After a big Heavyweight fight last week, Ultimate Fighter Championship (UFC) stays at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, for an intriguing Bantamweight headliner. No. 8-ranked Song Yadong defends his spot against No. 10-seeded Ricky Simon at UFC Vegas 72 tomorrow night (Sat., April 29, 2023).
While it isn't the most stacked card, there are some fun matches up and down the lineup, so before it goes down, let's check out some random storylines, tidbits and statistics ahead of showtime ...
First UFC Main Event
After ten fights with the promotion, Simon is set to headline his first UFC card. Of course, this resulted in Arman Tsarukyan and Renato Moicano being canceled last week. Simon is riding a five-fight win streak, finishing his last two opponents.
Back-To-Back Main Events
In the other half of the main event, Yadong fights in his second consecutive main event. The Chinese fighter is coming off a seven-month layoff after his bloody fight with Cory Sandhagen. Before his loss to Sandhagen, Yadong was riding a three-fight win streak with two knockouts.
Song Yadong believes Ricky Simon's skills are very average.— MMA Mania (@mmamania) April 26, 2023
"If he wants to wrestle, let's wrestle"#UFCVegas72 pic.twitter.com/ziwcotZXCq
Simon will try and exact revenge against Team Alpha Male (TAM) this Saturday. The 30-year-old suffered his first UFC loss to founder and head coach Urijah Faber in 2019 (watch highlights). Now, he will turn his sights to TAM fighter, Yadong. While he won't be able to get revenge against Faber, a win over one of his top fighters Yadong, will probably do the trick.
Buried on the "Prelim" portion of UFC Vegas 72 is a very fun Flyweight matchup that actually has some heat attached to it as Cody Durden takes on Charles Johnson. Unfortunately, what started as a simple call-out has escalated severely with both Flyweights poking at each other with memes.
You shave that rat turd off the back of your neck then I’ll consider it. https://t.co/tSlXBFi6kI— Cody Durden (@Cody_Durden) August 3, 2022
Let’s get it Turden ! https://t.co/0O3Zft2XUS— Charles "InnerG" Johnson (@InnerGmma) April 11, 2023
Just got word this morning that Charles got flagged from @usantidoping for being a pussy…… I’m still fighting, stay tuned…#ufcvegas72 https://t.co/0OMSSUrRRK— Cody Durden (@Cody_Durden) April 23, 2023
Durden is riding a two-fight win streak, while Johnson is coming off a split decision to Ode Osbourne.
"InnerG" Staying Active
Speaking of Johnson, he has been go-go-go ever since being signed to UFC. On Saturday at UFC Vegas 72, Johnson will have his fifth fight in a year's time, and more impressive, it is his fourth fight in five months. "InnerG" is currently 2-2 in UFC.
Welcome To UFC
Six fighters are making their UFC debuts at UFC Vegas 72 - with two of the fighters taking their fights on less than a week's notice.
- Fernando Padilla, 26, fights UFC veteran Julian Erosa coming off nearly a two-year layoff. He holds a 14-4 record.
- Dana White Contender Series alumni Trey Waters, 28, makes a quick turnaround after winning the Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) Welterweight belt on April 14. He takes on fellow knockout artist Josh Quinlan and holds a 7-1 record.
Trey Waters folds him! #LFA156 @LFAfighting @TreyTheTruthMMA Welterweight champ pic.twitter.com/SEbtux4Ryb— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) April 15, 2023
- Irina Alekseeva, 32, takes on Stephanie Egger and has a record of 4-1. Her nickname is "Russian Ronda."
- Marcus McGhee, 32, steps on three day's notice to face Journey Newson (watch his knockout from LFA). He is 6-1 with six finishes.
- Jamey-Lyn Horth, 33, the lone Canadian on the card faces Hailey Cowan, who also makes her UFC debut.
Third Time's A Charm?
Speaking of Cowan, she has had horrible luck thus far in her UFC career. She was initially scheduled to make her UFC debut in February against Ailin Perez; however, the fight was canceled due to her getting sick. She was scheduled precisely one month later, but her opponent, Tamires Vidal, withdrew days before the event.
We are knocking on wood that she fights on Saturday.
Speaking of cancelations, Cody Brundage and Rodolfo Viera have been rebooked from their November 2022 scheduled fight. Viera pulled out during fight week, leaving Brundage without an opponent.
Brundage would end up taking another fight a month later against Michal Oleksiejczuk but would get finished in the first round (watch highlights)
'Banger Of The Card'
UFC Vegas 72 gets the privilege of being the first card to roll out MMA Mania's Banger of the Card. CONGRATS! ...
Quinlan vs. Waters is this week's Banger of the Card. Both men have a 100% finish rate and have nasty knockout power. There is absolutely no way this fight goes three rounds and someone will end up in the shadow realm.
Quinlan is coming off a nasty knockout of Jason Witt (watch highlights), while Waters is coming off a knockout win over Jalin Fuller, as mentioned above.
Do not blink.
Wins And Losses
Fifteen fighters are coming off wins, while seven are coming off losses.
Here are the divisions that will be on display this Saturday:
- One Heavyweight fight
- Two Middleweight fights
- One Featherweight fight
- One Flyweight fight
- Two women's Bantamweight fights
- One Catchweight fight (140 pounds)
According to DraftKings, the "biggest" underdog at UFC Vegas 72 is Oleksiejczuk at +300.
Damn You, MMA Gods
Six fights have been canceled thus far for UFC Vegas 72 and let’s knock on wood that it stays at six.
All of the UFC Vegas 72 canceled fights pic.twitter.com/24FSWv2Ii1— MMA Mania (@mmamania) April 28, 2023
Botched Weight Cuts
Two fighters missed weight during the UFC Vegas 72 weigh-ins.
Cowan continues to be cursed as she missed by 2.5 pounds. She was fined 20 percent of her purse. The other fighter, Alekseeva, is also making her debut and missed by four pounds and was fined 30 percent — yikes.
Official #UFCVegas72 weigh-in results: Irina Alekseeva - 140 pic.twitter.com/cOfAyhs6bH— MMA Mania (@mmamania) April 28, 2023
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 72 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ "Prelims" matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 72: "Yadong vs. Simon" news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.