2 / TSN 5)

Bout 1: Ronnie Lawrence (8-1) vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov (9-2) (Bantamweight)

Bantamweights Ronnie Lawrence and Saidyokub Kakhramonov will kick off the evening.

Kakhramonov, a former CFFC champion, is coming off his first UFC win. That victory came in August 2021, when he submitted Trevin Jones late with a guillotine choke.

Lawrence has also yet to lose in the UFC, albeit through a short run with the promotion. He went the distance for his second promotional victory earlier this year, defeating Mana Martinez.

Bout 2: Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-3) vs. Karl Roberson (9-5) (Light Heavyweight)

Both due for a win, Kennedy Nzechukwu and Karl Roberson will collide on Saturday night.

Roberson will be aiming to earn his first win since 2019. He has suffered three consecutive defeats since then, with all of the fights ending via finish in the first or second rounds.

Nzechukwu will be fighting to not fall into a three-fight skid. His last defeat came in March through a split decision result against Nick Negumereanu.

Bout 3: David Onama (9-1) vs. Garrett Armfield (8-2) (Featherweight)

David Onama will meet short-notice opponent Garrett Armfield on Saturday night.

Armfield stepped in earlier this week to replace Austin Lingo. He’s joining the UFC roster with this appearance and is currently on a three-fight winning streak from the regional scene.

Onama scored his first UFC win earlier this year, stopping Gabriel Benitez in the first round of a bout with strikes.

Bout 4: Cody Brundage (7-2) vs. Tresean Gore (3-1) (Middleweight)

Fighting for his first official UFC win, Tresean Gore will meet Cody Brundage.

Gore appeared on last year’s season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” He made it to the finals of the bracket, although an injury forced him from actually competing in the final bout. He lost his UFC debut earlier this year, dropping a decision to Bryan Battle. That fight was his first pro loss through four appearances.

Brundage has won and lost a bout each in the UFC. His win came in March when he submitted Dalcha Lungiambula early via guillotine choke.

Bout 5: Antonina Shevchenko (9-4) vs. Cortney Casey (10-9) (Flyweight)

Flyweights Antonina Shevchenko and Cortney Casey will compete as part of Saturday’s prelims.

Shevchenko is currently on a two-fight skid, something that she has not experienced previously in her career. Both losses came via finish in 2021, losing to Andrea Lee and Casey O’Neill.

Casey broke a losing streak in her last fight, defeating Liana Jojua on scorecards in November 2021.

Bout 6: Aiemann Zahabi (8-2) vs. Ricky Turcios (11-2) (Bantamweight)

The prelims will wrap up with a fight between Aiemann Zahabi and Ricky Turcios.

Zahabi had a big performance last year, stopping Drako Rodriguez in the first round with strikes. This marked his first appearance since 2019 and was his first victory since early 2017.

Turcios will be making his first appearance since winning season 29 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” His grand final bout, which happened just under a year ago, saw him defeat Brady Hiestand in a split decision result.

Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 6:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)

Bout 7: Michael Johnson (20-17) vs. Jamie Mullarkey (14-5) (Lightweight)

Veteran Michael Johnson will face Jamie Mullarkey to open the main card.

Johnson’s last win potentially kept his status as a UFC fighter intact. Ending a four-fight losing streak, Johnson picked up a second-round finish victory over Alan Patrick in May. He now returns for what could be a second win within a calendar year – something he hasn’t done since 2018.

Mullarkey had a two-fight winning streak put to an end in his last fight, getting stopped with strikes by Jalin Turner. He’ll aim to rebound this weekend.

Bout 8: Cynthia Calvillo (9-4-1) vs. Nina Nunes (10-7) (Flyweight)

Flyweights Cynthia Calvillo and Nina Nunes are expected to fight next.

Calvillo has gone winless in her last three appearances. Her last fight, a November 2021 fight against Andrea Lee, saw her lose due to a corner stoppage.

Nunes lost in her return last year, suffering a first-round submission defeat to Mackenzie Dern.

Bout 9: Jared Vanderaa (12-8) vs. Chase Sherman (15-10) (Heavyweight)

In the sole heavyweight bout on the card, Jared Vanderaa and Chase Sherman will fight.

Sherman is currently on a four-fight losing streak. He was briefly cut from the UFC roster this year following a loss to Jake Collier. However, he later re-joined the promotion to take a short-notice fight against undefeated prospect Alexandr Romanov. He was submitted in the third minute of that appearance.

Vanderaa has a three-fight skid going. Veteran Aleksei Oleinik beat him in his last appearance, submitting him with a neck crank in the first round.

Bout 10: Said Nurmagomedov (15-2) vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade (28-4) (Bantamweight)

Bantamweights Said Nurmagomedov and Douglas Silva de Andrade will collide on Saturday night’s main card.

Nurmagomedov’s UFC career has resulted in a strong four wins and just one loss since 2018. His last appearance was his quickest yet, submitting Cody Stamann in just 47 seconds with a guillotine choke.

Silva de Andrade has finished his past two opponents. He picked up a submission win in his last appearance, defeating Sergey Morozov earlier this year.

Bout 11: Caio Borralho (11-1) vs. Armen Petrosyan (7-1) (Middleweight)

Both hot off their UFC debuts, Caio Borralho and Armen Petrosyan have been paired up for this weekend’s card.

Both middleweights are similar, in that they joined the UFC roster last year from the “Dana White’s Contender Series” show.

Borralho won his first UFC fight in April, earning a technical decision victory over then-undefeated Gadzhi Omargadzhiev. He can score his fourth win within a 12-month time period this weekend.

Petrosyan beat former LFA champion Gregory Rodrigues in his February UFC debut, earning a split decision win. His “Contender Series” fight was an explosive win, stopping Kaloyan Kolev last year.

Bout 12: Rafael dos Anjos (31-13) vs. Rafael Fiziev (11-1) (Lightweight)

Rafael Fiziev will get his first UFC main event test in the final bout on Saturday night. Closing out the show, Fiziev will meet veteran Rafael dos Anjos.

UFC has been looking to book this fight for a while. It was first set for February, then went to March, and finally landed on this weekend.

Overall, Fiziev has had quite a strong UFC run thus far. While he lost his promotional debut in 2019, he has since put together five consecutive victories. Notable wins during his campaign include Renato Moicano and a close fight against Bobby Green.

Fiziev scored a big win in his last appearance, catching Brad Riddell with a third-round stoppage in December 2021. Now competing in his first-ever UFC main event bout, Fiziev will face dos Anjos.

Dos Anjos, a veteran with more than 30 UFC bouts, will aim to put a stop to Fiziev’s momentum. He beat short-notice opponent Renato Moicano earlier this year, dominating him for five rounds to score a decision victory. The fight was his first appearance in over a year, with his prior bout being a November 2020 victory against Paul Felder.

A win this weekend for Fiziev would be a big moment for his climb up the lightweight ranks. A victory for dos Anjos, however, would just be another day at the office for him.

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