Vacant UFC Flyweight Championship: Deiveson Figueiredo (17-1) vs. Joseph Benavidez (28-5)
Luke Irwin: You could make an argument that Joe B is the best fighter in the UFC to never win a world title. Except for a wonky split-decision loss to Sergio Pettis, Benavidez hasn’t lost to a fighter not named Demetrious Johnson SINCE TWO-THOUSAND TEN! Almost TEN GODDAMNED YEARS. He’s never going to have a better shot at gold than right now. Benavidez via R4 TKO.
Women’s Featherweight Bout: Felicia Spencer (7-1) vs. Zarah Fairn dos Santos (6-3)
Luke: As I’ve said before, unless you’re Amanda Nunes or Cris Cyborg, no female fighter is that dominant to be more than a -500 favorite. The space between the high-level and medium-level fighters is so small until they have had years to space that out like the men have, that I’ll always play the heavy underdog. I think Spencer will win, despite me betting against her, but it’ll be ugly, and in no way should she have been a -800 favorite against anyone with a pulse. Spencer via MD.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Ion Cutelaba (15-4) vs. Magomed Ankalaev (12-1)
Luke: Vegas is laying pretty heavy on Ankalaev, but I’m not sure why it’s that heavy. Cutelaba is pretty solidly in gatekeeper territory, winning fights he should, and losing fights he should (Teixeira, Cirkunov, Cannonier). Is Ankalaev at that level? I’m not sure. There’s no shame in being tapped out by Paul Craig, but defeating three European borderline fighters in weak European cards doesn’t exactly portend a killer. I think he might escape by decision, but a -225 favorite? Pump the brakes. Ankalaev via SD.
Women’s Featherweight Bout: Megan Anderson (10-4) vs. Norma Dumont Viana (4-0)
Luke: Anderson is one of my absolute favorite fighters in the world, but it’s absolutely maddening how inconsistent she’s become since coming to the UFC. It was if, as soon as she signed, she forgot she was six feet tall and built like a pterodactyl. I’m absolutely flummoxed how she hasn’t at least had a featherweight title shot yet. I think she’ll win, but I don’t feel nearly as confident picking her as I used to. Anderson via SD.
Featherweight Bout: Darrick Minner (24-10) vs. Grant Dawson (14-1)
Luke: Out of the 38 wins these two have, 31 have been by submission. These boys love the tap. The problem here, is that when two grappling aces go head to head in the UFC, nobody wants to get caught, so it devolves into a bad kickboxing match. However, two factors could help. For one, this is Dawson’s third fight in the UFC proper, so he won’t share Minner’s first-time nerves, and also Minner has also lost seven times via the sub. He lives by it and dies by it, so I feel pretty confident in saying he’ll try. Unfortunately for him, Dawson will be up to the task and has the hands to keep him honest on the ground. Dawson via R2 Submission.