After a wild weekend at Noche UFC — where women’s Flyweight champion Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko fought to a controversial split draw (watch highlights) — Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stays in Las Vegas, Nevada, and returns to its Apex facility for UFC Vegas 79. In the main event, top Lightweight contenders clash as Rafael Fiziev fights Mateusz Gamrot.
While UFC Vegas 79 isn't the strongest card regarding name value, it has several fun and interesting fights. So, before it goes down on ESPN+, let's check out some random storylines, tidbits and statistics ahead of showtime ...
Pivotal Top 10 Lightweight Matchup
UFC Vegas 79’s main event sees two Top 10-ranked Lightweight fighters. Fiziev, 30, is ranked No. 6 in the division, while Gamrot, 32, is ranked No. 7. The stakes of this fight are pretty big as the winner could be one fight away from a title shot while the loser will fall out of the title picture. Yes, the loser will still be within the Top 10, but with the Lightweight division being the company's most prestigious, it is tough to get a shot at the championship because of all of the other contenders.
Kill Cliff FC vs. American Top Team
Two of the top gyms in mixed martial arts (MMA) go head-to-head this weekend as Kill Cliff FC (formerly Sanford MMA) takes on American Top Team (ATT). Also, they are both located in South Florida and are about 20 minutes apart from each other.
Fiziev represents Kill Cliff, while Gamrot fights with ATT on his back. The two gyms are very competitive with each other, and every time they go head-to-head, it is always very entertaining.
Someone's 2 Has To Go
One of the fighters in the main event will receive their third professional loss at UFC Vegas 79. Fiziev's record is 12-2, while Gamrot's is 22-2.
Second UFC Main Event
One last thing about the two headliners is that they are both competing in their second UFC main event. Fiziev's first main event went down at UFC Vegas 58, where he knocked out former Lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos, in the fifth round (watch highlights). Gamrot's fight-headlining spot came against fellow Lightweight contender, Arman Tsarukyan, at UFC Vegas 57, in which he won a controversial unanimous decision.
If you noticed, Fiziev and Gamrot headlined their first UFC main events in back-to-back Apex events.
Return Of ‘Thug Nasty’
Bryce Mitchell returns to action this weekend in the co-main event against Featherweight mainstay, Dan Ige. Mitchell has been out of action since he got demolished by Ilia Topuria at UFC 282 (watch highlights).
The loss to Topuria was Mitchell's first "official" professional loss — he was defeated on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 27. Due to his loss, there is no doubt that "Thug Nasty" lost a lot of momentum, and there will be a lot of eyeballs on him at UFC Vegas 79 to see how he bounces back.
UHHH ... WHO ASKED FOR THIS REMATCH?
A few random, meaningless, weird rematches have been booked in the past few months. For example, Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann randomly ran it back at UFC Singapore, and at UFC 290, Alonzo Menifield and Jimmy Crute rematched after a draw. UFC Vegas 79 has another head-scratching rematch: Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson.
The two strawweights first fought at UFC Vegas 26 back in May 2021 in a last-minute main event in which they fought up a division. Rodriguez won via unanimous decision. Since their fight, Rodriguez has gone 2-2 and is on a two-fight skid, while Waterson has gone 0-2.
Absolutely no one asked for this fight ... and it will probably be as forgetful as the first matchup.
New Camp For ‘The Ghost’
A.J. Fletcher returns for the second time this year after submitting Themba Gorimbo at UFC Vegas 69 (watch highlights). "The Ghost" was in a must-win situation as he was most likely fighting for his job. After the fight, Fletcher needed a change in his career, so he and his girlfriend hopped in their a car and moved to Colorado, leaving Louisiana. The 26-year-old is now training at the esteemed gym Factory X and has many new training partners, which he was missing.
He faces Bryan Battle.
TUF Alumni Weekend
Three former TUF contests are fighting this weekend, including two winners.
The most recent winner, Mohammed Usman, fights UFC veteran, Jake Collier. Usman won TUF 30, knocking out Zac Pauga (watch highlights)
Battle won TUF 29, the first season that was streamed to ESPN+. He submitted Gilbert Urbina in the second round.
Finally, Mitchell competed on TUF 27. He won his first fight on the show, but then lost in the semifinals against future winner, Brad Kotona, via submission.
Welcome Back, Mizuki
By the time Mizuki Inoue enters the Octagon on Saturday, it will be 36 months (or 1,125 days) since her last fight. She last fought former Strawweight title challenger, Amanda Lemos, at UFC Vegas 7 in Aug. 2020 and lost a unanimous decision. The Japanese fighter is 1-1 inside the promotion and holds a 14-6 record.
Oh, and she only goes by Mizuki now, so drop the last name.
She faces Hannah Goldy in the second fight of the night.
One fighter is making their UFC debut at UFC Vegas 79: Montserrat Rendon.
Rendon (5-0) fights Brazilian finisher Tamires Vidal to kick off UFC Vegas 79. Rendon is an Invicta and Combate Global veteran and has not lost a single MMA fight going back to her short amateur career.
Banger Of The Week
A couple of options exist for this week's "Banger of the Week," including the main event and the “main card opener” between Charles Jourdain and Ricardo Ramos; however, on UFC Vegas 79’s “Prelims” undercard, there is a violent matchup that will end with a knockout: Tim Means vs. Andre Fialho.
Means (32-15-1) holds a 75 percent finish rate with 16 knockouts to his name, while Fialho (16-7) has an 87 percent finish rate with 13 knockouts. Both men are on losing skids, making the fight even more interesting because they will be looking to keep their jobs.
Don't blink because this one will end violently.
Five fighters are currently on three-fight losing streaks: Waterson, Means, Fialho, Cody Brundage and Collier.
Winners And Losers
Twelve fighters are coming off wins, while only nine fighters are coming off losses. One is coming off a “No Contest” (Dan Argueta).
Here are the divisions that will be on display this Saturday:
- One Heavyweight fight
- One Middleweight fight
- Two Welterweight fights
- One Lightweight fights
- Two Featherweight fights
- One Bantamweight fight
- One Women's Bantamweight fight
- One Women's Strawweight fight
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 79 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 79: "Fiziev vs. Gamrot" news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
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