JUSTIN GAETHJE VS. JAMES VICK
There's little doubt that the top 10-ranked fighters at lightweight in the UFC make up what might be the most talented-stacked division in the entire sport. Evidence of that will be on display in the main event from Lincoln, Nebraska when the always-exciting Justin Gaethje takes on 9-1 UFC veteran James Vick. Gaethje has earned three Fight of the Night awards in three consecutive fights since joining the roster, so it's tough to imagine that he's not going to throw everything and the kitchen sink at Vick to get back into the win column after two heartbreaking defeats. For Vick, this fight serves as an opportunity to get a high profile win over one of the toughest fighters on the entire UFC roster. Gaethje is a high output fighter who never stops moving forward while landing more than eight significant strikes per minute. To slow him down, Vick will have to use his range and length to stay away from fighting Gaethje inside a phone booth, which is where he does the most damage. Expect an absolute war between these two fighters as Gaethje and Vick look to put on a show.
The #UFCLincoln co-main is. Who you got, @FollowTheMenace or @TouchyFili? pic.twitter.com/hHW4XTbFu1
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) August 21, 2018
If Michael Johnson didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all. The former lightweight turned featherweight has definitely suffered through some unfortunate losses recently, but in almost every situation, Johnson was maybe one or two shots away from winning himself. He'll try to turn things around on Saturday night when he faces a very game Andre Fili, who is looking to build off two straight wins inside the Octagon. Johnson seemed to adjust to fighting at 145 pounds rather quickly in his debut, but now the former Ultimate Fighter competitor has to eliminate the mistakes that have cost him so dearly in his most recent performances. Meanwhile, Fili just has to be himself and not let the pressure of the moment get to him. A win for either fighter could have them knocking on the door in the top 15 at featherweight, so this is most certainly a crucial matchup at 145 pounds.
Y’all ready for this? I know I am! Don’t miss me in action this weekend on FS1! #UFCLincoln #UFCFightNight135 pic.twitter.com/8g1KcOVkSV
— Angela Hill (@AngieOverkill) August 21, 2018
As the strawweight division continues to build new contenders, Cortney Casey and Angela Hill are going to do everything to prove they belong in the top 10 of the division when they clash this weekend. Casey is a physically imposing strawweight with a lot of power on her side, and she's faced a laundry list of the best fighters at 115 pounds in the UFC. That experience will serve her well going against an offensive machine like Hill, who loves to stay on the attack from the first bell until the last. Hill has proven she belongs in the upper echelon of the UFC but she's not going to be satisfied until she's knocking on the door of title contention. A win from either fighter in this matchup could land them a marquee fight in the top 10.
JAKE ELLENBERGER VS. BRYAN BARBERENA
Veteran welterweight Jake Ellenberger will look to stave off a fourth straight defeat when he steps back into the Octagon against the always-game Bryan Barberena. At his best, Ellenberger was once knocking on the door of title contention, but he's suffered through the toughest run of his career in recent years. Now Ellenberger will try to turn things around against Barberena, who has bounced back and forth between wins and losses in his past four fights.
JOHN MORAGA VS. DEIVESON FIGUEIREDO
Former flyweight title contender John Moraga has quietly climbed back into the top 10 with a recent three-fight win streak while arguably looking better than he ever has before. To keep his momentum going, Moraga will have to hand Deiveson Figueiredo the first loss of his career after the Brazilian went 14-0, with three of those wins coming in the UFC. With a new champion at the top of the 125-pound division, Moraga and Figueiredo have to know a statement win in this fight would be huge for either one to get into that title conversation in the near future.
#UFCLincoln KO of the Week: @ErykAnders incredible UFC debut pic.twitter.com/w1jnpOCvfR
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) August 12, 2018
10-1 middleweight prospect Eryk Anders will look to get back on track this weekend when he faces off with Ultimate Fighter veteran Tim Williams. Anders is a heavy-handed fighter with a ton of athleticism at his disposal, and he proved in his last fight that he's got the conditioning to go for five rounds if necessary. Williams had won five in a row prior to a setback in February, and now he'll attempt to pull off the upset when he faces Anders to kick off the main card.
