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Vicente Luque of Brazil (right) fights against Belal Muhammad of the United States in their welterweight bout during the UFC 205 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Zuffa LLC)
Fight Coverage

Fight By Fight Preview | UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Muhammad 2

We're Back In Vegas Saturday With Another Stacked Card. Let's Break It Down.

The first Fight Night event of the second quarter brings us back to the UFC APEX for a 14-fight affair capped by an outstanding rematch in the welterweight division.

After an outstanding initial three months of action inside the Octagon and a stupendous night of fights last weekend at UFC 273 in Jacksonville, Saturday’s return home to Las Vegas is an excellent way to keep the ball rolling in April.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap this weekend.

Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad 2

More than five years and a dozen fights each since their first meeting, Vicente Luque and Belal Muhammad meet for a second time, with a place near the top of the list of welterweight contenders hanging in the balance.

Luque, who won the first meeting at UFC 205 by first-round knockout, has earned 10 victories against two defeats since that night in New York City, entering Saturday’s rematch on a four-fight winning streak where he’s finished all four opponents. What’s most impressive about the Brazilian’s current run of success is that he’s finished in quicker fashion with each step up the competitive ladder, progressing from the third round to the second round in beating Niko Price and Randy Brown before submitting Tyron Woodley in the first last March and Michael Chiesa 30 seconds faster at the start of August.

Not to be outdone, Muhammad has gone 10-1 with one no contest verdict in his 12 fights since losing to Luque the first time around, entering off back-to-back victories and riding a seven-fight unbeaten streak. A relentless pressure fighter who weaponizes his pace inside the Octagon, Muhammad is coming off the two best performances of his career — unanimous decision wins over Demian Maia and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson where he wore down and wore out the former title challengers.

This is a fascinating rematch between two outstanding, surging contenders with very different styles, so it’s going to be interesting to see which one is able to dictate the terms of engagement and control things this weekend. There is a bit of congestion building at the top of the welterweight division at the moment, but the winner  will very much be on the short list of contenders as we head towards the second half of the year and the return of champion Kamaru Usman.

Caio Borralho vs. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev

Members of the Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) Class of ’21 clash in the co-main event as Caio Borralho and Gadzhi Omargadzhiev go head-to-head for graduating class bragging rights in the 185-pound weight class.

Borralho didn’t get a contract after grinding out a win over CFFC middleweight champ Aaron Jeffrey at the end of September, but he stuck around Las Vegas and made the most of his second opportunity to impress the UFC brass, moving up in weight and securing a first-round finish of Jesse Murray to garner a call to the Octagon. The 29-year-old Brazilian has earned seven straight victories and is unbeaten in his last 10 fights as he readies to make his promotional debut this weekend in a familiar setting.

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Unbeaten in 13 professional appearances, the 29-year-old Omargadzhiev only needed one attempt — and less than one round — to convince Dana White & Co. that he deserved the opportunity to compete in the UFC middleweight division. Paired off with lanky Brazilian Jansey Silva, the unbeaten Russian got the fight to the canvas and secured a tap with a kneebar late in the opening stanza to earn his invite to the biggest stage in the sport.

Mayra Bueno Silva of Brazil kicks Gillian Robertson of Canada in their women's flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Ibirapuera Gymnasium on September 22, 2018 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)
Getting it done vs Robertson in UFC debut, Sept 22, 2018 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC)

Rafa Garcia vs. Jesse Ronson

Rafa Garcia and Jesse Ronson meet in a lightweight scrap that is sure to be fireworks on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

After landing on the wrong end of things in each of his first two UFC appearances, Garcia finally got into the win column with a unanimous decision victory over Natan Levy towards the end of November. The 27-year-old was unbeaten prior to arriving in the UFC and now that he’s got things moving in the right direction, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him start consistently posting positive results.

Ronson’s UFC experience to date has been a nightmare. In his first tour with the company, the Canadian veteran dropped three straight split decisions to Michel Prazares, Francisco Trinaldo, and Kevin Lee, and when he finally worked his way back seven years later, his first-round submission win over Nicolas Dalby was overturned and ruled a no contest after “The Body Snatcher” tested positive for a banned substance.

