The UFC returns this weekend with an event featuring potential future Strawweight title challengers Marina Rodriguez and Amanda Lemos in the main event. UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Lemos, originally expected to feature Featherweights Bryce Mitchell and Movsar Evloev in the main event, will take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Let's look through the fights from top to bottom and break down some talking points for each bout on the VerdictMMA card.
Originally scheduled at UFC 280: Oliveria vs. Makhachev, number 3-ranked Rodriguez takes on number 7-ranked Lemos in the main event in the wide-open Strawweight division. The winner could soon face the champion with an impressive victory this weekend. Rodriguez, who is about to see her third main event in the UFC, is currently on a 3-fight win streak at Strawweight after losing to the current champion, Carla Esparza, by a split decision. On the other hand, Lemos is 6-1 in the division and coming off a Performance of the Night winning submission over Michelle Waterson. Both women can strike and have scored KO/TKOs in their UFC careers. The main event should be an exciting bout, no matter who gets their hand raised.
Neil Magny and Daniel Rodriguez were to meet at UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs. Araújo. Unfortunately, Rodriguez had to pull out due to an infection he sustained in his elbow. The UFC rescheduled this bout for two weeks later and placed it in the co-main event spot of this weekend's card. Number 13-ranked Magny will face number 14-ranked Rodriguez at Welterweight in what should be a back-and-forward affair. Magny, a 27-fight UFC veteran, is 5-2 in his last 7, sadly coming off a submission loss to Shavkat Rakhmonov in his previous outing. At the same time, Rodriguez is 7-1 in the promotion and on a 4-fight win streak over big names such as Mike Perry, Kevin Lee, and Li Jingliang. The loser of this fight has the potential to lose their top 15 spot, so a win for either man is crucial. With a combined 22 finishes between them, this fight should deliver.
Two unranked Heavyweights go head-to-head on this weekend's main card at the Apex. With a combined 26 knockouts between them, this fight will likely be fireworks. Josh Parisian is a TUF runner-up and 2x Dana White's Contender Series winner. Parisian has scored one KO win and one decision win in his 4-fight run and lost twice by the same methods. A win over a veteran like Sherman could be just what Parisian needs to possibly face a ranked opponent next. In the case of Chase Sherman, this UFC veteran has had 13 fights in the promotion and met big Heavyweight names such as Walt Harris, Shamil Abdurakhimov, Augusto Sakai, Andrei Arlovski, and Alexander Romanov. Sherman has scored a knockout in all but one of his UFC victories and will look to do the same this weekend.
Number 15-ranked Flyweight Tagir Ulanbekov takes on unranked Flyweight Nathan Maness in the second fight of the main card. Maness is coming off the first decision loss of his career at the hands of Umar Nurmagomedov. Maness has won bonuses in 2 of his 4 UFC fights and could take the number 15 spot with a win over Ulanbekov. Tagir Ulanbekov is also coming off a decision loss, but instead to title challenger Tim Elliott. Ulanbekov is 2-1 in the UFC and 13-2 as a professional, with six wins coming by submissions. This Russian Sambo champion is looking to score his first finish in the UFC and climb the Flyweight rankings to face the champion, Deiveson Figueiredo.
The surging Grant Dawson takes on undefeated Mark Madsen at Lightweight to open the main card. Madsen is a 5x Greco-Roman World Championship medalist and, since switching to professional MMA, has gone 12-0, with half his wins by finish. After a knockout in his UFC debut and three decision victories, Madsen has put himself on a fast track to climb the Lightweight rankings. But first, Madsen must get through Dana White's Contender Series alum, Grant Dawson. Dawson is 18-1-1 as a professional and 6-0-1 in the UFC. Dawson is coming off an impressive rear-naked choke submission over Jared Gordon, making his total submission wins 12. This fight will showcase world-class wrestling versus world-class submission grappling and will surely be one to witness.