Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns later tonight (Sat., Feb. 25, 2023) with UFC Vegas 70 from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the event is a Light Heavyweight fight between Ryan Spann and Nikita Krylov. In the co-main event, Brendan Allen battles Andre Muniz.
The Light Heavyweight weight class, it seems, is up for grabs now more than ever. Gone are the days when Jon Jones had a stranglehold on the division, leaving contenders with the helpless feeling of being unable to achieve their championship dreams as long as he was holding the throne. Since his hiatus, the division has crowned four new champions, with the most recent being Jamahal Hill. That’s the reason the fight between Spann and Krylov is pivotal — both are on two-fight win streaks. Spann is currently tied for the No. 8 spot with Volkan Oezdemir, while Krylov is sitting at No. 6. A win for either man should put them into the Top 5, inching him closer to a title shot. Krylov is in his second stint with the promotion and is 4-4 since making his return in 2018. He has really impressed in his last two wins over Alexander Gustafsson and Volkan Oezdemir, and one more big showing would boost his stock tremendously. Spann, meanwhile, is 7-2 during his run with the promotion and is coming off back-to-back wins against Ion Cutelaba and Dominick Reyes, who he knocked out in Sept. 2022.
It's not a terrible card. The matchmaking is pretty good here, so there isn't a lot to complain about.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
A women’s Bantamweight fight between Hailey Cowan and Ailin Perez was scrapped on the day of weigh ins after it was determined that Cowan was medically unfit to take part in the fight. Ode Osbourne was initially set to face Denys Bondar before Bondar was pulled for undisclosed reasons. As a result, Charles Johnson — who is currently on a two-fight win streak — agreed to step in on short notice to take the fight.
Andre Fili had to undergo emergency eye surgery and was forced out of his scheduled bout against Lucas Almeida. No replacement was found and the fight was ultimately scrapped. Jose Johnson was set to take on Garrett Armfield at this event as well before Johnson was pulled because of an undisclosed medical issue.
Nurullo Aliev will bring his undefeated record (8-0) to the Octagon for the first time to square off against Rafael Alves. Just three years into his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career, Aliev made a splash on Contender Series, knocking out Josh Wick in the first round to earn a UFC contract.
Carl Deaton will make his UFC debut as he gears up to face Joe Solecki in a Lightweight bout. Deaton has won two straight and has an impressive nine wins by way of submission. Solecki, meanwhile, is 3-1 so far in his young UFC career, and is looking to build off the momentum from his win against Alex da Silva Coelho last year.
Trevor Peek is also coming off Contender Series, and is undefeated (7-0) as he heads into his fight against Erick Gonzalez, who has seen better days inside the cage. “Ghost Pepper” is currently on a two-fight skid, losing his pair of fights inside the Octagon. He needs a win here to avoid getting the pink slip.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Jordan Leavitt will look to bounce back from his loss to Paddy Pimblett when he battles Victor Martinez, who brings to the UFC cage a seven-fight win streak. Martinez is another Contender Series alum who has competed for Combate Americas and FURY FC.
In women’s Flyweight action, Jasmine Jasudavicius will battle Gabriella Fernandez, who is currently on a seven-fight win streak and is 8-1 overall in her MMA career. Fernandez has finished five of her opponents, while Jasudavicius is trying to earn her way back into the win column after suffering a loss at the hands of Natalia Silva in mid-2022.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Augusto Sakai started off his UFC career with four straight wins, but his career has since take a turn for the worse by dropping his last four fights all via (technical) knockout. As he goes into his Heavyweight fight against Don’Tale Mayes, Sakai has immense pressure to pick up the win because a fifth straight loss could mean the end of the road for his UFC career. Mayes is 2-0-1 in his last three fights.
Interest Level: 6.5/10
Co-headlining the event is a Middleweight tilt between Brendan Allen and Andre Muniz. Allen is on a three-fight win streak and is 5-1 since 2021. He has been unable to crack the Top 15 so far, but an impressive win over Muniz could do the trick. That’s because Muniz is currently ranked at No. 11 and carries with him a nine-fight win streak. He is undefeated thus far inside the Octagon with five straight wins and is eyeing a spot in the Top 10 with an impressive win.
Over 3.5 years removed from her last fight, Tatiana Suarez will make her much-anticipated return to the cage to face off against Montana De La Rosa in women's Flyweight action. Suarez was at one time considered to be a legitimate threat to the division crown, but injures and medical issues slowed her momentum after starting her UFC career 5-0 (8-0 overall) as a professional. She still has eyes on gold, but it remains to be seen just how the extended layoff will affect her performance. And she doesn’t have an easy task ahead of her because during the time she was off, De La Rosa racked up a 3-3-1 record. While it doesn’t stand out, she has been putting in the work and is ready to pick up the biggest win of her MMA career. For Suarez, it’s her chance to remind everyone the reason(s) she was so highly-touted and why she was being compared to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In Welterweight action, Mike Malott will face Yohan Lianesse in a battle of two rising contenders trying to make some noise in one of the most crowded divisions in the promotion. Malott has won four straight and is coming off a big win over Mickey Gall, though that came nearly a year ago. As for Lianesse, he picked up his first win inside the Octagon at UFC 279 by defeating Darian Weeks via unanimous decision after coming up short in his UFC debut in April 2022, his lone blemish on his record.
Enjoy the fights!
Full UFC Vegas 70 Fight Card:
UFC Vegas 70 Main Event On ESPN+:
205 lbs.: Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann
UFC Vegas 70 Main Card On ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Brendan Allen vs. Andre Muniz
265 lbs.: Don’Tale Mayes vs. Augusto Sakai
125 lbs.: Montana De La Rosa vs. Tatiana Suarez
170 lbs.: Yohan Lainesse vs. Mike Malott
155 lbs.: Erick Gonzalez vs. Trevor Peek
UFC Vegas 70 ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN+ (4:30 p.m. ET):
125 lbs.: Gabriella Fernandes vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius
155 lbs.: Jordan Leavitt vs. Victor Martinez
130 lbs.: Charles Johnson vs. Ode Osbourne
155 lbs.: Nurullo Aliev vs. Rafael Alves
135 lbs.: Hailey Cowan vs. Ailin Perez— CANCELED (details here)
155 lbs.: Carl Deaton vs. Joe Solecki
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 70 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 4:30 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 70 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Krylov vs. Spann” fight card and ESPN+ line up click here.