In the main event of the evening, Deiveson Figueiredo will look to successfully defend his title for the first time against challenger Alex Perez. In one of two flyweight title bouts on the card, Figueiredo will be hoping to improve upon his 19-1 professional record and retain the belt. Figueiredo has impressed since his UFC® debut, winning eight of nine bouts inside the Octagon® and securing the vacant title belt by defeating Joseph Benavidez in spectacular fashion back in July.
His opponent, Perez however, should not be overlooked and the No. 4 ranked flyweight contender will become the first Dana White Contender Series alumni to challenge for a UFC championship on Saturday. Perez has 10 first round knockouts to his name, the same as Figueiredo, and defeated Jussier Formiga in his last bout (the only man to have beaten “Deus da Guerra” in his professional career.) Fans should be treated to an exciting matchup here between two of the best the division has to offer.
The co-main event sees another flyweight title bout, as Valentina Shevchenko takes on Jennifer Maia. Shevchenko currently ranks as the No. 3 women pound-for-pound athlete, defeating Holly Holm, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Julianna Pena and Jessica Eye over the course of her UFC career. Having successfully defended her title three consecutive times, “Bullet” will be out to make it a fourth on Saturday night.
Jennifer Maia, however, will offer a tough test and enters this bout as the No.3 ranked UFC flyweight. Earning her title shot after defeating Joanne Calderwood, Maia would become the first women to defeat Shevchenko at 125lb. A submission specialist, Maia will be looking to spring an upset here and capture the title against a dominant champion.
Born and raised in Airdrie, Scotland, former PE teacher Paul Craig will be taking on Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in a rematch, after the pair faced off almost a year ago to the day. Craig, who would hold the record for the most submission victories in light heavyweight history (6) if he were to win via submission on Saturday, stepped in on short notice to face “Shogun” first time around, where the pair played out an entertaining draw. Craig has since defeated Gadzhimurad Antigulov in July and will be hoping to secure a victory to maintain his momentum and improve upon his 13-4-1 career record.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is one of the most recognisable names in MMA and is the only athlete to have recorded back-to-back KO wins over UFC Hall of Famers in Mark Coleman and Chuck Liddell. Having started his professional career back in 2002, “Shogun” will be hoping that he will benefit from his experience as he looks to maintain his three-fight unbeaten streak. In a matchup with significant implications for the light heavyweight rankings, both men will be eager to claim a victory to fuel their title ambitions.