The UFC is back on ABC this weekend and has brought a killer card. The main event between Marvin Vettori vs. Kevin Holland might have title implications and the co-main has two top 15 surging featherweights. However, if you look beyond those two fights, there are some under-the-radar storylines at UFC on ABC 2. Here they are:
Impa Kasanganay has been out of action since his October viral knockout loss to Joaquin Buckley. In his time away, he has switched camps and moved to Sanford MMA in Florida. He has also dropped a weight class to welterweight. It is always fascinating to see how a fighter responds to their first loss, and we will be able to see it at UFC Vegas 23.
Jack Shore’s third fight
UFC president Dana White once called Jack Shore “the hottest prospect out of the U.K.” He wasn’t wrong in his assessment. He is currently undefeated, and all but one of his victories have come by way of finish. Shore also has the country of Wales behind him and is ready to be the frontman. With countrymen Jack Marshman, Brett Johns, and John Phillips all setting the path for him, the Welsh fighter is ready. With a dominant win over Hunter Azure on Saturday, Shore will be set up with a ranked fighter in his next fight and will no longer be on the prelims.
Yorgan De Castro fighting for his job
Fall Rivers’ Yorgan De Castro has only been MMA professionally for four years, yet he has been thrust into the UFC spotlight machine. In his UFC debut, he knocked out Justin Tafa in his home country of Australia at UFC 243 and was rewarded Performance of the Night. The UFC then booked him on one of the best and more important cards of 2020, UFC 249. He fought Greg Hardy on the main card but lost after suffering an injury. In his most recent fight, he again was booked high up the card, this time in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN: Holm vs. Aldana. He lost a unanimous decision to Carlos Felipe. While the UFC really likes De Castro, a loss against Jarjis Danho may send him back to the regional scene.
Debuts, debuts, debuts
Three fighters are making their UFC debuts this Saturday. Two of them come from Dana White’s Contender Series, featherweight Luis Saldana, and lightweight Ignacio Bahamondes. They all had very impressive finishes on the show and will have many eyes on them. The other fighter debuting with Erin Blanchfield, who is the brightest and hottest younger prospects – not in women’s MMA but all MMA. She is only 21 years old, but she is battle-tested, spending most of her career in Invicta FC. Blanchfield is for real.
Goodbye, Mike Perry?
Like De Castro, Perry is most likely fighting for his job. Perry has only won three of his last nine and could easily be on the chopping block. While he is very entertaining, and the UFC president agrees with that sentiment, he also comes with many outside of the octagon baggage. “Platinum” is opening the ABC card with a fantastic matchup against Daniel Rodriguez, so if it turns out to be his last fight with the promotion, he will go out with fireworks.
Mackenzie Dern title shot in 2021?
Mackenzie Dern has a chance to take Nina Ansaroff’s No. 5 ranking on Saturday and set herself up for a title shot with another win. Since her only loss to Amanda Ribas back in 2019, Dern has looked exceptional and is only getting better. A win over Ansaroff will get her a number one contender fight in the late summer, and if she is victorious, a title shot by year’s end is not crazy.