UFC 238 is a 13-fight event filled with championship bouts, top contenders and rising prospects. The action begins with Katlyn Chookagian vs. Joanne Calderwood and concludes with the bantamweight title fight between Henry Cejudo and Marlon Moraes. Check out a rundown of every fight on the card below!
Flyweight (W): Katlyn Chookagian vs. Joanne Calderwood
It is a testament to the strength of this card that a potential number one contender fight is starting the card. Chookagian is a former CFFC champion in two different weight divisions. She most recently lost at UFC 231 vs. Jessica Eye, who is challenging for the title on this very card. All six of her UFC fights have ended in decision and she is 4-2 in said fights.
Calderwood has revived her career after consecutive losses to Jessica Andrade and Cynthia Calvillo. She won her sole 2018 fight and then beat Ariane Lipski earlier this year. Chookagian is the #2 ranked flyweight and Calderwood is #6, so with a decisive win, the winner could receive a much coveted title shot.
Bantamweight: Eddie Wineland vs. Grigory Popov
Popov is 35 years old making his UFC debut and looking for his 10th consecutive win in the process. He has ended his last three fights inside two rounds and hopes to continue that streak against Wineland.
Outside of Donald Cerrone, Wineland has the most professional fights on this card at 37. He looks to keep his career alive with a much needed win after losing his last two fights. Wineland fought for an interim title in 2013 against Renan Barao and is now only the second fight on the early prelims, which just speaks to how stacked this card is. Wineland will welcome Popov to the big leagues in what should be a fun bantamweight bout.
Middleweight: Bevon Lewis vs. Darren Stewart
A fight that was scheduled to go down on June 22nd will take place here. Lewis earned his way into the UFC after his first-round TKO win on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. He made his debut at UFC 232 against Uriah Hall, but was knocked out in the third round. He now sits on a 6-1 record and hopes to earn his first win as a UFC fighter. Stewart showed much promise in the early stages of his career, but is now clinging to life in the UFC having dropped four of his last six. Both fighters will go into this fight wanting to make a statement, which could result in some mayhem.
Strawweight (W): Yan Xiaonan vs. Angela Hill
Since making her debut in 2017, Yan remains undefeated in the UFC at 3-0. All three wins were by decision, however, so she looks to take home her first UFC finish on Saturday. Statistically, Hill has the worst winning percentage on this entire card (60%). She boosted her record to 9-6 with a decision win over Jodie Esquibel only a few months back. Although not an appealing record, Hill has fought (and lost) to some of the best in her division in Jessica Andrade and Rose Namajunas. She has also been extremely active as of late. After Saturday, Hill will have had three fights in 77 days. Yan and Hill are both aiming for a conclusive win on Saturday night.
Featherweight: Ricardo Lamas vs. Calvin Kattar
Currently, Lamas is ranked #10 and Kattar at #15 in the featherweight division. Lamas is a decorated veteran with 15 UFC fights, one of which was the featherweight championship in 2014 against Jose Aldo (lost via unanimous decision). He steered away from a three fight losing streak and won his last fight against Darren Elkins. Through four UFC fights, Kattar is 3-1, winning his latest by first round TKO. This will be a big test for both fighters as they look to rise their stock and stake their place in their division.
Strawweight (W): Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Alexa Grasso
Kowalkiewicz and Grasso both hope to get back in the win column here. Kowalkiewicz has not had an easy time since earning a title shot in 2016. Since then, she is 2-4 and a win on Saturday would put her back on track. Burdened by injuries and missing weight, Grasso has not had the easiest time in the UFC, either. She showed much promise after signing as an undefeated prospect and winning her first UFC bout, but has lost two of her last three. With Grasso ranked at #13 and Kowalkiewicz at #10, the winner will surely shake up the division.
Bantamweight: Aljamain Sterling vs. Pedro Munhoz
While I am personally a huge fan of this match-up, I am not a fan of the timing. June 22nd will feature a main event between Renato Moicano and the Korean Zombie Chan Sung Jung. How can two fighters, both coming off losses, headline an event? Sterling and Munhoz would have been an excellent main event for that card.
Sterling sits at #3 and Munhoz is at #4 in the bantamweight division, so the winner of this fight will more than likely be the next title challenger. Basically, UFC 238 presents a mini bantamweight grand prix. The winner of Sterling and Munhoz against the winner of Marlon Moraes and Henry Cejudo, or at least that is how it should be. Ever since losing to current title challenger Moraes, Sterling has won his last three fights, one of which won submission of the year. Like Sterling, Munhoz has also won his last three fights and the last two being by way of TKO/KO. His latest fight earned him a fight of the night bonus and a first round knockout over Cody Garbrandt. With the stakes of this fight sitting at an incredibly high level, this will serve as my FOTN co-pick.