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Cleared of any intentional wrongdoing and ready to get back to business, Ronson will once again be looking to secure his first UFC victory this weekend.

Garcia fought quality competition just prior to reaching the UFC and now has his feet under him in the Octagon, and Ronson is surely champing at the bit to get back out there, so this should be an exciting, explosive contest from the outset and for as long as it lasts.

Pat Sabatini vs. TJ Laramie

Pat Sabatini looks to build on his impressive rookie campaign as he makes the first start of his sophomore year on the UFC roster opposite returning Canadian TJ Laramie this weekend.

The 31-year-old Philadelphia native and former CFFC featherweight champ posted three wins in as many appearances in 2021, sandwiching a submission finish over Jamall Emmers between decisive decision wins over Tristan Connelly and Tucker Lutz. A no-nonsense grinder with a sharp grappling acumen and sound fundamentals, Sabatini is the type of experienced, unflappable competitor that could quickly ascend the ranks in the 145-pound weight class if he keeps stacking victories.

Stepping in for fellow Canuck Gavin Tucker, Laramie competes for the first time in more than 18 months after losing all of last year to various injuries and ailments. The DWCS grad was a highly regarded prospect on the Canadian regional circuit and holds a win over current featherweight hopeful Charles Jourdain, but he was submitted in just 52 seconds in his promotional debut last time out, making him a major question mark heading into this one.

This is an interesting matchup as Sabatini looks to keep things rolling and show he merits a step up in competition, while Laramie gets the chance to make up for his debut setback and then some by halting the Philadelphian’s winning ways on somewhat short notice. Featherweight is always flush with talent and the competition is always tight, so it should be fun to see how this one plays out come Saturday night.

Pat Sabatini aplica queda em Tristan Connelly no UFC 261.

Pat Sabatini takes down Tristan Connelly of Canada during UFC 261 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 24, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)

Miguel Baeza vs. Andre Fialho

It’s a potential welterweight firefight here as Miguel Baeza and Andre Fialho lock horns inside the Octagon.

Baeza began his professional career with 10 consecutive victories, including punching his ticket to the UFC on Dana White’s Contender Series and earning stoppage wins in his first three UFC appearances. But he’s come up against it in his last two outings, dropping a decision to Top 15 fixture Santiago Ponzinibbio last June before getting stopped by Khaos Williams in mid-November.

Four straight stoppage wins including a pair of victories over UFC vets put Fialho on the promotion’s radar in 2021, and in January, the Sanford MMA man got called up on short notice to face Michel Pereira. After starting well, Fiahlo ended up on the wrong side of the results, but acquitted himself nicely and should be even better with a full camp under his belt this time around.

This has the potential to be an explosive meeting between two strikers with established power and something to prove. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see this bout produce a bonus of some kind at the end of the night.

Lina Lansberg vs. Pannie Kianzad

Lina Lansberg of Sweden celebrates her victory over Macy Chiasson in their women's bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Royal Arena on September 28, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Lina Lansberg of Sweden celebrates her victory over Macy Chiasson in their women's bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Royal Arena on September 28, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Bantamweight veterans both representing Sweden clash here as Lina Lansberg returns to face the woman who handed her a loss back in 2012, Pannie “Banzai” Kianzad.

Lansberg last competed on January 25, 2020, dropping a unanimous decision to Sara McMann. She and her partner, UFC veteran Akira Corassani, welcomed a daughter last year, and now the proud mama is ready to get back into the Octagon, where she sports a 4-4 record that includes bouts against Cris Cyborg and Aspen Ladd, and wins over Tonya Evinger and Macy Chiasson.

Kianzad extended her winning streak to four with a victory over Alexis Davis at UFC 263, but couldn’t keep it rolling through her bout against Raquel Pennington in September. The Iranian-born former Ultimate Fighter finalist has developed into a sound technician with crisp boxing and good conditioning, so don’t be surprised if she looks to push the pace and maintain distance against Lansberg on Saturday.

