After a very rare weekend off, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to its Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, this weekend (Sat., June 3, 2023). In UFC Vegas 74’s main event, two Top 10-ranked Flyweights — Kai Kara-France (No. 3) and Amir Albazi (No. 7) — will hook ‘em up. And while UFC Vegas 74 isn’t the strongest card, it still has a few fun fights and interesting storylines.
So, before it goes down on ESPN/ESPN+, let’s check out some random storylines, tidbits and statistics ahead of showtime ...
If you’ve been watching UFC for the past few years, you’ve probably noticed the 125-pound division doesn’t get much love. Almost every week, Flyweights are opening the “Prelims” or buried elsewhere on the undercard; however, this weekend, they get to headline. In fact, Kara-France vs. Albazi is the first non-title Flyweight main event since Aug. 2017, when Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno fought in Mexico City. That is almost six years, which is frankly pretty insane.
I know I just gushed about the UFC booking a Flyweight main event, but it wasn’t the first option. Indeed, Brendan Allen vs. Jack Hermansson was the original main event; however, after Hermansson got injured, Albazi and Kara-France got the call to headline.
First Fight Back
It has been almost one year since Kara-France suffered a loss at UFC 277 when he was stopped with a liver kick (watch highlights). “Don’t Blink” was supposed to return earlier this year in Australia at UFC 284; however, he suffered a back injury that forced him to pull out of a fight for the first time in his career (full details here).
Sink Or Swim
Albazi has looked dominant thus far in his UFC career (watch highlights), but the one knock on him is he hasn’t fought a Top 15-ranked opponent ... yet. He has been scheduled against ranked opponents before; however, injuries put a halt to those matches. At UFC Vegas 74, the 29-year-old gets the step up against a former title challenger once and for all.
Welcome Back, Timmy
Tim Elliott returns from a 15-month layoff after he tore just about every ligament in his knee. He was last in action against Tagir Ulanbekov, winning a unanimous decision as an underdog. Elliott is with a new gym in Texas and has said he feels like a professional athlete for the first time in his long career.
Nobody on the planet is rooting against Elliott this weekend except for (maybe) his ex-wife and his ex-teammate, whom she cheated on him with (full details here).
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Maxim Grishin are also coming off layoffs this weekend.
New Contract, Same Violent Fighter
After his submission win at UFC San Antonio (watch highlights), Daniel Pineda had completed his UFC contract and was waiting for a new offer. Well, he got a new contract shortly after and a Top 15 booking opposite Alex Caceres.
Pineda has been fighting professionally since 2007 and still holds a 100 percent finish rate. He has 45 fights under his belt and has never seen a judge’s scorecard in a win, which is incredible.
All-Time UFC Win Leaders On The Same Card
UFC legends Jim Miller and Andrei Arlovski are both fighting on UFC Vegas 74 this weekend. Both likely future Hall of Famers are ranked No. 1 (Miller) and No. 2 (Arlovski) in “all-time wins” and “most UFC appearances.”
Miller has the UFC record with 24 wins, while Arlovski is tied with Donald Cerrone with 23. As for UFC appearances, Miller holds the top spot with 41 UFC fights, while Arlovski is in second with 39 appearances.
Enjoy these Generation X warriors while we still have them.
Welcome To UFC
Four fighters are making their Octagon debuts this weekend at UFC Vegas 74.
- Invicta FC Flyweight champion Ketlen Souza (13-3) fights Karine Silva.
- Jesse Butler (12-4) steps in on just two days notice to face the aforementioned legend Miller.
- Dana White’s Contender Series alum, Muhammadjon Naimov (8-2), takes on Jamie Mullarkey.
- Muin Gafurov (18-4) fights John Castaneda.
A Brazilian “Killer”
Karine Silva finally makes her second appearance in UFC after turning heads in her promotional debut when she tapped Poliana Botelho with a D’Arce choke (watch highlights). “Killer” was supposed to return to action last month against Priscila Cachoeira; however, after a botched weight cut by Cachoeira, the fight was canceled.
Silva holds a 100 percent finish rate and has never seen a third round in any of her wins. So, keep your eyes peeled on this Brazilian flyweight.
Biggest Underdog —> Biggest Favorite
Winners And Losers
Seventeen fighters are coming off wins, while nine fighters are coming off losses.
Here are the divisions that will be on display this Saturday:
- One Heavyweight fight
- One Light Heavyweight fight
- One Welterweight fight
- Two Lightweight fights
- One Featherweight fight
- Three Bantamweight fights
- Two men’s Flyweight fights
- One women’s Flyweight fight
- One women’s Strawweight fight
Darn You, MMA Gods
Eight fights have fallen off of UFC Vegas 74 (let’s knock on wood that it stays at eight):
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 74 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 9 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 74: “Kara-France vs. Albazi” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.