JAMES KRAUSE VS. WARLLEY ALVES
Following an assistant coaching job on the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter, James Krause will look for his fifth win in a row as he returns to welterweight for a showdown against top Brazilian prospect Warlley Alves. Krause is a veteran with the chops to give anybody a fight at either lightweight or welterweight, and he's going to need that veteran savvy in this featured preliminary bout. Alves has long been considered a future star for Brazil and he is the lone fighter to hold a win over outspoken welterweight star Colby Covington. The winner could potentially earn a shot at a top 15 fighter, so it's a crucial moment for both Krause and Alves.
CORY SANDHAGEN VS. IURI ALCANTARA
Following an impressive win in his UFC debut, Cory Sandhagen will look for a second straight victory inside the Octagon when he faces veteran bantamweight Iuri Alcantara. Sandhagen has proven to be a devastating finisher, with five of his eight career wins coming by knockout or submission. He'll need to harness all of that skill while going up against Alcantara, who has more than 40 fights on his record, including submission wins over the likes of Brad Pickett and Luke Sanders, as well as a recent knockout over former title challenger Joe Soto. Considering the stylistic matchup, don't blink when Sandhagen and Alcantara start mixing it up in this bantamweight showdown.
ANDREW SANCHEZ VS. MARKUS PEREZ
Following a fast start to his UFC career after winning The Ultimate Fighter, Andrew Sanchez has fallen on harder times lately with two straight losses. The groundfighting specialist will look to turn things around in Nebraska when he faces Markus Perez, who has gone 1-1 thus far in the UFC, including an impressive first-round submission victory in his most recent fight against James Bochnovic. Sanchez is best known for his high level grappling game, but Perez is no slouch on the mat, so it will be interesting to see who can impose their will in this matchup.
MICKEY GALL VS. GEORGE SULLIVAN
Once best known as the guy who beat CM Punk in his UFC debut, Mickey Gall is now looking to define himself as one of the best welterweights in the world. Gall is coming back from the first defeat of his career and he made numerous changes to his training camp as he began working full-time in Los Angeles just recently while training alongside the likes of welterweight savage Matt Brown. Sullivan has gone just 1-3 in his past four fights, so he has to know that getting a win over Gall is crucial as he looks to get back in the win column for the first time since 2015.
JOANNE CALDERWOOD VS. KALINDRA FARIA
Joanne Calderwood was the first fighter in the UFC to get a win in the women's flyweight division and now she hopes to climb her way up the rankings while facing Kalindra Faria, who has proven to be a very tough out during her career inside the Octagon. At her best, Calderwood is a blistering striker with some of the best Muay Thai skills in all of women's MMA. She'll look to showcase the “art of eight limbs” while taking on Faria, who will attempt to get her first win in the UFC after suffering back-to-back losses, including a heartbreaking split decision to Jessica Eye in her most recent performance. With the strawweight title on the line in just a couple of weeks, Calderwood and Faria will try to get everyone's attention when they meet on Saturday night.
DREW DOBER VS. JON TUCK
With a 4-1 record in his past five fights, Drew Dober has started to find consistency in his UFC career and he'll try to continue that trend this weekend against Jon Tuck. Tuck has faced plenty of ups and downs inside the Octagon, but most recently he pulled off a slick first-round submission against Japanese legend Takanori Gomi. Tuck will need to summon all his skills for this fight, as Dober pushes a relentless pace and has a high-octane offense that rarely slows down over three rounds.
RANI YAHYA VS. LUKE SANDERS
Submission mastermind Rani Yahya has finished five opponents on the mat since joining the UFC, including back-to-back finishes in his two most recent performances. Now he faces a former state champion wrestler in Luke Sanders, who possesses lightning quick power in his hands and a powerful ground game that's going to make him a tough matchup against anybody he faces. For this fight, however, Sanders might want to show off his best anti-wrestling to stop Yahya from getting him to the ground, where the Brazilian is deadliest.