Currently stationed right next to one another in the rankings — Lansberg at No. 11, Kianzad at No. 12 — this is an opportunity for the winner to get things moving in the right direction and potentially set up a date with a dance partner in the Top 10 in the second half of the 2022 campaign.

Drakkar Klose vs. Brandon Jenkins

Drakkar Klose competes for the first time in 25 months, while Brandon Jenkins makes his first appearance with a full training camp in this lightweight matchup on Saturday’s fight card.

Back at the MMA Lab and ready to get things rolling again, Klose enters with an 11-2-1 professional record and 5-2 mark inside the Octagon that includes wins over Marc Diakiese, Lando Vannata, and Bobby Green. He’s been out of action since his wild brawl with Beneil Dariush at UFC 248, but long ago cemented himself as a dangerous fixture just outside of the Top 15 in the 155-pound weight class.

Jenkins was called into action on short notice last September against Rong Zhu, making a quick turnaround a couple weeks after defeating UFC alum Jacob Kilburn. Things didn’t go his way, but now the Las Vegas-based lightweight is back for his sophomore appearance, eager to show what he can do with ample time to prepare for battle.

Can Klose shake off the rust and get back into the win column or will Jenkins collect his first UFC victory?

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Highlight: Chris Barnett Gets Jaw-Dropping First Win Inside Octagon | UFC 268

Devin Clark vs. William Knight

Veteran light heavyweights take it up a division in this short-notice pairing, as Devin Clark and William Knight square up in an impromptu heavyweight clash.

The 31-year-old Clark has fought quality competition throughout his six-year, 12-fight UFC run to date, but has never managed to consistently string together positive results. Some of that is because he’s shared the cage with a host of ranked competitors, including former champ Jan Blachowicz and title challenger Anthony Smith, but he’s gotten a little ahead of himself at times, as well.

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Knight finished 2021 on a two-fight winning streak and then jumped on a short-notice opportunity in February at UFC 271, only to miss weight by a considerable amount before losing to Maxim Grishin. The DWCS alum has serious power and is thicker than a bowl of oatmeal, but he’s been too inconsistent with his output and approach through his first five UFC appearances, making him a tough one to read heading into this contest.

Both are physical, powerful men who tend to run hot and then slow down, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them come out of the gates on fire and try to end this one early.

Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Wu Yanan

Mayra Bueno Silva makes the move up to bantamweight, where Chinese veteran Wu Yanan is ready to welcome her to the division this weekend.

Following a five-fight stint at flyweight where she went 2-2-1, Bueno Silva moves up to the 135-pound weight class looking to snap her two-fight run without a victory. The 30-year-old Brazilian held her own with streaking contender Manon Fiorot last time out, and earned impressive submission wins over Gillian Robertson and Mara Romero Borella earlier in her career, so it will be interesting to see what a change of scenery will do for her here.

Wu has dealt with a number of opponent changes and fight cancellations during her four-year, four-fight UFC tenure, including having two fights fall through since her loss to Joselyne Edwards last January. Still only 25 years old, she’s been training with the crew at Jackson-Wink in Albuquerque ahead of this one, and is one of those young fighters that could suddenly take a major step forward at any time.

Will changing divisions give Bueno Silva the fresh start she’s looking for or can Wu snap her two-fight slide and secure a second UFC victory?

UFC Vegas 16: Jordan Leavitt Slam KOs Matt Wiman
UFC Vegas 16: Jordan Leavitt Slam KOs Matt Wiman

Chris Barnett vs. Martin Buday

Everyone’s favorite heavyweight Chris Barnett returns to action this weekend and welcomes Martin Buday to the Octagon for the first time.

A veteran who finally got the chance to compete on the big stage last year, Barnett rebounded from his debut loss with one of the most memorable efforts of 2021, stopping Gian Villante with a spinning wheel kick and ground-and-pound at Madison Square Garden before hitting a memorable celebration. With 22 wins in 29 starts and surprising agility for a man his size, “Beastboy” is an entertaining and experienced competitor perfectly suited for these types of assignments.