Strawweight (W): Tatiana Suarez vs. Nina Ansaroff
While this card is already loaded with women strawweight fights, this may be the most intriguing of them all. This fight, like Sterling vs. Munhoz, will probably reveal who the next title challenger will be. Suarez, whose record is unblemished, is the #2 ranked strawweight and Ansaroff is only one below her. Suarez won the Ultimate Fighter in 2016 and has since put her name on the short list of exciting fighters in her division.
She has finished her last two opponents and out of her seven professional fights, only two have went to decision. Suarez is the second biggest betting favorite on this card (behind only Valentina Shevchenko), but Ansaroff is not to be overlooked. Her story is rather inspiring. After starting her professional career 1-3, she won five fights in a row, all by stoppage. She then earned a contract with the UFC, where her record sits at an impressive 4-2. She has won her last four fights, three by decision and one by submission. Again, a high stakes fight that should deliver.
Heavyweight: Tai Tuivasa vs. Blagoy Ivanov
The first fight on the main card gives us the first and only heavyweight fight, but it should be a fun one. Before losing to Junior dos Santos in December, Tuivasa owned an undefeated record of 8-0. In nine professional fights, Tuivasa has only went to decision once, which was in his third UFC fight against Andrei Arlovski. He hopes to get back in the win column on Saturday and move into the top 10 of a very thin division. Ivanov has had a roller coaster of a career, fighting in numerous organizations along with taking a 21 month leave of absence from MMA. He made his UFC debut against dos Santos where he lost by unanimous decision. He won his latest fight against Ben Rothwell earlier this year. Unlike Tuivasa, Ivanov has went to decision in four of his last five. The big boys will dance on Saturday and the winner will probably receive a top 10 fight.
Bantamweight: Jimmie Rivera vs. Petr Yan
A clash of two top 10 bantamweights. Two absolute dogs. Yan is a rising star and is undefeated in the UFC at 4-0. His sole loss is to Magomed Magomedov, who he later re-matched and beat. Rivera has lost two of his last three, both of which are against UFC 238 fighters Marlon Moraes and Aljamain Sterling. Rivera has fought and beat Pedro Munhoz and UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber. The winner of this fight could see them self one more win away from a title shot.
Lightweight: Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone
There is one word to describe this fight; electric. Ferguson owns an 11 fight win streak, which is good for the highest active streak (tied with Khabib Nurmagomedov). To speak to Ferguson’s electricity, six of his last seven fights have earned him a performance bonus. The sole fight out of those he didn’t win a performance bonus, he won something more meaningful; the interim championship belt. After dealing with some personal problems, Ferguson will face Cerrone hoping to extend his win streak and receive his title shot.
Cerrone is experiencing a career resurgence, and doing so in style. He won his last three fights, all of which were accompanied by performance bonuses. After beating Al Iaquinta in May, this will be one of his quickest professional turnarounds at only 35 days. With Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier being officially announced, the winner of this fight should undoubtedly receive a crack at the title once the dust settles. The UFC is doing the fans a disservice with this only being three rounds, but I think this will be an absolute barn-burner. This will partner up with Sterling vs. Munhoz as my co-FOTN pick.
Flyweight (W) Title: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Eye
I enjoy this match-up, but do not understand the betting lines behind it. Shevchenko is a -1200 favorite, which takes the cake as the heaviest favorite on the card. For those of you who do not partake in gambling, -1200 means you would have to bet $1,200 on Shevchenko to win $100. Do I believe Shevchenko should be the favorite? Absolutely, but -1200 seems extreme. She won the vacant title last December in dominating fashion over Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She will make her first title defense against Jessica Eye, who turned her career around in 2018. After losing five of six fights, she spent 2017 flightless, which led to an extremely successful 2018 campaign where she won all three of her bouts. This earned her a title shot even though all three wins were by decision and two of them were split decisions.
Bantamweight Title: Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes
It’s time! The belt formerly owned by TJ Dillashaw will now have a new owner. Cejudo is making his move to 135 pounds in hopes of becoming a double champion. After beating flyweight GOAT Demetrious Johnson, he defended his belt against Dillashaw in what was a controversial, first round stoppage for Cejudo. Controversial or not, he won, kept his belt, and gave the flyweight division an extension (at least for the time being). Moraes has been an absolute animal in his last three fights, winning all of them by first round stoppage and earning a performance bonus for each. If you are a fan of bantamweights, the division will have a new king and a new #1 contender after Saturday.
Embed from Getty Images