Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is venturing away from the friendly confines of its APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, to stage a special “Fight Night” even inside UBS Arena at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. In the main event of the ABC-streamed event, Brian Ortega battles Yair Rodriguez in a Featherweight fight that could have major title fight implications. In the co-headlining bout, Amanda Lemos takes on Michelle Waterson in women’s Strawweight action.
Alexander Volkanovski put Max Holloway in his rear-view mirror once and for all after dominating him at UFC 276 to score his third win over the former 145-pound champion, paving the way for other contenders to get their shots. Ortega already had one crack at “The Great,” though he came up short at UFC 266, losing via unanimous decision despite having the champ in danger thanks to a guillotine choke. But, before he can hope to land another title shot, “T-City” has to get through Rodriguez, who is eying his first crack at UFC gold. “El Pantera” came up short against Holloway in his last bout, which was just his second loss inside the Octagon. That said, Rodriguez is ranked No. 3 and a win over Ortega could very well earn him a shot at Volkanovski ... at least that’s what he’s been told.
Both men need a good showing if they want to convince UFC matchmakers that the winner, not Josh Emmett, deserves the fight. This will be an exciting match up between two young combatants who are destined to challenge for UFC gold. Both are well-rounded, though it’s safe to say that Ortega has the edge when it comes to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But, we can’t sleep on Ortega’s striking, which has been improving in every fight. Neither man possess that one-punch knockout power, but they can deliver punches in bunches and they’ve also proven that they can take a licking. Expect a five-round war that will come down to the wire, with the victor going moving one step closer to the big dance.
UFC matchmakers sometimes make odd decisions that leave you scratching your head, and putting Jack Shore on this card is one of them. Shore is a legit UFC contender who is also undefeated (16-0, 5-0 inside the Octagon) and has a huge following in the United Kingdom. So, instead of UFC putting him on the main card of next weekend’s (Sat., July 23, 2022) “UFC London” event in London, England, to bring even more excitement to that stellar card, matchmakers opted to put him on the “Prelims” undercard of this event in New York. It just doesn’t make any sense to myself and most fight fans around the globe. Shore — the former Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion — would bring more excitement, more eyes, and more buzz to UFC London. Instead, he’s on the “Prelims” of an event where he will get lost in the shuffle and get little to no promotion when he battles Ricky Simon. Talk about a huge whiff.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Alex Perez and Askar Askarov were set to collide in a pivotal men’s Flyweight bout before Askarov pulled out of the event. In turn, Perez was paired up against Alexandre Pantoja for UFC 277.
Bill Algeo was in line to take on Billy Quarantillo on this card before Quarantillo suffered an undisclosed injury and was forced out of the fight. Also, Khusein Askhabov suffered an injury and pulled out of his scheduled bout against Herbert Burns. Luckily, they all fight in the same weight class and Burns and Algeo were paired against each other, allowing them to earn their paydays.
Emily Ducote will make her UFC debut after she agreed to step in to face Jessica Penne after Brianna Fortino bowed out of the fight. Ducote is the former Invicta FC Strawweight champion who is 5-1 in her last six fights and is currently on a three-fight win streak. Ducote has a chance to make a splash in her first-ever fight inside the Octagon by stopping Penne’s newfound momentum.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Dalcha Lungiambula has been unable to find any level of winning consistency since making his UFC debut in 2019. While he got things started off proper with a knockout win over Dequan Townsend, he has only managed to go 1-3 since then, losing his last two. He has another tough battle on his hands when he takes on Punahele Soriano, who is also hungry for a win after losing his last two fights inside the Octagon.
In the Light Heavyweight division, Dustin Jacoby will battle Da un-Jung. Jacoby has quietly gone 5-0-1 since making his UFC return and is a couple of wins away from actually cracking the Top 15. Jung, meanwhile, is 14-0-1 in his last 15 fights and hasn’t lost a fight in six years. He is 4-0-1 inside the Octagon with two spectacular knockouts to his credit. This is a sneaky good fight that could produce great things for the man who can come out on top.