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Buday has rattled off eight straight victories since losing to former Ultimate Fighter winner Juan Espino in his second professional appearance back in October 2017. Last fall, the Slovakian big man battered Lorenzo Hood in the clinch on the Contender Series, finishing him with a knee to the head just before the close of the first round to secure his spot on the UFC roster.

Barnett is the most talented and game opponent Buday has faced to this point in his career, but the newcomer will have a massive size advantage on Saturday night. Will experience win out or will Buday get to enjoy a successful first foray into the UFC cage?

Jordan Leavitt vs. Trey Ogden

Lightweight hopefuls meet in this preliminary card matchup as Dana White's Contender Series alum Jordan Leavitt welcomes newcomer Trey Ogden to the Octagon for the first time.

Leavitt has gone 2-1 through his first three UFC starts, slamming his way to victory in his debut before showing his grappling acumen last time out with an inverted triangle choke submission of Matt Sayles. In between, the Syndicate MMA representative dropped a decision to Claudio Puelles that showed "The Monkey King" is still a work in progress inside the cage.

The 32-year-old Ogden arrives in the UFC on a three-fight winning streak and sporting a 15-4 record overall. He impressed in front of UFC President Dana White and the Lookin' for a Fight crew in his last outing, submitting former DWCS competitor JJ Okanovich in the second round to earn a call to the Octagon, where he joins the growing cast of fighters trained by James Krause and representing Glory MMA & Fitness competing on the big stage.

Can Leavitt build off his unique submission finish in his most recent appearance and start a winning streak or will Ogden's long-awaited UFC debut result in a positive outcome for the new arrival?

Rise Of Vicente Luque
Rise Of Vicente Luque

Istela Nunes vs. Sam Hughes

Istela Nunes and Sam Hughes clash her in a battle of strawweights looking to start fresh in 2022.

Brazil’s Nunes was initially signed in 2019, but got hit with a two-year suspension before being able to step into the Octagon for the first time. She finally made the walk last October, where Ariane Carnelossi submitted her in the third round. Currently stationed at American Top Team and looking to return to the form that saw her win six of seven to begin her career, the 29-year-old should be even better this time around with just six months since her last outing.

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Hughes has faced a tough slate through her first three trips into the Octagon, debuting on short notice against Tecia Torres before dropping consecutive decisions to quality prospects Loma Lookboonmee and Luana Pinheiro. The former collegiate track star recently relocated to the Dallas area and is now training at Fortis MMA, so it will be interesting to see if a change of scenery can bring about a change in results this weekend.

Neither of these women wants to get saddled with another loss, so expect them each to come out guns blazing, looking to make a statement and finally get their hand raised inside the UFC Octagon on Saturday night.

Alatengheili vs. Kevin Croom

Bantamweights get the party started this weekend as Alantagheili and Kevin Croom meet in what should be a competitive, entertaining scrap to kick off the night’s action.

Making his fifth UFC appearance and the 25th start of his career, the 30-year-old “Mongolian Knight” enters on a two-fight drought, having lost to Casey Kenney in October 2020 before battling Gustavo Lopez to a draw last September. Prior to that, Alatengheili earned consecutive wins over Batgerel Danaa and Ryan Benoit as part of a 10-1-1 stretch over 12 fights, which highlights what he’s capable of inside the cage.

Aptly nicknamed “Crash,” the 34-year-old Croom is a durable and experienced veteran hand with an “always up for a fight” approach. He debuted in the UFC at lightweight and dropped his last two appearances against Alex Caceres and Brian Kelleher at featherweight, making this his debut in the UFC bantamweight division and first fight at 135 pounds since January 2015.

Can Alatengheili get things moving in the right direction again or will Croom hand him another setback and secure his first UFC triumph?

UFC Fight Night: Luque vs Muhammad 2, took place on Saturday, April 16, 2022live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses — and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!