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UFC 232 Fight by Fight

Preview UFC 232 with this edition of Fight by Fight

Take a deep dive into UFC 232's whole card with this Fight by Fight Preview


Five years after their epic first fight, one that is still regarded as one of the greatest in UFC history, Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson will meet again with the light heavyweight championship on the line. Jones has gone virtually untouched during his entire career except for that five-round war with Gustafsson back in 2013. Jones broke the mold when it came to the definition of a mixed martial artist with world-class striking and grappling at his fingertips at all times. Jones has rarely been tested, but he knows he’s in for a battle on Dec. 29.

Gustafsson has been waiting for this opportunity ever since he felt he should have earned the nod the first time around in a razor-close fight over 25 minutes. The Swedish contender is coming off arguably one of his strongest performances to date when he decimated Glover Teixeira last year and now he’ll look to become the first person to hand Jones a legitimate loss in his incredible career. There may not be a better matched fight in the sport right now than Jones and Gustafsson facing each other again at UFC 232.


For the past decade, Cris Cyborg has run roughshod over the competition with an undefeated streak through Strikeforce, Invicta FC and now the UFC. Cyborg has gone through three title fights since joining the UFC roster and she now holds wins over Tonya Evinger, Yana Kunitskaya and former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm. Cyborg could be considered the best pound-for-pound women’s fighter in history but she may be about to face her toughest test to date. Amanda Nunes has looked unbeatable in her most recent fights while winning and then defending her women’s bantamweight title. She holds wins over Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey and now she’ll look to add another legend to her resume when she moves up to featherweight to face Cyborg. This will also be the first ever champion versus champion fight in the history of women’s divisions in UFC.


Following a long career at lightweight, Michael Chiesa will test the waters at 170 pounds when he returns at UFC 232 to take on a former interim champion in Carlos Condit. Throughout his UFC career, Chiesa has built a reputation for being one of the toughest competitors on the entire roster, with good range on the feet and a slick submission arsenal on the mat. He’ll likely need all those weapons to deal with “The Natural Born Killer,” as Condit is one of the most well-respected fighters on the entire UFC roster. Condit is a former WEC champion as well and he’s faced nothing but elite competition throughout his whole career. He’s faced harder times lately with four straight losses, so there’s little doubt he’s going to come out guns blazing looking to beat Chiesa on Saturday night.


A new light heavyweight champion will be crowned in the main event of UFC 232 while a potential challenger for the title could emerge in this showdown between former Ultimate Fighter winner Corey Anderson and human wrecking ball Ilir Latifi. Anderson has always been considered a top prospect in the 205-pound division, but lately he’s started to put it all together in his overall fight game. Anderson just recently picked up a signature win over Glover Teixeira and now he’s looking for another top five-ranked opponent to add to his record when he fights on Saturday night. As for Latifi, he’s won five out of his last six fights, including a nasty submission finish against former title challenger Ovince Saint-Preux. Latifi also trains with Gustafsson, so there’s little doubt they’ve been pushing each other to the brink to help each other get ready for this monumental card.


Former two-time title challenger Chad Mendes made his long-awaited return back in July and proved that he’s still a threat to anybody in the featherweight division with a quick first-round finish of Myles Jury. Mendes is healthy and hungry to get back into the title picture, with hopes of one day challenging Max Holloway for his championship. The next step to get there will be facing arguably the best prospect in the entire division in Alexander Volkanovski. The 30-year old Australian has looked unstoppable lately with five wins in the UFC, including a recent victory over Mendes’ teammate Darren Elkins. Volkanovski might look like the future but he’s got the toughest test of his career awaiting him in Mendes at UFC 232.


Expect heavy leather to be thrown in this heavyweight contest, as former champion Andrei Arlovski faces off with Walt Harris. Arlovski is a legend of the sport but he’s fallen on harder times lately with back-to-back losses. To get back on track he’ll have to go through a super athlete in Harris who looks to get the biggest win of his career. Harris is a powerhouse with one shot knockout power with every punch and kick he throws. Harris has long been considered a raw talent just waiting to cross the threshold between prospect and contender, and this might be his opportunity to prove where he’s at in the division.


