This Saturday, the UFC returns to Rio de Janeiro for UFC 237. Headlined by 115 pound champion Rose Namajunas and challenger Jessica Andrade, there a number of big names included on the main card. Brazillian superstars Anderson Silva and Jose Aldo are also sharing a card for the first time since UFC 200. Although there are not many household names on the UFC 237 prelims, are people sleeping on them? With a number of interesting and exciting fighters, the prelims should start the night off well.
UFC 237 Prelims
BJ Penn vs. Clay Guida
These two are legends within the UFC, in very different ways. Former two-weight world champion BJ Penn is without a win since 2010 and is looking to roll back the clock with a victory in Brazil. Guida, on the other hand, has seven wins since Penn last won.
At UFC 237, we can expect Guida, as usual, to bring high energy to the octagon. Guida has some of the best cardio in the UFC. With an aging Penn potentially slowing down at the tail end of his career, this could play a huge factor. We highlighted in a previous article that BJ has absorbed the most head strikes in UFC history. If Guida can make BJ work early, he may become more susceptible to head strikes, leading to the finish.
10 of Guida’s 18 losses have come via submission. BJ holds a 5th-degree black belt in jiu-jitsu and this could play a factor. He has also won submission of the night honours on two separate occasions. Despite Guida training at Team Alpha Male, he still is susceptible to being taken down. If Penn can get Guida down it could make Penn’s night a lot easier.
Although not a classic striker vs grappler match-up, this one is sure to entertain. These two men have 83 professional MMA fights between them. Of these 83 fights, 52 have been in the UFC and the experience these two bring is unprecedented. This high-level match-up is sure to be intriguing!
Irene Aldana vs. Bethe Correia
This is definitely a fight people are sleeping on at UFC 237. Irene Aldana has quickly become one of the most exciting women’s fighters in the UFC. Aldana holds two Fight of the Night honors in the UFC. On top of this, she has three performance of the night bonuses in Invicta. She has also challenged for the Invicta bantamweight belt, highlighting her talent. With her high striking output, Aldana always comes to fight and more often than not makes her fights entertaining.
Former title challenger Bethe Correia also comes to throw hands every time she enters the octagon. Having headlined twice in the UFC, Correia has big event experience and will look to bring this at UFC 237. Correia is 1-3-1 in her last five fights, however. Having been knocked out by Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm, dropping a split decision to former title challenger Raquel Pennington and defeating upcoming title challenger Jessica Eye, you can argue Correia never turns down a challenge.
The high output, pressure style of Aldana is something that Correia will have to work out quickly. If she isn’t able to achieve this, the fight could easily get away from her. The exciting Aldana definitely has the speed advantage and also has knockout power. Correia, who holds a purple belt in BJJ may look to implement her ground game in this fight.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs Ryan Spann
UFC 237 also sees the return of ‘Lil Nog’, Rogerio Nogueira. Having last fought at UFC Fight Night 137, Nogueira welcomes Ryan Spann to Brazil. Fans of the Contender Series will be familiar with Spann. He failed to gain a contract in 2017, before becoming successful in 2018. He then went on to win his UFC debut, also at UFC Fight Night 137.
Spann has three knockouts and 10 submissions in his 15 wins, showing what a well-rounded style he has. Likewise, Nogueira has eight knockouts and six submissions over his 23 wins. Wherever this fight goes it is sure to be highly competitive.
The experience is definitely on Nogueira’s side, with a professional career which started in 2001. Spann only turned professional in 2013 and will be looking to make a name for himself in Rio. In his 10-year UFC tenure, Nogueira has only lost to former champions or title challengers, proving just how talented he is.
Spann has a real chance to make a name for himself in enemy territory. With a win over the experienced Brazillian, Spann can prove that he is here to stay in the shallow 205 pound division.
Who else is on the card?
The fights discuss highlight why the UFC 237 prelims shouldn’t be slept on. The rest of the prelim fights also offer a wealth of exciting match-ups:
- Talita Bernardo faces Viviane Araujo at 135. Bernardo was originally scheduled to fight Jessica-Rose Clarke at UFC 237, however, Clarke pulled out citing a foot injury.
- 13-1 Brazillian prospect Raoni Barcelos faces debutant Carlos Huachin Quiroz. Quiroz will be looking to make a name for himself in enemy territory.
- In an all Brazillian affair, Wallery Alves faces Sergio Moraes.
- Brazilian Priscila Cachoeira steps in on late notice to face Luana Carolina. Cachoeira is coming off a loss to Molly McCann at UFC Fight Night 147.
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