Penne has really turned it around after a three-fight losing streak that had her teetering on the edge of being released in 2017. After a four-year break, she has returned with renewed vigor and has won two straight fights against formidable foes Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Lupita Godinez. She will attempt to get her first three-fight win streak in a decade when she faces Emily Ducote, who will be making her UFC debut.
As we mentioned earlier, Shore will look to improve to 17-0 when he takes on Ricky Simon, who is eyeing his fifth straight win. If Simon — an eight-fight Octagon veteran — can hand Shore his first-ever defeat, he can expect to climb the rankings and get a bigger opportunity in his next bout.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Dwight Grant and Dustin Stoltzfus will collide in a Middleweight affair on the undercard that could very well be a “Loser Leaves Town” fight. Grant is on a two-fight losing streak and is just 1-3 in his last four fights inside the Octagon, while Stoltzfus is winless under the UFC umbrella, losing all three fights he’s been given. Whoever loses this fight could be punching his one-way ticket out of the promotion.
Interest Level: 7 of 10
In the co-main event, Michelle Waterson will try to get back on track after having lost to Marina Rodriguez in her last fight. “The Karate Hottie” has been unable to gain much momentum over her last four fights, going just 1-3, putting a big damper on her “Mom Champ” aspirations. However, if she can find a way to take out Amanda Lemos she could get her rhythm going again. But, Lemos is hungry for a big win, too, because she had her five-fight win streak snapped by Jessica Andrade. Lemos was making all the right moves up until she ran into “Bate Estaca,” so getting a victory over a name like Waterson would help her cope and find some new confidence.
Li Jingliang has had a rough go as of late. After stringing together a good run early on in his UFC career, “The Leech” is 1-2 in his last three fights and was absolutely manhandled by Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 267 in 2021. He will face off against Muslim Salikhov, another great grappler who is on an absolute tear at the moment. He is on a five-fight win streak and is 16-1 in his last 17 professional fights.
In the Flyweight division, Matt Schnell will battle Su Madaerji. Schnell is coming off a submission loss to Brandon Royval and hasn’t won a fight since Jan. 2021. Mudaerji, meanwhile, is on a three-fight win streak, turning things around for himself after throwing up a dud in his UFC debut against Louis Smolka.
In one of the better match ups on the main card, Shane Burgos will collide with Charles Jourdain. Burgos recently snapped his two-fight skid with an impressive showing against Billy Quarantillo, dominating him for 15 minutes at UFC 268 to get the nod on the judges’ scorecards. As for Jourdain, he has won two straight against Andre Ewell and Lando Vannatta, putting him at 3-1 over his last four fights. Both men are slowly scratching and crawling up the stacked 145-pound division.
Former women’s Bantamweight champion, Miesha Tate, will make her Flyweight debut against Lauren Murphy after a small hiccup canceled their fight a couple of weeks ago. Since making her mixed martial arts (MMA) return in 2021, “Cupcake” has gone 1-1, losing to Ketlen Vieira in Nov. 2021. Tate is 1-3 in her last four fights, so picking up a win in a new weight class could get her going again. Against Murphy, she will take on a battle-tested veteran who is coming off a loss to division queenpin, Valentina Shevchenko. Prior to that, Murphy had won five straight.
UFC Long Island Main Event On ABC/ESPN+:
145 lbs.: Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez
UFC Long Island Main Card On ABC/ESPN+ (2 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: Amanda Lemos vs. Michelle Waterson
170 lbs.: Li Jingliang vs. Muslim Salikhov
125 lbs.: Matt Schnell vs. Su Mudaerji
145 lbs.: Shane Burgos vs. Charles Jourdain
125 lbs.: Lauren Murphy vs. Miesha Tate
UFC Long Island ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (11 a.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Dalcha Lungiambula vs. Puna Soriano
135 lbs.: Jack Shore vs. Ricky Simon
145 lbs.: Bill Algeo vs. Herbert Burns
205 lbs.: Dustin Jacoby vs. Da-un Jung
185 lbs.: Dwight Grant vs. Dustin Stoltzfus
115 lbs.: Jessica Penne vs. Emily Ducote
*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 Long Island fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 2 p.m. ET.
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