UFC on ESPN: Blaydes vs Volkov Preview
By Jack Maher
The UFC returns once again this weekend, maintaining its busy schedule, with another fight night hosted in the UFC APEX.
Opening up the main card is battle of old vs new in the lightweight division, although this bout is scheduled to take place at a 160lb catchweight.
46-fight veteran Jim Miller aims to pick up his first win of the year against up and coming prospect Roosevelt Roberts.
Miller’s last outing was back in February when he lost a decision to Scott Holtzman, meanwhile Roberts last competed less than three weeks ago, submitting Brok Weaver in the second round. ‘The Predator’ is highly thought of in the UFC and will look to add the first big name to his record for the first time in the shape of the veteran Miller.
Second on the card is a battle of fringe welterweight contenders aiming to break in to the rankings, when former Bellator champion Lyman ‘Cyborg’ Good faces Belal Muhammad. These two men have been scheduled to face each other twice before, first at UFC 205 in 2016, as well as earlier this year at UFC 249 back in April before the card was cancelled and rescheduled for a month later with an altered fight card.
Between them both have fought practically every welterweight contender on the fringes of the divisions rankings, and look set to finally settle the score this weekend.
Further up the card is a clash between female bantamweights Raquel Pennington and Marion Reneau.
Pennington is 1-3 in her last four, meanwhile Reneau has lost her last two and hasn’t been in the win column since 2018. Two of the most experienced women in the UFC, it’s surprising they haven’t faced each other before, and given the shallow nature of the women’s 135lb division, the winner will likely be matched against a top contender, while questions will likely be asked about the future of the loser.
Co-main eventing the night is an exciting bout between ranked featherweight contenders Josh Emmet and Shane Burgos.
Both are in their first outing of the year, the two exciting lightweights look to add their name to the number-one contender conversation in one of the UFC’s most stacked weight divisions.
A long line of contenders stands between both Emmet and Burgos and number-one contender status, so a win is a necessity for both men if they look to enter the conversation anytime soon. Emmet has established himself as a top knockout artist in the division, while Burgos has gained traction for his entertaining style and back-and-forth nature of his fights. Expect fireworks from this bout.
In the main event, a pivotal heavyweight matchup between #3 ranked Curtis Blaydes and #7 Volkov.
As of late Blaydes has looked dominant against every opponent he’s faced not named Francis Ngannou, with an unbeaten record outside of two losses to the Cameroonian.
Volkov will likely try to use his range to keep Blaydes at distance and nullify his dangerous wrestling while Blaydes will have to focus his gameplay on trying to work his way in to Volkov’s range in this important heavyweight clash that will edge the winner closer towards a chance to fight for the heavyweight championship.