Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns later tonight (Sat., June 4, 2022) to stage UFC Vegas 56 from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the event will be a Heavyweight fight between Alexander Volkov and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. In the co-main event, Dan Ige will battle Movsar Evloev in a pivotal Featherweight affair.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: UFC’s Heavyweight division is wide open. Francis Ngannou likely won’t defend his strap until 2023 and there doesn’t seem to be a ton of movement regarding a No. 1 contender's fight. Jon Jones has yet to commit to a fight or a date, so anyone in the Top 10 could reasonably make a case for a shot at the title with one or two impressive outings. Both Alexander Volkov and Jairzinho Rozenstruik are coming off losses, but they still are holding on to the No. 8 and No. 7 spots, respectively. So aside from trying to get back into the win column, this fight has a lot riding on the line for both men in more ways than one.
Both men possess knockout power but I would give the slight advantage to “Bigi Boy” in that department — because all but one of his 11 wins have come by stoppage via strikes. Volkov will have a height and reach advantage, so keeping his distance and peppering away will be his best path to victory. Neither man possess elite wrestling or jiu-jitsu skills — or at least they haven't had to display it — so don’t expect this fight to hit the ground all that much. And I don’t expect this fight to see all five rounds, either. The winner of this fight can expect to move up a few spots and inch closer to the Top 5. A title shot won’t be next, but it will set them up for a bigger chance to get there.
Lucas Almeida lost on Contender Series and will be making his UFC debut on this card. At 13-1, he has proven himself on the regional circuit, but I would have preferred to see the promotion give someone like Jeff Molina a spot on the main card over Almeida. Molina — who will take on Zhalgas Zhumagulov — is on a nine-fight win streak and is perfect (2-0) inside the Octagon. It might be a petty gripe, but that’s my story and I am sticking to it.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Nicolae Negumereanu was in line to face Alonzo Menifield at this event, but withdrew from the fight for undisclosed reasons. Stepping into his slot will be Askar Mozharov, who will be making his UFC debut.
No injuries were reported for this event.
Mozharov will make his UFC debut against Menifield after getting the call up on short notice. Mozharov is an eight-year professional and is currently riding a three-fight win streak. He comes in as the Professional Pankration Championship (PPC) Heavyweight champion — though his record seems to be in question at the the moment — so he will be dropping the pounds to fight at Light Heavyweight. “The Ukrainian Conor McGregor” is out to prove his doubters wrong tonight.
Rinat Fakhretdinov will bring his 17-fight win streak with him to the Octagon when he makes his debut against Andreas Michailidis. At 18-1 as a professional, Fakhretdinov seems to have been long overdue for a shot at the big leagues, but now that he is here, he is out to make the most of it. He has 11 finishes via knockout, while five have come by way of submission, only going the distance twice in his career. Michailidis, meanwhile, is looking to bounce back after getting knocked out by Alex Pereira at UFC 268.
Dan Argueta is another newcomer looking to make a splash in his first UFC fight. Argueta is undefeated (8-0) with four submissions and two knockouts to his credit, with five of those stoppages coming in the first round. He will be battling Damon Jackson, who is on a two-fight win streak and is 3-1 overall inside the Octagon.
Winner of five in a row, Karine Silva will make her Octagon debut against Poliana Botelho. Silva made her way onto the big show thanks to her impressive performance on Contender Series, submitting Qihui Yan via rear-naked choke. Silva has been fighting as a pro for nine years now, so she has a wealth of experience on her resume. As for Botelho, she is currently on a two-fight losing streak, so she needs a win here if she wants to hang on to her spot on the bloated roster. Also, as mentioned earlier Lucas Almeida will get his official shot inside the Octagon after a showing on Contender Series. After losing on the show, Almeida went on to compete once on the regional circuit before getting the call up to face off against Michael Trizano.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
In the Lightweight division, Joe Solecki and Alex Da Silva will attempt to get back into the win column when they collide on the undercard after losing their previous outings via decision. In addition, Benoit St. Denise will attempt to start a new win streak after he suffered the first loss of his career in his UFC debut, coming up short against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos in Oct. 2021. He will face off against Niklas Stolze in Welterweight action. Stolze is currently on a two-fight losing streak and is in search of his first win inside the Octagon.
We have several fights going down in both the men’s and women’s flyweight division as Zarrukh Adashev takes on Ode Osbourne and J.J. Aldrich meets Erin Blanchfield. Adashev recently snapped his two-fight losing streak by defeating Ryan Benoit in July 2021 while Ode Osbourne is coming off a big win over C.J. Vergara. In the women’s division, Aldrich and Blanchfield duke it out in a battle of rising contenders. Blanchfield is in search of her sixth straight win, while Aldrich is looking for her fourth in a row.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Ige was once considered a legit contender to fight for the Featherweight title after beginning his UFC career with a 6-1 mark. Over his last four fights, however, Ige has only gone 1-3 and is currently on a two-fight losing streak. That said, he still possesses the No. 10 spot in the division so it’s not like he is in danger of getting cut should he drop another fight. Still, it would be in his best interest, obviously, to get the win against Movsar Evloev in the co-main event. And it’s going to be a tall task, to say the least, since Evloev is undefeated (15-0, 5-0 UFC).
Interest Level: 5/10
It’s a so-so card. Nothing spectacular, but not the worst, either. The main event likely won’t last long, but we do likely get to see a big finish. Ige will have the chance to turn things around, while Evloev gets the opportunity to pick up one of the biggest wins of his career.
Also, after a nearly two-year hiatus, Felice Herrig will make her return to the cage to face off against Karolina Kowalkiewicz in a women’s Strawweight fight. Herrig needs a win badly here because she has lost three in a row with her last win coming five years ago. Riddled with injuries, “Lil’ Bulldog” aims to return to full form against a former title contender who actually has a worse losing streak (five straight). Indeed, the loser of this fight could be on her way out of the promotion.
UFC Vegas 56 Main Event On ESPN+:
265 lbs.: Alexander Volkov vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
UFC Vegas 56 Main Card On ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Movsar Evloev vs. Dan Ige
145 lbs.: Lucas Almeida vs. Michael Trizano
125 lbs.: Poliana Botelho vs. Karine Silva
205 lbs.: Alonzo Menifield vs. Askar Mozharov
115 lbs.: Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
UFC Vegas 56 ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN+ (1 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Alex Da Silva vs. Joe Solecki
145 lbs.: Daniel Argueta vs. Damon Jackson
125 lbs.: Zarrukh Adashev vs. Ode Osbourne
170 lbs.: Benoit Saint Denis vs. Niklas Stolze
135 lbs.: Tony Gravely vs. Johnny Munoz
125 lbs.: Jeff Molina vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
170 lbs.: Rinat Fahretdinov vs. Andreas Michailidis
125 lbs.: JJ Aldrich vs. Erin Blanchfield
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 56 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ESPN+) at 4 p.m. ET.
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