UFC Fight Night: Ribas vs. Namajunas Preview

UFC Fight Night: Ribas vs. Namajunas Preview

Taylor Dow|
March 20, 2024|

UFC Fight Night: Ribas vs. Namajunas Preview

The UFC is back in the Apex with a matchup between number 8-ranked Flyweight Amanda Ribas and ex-Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. The rest of the card is stacked top to bottom with TUF veterans, Contender Series alums, and undefeated prospects.

Let us take a look at the main card that appears on the Verdict MMA app.


Fernando Padilla vs. Luis Pajuelo

Fernando Padilla and Luis Pajuelo kick off the main card in an all-Latin American fight at Featherweight.

Peru's Pajuelo makes his UFC debut following a massive KO victory on Dana White's Contender Series in August 2023. Pajuelo is a surging knockout artist who escaped the regional scene after going 8-1 with seven knockouts. Pajuelo has never been finished as a professional, and in his only loss, he came up short on a split decision.

Mexico's Padilla made his long-awaited UFC debut in April 2023, scoring a massive knockout against Julian Erosa to get the ball rolling. However, his win streak came to a halt to close out the year with a decision loss against Kyle Nelson. Padilla boasts a 15-5 record and has also never been finished.

Billy Quarantillo vs. Youssef Zalal

Billy Quarantillo meets Youssef Zalal in the Octagon after nearly two years fighting outside the UFC for Zalal.

Although Billy Q has alternated wins and losses over his last seven fights, you will never catch him in a boring fight. Quarantillo is coming off a decision win over Damon Jackson in August 2023 and will be looking to make it two in a row when he steps in against the returning Youssef Zalal. Quarantillo is the rare breed of TUF and Contender Series veteran, with a career that spans 23 fights over 10 years.

Youssef Zalal was released from the UFC in 2022 following three straight losses and a draw. Since this losing streak, Zalal has rallied for three big finishes, all in the first round, in his most recent fights outside the UFC. Zalal is eager to make a statement in his second UFC debut and has a wily veteran to return to.


Payton Talbott vs. Cameron Saaiman

Cameron Saaiman hopes to bounce back from his first professional loss when he faces undefeated Dana White's Contender Series prospect Payton Talbott.

Cameron Saaiman's record improved to 9-0 with a first-round stoppage win over Terrence Mitchell in July 2023 at UFC 290. However, three months later, he suffered his first career loss, dropping a decision to Christian Rodriguez. Saaiman is 3-1 in the UFC and hopes to return to his winning ways. He has even more encouragement from teammate Dricus Du Plessis, who became the first South African champion in January 2024.

Payton Talbott is an impressive Dana White's Contender Series alum with an undefeated professional and amateur record. In August 2023, Talbott reigned supreme with a decision win to earn a UFC contract. He has since made his UFC debut, scoring a round 3 submission win over Nick Aguirre. Talbott has only seen one decision in his 7-0 career.

Edmen Shahbazyan vs. A.J. Dobson

It's Contender Series veteran vs. Contender Series veteran in this pivotal matchup at Middleweight.

Edmen Shahbazyan seemed to be the next big thing heading into 2020; however, a losing streak has halted his title aspirations for now. In a career that exemplifies the statement "live by the sword, die by the sword," Shahbazyan amassed an impressive nine first-round knockouts to begin his career until being knocked out himself three times in recent outings. Shahbazyan is 1-4 in his last five fights and hopes to score another big finish this weekend.

A.J. Dobson earned his first UFC win in August 2023 when he faced Tafon Nchukwi. He took the Cameroonian fighter to a decision and sealed the deal. Dobson's first two fights in the promotion didn't go his way, with back-to-back decision losses to Jacob Malkoun and Armen Petrosyan. Finally, he earned the win he was looking for. Dobson plans to bring the fight to Shahbazyan and score his first UFC finish.


Karl Williams vs. Justin Tafa

Heavyweights collide in the co-main event slot this weekend.

After his younger brother Junior tagged in for him opposite Marcos Rogerio de Lima at UFC 298, big brother Justin returns the favor here, replacing his sibling against Williams. Tafa is a knockout artist like the great Mark Hunt, who loves to stand, bang, and put his opponents to sleep. Tafa's most recent outing saw him dispatch of Austen Lane in a rematch after their first fight ended in an accidental eye-poke.

Karl Williams is an up-and-coming Heavyweight prospect who has been riding a six-fight win streak since his first professional loss in 2021. Williams is 9-1 with three knockouts and will be looking to earn his first UFC finish when he takes on fellow Heavyweight Justin Tafa.

(#8) Amanda Ribas vs. Rose Namajunas

The two women in the main event are both Strawweights gone Flyweights. With a win this weekend, they hope to enter talks of a title shot against current champion Alexa Grasso.

Amanda Ribas has divided her time between Strawweight and Flyweight to acquire a 7-3 UFC record in five years. She is coming off a big third-round TKO victory over Luana Pinheiro, which earned her a Performance of the Night bonus. Ribas is looking to put a pin in Rose Namajunas's run and potentially get a shot at the title in the next year.

Rose Namajunas is an ex-two-time Strawweight champion who decided to try her hand at Flyweight in 2023. Despite coming short in a decision loss against Manon Fiorot, her hopes for chasing Flyweight gold never dwindled. Namajunas has been the upset queen as a title challenger, scoring big knockouts to win two titles against Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Zhang Weili. Namajunas hopes to put on a show that will put her in the mix at 125 lbs.

What fight are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the comments below, and remember to make your picks for this weekend's card on the Verdict MMA app.

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