The last UFC Apex event before the promotion heads to Phoenix, AZ, next week goes down this weekend. A pivotal bantamweight matchup is in the main event as No. 5 ranked bantamweight Rob Font defends his spot against No. 8 ranked Marlon Vera.
While all eyes are on the main event, deservedly so, there are some other fighters to keep your eyes on.
Alexandr Romanov was supposed to fight Chase Sherman last weekend at UFC Vegas 52; however, on the day of the fight, the matchup was scrapped. Thankfully, it was rebooked quickly. Romanov is undefeated and holds a 93.3% finish rate, only going to a decision once. The Moldovan is widely considered one of the heavyweight prospects that is the future of the division. “King Kong” is a great wrestler and even better grappler with two forearm chokes.
Grant Dawson has been a fighter that has been on plenty of prospect lists. At 28-years old, he holds a 5-0-1 record in the UFC and has looked dominant in mostly all of them. In his last fight, he fought to a draw against Ricky Glenn, which prompted a huge change in his life. After spending his entire career at Glory MMA & Fitness under head coach James Krause, Dawson made the move to American Top Team in Florida with his fiance and best friend. His fight at UFC Vegas 53 against Jared Gordon will be the first with his new team.
A must-watch fighter makes his highly anticipated UFC debut this weekend. Canada’s Yohan Lainesse knocked out Justin Burlinson last season on Dana White’s Contender Series. Lainesse is a former CFFC welterweight champion and holds an undefeated record of 8-0. Six of his eight wins have come by way of knockout, and five of those in the first round. He faces Gabe Green in his UFC debut.
Natan Levy had his UFC debut spoiled in November by Rafa Garcia; however, there is still a lot of hype behind him. As one of the only Israeli fighters on the roster, he is fighting for a lot. Levy defeated Shaheen Santana to earn a UFC contract on season four of Dana White’s Contender Series. The 30-year-old fighter is very fun to watch because his striking is word class. He faces Mike Breedan.
Tatsuro Taira makes his UFC debut this weekend as he kicks off the prelims. The Japanese fighter is a former Shooto flyweight champion. Taira holds an 89% finish rate, finishing all but two of his opponents. Oh, and all but one of his finishes have come in the first round. At 22-years old, the sky is the limit for Taira, and he has the chance to really make an impact at UFC Vegas 53. He faces Carlos Candelario, who is also making his UFC debut and is willing to meet him in the middle.
MMA and Entertainment Journalist. Graduated from CSUN with a B.A in Journalism. I love MMA and have been watching consistently since 2004.