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Luque vs Muhammad 2 UFC Vegas 51

Five Under-The-Radar Storylines For UFC on ESPN: Luque vs. Muhammad 2

After a successful fourth pay-per-view last weekend, the UFC is back at the UFC Apex. There is a rematch six years in the making in the main event when the No. 5 ranked welterweight Vicente Luque takes on No. 6 ranked Belal Muhammad. The pair of top welterweights met back at UFC 205, and Luque knocked Muhammad out in the first round.

However, if you look past the main event, there are some under-the-radar storylines.

A year to the day

On April 16, 2021, Jeremy Stephens pushed Drakkar Klose during the UFC Vegas 24 face-offs. Klose suffered whiplash and other injuries due to being severely dehydrated and was forced off the card. Klose returns to action a year to the day from when he was pushed, still suffering from spinal injuries. He told Cole Shelton that he thinks he will have the injuries for the rest of his career. Klose faces Brandon Jenkins and is a huge favorite. Oh, and if you’re wondering, the UFC did not renew Jeremy Stephens’ contract, and he is gone from the promotion.

Battle of the Swedes

Two Swedish fighters collide in a ranked bantamweight matchup at UFC Vegas 51. No. 11 ranked Lina Lansberg returns from a two-year layoff after becoming a mother. In her last outing, she was defeated by Sara McMann at UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. dos Santos. Lansberg faces No. 12 ranked Pannie Kianzad. Kianzad had her four-fight win streak snapped in her last fight as she lost a unanimous decision to Raquel Pennington. Kianzad is coming to make an impression and get a big fight like she has been asking for. May the best Swede win!

Banger of the week

Miguel Baeza vs. Andre Fialho is the banger of the week for UFC Vegas 52. It is also the fight I’m looking forward to the most. Baeza is on the first losing streak of his young career, losing his last two. He said during his media day interview that he had to seek out a sports psychologist because of his last loss, which always adds an interesting aspect to the fight. Baeza holds eight finishes in his 10 wins. Fialho takes another short-notice fight. In his UFC debut, he took on UFC’s resident madman Michel Pereira on very short notice and lost a unanimous decision. Fialho is a knockout artist, and his last four wins have come by way of knockout, with three of them coming in the first round. This fight should be a lot of fun. Don’t blink.

Chris Barnett

Everyone’s favorite former super heavyweight aka ‘Huggybear’ aka ‘Beastboy’ returns to action at UFC Vegas 51. While he was unsuccessful in his UFC debut, he received Performance of the Night at UFC 268 last November when he knocked out Gian Villante with a wheel kick.  While he has been a regional darling for most of his career, the 35-year-old became an instant fan favorite that night. He welcomes Martin Buday to the UFC, who is riding a eight-fight win streak. Can Barnett pull of an upset?

Stay ready

There is a saying in MMA that fighters and coaches always say, ‘stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready.’ Well, that was Ange Loosa. Loosa is coming off a unanimous decision win over former UFC fight John Howard 14 days ago. When Mounir Lazzez needed an opponent after Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos pulled out of their fight, Loosa got the call. You might remember Loosa from his epic fight with Jack Della Maddalena last season on Dana White’s Contender Series. He is from Switzerland and fights out of the mega gym of Sanford MMA.
Fun fact he is actually one of three fighter from the XMMA 4 card a few weeks ago to sign with a major organization.

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