Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to return to the hurt business tonight (Sat., Aug. 25, 2018) after a two-week hiatus as it presents UFC Fight Night 135 from inside Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Headlining the FOX Sports 1-televised event will be an interesting lightweight scrap between heavy-handed brawlers Justin Gaethje and James Vick. In the co-main event, Andre Fili and Michael Johnson will battle it out in Featherweight action.
Gaethje hasn’t exactly been hot as of late, as the entertaining brawler has dropped his last two fights against Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, getting finished on both occasions. The losses are Justin’s first two of his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career, which saw him go undefeated to start his first six years in the hurt business, including making good on his Octagon debut in July 2017. Despite his early success, losing back-to-back fights doesn’t sit well with “Highlight,” as he is in desperate need for a win. That process won’t be easy, as he will be taking on a red-hot James Vick, who was won his last four bouts, nine of 10 overall so far inside the Octagon.
“The Texecutioner” has been lobbying for his shot at headlining a UFC event, and now that he has it, he is determined to make the most of it in order to get the promotional love he feels he deserves. To up the ante, Gaethje declared prior to the event that if somehow Vick manages to outclass him in the fight, he will hang up his gloves a lot sooner than he plans to.
Original Card vs Actual Card:
Gaethje was originally set to take on Al Iaquinta in the headlining act before “Ragin’” had to bow out due to injury. Cortney Casey stepped in to face Angela Hill after Alexa Grasso was forced out of the fight due to a nasty injury.
Other than Iaquinta and Grasso suffering unfortunate health issues prior to the event, Antonio Braga Nieto was forced out of his light heavyweight showdown against Andrew Sanchez for undisclosed reasons. Marcus Perez in turn stepped in to fill the void.
No newcomers at this event.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
After dropping back-to-back fights to Kamaru Usman and Bryan Barberena, Warlley Alves has quickly turned it around to win two-straight bouts. His quest for three straight will be a tough task, as he is set to face veteran James Krause on the featured bout of the “Prelims.” Krause has won four in a row and hasn’t tasted defeat since 2015. Also, Mickey Gall will look to bounce back after suffering the first loss of his young MMA career when he takes on George Sullivan, who has dropped his previous two fights inside the Octagon. Gall needs to score an impressive win if he wants to go back to getting the spotlight he had early on in his UFC career.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Once considered one of the most promising fighters to come out of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Michael Johnson has had a very rough stretch as of late. “The Menace” has dropped his last three outings, and five of six overall since 2015. To make matters worse, his losses have come at both lightweight and featherweight. Getting back into the win column won’t be easy, as he will be battling Andre Fili, a dangerous 145-pound contender who was won two in a row against Denis Bermudez and Artem Lobov. Should Johnson drop his fourth in a row, there is no telling what will happen to his UFC career.
Interest Level: 5/10
Justin Gaethje won’t get cut should he drop his third-straight fight, but nobody wants to lose three in a row, especially after starting your career red hot. Granted, Justin’s previous two losses came at the hands of top contenders Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, but a loss is a loss, and if he can’t take James Vick out, the future will look a bit uncertain for one of the most entertaining fighters on the planet.
Another interesting showdown taking place at this event is middleweight Eryk Anders taking on Tim Williams. Anders was riding high prior to losing to Lyoto Machida, winning his first 10 fights (two inside the Octagon) to start his career. Now, it will be interesting to see how the former football standout bounces back from his first setback in MMA when he faces Williams on the main card.
We should be in for an interesting night of fights!
Full Fight Card:
UFC Fight Night 135 Main Event:
155 lbs.: Justin Gaethje vs. James Vick
UFC Fight Night 135 Main Card on FOX Sports 1 (10 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Andre Fili vs. Michael Johnson
115 lbs.: Angela Hill vs. Cortney Casey
170 lbs.: Bryan Barberena vs. Jake Ellenberger
125 lbs.: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. John Moraga
185 lbs.: Eryk Anders vs. Tim Williams
UFC Fight Night 135 Main Card on FOX Sports 2 (8 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Warlley Alves vs. James Krause
135 lbs.: Iuri Alcantara vs. Cory Sandhagen
185 lbs.: Andrew Sanchez vs. Markus Perez
170 lbs.: Mickey Gall vs. George Sullivan
UFC Fight Night 135 Main Card on Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET):
125 lbs.: Joanne Calderwood vs. Kalindra Faria
155 lbs.: Drew Dober vs. Jon Tuck
135 lbs.: Luke Sanders vs. Rani Yahya
Stick with Mania for UFC Fight Night 135 live results and coverage.