Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back with its latest pay-per-view (PPV) offering, as UFC 255 is set to go down later tonight (Sat., Nov. 21, 2020) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will feature two title fights, as Deiveson Figueiredo will defend his Flyweight title against Alex Perez in the headlining bout. In the co-main event, women’s Flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko, will defend her strap against Jennifer Maia.
Deiveson Figueiredo will get the chance to defend his Flyweight title for the first time when he takes on Alex Perez in the main event of UFC’s latest pay-per-view (PPV) offering. “Daico” won the belt after defeating Joseph Benavidez for the second time over the summer on “Fight Island,” ushering in a new era at 125 pounds after Henry Cejudo inexplicably decided to walk away from the fight game in the prime of his career. As the new head of the Flyweight division, Figueiredo has a tough task ahead of him, and not necessarily against Perez (though that is not a walk in the park). What I’m referring to is Deiveson’s task of trying to bring some buzz to the division, something that apparently wasn’t there when Demetrious Johnson was setting title defense records, and Cejudo making history as UFC champ-champ. And it’s not to say myself or others weren’t entertained, but it’s the promotion that seemingly has an issue with the division. Dana White criticized “Mighty Mouse’s” lack of star power any chance he got, and the company event contemplated dissolving the division altogether. Thankfully for the natural 125-pound fighters, it wasn’t.
As for the fight itself, Figueiredo is the the obvious favorite. He’s a big 125-pounder, has two wins over Benavidez and is 8-1 so far in his UFC career. The lone loss on his record came against Jussier Formiga, a man “Daico” no longer has to worry about running into inside the Octagon. He has punching power for days and his jiu-jitsu is top notch. In short, it’s going to be tough sledding for Perez. But that doesn’t mean that he is simply going to roll over. He is currently on a three fight win streak and 6-1 overall inside the Octagon with his lone defeat coming at the hands of “Joe Jitsu.” He has a well-rounded attack, but at the end of the day Figueiredo’s is just a bit more lethal.
In the co-headlining act, Valentina Shevchenko is in search of her fourth straight defense of her women’s Flyweight championship as she faces off against Jennifer Maia. When “Bullet” announced her drop down to 125 pounds and subsequently claimed the strap, many believed it would be the beginning of one of the most dominant runs in any weight class, man or woman. And so far Shevchenko has not disappointed, walking right through her foes with relative ease. Can Maia do any better? That remains to be seen, but just like in the main event, the champion here just has way too many tools and skills to cough up the title, especially if it stays on the feet.
It just doesn’t feel like a pay-per-view (PPV) card. Sure we have a championship doubleheader, but if we are going by name value alone, it’s severely lacking for a card that has a price tag of $65. We can blame it on the pandemic, blame it on other fighters simply not wanting to fight until COVID-19 is gone, but one more marquee matchup could have helped this card a lot.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Figueiredo was originally set to face off against former UFC Bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt before “No Love” was forced out of the title fight with an injury. That’s why Perez got the opportunity of a lifetime to take part in his first-ever UFC title fight.
Orion Casce was set to make his UFC debut at this event against Nicolas Dalby before he bowed out of the fight for undisclosed reasons. Stepping in to fill the void is Daniel Rodriguez, who is currently riding a nine-fight win streak which includes three straight wins inside the Octagon. Dalby, meanwhile, has also been putting in work, defeating Alex Oliveira in 2019 in his UFC return bout, before coming up short against Jesse Ronson this past July. That fight, though, was recently overturned to a no contest (NC) after Ronson failed a drug test.
Former UFC Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler was lined up to take on Mike Perry in main card action in what was sure-to-be a thrilling standup war. But after “Ruthless” bowed out with an injury, Tim Means was pegged as his replacement. While it doesn’t quite have the same anticipation as Lawler vs. Perry had, it still should be a fairly good fight. Perry —despite all of his out-of-the-cage distractions — always brings it once the cage door closes. Means does too, which is why both men have been able to hang on to their spot on the UFC roster despite being wildly inconsistent throughout their careers, combining for a 19-15-1 record inside the Octagon.
Jared Gooden will bring his talents to the Octagon for the first time as he gears up to face off against Alan Jouban. Winner of three straight (all in different promotions), Gooden has finishes in 13 of his 17 wins, so he does know a few things when it comes to putting people away. His first UFC test against Jouban is a good one. He isn’t facing someone at the bottom of the barrel, but not quite exactly someone who has been making major moves inside the Octagon. either. Jouban hasn’t been able to quite get over the hump so far, though he does have impressive wins over Mike Perry and Belal Muhammad.
Dustin Stoltzfus will make his UFC debut after earning his way in via the “Contender Series” to face off against Kyle Daukaus, who failed to impress in his own UFC debut against Brendan Allen this past June. Stoltzfus is coming in with a 10 fight win streak, though the German-born combatant doesn’t exactly have any wins of note on his resume. That’s not to discredit him whatsoever, but now we get to see what he’s really made of by facing the best in the world.
Louis Cosce is another “Contender Series” graduate who will look to keep his momentum going by adding to his undefeated record (7-0) when he faces off against Sasha Palatnikov, another UFC rookie. Cosce has finished every single one of his opponents (five knockouts, two submissions), all in the very first round. Palatnikov, on the other hand, is 5-2 so far in his young combat career.
To get a more detailed look at all three of those fresh new faces click here.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
We’ve already discussed several fights going down on the underbelly of the PPV event, so let’s take a look at the rest of the lineup.
