UFC on FOX 30 goes down this Saturday with a killer main card in Calgary.
Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier are going at it in a lightweight clash that oozes with Fight of the Year potential and carries title implications. Former featherweight king Jose Aldo returns to battle Jeremy Stephens, who looks to be in the best shape of his career. And Joanna Jedrzejczyk will compete in a non-title affair for the first time since 2014. She takes on Tecia Torres, who is looking for a title shot of her own.
While the top three fights are absolutely loaded for free television, the rest of the card is nothing to sleep on. From important bouts rankings-wise to fights with strong finishing potential, here are the best and most under-the-radar fights at UFC on FOX 30.
Alexander Hernandez vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
An intriguing lightweight fight rounds out the main card. No. 13-ranked Hernandez returns fresh off his dynamic knockout win over Beneil Dariush in a huge upset fight. The heavy-handed Hernandez will fight newly-minted “The Canadian Gangster,” Aubin-Mercier.
The fight has heavy implications, as Aubin-Mercier will look to crack the top-15 rankings with a win. Hernandez may be fighting to keep his top-15 status, on the other hand. Not only that, but this fight is great stylistically. Aubin-Mercier will likely look to use his excellent grappling to control and submit Hernandez, who will almost certainly be looking for the knockout. Awesome fight between two young, hungry up-and-comers.
Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Ion Cutelaba
Another fun match-up between someone who will likely try to stand-and-trade (Cutelaba) and one who will look to ground his opponent and choke them (Antigulov). This will only be Antigulov’s third fight in three years, but he’s been impressive from what we’ve seen so far. He’s only needed one takedown in each of his UFC fights to pull off a guillotine and a rear-naked. We haven’t seen much of his striking game yet in the UFC.
Cutelaba will look to use his wrestling defensively to stifle Antigulov’s takedowns. If his 80 percent takedown defense holds up, he’ll look to knock out Antigulov with his heavy Hulk hands. Intriguing fight and a finish is likely.
Hakeem Dawodu vs. Austin Arnett
Both “Mean Hakeem” and Arnett enter their featherweight bout off of losses, so you know they’ll be fired up for this one. This is also likely Arnett’s last chance to secure a UFC win before being handed a pink-slip, so his back is against the wall.
The two featherweights combined land over 10 significant strikes per minute, so striking fans will be satisfied for this fight. Expect violence and a finish from the winner in what should be a fast-paced war.
Randa Markos vs. Nina Ansaroff
An intriguing and important top-15 strawweight match-up will go down on the UFC Fight Pass prelims. Both women are good anywhere the fight goes. No. 12-ranked Markos is coming off her most dominant UFC showing yet with a win over Juliana Lima. No. 13-ranked Ansaroff also turned in the best win of her career when she out-struck Angela Hill.
Markos probably holds the edge in the wrestling while Ansaroff is statistically the better volume-striker. The winner will look to secure a top-10 match-up with a win.
Alexis Davis vs. Katlyn Chookagian
Another important women’s bout, this time in the top-10 of the flyweight rankings. The winner could very well be looking at a title shot, as Nicco Montano vs. Valentina Shevchenko has been confirmed for the belt. Davis (No. 3) is only behind in the rankings to Sijara Eubanks and Shevchenko, while Chookagian (No. 7) will be looking to steal Davis’ ranking. “Blonde Fighter” Chookagian has a win over Eubanks as well, which could help her cause.
This is a fight between former UFC bantamweight title challenger Davis, and a former CFFC champ-champ in Chookagian, who held the promotion’s flyweight and bantamweight titles. It’s likely between the winner of this fight and Eubanks regarding who gets the next crack at UFC gold.
Dustin Ortiz vs. Matheus Nicolau
Ortiz, the No. 9-ranked flyweight, held off a TUF standout in his last fight in Alexandre Pantoja. He’ll look to do that again with Nicolau, who’s ranked No. 12.
Ortiz is a good-everywhere fighter, landing at a good clip in the stand-up while averaging three take-downs a fight. He then excels at controlling his opponents on the ground. Nicolau is an interesting style-matchup for Ortiz in that he’s never been taken down in his UFC bouts. He will look to keep that 100 percent TDD in tact against Ortiz and use his defensive boxing style to hurt him. Nicolau has a wrestling game of his own to fall back on if need be.
Expect a fun and fast-paced flyweight scrap where the winner will get a crack at the top-10.
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