Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns later TONIGHT (Sat., Feb. 26, 2022) to stage UFC Vegas 49 live from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event of the evening, Islam Makhachev will face off against Bobby Green in a revamped main event that will be contested at a Catchweight of 160 pounds. In the co-main event, Misha Cirkunov takes on Wellington Turman in what will be a hard-hitting Middleweight affair.
The talk around the water cooler is that trying to get someone to fight Islam Makhachev is a tall order. Thankfully, Bobby Green is not one to back down from a challenge. “King” took the fight on a little under two weeks notice and will now have the chance to earn the biggest win of his career.
Green has long been a fan-favorite, but the love he received when he was in Houston, Texas a few weeks ago at UFC 271 really put him over. His fan base grew even more after he agreed to face the juggernaut that is Makhachev on super-short notice. Winner of two straight, “King” has the chance to upset the order at 155 pounds by handing Makhachev just his second loss inside the Octagon. Saying it is one thing, doing it is quite another. Green has had an up-and-down career inside the Octagon but he seems to be putting it all together as of late. A win over Makhachev will prompt his stock to go to the moon, inserting him firmly in the Top 10, if not Top 5.
Other than his loss to Adriano Martins. Makhachev has been unstoppable, winning his last nine fights inside the Octagon, putting him front and center in the championship race. A protege of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s, Makhachev embodies the Dagestani style of fighting, which is wrestling heavy with some sneaky striking thrown in the mix. Makhachev feels he should have earned a championship fight long ago, but it could finally come his way if he can take out Green.
As for the fight itself, it’s no secret what Makhachev will attempt to do: Take it to the ground and keep it there to grind out a win. But that doesn’t mean he’s all about the lay-and-pray style of attack. His last three wins have come by way of submission, so he is always staying busy, always looking for the finish. And while he’s on top of you trying to strangle you he’s punishing you with strikes. He’s like a mini Khabib and many have already pegged him as a future Lightweight champion. But it behooves him to keep his head on a swivel against Green because “King” has nothing to lose and will go for broke trying to get his.
This card suffered several setbacks (which we will discuss later) including losing its original main event, so we can’t bag on the final lineup too bad. Plus, it’s not often that the replacement headliner generates more buzz and excitement than the original, so props have to be given to UFC matchmakers, as well as to Green, obviously.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
The original main event was supposed to feature Makhachev taking on Beneil Dariush. But after Dariush suffered an injury, he was replaced by Bobby Green. Also, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Marcin Tybura were set to tango on the main card before UFC officials moved the bout to UFC 273.
Makmud Muradov suffered an unfortunate hand injury which forced him to bow out of his fight against Misha Cirkunov. Stepping in to fill the void is Wellington Turman. Also, Ryan Spann was forced out of his Light Heavyweight fight against Ion Cutelaba with an undisclosed injury. Plus, Hannah Goldy withdrew from her fight against Jinh Yu Frey with an illness.
Armen Petrosyan will make his official UFC debut to take on Gregory Rodrigues. Winner of two straight, all six of Petrosyan’s fights have come by way of knockout. As for Rodrigues, he has won four straight, including going two-for-two inside the Octagon.
Ramona Pasqual will put her four-fight win streak on the line in her first UFC fight coming out of Invicta FC against Josiane Nunes. Winner of seven in a row, Nunes’ last six wins have come by way of knockout, so she has the skill and power to turn anyone’s lights out. As for Pasqual, she hasn’t been very active because her last four wins came in the span of five years.
Former LFA Flyweight champion Victor Altamarino has won four in a row and earned his way in via the Contender Series. Now, the Taekwondo black belt will make his official UFC debut against fellow newcomer Carlos Hernandez, who is also an alum of the Contender Series. A pro for five years now, Hernandez is on a seven fight win streak, which includes four submission wins.
To get a more detailed look at all of the “New Blood” click here.
