After an epic event in New York, the UFC is back at the Apex in Last Vegas. Max Holloway returns for the first time since his absolute masterclass demolishment of Calvin Katter. The Hawaiian fights Yair Rodriguez who is coming off a two-year layoff. The pair were scheduled to originally scheduled to fight in July, but the fight was scrapped. They will now throw down at UFC Vegas 42 this weekend. However, if you look past the main event, there are some under-the-radar storylines.
Welcome back, Leah Letson
Leah Letson returns from a nearly three-year layoff. She has been out of action since The Ultimate Fighter 28 finale, where she defeated Julija Stoliarenko via split decision. Injuries and health issues have kept her out of action. While she hasn’t missed much in an empty division, you know, other than not fighting – she might have chosen the best time to return. A dominant win or two in the women’s featherweight division is all it takes to get a title shot. Letson faces a challenging task in her return, though. She meets former title challenger Felicia Spencer.
Banger of the week
Miguel Baeza vs. Khaos Williams is the banger of the week. This a such a good fight with two absolute beasts, and both men have been on a tear in the UFC. Baeza is coming off his first professional loss in a Fight of the Year contender against Santiago Ponzinibbio. “Caramel Thunder” has received Performance of the Night in his last three fights and will be looking to prove a point against his opponent this weekend. Williams burst onto the scene in ferocious style. He knocked out Alex Morono in 27 seconds and Abdul Razak Alhassan in 30 seconds. He suffered his first UFC loss against Michel Pereira earlier this year but then got back into the win column in his last fight against Matthew Semelsberger. This fight is incredible, don’t miss it.
Short notice fight for Cynthia Calvillo
Cynthia Calvillo returns to the octagon this weekend, taking a short notice fight. She replaces Jessica Eye and will face Andrea Lee. The No. 5 ranked flyweight is coming off a first-round TKO loss against Jessica Andrade at UFC 266. Calvillo really needs a win, and there is no doubt about it. I would even go far as to say it is a must-win for her. She has lost two in a row, granted it was to former title challengers, but three losses in a row in a new weight class is not good. Another loss, and she might become the new flyweight gatekeeper. With a win, she reinserts herself into the division where there is no new clear title challenger. Big fight for Calvillo.
Thiago Moises vs Joel Alvarez – Battle for No. 15
Thiago Moises will be defending his spot in the lightweight rankings this weekend. The Brazilian is currently ranked No. 15 and is coming off a main event loss against Islam Makhachev. He faces Joel Alvarez, who is on a roll since losing his UFC debut. “El Fenómeno” has won three straight, submitting his last two opponents in the first round. Alvarez holds a 100% finish rate and is very dangerous. He was forgotten about this past year because he hasn’t been active due to visa issues. With a win this weekend, he will jump into the ridiculously stacked lightweight rankings and have a bunch of momentum behind him.
The Bone Crusher is back
Marc Diakiese also returns from a year layoff this weekend. “Bone Crusher” was supposed to return in September, but his opponent pulled out, and the UFC scrapped the fight. Well, he and his original opponent, Rafael Alves, got rebooked and will throw down this weekend in what will be a fun fight. Diakiese is coming off a Fight of the Night loss to Rafael Fiziev that snapped his two-fight win streak.
MMA and Entertainment Journalist. Graduated from CSUN with a B.A in Journalism. I love MMA and have been watching consistently since 2004.