After an incredible pay-per-view (PPV) event in Miami, Fla., Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stays on the road and touches down in Kansas City, Missouri. Former Featherweight kingpin, Max Holloway, takes on surging contender, Arnold Allen, in ESPN’s main event.
UFC Kansas City has a ton of fun and underrated fights on the card, so before it goes down, let’s check out some random storylines, tidbits and statistics ahead of showtime ...
Defending His Spot
Holloway returns for the first time since he lost his trilogy bout against Alexander Volkanoski at UFC 276 in July 2022. However, for now, “Blessed” is out of title contention and has to be the elite “gatekeeper” of the Featherweight division, which means he must defend his No. 2 spot in the rankings against hungry contenders.
Holloway is in the same spot as Robert Whittaker, where he has exhausted his title shots, but defeats everyone not named Volkanovski.
Giving (And Receiving) Damage
Holloway holds a few records in UFC, but some jump off the page immediately. Holloway has landed 2,975 significant strikes inside of the Octagon, which is more than 1,000 than the next fighter; however, he has also received the most significant strikes (2,010).
Max Holloway has landed 2,975 significant strikes in his UFC career. That is 1,100 more than the next closest fighter— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 12, 2023
"THE BEST BOXER IN THE UFC BABY!!" #UFCKansasCity pic.twitter.com/EgDDob4voo
No. 1 Contender Fight
Allen is currently ranked No. 4, which makes the stakes for UFC Kansas City’s main event huge for him. A win over Holloway pretty much sets him up for a Featherweight title shot later in the year after Volkanovski unifies his title with Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290.
12-Fight Win Streak
Speaking of “Almighty” Allen, he is on a 12-fight win streak, with 10 of those wins coming inside the Octagon. He is also on a two-fight finish streak — defeating Calvin Kattar in his last outing via injury and stopping Dan Hooker with punches (highlights).
Return To K.C.
This will be the second time that UFC has held an event in Kansas City. The only other time it has traveled to the “City of Fountains” was in 2017 for UFC on FOX 24: “Johnson vs. Reis.” Oh, and this upcoming fight card will literally be on the exact same day as the last trip to Kansas City. Some notable names on the card were Demetrious Johnson, Robert Whittaker, Aljamain Sterling, Anthony Smith and Bobby Green, among others.
It wasn’t long ago when Canada’s Tanner Boser was calling reporters and fans dumbasses for asking if he would move down to Light Heavyweight. Well, he bit the bullet and is moving down after a 24-fight career at Heavyweight. The move comes after losing three of his last five bouts.
Boser fights Ion Cutelaba.
WTF ARE YOU DOING ON THE ‘PRELIMS?’
A pair of Top 5-ranked Flyweight contenders are on the “Prelims” portion of UFC Kansas City, which is just plain nuts. On top of that, it very well could be a No. 1 contender fight, and on top of that, Brandon Royval has been absolutely must-watch television since entering UFC in 2020. He faces Matheus Nicolau, who is undefeated since returning to UFC.
Brandon Royval talks about being on the prelims #UFCKansasCity pic.twitter.com/kZGICuKvKv— MMA Mania (@mmamania) April 12, 2023
Speaking of Nicolau, his girlfriend, Luana Pinheiro, competed last week at UFC 287, defeating Michelle Waterson via split decision. He told MMAmania.com on Wednesday that he likes fighting so close to his girlfriend, but it is stressful.
Factory X Going To War
Colorado-based gym, Factory X, has four fighters fighting at UFC Kansas City, three of which are Top 15 fighters. They are Royval, Chris Gutierrez, Dustin Jacoby and Zak Cummings.
It’s @ufc F I G H T W E E K for @ZakCummings @brandonroyval @CGutierrezMMA @thehanyakdj !!! @ZakCummings & @brandonroyval are on the @espn + prelims starting at 3:30pm Saturday followed by @CGutierrezMMA & @thehanyakdj on the main card at 6:30pm MST! #FactoryX #Xonthechest pic.twitter.com/t8k1S2zxTf— Factory X (@FactoryXMTMMA) April 10, 2023
Two UFC veterans battle this weekend, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they both retired. Cummings returns after a three-year layoff to fight in his hometown of Kansas City (he fought on the last Kansas City card) and, during UFC media day on Wednesday, hinted this could be his last fight.
He faces Ed Herman, who is also coming off a lengthy layoff and is currently the longest-tenured fighter on UFC’s roster. While Herman hasn’t hinted at retirement, one may think at 42 years old, the end could be near.
Deadly Leg Kicker Battle
Two Top 15 Bantamweights collide at UFC Kansas City on the main card, and they are arguably the two best leg kickers in UFC. Gutierrez tries to snag Pedro Munhoz’s No. 9 ranking after coming off a knockout of Frankie Edgar (watch highlights).
Chris Gutierrez gets the TKO via leg kicks #UFCVegas #UFCApex pic.twitter.com/19E5IKeriJ— Talkin Hands (@TalkinHands101) May 30, 2020
Welcome To UFC
Two fighters are making their UFC debuts this weekend in Kansas City.
- Bruna Brasil, 29, is coming off a second-round knockout of Marnic Mann, which got her a UFC contract during season six of Dana White’s Contender Series. The Brazilian holds an 8-2-1 record and will fight Denise Gomes, who also fought in the same season as Brasil.
- Gaston Bolanos, 30, makes his first UFC appearance after a lengthy Bellator career that saw him go 6-3. There is no doubt that Bolanos was an odd signing; however, he is very fun to watch because of his striking. He faces Aaron Phillips, who is coming off a lengthy layoff.
BRUNA BRASIL WALKS IT OFF #DWCS pic.twitter.com/VxcI6lOtF6— UFC (@ufc) September 14, 2022
“The Savage” Drop
Another fighter dropping down a weight class at UFC Kansas City, Gillian Robertson. After a 13-fight run at Flyweight — where she picked up the most finishes in the division — Robertson is moving to Strawweight.
In a few interviews, she has said her fight at Kansas City will be a “test fight” at 115 pounds, and if all goes well, she will stay at Strawweight. But, if not, she is perfectly fine staying at Flyweight.
Robertson faces undefeated Piera Rodríguez.
Wins And Losses
Sixteen fighters are coming off wins, while 11 are coming off losses. One is coming off a “No Contest” (Munhoz).
Here are the divisions that will be on display this Saturday:
- Three Light Heavyweight fights
- Two Lightweight fights
- Three Featherweight fights
- One Flyweight fight
- One women’s Bantamweight fight
- Two women’s Strawweight fights
According to DraftKings, the “biggest” underdog at UFC Kansas City is Clay Guida at +220.
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/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN/ESPN+) at 8:30 p.m. ET.
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