We've got a stacked event ahead of us this weekend. Let's take a look at the story of each fight.
New talent has started to emerge in the Light Heavyweight division and one of those talents is Magomed Ankalaev who’s won 7 consecutive fights in the Octagon. Of those 7 wins, 4 have come by knockout. The only loss of Ankalaev’s 8-year professional career came against Paul Craig in March of 2018. Ankalaev will compete in his first UFC main event this weekend against former title challenger Thiago Santos. Santos has always been known for his aggressive style, but that hasn’t been the case in his last 2 fights. He was hesitant to attack like he’s done in the past. Ankalaev's style will force Santos to fight. The Verdict Community is confident in Ankalaev, with 82% predicting him to defeat Thiago Santos. If Ankalaev defeats Santos, he might be next in line to challenge the winner of Glover Teixeira vs. Jiří Procházka for the Light Heavyweight Championship. This is a high stakes matchup.
Marlon Moraes once looked like one of the best fighters in the world. Before he made his UFC debut in June of 2017, Moraes was the former WSOF Bantamweight Champion and was on a 6 year, 13 fight winning streak. He earned an opportunity to fight for the UFC Bantamweight title after finishing 3 consecutive opponents in the 1st round, including finishing current Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling by knockout in 67 seconds. After losing his title shot to Henry Cejudo, Moraes’ career took a turn. He defeated Jose Aldo in a controversial decision then lost his last 3 consecutive fights by TKO. He’ll now take on rising contender Song Yadong who’s coming off of a TKO win himself. Much of the Verdict Community predicts a similar result going into this fight, with 41% predicting Yadong to finish Moraes by TKO. Yadong is fighting for the opportunity to catapult himself into the top 10 of the Bantamweight division, while Moraes is fighting to secure his spot on the UFC roster.
Alex Caceres has been competing as a professional fighter since 2008 and is currently on the longest winning streak of his career at 5 consecutive wins. Though Caceres has won 5 straight fights and Yusuff is coming off of a loss, 67% of the Verdict Community is still picking Yusuff to defeat Caceres. Before losing to Arnold Allen in his last fight, Yusuff was on a 6 fight winning streak where he had defeated the likes of Andre Fili and Gabriel Benitez.
When Khalil Rountree last competed in September of 2021, he made a lot of people cringe watching at home. He blasted Modestas Bukauskas' knee with an oblique kick that blew out Bukauskas’ ACL, MCL, and PCL. This marked the first and only time in UFC history that a fight has been ended with an oblique kick. When Rountree is locked in, he’s one of the most dangerous strikers in his division. The Verdict Community is confident in Rountree heading into this fight against Karl Roberson, with 80% predicting Rountree to win and 47% predicting him to finish the contest by knockout.
There are a lot of people that are excited for Terrance McKinney and for good reason. He’s charismatic, he wants to be a UFC Champion, and he has a 100% finishing rate. McKinney last competed on February 26th, when he finished Fares Ziam with a rear-naked choke. 14 days later, McKinney is stepping inside the Octagon once again as he competes in the biggest fight of his career against Drew Dober. Dober is a seasoned veteran that’s been competing in the UFC for nearly 9 years. Though McKinney is stepping in on short notice to fight Dober, he’s still the favorite on Verdict with 63% predicting him to win. If McKinney defeats Dober in the fashion that he’s defeated everyone else, he’ll get the attention of a lot of people.
This main card is kicking off with an absolute banger with former Glory Kickboxing World Champion Alex Pereira taking on Bruno Silva. In March of 2017, Pereira finished current UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya by knockout inside a kickboxing ring. Prior to that, Pereira also defeated Adesanya by unanimous decision. Pereira brings a new level of striking to mixed martial arts and that was on full display in his UFC debut against Andreas Michailidis last November, when he finished Michailidis by knockout with a flying knee. What's being lost in the excitement to watch Pereira compete is how good his opponent Bruno Silva is. Silva is on a 7 fight winning streak where he’s finished every opponent by knockout. Silva has been competing as a professional fighter for 12 years and has never been finished by knockout. Pereira is fighting a fellow finisher. A lot of questions will be answered in this fight and it will kick off the action this weekend for the Verdict Community.