AMANDA NUNES VS VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO
Round four. It’s the question everybody has about the first meeting between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko in March 2016. If there was a fourth round, would Shevchenko continue to surge ahead and finish Nunes, or would “The Lioness” get her second wind and build off her early lead? We’ll never know, but with both fighters getting better since that first meeting while building a nice rivalry, the one guarantee is that this championship rematch will determine once and for all who the better bantamweight is.
YOEL ROMERO VS ROBERT WHITTAKER
With or without the interim middleweight championship on the line, Yoel Romero vs Robert Whittaker is a great fight. Yet despite the championship distance, the odds of this one going five are slim. That may be bad news for Romero, as he usually takes a little while to get warmed up, and that could allow Whittaker to blitz him early. But if “The Reaper” does take that course of action, Romero may very well start unleashing his explosive power quicker than expected, and then we’ll see some post-Fourth of July fireworks in Las Vegas.
DANIEL OMIELANCZUK VS CURTIS BLAYDES
The postponement of the bout between Donald Cerrone and Robbie Lawler opened the door for Curtis Blaydes and Daniel Omielanczuk to get this main card spot, and it’s time for one of them to make their move. Omielanczuk has been waiting for an opportunity like this, and if can take out a hot prospect like Blaydes, it will jump-start his career. Blaydes will be tough to hold off, though.
FABRICIO WERDUM VS ALISTAIR OVEREEM
The rubber match between heavyweight stars Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem comes at a pivotal time in the careers of both men, so that hopefully translates into a fight that looks a lot different from their last bout in Strikeforce, where Werdum had success on the feet against the feared striker but didn’t push the action enough to beat him. Expect a more confident Werdum to try his luck more this time, which may be music to Overeem’s ears.
ANTHONY PETTIS VS JIM MILLER
One of the toughest fights to pick on Saturday’s card pits Jim Miller against former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Pettis is returning to the 155-pound weight class in search of a win, and if this fight took place a few years ago, he would likely be a big favorite. But with Miller surging in the last year and willing to fight Pettis wherever the action may go, it’s turned into a pick ‘em fight that will be compelling to watch from start to finish.
TRAVIS BROWNE VS ALEKSEI OLEINIK
After going 1-4 in his last five, Travis Browne needs a win on Saturday, and Aleksei Oleinik is no easy mark for “Hapa,” especially if the bout hits the mat. So look for Browne to keep it standing as long as he can, and while Oleinik has some significant firepower, Browne’s height and reach will give him a big advantage while trying to implement that game plan.
CHAD LAPRISE VS BRIAN CAMOZZI
Chad Laprise makes his long-awaited welterweight debut against Brian Camozzi, and it will be interesting to see how he does without having to cut down to the 155-pound weight limit. But if he’s looking for a leisurely welcome, Camozzi isn’t that guy, as he will put the pressure on Laprise as he searches for a finish.
THIAGO SANTOS VS GERALD MEERSCHAERT
After declaring war on the middleweight division, Gerald Meerschaert has lived up to his words with two UFC finishes, and he’ll be looking for number three against Thiago Santos. Now Meerschaert hasn’t faced anyone in the Octagon with the power of “Marreta” yet, it’s hard not to flash back to Santos’ loss to Eric Spicely and give Meerschaert the edge tomorrow night.
JORDAN MEIN VS BELAL MUHAMMAD
After a less than stellar return against Emil Meek, Canadian veteran Jordan Mein is back in action to face the always exciting Belal Muhammad, and if Mein delivers on his usual form again, this will be a fun one to watch for as long as it lasts, because neither of these welterweights want to stick around for the whole 15 minutes on fight night.
ROB FONT VS DOUGLAS SILVA DE ANDRADE
Originally scheduled to square off in 2014, Rob Font and Douglas Silva de Andrade finally meet, and while it’s been three years and Font has shown a desire to show off more of his jiu-jitsu game, don’t be fooled. These two will likely go bombs away from start to finish, and that’s a good thing for all of us watching.
CODY STAMANN VS TERRION WARE
Owner of a six-fight winning streak, Michigan Top Team’s Cody Stamann comes to the UFC with plenty of positive notices, but 31-year-old veteran Terrion Ware has the kind of experience and fight game that can sneak up on prospect and leave him wondering if he’s ready for prime time.
TREVIN GILES VS JAMES BOCHNOVIC
A protégé of UFC heavyweight contender Ben Rothwell, James Bochnovic is a big light heavyweight at 6-foot-4 and he can finish a fight in a hurry, as he’s never seen the second round as a pro. Texas’ Trevin Giles is no slouch, though, as he’s finished eight of nine wins, five by submission. But can the six-footer get inside on Bochnovic to implement his game?