The octagon returns to Atlantic City, New Jersey for the first time in nearly four years with the promotion bringing an intriguing fight-card, featuring no less than TEN ranked fighters!
Kevin Lee and Edson Barboza will headline the card, with both men looking to make their mark on an increasingly competitive lightweight division. Lee failed to make weight, tipping the scales at 157lbs, one pound over the 156lbs non-championship limit.
Perennial lightweight challenger Edson Barboza still agreed to fight Lee, with the Brazilian earning 20% of Lee’s purse for the failure to make the lightweight limit. It’s set to be a true battle of styles, with Barboza’s wild array of striking taking on Kevin Lee’s impressive jiu-jitsu and wrestling résumé.
Tony Ferguson snapped Kevin Lee’s five-fight winning streak last October in an interim lightweight title bout. Lee will be looking to put himself back in title contention with a win in Atlantic City.
Edson Barboza found himself on the wrong end of a Khabib Nurmagomedov masterclass in December 2017, somehow surviving until the final bell with the Russian taking the scorecards in dominant fashion. Barboza will hope to remain high in the lightweight rankings, despite his last two losses coming to current champion Nurmagomedov and former interim champion Tony Ferguson.
The co-main event sees everlasting featherweight contenders Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson meet again, over three years on from their first fight in Austin, Texas. It marks a quick turnaround for Edgar, who was knocked out by unbeaten prospect Brian Ortega in the first round just seven weeks ago.
Cub Swanson found himself out of contract after he also lost to Ortega in December. Despite speculation that he may part ways with the promotion, the thirty-four-year-old re-signed and will look to return to the form that saw him win four straight fights in just over twelve months.
Swanson has always seemed to get the best of everyone outside of the elite featherweights, with his only losses coming at the hands of Ortega, Max Holloway, Edgar and Ricardo Lamas in the UFC. He was knocked out in just eight seconds by Jose Aldo in WEC, and also defeated by Chad Mendes. Can he prove his credentials as an elite featherweight?
Nobody has spent more time inside the octagon than Frankie Edgar, with nearly six-and-a-half hours of competition time. Ortega became the first man to finish Edgar, but should another finish occur in Atlantic City, many will worry about the popular man’s long term health.
“The GIF King” Chase Sherman will hope to improve his 2-3 UFC record against huge heavyweight Justin Willis, who just about makes the 265lbs heavyweight limit. Sherman is a social media phenomenon, whilst Willis is 2-0 in the octagon.
Ranked middleweights Dave Branch and Thiago Santos will look to make their assaults on the 185lbs division, with Branch going 1-1 since joining the UFC and Thiago Santos on a four-fight winning streak, with all of those wins coming by knockout.
Wales’ will see a surge in activity at around 03:30 when unbeaten bantamweight Brett Johns makes his fourth UFC walk. Johns is 3-0 since joining the promotion, and will be looking for his second consecutive win on American soil.
His opponent, Aljamain Sterling holds a 6-3 record in the octagon and trains out of the famed Serra-Longo Fight Team in Long Island. This one is an interesting bantamweight bout between two top prospects… and is my most anticipated fight of the evening!
Fan favourite Jim Miller will open the main card, looking to snap a three-fight losing streak against New Zealand’s Dan Hooker, who looks to continue his form after finishing Brits Ross Pearson and Marc Diakiese.
It’s a late one for European fight fans, with the main card kicking off at 3AM on BT Sport. It’s the last fight card for almost three weeks, so stay up and enjoy it!
Full Fight Card
Main Card (3AM on BT Sport)
Catchweight (157lbs): Edson Barboza vs. Kevin Lee
Featherweight: Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson
Heavyweight: Justin Willis vs. Chase Sherman
Middleweight: Dave Branch vs. Thiago Santos
Bantamweight: Brett Johns vs. Aljamain Sterling
Lightweight: Jim Miller vs. Dan Hooker
Prelims (1AM on BT Sport)
Welterweight: Ryan LaFlare vs. Alex Garcia
Bantamweight: Merab Dvalishvili vs. Ricky Simon
Welterweight: Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Luan Chagas
Light Heavyweight: Corey Anderson vs. Patrick Cummins
Early Prelim (12:30AM on UFC Fight Pass)
Welterweight: Tony Martin vs. Keita Nakamura