UFC Rio Rancho Fight Card Preview
By Claudia Patterson
UFC on ESPN+25 (UFC Fight Night 167) takes place on Saturday February 15th in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
The main event features a rematch between light heavyweights Corey Anderson (13-4) vs Jan Blachowicz (25-8).
In their first meeting back in 2015 at UFC 191, Anderson won a unanimous decision over Jan. Both fighters are coming off impressive first round KO wins. Jan knocked out former champion Luke Rockhold back in July at UFC 239, in a fight that earned him a POTN bonus.
For his part, Corey Anderson is on a four fight winning streak and most recently knocked out Johnny Walker, stopping the hype train and giving Walker his first loss in the sport.
That fight earned him a POTN bonus. This is a very important fight in the light heavyweight division, and the winner could be in line for the next title shot, if Jon Jones and the UFC chose to move on from a potential rematch against Dominick Reyes.
The co-main event brings us welterweights Diego Sanchez and Michel Pereira.
Sanchez has not been very active in the past several years, and is coming off a loss to Michael Chiesa at UFC 239. Sanchez has many accolades in the UFC, having his fight against Clay Guida in the Hall of Fame and seven FOTN bonuses.
There is no doubt that Sanchez is an exciting fighter, and this fight is an opportunity for Sanchez to win in his home town and gain momentum as he tries to move forward in his career.
Michel Pereira is 1-1 in his UFC run but at 26 years old, is considered a veteran in MMA due to his many fights. A spot in this co-main event will be an opportunity for him to prove that he belongs in the UFC.
The rest of the main card features a mixture of unranked veterans trying to stay relevant and newcomers looking to make a statement, many of whom are coming from Dana White Contender Series from the summer of 2019.
In the women’s flyweight division, number 12th ranked Montana de La Rosa (10-5) takes on 13th ranked Mara Romero Borella (12-6-0, 2NC). De La Rosa, who fights out of Texas, last fought in June of 2019, where she lost to Andrea Lee by unanimous decision.
Borella, who fights out of Coconut Creek Florida, last fought in August of 2019, losing via TKO to Lauren Murphy. Lightweight newcomer Brok Weaver (13-4) takes on Rodrigo Vargas(10-3). Weaver was in the Contender Series in 2019, and will be making his debut on Saturday night, while Vargas will be looking for his first UFC win.
Flyweight Rogerio Bontorin (16-1-0, 1NC) will clash against Ray Borg (12-4), who missed weight on two tries Friday morning.
The bout will occur as planned, but Borg has agreed to forfeit 30% of his fight purse. Bontorin, who claims he has been fasting since Monday, has three wins in the UFC in the last Contender Series.
For his part, Borg has had a very tumultuous couple of years due to personal reasons and was off for all of 2018, but is coming off a win from July 2019.
Finally, lightweights Lando Vanatta (10-4-2) and Yancy Medeiros (15-6-0, 1NC) open up the main card. Since 2017, Vannatta has had three losses, two draws and only one win.
Saturday night will be very important for Vanatta, as a loss here could mean the end of his UFC tenure. Medeiros has not won since 2017 and is coming off two straight losses. As with Vanatta, Medeiros will be looking to stay relevant now that he is back fighting at lightweight.
In the preliminary card, welterweights Tim Means (29-11-1) and Daniel Rodriguez (9-1) will serve as the feature prelim bout. Means is coming off an impressive submission win over Thiago Alves back in December and is making a quick turnaround to welcome Rodriguez to the UFC, who is another alum from last summer’s Contender Series.
Finally, another prelim card notable fight includes lightweight Jim Miller (31-13-0, 1NC) who takes on Scott Holtzman (13-3).
The veteran Miller is on a two fight win streak and will surely pose a threat for Holtzman. For his part, Holtzman’s last outing was back in August of 2019 when he beat Dong Hyun Ma.