Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to stage UFC Las Vegas later TONIGHT (Sat., March 11, 2023) inside
UFC Apex The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the ESPN+-streamed event will be a pivotal Bantamweight showdown between former division champion, Petr Yan, taking on surging contender, Merab Dvalishvili. In the co-main event, Alexandr Romanov will face Alexander Volkov in a hard-hitting Heavyweight affair.
There is true bad blood between Yan and Dvalishvili, and it all came to a head during fight week. The two had a heated argument at the fighter hotel, and things turned physical when Yan karate chopped “The Machine” during the weigh ins. But, you can bet your bottom dollar that despite each man wanting the win so bad it hurts, they will not let their tempers get the best of them inside the cage to implement their respective gameplans in what is a huge fight at 135 pounds.
After starting his UFC career winless (0-2), a switch went off for Dvalishvili because he has since racked up eight straight wins, which has helped him climb all the way up to the No. 3 spot on the official rankings. He has a strong wrestling-based attack, which has worked well for him, but no so much for the “Just Bleed” fans. Still, Dvalishvili needs to stick to what he knows best because if he goes strike-for-strike against Yan it won’t go well for him. Indeed, Yan is one of the best boxers in the game and his crisp and powerful striking is what helped him reach the top of the mountain.
And that is just what Yan’s key to victory is: prevent Dvalishvili from closing the distance while trying to land his shots every time he has some space. If “The Machine” proves successful in getting a hold of Yan, he can take his foe for a ride and nullify his offense. The winner could very well earn a title shot against the man who comes out on top in the recently-announced title fight between champion, Aljamain Sterling, and Henry Cejudo. Of course, Sean O’Malley could have a say in the matter.
Jared Gooden came in six pounds heavy for his 170-pound fight against Carlston Harris, so now he will be forced to give up 30 percent of his purse to his opponent. That is not the way Gooden wanted to start off his second run with the promotion. Then again, he did take the fight on short notice after Abubakar Nurmagomedov bowed out of the event for undisclosed reasons, so I am not exactly sure why he is being fined. I’d like to think the promotion would have made the fight a Catchweight bout. Maybe I’m missing something?
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Anthony Smith and Jamahal Hill were expected to headline this card before Hill got the call to face Glover Teixeira for the 205-pound title, which he ultimately won at UFC 283. Smith will now face Johnny Walker this May. Kyler Phillips withdrew from his scheduled bout against Raphael Assuncao for undisclosed reasons, and was replaced by Davey Grant. Assuncao got back on the winning track against Victor Henry in Oct. 2022, snapping his dreadful four-fight losing streak. Grant, meanwhile, hasn’t competed in 10 months since knocking out Louis Smolka in May 2022.
No reported injuries for this event.
At the age of 25, Vitor Petrino is an up-and-coming contender looking to make a name for himself in the Light Heavyweight division that, let’s face it, is not as stacked as it once was. That means if “Icao” can make a splash early and often, he could move up the ranks sooner rather than later. He has only gone the distance once in his career and has six wins by way of knockout (four in the first round). He is coming off a second round stoppage win over Rodolfo Bellato on Contender Series. He gets to open up the main card in his first fight inside the Octagon against Anton Turkalj, who suffered a loss in his own UFC debut after he was choked out by Jailton Almeida in the first round.
In the Heavyweight division, Karl Williams will put his four-fight win streak on the line against Lukasz Brzeski, who suffered a razor-thin split decision loss at the hands of Martin Buday seven months ago. For being a big man, Williams only has three knockouts on his resume compared to four decision victories. That’s not to say he can’t crack because if Brzeski doesn’t keep his head on a swivel, it could be two straight losses for him. While 33 years of age isn’t ideal to be getting a start on a UFC career, Williams is ready to come out of the gates swinging ... and winning.
After earning a 47-second submission win on Contender Series, Sedriques Dumas will bring his talents to the big show for a Middleweight showdown against Josh Fremd, who is in desperate need of a win after losing his first two outings inside the eight-walled cage. Dumas is undefeated (7-0) with six stoppage wins on his resume, so he is all gas and no brakes once the action gets going. Still, it behooves him to not get too overzealous in his UFC debut against a hungry man in big need of a win to hold on to his spot on UFC’s bloated roster.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Tyson Nam has quietly gone 3-1 in his last four fights, but he still has a way to go before he cracks the Top 15 in the Flyweight division. He has a chance to win his third straight when he battles Bruno Silva, who is also in search of his third straight win.
