Vacant UFC Bantamweight Championship: Henry Cejudo (14-2) vs. Marlon Moraes (22-5-1)
Luke Irwin: Really happy for Moraes. He’s always been a hell of a fighter, and after a stumble at the starting line of his UFC career, is getting a chance to show what he’s all about it. Cejudo is beatable, and I don’t really know what to make of his starching of an impossibly-drained TJ Dillashaw, but he’s evolving his game. Moraes is still one of the most underrated fighters in the world, and held the WSOF Bantamweight title for two and a half years, so he knows how to train for five-rounders at 135, but this is new territory for Cejudo. I think the extra weight is good for Cejudo’s wrestling and power, but at 5’4″ with a 64-inch reach, he’s going to be an absolutely tiny bantamweight. I think Moraes, who’s used to fighting much bigger bantamweights, can use his size and reach and keep Cejudo at distance. Cejudo will take a round or two just on his wrestling, and I think it goes the distance. Moraes via SD.
UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship: Valentina Shevchenko (c) (16-3) vs. Jessica Eye (14-6)
Luke: A division seemingly created for Joanna Jedrzejczyk only for her to fail in that attempt needs some building up, and more importantly, needs some better challengers. Watching Eye fight is horrible. She’ll ugly up any fight and lead it to a controversial split-decision. Yuck. But it’s coming. Shevchenko via SD.
Lightweight Bout: Donald Cerrone (36-11) vs. Tony Ferguson (24-3)
Luke: Dad Energy Cerrone is a completely different fighter than he ever was. His combination of skill, patience, and intelligence has made him dangerous as all hell and not prone to getting caught like he used to. Ferguson, when he’s right, is clinical in his striking. I hope this makes both men a lot of money. Cerrone via UD.
Bantamweight Bout: Jimmie Rivera (22-3) vs. Petr Yan (12-1)
Luke: Vegas has Yan as a heavy favorite, here, but I think that’s underselling Rivera, a bit. Nevertheless, Yan is the more dynamic option, and Rivera is probably comfortably at high-level gatekeeper status at this point. Yan via UD.
Heavyweight Bout: Blagoi Ivanov (17-2) vs. Tai Tuivasa (8-1)
Luke: Of the fighters’ three combined losses, two have been to Junior dos Santos. No shame in that, but that goes to show their ceilings. This is either going to be over quick and excitingly, or drawn out and extremely plodding. Flipping a coin on which one. Tuivasa via R1 KO.