How The ‘Prelim’s’ Look:
The rest of the undercard will feature a catchweight fight of 160 pounds between Ignacio Bahamondes and Rong Zhu after Zhu came in five pounds heavy for their scheduled 155-pound fight. As a result, Bahamondes will get 40-percent of his opponent’s fight purse and extra fire to get the win. Furthermore, if the bout wins “Fight of the Night,” Bahamondes would earn an extra $100,000 since Zhu is ineligible to win a bonus as a result of his scale fail.
Terrance McKinney will attempt to nab his fourth straight win against Fares Ziam, winner of two straight fights inside the Octagon. McKinney will be competing for the first time since making his UFC debut with a seven-second knockout win at UFC 263 in June 2021.
In Bantamweight action, Alejandro Perez will look two make it two straight when he battles Jonathan Martinez, who is coming off a big win over Zviad Lazishvili, putting him at 3-1 over his last four fights. A win for either man would be a huge step in the right direction toward a Top 15 ranking.
In Welterweight action, Ramiz Brahimaj will take on Micheal Gillmore. Brahimaj is just 1-2 inside the Octagon and is coming off a loss to Court McGee. As for Gilmore, he came up short in his debut against Andre Petroski in Aug. 2021.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Misha Cirkunov started off his UFC career with four straight wins, all via stoppage. Since then, however, he has gone a paltry 2-5. Currently on a two-fight losing streak, Cirkunov will attempt to right his ship when he battles Wellington Turman in the co-main event of the evening. Turman hasn’t competed since defeating Sam Alvey via split decision in Aug. 2021, snapping his two-fight skid. For Cirkunov, this is a must-win fight because three straight losses could mean the end of the road for him inside the Octagon.
Interest Level: 6/10
This was one of the better “Fight Night” cards in recent memory, but unfortunately it was ravished by multiple injuries and cancellations that prompted UFC matchmakers to reshuffle the deck. In the end, it may not be as stacked as it was a few weeks ago, but it’s still a solid lineup.
We’ve already discussed the main and co-main events, so let’s take a look at the rest of the main card. One of the fights that has the potential to steal the show is a Lightweight bout between Joel Alvarez and Arman Tsarukyan. Alvarez has won four of five fights under the UFC banner all via stoppage, three in the very first round.
Alvarez is as exciting as they come and is never in a boring fight, quickly making him a rising star in the company, scale fails aside. As for Tsarukyan, he has also won four of five inside the Octagon and is coming off a first round knockout win over Christos Gagos. If I had to put my money on it, I’d bet big on this contest winning “Fight of the Night.”
In women’s Strawweight action, Ji Yeon Kim will battle Priscila Cachoeira. Kim is in a must-win situation here after losing two straight, three of her last four overall. As for Cachoeira, she is looking to bounce back after coming up short against Gillian Robertson at UFC 269.
But of course, everyone will be tuning in to see if Green can do the unimaginable and upset Makhachev after taking the fight last-minute. Without risk there is no reward and “King” is looking for a big payoff if he can shock the world in “Sin City.”
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Vegas 49 Main Event On ESPN+:
155 lbs.: Islam Makhachev vs. Bobby Green
UFC Vegas 49 Main Card On ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Misha Cirkunov vs. Wellington Turman
115 lbs.: Ji Yeon Kim vs. Priscila Cachoeira
155 lbs.: Joel Alvarez vs. Arman Tsarukyan
185 lbs.: Gregory Rodrigues vs. Armen Petrosyan
UFC Vegas 49 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Ignacio Bahamondes vs. Rong Zhu
145 lbs.: Josiane Nunes vs. Ramona Pascual
155 lbs.: Terrance McKinney vs. Fares Ziam
135 lbs.: Alejandro Perez vs. Jonathan Martinez
170 lbs.: Ramiz Brahimaj vs. Micheal Gillmore
125 lbs.: Victor Altamirano vs. Carlos Hernandez
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change due to COVID-19.*
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 49 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 49 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Makhachev vs. Green” fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.
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Author: Adam Guillen Jr.