The UFC is back at the UFC Apex again this weekend, and this time, we have a huge heavyweight fight to figure out who is possibly next in line after Francis Ngannou fights Derrick Lewis in a few months. No. 3 ranked Ciryl Gane fights No. 5 Alexander Volkov in the main event. However, if you look past the main event, there are some under-the-radar storylines.
‘Nomad’ makes his long-awaited second UFC fight this weekend against UFC veteran Michel Prazeres. Rakhmonov is one of the brightest prospects in the welterweight division and one to keep an eye on. He ran through Alex ‘Cowboy’ Oliveria in his UFC debut in under one round last October at UFC 254 on ‘Fight Island.’ Rakhmonov has a 100% finish rate, and while he only had one fight in the promotion, he is one of the many dark horses in the 170 lb division.
Raoni Barcelos vs. Timur Valiev
WHAT. A. FIGHT. It’s a rare sight that the UFC listens and pulls a fight from the prelims and adds it to the main card, but they did it for this one. Every single fight card for the past few months has had one fight where you look at it, and the word violence pops into your head, well this is the one. Both of these fighters bring it every single time they enter the octagon. Barcelos is on a nine-fight win streak and undefeated in the UFC. Valiev had his six-fight win streak snapped when he lost his UFC debut in what would be one of the biggest upsets in 2020. Other than that loss, Valiev had looked incredible and dominated every fight he was in. The winner of this fight should get a top 15 name next.
Renato Moicano & Damir Hadžović
While these two aren’t fighting each other because they fought each other last year, they see themselves on the same card. If you remember, Moicano submitted Hadzovic in 44 seconds, and afterward, they had a classic exchange. Moicano said, “I wanted to fight more.” and Hadzovic responded, “Okay, yeah, then you shouldn’t have submitted me.”
“I wanted to fight more.”
“Okay yeah, then you shouldn’t have submitted me.”
Still hilarious 😂 pic.twitter.com/5kwJ5sRSXC
— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) March 4, 2021
Welcome to the UFC, Jeremiah Wells
Wells finally makes his UFC after sitting out for more than a year. He has been out of action since he defeated Marco Smallman for the Cage Fury FC vacant Welterweight Championship back in September of 2019. Wells vacated the title when he got signed to the UFC last year. He was scheduled to fight Miguel Baeza last September, but Baeza wasn’t cleared to fight. Wells is riding a two-fight winning streak and has six finishes in his eight wins. He faces Warlley Alves on less than a week’s notice.
A couple of fighters on this weekend’s card are in desperate need of a win and might be on the chopping block if they lose. Yancy Medeiros sees himself on a three-fight skid and the first losing streak of his career. The Hawaiian is on the last fight of his contract, so he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. He faces Damir Hadžović and seems to be rejuvenized. Justin Jaynes is also on a three-fight losing streak which marks the first of his career. He got another chance as he was the ultimate company man stepping in on short notice whenever he was needed. Jaynes fights Charles Rosa, who has alternated wins and losses since his UFC debut. Tanner Boser just fought three weeks ago at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Sakai, but lost a very close split decision in which many people thought he won. While Boser did just sign a new muti-fight deal, the dreaded three losses in a row could be the end of the road. He fights Ovince St.Preux in the co-main event.
New Camp, New Fighter?
Earlier this year, Julia Avila made a post on her Instagram that she was “publicly excused” and no longer welcome at her gym “Oklahoma Martial Arts Academy.” Leaving her without a gym and turning her world upside down, she asked for help. Many fighters guided her to Jame Krause’s gym, Glory MMA, where he has been absolutely killing it. Avila also just recently announced that he is going to be training full-time for the first time. Training full-time and new gym? “Raging Panda” might just be a problem in the bantamweight division. She fights Julija Stoliarenko, who she was matched up against in March; however, a botched weight cut that led to Stoliarenko falling off the scale put the fight on ice.
MMA and Entertainment Journalist. Graduated from CSUN with a B.A in Journalism. I love MMA and have been watching consistently since 2004.