Tony Gravely

Tony Gravely likes his chances inside Apex at UFC on ESPN 22

Tony Gravely is beginning to favor fighting inside the UFC Apex. 

He will compete inside the smaller octagon for the third time when he meets Anthony Birchack at UFC on ESPN 22 on April 17. The Apex is the home to some of Gravely’s proudest career moments.

He earned a UFC contract within those walls and also picked up his first octagon victory there this past November. He misses the fans of course, but the Apex has its perks. 

“I like the Apex and it’s kind of comforting in a way,” Gravely said. 

“I miss all the fans and all the people cheering because that brings a special element to the fight, but you’re getting to hear everything, hear your coaches really well. Things like that, it’s really cool.”

Tony Gravely has more to do at the UFC Apex

According to Gravely, there’s more for him to accomplish inside the Las Vegas, Nevada facility. He is still seeking his first finish under the UFC banner.

Gravely did pick up a third-round TKO win over Ray Rodriguez on Dana White’s Contender Series in August 2019. He was offered a contract with the promotion later that night. 

The 29-year-old picked up his first UFC win in his last outing, earning a split-decision nod against Geraldo de Freitas. He is looking for a lop-sided victory in the Apex this time around

“I would like to get another finish, that would be great in the Apex,” Gravely said. 


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Bringing the fans back

For the first time in over a year, the UFC will hold its first event with fans. UFC 256 sold out in minutes and will take place in front of 15,000 fans inside the Vystar Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

The UFC Apex is much smaller in size and both of his wins there either took place in front of a limited crowd or no fans at all. 

The Virginia native’s octagon debut was spoiled inside the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina in January 2020. He suffered a third-round submission loss to now-Bellator bantamweight Brett Johns.

Gravely still misses fighting in front of the crowd. It’s something the Apex is currently missing.

“My debut, it was almost like perfect, the way it went out If I would have won, it would have been absolutely perfect, other than that, it wasn’t too far from my hometown,” Gravely said. “The fans are just a different element that brings a little more emotion into it.”

The goal

Whether it’s the smaller octagon or the quiet atmosphere of the Apex, Gravely is all about it. A perfect 2-0 inside the building, Gravely takes on a five-time UFC veteran in Birchack.

Birchack most recently suffered a first-round submission loss to Gustavo Lopez in the start of his second octagon stint back in November.

Gravely expects the best version of Birchack, but can’t help but think he will finish his 34-year-old opponent. It’s another notch he wants to add to his list of accomplishments at the UFC Apex.

“I keep picturing a TKO, whether  it be in the second or the third round,” Gravely said. “That’s the goal, just to go out there and perform.”

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