After a memorable pay-per-view card in Abu Dhabi, the UFC makes the long trip home for an underrated Fight Night card in Las Vegas. Headlining the card are two of the best Featherweights on the planet. Calvin Kattar and Arnold Allen have been in some big fights, but this might be the biggest of their careers. A win could get them closer to a title shot. The problem is, with Islam Makhachev capturing the vacant Lightweight title last weekend, the champion in the Featherweight division seems a little preoccupied. Everyone seems to be on board with Alexander Volkanovski moving up to attempt double-champ status, and this will no doubt put the division on hold for a brief period. However, the main event this weekend between Kattar and Allen is still crucial, as the winner could find themselves in line for a title shot, whether undisputed or vacant. Let’s take a closer look at the main event and the rest of the card as it shows on Verdict.
The Featherweight division will likely have to be put on hold for a bit while Volkanovski attempts double-champ status. Unfortunately, that leaves out guys like Yair Rodriguez, Josh Emmett, and either Calvin Kattar or Arnold Allen. There are still very high stakes this weekend because the winner could easily challenge Volkanovski for the title when he comes back or perhaps create an interim title in his absence. A dominant performance from either man this weekend could propel them to the top of the list. This fight is between two of the best strikers in the division, with Calvin Kattar being an elite boxer and fundamentally sound, and Arnold Allen who brings a vicious pace, well-roundedness to his game, and an eleven-fight win streak to the table.
This weekend’s co-main event will feature two scrappy UFC veterans who are looking to get back to their winning ways. Tim Means and Max Griffin were both on three-fight-winning streaks until they were abruptly snapped in their last outing. Means, who is 38, has been a staple of the UFC’s Welterweight division for many years and has fought the absolute best this division has to offer. This man is adamant and durable, and you know he will bring it every time out. On the other hand, Griffin who is 36, has also had a long UFC career and has been in some really fun fights. Both of these guys can crack and I expect this to largely remain a standup fight and an enjoyable one for fans watching.
This fight in the Heavyweight division will feature a UFC newcomer and a six-fight UFC veteran who are both are Dana White’s Contender Series graduates. Waldo Cortes-Acosta will be making his UFC debut after starting his career off with an undefeated record. Cortes-Acosta earned a contract back in August with a first-round stoppage over Danilo Suzart. Waldo possesses a lot of power in his hands, as four of his seven wins have come by knockout. On the other hand, we have Jared Vanderaa who is likely fighting for his UFC career this weekend. While Vanderaa has fought some of the best heavyweights on the roster including Alexandr Romanov, Aleksei Oleinik, and Andrei Arlovski, he also has gone 1-5 in the promotion since earning a contract back in 2021. After four losses in a row, Vanderaa will need to get past the heavy-hitting newcomer to avoid a five-fight losing streak.
Also on the main card is a Middleweight clash between Josh Fremd and Ultimate Fighter alumni Tresean Gore. We have not seen much from either man inside the UFC promotion, as both have a combined record of 0-3, but both have a chance to get back to their winning ways. This fight could be a “loser leaves town” kind of fight, but both have shown plenty of promise outside the promotion that could carry over in the UFC with time.
This featured bout is one you need to have your eye on. Two very talented, but different styles of striking, Dustin Jacoby and Khalil Rountree Jr. will open up the main card this weekend. Jacoby has gone 8-0-1 in his last nine fights and has looked extremely impressive as of late. He is as credentialed a Muay-Thai fighter as you can get, as he fought in Glory Kickboxing for many years and has faced the likes of Alex Pereira and Karl Roberson. Jacoby is technically sound and has elite striking. Khalil Rountree on the other hand is quite the opposite.
Rountree made it to the Ultimate Fighter season 23 finale but lost a unanimous decision to Andrew Sanchez. Rountree has fought killers at 205 for many years but seems to be finding himself at 32 years of age. Recently, Khalil has opened up regarding his mental health issues in the past, and how he’s held back from his MMA career. This doesn’t seem to be the case now, as the way he’s finished Modestas Bukauskas and Karl Roberson just exemplifies the kind of athlete he is. Extremely powerful and ferocious, every strike thrown with intent. Whether it was the soccer body kick to a downed Roberson or the way he kicked Bukauskas’ knee shows that he is a different fighter now.
In addition to the main card, the prelims will also feature some great fights. Phil Hawes will take on Roman Dolidze in the prelim headliner, with Andrei Arlovski, Chase Hooper, Carlos Mota, and Junyong Park also fighting on the prelims.