On the day before Easter, the UFC returns to the Apex Center in Las Vegas for another edition of Fight Night. Belal Muhammad and Vicente Luque are two of the fastest rising stars in the welterweight division. Both men feel they’ve put themselves in position to finally get a crack at reigning champion, Kamaru Usman. On Saturday, one of them will have an added blemish to their record, while the other will continue on their ascent towards finally getting that elusive title shot. The world of mixed martial arts is a dog-eat-dog world; it may not be fair but that is the code the participants have agreed to live by. There’s a lot to unpack here. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Luque vs. Muhammad
Vicente Luque and Belal Muhammad met inside the octagon over five-and-a-half years ago, in November of 2016. On that night, they were on the undercard of UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Luque emerged victorious after a first round knockout. However, it is safe to say that their previous battle was so long ago that they are both much improved fighters at this point in their careers. However, no one should discredit Muhammad’s quest for revenge in finally having the opportunity to right a wrong from when he was a much younger fighter. Similarly, no one should overlook Luque’s dedication to stopping another contender in his division from evening the score and leveling the playing field.
Welterweight prospect Vicente Luque is on a four fight win streak and has not lost a bout since November of 2019. His upcoming match on Saturday will be his first appearance inside the octagon in 2022. One of the reasons he has sky rocketed up the rankings is that each of his last four wins have come via stoppage. Professional combat sports is about more than just wins and losses; it’s also about selling fights and keeping the fanbase engaged. Luque is the type of performer who can do both. He is a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who can grapple with the best of them, and also has the power to end the fight with a single powerful striking blow. If there are any UFC fans left who are not familiar with Luque’s brilliance, they’ll want to tune in on Saturday to find out exactly what they’ve been missing.
Belal Muhammad is on a seven-fight unbeaten streak that goes back to April of 2019. One of those bouts was ruled a no contest because Muhammad suffered a severe eye poke which forced the fight to be stopped. However, Muhammad has bounced back nicely since that incident and has fully returned to form. Unfortunately for him, five of those six victories have come through unanimous decision instead of a submission or a knockout. While a dominant performance on the judges’ scorecards is nice, it does not generate the same buzz as a fighter who is known to end fights early. Belal Muhammad is currently ranked 6th in the Welterweight division and many pundits feel that he is underrated. On Saturday, he will get his opportunity to prove them right.Embed from Getty Images
Borralho vs. Omargadzhiev
Middleweight prospects Caio Borralho and Gadzhi Omargadzhiev will make their official UFC debuts against one another on Saturday. Each of them made appearances on Dana White’s Contender Series last fall, but those bouts have never traditionally been considered a fighter’s organizational debut. Borralho has one career loss in eleven professional fights, while Omargadzhiev is undefeated in thirteen pro MMA bouts. Both of these men will be hungry to make a great impression on their knew boss and convince their roster-mates that they belong in the locker-room. Fight fans will not want to miss this highly competitive fight!
Baeza vs. Fialho
Welterweight challenger Miguel Baeza is a 29-year-old Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who won the first ten fights of his professional MMA career. Unfortunately, he lost both of his outings in 2021. Now, he is looking to get back to his winning ways and prove to the rest of the UFC that he deserves to be the highly touted prospect he once was. His upcoming opponent, Andre Fialho, lost his organizational debut in January of this year. Both of these fighters are desperate for a win; the continuation of their losing streaks could spell disaster for their careers. This will be an explosive fight between two men who are determined to win and unwilling to accept defeat.
Silva vs. Wu
Women’s Bantamweight challenger Mayra Bueno Silva is making her first octagon appearance of 2022 on Saturday. She lost her last bout via unanimous decision in October of last year. Her upcoming opponent, Wu Yanan, is on a two fight losing streak and hasn’t been seen inside the octagon since January of last year. Both of these women have trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but neither has achieved Black belt status. This will be an interesting test of wills, as both of these athletes struggle to get their careers back on the right track.
Sabatani vs. Laramie
Featherweight prospect Pat Sabatini made his organizational debut with the UFC in April of last year. He made the most of it, winning all three of his fights in 2021, and establishing himself as one of the rising stars in the division. TJ Laramie, his next opponent, withdrew from several LFA events last year due to various injuries suffered during training camp. He hasn’t been seen inside the octagon since 2020, but the word coming out of his camp is he’s in the best shape of his life. This is a case of a fighter experiencing peak performance versus a fighter looking to rebound from several setbacks. The dynamics of this fight will make for an interesting engagement once these two face off inside the octagon.
Lazzez vs. Loosa
Welterweight prospect Mounir Lazzez hasn’t been seen inside the octagon since January of last year. On that night, he suffered defeat via a first round knockout. Ange Loosa, on the other hand, will be jumping back into competition just two weeks removed from his last fight, a unanimous decision victory in the XMMA organization, a regional outfit in the Southeastern United States. Loosa has come a long way in a short time. The organization he just fought for livestreams their events for free on Social media. Now he is fighting for an organization whose bouts are televised on BT Sport and ESPN. This is a huge opportunity for him and fans can rest assured his trainers are reminding him everyday.
How to watch
Fans can view the next edition of UFC Fight Night on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and on ESPN Plus in the United States. And as always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the outcomes of the fights, as well as in depth analysis available right here at World in Sport!