Former Invicta FC women’s featherweight champion Megan Anderson fell short in her UFC debut, but she’ll look for redemption against Cat Zingano, who moves up to 145 pounds for this fight on Saturday night. At her best, Anderson is a powerful striker with overwhelming offense and she’s got plenty of power to put Zingano away. That said, Zingano definitely has the experience edge against top-notch competition while also possessing a world-class ground game, something which has caused Anderson problems in the past. This should be an intriguing chess match with the winner potentially knocking on the door of a title shot in 2019.


In an event filled with champions, former champions and top-ranked contenders, it’s this bantamweight bout between Douglas Silva de Andrade and Petr Yan that could be a potential show stealer. De Andrade has put on some very exciting performances since first arriving in the UFC and now he’ll look to build on his 3-1 record over his past four fights when he returns this weekend. Meanwhile, Yan is considered a top name to watch in the division after joining the UFC and immediately picking up back-to-back wins inside the Octagon. Yan earned a Fight of the Night performance in his second appearance, so don’t blink when he starts trading punches with de Andrade.


UFC Hall of Famer and mixed martial arts legend BJ Penn returns to action against submission wizard and former Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Hall in an intriguing lightweight bout. It’s no secret that Penn has struggled in recent years while amassing 1-5-1 record over his past seven fights dating back to 2010. That has only fueled the Hawaiian icon to push that much harder to get back in the win column. Penn has a world-class ground game, which makes for a very intriguing fight with Hall, who is a multi-time grappling champion with some of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the UFC right now. Hall has won his first two fights inside the Octagon and now he’ll attempt to add a legend to his resume when he meets Penn on Saturday night.


With an eight-fight win streak on his side, Curtis Millender makes his third UFC appearance while taking on one of the most vicious knockout strikers in the history of the sport in Siyar Bahadurzada. Through his first two fights inside the Octagon, Millender has looked like a future title contender while picking up wins over Thiago Alves and Max Griffin. If he wants to continue his climb up the ladder he’s got to deal with the powerful Bahadurzada, who has been rejuvenated lately with three straight wins — all by knockout or submission.


Former Ultimate Fighter finalist Uriah Hall is always just one strike away from pulling off a highlight reel victory whenever he steps into the Octagon. Hall has definitely faced some ups and downs in his career, but when he’s at his best, there’s not a middleweight on the planet who he can’t challenge. This weekend, Hall welcomes Bevon Lewis to the UFC after he made quite an impression on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Often compared to his teammate Jon Jones, Lewis is undefeated with a perfect 6-0 record and three of those wins coming by way of knockout. Lewis is a top prospect to watch, but he’s getting no easy task in his debut by facing Hall this weekend.


With a nickname like “Mr. Highlight,” Andre Ewell always sets the stage for a jaw-dropping performance when he steps into the Octagon. Ewell drew a tough test in his UFC debut against former bantamweight champion Renan Barao, but he still managed to get the job done by split decision. To get his sixth win in a row, Ewell will have to go through highly-touted British fighter Nathaniel Wood. Wood made his debut earlier this year and made quick work of UFC veteran Johnny Eduardo with a second-round D’arce choke. Now both Wood and Ewell will look to go 2-0 in the UFC when they clash on the early prelims.


In another “don’t blink” classic, Brian Kelleher faces off with Montel Jackson, who made his way to the UFC through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Both fighters are coming off recent losses, so Kelleher and Jackson will undoubtedly be looking for the finish to make a statement while performing on one of the biggest cards of the year. Kelleher is an aggressive striker and Jackson has a string of knockouts on his record, so it’s tough to see this fight seeing a third round, much less the judges’ scorecards.