Brandon Moreno was a bit bummed — and rightfully so — that he didn’t get the nod to fill in for Garbrandt in the title fight, so he will look to make his championship case with an impressive performance and win over Brandon Royval. It will be easier said than done because Royval has been on quite a tear, winning four straight including back-to-back submission wins inside the Octagon. Don’t be too surprised if this bout takes home “Fight of the Night.” The winner here should be the No. 1 contender.
Viral sensation Joaquin Buckley will look to ride the wave of momentum he created with his picture-perfect knockout win over Impa Kasanganay last month (click here if you somehow missed it). Indeed, all eyes will be on Buckley to see what he has in store as a follow up performance, which could add a lot of unneeded pressure. If another spectacular finish comes, then great, but Buckley needs to focus on the basics to get the win first and foremost because Jordan Wright is as game as they come. Wright has gone 11-0 so far in his career which includes a first-round technical knockout win over Isaac Villanueva in his UFC debut.
Antonina Shevchenko hasn’t been able to rack up wins on a consistent basis during her young career with UFC, going just 2-2 so far. Her last fight saw her come up short against Katlyn Chookagian, a fighter her younger sister Valentina destroyed earlier in the year. Unfair or not, Shevchenko will always have “Bullet’s” shadow to try and get out of. Still, Antonina is very fresh in her UFC career and has plenty of time to start making her moves, beginning with a win over Ariane Lipski, winner of two in a row.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
No fighter is really on a skid and is in danger of being cut, but I think Mike Perry needs a win badly here. Aside from trying to get the extra win bonus to pay off the tax man, buy a new car and put some in his bank account for his growing family, “Platinum” hasn’t exactly been seen in the best of lights over the course of the year. After he was caught on tape knocking out an older gentleman at a restaurant in Texas, his ex-wife came out and levied some serious domestic abuse allegations against him. Of course, Perry denied those allegations and UFC never really spoke out against him regarding the claims. To make matters worse, he missed weight by nearly five pounds, and then he acted like he didn’t care, proclaiming that he came to fight a man, not the scale. But wait, it get’s worse. Video footage recently surfaced showing Perry eating burgers and pizza a few days out from fight night. All that said, if Perry doesn’t give the promotion a reason to keep him other than his “Just Bleed” attitude, don’t be too shocked if the promotion parts ways with him. Sure, he is coming off a win over Mickey Gall, but he is just 3-5 in his last eight, a record that would have earned other fighters their pink slip by now. All of the out-of-the-cage headaches just won’t be worth it for the promotion if they’re not getting something in return. Especially if he is not taking missing weight seriously.
Interest Level: 6.5 out of 10
I know people are ragging on this event simply because they don’t feel it justifies a PPV price tag, and they’re probably right. But if you take the purchase factor out of the equation, the fights are not too shabby. Aside from the championship doubleheader (which could very well turn out to be one-sided), there are two other fights on the main card we have yet to discuss.
Mauricio Rua will look to keep chugging along when he rematches Paul Craig at Light Heavyweight. The two men initially threw down over a year ago, which resulted in a split draw after 15 minutes of action. Since then, “Shogun” went on to defeat Antonio Rogerio Nogueira a third time, while Craig submitted Gadzhimurad Antigulov this past summer on “Fight Island” on the same card Rua completed his trilogy with “Lil’ Nog.”
Many felt Craig was robbed of a win against Rua in the first outing, so now he has the chance to make up for that and prove his supporters right by getting a win over the former PRIDE FC and UFC champion. And let’s face it, Rua is not getting any younger and does look a step or two slower inside the cage. But we have to enjoy it while we can because he has already stated that his career is coming to an end in the near future.
Also, Cynthia Calvillo will look to nab her fourth straight win when she faces off against Katlyn Chookagian in Flyweight action. When she burst onto the UFC scene, Calvillo caught everyone’s attention including UFC President, Dana White. Many expected big things from her but a failed drug test and loss to Carla Esparza took some wind out of her sails. She really turned it around following her loss to “Cookie Monster,” winning three straight and fighting to a split draw against Marina Rodriguez. She will need an impressive showing against Chookagian if she wants to take Jessica Andrade’s spot at the top of the title race.
Enjoy the fights!
Full Fight Card:
UFC 255 PPV Main Event:
125 lbs.: UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Alex Perez
UFC 255 PPV Main Card On ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET):
125 lbs.: UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jennifer Maia
170 lbs.: Mike Perry vs. Tim Means
125 lbs.: Cynthia Calvillo vs. Katlyn Chookagian
205 lbs.: Mauricio Rua vs. Paul Craig
UFC 255 Late ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN+/ESPN 2 (8 p.m. ET):
125 lbs.: Brandon Moreno vs. Brandon Royval
185 lbs.: Joaquin Buckley vs. Jordan Wright
125 lbs.: Ariane Lipski vs. Antonina Shevchenko
170 lbs.: Nicolas Dalby vs. Daniel Rodriguez
UFC 255 Early ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN+ (6:30 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Jared Gooden vs. Alan Jouban
185 lbs.: Kyle Daukaus vs. Dustin Stoltzfus
170 lbs.: Louis Cosce vs. Sasha Palatnikov
***Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to drastic change because of the various global quarantine restrictions.***
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 255 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 255: “Figueiredo vs. Perez” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.