The UFC continues to break new ground. With Russia coming later on in the year, Chile is fast approaching for the promotion’s debut and is capped off with a welterweight contest between Kamaru Usman and Demian Maia.
THE MAIN EVENT
Originally slated to fight Santiago Ponzinibbio, Kamaru Usman (12-1) faces BJJ specialist Demian Maia (25-8) on Saturday night.
In what looks set to be a classic ‘striker vs grappler’ style match up, Usman is unbeaten in the UFC and is looking to propel himself towards title contention by stamping an 8th consecutive victory inside the Octagon.
In front of him is the ever popular Brazilian Demian Maia who is looking to halt a two fight losing streak having come up short against Colby Colvington and current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley respectively.
Usman is the clear outright favourite with odds as short as 2/9 in places.
An outright victory for Maia is valued at 11/4 at the time of writing.
THE CO-MAIN EVENT
Strawweight’s take up the co-main event slot on the night with a very interesting looking match up.
Alexa Grasso (10-1) takes on the unbeaten Tatiana Suarez (5-0)
Grasso has been on a ‘stop-start’ road since joining the UFC from Invicta in 2016. After a tough outing last time out against Randa Markos and just getting the nod in a split decision victory, Grasso will look to start this fight strongly and push the early pace.
Currently ranked #9, a big performance could make a statement in a division crying out for legitimate contenders.
In front of her is the well rounded Suarez who pulled off one of the most impressive submission victories in women’s MMA against Amanda Cooper sinking in a rarely seen Brabo Choke.
Suarez’s ground game could really play a big part in the story of this fight if she can take Grasso down.
Latest odds (at time of writing): Alexa Grasso (7/2) Tatiana Suarez (1/6)
THE REST OF THE CARD
In truth, it’s not the deepest UFC card even as far as ‘Fight Night’s’ go. It is understandable though that the UFC would showcase many Latin American fighters in a new market in an attempt to gauge reception for potential future events.
Jared Cannonier is an interesting fighter to watch as is “Moggly” Benitez but outside of the top two fights there really isn’t too much on the line rather than promoting individuals such as Usman and Diego Rivas in front of a Latin American supporting crowd.
Obviously it’s difficult to get excited for a card like this particularly after a stellar UFC 224 that fans and pundits are still digesting the aftermath.
Anything can happen in MMA and despite the trepidation many fans are feeling going into the card, it could pull off a few surprises and that’s what makes this unpredictable sport so fascinating to watch.
All the action begins on UFC Fight Pass at 11:30pm on Saturday night. All times BST.
Check out the full card below.
Main Card (3am BST, BT Sport 2)
Demian Maia vs. Kamaru Usman
Alexa Grasso vs. Tatiana Suarez
Jared Cannonier vs. Dominick Reyes
Andrea Lee vs. Veronica Macedo
Guido Cannetti vs. Diego Rivas
Chad Laprise vs. Viceente Luque
Preliminary Card (1am BST, BT Sport 2)
Zak Cummings vs. Michel Prazeres
Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja
Poliana Botelho vs. Syuri Kondo
Gabriel Benitez vs. Humberto Bandenay
Preliminary Card (11:30pm (BST), Fight Pass)
Enrique Barzola vs. Brandon Davis
Henry Briones vs. Frankie Saenz
Claudio Puelles vs. Felipe Silva