Victor Henry and Tony Gravely, meanwhile, are both in search of a win after coming up short in their previous contests against Raphael Assuncao and Javid Basharat, respectively. One man will get back in the win column, while the other will have a deeper hole to dig himself out of come Sunday morning.
Ariane Lipski’s run so far inside the Octagon has been anything but stellar, racking up a mere 3-5 record, which includes her latest loss at the hands of Priscila Cachoeira. She will look to get back on the ways that earned her the moniker of “Queen of Violence” when she tangos with JJ Aldrich, who saw her three-fight win streak go out the window thanks to the surging Erin Blanchfield.
The unassuming Mario Bautista has sneakily won three straight and five of seven inside the Octagon, and now eyes his second six-fight win streak of his career against Guido Cannetti, who has turned it around by winning his last two after suffering three straight losses.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Let’s keep it real, Yan is 1-3 over his last four fights, but those three losses haven't exactly been beatdowns. He lost to Aljamain Sterling via disqualification, then loss to him again this time via split decision before being robbed by the judges against Sean O’Malley in Abu Dhabi. While he is nowhere near close to ever getting cut even if he drops to 1-4 over his last five, he still needs a win against Dvalishvili to prevent falling further down the 135-pound ladder and drift further from reclaiming the belt.
Interest Level: 6.5/10
While Usman Nurmagomedov defended his Lightweight title last night at Bellator 292 (highlights), his cousin, Said Nurmagomedov, is hoping for a huge boost in the rankings to get him closer to his own championship dreams by winning his fifth straight in the Bantamweight division. Standing in the way of his goal is Jonathan Martinez, who is just as hot after winning four straight, including his technical knockout win over long-time veteran, Cub Swanson. This fight has the chance to steal the show early.
It took a while, but Nikita Krylov finally managed to win two straight inside the Octagon since returning to the promotion five years ago, defeating Alexander Gustafsson and Volkan Oezdemir. Ryan Spann, meanwhile, has been putting in the work himself after earning back-to-back wins over Ion Cutelaba and former title challenger, Dominick Reyes. This fight will be contested at a Catchweight of 215 pounds, but it still helps the winner move up the Light Heavyweight mountain, hopefully.
In the Heavyweight division, Alexandr Romanov and Alexander Volkov will collide in a fight that is not likely to go the distance. Volkov is just 2-2 in his last four appearances, so he has a ton of ground to cover if he wants to get into the championship conversation because alternating wins and losses simply won’t cut it. Romanov, on the other hand, suffered the first loss of his career in his previous outing at the hands of Marcin Tybura, so he is hungry to get back into the winner’s circle. For Romanov, taking the bigger foe down could be his ticket to victory because he has long enough limbs that will give him ample opportunities to snatch in a submission.
Enjoy the fights!
Enjoy the fights!
Full UFC Las Vegas Fight Card:
UFC Las Vegas Main Event On ESPN+:
135 lbs.: Petr Yan vs. Merab Dvalishvili
UFC Las Vegas Main Card On ESPN+:
265 lbs.: Alexandr Romanov vs. Alexander Volkov
215 lbs.: Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann (catchweight)
145 lbs.: Austin Lingo vs. Ricardo Ramos— CANCELED (details here)
135 lbs.: Jonathan Martinez vs. Said Nurmagomedov
205 lbs.: Vitor Petrino vs. Anton Turkalj
UFC Las Vegas ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN+:
265 lbs.: Lukasz Brzeski vs. Karl Williams
135 lbs.: Raphael Assuncao vs. Davey Grant
185 lbs.: Sedriques Dumas vs. Josh Fremd
135 lbs.: Mario Bautista vs. Guido Cannetti
125 lbs.: JJ Aldrich vs. Ariane Lipski
135 lbs.: Tony Gravely vs. Victor Henry
125 lbs.: Tyson Nam vs. Bruno Silva
170 lbs.: Carlston Harris vs. Jared Gooden
*Fight card, bout order and amount of fights remain subject to change.*
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Las Vegas fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 6 p.m. ET.
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