After an absolute banger fighter card in Austin, Texas, in which Arman Tsarukyan slept Beneil Dariush in 64 seconds (watch highlights), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns home to its Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 83. In the main event, Song Yadong fights Chris Gutierrez in a fun bantamweight scrap.
Yup, there is no beating around the bush: this is a very weak card; however, there are a few entertaining fights. So, before it goes down on ESPN+, let's check out some random storylines, tidbits and statistics ahead of showtime ...
UFC Vegas 83 was supposed to mark the promotion's second visit to Shanghai, China; however, the plans fell through (for reasons unknown), and it was moved to the world-famous UFC Apex. The last time the promotion was in Shanghai was in 2017 when Kelvin Gastelum retired Michael Bisping.
There is no doubt that Yadong is a certified main event now — it’s his third straight headliner. His first main event was against former interim title challenger, Cory Sandhagen, in which he lost via doctor stoppage. Song's next headlining spot was against Ricky Simon at UFC Vegas 72 ... and he smoked Simon.
On the flip side, Gutierrez will compete in his first UFC main event after 11 fights in the organization. "El Guapo" holds a 8-2-1 record inside the Octagon.
Gutierrez Vs. China
Guiterrez might have something against China (just kidding). In his last fight, he beat Chinese fighter, Alateng Heili, and is now matched against super Chinese prospect (Song).
The co-main event between former Light Heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith and Khalil Rountree Jr. came together fast on two weeks' notice. Rountree was originally booked against Azamat Murzakanov for UFC Austin last week. However, Murzakanous contracted pneumonia and was forced to withdraw.
Last Title Push For 'Lionheart?’
Smith has said for several fights that he doesn't need to fight anymore because he has a nice job with ESPN broadcasting; however, he feels incomplete without winning the title. "Lionheart" is No. 8 in the Light Heavyweight division — and with his ongoing feud with Alex Pereira — it seems like he would win the title shot lotto in any upcoming win.
However, if he loses to Rountree Jr., there is a good chance his championship story could be over.
Can Rountree Be Consistent?
The biggest knock against Rountree Jr. is that he is inconsistent in big fights. Obviously, his first fumble was losing The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 23 against Andrew Sanchez, but then every time he got a step up in competition, he also faltered.
He did defeat Dustin Jacoby last year, but most people believe he lost.
With a win over Smith, he can silence the doubters and make a real run in the division.
Fight Week Shake-Up
When the week started, Allan Nascimento was fighting Su Mudaerji; however, on Monday, Nascimento pulled out with an injury. No. 10-ranked Flyweight, Tim Elliott, answered the call and stepped up on five days' notice.
This fight is going to be awesome.
Welcome Back, ‘Tibetan Eagle’
Speaking of Mudaerji, he is returning from a 17-month layoff because of a torn ACL. The last time we saw Mudaerji, he was in an all-time great fight against Matt Schnell at UFC on ABC 3, in which he lost via triangle choke (watch highlights).
The loss snapped his three-fight win streak, and he is currently 3-2 in UFC.
‘Iron Turtle’ Gets His Shot
After a four-fight streak, Jun Yong Park gets a shot at the Top 15 Middleweight rankings (well, hopefully). He faces former No. 14-seeded Andrew Muniz, who recently dropped out of the rankings.
He could finally get into the rankings with a win, and with his colorful, fun personality, he could become an Asian star. He finished his last three opponents via rear-naked choke.
Welcome To UFC
Two fighters make their Octagon debuts this weekend and are fighting each other: Rayanne Amanda (14-6) fights Talita Alencar (4-0-1).
- Amanda is the former Invicta FC Atomweight champion and a former Contender Series alumni (she lost to Denise Gomes). She holds a 70 percent finish rate with eight submissions.
- Alencar is coming off a draw against Stephanie Luciano on season seven of Contender Series, which earned her a contract ... it's still confusing. She is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion with three submission wins as a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. Alencar is tied with Cory McKenna for the shortest reach in UFC history with 58.5 inches.
UFC 293 —> UFC Vegas 83
Nasrat Haqparast fights Jamie Mullarkey this weekend, and they both competed at UFC 293. Mullarkey faced Makdessi, and Haqparast fought Landon Quinones.
BOGO Surname Trifecta
There are three pairs of fighters who have the same last name:
- Yadong Song and Kenan Song
- Jun-yong Park and Hyun-sung Park
- Luana Santos and Rayanne (Amanda) dos Santos
Winners And Losers
Sixteen fighters are coming off wins, while five are coming off losses. One is coming off a draw (Alencar).
Here are the divisions that will be on display this Saturday:
- One Light Heavyweight fight
- One Middleweight fight
- One Welterweight fight
- Two Lightweight fights
- Two Bantamweight fights
- Two Flyweight fights
- One women's Strawweight fight
- One women's Bantamweight fight
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 83 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ "Prelims" matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 83: "Song vs. Gutierrez" news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.