The UFC returns to action this weekend inside the UFC Apex in Enterprise, Nevada, for UFC Fight Night: Song Yadong vs. Ricky Simón. Let's break down the main card and examine the fights for the card.
The always-entertaining Bantamweight division has another firecracker on its hands this weekend, as the #8 ranked Chinese superstar "The Kung Fu Kid" Song Yadong is taking on the dark horse of the division, Ricky Simón. The two fighters hold a combined eight performance bonuses and nine finishes across their UFC bouts. Yadong is one of the hardest hitters in the division and accompanies that with an exceptional striking arsenal. He proved his standup capabilities in his last bout against one of the best strikers in the division, Cory Sandhagen. Yadong would crack Sandhagen multiple times throughout the bout and showed many people he could hang with the top of the division, despite losing a fourth-round doctors stoppage. Simón also enjoyed the spotlight in his last bout, handing Jack Shore his first professional loss. Entering the fight as an underdog, Simón silenced the hype of Shore after dropping him in the second round and following up with a devastating arm-triangle choke. These Bantamweights are incredibly well-rounded fighters who always leave everything inside the octagon. This is absolutely not a main event to miss.
Middleweights take the co-main event slot this weekend, and both will be looking for the biggest victory of their careers. Brazillian prospect Caio Borralho will be looking to pick up his fourth consecutive victory inside the UFC, remain undefeated inside the promotion, and acquire his first finish in the UFC. Oleksiejczuk has had a stop-and-start run inside the UFC, with a record of 6-3-(1NC) inside the promotion. With victories over Sam Alvey and Cody Brundage in his last two bouts, he'll be looking to piece together his first three-fight win streak in this matchup. Borralho is an elite grappler who, in just three bouts, already has twenty-five minutes of control time, and he'll be looking to increase that stat this weekend. Oleksiejczuk, on the other hand, is an elite striker in the Middleweight division, with 72% of his victories coming via KO/TKO. He'll want to keep this fight standing to secure the upset victory over Borralho.
The other Middleweight bout on the card is a hybrid of the classic "striker vs. grappler" matchup. In this instance, we have elite wrestler Cody Brundage taking one of the greatest active Middleweight jiujiteiro, Rodolfo Viera. Brundage was a standout college wrestler with a record of 128-22 before transitioning to MMA in 2019. Viera competed in grappling matches between 2009-2018 and compiled an elite record of 100-9, only ever losing via submission once. This matchup could end up as a striking affair on the feet or a competitive grappling match on the ground, but with a combined 93% finish rate between the two fighters, expect a finish in this bout.
Fight fans who enjoy violence need to keep their eye on this matchup, where the multiple-time performance of the night winner Julian Erosa meets UFC debutante Fernando Padilla. Veteran Erosa will be looking for his seventh UFC victory after going 6-6 in his first twelve. While sometimes coming up short against the highest level of competition, "Juicy J" always brings the fight and has achieved highlight victories over Nate Landwehr, Charles Jourdain, and Hakeem Dawodu. Padilla last fought in 2021, earning his UFC contract at Fury FC 46: Lookin' For a Fight. The Mexican prospect will be looking to debut his style and get upset over the always-entertaining Erosa.
Heavyweight prospects Marcos Rogério de Lima and Waldo Cortes-Acosta will be looking to secure a vital career win, with a top-15 ranking likely on the line in this matchup. Rogério de Lima has struggled to piece together more than a couple of wins across his UFC career, which dates back to 2014. However, he's now 3-1 in his last four bouts, with his only loss being a controversial decision loss to Blagoy Ivanov. Cortes-Acosta will be looking to keep his undefeated record and move to 10-0. After a perfect 2022, the Dominican will be on the hunt for his biggest career win when he takes on the toughest test of his career.
This battle of new Welterweights should be an exciting one while it lasts. Josh Quinlan has a 100% finish rate and won his UFC debut last year with a massive left hook against Jason Witt. Although young in his career, "Bushido" will be looking for his seventh career win and stoppage to keep his undefeated record intact. Trey Waters will debut inside the octagon this weekend, stepping in on very short notice after competing just two weeks ago when he captured the LFA Welterweight title vs. Jalin Fuller.
This vastly underrated could produce some fierce matchups this weekend, and the main event fight is guaranteed fireworks in the Bantamweight division. What's your prediction for the main event? As a member of the Verdict Community, let us know in the comments below.