After a much-needed three-week break, the UFC returns to the UFC Apex, bringing a fantastic main event. No. 5 ranked featherweight Calvin Kattar takes on No. 8 ranked Giga Chikadze in a fight with title implications. If Chikadze wins, he could be next for the title, and if Kattar wins, it inserts him right back into the top of the division. However, if you look past the main event, there are some under-the-radar storylines.
Loser goes home
In the co-main event of the evening, Chase Sherman takes on Jake Collier. Both men desperately need a win, and the fight’s loser will most likely get cut. Sherman is on his second stint with the UFC and is on a two-fight losing streak, looking at his second three-fight skid with the promotion. While he looked fantastic in his return in 2020, he lost to Andrei Arlovski and Parker in 2021. Sherman is also on the last fight of his contract. Collier, who has fought in three divisions for the UFC, has alternated wins and losses his whole UFC career. In his last time out, he lost a very close split decision at UFC 263 against Carlos Felipe. I think it’s fair to say the winner stays and the loser goes home.
Katlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia rematch this Saturday. The women fought back at UFC 244, and Chookagian won a unanimous decision. This was also the fight that got Chookagian the title shot. Since their first meeting back in 2019, both women have fought for the title and have continued to defeat all comers in the division. Chookagian is in a tough spot because she has basically beaten all of the women in the top 10 of the division, but according to her, the UFC won match her up with prospects because she is ranked so high at No. 2. Maia, who is ranked No. 4 in the division, is pretty much in the same position. I’m not sure the stakes of this fight because neither woman is getting a title shot anytime soon; however, bragging rights might be enough. Oh, and if Maia wins…trilogy?
Three days’ notice? No problem!
Let me first just say that Charles Rosa and Kevin Croom are badasses. When Brian Kelleher and T.J. Brown were left without opponents due to COVID, Rosa hopped on a plane from Boston on three days’ notice to fight Brown. Likewise, Croom hopped on a plane from Kansas to fight Kelleher. Both Rosa and Croom made weight this morning as well. Another thing to consider is that both men are coming off losses and fighting tough opponents, which makes the situation even more badass. MMA, there is nothing like it.
Banger of the week
Brandon Royval vs. Rogerio Bontorin is this week’s banger of the week. Royval has never been in a boring fight and has faced nothing but top 10 opponents since being signed to the organization. He is on the first losing streak of his career and will be looking to change that in a big way. Bontorin, who got back in the winner’s column in his last outing, is looking to snag Royval’s No. 5 flyweight ranking. After a couple of setbacks, he is also looking to prove he is one of the elite fighters in the flyweight division. Bontorin has only been to a decision three times in his 17 wins, while Royval has only been to the judge’s scorecards once in his 12 wins. This is a very, very fun fight that should be the co-main event.
Welcome to the UFC
Three fighters are making their UFC debuts, and they were all on season five of Dana White’s Contender Series. Joseph Holmes won his fight on week six of the show by submission; however, the UFC President had him fight once more on his series Lookin’ For A Fight. Holmes won by first-round knockout to continue his 100% finish rate. He faces Jamie Pickett. Joanderson Brito defeated Diego Lopes on week one of the show. The Brazilian has only been to a decision twice in 12 wins. He is a hard-hitting prospect that is one to watch. He faces Bill Algeo. Finally, Viacheslav Borshchev. The Team Alpha Male product knocked out Chris Duncan in round two of their fight on week seven. The Russian holds a 100% finish rate, and his only loss is a split decision. Uriah Faber is very, very high on his student and says to be on the lookout for him. He faces tough and gritty Dakota Bush.
MMA and Entertainment Journalist. Graduated from CSUN with a B.A in Journalism. I love MMA and have been watching consistently since 2004.